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 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

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 October 6th.

I had a few days to myself this week. Ladders were set up, tools sharpened, trees pruned, branches chipped, compost turned, potatoes dug. I’m happily exhausted! After a final tidy-up mow, I’m taking time to honour six pretty random things from the garden that made me smile.

IMG_20181005_1411191.Winterberry, Ilex Verticillata. This deciduous Holly brightens winter window boxes and bouquets. I have a bad feeling the male pollinator plant met the man with the chain saw earlier this summer and may need to be replaced next spring.

IMG_20181005_1412162. Winter vegetable garden,  scallions,  leeks,  kale,  chard,  beets and carrots. Comfort food.

IMG_20181005_1414333. Blueberry Bush with goldenrod. When did that get in there? I’ve weeded that area repeatedly and never noticed it until it flowered.

IMG_20181005_1410454. Viburnum Mariesii colouring up nicely. Always first to turn vibrant burgundy. One of my favourite shrubs.

IMG_20181005_141017.jpg5. Hydrangea fading to Victorian watercolor. Dusky washes of violet,  mauve and puce with shades of grey.

IMG_20181005_1409386. Montauk Daisy. This plant is a real bonus. Spring green succulent foliage with large clear white daisies. Hardy as can be. Easily roots from stem cuttings. Almost the last plant of the year to flower. Only hardy chrysanthemums are to follow before the ‘big cold’ sets in, along with my ‘big grumpy’. Hope to squeeze a few more Sixes in before that though… .

This weekly meme is hosted by the Propagator. Pop on over to his site to read musings from around the globe.

thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com

SixOnSaturday August 4th

August brings in more hot, humid days with brilliant sunshine. While the rest of the US is reeling from heat, fire and flood we are enjoying embarrassingly perfect weather. Enter the Bold and the Beautiful.

  1. Lilies. As anticipated the coral pink with orange accents clashes perfectly with the unexpectedly purple dahlia in the same pot. They are  good in a vase with the coral phlox below so they will be planted close by as soon as they’ve done floweringIMG_20180725_084444

2. Sunflower. There’s very little yellow allowed here. I make an exception for sunflowers in August and September. This one is “Elf”, a dwarf variety with full size flowers. I also grew “Italian White”  which is a paler lemon yellow. img_20180801_1033591.jpg

3. Hydrangea. This one came from a florist in a pot with shiny paper. 3 years later after the coldest winter on record, it flowers! The flowers are gorgeous, pure white and massive! I have a lot of blue mophead hydrangeas too. img_20180725_1012051.jpg

4 Zinnias. I just love these complicated showoffs! Benarys Giants. They have to live in the vegetable garden ‘cus they don’t play well with anything else!IMG_20180801_095607

5. Phlox are dominating the garden at the moment. I’ve lost the name of this short coral pink one, img_20180801_0956301.jpgand this one is David, much taller, approaching 6 feet.img_20180801_103518.jpg

6. Abraham Darby. One of the most spectacular roses I’ve ever grown, strongly scented. Now in the second flush of flowers. Rubbing noses with my little hedge of germander.img_20180801_1038351.jpg

These are my Six. Hope you all have a great weekend and take a minute to see what Mr Propagator is up to on holiday, at thepropogatorblog.wordpress.com