The Wrack: master gardeners

blog of the wells reserve & laudholm trust

What's Blooming? Pussy Toes

June 2, 2017 By Ginger Laurits Filed under Article Tags: american ladyfloramaster gardenerspussy toes

Pussy Toes in the Native Plant border on June 2, 2017Now is the heyday for woodland wildflowers; trillium and foamflower are in bloom and lady slippers are just peeking out from under their calyces.

Often missed at this time of year is the playful display of Antennaria plantaginifolia, commonly known as "pussy toes," named for its bloom of fuzzy, silvery-gray flowers that resemble cat’s feet. Pussy toes are in bloom now in the native plant border and on the hillside at the parking lot. This low-growing, native perennial wildflower has few needs and tolerates full sun/part shade, dry conditions, and poor soil. What more could a gardener ask?

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What's Blooming? Goldenrod

August 8, 2016 By Ginger Laurits Filed under Article Tags: floramaster gardenersnative plants

Goldenrod flowers. Photo by Ginger Laurits.Goldenrods are coming. You need not look far to see this harbinger of summer’s end. It's blooming in every field and roadside.

There are 19 species of goldenrod native to Maine that begin blooming in August and continue through fall. Allergy sufferers have maligned this beautiful plant as the source of their misery, but goldenrod, with its large, heavy, sticky pollen grains, is pollinated by insects and not by wind. The real culprit of our itchy eyes and runny noses is ragweed, which blooms at the same time and is pollinated by wind. Ambrosia artemisiifolia, common ragweed, is too elegant a name for the source of our misery, in my opinion.

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What's Blooming? Liatris and Bee Balm

July 25, 2016 By Ginger Laurits Filed under Article Tags: gardenmaster gardenersnative plants

Liatris blossoming in the native plant gardenIt is pollinator heaven in the native plant border with the purples, pinks, and oranges of bee balm, echinacea, liatris, and butterfly weed. The plants are buzzing with bees and wasps while a butterfly silently flits in for a sip of nectar.

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What's Blooming? Elderberry!

June 20, 2016 By Ginger Laurits Filed under Article Tags: gardenmaster gardenersnative plants


Elderberry is a pioneer species that is found in disturbed and open areas. As with all pioneer species, if habitat is left untouched, the shrub will eventually succumb to forest as tree seedlings grow.  Elderberry is blooming now along roadsides and meadow edges and is easily identified by its opposite branching, deeply cut green leaves, and creamy, flat-topped blossoms. Berries produced later in the season are an important food source for birds and other animals (including us), all of which like them best when they are fermented. Elderberry has long been heralded for its medicinal and healing properties with accounts dating back to Hippocrates in 400 BCE who referred to the elderberry shrub as his “medicine chest.”  Although elderberry prefers wetland habitat, it will grow easily in dryer areas.

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Building a Hoop House

September 3, 2013 By Scott Richardson Filed under Article Tags: gardenmaster gardenersumaine

We're setting the stage for growing vegetables throughout our Maine winter with the installation of a hoop house alongside our existing garden. Thanks to York County Master Gardeners for constructing it as part of our joint workshop series.

Hoop house under construction during York County Master Gardener workshopThis hoop house is a modified Gothic-arch high-tunnel design oriented roughly east/west and is light weight and movable (a movable greenhouse allows soil to be restored by sun, rain, and deep-rooted cover crops). Row covers of translucent fabric, such as Agribon or Remay, will be laid over a wire armature to offer an additional layer of cold weather protection.

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