SixOnSaturday November 21st. Hardy Individuals


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.

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 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!

SixOnSaturday September 5th. Wonderland.

The time has come, the walrus said, to talk of many things:

Of Sunflowers; Russian Giants, Lemon Queen, Jerusalem Artichokes and Elf Minis


Where spiders lurk…….


Of sneaky squash, hiding baby fruits among other plants, Here in a winterberry…..


here under a hydrangea…

Here staging an assault on a viburnum

Here hanging like fairy lights in the reeds.

No cabbages or Kings, but salad things: lettuce, spinach, bok choi and cilantro

This is truly Wonderland!

Six smiley September garden things on a Saturday.

This theme is hosted by the Propagator and inspired by Alices everywhere.

To see more posts from gardeners everywhere please visit the comments section of his

Blog and provide a link to your own Six.

Have a wonderful week!

SixOnSaturday August 29th. Food for thought.

According to my spread sheet we are 2 weeks away from autumn. There is a light chill in the morning air. Harvest every day is the name of the game. Between the rabbit and me, all will be gathered in, nourishment for the season ahead. (He had my cabbages last night….)

We’re also getting in a few outdoor social events while the temperature is reasonable. Dining with friends on my deck this evening. Food for thought…

Here are 6 things to celebrate in and from the garden. For more contributions that celebrate the season pop over to the host site;

1. Potato salad. Just a few pounds of Desire potatoes moved to make way for beetroot seedlings.20200828_152516

2. Caprese. Tomato harvest is slowing down but the peppers and chillies are coming in strong now.20200828_152540

3. Zucchini for the grill.20200828_152226~2

4. Happy herbs are used in all our salad dishes.20200828_151952

5. A mixed bouquet of late roses, zinnias and sunflowers. For the soul.20200828_152302~2

6. The seasonal gatherings have begun. Not just my gatherings, but also that of the soon to be migrating birds. Egrets, cormorants and yellow legs. At low tide they rush to catch whatever fish they can, building strength for the journey. They hang out here at high tide discussing trade winds, weather patterns, who’ll be first to leave and stopping off places en route. This will go on for a couple of weeks and one day they will be gone. Except for the great blue heron, who is always the last to leave.20200828_085252~2Enjoy your late summer garden. These are the days of wine and roses…..

SixOnSaturday August 22nd. Consequences.

It’s so dry. We’ve had a dry mild winter followed by almost no rain this year. The garden is baking. The drought is having serious consequences.

1. Struggling to live without sufficient rain, Mr Magnolia has his first bad case of magnolia scale. The scale insects suck the sap from the tree, attach themselves to the branches and die. The next generation is incubated inside the dead bodies to emerge in the autumn and repeat the cycle. In a last ditch attempt to interrupt the next generation’s progress I will be resorting to a neem spray. This will have to be done at night in order to avoid the millions of bees, wasps, ants and other insects feasting on the leaking sap. And must be done exactly when the disgusting crawlers hatch. Mostly I believe in letting pests and diseases sort themselves out but in this case it’s a big old tree and I want to save it if possible. Of course if drought is our future this will be a short lived remedy and a dead magnolia by this time next year.20200821_131922

2. Sadly no sweetcorn. Those dastardly squirrels have had it again. Last week they ate the hazelnuts, leaving the shells artfully arranged around my vegetable garden bench. This week the ears of corn are empty. Still attached to the stalks. But gone.20200821_132053

3. Tomatoes are taking a break. Temperatures are too high for them to ripen. It’s OK, they have produced a fantastic crop this year. And they will pick up again next month. We haven’t bought any vegetables for weeks. Here’s a salad.20200821_142546

4. Not all consequences are bad. Winter squash is ready for harvest quite a bit earlier than usual. The plants are still setting fruit.20200821_131906

5. Zinnias and sunflowers are thriving.20200821_121557

6. And here is our almost-rain for this week. No-one here got rained on during the passage of this cold front. (Begins regular early morning rain dance regime….)20200819_180833

Six on Saturday is a weekly theme hosted on his blog by the Propagator himself. Six garden things on a Saturday. What could be better?

SixOnSaturday week 52

We are at the end of my garden calendar year. Week 52. Here are Six things on a Saturday to mark this auspicious moment. Take some time to check out the other participants’ sixes in the comments section of the host’s blog:

1. Tropical storm Isaiah ripped through last night toppling corn, pepper plants and sunflowers. Staking took place at sunrise.20200805_133438


2. The storm laid to rest a very large and unruly Viburnum opulus that I had been planning to cut back to the ground when the weather is cooler. Its 90 degrees today but I made a start.20200805_132838

3. Naturally it laid itself down on top of a baby apple tree that bears it’s first single fruit. The apple tree will recover. The apple itself looks a bit haggard.

4. Scrambling through said viburnum was a Blue Hubbard squash which may or may not survive the onslaught of my trusty little battery operated chain saw. The dangling fruit is now on the ground until it ripens (or is nibbled by varmints).20200805_132928

5. In other news week 52 is usually marked by the start of the tomato harvest. This year however we are already in full glut mode and clearing space in the freezer for the overflow.20200807_073115

6. And finally a fountain. A fun little solar powered toy for the birds. It needs a bigger pond as the water spills over the edges in the slightest breeze. That will be taken care of.20200805_130455

Then on to week 1 and all it brings in harvesting, planning, sowing, ordering bulbs, summer pruning, spreading compost and generally setting up for the season to come.

Enjoy your gardening week!


SixOnSaturday July 18th. Harvest.

My gardening year ends and begins with the harvest of the first ripe tomato in week 52. Don’t ask why, it is completely random. Its when I turn my focus from pruning, planting and sowing and onto harvesting, making and growing plans for next year. In my garden today it’s week 49 and harvest time.

1. I’d not tasted garlic until going to college. I will never be without it again. This is my ‘runt’ row from odds and ends of bulbs and cloves that I wasn’t 100% sure were even garlic. The ‘good’ row has even bigger bulbs and is taking a bit longer in the ground to mature properly. 20200715_114419

2. Cucumber time is here. Picking at least 4 a day from 2 plants. I’m learning to pickle them.20200715_113729

3. Chard is not a vegetable we eat a lot. I find it bitter. I grow it because it is gorgeous and fool proof. Recipe suggestions anyone?20200715_114232

4.Summer raspberries. Polana is an autumn raspberry but by spring-pruning only half the plants you get 2 harvests. Or so I’m told. These are delicious.20200715_113712

5. Our Blueberry bushes are loaded. The first ones are ripe. I’m waiting for a calm weather day to take the nets off for the first picking.20200703_161001 And here’s the first pint.


6. Meet my bean isolation unit. It is a  last ditch attempt to outwit the rabbitzen and have a bean harvest. Hiding inside are pole beans and black beans. They are getting big and fat now (the rabbits, not the beans) and have added all my parsley and carrot tops to last week’s menu. There’s a sturdy fence on next year’s shopping list. And probably a replacement beagle in the spring.20200715_113859

Those are my Six for the week. You may find many others in the comments section of the host’s blog

Six on Saturday January 4th 2020 – Dilemmas, Dreams and Disappointments

The January thaw arrived in late December this year, permitting the harvest of late vegetables that I usually lose to sub zero, can’t even get the fork in the ground for months, temperatures. I still have arugula and mache unprotected in the garden, not only that, it is still edible. Here are my 6 unseasonably available garden-y things for the week.

1. Leeks. What do you do with 25lbs of newly harvested Bleu Solaise leeks?20191231_120211~2

2. Similarly turnips. These are Gilfeather, a local heirloom. They are large and probably only good for soup.20191231_120156~2

3. Dreaming of Spring. Pussy Willows from the tree that was ‘coppiced’ (read “Hacked Down to ground level”) by one of my hired hardy New England ‘landscapers’ last spring. At least I can reach the whips to cut them now.20191231_120307~2

4. More Dreaming. Sneaky little Snowdrops peeking through. Won’t see the flowers until March of course. There is plenty of Winter left here.20191231_120251~2

5. Disappointment. The last bowl of carrots. Usually my best storage crop, decimated by carrot fly this year. 20191224_093432Although we’ve had quite a few meals off them already, here’s what I took to the compost pile from the bottom of the basket.20191224_093438

6. And finally, bulb-shaming the Amarylies that wouldn’t. One new bulb and one 3 year old that always does. Not this year. Disappointing!!!20191224_095643

I hope your gardening week went well and that the appropriate amount of Prosecco was consumed in celebration of the end of the ‘terrible teens’. Take a look at all the other gardens at the website of the host:

Happy New Decade!

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.


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: 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 to visit gardens hither and yon…..and have a good gardening week