Articles by Janine Pineo

A gray tree frog sits on a shelf on the potting bench in the greenhouse recently set up by the author, Janine Pineo.

A toad by any other name … would be a frog

By Janine Pineo on June 03, 2011, at 1:07 p.m.
Being a plant person, I should know better. Being a writer and editor, I really should know better. That was no toad, dear readers, that moved into my greenhouse and was pictured with my column in the May 28-29 weekend edition. No, the toad — or Mr. Toad as I …
A toad rests on the bottom shelf of the potting bench in the new popup greenhouse.

Wildlife a distraction from the lost spring of 2011

By Janine Pineo on May 27, 2011, at 11:43 a.m.
Do not get me started on the weather. Other than squish-squashing about the yard, I have accomplished next to nothing in the garden this month. I recall some sunshine the day I popped open the new popup greenhouse. I was underneath the whole rigging trying to set the fiberglass poles …
Ellis’ Greenhouse and Nursery in Hudson is one of more than three dozen businesses participating in the second Maine Greenhouse and Nursery Day on Saturday. Visit for a complete list.

Gearing up for another growing season

By Janine Pineo on April 28, 2011, at 11:42 p.m.
This is the year for gear. The truth is that to garden you don’t need a barn full of extra things. I’ve been known to use a stick or rock to get the job done if that is what’s at hand. But there do exist items that aid and abet …
Hydrangea flowers cascade over the railing at the home of the author's grandmother in Machias.

The gift of gardening: It’s all in the genes

By Janine Pineo on March 25, 2011, at 9:55 a.m.
My delight in gardening stems from my forebears, one in particular. That one, my grandmother, turned 90 on Friday. My Nana — Vivian to all you who aren’t kin — grew up on a farm Down East. Back in the 1920s in Maine, if you lived on a farm that …
Three stages of development for Nigella damascena ‘Persian Jewels’ are visible in this September 2010 photo. At lower left is a new bloom, at top center a pollinated blossom that has dropped some of its sepals and whose seedpod is beginning to develop, and at lower right are three seedpods at various stages of maturation.

Dreaming of flowers? It’s time to start planning

By Janine Pineo on Jan. 28, 2011, at 6:24 p.m.
Let the madness begin. It’s not hard to do when the weather is what the weather has been these past few days. Throw in a pile of cheery seed catalogs and one can see the potential for going stark, raving bonkers. I was doing pretty well through year’s end. The …

A Christmas carol to span the seasons

By Janine Pineo on Dec. 24, 2010, at 5:13 p.m.
Welcome, dear readers-carolers, to the seventh round of holiday cheer, when I take annual liberties to abuse eardrums and good taste alike. This year in my ode to gardening, I have tackled a beloved classic, one that you find yourself humming whether you like it or not. I believe this …
Janine Pineo Photo
A trio of 'Heavenly Blue' morning glories brighten a summer day earlier this year.

Glenburn woman’s ‘splash of color’ will be missed

By Janine Pineo on Nov. 26, 2010, at 7:56 p.m.
A beautiful person left this world Sunday. LoAnn Smith was a dear friend and giving soul who always flew to engulf me in a big hug and made me smile and laugh when I saw her every spring on jaunts …
Janine Pineo Photo  A rhododendron blossoms in October in the author's front yard.

Drought only delays growth, blooms

By Janine Pineo on Oct. 29, 2010, at 9:10 p.m.
Drought does funny things to plants. Consider my two rows of potatoes, planted in mid-June, just as the weather was ramping up into its nearly water-free period.
Janine Pineo Photo
A bunch of Concord grapes hang from the vine last weekend. It takes about 4 pounds of grapes to make a batch of jelly.

Grape harvest ushers in the end of summer

By Janine Pineo on Sept. 24, 2010, at 7:07 p.m.
If there is one sure sign summer is over, it is when the Concord grapes are ripe. Part of me longs for that day when I can gather a basket of fruit, even as my heart is saddened that another …

‘Heavenly blue’ brings endearing, enduring joy

By Janine Pineo on Aug. 28, 2010, at 1:45 a.m.
The simplest things are, by far, the most endearing and enduring. Little did I know that a few morning glories would turn out to be some of those things. The story begins last year when we …

Book explores plants of Acadia

By Janine Pineo on July 30, 2010, at 6:10 p.m.
Picture yourself in Acadia National Park. Look around and what do you see? The ocean? A pond? Rocks? Plants?

Stranger helps make safe end to nearly disastrous garden trip

By Janine Pineo on June 25, 2010, at 8:10 p.m.
The charge nurse said she could just picture us as old ladies sitting with a cup of tea, recalling the day we went to Vassalboro. And she compared us to Thelma and Louise. And she laughed. A …
A newly planted clump of Rubus odoratus, or flowering raspberry, brightens a shady spot along the edge of the woods.  JANINE PINEO PHOTO

Tending flowering shrubs and cultivating patience

By Janine Pineo on May 28, 2010, at 5:22 p.m.
Seven years I have waited. The first few amounted to biding my time and trimming away the encroaching grass. But the past couple of years, as the stems began to lengthen and arch, I took to …

First greenhouse, nursery day May 1

By Janine Pineo on April 23, 2010, at 5:22 p.m.
A blast of heat and humidity hits you first, then comes the delicate scent of pansies, the warm and spicy tang of herbs or the deep perfume from a table full of heliotrope. Mix that with the …

Despite its Spanish nickname, Zinnias are easy on the eyes

By Janine Pineo on March 26, 2010, at 5:40 p.m.
If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, then one couldn’t fault oneself for proceeding with caution when a flower is called “mal de ojos.”

Discovering folklore of woolly bear caterpillars

By Janine Pineo on Feb. 26, 2010, at 7:42 p.m.
What’s fuzzy, an inch long, black on both ends, brown in the middle and crawls across snow in February? Awww, guess. Confused? So was the woolly bear caterpillar. Last Saturday I was walking the dog on the snow-covered path through the hemlock stand at the tree farm. There in that …

List is long with ways to enjoy all things green

By Janine Pineo on Jan. 29, 2010, at 7:49 p.m.
I miss green. And greens. As I undertake my annual seed hunt, I find myself drooling excessively over the sheer wonder that is naught but a leaf. But what a leaf. Last year was near perfect in my garden for growing greens, what with the copious amounts of rain, the …

Holiday homage to pestilence, blight

By Janine Pineo on Dec. 18, 2009, at 4:58 p.m.
Send the kiddies to the root cellar and put on your Grinch pants ’cause it is time once again to lift your voice in joyless refrain for our annual gardening holiday ditty. You and I both …

Long-lived hemlock witness to history

By Janine Pineo on Nov. 27, 2009, at 5:57 p.m.
Before the Revolutionary War. Before the Mayflower weighed anchor. Before Columbus set sail. Way before the Crusades ended. Even before the Magna Carta.
Lingonberries ripen in autumn and are usually not ready to pick before October.

Backyard can produce rare jewel of a crop

By Janine Pineo on Oct. 30, 2009, at 8:09 p.m.
They are small and somewhat pathetic, with not even enough to fill 2 tablespoons. But I rejoiced anyway. The lingonberries have fruit this year.