Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Blueberry pancakes but no lobster!

Part three of our East Coast trip was spent staying in the home of Michael Maler, in Ogunquit. Locals may know that Michael ran Espresso Cielo in Palm Springs until quite recently and his smiling face and good coffee is much missed. Ogunquit, meaning 'beautiful place by the sea'  is a pretty little seaside town, full of character and very gay friendly. No Starbucks or other big names! The sandy beaches, small harbors filled with boats and rocky seashores reminded me of my childhood back in Suffolk. Well - Suffolk was stony beaches but all the rest! It is very much a friendly tourist town, filled with ice cream shops, restaurants, ice cream shops, guest houses,  ice cream shops, numerous art galleries and did I say ice cream shops? Ah yes - just a few!

Ogunquit beach

Perkins Cove

Sangria with Michael

Cherry pie for desert with Mark, Jim, Michael and Gary. (I pitted the cherries!)
 Now this is a horticultural blog, so I had better think plants and gardens rather than food and drink, although we did wine and dine well over the holiday. (Michael -  apologies I didn't appreciate the lobster!) Ogunquit is zone 5 and experiences severely cold winters with much snow but we were lucky in June with warm sunny weather and only one wet day. (And yes Jim I did wear my cagoule!) Trees were in their first flush of young green and woodlands carpeted with lush green ferns. Gardens were bursting with traditional herbaceous perennials; iris, peony,  and amazingly hostas with no slug damage. Are there no slugs in Maine? 

Shrubs were present but not in a huge variety. Very few rhododendrons, presumably due to hardiness but a lavender pink cultivar and white one seemed to thrive. Pink and white dogwoods as tall as houses were everywhere. I loved the pink leaved beech and also the pretty little white rose that appeared everywhere.

Fagus sylvatica 'Roseo marginata'

Kalmia latifolia in bud

Unknown rhody?

Robinia hispida (I think) growing wild

Little semi-wild rose

 Homes and businesses had exploded out of hibernation with summer colour in amazingly adventurous and color co-coordinated schemes. Were they all completed by the same contractor from the same nursery I wonder? Inevitably fashions for plants change and I was interested to see Mandevilla widely used as a container plant. I guess the season is quite short here and so many plants such as canna and dahlia seem to be planted as almost mature flowering plants - instant colour!

Michael's house is surrounded by a small colorful garden that fades into his woodland complete with poison ivy!  (This naive Brit had to be educated!) To one side was a rather dreary bank of junipers. Michael expressed a half-hearted dislike of them which promoted Jim to instantly find saws and a spade and dig them out! 'S'cuse me I'm wearing smart clothes!' But I did help - a bit! The next day we made a nursery trip and bought some plants as replacements. (Can you imagine three gay guys trying to decide what to plant?) But it's an ongoing project hopefully to be completed over the summer. Anyone visiting Michael - remember he wants plants not nicknacks, as thank-you gifts - and NO ceramic rabbits!
Michael's house

Our token gardening! Should have taken a 'before' picture!

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