I always thought gardening was the number one past time in America. A quick Google search disabused me of that fact. Baseball and reading come up Number One, depending on which site you look at. But gardening is still in the top ten. Driving around Cape Ann makes me believe that gardening is the number one past time in our little corner of the world.
Whether you have an acre of flowers and vegetables or a pot on your deck, you probably enjoy a bit of nature when you walk out your door. Our geography offers both advantages and disadvantages to a successful planting season. Our coastal location is designated a 6b hardiness zone while most of Massachusetts is a 5b. (Hardiness zones courtesy of U. Mass Extension.) This allows a little experimentation with plants and trees not normally found this far north. I believe there is a Stewartia Tree on Central Street, in front of the Town Green, not usually found in New England, and worth the effort to stop and admire it.
New England topsoil is notorious for rocks and granite ledge; I swear more stones grow over the winter. Our soil tends to be acidic but most plants prefer a neutral soil. However, blueberries, azaleas, and rhododendrons flourish here.
So, gardening in MBTS: our club has many experienced gardeners as well as novices. We would love to share our collective wisdom. I invite questions and topic suggestions and we will do our best to answer them. Please email Dotsieradzki@gmail.com and I will collect the club’s responses.
What am I doing in the garden this week: weeding, weeding, weeding. And watching for the red lily beetle, my nemesis.
Flowers Of Cape Ann
Artutus (Epigaea repen, l.)
Near Rafe’s Chasm, Magnolia and near the cemetery at Rockport, early in the spring.
Wild Strawberries (Fragaria vesca, l.)
Almost anywhere near the shore, especially Eastern Point, Bass Rocks and Turks Head in June.
Rosemary (Eriocephalus africanus, l.)
Along the water’s edge of the marshes of Essex and West Gloucester.
Blueberries (Vaccinium corymbosum, l.)
Around Rafe’s Chasm and other parts of Magnolia; also found plentiful in the vicinity of Babson Reservoir near Goose Cove in Gloucester, and Ravenswood Park in Magnolia.
Rhodora (Rhodora canadensis, l.)
Plentiful in Manchester and Magnolia. On Fox Hill and Pilgrim Hill, on the old road between Poplar Street and Annisquam.
Skunk Cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus, l.)
Magnolia Woods and Old Mill Dam area in Manchester, beginning the month of April and maturing height by July.