Endless Summer Flower Farm – Dahlia Gardens

Endless Summer Flower Farm, located just two and a half miles from downtown Camden is a favorite destination of both Hartstone Inn guests and locals alike.  Featuring spectacular dahlia gardens, the over 180 varieties are a breathtaking sea of colors.  Do you garden?  They have over 2500 plants that are all labeled and available to purchase!  Do you enjoy photography?  Bring your camera as there are so many beautiful flowers and lush gardens to capture!  Want to take a bouquet or just a few stems home to adorn your kitchen table?  They have small and large ready-made bouquets and a wide selection of precut stems.   In addition, they cut flowers for both and weddings and special occasions, and their blooms are available locally to florists and caterers. 

We guarantee, these are not your average gardens and definitely worth a visit!  For directions and more information, click here.   They are open daily August 1st – first frost, early-mid October.  9:00 AM – 5:00PM.

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Rockport Garden Club’s Annual Plant Sale

The Rockport Garden Club’s annual plant sale will take place Saturday, June 2 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Aldermere Farm on Russell Avenue.

The sale offers locally grown annuals, perennials and some unusual varieties of plants. Also offered will be herbs and vegetable plants, plus an assortment of hand-painted flower pots and miscellaneous garden items.

The event will benefit the garden club’s beautification of Rockport and its yearly scholarship program. Garden members work very hard organizing and digging plants from their own gardens and donating beautiful plants. It’s a lot of hard work, especially for the co-chairmen, Penny Baum and Jean Nolan. This event has grown into a must-go-to plant sale because of the assortment offered at bargain prices.

For more information, call Penny Baum at 236-7788 or Jean Nolan at 338-9741.

Camden Garden Club's House and Garden Tour

Thursday, July 21, 2011

9:30am to 4pm

From their website: 

“The Garden Club’s main event and only fundraiser is its famous Annual House and Garden Tour. Held on the third Thursday in July since its inception in 1947 this tour has become so popular that many tourists plan their vacations around it.

In 2011, the Garden Club will present the 64th  Annual House and Garden Tour from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on July 21st, 2011, rain or shine. Enjoy a day visiting eight lovely homes and gardens on one of Maine’s oldest and most famous summer tours..

 This year one of the homes is a re-creation of  a Maine turn-of-the-century shingle style cottage. Its traditional facade belies its state of the art green components including geothermal heating and cooling systems, solar-array panels, and environmentally friendly construction materials.

One of the other tour houses exhibits an entirely new approach to the New England vernacular, reducing familiar farmhouse shapes to beautifully pared-down white boxes as simple as Monopoly houses, according to its noted architect, Hugh Newell Jacobsen.

Of course, the tour includes lovely gardens.  The gardens of two avid gardeners round out the tour properties. Both are testimony to their dedication to creating beautiful spaces and the pleasure they and others take in seeing them come into bloom every year.

Gardens that speak of their owners’ longtime hard work and others that showcase the skill of some of the area’s fine professional landscapers will complement a wide range of house styles and periods included on the 64th annual Camden Garden Club House and Garden Tour. On view this year will be a 200-year-old Federal home, two gracious bay-front estates, a 20th century post-modern house, and two recently constructed houses embodying the best of current design.

In addition, a Garden Tea Party at Margo Moore Interiors, 74 Elm Street (Route 1), Camden, will top off the day. From 2 until 6 p.m. tour-goers are invited to stop by for tea and light refreshments as they enjoy a display of beautiful and unique container gardens, stunning silk flower arrangements, a jewelry trunk show, and complimentary tastings of Cellardoor wines. A portion of all sales during the tea will benefit the Camden Garden Club. ”

Advance tickets: $25   Day of Tour: $30

To buy tickets or for more information view the Camden Garden Club’s website here.

The Hartstone Inn Garden

It is summer in Cmaden and that means our gardens are growing here at the Hartstone Inn!  We try to grow as much produce as we can to use in the restaurant.  Here is a list of what we are growing this season:

Beets: Chioggia–an Italian heirloom with concentric white and red layers, and Red Ace–a deep red beet with beautiful veined green leaves.
Pea shoots
Lettuces: Merlot, Black-seeded Simpson, Devil’s Tongue, Red Sails, Romaine, Speckled Amish
Tomatoes: These Heirlooms–German Striped, Green Zebra, Yellow Pear– and then Sungolds (not an heirloom)
Eggplants: Ishiru, an Asian-style eggplant that has long, deep purple fruits
Chard (golden)
Garlic: planted in fall, it will be ready to harvest in early August
Fennel: Zeta Fino and Orion
Basil (Genovese)
Parsley: Italian flat-leaved
Perennials:  Chives, Summer Savory, French Sorrel, Rhubarb, Oregano, Thyme and Sage
Edible flowers:  Nasturtiums, Calendula, Lemon Gem Marigolds, Borage.  Soon we will plant Rouge d’Etampe Pumpkins (heavily ribbed and deep orange in color), Rattlesnake beans, Sunflowers and additional lettuces.
In the picture to the left are Chef Michael and a guest who is participating in our Chef for the Day class.  They are harvesting the vegetables to be used in that night’s meal.   Summer is a great time to be in the kitchen with Chef Michael as there is such a variety of fresh ingredients to work with!

Backyard Project

It may be chilly in Maine, but spring is very much on our mind.  So much so we thought it would be fun to “talk” gardens.  Have you decided what you are going to grow this season?  If you live in a cooler/harder climate like we do, March is the time to decide whether you want to start with seeds or seedlings. Most vegetables including tomatoes and eggplant, need a long, warm growing season to produce a harvest.  If starting with seeds, you should order those now and get them into indoor containers (most garden shops/supply companies sell trays or flats) as soon as possible. If reusing containers, always more eco-friendly than using new ones, scrub and soak for 30-40 minutes in a solution of one part household bleach to nine parts hot water to destroy any disease organisms.

A few seed companies to inspire you and get you started…BurpeeJohnny’s, and Seeds of Change.

Also, a link to a fun and informative blog post on Design Sponge about starting seeds indoors.

Image from Pinterest page How Does Your Garden Grow.

Only in Camden Maine!

Camden Maine ChickensIs there anyplace else in the country you can enjoy going to the dentist?  Dr. David & Julia Olivas have their practice off from Route 1, on the Camden – Rockport border and have made visits to their office fun (for foodies)!  Julia’s girls are her prize Buff Orpington hens and live in their custom condo with one lucky rooster.  Gazing out David’s chair as he cleans and polishes our pearly whites is a perfect view of the chickens.  After Michael’s cleaning this morning he gathered eggs for Julia and came home with organic eggs for our breakfast.  Thank you Julia & David for making a trip to the dentist fun and for the times you have assisted our guests with last minute dental emergencies.

Fresh Black Raspberry Mojito

I have always loved raspberries-all kinds. When we purchased the house on Free St, I mentioned to Mary Jo that I would finally have the space to plant some. One day, to my surprise, Mary Jo returned from the nursery with one small black raspberry plant. Three years later, the plant has spread and taken over much of the back yard! 

I feature the berries in the restaurant during July and they appear in everything from salad dressings and sorbet to breakfast trifles and muffins. Perhaps the most popular recipe is our Black Raspberry Mojito, perfect on a hot summer evening and equally popular during our evening cocktail hour. I have included the recipe below. If you don’t have your own black raspberry bush growing in your back yard, you can substitute either red raspberries, boysenberries  or blackberries. 

 Black Raspberry Mojito
1/2 cup of fresh mint leaves
4 teaspoons granulated sugar (or 2 packets Splenda)
2 limes
1/4 cup fresh black raspberries (or red )
3/4 cup light rum
1 cup club soda
2 sprigs of fresh mint for garnish

1.      Place the mint and sugar in a mortar and “muddle” it with the pestle. Squeeze in the lime juice and add half of the blackberries. Lightly crush the berries.
2.      Pour the mixture into a cocktail shaker and add the light rum and club soda. Shake to mix.
3.      Place 4 large cubes of ice in two rocks glasses and divide the drink equally between them.
4.      Garnish each glass with the remaining black raspberries and a sprig of fresh mint.


Endless Summer Dahlias


Mary Jo and I just picked up our new dahlia bulbs from Phil Clark at Endless Summer Flower Farm which is located right here in the coastal community of Camden, Maine (Zone5), two and a half miles inland from the Hartstone Inn and Hideaway (village center). The flower farm specializes in dahlias and they currently grow over 225 varieties of these breathtaking flowers, with names like: Santa Claus, Spartacus, Seduction, Flashy Lady and I’m a Hotty. All of the tubers listed in their on-line catalog produce excellent cut flowers.  Mary Jo displays them throughout the Inn all summer-long.

They are open by chance or by appointment and we highly recommend a visit when the Dahlias are in blossom, August 1st through till the first frost. For their online catalog, dahlia planting tips or directions visit the Endless Summer Flower Farm Website.

2009 Garden Series at the Hartstone Inn

Hartstone Garden

We are very excited about our new upcoming gardening series here at the Hartstone Inn and Hideaway featuring our vegetable garden guru, Shelley Johnson. Shelley tends all of the culinary gardens at the Inn and also grows produce on her farm for the Hartstone kitchen. She has a great wealth of knowledge when it comes to vegetable gardening and loves to teach, so this series is perfect for her. Each class includes 1 1/2 hours in the gardens with Shelley and 30 minutes in the kitchen with Chef Michael to cook and taste some of the bounty from the gardens.

Hartstone’s Vegetable Garden Guru – Shelley Johnson
Some of my earliest memories are of the rich smell of soil in my Grandfather’s greenhouse and of helping my Dad transplant the hundreds of azaleas that dotted the landscape around our house. While I always dabbled in vegetable and container gardening, it was the move to Maine in 1985 that allowed me to begin pursuing my gardening interests in a more expansive way. After completing the Master Gardener course of study and becoming active in Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA), my interest in intensive and organic vegetable gardening blossomed. I now tend my own vegetable gardens here at Breatheasy Farm as well as those of others. I am also a commercial grower for Fedco Trees, a growers’ co-op based in Waterville, Maine.

Planting a Spring Garden
May 23-24, 2009 1-3 pm – cost: $50/person
We’ll discuss how to ready your garden for spring planting and make the best use of whatever space you have available. Since it all starts with the soil you’ll learn how to create and keep soil fertile (hint: it doesn’t come from a bag) in the vegetable and herb garden and techniques for creating raised beds that are simple and low maintenance. We’ll discuss how to choose the proper plants, plan the garden layout, and get a jump on the season with row covers and mulches. We’ll harvest a variety of greens, lettuces, and herbs from the Hartstone Inn gardens before heading into the kitchen to cook and taste with Chef Michael for 30 minutes. Recipes will highlight the early Spring harvest and include Michael’s fruit salad dressings and various tossed salads.img_2783

Intensive Plantings in the Vegetable and Herb Garden
June 13-14, 2009 1-3 pm – cost: $50/person
The highly productive garden beds at the Hartstone Inn will serve as a hands-on classroom for tips and advice on how to intensively plant and maintain a vegetable and herb garden. We’ll discuss succession sowing, companion planting and choosing the right plants for a given site. Low maintenance raised beds are capable of producing copious amounts of vegetables and herbs if you know how to make the best use of your location and how to give your plants what they need for robust growth. We’ll be able to view the results of our spring sowings and the new growth on our early summer seedlings like tomato, basil, and pumpkin. We’ll harvest a variety of herbs, greens and young root vegetables and join Chef Michael in the kitchen for a 30 minute cooking class and tasting.

The Late Summer Harvest
September 19-20, 2009 1-3 pm – cost: $50/person
After a full season of growing, the gardens at the Hartstone Inn will offer up a great variety of herbs and vegetables and lessons learned from another season of growing. This is the perfect time to review what went right and what went wrong and begin planning for the next year. We’ll learn proper harvesting techniques to maximize the garden’s yield, look at the many heirloom vegetable varieties available for the best in taste and beauty, and discuss how to extend the season through the first frosts of autumn. After harvesting and gleaning the garden’s bounty, we’ll head to the kitchen at the Hartstone Inn to spend 30 minutes with Chef Michael as he uses the summer harvest in some of his favorite recipes.

Merryspring Nature Center – Spring Calendar

Merryspring Nature ParkMerryspring is a non-profit, privately-owned 66-acre park and education center in Camden and Rockport, Maine, with nature trails and gardens open to the public every day free of charge. http://www.merryspring.org

WORKSHOPS & CLASSES – Space is limited.  Call 207-236-2239 to pre-register.

Drawing with Lynn Travis – Thursdays, 1:30-3:30 p.m., April 23 & 30, May 7 & 14, $90 members/$100 non-members. Work in pencil and charcoal with guidance from an acclaimed local artist.

Watercolor with Lesia Sochor – Thursdays 9:00a.m.-noon, April 30 – May 21, $135 members/$150 non-members. Study watercolor with a noted watercolorist and illustrator.

Passamaquoddy Medicine Walk & Talk with Fredda Paul and Leslie WoodTalk, Saturday, April 25, 2-4:00 p.m., $ 15 members/$ 20 non-members (arrive at 1:30 to view displays and ask questions) Walk, Sunday, April 26, 1:30-4:00 p.m. rain or shine, $ 20 members/$25 non-members. Explore native medicine traditions, focusing on spring-gathered medicinal plants, with a Passamaquoddy healer and historian of traditional medicine.

Preserving the Harvest with Kathy Savoie of the Maine Extension Service – Saturday, April 25, 9:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., Home Economics Room of CHRHS, $15 members/$18 non-members. Get ready for the summer’s bounty by learning how can and freeze your fruits and vegetables.

Dividing Daylilies and Iris w/ Susan Shaw – Saturday, May 2, 10:00 – 12:00 a.m.  Rain Date: Saturday, May 9, $5 members/$10 non-members
Learn to make divisions from a renowned hybridizer and former president of the Maine Daylily Society.  Take home a division from Merryspring’s own gardens.