SixOnSaturday November 14th Little Brown Treasures.

  1. The first treasure, this perfect little song sparrow nest was abandoned early in Spring and has since been curated by a family of house wrens. It is one of several nests they have used all summer. Tucked into the angled branches of a skyrocket juniper, it is only 3 feet from the ground and in perfect condition. The wrens also had 2 nests in birdhouses and one under my shed, that I know of. As far as I can tell, eggs were laid and hatched in only one nest.

2. Another abandoned nest, this time from a pair of cardinals. This nest was little more than a scruffy wuzzle of grass balanced precariously in a star magnolia tree. Three chicks were raised, followed by at least one mockingbird baby, before the whole apparatus fell to earth. Both cardinals and mockingbirds are much larger than the tiny wrens with the perfectly groomed, spacious nest.

3. This is half of a shagbark hickory nut I think. The squirrels plant these all over. The saplings are fast growing and usually turn up in the middle of a precious specimen that I don’t want to disturb.

4. Fungus is something I don’t know much about but enjoy and admire. This is on a rotting willow log.

5. A fishing creel / foraging basket found today by the river. No sign of the owner. I of course imagined a night fisherman creeping around my back yard in the dark.

6. Not at the bottom of my garden but here’s a fairy ring. This is one of the outdoor classrooms at our local elementary school. No school today. I’m planning to make my own fairy ring next time I have a fallen tree. I’m sure the night fisherman will appreciate having a place to sit.

These are my six for this week. In the comments section of the host’s blog may be found many other sixes from near and far, as well as the rules if you’d like to participate.

Following snow at Halloween we had ten beautiful warm sunny days, but now its definitely drizzly, unmistakably autumn. There’s still plenty to do outside though so that’s where I’ll be.

SixOnSaturday November 10th TREES

I’ve been giving some thought to Mr Propagator’s search for the perfect tree. I am fortunate to live among many beautiful trees. If I could only have one,  it would be a cherry. Either a sweet or a sour fruiting cherry. I’ve tried and failed with both. My location and climate just won’t do. I’ve had crops that were amazing, followed by sudden death.  No photos of the remaining discouraging stumps. I’m moving on.

For my Six this week I give you trees and thoughts of trees.

1.Skyrocket juniperIMG_20181109_081810The juniper above was planted a few months after I moved here, 25 years ago.  It was 15 feet high. Last year the snow and ice tipped it over at a 45 degree angle. After cutting 10 feet off the top of the central leader, tying it in and hoisting it back upright all is well. At only 2 feet wide it’s a great punctuation point in my wild Kingdom. I’d sorely miss it if it hadn’t recovered. Green all winter, a soft landing for fledgling sparrows in spring.

2. Baby Red OakIMG_20181102_162312I have no oak trees on the property. I was given this little red oak sapling which spent the summer looking unremarkable in its pot. The autumn colour is so amazing I’ll be planting it out this month. In a few years it will make a lovely red statement in my mostly orange and gold autumn landscape.

3. Hawthorne IMG_20181102_162318This hawthorn was also a gift. I’m not sure which hawthorn it is but it will make a fine addition to the ‘back 40’. Please excuse the black bin bag covering on my rain barrel!

4. Magnolia Stellata IMG_20181104_130649

Magnolia Stellata is supposed to be a lovely, graceful tree. Mine is a thug, 4 hefty trunks requiring 3 or 4 prunings a year. But it is a thing of beauty in every season and hard as nails. Pure gold at the moment.

5 Blueberry IMG_20181104_130418

Not really a tree, but high bush blueberries come close. Today the leaves are red patent leather.

6. Hazelnutimg_20181104_130337.jpg

Another good 4 season tree. There is the nut harvest of course, with its attendant wildlife, but also long straight canes  to be used as bean supports, fantastic gold and cerise autumn colour. In winter there are fragrant catkins (which can be seen already if you look closely). Easy to propagate, has no pests that I know of, winter and drought hardy.

These are my Six. I can’t wait to see which tree the Propagator chooses. I have a feeling there will be more than one. ‘Cos “more plants innit!!”

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

SixOnSaturday September 8th. Questions and Answers…


I hope everyone is making the most of the golden September weather. It is my favourite month of all, the month I regard as the start of my gardening year. Time to harvest and to plant; not too hot for cooking, not too cold to spend quality time outside. Time to consider, ask questions and find the answers to next year’s perfect garden. Although this year was pretty near perfect, if you ask me!

Thanks as always to Mr. Propagator for hosting weekly reflections from around the gardening world.

Question 1. Mystery apple.

This was purchased as Ark Black.  Clearly it’s not. The supposedly dwarf root-stock is extremely vigorous. The apples are crisp and tart, with a lemony tang and cook to a firm, white texture.

Any ideas? IMG_20180905_104742

Question 2. Hazelnuts at last!  To shell or not to shell before roasting? IMG_20180903_102208IMG_20180905_104538

Question 3 Why is it I can never succeed with growing onions? Answer: because I sow too many to properly take care of them! This year I only planted out 15 or so Ailsa Craig seedlings, in blocks of 3. I fed, weeded and watered them appropriately. (Because when there are only 15 you can fit them in to any schedule). Granted, not as huge as they should be. But big enough to eat. Yeah!!!


Question 4 (Rhetorical) Has there ever been a better season for tomatoes? Still picking this many every other day. My overflow freezer is almost full.IMG_20180907_153826.jpg

Question 5 Do Magnolia seeds ever successfully germinate? I can’t say I’ve ever noticed my Magnolia Stellata setting fruit before. It also has flowers and next year’s flower buds, all at the same time. Could be confused by the endless hot weather.  I hope it’s not an ‘end of life’ behaviour. Better take some cuttings…IMG_20180907_121440IMG_20180907_121517

Rhetorical question 6. Striped Bass. The bass are plentiful,  big and strong this year. They must be 29″ from nose to tail. Why is it that the Captain only catch keepers when he’s a guest on someone else’s boat?


Pop over to the propogator’s website to see SixOnSaturday posts from around the world.