SixOnSaturday June 5th

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June is all about flowers. Up first my little dwarf Kalmia which is making up for having no flowers last year.

The peonies are appearing. Here is ‘Moonstone’

The roses are packed with bloom and bud. Here are Abraham Derby, Leander and Zephirine Drouhin.

Clematis ‘Ramona’, which is much more blue in person

Self-sown Chamomile, Cerinthe and Foxglove are flourishing here and there around the borders. I gather chamomile flowers to make tea.

Mystery Flowers. This first one has had buds for ages, showing no signs of actually flowering. I don’t know what it is or where is came from. The plant next to the California Poppy looks a bit like tarragon but has no smell. Another mystery.

And here is a bonus picture of my rabbit proofed salad bed just before I discovered the little varmint inside the unbroken fence about to start on his morning buffet. Yesterday I found potato beetles munching, squash beetles, cabbage whites and a lily beetle. Everything is thriving! Especially the pests….

But you’ll appreciate my hostas – not a slug or snail hole to be found!

For more gardening Sixes, head to the host’s blog http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com and have a wonderful week. I’m off to check on that d***** rabbit!

SixOnSaturday May 22nd. Mostly white.

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SixOnSaturday time again. The weeks are flying by with daily new discoveries in the garden. Its hard to choose only six. In keeping with my theory that colour groups flower at the same time this week’s about white. For more contributions pop over to the host’s site http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com

  1. Star of Bethlehem. This small bulb sends up grass-like foliage which dies off and/or is eaten by rabbits before the flower stalks appear.

2. Blue Camassia is having a very good year, and has sown very pretty white seedlings here and there.

3. Deutzia is playing her usual fanfare to summer. It’s very easy to make new plants by layering stems.

4. Viburnum plicatum ‘Mariesii’, slightly off kilter and needing a bit of a tidy up, flanked by a fluffy white azalea.

5. This yarrow foliage shines silvery white.

6. Not white at all! In contrast with my white shed, my flower baskets this year are petunias, red geraniums and lobelia. Not quite my usual froth of chamomile and cascading ivy but so pleasing!

There you have it! Have a wonderful week.

SixOnSaturday May 15th Firsts and Lasts

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SixOnSaturday is hosted by Jon at http://www.thepropagator.wordpress.com. The rules and sixes from around the globe may be found in the comments section. Join in.

  • It might be the last summer for my little carved buddha ball. He lives under this creeping spruce. Something has eaten his nether regions to a point where he has difficulty sitting upright. To the woodpile soon he will go.
  • This lovely dusky pink tulip is always the last to appear, signaling the close of spring bulb season. It appears as the cornus is leafing out, accentuating the fading-to-green stems.
  • Narcissus Sinopel is in it’s first season here at Riverview. Opening even later than Actea, it is the last narcissus of the season. It is very graceful, with pretty recurved petals and lime green accents. I hope it will go forth and multiply. Just not as much as Actea which is trying to take over.
  • The first dahlia. This one was overwintered in my basement and potted up in March as it was showing signs of growth.
  • Oh Petunia! I’ve been growing petunia from seed for a few years, never realising they were so easy. They are really early and hardier than you’d think. They are merrily flowering outside even though nights are still cool here.
  • Last but not least, one of my favorite shrubs. Honey vanilla scented fluffballs on a tidy 3 season shrub. No pests, diseases or problems with this native fothergilla.

So there it is. Another week has gone by as we hurtle towards the longest day. Enjoy the garden!

SixOnSaturday May 8th. Lilac time.

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Here we are again, mother’s day and lilac time. More about six on Saturday, the rules and comments on the host’s website http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com

  • I find that plants tend to flower in colour groups. At the moment I have more mauve (usually on the forbidden list) than I care to think about. My first dahlia, naturally, is mauve. More about that another day. The true lilac and the redbud flowering next to each other, a symphony of mauve.
  • As I look out on the water, my view is blocked by a showy hedge of lunaria interspersed with mauve tulips.
  • The chive blossom is just about ready to join in.
  • On a happier note, there’s also a lot of white. I love these little white tulips which might be Maureen. That’s what I call them anyway.
  • The Carmine Jewel cherry has outdone itself.
  • Sweet Woodruff, always welcome is beginning to flower. A wonderful ground cover, adapting to all locations but easily pulled out when it gets over enthusiastic.

These are my six. My ‘test chillies’ have been in the ground for a couple of weeks and seem pretty happy. Dare I say my average last frost date is May 8th and winter may finally be over?

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SixOnSaturday February 20th White and Waiting

It is that time of the year when finding six things is really difficult. Spring is waiting in the wings but yet it is snowing. It is still well below freezing at night. Texas and the US southern states are suffering from freaky unexplained winter weather. But nature is stirring, showing small signs. Go to the comments section of the Host for more signs of spring, from subtle to spectacular! http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com

  • It is snowing again but the Witch hazel Pallida flowers are opening.
  • The Pussy Willow catkins shine silver in the occasional sunshine. It has been a long and cloudy winter.
  • Snowdrops begin to show white tips.
  • Little white root systems appeared on the Dahlia tubers in storage. They are now potted up and ready to go!
  • The Onion Grass is perking up and may be a useful salad garnish soon
  • Seedlings are sprouting on every available surface. It is almost time to Garden!

Have a wonderful week!

Prune Plant Sow January 2nd- Backwards and Forwards.

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Six garden related things on a Saturday. Simple, there are few if any rules. Post your link on the comments section of the host’s blog http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com where you can also see participants from around the globe.

A new calendar year has begun in which I will reminisce and plan. Looking back, 2020 was all about the rabbits. The crops they don’t approve of (leeks, tomatoes, chilies, beetroot) have never been bigger, tastier and healthier. The others (lettuce, spinach, beans and peas) however, have been more or less non-existent. Too much energy was spent trying to outwit them and wailing over the chaos they brought down on us. Which leads me to the first of my Six this week:

  • A fence. I am starting my 2021 with a rabbit proof fence around my vegetable beds. Said fence will be strong 1/2″ netting attached to 7′ hazel poles. There will be weights at the bottom. More on coppicing the hazel in a future post.
  • To facilitate the fence there will be a new updated garden plan. Currently laid out in rectangular no-dig beds about 6′ by 12′ I will be changing to 4′ x 40′ beds with actual chipped paths between. This should help avoid too many tiptoes and pirouettes as I try to negotiate inside the fence. It might also come close to looking tidier than my usual jungle with crops climbing all over each other. Perhaps…
  • In 2021 the veg garden will include only the crops we love to eat or that I love to grow. I will grow only 1 pumpkin plant for Halloween. There will be no weird squashes that end up in the compost pile because we don’t like squash. There will be loads of carrots and potatoes and fewer beets, kale and chard.
  • Looking back, my flower gardens have become very unruly. It’s time to take stock and think about more low maintenance options as I get older. I may even want, one day, to sell this property and move on to a smaller garden. Realising that not every potential buyer will appreciate a giant witchy herb garden full of rampant obscure edibles, my goal for this year is to install curb appeal in the front of the house.
  • Flowers. My property is very lush and green and hosts many food and wildlife friendly plants. But at some times of the year it lacks the drama of flowers. I do have a lot of spring bulbs, poppies, roses and peonies, but need to learn to incorporate more late summer and fall flowers such as helenium, gaillardia and echinacea. The above photo serves to illustrate both points! In this section the most outstanding flower was the squash! The roses and peonies are over and the Japanese anemones have not yet started flowering. The hydrangeas were wishy washy this year and just didn’t help the overall effect.
  • As many people have realised there is wildlife all around us. We have only to stop and notice what is out there. To that end I’ll leave number six to some of my garden birds from the end of 2020: a charm of goldfinches finishing up my lilac seed; a murder of crows harassing my resident red-tail hawk; 3 swans a-swimming and a downy woodpecker in the redbud tree!

Happy 2021 and may it please be a good one with the right amount of rain (during the nights) and sunny pleasant days filled with good food and flowers.

SixOnSaturday December 19th – Moving right along.

SixOnSaturday is a weekly phenomenon hosted by the phenomenal Propagator. Six garden related things on a Saturday. The contributions of global gardeners may be found in the comments section of his blog http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com Here are my Six this week.

  1. Snow day. We’ve already had much more snow this winter than the whole of last winter. The groundwater deficit has been rectified!

2. The poor old skyrocket juniper is leaning westward under the weight of snow and northeast winds. Hopefully the sun will melt some of the snow off the branches so I can shove it back to vertical.

3. Happily I was able to harvest leeks, bok choi and cilantro before the snow. The cilantro was the base for a piri peanut sauce, a very festive shade of green.

4. It was the perfect day to make my annual batch of hedgerow jam. It’s full of fruit gathered across the summer and frozen until time and weather permits. This year’s crop includes plums, strawberries, several kinds of cherry, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. Every time I pick a few of something that won’t be enough for a dish they go into the container in the freezer. I make pectin from windfall apples and crabapples to help it set. Oops, the lid is crooked on that front jar…

5. Winter orchid. A supermarket-sourced gift given to us years ago, broken and wilted. The silly thing has flowered every single December without fail. It is about to make its way to the living room display area. It is white.

6. The Frog pond. A lovely terracotta pond/planter purchased many years ago in Pennsylvania from a pottery named The Swamp Fox, for a sum of money I could not justify then or now. I loved it then and love it now. I’ll never be without it.

The snow fell, the eighth Hannukah candle was lit. The Solstice, along with the Great Convergence and the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, is looming. Not to mention Christmas in lockdown an the end of the four years of Orange madness. I’m ready for moving right along….have a wonderful week.

SixOnSaturday. Running late!

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Rather late to the party this week! It was Thanksgiving day on Thursday. Here’s my Thanksgiving cactus, right on cue!

And here’s part of the squash and dried gourd harvest as table decoration.

Tradition dictates decorating for Christmas the weekend after Thanksgiving. So you don’t freeze your fingers off. Today is warm and sunny so I picked spruce, juniper, holly, and red twigs from my own garden. And some pretty ivy that has started colonizing my fence. Tomorrow I’ll forage white pine boughs and cones to complete the assortment of cut branches for winter window boxes.

The rabbits have once again eaten all my parsley. It was so pretty yesterday. Too bad I didn’t take a photo…..too late!

But here’s a bunch of sage I picked this morning. Drying nicely.

And a wreath I made a few years ago from grape vine. I will add fresh greenery to it for the front door.

Its late in the day for some of you and still early for others. That’s the beauty of SixOnSaturday. Anyone can join, whenever they choose. See more sixes from everywhere at the host’s blog.

http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com

where the rules may also be found. (Really there are few rules).

SixOnSaturday November 21st. Hardy Individuals

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SixOnSaturday is brought to us every week by the propagator. Six things in or of the garden. Visit the comments section of his blog to enjoy sixes from around the globe. http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com

As winter approaches and hibernation sets in (for me) I try to draw inspiration from the natural world. Here are six examples.

  1. Galanthus Nivalis. These hardy little bulbs are poking their heads through at least 2 months earlier than usual

2. Excuse the fuzzy photo. This is a wonderful double feverfew. It appears to be perennial. It is flowering profusely even though we’ve already had snow and heavy frosts.

3. My first attempt at growing California Poppy. I’m not sure if they are truly winter hardy here but the foliage is very lush and beautiful.

4. Primula Veris forging ahead toward spring. 

5. The hearty hardy winter harvest. A wheelbarrow full of carrots, beets and turnips to warm us through the cold days ahead.

6. Morus Nigra. Two hundred years ago, dreams of riches from silk thread sparked mulberry mania throughout the Northeast US. Tens of thousands of mulberry trees were planted during the 1830s as prices for the saplings soared to outlandish heights.

This sapling wins the Hardy Prize for 2020. It is the offspring of a very old large Black Mulberry tree (aka the bird buffet) that lay down quietly in my vegetable on a still, moonlit night about 10 years ago. The wood is extremely wet, heavy and long lasting. Logs from that tree¬† still edge my vegetable garden. I still find saplings every summer. I like to think they are the great grandchildren of those silk producing trees in the 1800’s.

Loved by birds, the fruit is produced over most of the summer. As the season grew hot and humid the berries ferment, resulting in inebriated blue jays and doves waddling drunkenly about and crashing into things.

There are my Six. I hope your week is a good one. Stay safe!

SixOnSaturday September 26th Beginning Autumn.

Its time for another SixOnSaturday. From the garden, six things. In the comments section of the host http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com you will find other Sixes to make you smile. In the featured picture you will see my favourite sign of the changing season. The pre-migratory feeding frenzy begins.

 1. The garden is showing signs of the seasonal change. A couple of chilly nights is all it takes. The Magnolia Stellata (which may be on its final season if we have a tough winter) is turning to gold with bright red berries. Caryopteris Blue Knight, all a-buzz, lights up the understory.

2. The Blueberries are starting to show their colours.

3. Gleaming beads of Callicarpa or Beautyberry. Apparently you can make jelly from them. I never have.

4. The very last squash is hanging on to the Ilex Verticilata, whose red berries will have been eaten by blue jays long before the squash is ripe.

a nice trailing of Virginia creeper and a wild rose are also in residence.

5. Goldenrod is just amazing this year.

6. and it is time to start picking the winter vegetables. Here are some leeks, Bleu Solaise. There’ll be lots of soup on our winter menus.

The tomato plants have been pulled, the compost and ground cover crops have been planned and discussed. All that is needed now is to get on with it! I did break out the chipper today to make material for next year’s paths so that’s a start. These dog days are so beautiful, it is hard not to just stand and watch them go by.

Have a wonderful week in the garden!