Monthly Archives: September 2011

Eat CT

Common autumn outings  in Connecticut include going apple picking and wandering through a pumpkin patch for the perfect Halloween decorations. Breathing in the sweet ripe-fruit aroma that wafts from apple-heavy trees is one autumn joy that should be on everyone’s bucket list and …  how can you not smile while watching a child’s delight when they find their pumpkin.

It’s easy to locate the Connecticut farms nearest your home or those specializing in the type of product or produce you seek. Just go to  http://www.buyctgrown.com/ and type your zip code and how far you want to travel, or the  product or specific farm you’re looking for. You can even search the in season link for specific vegetables, fruits, dairy and egg products, herbs, meat, seafood or fish, specialty foods and other state-grown products like nursery plants, fiber products, livestock, handicrafts, liquor and energy. It’s a pretty impressive list for such a small state.

Looking for those cute little white pumpkins? Click on Baby Poo Pumpkins and up pops a map of CT filled with markers linking to the farms selling Baby Poos.

Want a specific type of apple for pies, sauce or just plain eating? You can search these too, then follow each farms link to learn more.

But if you want a behind-the-scene look at the people who produce the produce, check out the book Connecticut Farmer & Feast: Harvesting Local Bounty. Author and chef Emily Brooks visited more than 40 of Connecticut’s farms and talked to the farmers running them. In the book, she shares her experiences and the recipes she developed using products from each farm.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Readers can peruse the book’s Middlesex County chapter to learn about beef and dairy products at Deerfield Farm, the ongoing events and produce (including pick-your-own) of Lyman Orchards, the history behind the greenhouses, fruits and vegetables and Christmas trees available at Staehly Farms, and how Starlight Gardens came to be the late-life career and love of its owners.

Individual chapters highlight farms in each of Connecticut’s other counties – Fairfield, Hartford, Litchfield, New Haven, New London, Tolland, and Windham.

Each story is unique, intriguing and brings to light the diverse backgrounds of just a few of Connecticut’s farmers … a group that certainly deserves our respect and support.

So before frost bites Connecticut’s apples and diminishes outdoor production of locally-grown produce, take some time to get to know a local farmer and eat a bit of CT.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011 Joene Hendry

A gift from the garden, for the gardener

I think my gardens really get me. They seem to know how much their flowers brighten each day. The plants in my charge continue to bloom, continue to fight to survive the latest munching deer attack or the most recent undermining vole abuse. For the most part, except for one hydrangea and one buddleia, they stood strong when Irene blew her damaging winds this way. Now, with summer winding down to its final hours, my gardens have given me a birthday gift … my favorite flower in full-bloom at the end of summer.

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It’s as if my gardens understand their vole-weary, deer-weary, storm-weary caretaker needed a lift.

It’s not the first time this bearded iris, variety unknown, surprized with a second set of flowers. In 2009 it opened the first of its repeat blossoms in mid-October, captured below by the lens and lighting expertise of my favorite photographer.

Iris in October 2009 - Copy

The business of summer gardening, summer in general, and this year’s gardening trials and tribulations caused me to forget the late season gift this iris offers. But my gardens didn’t forget the delight the first glimpse an iris in bloom brings and, this year, the repeat blooms will bring repeated delight from a second set of buds that promise to open after summer becomes autumn.

A gift from the garden … what more could a gardener ask for?

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011 Joene Hendry

September’s Shades

Welcome to one of my Connecticut, zone 6a, gardens on this mid-September day. Today, being the 15th of the month, is when Carol at May Dreams Gardens hosts Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day and people all over the world get to share and enjoy the garden glory of others.

My addition to this garden party includes shades of maroon, burgundy and pink that stand out among the plantings in one of my gardens.

Colorful globe-shaped gomphrena flowers stand tall and for the most part block fading iris and day lily foliage. They complement this unknown variety of phlox that, to my delight, decided to bloom continuously from mid-summer to now.

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Gomphrena also play well with my newest day lily Hemerocallis ‘Macbeth’ that flowered during mid-summer, then surprised me with September blooms.

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Stonecrop sedum, an unknown green-leaved variety, shows off in lighter pink blooms,

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and the burgundy-leaved stonecrop sedum ‘Maestro’ beckons bees with its darker pink blooms.

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But this garden’s eye-popping star right now comes from the tiny-white blossoms of Sweet Autumn Clematis (Clematis paniculata).

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Close-up shots show each blossom’s simple beauty.

Together, they remind me of large but dainty snowflakes gingerly resting atop the leaves and stems.

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When view from farther away, the effect is striking … like a rounded mountain-top covered in snow.

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This morning’s haze was not conducive to a clear photo of these blooms all together, but this is how the garden looked three days ago, just before the clematis burst into full bloom.

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The pinks are joined by the low blue blossoms of ageratum, an occasional scabiosa flower, the taller repeat blooms of another phlox (P. paniculata ‘Blue Paradise’) and touches of white gomphrena. Late summer gardens may not match the color explosions of May gardens, but this color is enough to make me smile as I look out the windows with a morning cup of coffee.

Be sure to follow the link to May Dreams Gardens to take a virtual what’s-in-bloom tour of other gardens so you can thoroughly enjoy another Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011 Joene Hendry