Mom’s Hydrangeas

I’ve been feeling a little uninspired about my next blog post recently due to my lack of having a green thumb. However, when I was home for Easter break, my parents were having a discussion about their landscaping plans for this spring now that the weather is finally warming up. My Mom’s favorite plants in the yard are her hydrangea bushes. We’ve given her  hydrangea plants the past three years for Mother’s Day. This year my Mom wants to add a fourth plant. So I seized the opportunity engage in their conversation about the planting plans! I asked my mom why she likes hydrangeas so much. She told me about all of the times that her and my Dad vacationed on the Cape when they first got married. They would stay at my grandparents cottage (which is now owned by my Aunt and Uncle) that was surrounded by hydrangea bushes. My grandfather always took great care to bring out the deep blue/violet color in the blossoms of the plants that decorated the landscape of the cottage. I find myself hanging out with my cousins every summer at that same cottage, and my Aunt and Uncle have kept up the tradition of caring for these plants.

One of the Hydrangea’s around my Aunts Cottage in Dennis, MA

My Dad has explained to me that it is easy to get that deep color on the Cape because of the abundance of pine trees and sandy soil which make it an acidic, well-draining environment where they like to live. At my house in Franklin we have the fortune of owning a property surrounded by pine trees and the same type of sandy soil! My parents are also thrilled to be able to get beautiful results with very little effort because they too lack green thumbs. I understand a little better now that it is important to know the type of conditions plants like to live in to be able to thrive.

No Apples in Apple Valley

Growing up in Franklin, Massachusetts I never drove by acres and acres of cornfields when taking family drives as a kid. The only kind of farm I ever knew was the Big Apple Farm in my neighboring town of Wrentham. Their few hills of apple trees and couple fields of blueberry bushes is the sight I recall when I think of a farm. It is a small farm owned and operated by a local family who’s busiest season is August for blueberry picking, and September into October for apple picking. They sell other locally grown crops like tomatoes, lettuce, strawberries, pumpkins, and corn on the cob.

Last summer, I travelled to a family wedding in Apple Valley, Minnesota. Ironically in Apple Valley, most four way intersections were surrounded not by apple orchards, but with massive cornfields. Everywhere I drove, I would look left and right to see nothing but rows of corn stalks. These were “real” farms compared to the few acre apple orchard in my neck of the woods. During my few day stay, the one surprising fact I learned from my cousin about these corn fields was that almost all of the corn grown in those fields is not the variety you find for sale at grocery stores or roadside stands. This corn is used mainly as feed for livestock. Before learning this, I thought all corn was the same. My parents always bought corn on the cob from roadside stands during summer vacations back at home.

So if you are planning a trip to Apple Valley, Minnesota this fall with the hopes of going apple picking, I’m afraid you’re in the wrong neighborhood. However, if you find your way to my neighborhood, the Big Apple Farm is the perfect place for picking six different variety of apples, and a few ears of corn.

Cornfields (left), Reception hall (right)