Articles by Janine Pineo

Janine Pineo
Japanese beetles demonstrate the lyrics to "Beetle Mania: The Carol."

A holiday tune for what bugs you

By Janine Pineo on Dec. 21, 2012, at 6:01 a.m.
I fear the annual dreaded carol from a deranged gardener has emerged from its cozy cocoon just in time for a little yuletide cheer. You never do know what’s in a cocoon, do you? I don’t. Who knew I had this song in me, for I certainly didn’t. But obviously …
A massive spruce fell during the worst of the wind from Frankenstorm Sandy late last month at the author’s house.

Big storm brings down sentinel of seasons

By Janine Pineo on Nov. 23, 2012, at 6:21 p.m.
When the wind and rain of Frankenstorm Sandy blew through in late October, I wasn’t as concerned as when we were hit with some of the crazy storms that had skittered across the state this year with their big gusts. We even had something scary blow through my town this …
No two Carnival winter squash look alike with their splashes of color.

Squash: Bringing party time to garden and plate

By Janine Pineo on Oct. 26, 2012, at 6:34 p.m.
Back in the day when people ate rocks and twigs, someone noticed a viney thing with something attached that looked more appetizing than aforementioned rocks and twigs and ate it. I suspect that if they knew the name was squash, they might have kept gnawing on rocks and twigs. Seriously: …
Jerusalem artichoke self-seeds aggressively in the right growing conditions, as is visible in this “hedge” of them growing at the author’'s grandmother’'s house Down East.

Tasty tuber a feast for the eyes, too

By Janine Pineo on Sept. 28, 2012, at 11:02 a.m.
Once upon a time, I did not know what that sunshine-yellow flower was that grew with abandon at my grandmother’s house. It was just “the yellow daisy” and I wanted some in my yard. For years, I’d watched them waving in the breeze, a daily occurrence given her location not …
A basket of tomatoes picked last weekend includes Early Girl and Celebrity, along with a Pruden

Temperamental tomatoes reign supreme this year

By Janine Pineo on Aug. 24, 2012, at 3:53 p.m.
Blink and you miss it. Wasn’t it just July and I was thinking I needed to finish the supports for the tomatoes? Ha! Somehow it’s now the end of August. And the tomatoes? They wait for no gardener, nor trellis. Not that it seems to have mattered in the slightest. …
Elecampane frames the view from The Heirloom Garden of Maine in Montville.

Catching up, slowing down during a Maine farm visit

By Janine Pineo on July 27, 2012, at 1:11 p.m.
Chances are slim that I had ever been to Montville before Sunday. Which is sad because it’s only minutes outside of Belfast and is, quite frankly, beautiful country. I took advantage of Sunday’s perfect weather to participate in Open Farm Day, where Maine farms invite folks to stop in to …
Clematis '‘Elsa Spath’'

Centuries-old obsession keeps on growing

By Janine Pineo on June 29, 2012, at 3:08 p.m.
A half a millennium ago, some bloke tripping around the Spanish countryside stumbled over a purple flower and brought it home to England, where it took root and sprouted an obsession that today has led to thousands of cultivars the world over. I hope he wore sensible shoes and trousers, …
A blossom of Magnolia '‘Butterflies'’ is a creamy yellow and emits a gentle perfume.

Spring is made when Magnolia ‘Butterflies’ emerges

By Janine Pineo on May 25, 2012, at 3:45 p.m.
It was not much more than a twig when it arrived. But I had high hopes for it, envisioning lush blossoms on elegant branches. Sure, I read it was a slow grower. But really, what gardener ever believes that line? I will admit that it has been so many years …
The three rain barrels (oldest is farthest away) on Saturday await the coming rainstorm.

A barrel or two of fun — and water

By Janine Pineo on April 27, 2012, at 11:47 a.m.
New isn’t always better. That crossed my mind Tuesday as I was being sprayed with rainwater gushing from the new rain barrels set up Saturday in anticipation of Monday’s big storm. It is so much easier to spot leaks when the barrels are full. But I get ahead of myself. …
Janine Pineo

Snafu means no book but a sweet show special

By Janine Pineo on April 05, 2012, at 2:38 p.m.
We all know what is said about best-laid plans. It is probably near kin to Murphy’s Law. Those cliche fairies are at work again, meaning the ink was barely dry on the newsprint before something went haywire. Last weekend’s column about Bangor’s Garden Show mentioned one of its vendors and …

Looking for normal after a wacky ride through March

By Janine Pineo on March 30, 2012, at 10:17 p.m.
Dazed and confused. It has been my perpetual state this month. The natural world agrees. The snow crocuses were in bloom on the first day of spring. The buds on the red maples have swollen up like it’s May. Little leaves have emerged on the St. John’s wort. And the …
Lisa Colburn

The tale of a gardener, a book and a pledge drive

By Janine Pineo on Feb. 24, 2012, at 2:36 p.m.
Maine gardeners are an independent lot, but if there’s one thing to be said about them as a rule, they love to share their gardening know-how. Lisa Colburn of Orono found this out firsthand, with the results coming together in a new book, “The Maine Garden Journal: Insider Secrets from …
A number of Okra varieties are available from Seed Savers Exchange, including ‘Star of David.’

Where were you, Hibiscus esculentus, when they handed out names?

By Janine Pineo on Jan. 27, 2012, at 8:52 p.m.
Sometimes I think a vegetable gets a bad name. Literally. Take the parsnip. It sounds a bit harsh with that whole “nip” thing. I am not forgetting that the taste can be somewhat repellent if the root isn’t sweetened up by a good frost or two, but still. That name. …
A gray tree frog spends its day swinging in a hanging basket during the halcyon days of summer 2011.

Sing it like a frog for Christmas

By Janine Pineo on Dec. 23, 2011, at 5:55 p.m.
The longstanding, short-sighted tradition of my Instamatastic Garden Carols continues by ripping through that delightful-but-not-applicable-in-most-of-Maine-at-this-time melody “Winter Wonderland.” The eighth installment was inspired by the frenzy of gray tree frogs that littered the yard — one on the deck and one in the wee pop-up greenhouse — livening up the …
Brussels sprouts nestle in the leaf axils of a plant in late October.

Mad about that gadabout of sprouts

By Janine Pineo on Nov. 25, 2011, at 3:32 p.m.
It’s the scourge of the dinner plate. It’s portrayed as universally reviled. It’s even more unpopular than broccoli. You have but to say the name and watch for reaction. I mean it. Say it. Brussels sprouts. What did that conjure up? A good many of you just went “eeeeew” and …

Last of the tender crops picked as hard freeze threatens

By Janine Pineo on Oct. 28, 2011, at 4:41 p.m.
When the first threat of frost loomed, out came the row covers to shelter most of the vegetable patch. When the second frost threatened, out came the same row covers, but only to make a triple layer to tent over the very middle of the garden where the peppers, celery, …
Crested coral

Summer 2011 perfect incubator for mushrooms

By Janine Pineo on Sept. 30, 2011, at 5:16 p.m.
Some are ghostly. Some ooze. Some look like they belong underwater. This is the year for mushrooms. My mania has grown exponentially over the summer as the fungi erupted in the woods where I walk my dog daily and only increased when I forked over cash for the lone copy …
Snow and snap peas are excellent raw or quickly cooked. Clockwise from top left are Mammoth Melt-ing Sugar, Golden Sweet, Sugar Snap and Spring Blush.

Bring on the peas, please

By Janine Pineo on Aug. 26, 2011, at 7:20 p.m.
Thanks to a steady supply of rain, my garden has grown to gargantuan proportions. Consider the corn. For the past several years, I have planted varieties that produce smaller plants and ears because I seem to have better luck with that size. This year, the 5-foot 6-inch tall plants are …
Only about a half-inch wide, a blossom of dwarf variegated myrtle puts on a show amid the evergreen leaves of the herb.

Trends come and go, but myrtle stays true

By Janine Pineo on July 29, 2011, at 8:15 p.m.
Sometimes even I am trendy, although I don’t usually find out until the parade has swept by. I never would have guessed, however, that the trend would be to plant a myrtle. Myrtus communis isn’t exactly a Maine-friendly plant since it likes the warmer environs of Georgia and Florida, so …
Papaver anomalum blooms through October if deadheaded monthly. It will self-seed if you stop deadheading in August.

Crazy plant person wants two things: good plants and dirt

By Janine Pineo on June 24, 2011, at 8:16 p.m.
As much as I like to discover wondrous new things, I can be a stick in the mud when it comes to the tried and true. Got green beans? So do I and it’s always Rattlesnake pole beans. Best green pepper? New Ace, by the basketful. Nicest new potato? Dark …