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Step Back in Time at Kline Creek Farm

Step Back in Time at Kline Creek Farm

One of our favorite springtime activities in the Chicago area is stepping back in time at Kline Creek Farm for their Lamb & Wool Festival. Typically occurring toward the end of April, the 2017 festival will be Saturday, April 22 & Sunday, April 23 from 10 […]

Easter Treats

Easter Treats

This spring is flying by — in a blink, it’s mid-April! We didn’t end up making the spring desserts we planned to share during the last five weeks since our chef & baker broke his wrist recently, but we still found something fun to make for Easter […]

Early-Blooming Tulipa Turkestanica

Early-Blooming Tulipa Turkestanica

Tulipa Turkestanica is a whimsical little heirloom bulb that we planted two autumns ago. It is one of the first spring flowers to bloom in our yard & this year I think we’re enjoying it even more now that they’ve naturalized & spread a bit.



This sweet, botanical tulip blooms super early and is more compact than other tulips popping up this time of year. Hardy in U.S. Zones 4-8, Tulipa Turkestanica has a fun, forest flower look about them — we like that they bring a different feel to the spring garden than the typical tulips we tend to see this time of year. They are beautiful in rock gardens or in beds where you want a pop of springtime fun.

Approximately six inches tall, there are a cluster of eight blooms on each stem, sometimes a few more. The blooms are 1-2 inches wide and open fully when it is sunny. They close up a bit when it gets cloudy, then close all the way once nighttime arrives.

From a distance, the flowers are a creamy white with happy, bright yellow centers, but up close you’ll notice a hint of pale green and lovely pink tones as well, especially on the back of the pointy petals.

The green leaves with a hint of silver stay looking nice throughout the full blooming season. As with other flowers grown from bulbs, you should let the leaves wither down a bit before trimming them so that the bulb can obtain as much energy as possible before it naps underground waiting for next year’s growing season.

Last year, once the blooms were spent, the leaves on ours continued looking good for several weeks — way longer than we expected. I finally trimmed them back toward the end of June. Since these naturalize, there is no reason to remove the bulb from the ground unless you plan to move them to a new location.

They prefer a sunny spot in your garden — some sources say they can handle partial sun with a tiny bit of shade as well. They seem very happy in our well-drained bed. We’ve also read that they should be planted in a spot that isn’t too windy, but we haven’t had any issues during our Chicago area spring storms — these are tough little flowers!

We really like the way they dress up the corner of our garden bed where our patio meets the driveway…they really do look like something you would stumble across in a magical forest. Plus, they look lovely with the cocoa mulch that we use in this section of the yard!



What flowers are popping up in your neck of the woods this time of year? We’re always looking for new bulbs to try so drop us a line below if you have a favorite!

Happy Gardening!


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Happy National Beer Day!

Happy National Beer Day!

So, what makes today National Beer Day? Well, back in March 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt uttered the phrase “I think this would be a good time for beer” as he signed the Cullen-Harrison Act into law. This new law kicked in on April 7, […]

Marvelous Maine!

Happy Birthday, Maine!

Happy Birthday, Maine!

Happy Birthday, Maine — oh how we adore you!

Hovering up there in the northeastern corner of the U.S., Maine became our 23rd state on March 15, 1820 when it entered as a free state as part of the Missouri Compromise.

Maine is the largest of our six New England states — all of which are awesome in their own special ways. Approximately 320 miles long and 210 miles wide, Maine’s total area of 33,215 square miles is greater than all of the other five New England states combined.


Top: One of my favorite shots at Ogunquit Beach. Bottom: Looking over the edge at Acadia National Park.


When most people think of Maine, blueberries & lobster immediately come to mind, and for good reason, too! Maine boasts the largest wild blueberry crop in the U.S., growing 99 percent of our wild blueberries & approximately 85 percent of American lobsters are trapped in the waters of Maine.

Then you have the best of both worlds with mountains & the sea as well as both sandy & rocky beaches along the coast. There are spectacular national and state parks — tons of fun adventures await as you explore awesome spots such as Acadia National Park, the Allagash Wilderness Waterway, Mt. Katahdin and Baxter State Park — including the north end of the Appalachian Trail — just to name a few.

Maine’s coastline is stunning. Stunning really isn’t even a strong enough word, though. Did you know there are thousands of islands off the coast of Maine? Depending on the source, there are 2,000+ of them! Many are uninhabited so they are as unspoiled as you can imagine.

The harbor towns & fishing villages are gorgeous. One of our favorite drives is from Boston, Massachusetts up into Maine & then along Coastal Highway U.S. Route 1. The drive can take about five hours with minimal stops or you can turn that drive into an overnight or two (or three!) so you have a chance to stop along the way to explore lighthouses, quaint little towns & boutiques, fabulous forests & parks as well as some of the prettiest harbors you’ll find in the U.S.

Not an outdoor enthusiast? No problem! There are wonderful cities & towns rich with cultural arts, wonderful shopping, galleries & restaurants. Portland is great fun & a fabulous place to begin your journey!

Feel like taking a class while on your getaway? There are so many options! Check out places such as The Center for Furniture Craftsmanship — a two-week class is what first brought us to Maine many years ago. My husband took a woodworking class during the day while I went lighthouse hunting & had a blast shooting photos. Having two full weeks to explore the central coast wasn’t enough, though. We’ve been back since that original trip & will continue traveling back to Maine whenever we get a chance — it’s so much fun discovering new things each and every time!

We’re planning future articles where we’ll explore a few of our favorite spots, but for now, here is a highlight reel of some wicked awesome places to see in the wonderful state of Maine!


Shots of some of our favorite places to see while visiting Acadia National Park!


Have you been to Maine? If so, what were some of your favorite thins to see & do?

Happy Travels!


Maine Facts Source: Check out the Maine Office of Tourism for more fun facts & travel information!
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