Falmouth Village Blooming

Falmouth Village Blooming: hanging planters on the porch at the Palmer House
News from Falmouth Village Association, Falmouth, MA – April 6, 2015

Falmouth Village Ushers in Spring with Falmouth Village is Blooming

Falmouth Village Blooming: hanging planters on the porch at the Palmer House
Falmouth Village Blooming

May Baskets, Spring B&B Tours, Gardening Workshops & Sales & Cinco de Mayo Falmouth Village, MA – While May baskets may have gone by the wayside with trendier traditions in many New England villages, Falmouth Village is one place that holds stalwartly to this springtime ritual. And after the winter Cape Cod has had, May Baskets created by Falmouth Village businesses will be a welcome addition to the streetscape from the Queens Buyway down Main Street.  In fact, to celebrate the arrival of spring in this Upper Cape Cod town, Falmouth Village businesses and associations have put together an entire two-week schedule to revel in springtime.  From one of Cape Cod’s largest Cinco de Mayo gatherings on the street to B&B tours filled with flowering workshops, Flower Power Happy Hours, and the annual Falmouth Beautification Sale, the first two weeks of May is the perfect time to visit Falmouth Village.

Palmer House May Day basket 2012.
Palmer House May Day basket 2012.

Each year the Falmouth Village Association sponsors the annual May Basket competition and businesses throughout Falmouth Village create lavish, whimisical or beautifully simple creations to be judged for bragging rights of first, second and third prize.  Live and/or hand-made creations line the street making a stroll down Falmouth Village’s Main Street during judging season garden-like and even more fun.  In the past more than 30 businesses participated and this year even more are expected.

Look forward to a packed schedule blooming festivities in Falmouth Village during the first two weeks in May.

Falmouth Village Blooming: A celebration of May blooms, May 1 – 10, 2015

  • May 1 – 10:  Tour May Baskets: Take a self-guided tour through Falmouth Village where participating businesses will display handmade and unique May baskets.  More than 30 businesses take this competition seriously, and the May baskets are everything from simple to lavish. Vote on the Falmouth Village Facebook page for your favorite and crown a People’s Choice winner.
  • May 1 – 10: Blooming Bargains: Enjoy Bloomin’ Bargains at participating retailers, offering sales, gifts with purchase, and more. Look for Falmouth Village Blooming sign to identify participating businesses. 
  • May 1-10: 3:00-5:00pm: Enjoy Flower Power Specials at participating restaurants, all identified with the Falmouth Village Blooming sign in the window.
  • Cape Cod Bed & Breakfast Pansies in the Garden
    Flowers in the Garden

    May 1-10: Self-guided walks through gardens at Museums on the Green: Stroll through the museums Boxwood Garden then gain inspiration for your own kitchen garden from the museum’s herb garden behind the Wicks House.

  • May 1-3: Kids Spring Hat Weekend:  Bonnets aren’t just for Easter! Stores, restaurants and other businesses throughout Falmouth Village will open their doors with special hat-making projects.  Kids will make hats and headbands from pie tins, paper flowers and more.  A different kids craft project at each participating business. Free.
  • May 3: Estate Walk at Highfield Hall, 12:30pm: Highfield Garden Coordinator, Terry Soares, will be available in the gardens at Highfield Hall from 12:30 – 12:45 to greet visitors and offer an introductions to the highlights of this beautiful estate and its grounds. During the estate walk docents tell the story of the Beebe family who built both Highfield Hall and its sister mansion Tanglewood on their magnificent 700 acre estate.
  • Cinco de Mayo Chef
    Cinco de Mayo Special

    May 5:  Cinco de Mayo:  They’re closing the street and spilling out of the restaurants for this annual spring celebration. Sip a blooming Margarita as Anejo Mexican Bistro moves the fun out into the street to celebrate the 5th of May.  You’ll want to arrive in festive garb to enjoy $5 burritos and margaritas and plenty of music to go along with the holiday at this spring street party.

  • May 5:  May Garden Basket Design with Anna Holmes, 6-8pm: After garnering inspiration from the May baskets displayed throughout Falmouth Village, learn to make your own at Highfield Hall. You will mix seasonal flowering plants, herbs and foliage plants topped off with moss.  Anna will teach how to select plants, where to buy them, how to care for your garden and dress up a seasonal garden.  All materials are supplied in this hands-on workshop. $40 per person/$35 for Highfield Hall members. Register on-line or call, 508-495-1878, ext. 2.
  • May 9: Spring Story time: Eight Cousins Bookstore is hosting story time at 10:30 am for the very popular book Guess How Much I Love You. The event will include story time, activity, and photos with Little Nut Brown Hare.
  • May 10: Falmouth Beautification Council Plant Sale, 9am – 3pm: Put the gardening gloves on and revvvv your garden engines for the annual Falmouth Beautification Council Sale. Here’s your chance to fill the window boxes and planters as the council peddles its pedals! From 9:00am – 3:00pm, under the tents at Town Hall Square, purchase your annuals, perennials, herbs, daylilies, shrubs, veggies, house plants and more. This is a sale that gardeners wait for which signals that the growing season can now begin. Special workshops for gardeners and kids will be offered too.
Cherry blossoms at Cape Cod Bed & Breakfast garden entrance.
Cherry blossoms at the garden entrance.
  • May 10:  Falmouth B&B Association Garden Tour:  1:00-3:00pm:   A number of the Falmouth B&B Association members will open their gardens for touring and mini-workshops.  Take a tour of the gardens, enjoy the chance to learn from accomplished innkeeper/gardeners.
    • Captain’s Manor Inn: Learn about the new raised bed gardening trend using cattle troughs. The Inn is expanding their herb and vegetable garden using this method. Professional landscape experts will be on site to answer your lawn and gardening questions.
    • Cape Cop B&B herb garden
      Herb garden facing the main inn building.

      Palmer House Inn: A how to plant a successful container garden demonstration will be presented in the herb garden, instruction and handouts provided. Refreshments provided on the deck.

    • Woods Hole Passage: Bring the kids to participate in a child centered garden project.
    • Woods Hole Inn and Bailey’s by the Sea: Stop by and enjoy tea and cookies on the porch.

Throughout the Falmouth Blooming celebration inns also offer packages including accommodations, breakfast, themed amenities and more.

For more information on Falmouth Villages April and May events, and to plan your next visit to Falmouth Village, go to www.falmouthvillageassociation.com.


Cape Cod's Stowe Room, A
Harriet Beecher Stowe room
Cape Cod's Roosevelt Room, B
Cape Cod’s Roosevelt Room, B

While all of the bedchambers at the Palmer House have their own romantic charm suitable for relaxation after the most wonderful day of adventures exploring the gardens of Cape Cod, we recommend the Harriet Beecher Stowe room, the Theodore Roosevelt room or the Emily Dickinson room. These rooms feature comfortable king beds, fireplaces, jacuzzi-style tubs for a relaxing stay before and after your day.

A Cape Cod B&B Welcome

Cape Cod Hydrangeas on the Porch for Breakfast

Fresh Flowers for a Morning Cape Cod B&B Welcome

Staging the Hydrangeas, a Cape Cod B&B Welcome
Staging the Hydrangea.
Cape Cod Hydrangeas on the Porch for Breakfast
The porch before breakfast

Today we have eleven rooms checking-out and eleven rooms checking-in. Our head housekeeper, Rosy, is quietly issuing directions to her well-trained staff. Monica, one of our housekeepers, was assigned this morning to serve one of our three course breakfasts to twenty guests, which she did seamlessly. However, I did not realize that during the breakfast Rosy had asked her to make up eleven flower vases. Without skipping a beat she took my nippers from their place under the kitchen staging table and went up into the hydrangea garden, gathered the flowers and had the vases awaiting Rosy when she returned – a beautiful blue Cape Cod B&B welcome to our morning guests. These young women are truly outstanding. Oh, and Rosy, well she is a Marine Corps drill sergeant with a velvet glove. Our student housekeepers adore her, as do Bill and I. This staff accomplishes an astonishing amount of work with grace and poise.

I was talking with a guest this morning and she said that one of the things that she enjoys most about staying here is, the calm relaxed atmosphere. That is the feeling that we try to create. It feels good to know that we have achieved our goal.

Hydrangea and a Cape Cod B&B Welcome

Cape Cod Hydrangea

It seems that this year’s crop of hydrangea has been especially beautiful. Perhaps it has been just the right amount of rain, sun and warm weather. Hydrangea have long been loved as Cape Cod’s quintessential flower welcoming and inspiring travelers.  They come in shades of pink, green, white, red, yellow, dwarf trees and climbing, in addition to the classic blue and white beauties. The Palmer House gardens have the blue and white mop-head variety and the less common blue lace-cap version.

Up until this past winter we had a dwarf tree that was the white conical variety. It was a real show-off at the corner of the Guest House veranda. However, during a severe nor’easter last winter six large locust trees were uprooted and one smashed down onto the hydrangea tree. When the tree workers arrived they said that the dwarf tree could not be saved. That was a very sad day because the tree had also provided some lovely shade for that quiet corner. However, much to my delight, new shoots have sprung out of the old trunk. We will not have flowers this year but I will not be surprised to see a few next August.

Cape Cod Wedding Cake with Hydrangea
A recent Cape Cod cake for a Palmer House wedding.

Hydrangea, although an old-fashioned flower in reality are not native to Cape Cod and the Islands. Their native country is Japan. However, hydrangea have long thrived in our sandy soil and moist summer climate. Over the past nine years of my tenure as the Palmer House gardener, I have learned how to care for these lovely plants.  I have discovered that although hydrangea like, at least four hours of afternoon sun, the ones that are exposed to too much sun tend to fade and wilt rapidly. Keeping them well watered takes the attention of both Bill and I and frequently the housekeepers can be seen giving them an extra afternoon drink.  Pruning is not necessary, however, I do remove the dead wood and tie a padded wire around the branches in the fall to prevent winter snow damage. Otherwise a little “Holly Tone” fertilizer and a sprinkling of aluminum sulfate each year and we have a lovely garden to behold.

My Morning Commute to the Inn

Cape Cop B&B Garden with purple flowers (detail)

A short walk to the Inn

Cape Cop B&B Garden with purple flowers (detail)
Purple flower detail.

Each morning during the summer season I leave the “little house”, between 6:00 and 6:30, I walk down the wooden walkway that leads to the car park and on to the Inn’s main house to begin my day of inn keeping. The “little house” is a cottage at the far end of the Palmer House property, it is also known as the owner’s quarters. During this three-minute walk, my head is full of the tasks that are planned for the breakfast and the busy day ahead.

Cape Cop B&B Garden purple flowers
Purple blooms in the herb garden.

This morning I just happened to glance to my right and there was our herb garden glowing with the first long rays of the morning sun. It seemed to beckon me. The days plans that were racing through my head vanished as I strode across the slightly damp lawn and swished through the dew covered hosta leaves. The garden seemed to be enchanted. I took my trusty little camera from my pocket and attempted to capture that fleeting moment. The birds were singing and there was a gentle breeze rustling the leaves, otherwise this part of the world was peaceful silent and oh so beautiful.

Cape Cop B&B herb garden
Herb garden facing the main inn building.

When we bought the Palmer House Inn eight years ago I can remember walking the grounds with my sister. The gardens had been neglected for several  years. It seemed that everything was over grown. However, we could see the potential. After all we are our mother’s daughters. We talked and planned. Little did we know how long it would take to realize those plans. This morning I felt such satisfaction just standing among all of those thriving plants. The hops are growing on their iron frames surrounded by fragrant rosemary and lavender. The shiso, a Japanese herb also known as ” the beef steak ” plant, is blooming beautifully this year. Last year it was looking a little sad but in the spring I added new top soil and some plant food to their bed. It seems to have enjoyed the attention. The shiso surrounds an antique black iron bird bath.

Cape Cod Herb Garden Basil
This past year I chose some miniature basil along with some more traditional verities.

The chives are thriving as is the parsley, oregano, sage, thyme and lemon balm. There is one plant that is a bit unique. It is an Egyptian onion that my sister brought to us two years ago. It did not bloom the first year but it has really hit its stride this season. I like it especially because I can take clippings from it 12 months a year to use as garnish on the breakfast plates.  That little dash of green adds a nice contrasting color on the breakfast plates.

Each of the rooms in the Palmer House has a name so we decided to name the gardens also. The herb garden is called ” The Humble Innkeepers Garden”. Several years ago I had the opportunity of a lifetime.

Cape Cop B&B herb garden
Herb garden, facing the innkeepers quarters.

One of our daughters and her husband were going to China. He was studying at the London Business School and was going to China as part of his course work. She asked me to go along so that we could tour while he worked. One of the cities that we visited was Suzhou. It is known for its miniature gardens. My favorite garden was the “Humble Administrator’s Garden”. Upon my return to Cape Cod, I renamed my garden.

After taking a few photos, I turned, walked down the path that leads to the Thornton W. Burgess Garden, through the Guest House Garden across the drive and into the kitchen of the big house to begin the day.

As you can tell, I like my daily commute.