SixOnSaturday August 10th: Harvest Happens.

I have been harvesting herbs today. Bay leaves, thyme, sage,  marjoram, lemon verbena. IMG_20190802_104714These are tied in bunches using lengths of raffia that in a former life I scrounged from a fish vendor in Hong Kong.IMG_20190809_104937 The bunches hang in my warm, dark basement until dry, before being crumbled for use in cooking, as teas and as gifts for work.IMG_20190809_104816

Soon there will be poppy seeds. These are bread seed poppies. The seedpods don’t open up like salt shakers, so you can either leave them to dry in place or hang them. IMG_20190719_122920

The garlic is in.IMG_20190807_104341A really good haul this year. I planted only 24 cloves to harvest a whole muck-bucket full. IMG_20190808_142600Unusual in that quite a few of the singly planted cloves have sprouted 3 or 4 very large heads of garlic. I couldn’t say what variety, as I haven’t bought seed garlic in years. I just plant the biggest and best cloves around October 15th.

I pulled the little brown onions. IMG_20190809_102914The Alisa Craigs are still putting on weight so I’ll leave them to grow  for now. IMG_20190727_091703

Blueberries have been fantastic this year. I’ve been picking every other day or so, and from only 2 bushes have enough to eat and stock the freezer. This is today’s haul.IMG_20190802_114852 It’s all about netting. I use plain net curtains from Ikea. The birds can’t get tangled in the very fine mesh. There’s nothing worse than trying to rescue a furious grackle!

Chillies, peppers and squash can be picked daily. The weather is perfect.IMG_20190809_133544And it is tomato time at last! They will have their own Six!

Check out all the other Sixes by following the Propagator http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com. Enjoy  the harvest!

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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 March 30th

I’m exhausted from prune plant sow activities. I need to ‘harden off’ more than my seedlings after 4 months of reading and thinking about it.

Six things from your garden, each week on a Saturday. Take a look at the Propagators blog for gardening inspiration.

www. thepropogatorblog.wordpress.com.

Here are a very random 6 for the last week of March. IMG_20190325_104100

1. Parsley seedlings. Perfect & pretty.

 

IMG_20190325_1039082. Lettuce ‘Winter Density’ and..IMG_20190325_103954 ‘4 Seasons’ lettuce

 

 

3.Snow crocus,  small and mighty!

 

 

4. Iris Dandiforae.  Fine & dandy.

 

IMG_20190325_1315154. Pruning a very large Holly shrub, I found this Song Sparrow nest. A barque made from bark.  Carefully lined with plastic and with a mattress of maple twirlies and dryer lint.

 

IMG_20190328_0756436. Climbing Hydrangea. This mature vine once grew up into a Mulberry tree. The tree was probably 40 feet high and growing at an angle of 60 degrees when I inherited it many years ago. I called it the ‘bird buffet’ as it had an extremely long fruiting season, lasting most of the summer and into Autumn.  At first frost, all the leaves would fall in the space of an hour or so, signalling the close of the buffet for the season.

I had it pruned one Autumn, noting the wood was very heavy and wet. In spring new growth appeared along the cut branches lying on the ground. A few years later, during a summer drought, the mulberry tree laid down, the sinews snapping like fireworks at midnight on a full moon. I asked the cleanup crew to try to save the vine. I thought they’d ignored me. Yesterday, while pruning, I found the cut pieces where they’d ‘saved’ them for me.

Pay a visit to the Propagator’s website to see what’s going on in other peoples’ gardens.

www. thepropogatorblog.wordpress.com.

SixOnSaturday January 5th. Happy New Year

The first week of January has been wonderfully kind, with blue skies, mild temps, no precipitation or winds to speak of. I should probably get out and dig the last of the leeks.

The garden is still waiting for winter, which will come as we all know….but it was easy to find 6 pleasing things this week.

  1. Winter Savory. One of my favourite herbs. A blend of rosemary and thyme flavours, it seems to enhance all kinds of kitchen ‘doings’. I even put it in cranberry sauce! It is a tidy and beautiful little plant (unlike some herbs I could mention….) and can be picked through the winter as long as it is not under a blanket of snow.img_20190104_101919

 

2. Red Osier Dogwood “Arctic Fire” I think. I planted 2 as a windbreak on a bank of desperate soil facing due south. They have flourished, providing me with cutting materials though the winter and many plants to give away as they increase very easily by layering.img_20190104_101810img_20190104_101752.jpg

 

3. Gangs of sparrows. I finally got around to putting up the birdfeeders, at which point my birds arrived. The funniest is the gang of house sparrows, which lies in wait in a hazelnut tree before mobbing the feeders en masse. Lots of hazel catkins this year. Could be a bumper crop.img_20190104_101716img_20190104_101602

 

4. Passing lobster boat, nice to see they can still get out to tend the traps in this nice weather.img_20190104_101640.jpg

 

5. Hamamelis Virginiana, common native witch hazel, always the first to flower. Not a spectacular shrub but highly scented attracting whatever insects are out and about.img_20190104_101428

 

6. Heath “Vivelli”. Pretty dark purple foliage and magenta flowers just starting to open.img_20190104_101306.jpg

 

I’m taking advantage of this ‘January Thaw’ even though we haven’t had any snow yet. We all know winter is coming, but in the mean time I have a good dog that needs a walk!

Pop on over to the Propagator to see what else is going on in the gardens of the world.

http://www.thepropagator.wordpress.com