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So far Highfield Hall has created 142 blog entries.

Garden Tip 98:
September 1, 2022

Garden Tip 98: CULTIVATING THE SOIL After weeks and weeks of hot, dry weather, the topsoil and mulch in the garden becomes baked to a crust. This is why we often see summer rains running atop and off the garden. It is a good practice to cultivate the top few inches of any open areas in the summer garden to lesson runoff and aid in the absorption of the much needed rain. I find the long-handled four-pronged cultivator or the u-shaped hula hoe to be the perfect tools for this type of work. There are many enriching mulches available [...]


Garden Tip 97:
August 25, 2022

Garden Tip 97: DEALING WITH THE DROUGHT The extreme drought continues and that calls for some extreme action in the garden. Normally I start cutting back perennials mid to late September. This year I have already started cutting back those perennials that are so adversely affected by the dry conditions that no amount of watering or rain will bring them back. Phlox, salvia, peony, and comfrey are just some of the varieties that have been cut to the ground with the hope that any available water will strengthen the roots for next season’s growth. I have even started removing [...]


Norman’s Crêpes
August 25, 2022

Week 119: RECIPE OF THE WEEK FROM HIGHFIELD HALL & GARDENS STAFF, KIM COURCHESNE If you come to my house after dinner on any night of the week, you might be treated to delicious dessert crêpes. It’s become a family tradition to sit at our tiny kitchen island while my husband recreates his mother’s simple recipe over and over. We patiently wait our turn to receive a plate of yummy goodness (rarely eating them together) and adding our favorite toppings. My husband’s French-Canadian heritage always seems to dictate that he only spread a touch of good maple [...]


Whole Wheat Blueberry Zucchini Muffins
August 18, 2022

Week 118: RECIPE OF THE WEEK FROM HIGHFIELD HALL & GARDENS STAFF, MICHELLE ITZKOWITZ These healthy blueberry zucchini muffins are bursting with warm freshly baked blueberries and a sweet crumb topping, you’d never guess they contain a vegetable! Try them fresh out of the oven with melted butter. YUM! Email Gail


Garden Tip 96:
August 18, 2022

Garden Tip 96: A WONDERFUL DROUGHT-TOLERANT PERENNIAL The hot dry weather has taken its toll on garden perennials. Some have weathered the drought better than others, and it is interesting to take note of those that have come through in good condition. One in particular, in my garden, is Persicaria ‘Firetail.’ It stands today as it did in June, strong, clean, and still in flower, seemingly oblivious to the lack of rain over the past eight weeks. This plant is a clumping perennial that grows to three feet tall and can spread over time to six feet wide. Red [...]


Garden Tip 95:
August 11, 2022

Garden Tip 95: EDITING YOUR SUMMER GARDEN We have a term at our house that we use to describe an important garden activity that we do during this time of year– garden editing. Starting in March we do all that we can to promote and encourage vigorous growth in the garden and landscape. Come July and August, that effort is reversed and our work is focused on controlling, containing or removing what we have grown. Garden editing is just that– changing or removing that which does not add to the picture. An important bit of garden editing involves daylilies. [...]


Blueberry Buckle
August 11, 2022

Week 117: RECIPE OF THE WEEK FROM HIGHFIELD HALL & GARDENS STAFF, TARA BURKE With the prevalence of cooking shows and food apps, we may recall how recipes were shared prior to the 90s. As I searched for my favorite Blueberry Buckle recipe in my mother’s treasure trove of local recipe books dating back to the 80s, I found myself staring at The Pink Smock Provender illustrated by Karen Rinaldo with calligraphy by Sally Mavor. There are other contributors to this Falmouth Hospital Auxiliary endeavor, my mother included. Sometimes we overlook the best-shared recipes that have come from our friends [...]


Garden Tip 94:
August 4, 2022

Garden Tip 94: FERTILIZING YOUR CONTAINER GARDENS The lush, colorful hanging baskets, window boxes and planters of May often become drab and tired-looking come July and August. Many believe it is the heat that causes this decline of plant quality when, in actuality, it is caused by lack of food. With constant watering in the heat of summer any slow-release fertilizer that we, or the grower, added to the soil at planting time will be depleted. A quick remedy to this situation, and a means of keeping these plantings looking great into October, is a regimen of feeding using [...]


Jazzed Up Corn Muffins
August 4, 2022

Week 116: RECIPE OF THE WEEK FROM HIGHFIELD HALL & GARDENS STAFF, GAIL BLAKELY Sometimes you want easy, other times you want delicious. How about a combination? We made these in a class a few weeks ago and they were so good (and so easy) that I thought I should share them. They work well for an appetizer, if you make them in a mini-muffin tin, or offer them as a side dish with just about anything you might be serving from the grill. Also, they are rich enough that you don’t even need to think about [...]


Garden Tip 93:
July 28, 2022

Garden Tip 93: HAND WATERING YOUR SUMMER GARDEN July and August are typically very dry months here on the Cape, making watering one of the more important garden chores to be done this time of year. Plantings of this season, last year, and even the year, before should be watered two to three times a week if they are not watered by a drip irrigation system. Hand watering is most effective when one waters using a water breaker. Water breakers are water nozzles with three to four hundred holes that break up and spread out the water coming out [...]


Garden Tip 92:
July 21, 2022

Garden Tip 92: SEDUMS ARE A GREAT ADDITION TO YOUR SUMMER GARDEN The latter part of July and the month of August are typically dry months here on the Cape. This year, to date, we are already running a deficit of nearly five inches of rain, making gardening a bit challenging during these summer months! Sedums are a group of plants to consider using for these dry times. They are dependable, versatile, drought tolerant, showy and attractive to pollinators. I have established a sedum garden in our front bed that is in poor soil, full sun and right next to [...]


Easy Healthy(ish) Chocolate Mousse
July 21, 2022

Week 114: RECIPE OF THE WEEK FROM HIGHFIELD HALL & GARDENS STAFF, LISA WALKER I am finding so many great recipes today on Instagram, and this is no exception. Vegan food blogger Herbifoods (from Germany) turned me onto this super easy and versatile chocolate mousse. This can be made completely vegan if you use vegan chocolate but I use a dark chocolate. It’s delightful on its own or as my family likes as the filling in a graham cracker pie crust. I hope you give this a try and let me know how you like it! [...]


Garden Tip 91:
July 14, 2022

Garden Tip 91: TIP PRUNING HYDRANGEAS Most discussions about pruning hydrangeas are about cutting them back before or after they bloom, or when they are dormant. There is a bit of pruning that can be done now, when they are in flower to help improve their appearance and encourage branching and flower production for the following season. This pruning is called tip pruning and should be done during the first two weeks of July. Tip pruning applies mainly to the macrophylla (ball shaped flowers) and lace cap (flat flowers) varieties of hydrangeas. Growing tips of these plants that do [...]


Creamy Chicken Toscana
July 7, 2022

Week 112: RECIPE OF THE WEEK FROM HIGHFIELD HALL & GARDENS STAFF, TARA BURKE This is a fantastic one-skillet dinner which was prepared by my daughter, Mary Claire on my recent trip to her home. I think she wanted to show me how to cook a healthful meal in one skillet, as my kids delight in calling me “Ten Pot Tara!” It is super easy, delicious and the ultimate comfort dish. As with any recipe, this is easily adapted, and although calls for ghee, I prefer to use butter. The measurements of ingredients can easily be increased [...]


Garden Tip 90:
July 7, 2022

Garden Tip 90: TIPS FOR DISEASE FREE HOLLYHOCKS A lot of good gardening comes from one gardener sharing a gardening tip with another. I have received a good tip from a gardening friend that I want to share with you. Growing up in New Hampshire, there were always bright, beautiful flowering hollyhocks outside our kitchen window. As a kid, these plants seemed to me to be ten feet tall and quite magical! I have tried hollyhocks here in my garden on the Cape and have always had a problem with hollyhock fungal leaf disease. Like most fungal infections, this [...]


Garden Tip 89:
June 30, 2022

Garden Tip 89: TIPS FOR EDITING YOUR GARDEN There is a dramatic change in the garden from the spring months of planning, planting and coaxing to a sudden burst of growth in the warmer, longer days of summer. Summer months in the garden are a time for constant maintenance, or as I refer to it, garden editing. It is a constant activity from now until fall cleanup, looking with a critical eye and removing anything that doesn’t add to the picture. Deadheading and cutting back perennials and biennials, shaping the giant hosta and pruning flowering shrubs after bloom are [...]


Blueberry Breakfast Cake
June 30, 2022

Week 111: RECIPE OF THE WEEK FROM HIGHFIELD HALL & GARDENS STAFF, GAIL BLAKELY This Blueberry Breakfast Cake is custardy but light and packed with juicy blueberries. The texture is part clafoutis, part Dutch baby, and it's just right as the centerpiece for a fancy breakfast—or dessert—or part of a brunch table. It’s best warm, but it’s not bad straight from the refrigerator! Thank you, King Arthur Baking—another winner! Email Gail

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