Friday, June 28, 2013

Lindsay Hancock: Artist, Gardener, Athlete, and Arts Advocate

I have known Lindsay Hancock for many years, starting with our kid’s school and the Maine College of Art auction committee, but most importantly through our monthly art group, which is composed of eight women painters and print makers. Lindsay is a very talented artist, (we have several of her works) but she is also an experienced gardener and birder, an avid cyclist, and Grantwriter. She has been writing grants for the Bates College Museum of Art for 4 years and the Bates Dance Festival for over 20 years! She also provides grant writing and fundraising services to the Bicycle Coalition of Maine, the Wilderness Guides Outdoor Education Fund and the Maine Academy of Modern Music. It is incredible that she also has time to keep a large flower and vegetable garden! 

Her yard is a sanctuary far from any highway and road noise. The 1840’s Greek Revival farmhouse set off the road, is an idyllic spot for sitting and listening to the American Goldfinch on her feeders, or the wood thrush at night. Crabapples planted years ago now supply shade and texture to the flagstone sitting areas, while the long view includes field and vegetable garden.

Her garden is the result of over 33 years of adding and editing. Immaculately kept, the roses were in bloom on the arbors and her shade gardens were abundant with flower and foliage. Some rarer things were a Polygonum bistorta  and the Cimicifuga racemosea “Hillside Black Beauty”. Epimedium grandiflora  gracefully spreads with Campanula pericifolia as an airy backdrop. Peonies gotten years ago, from a refurbishing of Maine Audubon beds, bloom in an abundance of heirloom varieties. 

Spring by Lindsay Hancock
In the vegetable garden, she had a low electrical fence that protected many varieties that can’t be gotten at the store; a delicious pea that is eaten as a shoot called Grey Dwarf, and a broccoli  (considered a variety of cauliflower) that has florets in the most amazing green fractal patterning. This Brassica oleracea var. botrytis seed is called "Veronica" and both this and the pea  she gets from Johnny’s Seeds.

Always inspirational, I came away from our group meeting last Friday with the idea to write about this haven for artists, birds and friends.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Three Lettuces

Three lettuces that are great performers. Grand Rapid Red seems to sprout fast, grow faster and hold it's own even when it gets hot. A dependable producer!

 New for me, Yugoslavian Red Butter head from Seed Savers Exchange is everything I had hoped for..crazy red/green leaves that have a bright green core in the middle of the head.

But my favorite so far is Tennis Ball, also from Seed Savers Exchange, that is one of Thomas Jefferson's favorite varieties that he grew at Monticello. Perfect butter heads that are bright lime green. At dusk they glow from far  away. The three make a wonderful color combination! 


How Far We've Come


It has only been 2 months but I am on to the next  planting of many greens already. All the Tatsoi got pulled up  and I harvested all the salvageable leaves and used the flowers in arragements. Needless to say we have been eating a lot of salad, bok choy, and spinach. But nothing lasts forever, especially these tender greens under summer sun. 
I should have started the next round 2 weeks earlier, but let other chores get in the way. Now I have tiny little seedlings next to large luscious cabbages. Hopefully the next seedlings will catch up fast!

This week the snap peas should be ready to eat    and bush beans will not be far behind. Our goal is to have a variety of things to eat cold like lettuces and spinach, and then things to make hot like bok choy, swiss chard, and beets. The other goal is to eat most nights from things in the garden from May15th to about Sept.15th- without boredom! I'll let you know how that goes.
Until then I will continue to keep the color varied and the textures mixed to create visual as well as gastronomic pleasure!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Tina Crabapple

Malus Sargentii "Tina"

This is the third year of bloom in our yard for the Malus Sargentii "Tina" crabapple. I had it picked when designing the medieval herb garden for it's dwarf habit. The blooms are blush, open cream, then turn white when fully open. The fruit is small but prolific. I really love it's parent, the classic Sargent Crabapple, but this is one of the finest cultivars where space is an issue. The short history of crabapples can be found on the Monvoria website.