SixOnSaturday June 22nd New for 2019

Here in Massachusetts Spring has been cool, damp and cloudy, much like the English Springs I recall. Plants are lush and floppy. As usual I didn’t get around to staking any of them: result, I have roses, poppies and peonies with muddy faces. Travelling overseas for the first half of June has exacerbated the problem. OK as cut flowers for the house, they are definitely not photo shoot material. On the other hand I tried a few new things this season. With mixed results.

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  1. At last. The very first apples on my Cox’s Orange Pippin. I can’t wait to see whether I got the tree I ordered or an un-identified leftover that lost its tag at the nursery. As an example my so-called Arkansas Black Apple is decidedly lime green and suitable only for making pectin as it is sour and doesn’t store well.

 

IMG_20190619_1450302. Cosmos Xanthos. Those seed catalogs in January should be banned. A pale yellow Cosmos – how wonderful! Not really. Compared to “Purity’ or ‘Psyche white’ that I usually grow to fill odd patches in the sunny borders, Xanthos is underwhelming at best. Flowering early but only a foot or so high  it can’t compare to the 6 foot pure white classic beauties I wish for at this time of year. Although they would probably be face down in the mud like everything else…..

 

 

3. Disappointing double white Clematis flowering for the first time in its second spring. Looking sadly like a wet paper towel. I can’t even be bothered to look up it’s name for this post.

 

IMG_20190619_0934264. Scrumptious Honeoye strawberries. Newly planted, mulched with straw and properly hydrated (thanks to the weather) these are the best ever.

 

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5. Exciting to find a few cherries on 2 year old Carmine Jewel. Bodes well for a hearty harvest next year. The plant is shrub-like in form, for easy netting, with normal sized cherries.

 

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6. And what’s this? A few of these plants have volunteered in odd places around the garden. This one is in my herb garden. Looks a bit like a prostrate Rosemary but has no fragrance.  It’s really pretty but I’m stumped. Anyone out there have any ideas?

Those are my Six for this week. I’m hoping for a break in the clouds so i can get out and start pruning away some of the floppies. I know there are lilies and zinnias somewhere under there……

Thanks once again to the Propagator for hosting. Visit the comments section on his post to see all the other Sixes and have a great week!

http://www.thepropagaterblog.com

 

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SixOnSaturday May 4th. Surprise!

Sometimes the best laid plans go wrong. Despite one’s best efforts and intentions there are surprises,  and not always nice ones. Here are some of mine.

IMG_20190503_1449311. 15 year old Crabapple. Planted to encourage cross pollination and good fruit set on my apple trees.  Here is the first ever flower cluster. Just the one.. . . (The apples have been doing just fine for years).

IMG_20190503_1449032. The Peach tree that wasn’t. It appears that the rootstock Prunus Americanus has beaten the peach into submission. Back to the drawing board on the peach cobbler.

IMG_20190503_1453473. Two lonely tulips. These from a huge bag planted years ago that I’ve never been able to find again. They are so beautiful and the planned ‘drift’ would have been breathtaking.

IMG_20190503_1455074. The twice killed Lemon Verbena  – update. It is fully recovered as usual and ready to be planted in the herb garden.

155691289910613795666795. Too many Chillis and Peppers… And tomatoes. And so on. Why this counts as a surprise I’m not sure.  It happens every year.

IMG_20190503_1452326. A wet weekend. Yes, I have today off and no obligations. Great,  I’ll get more peas in, do some preventative weeding,  start a new compost pile,  mow….

But no,  pouring rain and cold weather forecast for the foreseeable future. Everything is growing at a mile a minute.  Looks like my weekend will be spent reading about everyone else’s gardening wins over on the propagator’s website . Take a look at what’s going on in gardens everywhere: Thepropogatorblog.wordpress.com

Have a great week!

SixOnSaturday September 8th. Questions and Answers…

 

I hope everyone is making the most of the golden September weather. It is my favourite month of all, the month I regard as the start of my gardening year. Time to harvest and to plant; not too hot for cooking, not too cold to spend quality time outside. Time to consider, ask questions and find the answers to next year’s perfect garden. Although this year was pretty near perfect, if you ask me!

Thanks as always to Mr. Propagator for hosting weekly reflections from around the gardening world.

Question 1. Mystery apple.

This was purchased as Ark Black.  Clearly it’s not. The supposedly dwarf root-stock is extremely vigorous. The apples are crisp and tart, with a lemony tang and cook to a firm, white texture.

Any ideas? IMG_20180905_104742

Question 2. Hazelnuts at last!  To shell or not to shell before roasting? IMG_20180903_102208IMG_20180905_104538

Question 3 Why is it I can never succeed with growing onions? Answer: because I sow too many to properly take care of them! This year I only planted out 15 or so Ailsa Craig seedlings, in blocks of 3. I fed, weeded and watered them appropriately. (Because when there are only 15 you can fit them in to any schedule). Granted, not as huge as they should be. But big enough to eat. Yeah!!!

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Question 4 (Rhetorical) Has there ever been a better season for tomatoes? Still picking this many every other day. My overflow freezer is almost full.IMG_20180907_153826.jpg

Question 5 Do Magnolia seeds ever successfully germinate? I can’t say I’ve ever noticed my Magnolia Stellata setting fruit before. It also has flowers and next year’s flower buds, all at the same time. Could be confused by the endless hot weather.  I hope it’s not an ‘end of life’ behaviour. Better take some cuttings…IMG_20180907_121440IMG_20180907_121517

Rhetorical question 6. Striped Bass. The bass are plentiful,  big and strong this year. They must be 29″ from nose to tail. Why is it that the Captain only catch keepers when he’s a guest on someone else’s boat?

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Pop over to the propogator’s website to see SixOnSaturday posts from around the world. thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com