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So far Highfield Hall has created 187 blog entries.

Garden Tip 133
September 14, 2023

Garden Tip 133: CARYOPTERIS ~ A FRAGRANT FLOWERING SHRUB Caryopteris is a fragrant shrub that bursts into color in the late summer garden while many other plants and shrubs are fading into fall. It is not a huge shrub, growing to only about three feet tall and wide. It sometimes behaves more like an herbaceous perennial than a woody shrub, sending up new shoots from the ground each spring. Many gardeners prefer this and will cut it back hard early in the growing season. Flower buds develop on new wood so this type of spring pruning is recommended. The [...]


Garden Tip 132
September 7, 2023

Garden Tip 132: DECORATING WITH HYDRANGEA FLOWERS I enjoy using hydrangea flowers when decorating for the holidays. It is the perfect way of bringing the garden indoors for the holiday season. Hydrangea flowers can be used to accent an evergreen swag, add dimension and color to a balsam wreath, as a garland for a mantle or rail, or simply arranged in a holiday vase. I work mainly with paniculata-type flowers. They are at their peak of color now, so it is time to harvest these garden treasures. I cut flowers now and for the next few weeks. Each week [...]


Tarragon Chicken Drumsticks and Summer Heirloom Tomatoes with Basil Aoili
August 2023

August 2023: RECIPE OF THE WEEK FROM HIGHFIELD HALL & GARDENS STAFF, GAIL BLAKELY This is wonderful summer dish, as it can be served right after cooking, or warm, or even room temperature. It comes together very quickly: when you are making Bootstrap Farm Club bounty: roasted tarragon chicken drumsticks with heirloom tomatoes and basil aioli. It is time to enjoy summer tomatoes—and Bootstrap has some of the very best. These chicken drumsticks are easy to prepare, as is the basil aioli. The Farm offers great packages (one and a half pounds) of drumsticks; frozen, they are easy to [...]


Garden Tip 131
August 30, 2023

Garden Tip 131: PRUNING FLOWERING SHRUBS I once heard a landscape professor say the best time to prune is when the pruners are in your hand. Following this rule will certainly get the job done, but there are a couple of things to consider to really get it right. We all know that timing is important when it comes to the pruning and shaping of flowering shrubs. The general rule is to prune just after flowering is complete so that new growth will have time to grow and initiate flower buds for next seasons bloom–following the flower. Secondly, most [...]


Garden Tip 130
August 23, 2023

Garden Tip 130: CONTROLLING CRABGRASS Crabgrass is usually a subject talked about in the spring. Pre-emergent and post-emergent herbicide controls, mowing techniques, and seeding are all subjects talked about when forsythia shrubs are coming into bloom. It is important to remember at this time of year that crabgrass is a summer annual that has been growing in the landscape all season long. Large, healthy, and potentially troublesome plants are lurking in planting beds, under shrubs, along foundations and almost anywhere where an open spot of soil existed. With the onset of cooler, shorter days these plants enter their reproductive stage [...]


Garden Tip 129
August 17, 2023

Garden Tip 129: JAPANESE FOREST GRASS It is a good gardening practice to incorporate plants that have vibrant, colorful foliage into the garden to help maintain late summer color in the landscape. Annuals and perennials can fade away in the August garden, but foliage can be a season long attraction. One of the winning plants in this category is Hakonechloa, Japanese Forest Grass. These perennial clump-forming grasses grow to be two feet tall and three feet wide. Varieties include shades of golds and greens and variegated forms come with white, green or gold stripes. Most varieties acquire orange and red [...]


Tapestries From the Wild World
September 12, 2023

Tapestries From the Wild World SEPTEMBER 12th - OCTOBER 29th Tapestries From the Wild World by Shannon Goheen, Artist and Thom Huettner, Frame Artist This Autumn, Highfield Hall will feature the ‘wild world weavings’ of Shannon Goheen. Shannon and her partner Thom are currently included in the End to End: Cape and Island Artists and the Land exhibition with two large works, and for the remainder of the season we turn over the first-floor galleries to Shannon and Thom to showcase a great number of weavings and masterful mounts and frames made over the past several years [...]


Garden Tip 128
August 10, 2023

Garden Tip 128: CUTTING BACK CATMINT “Follow the flower” is our general rule of thumb when it comes to the summer editing of flowering perennials. Now is the time to be turning our attention to one of my favorites, Nepeta (catmint). I noticed this week the absence of bees on these plants and that is a sure sign that the flowers have passed. Cutting off the old flowers will ensure a reblooming before the end of summer. Stems can be pruned individually with hand pruners or hedge shears can actually be used for a quick cut just above the [...]


Garden Tip 127
August 3, 2023

Garden Tip 127: EDITING HOSTAS Timely editing of hosta flowers can save a whole lot of work. Most gardeners select hosta varieties because of their foliage, choosing from a variety of shapes, sizes, textures and color. Hosta flowers are an added benefit, with some being quite showy and fragrant and all attracting bees and butterflies. The trick to the summer maintenance of hosta flowers is in the timing–removing the flower stem (scape) just as the flowers begin to fade. Flowers left too long on the plant wilt and drop to the foliage below. When this happens, the old petals [...]


Jenny’s Salmon Bites Over 15-Minute Lo Mein
July 2023

July 2023: RECIPE OF THE WEEK FROM HIGHFIELD HALL & GARDENS STAFF, GAIL BLAKELY This is wonderful summer dish, as it can be served right after cooking, or warm, or even room temperature. It comes together very quickly: when you are making the lo mein, use some ginger paste and minced garlic from tubes (available in the produce section of the supermarket), if you so desire. The vegetables in the lo mein can be changed according to what you have: grated carrots, sliced bell peppers, even thinly sliced celery—all these can be sauteed in the wok with the scallions. [...]


Garden Tip 126
July 27, 2023

Garden Tip 126: CARING FOR DAYLILIES I recently spoke of the importance of garden editing during the summer months to maintain the health and beauty of the landscape. One little project that can make a big difference, and one that is not always done, is the removal of old daylily flowers. Daylilies are perennial plants whose flowers typically last just one day. These perennials add great color and interest to the summer garden and should be kept clean and fresh with the attention they deserve. Flowers of the day can be removed in the cool of the evening before [...]


Garden Tip 124
July 20, 2023

Garden Tip 125: USING COLOR IN YOUR GARDEN Color in the garden very often reaches its peak in mid-July to early August. Now is the time to observe your garden to see how well your color palette lends to the appeal and interest of your landscape. Photos and notes are a great way to record what is working and what can be improved. Repetition of color can draw attention and add cohesion to garden plantings. The bright colors of yellow, orange and red catch the eye and are good to use to create a focal point. Layering of color [...]


I Am My White Ancestors: Claiming the Legacy of Oppression
September 12, 2023

I Am My White Ancestors: Claiming the Legacy of Oppression by Anne Mavor SEPTEMBER 12th - OCTOBER 29th I Am My White Ancestors: Claiming the Legacy of Oppression I Am My White Ancestors is a multi-disciplinary installation and public engagement project. It contains thirteen life-size photographic portraits that explore European-American heritage, family history, and its role in the history of race, class, colonization, and genocide. The real and imagined characters span over 2000 years from the Celtic Iron Age to the present day with the artist’s contemporary persona. The 84” x 54” portraits, printed on fabric panels, are accompanied [...]


Garden Tip 124
July 13, 2023

Garden Tip 124: HYDRANGEAS AS POLLINATOR PLANTS There are two popular garden subjects that come up frequently in the summer months– hydrangeas and pollinator plants. The two are not usually talked about together; however, some hydrangeas (those with lacecap-like flowers) make great pollinator plants. Lacecap hydrangeas are not a type of hydrangea, rather they are hydrangeas with a particular style of flower. Lacecap hydrangea flowers produce fertile florets loaded with pollen and nectar. One of my favorites in this category is Hydrangea ‘Little Quickfire.’ This shrub produces white flowers that turn to pinkish red as the season progresses. They [...]


Garden Tip 123
July 6, 2023

Garden Tip 123: IT'S TIME FOR GARDEN EDITING With the onset of summer it is amazing how fast our garden chores turn from planting, cajoling and fretting about our spring plantings to the need for summer maintenance. This summertime gardening I call garden editing, removing anything that doesn’t add to the picture. Deadheading rose bushes and perennials, removing those hosta leaves damaged by snails and slugs, pulling the yellowed daylily foliage, garden editing will be an unceasing chore from now through fall. Like many things in life, it is the little things that count. Email George [...]


Grilled Shrimp with Spicy Slaw
June 2023

June 2023: RECIPE OF THE WEEK FROM HIGHFIELD HALL & GARDENS STAFF, GAIL BLAKELY Welcome summer with this easy dish, which we made in our Memorial Day cooking class on the back porch. Using pre-shredded cabbage makes it simple: we used half a package of shredded red cabbage, a package of broccoli slaw, and another of traditional cabbage “cole slaw” mix. We diced the jalapeño, and used half cilantro and half parsley for the final dish. If you don’t want to grill the shrimp, you could easily sauté them in a little oil on your stovetop (or roast them [...]


Garden Tip 122
June 29, 2023

Garden Tip 122: PERENNIAL PLANT OF THE YEAR 2023 The Perennial Plant Association is a group composed of growers, retailers, landscape designers and others who are professionally involved in the perennial plant industry. Their mission is to provide information on, and promote sales of, perennial plants. Every year they select and promote ‘The Perennial Plant of the Year.’ The 2023 selection is Rudbeckia ‘American Gold Rush.’  This Black Eye Susan flowers mid-summer to frost with bright golden yellow flowers with a chocolate center. Its bright green foliage is covered in small hairs which makes it resistant to Septoria leaf [...]


Garden Tip 121
June 22, 2023

Garden Tip 121: CARING FOR HOSTAS Hostas are herbaceous perennials grown from rhizomes. They are very versatile plants with some varieties suitable for shade and others for sun. Depending on variety, clumps can range in size from three inches by three inches (the miniatures) to giant plants six feet across and four feet tall. Colors include blue, green, yellow, white and a countless number of combinations of these colors in variegated varieties. Some hosta varieties have stiff stems and hold their foliage erect, but many have a growth habit that is low and spreading. As these plants grow and [...]


Garden Tip 120
June 15, 2023

Garden Tip 120: CREATING MIXED PLANTERS Every year around this time I suggest that it is a good idea to put together a few mixed planters to have on hand to add color to the garden and patio or to use as accents during special occasions. The general recipe for a mixed planter is to use a thriller, a filler, and a spiller meaning an upright component, a spreading plant and a trailing plant. One of the biggest problems with putting together a mixed planter is selecting the plants. The offerings are so vast in variety and color that [...]


Garden Tip 119
June 8, 2023

Garden Tip 119: THE CHELSEA CHOP – IT’S THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN! We have talked about this before but it is a garden chore with a short window of opportunity, so it is good to have a reminder to get the job done. It is time for the Chelsea Chop. This is a pruning technique for late summer and fall blooming perennials that encourages them to produce more blooms over a longer period of time. The term Chelsea Chop originated in England because its timing coincides with the famous Chelsea Flower Show in London. The technique simply involves [...]

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