SixOnSaturday December 5th. Promises to keep.


December is here, with bright blue skies and mild temperatures. I know it won’t last. I still have mulching to do and pruning to catch up on before the end of the year. There is snow in the weekend forecast. Time to take a few minutes to look at the promise of Spring to come. Catch up with other Sixes at the website of the host

  1. Winter greens. Following a windstorm I foraged branches for my winter window boxes. Most years my fingers are numb by the time I finish them. This year’s task was sun-soaked. The containers will freeze solid in a week or two. No live plants in pots here!

2. Rhododendron buds are fat and happy. A promise of blooms to come.

3. Dwarf Kalmia “Elf” didn’t flower this year for the first time since I planted it 25 years ago but looks all set to flourish in 2021. Such a lovely little shrub.

4. Cornus Mas is covered in fat round flower buds against a cobalt sky.

5.” Carmine Jewel” dwarf cherry tree looks ready, set to go….

6. This could be the year we get a decent Hazelnut harvest, if I can protect them from the squirrels. there are loads of catkins on all the trees. If they aren’t prolific I may coppice the largest one in the spring.

In a couple of weeks we will reach the darkest day. Time will turn, days becoming imperceptibly longer and brighter. We will once again look forward to days spent with those close to us. Perhaps to live without anxiety. All things are possible, so I decorate with boughs and lights and hope for an easy passage into the promise of Spring to come. Stay safe!

SixOnSaturday July 25th. Summer things.

In a steamy week when we finally had some real rain, bee magnet Echinops Ritro went from punky to rumpled.20200724_15053920200724_150514Nicotiana Fragrant Cloud lived up to her name.20200721_091550Oriental Lily was scent-sational.20200724_150431A bonus poppy popped up.20200721_091332The first sunflower shone.20200722_133111And Zinnias sizzled20200724_145621Just summer things doing their summer thing.

Check out other summer sixes and even some winter ones in the comments section of the host’s blog.


SixOnSaturday July 4th. Independence Day.

Six things from the garden on a Saturday. Hosted by the Propagator, in the comments section of whose blog more sixes from around the gardening globe may be found.

1. Red. The first Benarys Giant zinnias are opening in various shades of red. Our own little fireworks!20200703_16105220200703_160858

2. Also at the red party, a Snapdragon that over wintered.20200703_160730_Burst01

3. White cotton mesh curtains protecting the Blueberry crop. No blueberry pie for the 4th of July this year, they’re not ripe yet.20200703_161001

4. Red, White & Blue lychnis coronaria and Hydrangea Blue Billow, a star spangled combo.20200703_161243

5. White and blue all American mopheads.20200703_161128

6. Blue. Because its my favourite colour and also because I’m feeling blue.20200703_160801

In sharing these 6 I’m trying to recall the reasons for being here in this broken and fragile country. Less than 4 years ago there was a leader with strength and pride and hope. And compassion. I’d like that ‘hopey changy thing’ back asap.


SixOnSaturday June 27th. Singing the Blues

Singing the blues and still dancing for rain. Another rainless week has passed. The rain barrels are dry. The garden is lush and green. Our water bill will be through the roof. Six blue things on a Saturday. Ably hosted by the Propagator. Leave a comment and a link to your own post on his blog.


1. Clematis durandii. This little b*****r dies back to the ground every winter. Each spring I hold my breath. It is a sprawler and usually chooses to sprawl on the ground behind the rose with the longest thorns. This year it is in an eryngium. It’s the most perfect cobalt blue and is forgiven.20200624_151939

2. Nigella is encouraged to self sow all around. It enhances every corner and border. If it misses a spot here and there I help out by saving and sowing. There’s a lot of colour variety this year but all true blues.20200622_13260620200617_145652

3. Borage will do what it wants. No straight lines for this blue beauty. Those starry flowers make a most refreshing snack as you pass by. They don’t taste of cucumber to me.20200622_132549

4. Cornflower Blue Boy grown from seed for the first time. Makes me wonder what took me so long.20200622_134228_Burst01

5. Sky blue Colorado Toadflax arrived in secret from parts unknown and is welcome. So far it hasn’t brought any friends or family. 20200622_134256

6. Lobelia Crystal Palace. The blue I can’t do without. It’s in every pot, container and window box. I bring it indoors in the winter and start a new batch in January. It radiates from dark shady corners and thrives in sweltering sunshine. 20200622_180820~3Those are my Six. Strange that all my blues look purple through the lens. Im looking forward to a weekend of steady rain so I’ll have time to peruse yours.

In a vase on Monday

20200531_141515~2Today’s vase was a wedding gift. Very heavy blue glass with a magenta dimple in the base. This not very subtle vase is about 14″ tall and surprisingly looks well with almost any content.

The little frog netsuke I bought in a market in China before the sale of ivory was banned.

The rhododendron was rescued from the dead plant department in the early days of my garden. The flowers are huge.20200529_165948

I added some heuchera foliage and flower stems to help the rhodies simmer down a bit.


Thank you Cathy for hosting. Enjoy more vases in the comments section.

SixOnSaturday March 28th. Promiscuity and Perfection

Six garden related things from my garden this week.

1. Dry trough. This was a gift, planted with the cutest little alpines and dwarf conifers, none of which could ever make it through our winters. It has become a handy receptacle for stones I love, the dog’s toys, things I need to keep that are useless….Now also includes promiscuous pushkinia and very early violas. The edges have covered themselves with the most beautiful mosses and lichens. Perfect!20200327_142637~220200327_142621~2

2. Seedlings are everywhere. The first batch of sweet peas and brassicas has already moved outside to the cold frame.

3. After various failed attempts at growing standard cherry trees, I’m trying Nanking cherries. These bear smaller fruits but the shrubs are absolutely covered with flowerbuds. Hoping for a bumper crop.20200327_142746

4. Muscari, a very early variety with a single leaf and a flower that’s bi colour when fully open.20200327_143427

5. Chionodoxia, also named glory of the snow. Although it’s much more glorious this year when we’ve had none.20200327_142657

6. Narcissus Ice Follies. Needs no explanation, just shows up every year. Fades perfectly to white and doesn’t have much of a perfume. So I can bring it indoors without offending anyone’s delicate sensibilities!

Those are my Six. Stay safe out there and enjoy visiting gardens around the world while keeping your distance!

SixonSaturday. September 21st: Golden Days

The September marsh is ablaze with goldenrod and sumac. There’s a golden theme this week.

1. Caryopteris. Abuzz with pollen-packed bees.IMG_20190916_163441

2. Clematis durandii, perfectly blue with sunshine yellow centres. IMG_20190916_163534

3. Jerusalem artichoke or sunchokes; marsh wildings stealing space from Japanese anemones. IMG_20190915_101644

4. Golden Bantam corn. The rabbit missed a few. IMG_20190918_153919

5. Butternut squash. IMG_20190917_104058

6. Golden fleshed first gleaning of Laratte and Desiree potatoes. IMG_20190917_104025

More Six on Saturday garden snapshots can be found in the comments section of the host,  www.


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 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.


  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.



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.





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!