Archives for posts with tag: hardy mums

As noted on their license plates, the State of Maine is known as Vacationland. And now I know why.

Rachel and I have driven up to Rockport for the weekend (we’re mixing Rachel’s business and our vacation) and have discovered that the Maine coast is just one big family resort. The woods and forests are pristine, the coastline long and scraggly, and the air is clear and fresh. There are also some good restaurants here (lobster, anyone?).

But, most of all, the climate is perfect. Here we are in the middle of August—the summer’s peak, really—and the midday temperature is in the mid-70s. That’s warm enough to wear shorts and a tee shirt with no worry of overheating. It might be as humid as it is at home (that would be due to the proximity of the ocean) but it’s so moderate in temperature that it feels comfortable.

In short, the weather is perfect for spending the entire day outdoors. Anything that can be done outside is at its best when done here: Hiking, boating, swimming, cycling…

…and gardening.

It turns out that there are many lush gardens in Maine. Most of the houses we’ve seen have a plot of vegetables or flowers—or both—in their yards. And a garden center near our hotel is one of the biggest I’ve seen anywhere, with an astonishingly diverse assortment of growing things. Who would have expected it?

Not me. I always thought that with its short growing season and cold, icy winters that Maine would not be ideal for gardening. The climate (I figured) might be suitable for evergreens and chrysanthemums but not tomatoes.

What I failed to consider is that although the growing season may be short, the growing day is long. Sixteen hours of sunlight per day, it appears, more than makes up for the loss of May and September.

Not sure if the growing season is over?  Visit your local garden center.

At ours, all of the warm-season supplies—soil, compost, fertilizer—have been moved to the back of the yard to make room for Christmas trees.  The vegetable plants and flower seedlings—even the hardy mums—are gone, replaced by pots of ivy and miniature Frasier fir and Princess pine.  Inside the store, room is being made for Poinsettias, the last flowers they will sell before closing for the winter.

Luckily, they stay open at least until Christmas, which gives me time to finish topping off the planters before calling it quits for the year.  After tracking down an employee, I ordered eight more bags of compost, pulled the car around to have them loaded on board, and headed back home.