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So far Highfield Hall has created 219 blog entries.

On Stable Ground: The Carousel of Light
February 7, 2024 – May 12, 2024

On Stable Ground: The Carousel of Light FEBRUARY 7th - MAY 12th On Stable Ground: The Carousel of Light This winter exhibition program titled “Americana” includes a display of selected horses from the Carousel of Light, the carousel made by Falmouth artist Lance Shinkle, who worked in the master carousel carving tradition. The carousel is maintained and supported by the Falmouth non-profit The Carousel of Light, it runs during the summer months in the center of Falmouth Village. Because it does not have a permanent home, Highfield Hall is “hosting” the horses Christmas, Geoffrey, Pearl, Rosebud, and Sweet [...]


Garden Tip 141
December 7, 2023

Garden Tip 141: FLOWERING IN FALL We have all seen those unseasonal happenings in the fall and winter garden. Azaleas and rhododendrons flowering in November, dandelions in December, daffodil foliage peeking out in January. None of these are cause for alarm. Many types of flowering shrubs will send out a few flowers in the fall because fall weather so closely replicates that of spring. Other plants flower at unusual times because they are affected by the microclimate that surrounds them. Wikipedia describes microclimate best as a “local set of atmospheric conditions that differ from those in the surrounding areas.” [...]


Pumpkin Donut Holes
November 2023

November 2023: RECIPE OF THE WEEK FROM HIGHFIELD HALL & GARDENS STAFF, GAIL BLAKELY Jesse Sheehan is one of my favorite cookbook authors. She has written The Vintage Baker as well as Snackable Bakes, both of which I use on a regular basis. Currently she is hard at work on a book that focuses on savory baking—she occasionally runs some recipes from that on her blog, Jesse Sheehan Bakes. For this time of year, I thought her pumpkin donut holes with cinnamon sugar might be a good recipe for you to try. The photo is from her website, but you [...]


Garden Tip 140
November 23, 2023

Garden Tip 140: A GENTLE REMINDER ABOUT LEAVING THE LEAVES It’s all about the color. When choosing trees and shrubs for color in the garden, it’s a good idea to consider more than just the contribution their flowers will add to the landscape in the spring and summer seasons. Many plants have excellent fall foliage color that will add excitement and interest to the garden long after the frost has darkened the show of our annuals and perennials. We are all familiar with the contribution that maples add to the color palette of the fall garden. Other trees to [...]


Garden Tip 139
November 16, 2023

Garden Tip 139: A GENTLE REMINDER ABOUT LEAVING THE LEAVES A maxim is a brief expression of a general truth or rule of conduct. The maxim “leave the leaves” has become quite popular as of late, with the implication that is better to leave the leaves in the garden than to take them away, and it is true. Leaf litter is a fertilizer, mulch and compost all in one. Some folks take the “leave the leaves “ literally and let them lay where they fall but I, as a gardener, take a more practical approach of recycling, reusing and [...]


Garden Tip 138
November 2, 2023

Garden Tip 138: CULTIVATING CUTTINGS INDOORS It is almost November and the first threat of frost is still almost a week away. My tropical foliage plants are all safely indoors in their winter quarters. Sunporch, windowsills and sunny alcoves are full. With the threat of frost finally upon us, it is time to make a final sweep of the garden and rescue any final treasures that I want to save from the jaws of old man winter. With indoor space a tight commodity, I will take a few cuttings from my favorite coleus, geraniums, plectranthus and others and root [...]


Gail’s Dill Pickle Dip
October 2023

October 2023: RECIPE OF THE WEEK FROM HIGHFIELD HALL & GARDENS STAFF, GAIL BLAKELY This has been my go-to recipe for the past summer, and it was a hit again when we served it last month at the Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon. I like it with sturdy potato chips, such as Ruffles or Waves, but it’s also good with crackers and/or crudites. Some people use it as a sandwich spread, or as a topping for grilled burgers. Whatever way you choose, I suggest making a double batch, as it keeps well for up to a week—if it lasts that long! [...]


Garden Tip 137
October 26, 2023

Garden Tip 137: HARVESTING AND STORING CANNA RHIZOMES One of the fun chores of fall cleanup is harvesting canna rhizomes. Cannas in the garden are ornamental, exotic and tropical all at the same time. They can be used as focal points, accent plants or as thriller plants in mixed containers. Their large paddle-shaped, heavily-veined leaves come in shades of green, bronze, yellow and variegated.  Flowers appear midsummer through fall and varietal colors include red, orange, yellow, and pink. Dwarf varieties grow to a height of a foot and a half, regular varieties three to five feet, and tall varieties can [...]


Garden Tip 136
October 19, 2023

Garden Tip 136:WINTERING TROPICAL HOUSEPLANTSWhen the outdoor temperatures dip into the forties Mother Nature is giving us a hint as to what we have to do. Summer camp is over for tropical house plants and it is time to move them back indoors. I go about this project similar to how I plant a garden bed and that is to work with the larger plants first.With the larger plants in place, the stage is set for the placement of smaller plants to follow. I spray all of the plants before they enter the house with an all-season horticultural oil to [...]


Garden Tip 135
October 12, 2023

Garden Tip 135: YELLOWING IN EVERGREENS Fall foliage time will soon be upon us. Day length gets shorter and temperatures drop causing the  chlorophyl in leaves to break down revealing the warm autumn pigments of red, orange and yellow. Eventually, as temperatures drop, trees and shrubs build a protective seal between the leaves and branches and the leaves fall to the ground. It is important to remember that evergreens are affected by these same changes in weather and day length. Interior needles and leaves of evergreen trees and shrubs turn yellow and drop to the ground. Juniper, arborvitae, cypress, [...]


Garden Tip 134
September 28, 2023

Garden Tip 134: FALL GARDEN EDITING  We have talked in the past about garden editing– removing anything that doesn’t add to the picture. Editing becomes all the more important in the late summer/fall season when plants are winding down and change is ever more constant. Check out your garden daily with a critical eye and remove those plants that are truly done for the season– that broken and brown leaf clematis, the mildew phlox, hosta that have more holes than Swiss cheese, and the zinnias with a single flower and no foliage, they all can go! We can still [...]


Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels
September 2023

September 2023: RECIPE OF THE WEEK FROM HIGHFIELD HALL & GARDENS STAFF, GAIL BLAKELY Days are shorter and mornings and evenings seem to be getting chillier, so it’s time for the warmth of cinnamon! These pretzels were enjoyed by Highfield staff when I brought them in for a tasting, so I thought I would give everyone the recipe. When you make these, your home will be filled with the aroma of cinnamon and your cookie jar will be full of delicious snacks. Wrapped in cellophane and tied with ribbon, these make nice hostess gifts. Put them in little baggies and you have [...]


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 [...]

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