SixOnSaturday August 10th: Harvest Happens.

I have been harvesting herbs today. Bay leaves, thyme, sage,  marjoram, lemon verbena. IMG_20190802_104714These are tied in bunches using lengths of raffia that in a former life I scrounged from a fish vendor in Hong Kong.IMG_20190809_104937 The bunches hang in my warm, dark basement until dry, before being crumbled for use in cooking, as teas and as gifts for work.IMG_20190809_104816

Soon there will be poppy seeds. These are bread seed poppies. The seedpods don’t open up like salt shakers, so you can either leave them to dry in place or hang them. IMG_20190719_122920

The garlic is in.IMG_20190807_104341A really good haul this year. I planted only 24 cloves to harvest a whole muck-bucket full. IMG_20190808_142600Unusual in that quite a few of the singly planted cloves have sprouted 3 or 4 very large heads of garlic. I couldn’t say what variety, as I haven’t bought seed garlic in years. I just plant the biggest and best cloves around October 15th.

I pulled the little brown onions. IMG_20190809_102914The Alisa Craigs are still putting on weight so I’ll leave them to grow  for now. IMG_20190727_091703

Blueberries have been fantastic this year. I’ve been picking every other day or so, and from only 2 bushes have enough to eat and stock the freezer. This is today’s haul.IMG_20190802_114852 It’s all about netting. I use plain net curtains from Ikea. The birds can’t get tangled in the very fine mesh. There’s nothing worse than trying to rescue a furious grackle!

Chillies, peppers and squash can be picked daily. The weather is perfect.IMG_20190809_133544And it is tomato time at last! They will have their own Six!

Check out all the other Sixes by following the Propagator http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com. Enjoy  the harvest!

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SixOnSaturday July 20th – PrunePlantSow

Summer is suddenly here. Hot and humid.  Gardening must be done early to avoid the heat and mosquitoes.  Tasks need to be broken into small, manageable segments or there is overheating and tantrums.

Six things on this ‘dangerously hot’ Saturday that make me smile. IMG_20190715_1008571. Prune. Before the heatwave my big old rose Cuisse de Nymphe had a major renovation prune in order to keep it in check but also to remove a lot of fossilised old wood from the base.

IMG_20190715_100934Here’s the pile of clippings waiting to be chipped up on a cooler day. I hope to promote stronger young growth that won’t flop around so much. The thorns are evil,  especially when they get you in the scalp as you meander by with a cup of coffee at daybreak.

IMG_20190715_1009212. Plant. I have been trying to extend my flowering season into summer. These Shasta daisies and gaura should complement the hydrangeas in the hottest months.

3. Sow. I don’t direct sow many things as we have a very strong critter contingent,  but these Shirley and opium poppies are exceptions I would never be without.

IMG_20190719_1227464. Harvest. Surprisingly Winter Density lettuce continues despite the heat.  The first blueberries of the season. The birds start screaming at me the minute I open the netting to harvest the berries.

IMG_20190715_1006425. Grow.  An experimental Charentais melon in a big pot. Growing at a rapid rate up the bannister of my deck stairs. Lots of flowers but so far no melons.

IMG_20190715_1010196. Bloom. I try to get as much blue as possible in my gardens. I leave you with this lovely Endless Summer/Nigella damascena combination.

Visit the website of the founder for more garden stories of the week. Stay cool!

www. thepropogatorblog.wordpress

SixOnSaturday – reasons to be cheerful.

Today is my first blogging anniversary. Thank you to The propagator and his Blog-followers for inspiration and guidance. Follow here:  www.thepropagatorblog.com

It is the second night of Passover and Easter Saturday. All reasons to be cheerful.

It is also a full moon. I wish I knew or could retain more of the lore and legend surrounding the Spring holidays. My Six this week just celebrate the magic.

 

IMG_62251. From the Passover Seder.  Parsley, representing springtime and all it promises. It is in the ground this week and in 2 more weeks will be ready to be sampled!

 

IMG_62242. Horseradish, the bitter herb, a reminder of hardship. This one is still very small and might be a dock! I’m not sure, but if it is horseradish it will be harvested for Rosh Hashana in the Autumn.

 

IMG_20190419_1439303. For certain, Easter peas. Sown on St Patrick’s Day (indoors of course) and planted on Good Friday according to (my) tradition. One row each of Lincoln & Topps. To be supplemented by more sowings outdoors. When I get around to it. I love peas.

 

IMG_20190419_1040254. Bloodroot, which has blood red sap. Seems symbolic of all the needless bloodshed and sacrifice that Spring holidays stand for….

 

img_6226.jpg5. Simple Daffodils. For me, the best harbingers of Spring. These are probably Ice Follies, or Mount Hood. They look to be ready for dividing. add that to the endless to-do list!

 

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6. The white birds were one of my reasons for starting this blog. They arrive like tourists from a cruise ship in spring and congregate for their departure at the first threat of frost. They are back for the season. The male on the left has his ‘glad-rags’ on and is all ready for date night. She doesn’t look too sure….

I am catching up to the rest of you. I do have tulips already. I wait so long for early spring that I don’t want to move on to the next phase too quickly. Tulips can wait until next time.

Enjoy your week!

SixOnSaturday April 13th. Prune Plant Sow.

Prune,  plant,  sow,  harvest,  mow,  bloom,  feed,  grow…

IMG_20190412_1518481. Prune.  Its what I do mostly. Here’s last week’s pile o’ pruning, mostly brambles and holly. Roses next.

 

IMG_20190412_1236012. Plant. All unidentified ‘misc’ bulbs I hoarded over the winter and carefully potted up to see what they were, turned out to be – garlic!! Duly planted next to my October planted garlic.

 

img_20190412_123629.jpg3. Sow. Self sown Pushkinia. In every corner and crevice. Smelling strongly of gumdrops. Buzzing with bees and other assorted pollinators. Reminds me I need to get on with sowing annual flowers for summer and fall.

 

IMG_20190408_0914174. Bloom. Cornus mas is the 🌟 this week. Along with many Squill, Narcissus, Hellebore and Mr Magnolia. Terrible photo, great tree…

 

IMG_20190412_1350215. Feed. Homemade holly and bramble ramial chip mulch for my raspberry section.

 

IMG_20190412_1350486. Oh no!  Here’s a charming little nest I found among the cut branches. I think it belonged to a pair of American robins. They have plenty of time to rebuild. This will be my last major pruning job for the spring so as not to disturb any more nests.

Spring is here at last. It is still cold,  but everything is growing. Each trip around the garden brings something new and wonderful at this time of year.

Go visit the host site and be amazed by garden stories from around the world.

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SixOnSaturday March 30th

I’m exhausted from prune plant sow activities. I need to ‘harden off’ more than my seedlings after 4 months of reading and thinking about it.

Six things from your garden, each week on a Saturday. Take a look at the Propagators blog for gardening inspiration.

www. thepropogatorblog.wordpress.com.

Here are a very random 6 for the last week of March. IMG_20190325_104100

1. Parsley seedlings. Perfect & pretty.

 

IMG_20190325_1039082. Lettuce ‘Winter Density’ and..IMG_20190325_103954 ‘4 Seasons’ lettuce

 

 

3.Snow crocus,  small and mighty!

 

 

4. Iris Dandiforae.  Fine & dandy.

 

IMG_20190325_1315154. Pruning a very large Holly shrub, I found this Song Sparrow nest. A barque made from bark.  Carefully lined with plastic and with a mattress of maple twirlies and dryer lint.

 

IMG_20190328_0756436. Climbing Hydrangea. This mature vine once grew up into a Mulberry tree. The tree was probably 40 feet high and growing at an angle of 60 degrees when I inherited it many years ago. I called it the ‘bird buffet’ as it had an extremely long fruiting season, lasting most of the summer and into Autumn.  At first frost, all the leaves would fall in the space of an hour or so, signalling the close of the buffet for the season.

I had it pruned one Autumn, noting the wood was very heavy and wet. In spring new growth appeared along the cut branches lying on the ground. A few years later, during a summer drought, the mulberry tree laid down, the sinews snapping like fireworks at midnight on a full moon. I asked the cleanup crew to try to save the vine. I thought they’d ignored me. Yesterday, while pruning, I found the cut pieces where they’d ‘saved’ them for me.

Pay a visit to the Propagator’s website to see what’s going on in other peoples’ gardens.

www. thepropogatorblog.wordpress.com.

Garden Guests: #SixOnSaturday February 9th

There is no winter gardening in New England without a greenhouse or poly tunnel. Once the cold sets in, the ground is frozen like a rock. There are no overwintered veggies, no early sowings of peas. Winter interest is in the form of structure, coloured bark and weather ‘happenings’.

And garden guests, who somehow deal with snow and ice and gales in preparation for the Spring to come.

Here are a few from this week.

IMG_6137 - Copy1. First in the pecking order, Carolina Wren. This tiniest of birds is definitely the Boss. Loud, pushy, always earliest to the suet feeder. They nest in the rafters of my shed most years, which is fine except they rule the roost and won’t let me in!

IMG_6149 - Copy2. Tufted Titmouse, the sweetest bird of all. Shy and quick, hard to photograph. Happily I’ve seen a lot of them this year.

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IMG_6173 - Copy3. Nuthatch, who cleans the suet from his beak by wiping it on the rough Redbud bark.

IMG_61364. Mr Cardinal. Man of many songs and funny antics.

IMG_61105. Oh, who’s this? Resident Hawk. He’d dropped his (dead) squirrel and is looking for it. IMG_6131He soon recovered it and flew off to a nearby maple tree to finish the job.  I think he is a Red Tail Hawk but if anyone out there knows better….

IMG_6101IMG_6104IMG_61036. Finally, just passing through today. Sitting in the sun, having a stretch, sniffing around, marking a few corners. Happy fox, happy me!!

That’s my Six for this week.

I don’t contribute every week, especially in the Winter. I do get a bit of weather ‘envy’ knowing that some of you are out in the garden when I have weeks of snow and ice to endure. However, the deep cold of the last few weeks has broken and we are starting to see a few signs.

In the meantime I can always join you all for #Six On Saturday on the Propagator’s website:

thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com

 

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.

http://www.thepropagator.wordpress.com