I’ll be happy if the flowers I planted over the weekend do well, but if that does happen It probably won’t have much to do with my gardening abilities. The summer in coastal Maine is just about the perfect climate for growing flowers and other plants: it’s not too hot, so the soil doesn’t dry out like it often does during a broiling Midwestern summer, it rains every few days (and often with real gullywashers) so there’s lots of water for the plants, heavy morning dews are commonplace, too, and there’s plenty of sunshine. Basically, Maine supplies everything the native flowers need — if you just leave them be.
As a result, flowers seem to grow pretty much everywhere, on their own. The lupines that are framing the harbor in the picture above are thriving In an untended area off the berm of a very busy street. And the lupines and the other wildflowers in the photo below are growing in profusion in a huge area that presumably isn’t being actively weeded and watered by a human gardening crew.
So what does it all mean? It means that if I can’t grow flowers here, I’m undoubtedly the world’s worst gardener.
They say that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. In our case, that saying is literally true.
On Sunday, when I was digging in the area between the rocks in the down yard to try to loosen the soil to plant our flowers, I came across two totally intact bottles that had been totally buried about six inches deep in the dirt. One looked like a generic, amber liquor bottle, but the other was a clear glass bottle from the “Fairview Wine Company of Maine.” The 4/5 quart bottle features some cool raised script lettering and depictions of grapes and grape leaves. My limited internet research skills found some efforts to sell similar bottles on line that indicate that the bottle dates from the ’30s.
It’s not unusual for us to find broken glass, old cans, and other debris in what we call the “down yard,” which probably was an overgrown area. At some point somebody must have sat on the rocks, enjoyed some wine, and then just left the bottle in the crack between the rocks. The bottle then got buried over time — only to be found 80 years later and viewed not as a commonplace item from a functioning nearby business, but as an antique curiosity from days gone by, produced by a company that apparently no longer exists.
We’ve cleaned up the bottle — the cap crumbled into dust when we tried to remove it — and put it in a place of honor on the shelves in our main room, to connect the present-day cottage to its past.