Wow, this might be harder than I thought…when I started this blog I pledged to write three times a week…and up until now I’ve been managing either twice or three times…but the season started and Friday got here before I knew what hit me…but not to worry, I think I’ve found a new strategy…I’m going to ask a variety of guests to make one posting a week. If I’m successful with this, you’ll get some unexpected perspectives and see my world through the eyes of others. I haven’t forgotten my promise to post the rest of the Memorial Day photos…click on the flicker album to see what I had
This week was mostly devoted to gardening and Fiber College. Since Tuesday the weather has been stereo typically New England …you know what I mean “if you don’t like the weather, wait a minute“. This pattern is predicted to continue until the middle of next week so we’re engaged in a real dance with Mother Nature. Unpredictable weather creates a scheduling nightmare. First, if the weather is iffy then we don’t have an accurate means of predicting how many guests will wander in each night. Second, we can never tell our help whether to plan on working or not from one day to the next. Luckily, everyone’s pretty flexible. Finally, when you dodge raindrops over the span of several days, keeping track of what jobs have been completed, which had to be abandoned and which ones we never got to is a never ending cloud of worry.
To compound the situation, we have approximately 20 acres that need to be mowed, weed whacked and groomed (the other 20 acres are wooded). It seems as if we never get the entire park completely groomed at any one time…either the waterfront is finished and the back looks shaggy or we’ve got the road frontage looking terrific but all along the sites the dandelions have gone to seed. I know that everyone shares the same problem but in my world I want to look “company ready” all of the time.
The gardens are flourishing from the warmer temps and all of the moisture. This is clearly the year of ajuga. This low- growing ground cover has 3″ stalks of the most purple purple you will ever find in nature. Here’s a photo of it as you look into the sites we call the 120’s. This particular variety is called chocolate chip because the leaves are speckled with a lovely brown color. We try very hard to stay chemical free throughout the campground but the garden beds in particular are completely organic. I’ve spent a lot of this week weeding, trimming and transplanting. I’m happy to report that you can’t put a trowel in any of the beds without coming up with healthy, wriggling earthworms.
Here on Penobscot Bay we assume that the last threat of frost expires Memorial Day weekend. So now we’re working to get the plants in the ground and the flower pots established for the rest of the Summer. Steven starts most of our plants from seed and inevitably we have more trays of healthy plants than places we intended to put them. This year I’m shifting the waterfall garden from strictly flowers chosen for their color to a scented garden…so far I’ve planted sage, lemon thyme, purple ruffled basil, cat mint. Maybe tomorrow I can get some heliotrope and scented geraniums for the sheer pleasure of overwhelming the senses.
Last week we were gifted with two hundred balsam plugs. This morning I opened the store/office late and spent an hour planting half of them in the ocean tenting area and along the upper walking trail. As I’ve said before, we try to plant two trees for every one that we lose. By the time I get the next hundred plugs into the ground, I think we will have some karma credits stored up for the future.
On a tangent thought, when I take reservations, people often ask if the sites are shaded and private. This is a tough question to answer accurately. Yes there’s a good deal of shade but remember that mature trees don’t grow densely along the shore. Moreover, shrubby plants and young trees have a very difficult time surviving in a campground because there are people in this world who believe that cutting just one or two branches for marshmallow sticks won’t hurt anybody. [picture me standing on a soap box for a moment] Au contraire my friends, every sapling that is sturdy enough to be used to roast something over the fire is several years old. So please, when every park and campground beseeches you to not cut, mutilate or break branches, there’s a very good reason. In the slowest possible year we host over thousands of people…if only 1 out of a 50 breaks a branch, you can imagine the amount of damage.
One last thought on trees. There’s an area of this park that has a magnificent stand of ancient oak trees. The forestry service estimates that the largest range from 100 to 150 years old. These treasured grandfathers don’t like to share though…did you know they put a chemical out that inhibits competetive growth from other species? So I planted those aforementioned balsams around what I think is the oak territory…next Spring should show if I kept them far enough away form the oak roots.