SixOnSaturday December 7th. All is White

1. First snow.

And so it came, on the first day of the last month of the decade. Not an inch or so as predicted, but 8 inches over 36 hours.

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2. The beagle and I had gathered festive foliage for our winter window boxes. The woods we walked in were carpeted with leaves. Lots of white pine windfall branches to be had. Strangely,  no cones this year.  Plenty of time to find them on another walk,  another day. Or so I thought….IMG_20191201_114141

3. From my garden, we cut red twigs and holly,  cedar,  fir and juniper, seed heads of actea. IMG_20191201_115725

4. Thankfully I had already filled up the bird feeders. The antics of chickadees, titmouse and wren kept us entertained throughout the storm. The heron has left for a warmer climate and the goldfinches are wearing their khaki winter plumage. Dark-eyed Juncos and Buffleheads have arrived, with an occasional merganser or eider duck in the flotilla. Cardinals, Blue Jays and woodpeckers brighten up the scene.

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5. The hawk awaits….IMG_6108

6. All is calm,  all is white!IMG_20190304_080822

Visit http://www.Thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com to see what’s going on in gardens everywhere. I’m sure that somewhere it is warm with flowers!

Six on Saturday, Giving Thanks.

1. As a result of traveling in October we missed Halloween. So did my only pumpkin. I picked it green before we left. It finally turned orange this weekend and was processed just in time for Thanksgiving pies, breads and treats. My aged beagle loves pumpkin mash.

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2. Harvesting the carrots, beets and some of the many leeks took up my time this week. Enough to keep us in my favourite roasted root vegetables  for the next couple of months. IMG_20191110_115435

3. Still in the ground are most of the leeks, parsley, kale and chard. If weather holds on the mild side we can still pick from the greens. The leeks will be fine until spring, even if I have to cut them above the frozen earth. IMG_20191110_115851

4. The compost bins have been ransacked to cover as many empty beds as possible. IMG_20191110_115813

5. Dahlias are safely in storage.IMG_20191110_115502

6. There are still leaves to be raked,  windfall logs to be chopped,  compost piles to be built and spread. But here’s a happy little volunteer mullein,  all ready to shine next Spring! IMG_20191110_132327

There’s no end and no beginning in gardening. One thing always leads to another. Thanksgiving is always appropriate.

On that note, please visit the website of the host:

http://www.Thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com for news from his own garden and many more.

Six on Saturday October 19th. Strange Times.

It’s been a funny old week. I’ve had laryngitis, no voice at all,  much to everyone’s relief. Very frustrating for me. So we went to the local agricultural fair,  by all accounts the oldest of its kind in the US.

1. Behold, the record-breaking giant pumpkin! IMG_20191013_163240Shortly after this picture was taken one of our party was rushed by ambulance to the ER, suffering what was diagnosed to be a panic attack brought on by all the crowding and shoving around the giant!

2. I grew lots of vines this year but only found this one, green pumpkin so far. It’s a nice heavy one, perfectly formed. IMG_20191016_130959

It has been sitting there in the marsh for a while doing nothing. We were expecting a storm so I hauled it back in. It has begun to take on an orange tinge,  so by Halloween it might be ready.

3. The storm (or bomb cyclone as they are known these days in over dramatic weather forecasting circles)  roared through and aside from laying down an old, dead shagbark hickory did no real damage in the garden. IMG_20191018_123334My neighbours were not so lucky,  ending up with giant Norway maples on their roofs, cars and in their pools.

4. The worst casualty here was the flattening of the  giant purple dahlia. It’s a really ugly thing anyway, and won’t be coming in for the winter.  IMG_20191018_123510I’m saying thank you and goodbye to it as soon as I can find time to get the pruners out. It could have taken a first at the local agricultural show, based on the sad prizewinning entries.

6. Finally for this week, something I’ve never seen.  Cercis canadiensis is flowering again. IMG_20191018_123059

I’ve  reminded her that it’s Autumn and time to think about powering down. Strange times….

Anyway, stop by the host’s site http://www.thepropagatorblog.com to visit gardens hither and yon…..and have a good gardening week

SixOnSaturday on the last day of August. Plenty.

Since I moved to my Massachusetts garden I have lived with 3 seasons. Winter, Summer and my favourite season of all, Plenty. From September until Thanksgiving or sometimes even New Year we enjoy plenty of sunshine, rain, work, harvesting, and celebrations. Plenty has started early this year,  I’m not sure whether that’s a good sign or not. On to the first six of the season.

IMG_20190830_0810551. State Fair apple. My first apple from the latest work in progress at the long neglected back of the property. I’m hoping for a very low maintenance orchard/ food forest. Time will tell…

IMG_20190830_1408542. Cornelian Cherries. Gleaming jewels of the food forest. Mostly  enjoyed by the birds, I should add. It makes the few they overlook seem more precious.

IMG_20190829_1129513. Onion Harvest. Alisa Craig has done me proud this year. I’ll definitely be going the no-dig route again next year. Now comes the challenge of winter storage.

IMG_20190830_1409404. 4. Ramial chips. Free mulch from a heavily pruned recalcitrant crab-apple. Note the abandoned robin’s nest right at the top of what’s left of the tree.

IMG_20190830_1103105. Soft Lighting. I just love the way the sun, lower now on the horizon, peeks through this magnolia, highlights the lime green of new rose growth beyond the shade and scatters tiny sun puddles on the bricks below.

 

IMG_20190829_1106296. ‘Endless Summer’ Hydrangea, aging gracefully.  I’m fond of the mop-heads but have way too many.  I like to use the dried flowers in holiday bouquets and wreaths. My little demi-lune table is also aging, not so gracefully! That’s all for this week. Lots of pruning,  planting and sowing to do before the 4 letter word beginning with S arrives.

Visit the Propagator’s website for all things garden-y going on this week http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com

SixOnSaturday August 24th. Green and growing.

Summer is at its height. The harvest continues at a ridiculous rate. Some things in the garden are taking advantage of the hot,  sultry days.IMG_20190821_0827071. Pumpkin and squash reaching out across the marsh,  looking for support from the phragmites that my neighbour  so optimistically cut down to the ground in spring!

IMG_20190821_0824432. Wild grape growing at a mile a minute along the tops of a red paper dogwood.

IMG_20190821_1041033. Tall elder branches bend to touch the earth,  under the weight of almost ripe berries.

IMG_20190823_1505584.Nicotiana sylvestris, growing full throttle, loving the late summer heat.

IMG_20190823_1454535. Goldenrod preparing for glory, at 6 feet tall and still growing….

IMG_20190820_145036IMG_20190820_1452106. Praying Mantis, enjoying our tropical climate. A rare and ethereal tourist.

Visit thepropogatorblog.wordpress to see what’s going on with gardens everywhere.

SixOnSaturday August 3rd. Seasonal shift.

We had 2 heatwaves in July. The rest of the month was really hot but didn’t quite make “official heatwave” status. It is humid from dawn till dawn. My water barrels are empty. There are rabbits everywhere. The beagle is too hot to bother them. The algae in the river stinks at low tide. On the plus side, it is too hot and dry for mosquitoes. A couple of good thunderstorms would be very welcome, but so far the garden is loving it! It is lush and green when I’d expect baked and brown. Here are my six specials from the garden this week.

img_20190727_092004.jpg1. Anemone japonica ‘robustissima’. As the name suggests this is a very hardy individual,  taking over the marsh-front border with gusto. It throws up its tall flower heads in late summer, and will flower prolifically from now until frost. For me it is the first floral  harbinger of fall. In a couple of weeks it will be infiltrated by wild jerusalem artichokes, causing me to chunter on about ‘clearing out’, ‘redesigning’, ‘no more pink and yellow combos’ and so on. But it will still be August, too hot & humid for such intense activity. By the time the weather co-operates I will be ‘over it’ for another year.  

IMG_20190727_0915422. Germander. Teuchrium Chamaedrys. This one is also a sign of summer’s end. A lovely edging in the sunny border. Some years I clip it. This does not feel like a formal edging year. In a normal climate it would be evergreen. It is a nice alternative to boxwood, which is not really hardy through our winters.

img_20190727_092059-e1564583559934.jpg3. Phlox. Another harbinger. I don’t know which one this is but it is medium height and hides all kinds of ugly rose stems and burned out clematis vines.

IMG_20190727_0915214. White lace-cap hydrangea. This was an element in my first white garden. It is the nicest hydrangea, first to flower and repeating until frost. The white flower is so clear and clean. Sadly it is now being thirsty-ed out by the thuggish redbud tree and will have to be moved to another part of the garden. Another job for the Fall. I’ll take cuttings as soon as the current heatwave is over….I’d hate to lose it as I’ve never seen a prettier one.

IMG_20190727_0917245. Crookneck Squash. One plant, still too many squashes!

IMG_20190727_0917036. Onions! I have at last grown a decent crop. They are not show quality by any means, but they are big enough to slice rather than pickle! It’s only taken 30 years…..these are no-dig which I am turning to more and more.

So there you are, Six on a Very Hot and Sticky Saturday! For more gardening excitement visit the propagator’s site http://www.thepropagatorblog.com and have a wonderful week.

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