Thursday Doors

In 1785, shipping merchant, Jonathan Hamilton, built this Colonial Revival Estate in South Berwick, Maine, overlooking the Salmon Falls River.

During the American Revolution, Hamilton expanded his mercantile business to include shipbuilding, timber harvesting, partial ownership of local mills, and sugar plantations in Tobago, West Indies. His base of operation was in Portsmouth, but he built ships and loaded and unloaded materials at this site.

Today, the Hamilton House is part of Historic New England which endeavors to preserve and share thirty-eight historic homes, farms and landscapes throughout New England.

I visited Hamilton House in August with fellow gardeners, and the gardens and flowers were at their peak.

As a bonus, at the edge of the property is this beautiful barn. I know I’m prejudiced, I think every barn is beautiful. Besides being handsome, I’ve never seen a barn door quite like this one.

We’ve certainly left August behind and moved well into October. The heat officially goes on tonight because we’re dropping down to 28°F. I’m not mentally psyched up, but Mother Nature is ready to rock and roll right into winter because they’ve already had snow flurries up north. I’m still not getting that snow shovel out – yet.  ❄️

Linked to Norm Frampton’s, Thursday Doors, October 18, 2018

Posted in Photography, Thursday Doors | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 44 Comments


gardens not candy bar. 🙂

Although, Milton Hershey did create the 5¢ Hershey candy bar in 1900 with the almond variety being added in 1908. According to Candy Central this year, the simple Hershey Bar still ranks #4 in the world as most popular.

In 1937, he wanted to build a nice 3.5 acre rose garden for his community with a special area devoted to his wife, Catherine. Today it covers 23 acres of botanical delight and includes around 7,000 rose bushes.

So, last Friday, my sister-in-law and I headed west from Reading to check out the gardens.

Situated below the 5-star Hotel Hershey and above the Hershey Amusement Park and Hershey Park Stadium, the gardens include an amazing variety of rare trees, shrubs, and roses. There is also a very nice hands-on children’s garden.

It has nice wide walking paths through the gardens, but it is situated on a hill so it is not like walking on a flat surface. It might provide a slight challenge for some.

Next to the beauty of the vast rose garden is the unbelievable wonder of the Butterfly Atrium. I’ve been to butterfly exhibits before, but never have I seen 25 varieties with about 300 flying around.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

It is a very inviting garden, and a wonderful place to spend a few hours enjoying the interesting selection of trees, shrubs, and flowers. We even saw a wedding that was taking place under an archway in the rose garden.

Milton Hershey summed up the garden best when he said:

The more beautiful you can make the place look, the better life the people will have.

Posted in Gardening, Traveling | Tagged , , , , | 37 Comments

Thursday Doors

We’re in Pennsylvania this week visiting a special sister-in-law from Seattle. We decided driving to PA was a long day but not near as long as driving to Seattle. 🙂

Yesterday, she and I had an absolutely splendid day at Longwood Gardens. We saw gorgeous gardens, amazing flowers, the green wall, two fountain shows, and much more.  I’ll share more of that next week.

But, today hubby and I were out doing a little shopping and looking for some good craft beer.

We ended up at Chatty Monks Brewing Company in West Reading. As a bonus, it had a cute yellow door, nice fall wreath, and some good-sized planters with Canna Lilies. Notice the windows don’t seem clear? The humidity is 96% because of the rain coming up from Florida.

We split a pulled pork sandwich and their special hoppy french friars which are hand-cut potatoes tossed in house smoked malt, salt, and then finished with a dusting of flavorful hops.

I had the Crash Test Pumpkin beer which was good, but hubby didn’t really care for the Noble Truth Session IPA. Win some, lose some when you try new varieties of craft beer. 🍺

Thursday is back to normal now that Norm has returned from his tour of Italy with his lovely wife. Although in his absence, we had three other fearless leaders who did him proud.

Linked to Norm Frampton’s Thursday Doors, October 11, 2018.

Posted in Photography, Thursday Doors, Traveling | Tagged , , , , , | 37 Comments

Hello October

Temps have been in the 60’s – great gardening weather. Plants have been moved, shrubs trimmed, plastic fencing is up and anchored, daffodil bulbs planted, and 103 potted plants are in the ground for next year’s plant sale. I have maybe two more sessions of deadheading, and the list is done. Rain is forecasted for the next two days so everything gets watered by Mother Nature. Life is good.

As we head into October, the subject of flu shots rise to the surface. I’m not going to debate the pros and cons of a flu shot, but I saw this USA headline and had to laugh. They actually went back 100 years to find a headline to scare us with?

I’m so vintage I remember when I tuned in to hear and see the news. Now, we’ve seen and heard it a dozen times on line, and they need something to intimidate us with so we’ll stop. I’m to the point I just laugh and move on.

Maybe as I get older my sense of humor is warping or maybe if truth be told I’ve always had a warped sense of humor. Either way, I’m currently reading a mystery by Lisa Gardner, and the handwriting expert was analyzing a particular note that has been written in cursive.

As the expert was summarizing the characteristics that might help lead to the offender, he commented, “I mean no one learns to write this beautifully without wearing a plaid uniform and being beaten by a nun.” I almost spit my coffee out. Yes, I wore that plaid uniform skirt, was slapped once by a nun, scared too many times over twelve years to count, and to this day have good cursive handwriting.

Times have dramatically changed and everything is done on a keyboard. In most cases our grandchildren’s generation won’t be able to read a letter written in cursive unless a check is included, and then they’d figure it out by checking the numbers. But, even writing a check is outdated because we transfer money these days using our phones.

My husband and I ate lunch out last week, and to our left, a mother and her son were talking while they ate. There wasn’t a phone in sight. They were not only talking, but playing math games on a piece of paper. I know it was impolite, but I stared. I couldn’t believe it – talking, smiling, looking each other in the eye.

Down the road, some think tank will issue a report that costs tax payers $,$$$,$$$ telling us that we’d be healthier, mentally and physically, if only we put down our devices and talked and listened to each other, like in person. Imagine that. Who knew? 🙂

Posted in New England | Tagged , , , , , | 70 Comments

Thursday Doors

Well, half a door.

I LOVE this door, but I couldn’t trespass up a private mountain road to get any closer.

I don’t know who thought to put red on the door with white trim to accent the gray weathered look of the barn, but it is beautiful.

The house is painted the same, but I couldn’t even get half the house when I tried to grab a shot as I sped down the road from home to a garden I help with in Lee, NH. To get this half shot, I turned around three times trying to get the entire door. If anyone was watching, they probably thought I was having a spasm and couldn’t decide whether to go north or south.

I’m thinking this would look pretty good on our weathered brown barn. I wonder if I can talk the rest of the family into it. ❤️

Since our door director, Norm Frampton, is out of town, our blogging friend Joey is driving the Thursday Door bus so check her site out for doors from all corners of the world. 🙂

Posted in Photography, Thursday Doors | Tagged , , , , , | 29 Comments


We’re having great weather. It’s 46°F right now. The leaves aren’t showing a lot of color yet, but there are spots here and there.

I’ve trimmed just about every shrub on the property, and I’m gaining on deadheading my perennials.

Today, I’m moving a few plants because it is supposed to rain tomorrow which is always a bonus. I’ve also got two Arborvitaes that I need to get creative with and bring them back into the acceptable height range. I’d be better off digging them out and replacing them with something smaller, but then again the critical word is ‘dig’ and they’ve been planted there twelve years. I think I’ll give trimming a shot even if it is not recommended.

Here’s a tip if you’ve ever looked for a plant marker that can withstand winter conditions. These are for a Master Gardener project and came from Sunshine Engraving. I can highly recommend their customer service and the product. The price was approximately $5 for the label and stake.

Besides trimming and deadheading, I made hoops and used some of my plastic fencing to enclose the small white Kousa dogwood trees I’m holding over for the May plant sale and my two blueberry plants. That pile of greenery on the ground is the tops from three catmint plants. I’m going to divide them this morning because they’ve gotten too big.

I have to enclose tender plants because my closest neighbor feeds deer throughout the winter. She literally pours bags of feed on her patio and herds come up to feed. Before we started going to SC, I had seen up to 18 of them at one time enjoying her buffet offerings.

Besides deer, fall has also brought out the bears. We’ve had two sightings here in town, and I don’t ever remember that before. We’re also still struggling with the unbelievable squirrel issue. They’re now referring to it as the Squirrel Apocalypse 2018. I’d laugh, but it has gone from humorous to grizzly (pun intended).

Happy last Monday in September. ☕️

Credit: Coffee Funnies



Posted in Gardening | Tagged , , , , , | 50 Comments

Outdoor chores

Do you have a fall outdoor chore list?

I live on almost four acres and mine is long. But, the chore list and a MG project have put some strain on my back. I’ve had to back off a bit this week, but I’m working my way back to my normal obnoxious gardening self.

For those who don’t live in ‘snow country,’ New Englanders hunker down for the winter and outdoor equipment has to be put under cover.

Large attractive containers dripping with annuals are certainly enjoyable in the summer, but fall arrives and the plants and soil need to be removed and containers stored for the winter. Spring perennials also need to be divided.

Plants that couldn’t be planted in the heat and humidity but were sunk in the ground to keep them viable are now awaiting permanent homes. Geez, who knew they’d add up to so many, and who put them there anyway? 🙂

Then there are those large beds of perennials that need to be deadheaded. I know people have varying thoughts about deadheading in the fall, but here in NH most of our plants are buried under 5-7′ of snow for months at a time. I’d much rather do the work in the fall than try to trim back plants laying on the ground and wet from snow.

And, bring out the fences that need to be installed and the Milorganite that needs to be spread to deter the deer who arrive looking for snacks. This guy came out of the woodlands last week already kicking up his heels at the idea of the potential buffet.

Good thing I’m sitting in the recliner with ice on my back while I write this. 🙂

Since we’re talking plants today, let me introduce you to Elysia.

Check out Talking Hydroponics. Is this cool or what?

Happy second week in September. Hope you’re on top of your chores and not the other way around. 🍁

Posted in Gardening | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 49 Comments