SixOnSaturday May 1st. Firsts

SixOnSaturday time again. Visit the host’s comment section for more merry Mayday Sixes from hither & yon.

  • All my tulips have been wonderful this year. This is the first tulip I ever planted in this garden, at least 25 years ago. This year with a record-setting 5 flowers. Evidence that tulips can and do come back year after year. I have no idea what the variety is. As you can see my garden fence is rotting, providing entry points for all kinds of critters.
  • He is the first angry bird of Spring. It must be time for mating…isn’t he gorgeous? Who could resist such a handsome fellow? I’m just relieved it wasn’t my truck he took offence to.
  • The first Robin is on the nest in the magnolia tree. She’s not pleased either. She’s already been raided by crows and squirrels. She is on her 3rd try, poor thing.
  • The first mow off the year is always a crap-shoot. Is the grass long enough or dry enough? Will the blade have been sharpened in time? Will I get it in before the heavy rains? Yes, yes & yes! As you can see, not a perfectly manicured lawn but healthy and full of weedy pollinators. At the moment it is mostly violets and ajuga, renegade snowdrops and other small bulbs.
  • The first Snowy Egret has arrived back from who knows where.
  • Its the first time ever that all of my apple trees have flower buds. So if I can pollinate them, if we don’t have a late frost, and if the birds don’t eat the baby apples, perhaps for the first time ever we’ll have fruit.

The first baby bunny has been spotted tearing around in a frenzy. So cute and so ravenous. Sighs and wonders whether enough rabbit exclusion measures have been taken.

First is one of those words that when repeated loses it’s meaning and looks like it is spelled wrong! Spell check was engaged… Happy first of May and have a great gardening week.

SixOnSaturday April 24th. After the storm.


Friday dawned wild and windy. Over an inch of rain is expected. It’s hovering just above freezing here by the ocean, but snow is falling just a few miles away. I’m anxiously watching the gnarly old Norway maples as they groan and sway, planted too close by a thoughtless neighbour many years before I lived in this house. Oh, and it is SixOnSaturday time again. Rules and wisdom from participants around the globe may be found on the host’s website

In other news the formerly lovely mild weather had brought about an early season flush of flowers. Most of which will have been mangled by tomorrow

  • Parrot Tulip Violetta. This funny little parrot tulip is short and stocky with frilly flowers turning from purple to hot pink as they age. Not really tall enough for cutting, they add a shot of bright colour.
  • I’ve had Tulip Angelique on my list for a long time and finally planted a few last autumn. They haven’t flowered yet but here is a decapitated bud left in a redbud tree by squirrels.
  • Tulip Fusilier von Praestans reliably on parade every spring for the last 3 decades. It’s a very particular shade of red. A good thing it flowers so early when there isn’t much to clash with.
  • Thalia was the first Narcissus planted here in 1991. Over the years they have been swamped by other plants and lost in translation…last year I put some more in. I had missed their elegance.
  • Nanking cherry is a wonderful shrub with very early flowers and lots of small tart summer cherries. If I had an available hillside vista I would fill it with Nanking cherries and Thalia narcissus.
  • Last but not least, wearing a tiara of raindrops, is a little native spurge. It’s a weed but pretty enough to stay for a while.

These are my soggy six. The rain was sorely needed. I’ll have to get out with mower and clippers as soon as it dries up. Spring has definitely sprung!

SixOnSaturday October 31st. A Spooky Surprise!

  1. Dawn, the day before. Very calm. Sumac, witch hazel and red-twig dogwood at full colour. Norway maples still wearing their green.

2. 24 hours later. Cercis canadiensis, still with full lemon and lime foliage, bowed under heavy wet snow. “There’ll be no snow at the coast”, they said….

3. It is very pretty. Not really what you’d call a storm, not windy or too frigid. It will probably be gone by tomorrow. The car will have to be cleared off. The tin man is shivering and the pumpkin wears a white beret.

4. Thankfully the Winter herb garden was moved inside the porch earlier in the week as night temps dropped. Bay, Lemon Verbena and Yerba Buena for hot tea and some pelargoniums for flowers.

5. I had gathered a spooky purple bouquet of Dahlia, Hydrangea and Beautyberry. That will be the end of the Dahlias. I’m not digging them up this year as they are not my favourite flower. This purple one is impressive in size and vigour and knowing my luck it will survive the winter.

6. In preparation for Spring I had received a shipment….narcissus, tulips, fritillaries, crocus and alliums.

Finally, apologies to those of you waiting for Fothergilla sprouts! We expect a nice sunny 1st week of November in which I should be able to get all these bulbs planted and also fill your order!

Happy Halloween and enjoy the October Blue Moon!

SixOnSaturday April 25th 2020. Unusual?

After a mild, sunny Winter, a cold, wet start to Spring and 6 weeks of lockdown the bulbs are coming up on schedule and as usual. 6 things on a Saturday to prove it!

1. Apricot parrot tulips. These were planted years ago and reliably appear every spring. Every spring someone snips off the almost ripe buds and leaves them scattered on the ground. It’s not a person. Is it a bird? Is it a rabbit? Is it a bug? I’ve never discovered the culprit. It only happens to these tulips. All the others are untouched.



2. This is a relatively new tulip for the garden. Red Appeldoorn. It’s a big classic unfussy red that I dearly love.


3. Narcissus Thalia shows her pretty face. I need to add more. These have de-naturalised over the years from a host to a scattering.


4. Cheerfulness on the other hand is clumping up very nicely and full of buds.20200420_143930


5. The stream of muscari has returned, as usual, despite being re-routed last year. 20200420_144504

Muscari latifolia has become more of a pool than a stream. 20200420_144204


6. A dwarf fernleaf dicentra (bleeding heart) that I vaguely remember buying back when the world was normal and one could browse the nurseries for little treasures. It’s about to be consumed by a hulking great mallow and a massive mullein. That’s probably why I haven’t seen it in recent years. Normally there isn’t this much time to micromanage. Job for the next warmish dry day will be to move at least one of them.20200420_143952


And just to keep things in perspective, this last photo was taken a week ago. April 18th. I hope this isn’t the new normal.


Six on Saturday is a weekly session of virtual garden rambles hosted by the Propagator himself. Explore the comments section of his blog and join the garden party. Stay safe in isolation. I must confess I’m enjoying it!

SixOnSaturday April 11th. Reconsidering orange.

Six gardening things on a Saturday. Hosted by the Propagator himself.

1. My Nanking Cherry bushes are now in full bloom. There’s a recipe for cherry blossom cordial that I may try, given all the extra time I have at the moment. If it would stop raining for a couple of hours I could harvest some flowers and still have plenty left to make cherries.20200410_142806

2. My recalcitrant Helleborus Niger or Christmas rose has finally flowered. Just in time for Easter.20200410_143209~2

3. Early daffodils are opening up. Golden yellow King Alfred, an unknown white and orange small cup, 20200405_161007~2Jetfire with orange trumpet20200405_161028~2 and Tete-a-Tete. 20200405_161019~2Most of my daffs are Ice Follies and Thalia. These orangy ones are few and far between and end up in a vase.

4. I’m growing California poppies from seed this year. The little feathery plants are adorable but will have to be carefully located.20200407_064305

5. I neglected to sow Benary’s Giant zinnias last year in favour of Queen Red Lime. I thought it would be more tasteful. Just disappointing. I missed my big brash Benarys with their screeching colours and neon orange star-shaped stamens and this year they will be back. Probably in the vegetable garden.03740_1024x1024

6. Tulip Praestans van Fusilier on parade in vermilion orange jackets are out and about.20200410_142705

Purple wasn’t welcome in the beginning. I was all about pink, white and blue. And green if course. And yellow if only on the pale lime side. Gradually purple has insinuated itself in the form of precious violas, hellebores and clematis. It is a wonderful foil for spring greens and the rosy shades I’m fond of. I am sorry to have missed out on it for all these years. As a result I am reconsidering orange. In moderation, where it is justifiably an accent. Strange times indeed!

Stay safe and well out there and continue to follow the rules. Thank goodness for the garden!

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.

SixOnSaturday January 11th. 6 Random plant-y/garden-y things.

The weeks are flying by and it is Saturday again!

1. The bulb shaming worked on 1 amarylis. The other one is still in the dunce corner.20200109_085714

2. The witch hazel ‘Pallida’ twigs brought in for moral support are sweetly opening. 20200109_085725.jpg

3. My first ever successful Lemon Verbena cutting has come out of the dunce corner. It is finally showing new growth.20200111_100319~2

4. Just a gorgeous Begonia Rex.20200111_100413

5. Mr Magnolia is bursting with buds. 20200111_100629

6. Almost free seeds from the University of Rhode Island co-operative extension in association with Burpee. 34 packets for $8.50 shipping and handling. You can choose the type but not the varieties. It’s a fun selection pack, a chance to try varieties I would never normally order.20200111_100906.jpg

So that’s my Six for the week. I am in a hurry today…..please excuse the random ‘stream of consciousness’ nature of this post and pop over to the Propagator’s blog for more considered and well-written offerings! Have a wonderful week!