SixOnSaturday February 22nd. Is it garlic?

1. Is it Garlic? I know I planted a row.  I also (sort of) remember planting a row from the bucket of miscellaneous bulbs unearthed during other projects…somewhere safe. We’ll have to wait and see. This row looks suspiciously like narcissus.20200221_090236

2. Beagling about on a cold and brilliant blue day. You’d be amazed at what she finds in the undergrowth.  Could it be garlic?20200221_090350

3. Definitely not garlic! Hellebores are starting to show new burgundy purple foliage. It’s time to get the gardener in gear for a tidy up.20200221_090255

4. Tools need cleaning and sharpening. I inherited this old steel trowel when I bought the house. It is my most beloved and most used tool. It is unbreakable. I keep it very sharp.20200221_090550

5. Also with me on every trip to the garden are these small ratcheting pruners. They make short work of wayward stems and branches.20200221_090605

6. This year we’ve had a very easy winter. The ground is still frozen solid of course. I’m enjoying the countdown. All too soon the pruning planting and sowing will be upon us but for now there’s still time to sit and savour, watching for signs. Its starting. The Jack-by- the-hedge aka garlic mustard is up. The weeding will commence very soon.20200221_112302

Visit the host’s site for more signs of spring.

A Tree for Tuesday. Street Tree.

On my daily walks I come across some spectacular neighbourhood trees. And some horrific ones. This is an example:

20200213_104422~2Take up 2 square pavers right next to a main road and directly under power lines. Plant a sapling. Choose a variety that grows quickly in all directions, and that suckers vigorously from both roots and trunk. 20200213_104446~2When the branches are tall enough to interfere with said power lines chop them off. Annually. When the root ball shoves up between the pavers to form a rectangular plateau about a foot high take note but do nothing. 20200213_104549~2In a desperate effort to live, the tree will make bolls where it’s branches were amputated. Water spouts will bristle out of them and endanger passing pedestrians.

When the pedestrians start complaining that not only is it impossible to walk because the surrounding sidewalk resembles the foothills of the nearby White Mountains, chop down the tree, fix the pavement and plant a new sapling in the exact same predicament.

SixOnSaturday February 15th. Success!

I haven’t started sowing seeds yet because its too early and also I have company coming. So I’m trying to control the urge to fill every horizontal surface with seedlings. Cuttings on the other hand were taken months ago. Here are a few of them.

1. 1st ever successful lemon verbena cutting. From a very old parent plant.20200214_132715


2. Baby teuchrium germander plants. If I’d known these were so easy to propagate I’d have formal hedges everywhere! 20200214_132752


3. Over wintered pelargoniums. 20200214_132724


4. Hydrangea cuttings. Not that I need more hydrangeas in my life but these are from a beautiful brilliant white lacecap and will be planted as insurance. The parent is being slowly overwhelmed by a tree…..20200214_133114


5. Buds on the phalenopsis orchid. This $10 supermarket orchid flowers reliably at least twice a year. Usually when company is expected. She earns her keep.


6. Actual snowdrops. These are really about 4 weeks early for me and point to the mild and manageable winter we’ve had. And also to climate change.20200214_133137

These are my Six. Take a look at the comments on the host site for more weekly garden glories and have a great week.

A Tree for Tuesday. Paperbark Maple.

Part of its rarity is due to the fact that it sets very few fertile seeds and cuttings don’t root.This tree, with its peeling red bark against a bluebird winter sky, deserves wider use.I live in a Garden City. On my daily walks I come across some spectacular neighbourhood trees. A very special mature Rowan was chopped down this week. I don’t want any other trees to pass un-noticed.

SixOnSaturday February 1st. Long Hill.

Winter at my house is when we ‘get things done indoors’ knowing that with Spring will come complete lack of interest in being house bound. This year we are working on the oldest part of the house. New ceilings and paint. Refinishing the 100 year old wide pine floors. Dust everywhere. Things piled high in the rooms we are not working on. So it’s only Wednesday but the day is gorgeous so I’m getting a little jump on Six On Saturday.

1. Growing tired of the smell of polyurethane floor varnish I decided to check on the status of my storage onions and garlic. Most of the garlic is sprouting so was relegated to the freezer for later use in making garlic spray. The 2020 crop is already up.20200129_135404

2. The alliums added so much richness to the general stench that I had to open the windows, turn on the fans and leave. The beagle and I found our way to a favourite hidden gem. Long Hill was the summer home of Ellery Sedgwick. Both his wives were horticulturalists and money was no object. Pulling up to the house we were greeted by a lovely tulip poplar.20200129_105328

3. The house is not usually open to the public. It has an extensive library of gardening books and very botanical wallpaper!


4. There are a number of garden rooms and a little farm. For me the most impressive winter views are of the wonderful specimen trees. Legend has it that many of the mature beech trees are from Beverley, England.


5. This specimen evergreen had no label. It formed an igloo around a large rock, a perfect place to pause. The feathery foliage whispered secrets..


6. Heading back we passed the gleaming rustiness of this beautiful mature Paperbark Maple, Acer Grisum.20200129_122517~220200129_122539

There are so many wonderful trees here. We will be back soon.

Meanwhile take a look at the prop’s blog for more February Sixes.

A Tree for Tuesday. Catalpa Speciosa.

Catalpa speciosa is a Midwest native tree grows 40 to 60 feet tall, with a narrow, open, irregularly rounded crown and spreading branches. It has large, heart-shaped leaves and large clusters of fragrant, white flowers. The long, interesting seed pods persist through the winter. Northern catalpa is very adaptable to adverse conditions, but has weak wood and branch structure. This one drops it’s seed pods around the neighborhood where they last all winter long.20200128_071629

I live in a Garden City. On my daily walks I come across some spectacular neighbourhood trees. A very special mature Rowan was chopped down this week. I don’t want any other trees to pass un-noticed.

A Tree for Tuesday January 21st. Pin Oak

20200111_083617~3This is a lovely example of a Pin Oak in the neighbourhood. It is probably 3/4 mature and unlike some of the straggly unkempt street trees it always looks tidy and well structured. Pin Oaks hold their leaves throughout the winter. The Arbor Day foundation sent me one to try. Mine is about 2 feet tall at the moment but I hope it will thrive in the lower, wetter part of my yard, down by the river, to provide food for the wildlife and oak leaves as a natural mulch.

Arbor Day Facts
Mature Height 60’–70′
Mature Spread 25’–40′
Growth Rate Fast
Shape Pyramidal
Sun Preference Full Sun
Soil Preference Acidic, Clay, Loamy, Moist, Rich, Sandy, Well-drained, Wet
Wildlife Value Pin oak acorns are eaten by many songbirds, wild turkeys, white-tailed deer, squirrels and smaller rodents but are a particularly important food for many ducks.
History/Lore The name pin oak comes from its short, tough branchlets located along the branches and limbs. Because of its tolerance for wet conditions, the tree is also known regionally as swamp oak, water oak and swamp Spanish oak. The tree was first observed scientifically prior to 1770.