Letting you all know that I am retiring from Blogging and reducing my online presence after so many years. I’ve met many wonderful friends and had great times.

Now that I’m 70, it’s been my plan to “retire” a second time (the first was in 2000 from my full-time position) from my part-time avocation then my business. Just want to enjoy the time I have on earth with no plans …

Auf Wiedesehen.

Sue J in NJ

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Ah! Summer…Food!

The Lost Lake at the Cabin.


We try to finish all the planting by July 4th so that there’s minimal work in the gardens. Just light maintenance on occasion and watering when needed. The rest of the summer we enjoy being outside when cool and inside when hot.

There are always things to keep us busy. I just finished picking all the apricots and froze some. We ate some and started a new Rumkopf (rumpot). We only have one small tree but it’s enough for us. I grow apricots as they are rare to find here in So. Jersey. They are very perishable, and we don’t get them every year if there is a late freeze. That happened in 2016 and 2017.

The snow peas are done and I’ve removed the plants. Just have to shell the last ones. The rest we ate in Asian dinners. The snow peas aren’t always in the freezer section of the stores as the growing season is not long. I can’t plant much like I used to before to have a lot for the freezer here.

With the cost of food very high now, I’ve put in more food plants than the past couple of years.

The tomatoes are just 3 plants. They should be ready next week! This year I ordered Burpee’s plants and another new variety ‘Atlas’. It was developed for patio planters but I put them in the vegetable table.

We have peppers, cucumbers, and basil in 4 plots of the 8-square garden. We can’t take care of much now, so the growing has been reduced.

Still, we have to eat! Before June, I start using up stuff in the basement freezer to empty it for restocking. I will also be going to farm markets to buy in bulk, process, and freeze. It’s a hot job but inside is air conditioning.

This year, too, I planted leeks. I do that every few years. We use them like scallions when young and cut for dinners. Then I freeze some for winter. They’re not strong like onions and versatile.

Last week we had great weather and cooked with a wood fire in the fire pit. We had a camp dinner, by the Lost Lake, at the cabin. There are a lot of choices in the gardens here as to where to relax, cook, and eat. It keeps things interesting.

Every year I get some new outdoor cooking item. Today my new grilling utensils and veggie basket came. I got good ones of stainless steel and they should last. Tomorrow we’ll use them on the small Weber kettle grill, behind the back patio, to quick-cook the veggies and meat. It’s a lot better than wrapping in foil to use the stir fry method for vegetables.

It’s supposed to be 95 out so we’ll cook fast then run inside to eat!

Waterlily ‘Mrs. Slocum’


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“Nothing Happens unless First A Dream”-Carl Sandberg

One of my favorite quotes since high school, I’ve kept it in mind. Those of us who are creative, are always dreaming! Though much may pass, some dreams are seen to fruition. To me, that’s happened in many ways.

My first home in 1970’s was on a half-acre in the NJ PINELANDS. This area is near the first World Biosphere. The soil is largely sandy and acid with plants, wildlife which are unique. I miss it for the solitude. It was challenging to only grow plants that would not alter the environment. I had oaks and pines.

There I had a dream of my second- favorite plants-Rhododendron species. The azaleas and rhodos are mostly understory shrubs here. I began pathways by leaving the wild blueberries only in the beds. The beds were made up of leaves and pine needles, too. Because there were no earthworms in the soil, the leaves didn’t readily decompose.

R.’Nellie Moser’

I started to add suitable azaleas and rhododendrons that could exist in that soil. (Some cannot as they need more moisture.) The gardens had a start. Unfortunately, I was not living there but only 7 years. The dream had a beginning, though.

The next house was in a small city with a very small property. I had planned gardens and people loved it. I had that place 11 years and expanded my ideas more. Still, my dream was always for a larger property in a quiet town. We have been here 22 years now.

What was my “dream” anyway? Having casual design with controlled-woodlands and including pathways and trails. We’ve seen it all to fruition with God’s help! I saw a similar photo, years before, when in an apt. that had azaleas and rhodos in a controlled-woodland setting. Since then, the photo has been in my mind. It paid off.

Over the years we travelled to historic gardens and homes where I gleaned ideas in photos. I don’t travel much now but have many garden books and plans if it all. The photos here are examples of the May blooms of my collection of azaleas and rhodos. Some are unique.


My all-time favorite flower/plant/tree, of course, is still the native Southern Magnolia. Second to this is the Rhododendron species. Here on this property we can have it all.

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AH! May, the Best Month!


Colors and textures.


Notes on “borrowed view”.

IMG_3403 (3)

“Ethereal” river birch with red, white, and blue blooms for Memorial Day. (red, dwarf cv. of buckeye; ‘Delaware Valley’ white evergreen azaleas; blue English bluebells


Rear gardens with “borrowed view” of neighbor’s plants. This adds beauty and color, as well as ‘space’ to my garden. Unless the view is ugly, or for privacy, don’t block the entire view with a large fence. This enhances the enjoyment to both of us and adds to property values.

Glenn says this is the “best month” but he’s biased because it’s his birthday tomorrow!

Happy “39th”!

Now, the garden!

Last year we completely renovated the entire acre. This year we repaired the storm damage from a couple of Nor’easters and will fine-tune the pruning of last year. In addition, we add plants, trees, and power-clean/paint the house.

We had to renovate after 21 years here. Things need more than small pruning and shaping after so many years. Projects had to be built or removed. The wall got done, pathways redefined, and old growth removed. It looked bare by fall 2017.

We are now at the cusp of spring season. Most plants, flowers, shrubs, and trees have come out this Month. I’ve noted two English Gardening principles in these pictures.

  1. The gardens were designed using the English Gardening principle of views and smells from inside the house vs. the American principle of views from the road to house.

2. The “borrowed view” .

(Picture not in order. I can’t move then.)




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It May Be Spring but I’m not Sure

I’ll look at temperature again…53? Night time 40? Is that F? Good grief! Like March all month.

Today the dogwoods are starting to bloom but 2 weeks late. I cannot plant in 40°-50° and enjoy it. Just too cold for me. Now, the oak trees flowers open and there will be over a week of green dust on everything here. There are 8 oak trees on the neighbors’ properties. I’m highly allergic to it…What? You want to paint the house, Glenn? Haha…

Another 2 weeks to wait, pressure wash it, then he can do it. What a crazy-weather spring this year and so cold…

Here are a couple of pictures. The bulbs are starting to bloom. Every week the garden will change now. It will look completely different with different flowers, shrubs, and trees out all the time.

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It Still Winter…

It feels like winter, looks like winter…storms and more snow. Yes, we were hit hardest in recent storms with wind and heavy, wet snow. To our dismay, we had small trees broken. The dogwood in front, tall arborvitae, and tall American holly in back. I think the heavy snow fell from the power lines in front and from the large oak tree in back.

We’ll just trim the breakage so they can grow back. The shrubs that the arborist planted in the rear last Spring have no leaves. They are a viburnum cultivar that are supposed to be ever green. The winds were just too strong. It’s hard the first two seasons when getting plants established, especially here.

This year, I’m planting a cedar cultivar. They should give more protection in that area. There will be 4-5 rows of various plants for our windbreak replacements. This is the north side of the property and across from large open farmland. Without the windbreaks, we can’t sit out there. There are icy winds all year long.

The new cedars come from Indiana and zone 5. They are potted and should get established faster than bare root plants. As I’ve said before, we are “environmentally challenged” here.

Oh! It was about 9 “ and Glenn had to knock snow off branches laying on wires…whew! Lights flickered but after that, no loss of electric here.



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In the Garden 2017…Part 3

This brings us to 2017. Here are photos of the same views as in 2011. Let us know what you think!

The corner views are the most impressive. We are hidden from the cars’ headlights and views.



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