Category Archives: garden

Vertical Gardening

Inspired by gardens she saw from her trip to Tuscany, Master Gardener Ann Marie Bartoo has proposed a vertical garden project for the TPL Gardens.

What’s a vertical garden? Here are some examples of vertical gardens and vertical garden elements.

Urban living wall

Vertical garden sample pix

Modular garden cylinders

Hanging gutter garden

Another living wall

Why do it? You can probably think of reasons on your own, but some that come to mind:

  • wicked cool looking
  • universal accessibility- no stooping necessary, wheelchair accessible
  • efficient and aesthetically pleasing use of space
  • possibilities for re-using/up-cycling materials.
  • modular and movable

TPL garden committee members can comment on this post or send Bernardo ideas. We’d like to build some systems over the winter and install them in the spring. Keep an eye out for this and other posts.


Secret Life of Insects

See what’s buzzing at the Topsham Public Library

Click the images to see closeups.
 Butterfly on purple liatris
 Bumblebee on white liatris
 Moth hiding in a yellow lily

Great Golden Digger Wasps and a Japanese Beetle share a Purple Globe Thistle 
 Japanese Beetle on purple coneflower (Echinacea)

The white dot that appears on the back of the beetle is where a Tachinid Fly glued its eggs to the beetle’s thorax.  Later the larva will hatch and bore into the beetle, which is a healthy and natural way to keep the beetle’s population at bay.

 Bumblebees on purple coneflowers (Echinacea)

Tandem Thread Waisted Wasps
These two were very camera shy!
Bumblebee and Great Golden Digger Wasp
 The black ant in the left photo is eating the sugary coating that surrounds the bud.  The bud will eventually bloom to the flower in the right photo.

The Twice Stabbed Stink Bug on lamb’s ear is about to make the leap!

Nature Journaling Photos and Resources

Here’s a glimpse of our Intro to Nature Journaling workshop held this past Saturday:

Micro-worlds were unveiled, often overlooked details noticed with new eyes and excitement, and maybe even a new species of spider discovered!

Thank you to all who joined us.  What a perfect it day it was to be out exploring the gardens!

P.S.  We’ve created a new page on our blog dedicated to nature journaling resources.  You are sure to find lots of useful information…  Please be sure to check back regularly.

Remember, nature journaling is a practice to be done on a regular basis.  The more you do it, the easier it becomes and will eventually become part of your routine.  As our friend Roger says, “the longer you look, the more you will see” and the first step in understanding the natural world is to see.

Next workshops
Intro to Phenology, June 15th: Phenology is the observation and recording of the effects of seasonal changes on plants and animals.  Join us to discover the joy and benefits of keeping a phenology journal.
Patterns in Nature, July 20th: You will be amazed at the patterns to be found all throughout nature and the influence they have had on the scientific, mathematical, and artistic worlds.    Come see what patterns you can discover…

A Great Day and Another Coming Up…

Last month the Topsham Public Library Garden Committee hosted a Garden open-house and what a lovely day it was!  The weather was perfect, volunteers were hard at work, children played, laughed and made some nature crafts and we even made a few new friends.  We call that a success!  Thank you to all who joined us.

This month, we have another fun event happening in the gardens and it’s coming right up…  

It’s our second annual nature journaling workshop.  This year, we will be hosting a series of three workshops, all with a specific theme.

Sources: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 

The first in the series, taking place May 18th at 1pm, will be an introduction to the practice of nature journaling and is open to all ages.  We’ll be kicking it off with a not-to-be-missed 3D slide presentation by a very special friend that’s sure to inspire you.  The rest of our time will be spent in the gardens where you’ll receive individual guidance as you make a nature journal entry.

We will provide notebooks and sketching pencils, although do feel free to bring your own supplies.  You may also choose to bring your camera if you’d like to add photos to your journal.

We hope to see you then…

P.S.  If you’d like to read more about nature journaling, check out my post here: The Art of Observation 
Don’t forget to view the resources at the end.

It’s Getting Greener!

Have you noticed?  It’s greening up outside and it’s beautiful!  

Go ahead… While you’re at the library, take a stroll around our gardens.  There are some lovely flowers blooming and all sorts of new growth.  And speaking of new growth, have you ever noticed how many different shades of green there are?  The variations seem endless.

If you’re with your children (or even if you’re not), grab the color walk cards and see how many different greens you can match.  Don’t forget to visit our “Activity downloads” page for a great Nature Detective packet to encourage your little ones to learn all about leaves.  Or, take an observation sheet with you and tell us what you notice in the gardens.  We’d love to hear from you!

Have a wonderful spring-green day.

Dyes From Nature

With spring just around the corner, many of us may be having visions of bright colors, budding trees, and lovely flowers fluttering through our minds.  Here at the library, we are anxiously awaiting seeing the beauty of our gardens in bloom!

This month provides many opportunities to brighten our lives and homes and celebrate the renewal of life.  Some of us may also be thinking about egg decorating.  

Leaf Print Eggs

Source: Spoonful

We suggest experimenting with some natural dyes that you can make yourself at home.

In our neck of the woods, we may not be able to harvest from our gardens this time of year, but there are plenty of items available to use to get some beautiful colors.  You may even have some already in your spice cupboard or refrigerator.  Just click on the following links for some inspiration:

Natural Egg Dye


You can also find some ideas in these lovely books that you can find at our library or through interlibrary loan:

Happy egg dyeing!

A Snowy Bird Feeder

Our next bird feeder has been inspired by one of our favorite books: 
Stranger in the Woods.

With our current weather, I’d say it’s perfect timing.  Here’s how to do it: Build a snow man, woman, dog, elephant… whatever you like.  Add a carrot or orange nose; some nut eyes, mouth and buttons; and sprinkle with bird seed.  Get creative and have fun.  

So get outside and play in the snow.  The birds will thank you!

Here’s a little inspiration to get you going:

1.   2.  3.  4.