We tend to grow lots of beans in the garden and this year we tried a new variety, Chocolate Runner Beans. I absolutely adore growing these beans. They trellis well and are abundant. You can eat the beans fresh from the vine or dry them for use later. Today, I wanted to share with you how easy it is to dry beans. The process is actually pretty simple. To use the dried beans, soak them overnight in water and then try adding them to your favorite recipes. Some of ours include soups.
We’ve been in the new house for two years. As many of you know gardening is a labor of love. We brought the chicken coop over from the old house and have been slowly creating a raised bed garden adjacent to the cottage garden. One of the best way that I have found to maximize growing space is to think vertically. Taking advantage of veggies that like to climb up trellises can greatly affect your produce yields. I also love that the veggies and fruits growing on the upper portions of the trellises are far from the reaches of hungry chickens. These obelisks were my faves this growing season and I just had to share more.
This past week, I took a trip to the Magnolia Silos in Waco, Texas. I was super excited to have the opportunity to return to Chip and Joanna Gaine’s Magnolia Market at the Silos again this year. The Silos are definitely an experience. I had my daughter in tow and that made it even more special to experience it together. Of course, it is February and the temperatures were in the 70s. It was definitely a much needed change of scenery from the 20-30 degree temps on Cape Cod. Being over 1600 miles away from home and touring the gardens, made me grateful and excited for spring. I was not surprised being in growing zone 8, that they are ahead of us. This garden is where I spent the most time–sitting, resting, people watching and plant watching too. I loved to see that Joanna and I tend to do many of the same things in the garden. Today I’m thrilled to take you along on a Magnolia Market Garden Tour.
Fall has arrived at Tilly’s Nest. We never really had a moment to warm up after spring. Cape Cod had a cool and wet summer. We were all waiting for beach weather and it really didn’t show up. This happened a few years ago too. I guess things are cyclical. This past week cooler temperatures have ushered in. It seems to be the circle of life. We said goodbye to a dear Uncle who was battling an illness for a long time and now the leaves are keeping us occupied on the weekends. It’s a labor of love. I seem to have a love-hate relationship with the beauty of fall and the daunting amount of leaves that seem to return as soon as they are raked up from the gardens.
One of my favorite thing about the garden is being able to enjoy the blooms to create a flower bouquet. I grow an assortment of plants during the spring, summer and fall and about once a week early in the morning, I go out into the garden and forage. Sometimes, I am sort of in-between blooms and other times the bouquets seem to be bursting with all flowers. I like to take advantage of both the blooms and foliage in the garden. None of them are off-limits and somehow, even when things aren’t necessarily blooming, they still find their way into my impromptu bouquets.
As many of you know, late last summer I moved to a new home. The thought of starting the gardens over was overwhelming, But luckily for me, one of the things that I loved most about the new place was the potential that I saw in the landscape. I wasn’t going to have to start from scratch again, but I certainly knew that I would need to make it my own. It just needed a bit of garden restyling. You can imagine my surprise at our final walkthrough when I discovered that the previous owners stopped watering as soon as we signed the purchase and sale agreement. When we moved in everything, and I mean everything, had dried up. Plants were dead and the earth was a giant dust bowl. I prayed that everything was just dormant and would return come spring.
A couple of weeks ago, I took a trip to visit the 2017 Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival. I was thrilled at the opportunity to return again and was very impressed with how much the festival has grown in the past couple of years. The thing that I love most about this festival is how inspiring it is to the backyard gardener. The festival is filled with gardening ideas that are as fun to look at as they are practical. From backyard chickens, bees, growing food and their stunning topiaries, I wanted to share with you a few of my favorite scenes from this year’s 24th festival.
Oh winter, how do I miss my gardens and hanging outside with my flock as they meander around me. Today, instead of feeling glum, I decided to make a miniature chicken garden. Actually, I got a bit carried away and made a few. Once I got started I could not help myself. As I planted up these sweet little gardens, I was envisioning being in my gardens with my own flock. I swear I could here these tiny little chickens carrying on, clucking as to which garden they wanted to explore.
One of my favorite things about the holiday season is growing bulbs indoors. I do this for both Christmas and Easter. There is something about growing flowers indoors during the chilly winter months. During Christmastime, I especially love growing paperwhites. This is a fail-proof project for even those with a brown thumb. If you have grown paper whites in the past, I can bet that one of your biggest pet peeves and mine too is that when they grow tall they often flop over from gravity. Sure, there are ways to add things to the water to stunt their growth, but why harm the bulb? This year, I wanted to show you a simple and easy way to grow paperwhites without them falling over. I love to give these as gifts. They are simple and stunning and I’m going to show you how to make them!
As most of you know, late this summer we moved across town. One of the most difficult things that I had to do was leave behind what we designed and grew from nothing 13 years ago. Over those years, I turned a vacant lot into a lush oasis, filled with perennial walking gardens, blue stone patios, a fabulous chicken garden, a honeybee apiary and a lovely area of raised garden beds. My heart still pines for those gardens, wondering how they are growing without my daily tending. Weirdly, I miss my plants. I had no idea they were such a part of me. But with change, comes new opportunities and I got a head start on next year’s vegetable garden at the new place.