SixOnSaturday January 5th. Happy New Year

The first week of January has been wonderfully kind, with blue skies, mild temps, no precipitation or winds to speak of. I should probably get out and dig the last of the leeks.

The garden is still waiting for winter, which will come as we all know….but it was easy to find 6 pleasing things this week.

  1. Winter Savory. One of my favourite herbs. A blend of rosemary and thyme flavours, it seems to enhance all kinds of kitchen ‘doings’. I even put it in cranberry sauce! It is a tidy and beautiful little plant (unlike some herbs I could mention….) and can be picked through the winter as long as it is not under a blanket of snow.img_20190104_101919


2. Red Osier Dogwood “Arctic Fire” I think. I planted 2 as a windbreak on a bank of desperate soil facing due south. They have flourished, providing me with cutting materials though the winter and many plants to give away as they increase very easily by layering.img_20190104_101810img_20190104_101752.jpg


3. Gangs of sparrows. I finally got around to putting up the birdfeeders, at which point my birds arrived. The funniest is the gang of house sparrows, which lies in wait in a hazelnut tree before mobbing the feeders en masse. Lots of hazel catkins this year. Could be a bumper crop.img_20190104_101716img_20190104_101602


4. Passing lobster boat, nice to see they can still get out to tend the traps in this nice weather.img_20190104_101640.jpg


5. Hamamelis Virginiana, common native witch hazel, always the first to flower. Not a spectacular shrub but highly scented attracting whatever insects are out and about.img_20190104_101428


6. Heath “Vivelli”. Pretty dark purple foliage and magenta flowers just starting to open.img_20190104_101306.jpg


I’m taking advantage of this ‘January Thaw’ even though we haven’t had any snow yet. We all know winter is coming, but in the mean time I have a good dog that needs a walk!

Pop on over to the Propagator to see what else is going on in the gardens of the world.


SixOnSaturday December 29th – Conservatory of Flowers, San Francisco.

If you ever get to San Francisco please make a point of going to the Conservatory of flowers in Golden Gate park.

A rich man’s folly, beautifully conserved by a non-profit group, it is worth waiting for the short guided tour.

  1. The Conservatory was in the process of being whitewashed.IMG_6029


2.  California Poppies, blooming brightly in the formal bedding outside the Conservatory. There is also a floral clock.IMG_6027IMG_6028


3. Pitcher plants.  This photo shows a very small portion of a spectacular array in the first room.Hawaii


4. The very lovely entrance to the Potted Plant room.IMG_6034


5. Gorgeous CannaIMG_6288


6. Some OrchidsIMG_6291IMG_6292IMG_6293


The plantings have been augmented throughout by beautiful rusty metal sculptural supports and mossy ‘nests’ containing orchids. The pathways are also metal with grates to recycle the moisture, very smart and gorgeous with it!IMG_6294IMG_6295It is really worth the hour or so it takes to look around. And of course there are plants and other goodies for sale as you pass through the gift shop on the way out….

Pop on over to the Propagator to see what else is going on in the gardens of the world.

SixOnSaturday December 15th 2018 Aloha

I wasn’t going to post today, but seeing all the cold and rainy posts from the UK and mainland US, thought I’d better say aloha!

80 degrees every day,  sunny with occasional light clouds,  perfect little ocean breeze. Poinsettia hedges,  bougainvillea hillsides,  houseplants as big as your  house.

Coffee plantations and macadamia orchards,  where else but Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii.

1. Baby bananas IMG_20181215_092617

2. Bougainvillea IMG_20181215_094129

3. Cook island pines.IMG_20181215_093528

4 traveller’s palm.


5, Some sort of Angel’s Trumpet tree.IMG_20181215_093500

6. Black lava rock,the island’s most abundant resource,  used as both planter and mulchIMG_20181215_094736.jpg

Pop on over to the Propagator to see what else is going on in the gardens of the world .

SixOnSaturday December 1st. Preparing to fly.

December is for us vacation month.  We don’t really get involved with all the tinsel but we do seek warmer climes. There’s a lot of preparation involved in closing up the homestead. So far the weather has been moderate,  but that could change. This week I have been harvesting the last of 2018.

1.Beets. I planted 3 types,  all of which were great. We’ve eaten most of them but the last few are heavy and will taste sweeter because of the frosts we’ve had IMG_20181130_104608

2,3,4 Leeks, kale, red cabbage. There are still plenty left in the garden, but most are now chopped and frozen for later use. IMG_20181130_104618

5.Moss. not really a crop,  but so beautiful and I do harvest it to use as mulch on potted houseplants.

6. Great Blue Herons. Also preparing to fly. There are 3 in this photo. 4 if you count the one reflected in the water. They are always the last of the big birds to migrate. Sad to see them go but they deserve a holiday too after keeping us entertained all summer.


These are my Six.  Many thanks to the Propagator for his powers of coordination. See other posts at

SixOnSaturday November 17th. Staying indoors.

We had our first snow of the season. Not romantic fluffy and white, but mean and soggy! No real accumulation, just enough to make the sump pumps run. So, houseplants…

Noticing that my indoor lemon verbena was looking  little ‘spindly’ and not photo worthy at all, I took a closer look and found the fattest, greenest caterpillar happily munching away at it! There followed a full inspection of the other ‘indoors’ and a new appreciation of the tenacity of nature’s grazers!

  1. Begonia. This plant has been with me for many years, produced many offspring and just continues to be spectacular. As with many of my old plant friends I don’t remember where it came from or what it’s name is. It lives indoors in indirect sun away from the radiators year round. Some years I take rooted pieces of it for my late summer window boxes.img_20181111_080136.jpg
  2. Boston Fern. This was one huge fern last year. I hacked it into 3 pieces before bringing it inside.IMG_20181111_080242
  3. Parlour Palm. Living in a shady corner next to the kitchen,  in mostly benign neglect. There was that day when the dog ate it down to a stump and promptly threw it back up all over the house…..both dog and palm came through the incident unscathed.IMG_20181111_080356
  4. Ficus. Love this plant except recently it has started making fruit a couple of times a year. When ripe, little brown sticky marbles shoot everywhere.IMG_20181111_080443.jpg
  5. Olive Tree and herb garden. In my cool porch getting lots and lots of sunshine are rosemary, thyme and winter savory that keep us flavoured all winter long and then go back out into the garden in Spring. Along with the aforementioned Lemon Verbena that is supposed to provide calming hot tea and not caterpillar fodder.IMG_20181111_080337
  6. Thanksgiving Cactus. As always, right on time. It is Thanksgiving next week, very early. This plant never shows up late to the party. How does it know?img_20181111_080115.jpg


The weather is supposed to improve next week so with a bit of luck we can get back to talking about outdoor vegetables!

Meanwhile pop over to the host of this great meme. On the propogator’s blog comments you’ll see SixOnSaturday posts from around the world.

SixOnSaturday November 10th TREES

I’ve been giving some thought to Mr Propagator’s search for the perfect tree. I am fortunate to live among many beautiful trees. If I could only have one,  it would be a cherry. Either a sweet or a sour fruiting cherry. I’ve tried and failed with both. My location and climate just won’t do. I’ve had crops that were amazing, followed by sudden death.  No photos of the remaining discouraging stumps. I’m moving on.

For my Six this week I give you trees and thoughts of trees.

1.Skyrocket juniperIMG_20181109_081810The juniper above was planted a few months after I moved here, 25 years ago.  It was 15 feet high. Last year the snow and ice tipped it over at a 45 degree angle. After cutting 10 feet off the top of the central leader, tying it in and hoisting it back upright all is well. At only 2 feet wide it’s a great punctuation point in my wild Kingdom. I’d sorely miss it if it hadn’t recovered. Green all winter, a soft landing for fledgling sparrows in spring.

2. Baby Red OakIMG_20181102_162312I have no oak trees on the property. I was given this little red oak sapling which spent the summer looking unremarkable in its pot. The autumn colour is so amazing I’ll be planting it out this month. In a few years it will make a lovely red statement in my mostly orange and gold autumn landscape.

3. Hawthorne IMG_20181102_162318This hawthorn was also a gift. I’m not sure which hawthorn it is but it will make a fine addition to the ‘back 40’. Please excuse the black bin bag covering on my rain barrel!

4. Magnolia Stellata IMG_20181104_130649

Magnolia Stellata is supposed to be a lovely, graceful tree. Mine is a thug, 4 hefty trunks requiring 3 or 4 prunings a year. But it is a thing of beauty in every season and hard as nails. Pure gold at the moment.

5 Blueberry IMG_20181104_130418

Not really a tree, but high bush blueberries come close. Today the leaves are red patent leather.

6. Hazelnutimg_20181104_130337.jpg

Another good 4 season tree. There is the nut harvest of course, with its attendant wildlife, but also long straight canes  to be used as bean supports, fantastic gold and cerise autumn colour. In winter there are fragrant catkins (which can be seen already if you look closely). Easy to propagate, has no pests that I know of, winter and drought hardy.

These are my Six. I can’t wait to see which tree the Propagator chooses. I have a feeling there will be more than one. ‘Cos “more plants innit!!”

This weekly meme is hosted by the Propagator. Pop on over to his site to read musings from around the globe.

SixOnSaturday October 6th.

I had a few days to myself this week. Ladders were set up, tools sharpened, trees pruned, branches chipped, compost turned, potatoes dug. I’m happily exhausted! After a final tidy-up mow, I’m taking time to honour six pretty random things from the garden that made me smile.

IMG_20181005_1411191.Winterberry, Ilex Verticillata. This deciduous Holly brightens winter window boxes and bouquets. I have a bad feeling the male pollinator plant met the man with the chain saw earlier this summer and may need to be replaced next spring.

IMG_20181005_1412162. Winter vegetable garden,  scallions,  leeks,  kale,  chard,  beets and carrots. Comfort food.

IMG_20181005_1414333. Blueberry Bush with goldenrod. When did that get in there? I’ve weeded that area repeatedly and never noticed it until it flowered.

IMG_20181005_1410454. Viburnum Mariesii colouring up nicely. Always first to turn vibrant burgundy. One of my favourite shrubs.

IMG_20181005_141017.jpg5. Hydrangea fading to Victorian watercolor. Dusky washes of violet,  mauve and puce with shades of grey.

IMG_20181005_1409386. Montauk Daisy. This plant is a real bonus. Spring green succulent foliage with large clear white daisies. Hardy as can be. Easily roots from stem cuttings. Almost the last plant of the year to flower. Only hardy chrysanthemums are to follow before the ‘big cold’ sets in, along with my ‘big grumpy’. Hope to squeeze a few more Sixes in before that though… .

This weekly meme is hosted by the Propagator. Pop on over to his site to read musings from around the globe.