SixOnSaturday July 4th. Independence Day.

Six things from the garden on a Saturday. Hosted by the Propagator, in the comments section of whose blog more sixes from around the gardening globe may be found.

1. Red. The first Benarys Giant zinnias are opening in various shades of red. Our own little fireworks!20200703_16105220200703_160858

2. Also at the red party, a Snapdragon that over wintered.20200703_160730_Burst01

3. White cotton mesh curtains protecting the Blueberry crop. No blueberry pie for the 4th of July this year, they’re not ripe yet.20200703_161001

4. Red, White & Blue lychnis coronaria and Hydrangea Blue Billow, a star spangled combo.20200703_161243

5. White and blue all American mopheads.20200703_161128

6. Blue. Because its my favourite colour and also because I’m feeling blue.20200703_160801

In sharing these 6 I’m trying to recall the reasons for being here in this broken and fragile country. Less than 4 years ago there was a leader with strength and pride and hope. And compassion. I’d like that ‘hopey changy thing’ back asap.


In a vase on Monday

20200531_141515~2Today’s vase was a wedding gift. Very heavy blue glass with a magenta dimple in the base. This not very subtle vase is about 14″ tall and surprisingly looks well with almost any content.

The little frog netsuke I bought in a market in China before the sale of ivory was banned.

The rhododendron was rescued from the dead plant department in the early days of my garden. The flowers are huge.20200529_165948

I added some heuchera foliage and flower stems to help the rhodies simmer down a bit.


Thank you Cathy for hosting. Enjoy more vases in the comments section.

SixOnSaturday May 31st.

The days are growing longer, the world is opening up a bit and Six on Saturday continues to inspire. I’m pruning planting and sowing like never before. Here are 6 for the week.

1. First up is Ray’s Big Red Rhody. A gift from the dead plant department, it was a stick when planted. Now its taller and wider than me and just starting to flower.20200529_170006

20200529_1659482. Continuing with a red theme the Heuchera foliage is rather splendid. 20200529_1700473. So is the rhubarb. This is one of 3 plants each about 5 feet in every direction. This one is in the messy corner where you may also find a row of scallions, last year’s leftover turnips and a red kale that have all gone to seed. In hopes of attracting the bugs that would normally eat my harvest….20200528_1503194. We harvested the first baby spinach this week for a salad to bring to our first post covid outing. I didn’t think to take a picture but it was delicious and grown in a window box like these lettuce that we’ll have to eat soon.

5. Here’s a lovely Deutzia in full swing.20200528_1504446. Finally a song sparrow taking a bath.20200528_145629~220200528_145629That’s it from me. Its hard to choose only 6 things at this time of year. Roses and peonies are ready to pop but that will be for another day. Check out the comments on the host blog for more pretty things.

SixOnSaturday April 25th 2020. Unusual?

After a mild, sunny Winter, a cold, wet start to Spring and 6 weeks of lockdown the bulbs are coming up on schedule and as usual. 6 things on a Saturday to prove it!

1. Apricot parrot tulips. These were planted years ago and reliably appear every spring. Every spring someone snips off the almost ripe buds and leaves them scattered on the ground. It’s not a person. Is it a bird? Is it a rabbit? Is it a bug? I’ve never discovered the culprit. It only happens to these tulips. All the others are untouched.



2. This is a relatively new tulip for the garden. Red Appeldoorn. It’s a big classic unfussy red that I dearly love.


3. Narcissus Thalia shows her pretty face. I need to add more. These have de-naturalised over the years from a host to a scattering.


4. Cheerfulness on the other hand is clumping up very nicely and full of buds.20200420_143930


5. The stream of muscari has returned, as usual, despite being re-routed last year. 20200420_144504

Muscari latifolia has become more of a pool than a stream. 20200420_144204


6. A dwarf fernleaf dicentra (bleeding heart) that I vaguely remember buying back when the world was normal and one could browse the nurseries for little treasures. It’s about to be consumed by a hulking great mallow and a massive mullein. That’s probably why I haven’t seen it in recent years. Normally there isn’t this much time to micromanage. Job for the next warmish dry day will be to move at least one of them.20200420_143952


And just to keep things in perspective, this last photo was taken a week ago. April 18th. I hope this isn’t the new normal.


Six on Saturday is a weekly session of virtual garden rambles hosted by the Propagator himself. Explore the comments section of his blog and join the garden party. Stay safe in isolation. I must confess I’m enjoying it!

SixOnSaturday October 5th. Red.

Baby girl is 2 today and the first frost is on the pumpkin. I still have a lot to do in the vegetable garden but it won’t be happening this weekend. A road trip to Manhattan is planned. My Six this week highlight the colour red.

1. Knockout rose. A grocery store bargain that continues to flower reliably all season long.img_20191004_141655.jpg

2. Zinnia Queen Red Lime is finally starting to bulk up. They are too subtle and wispy for my taste. I’m going back to my old favourite ‘Benary’s Giants’ next year. IMG_20191004_141618

3. Ruby Chard. Pretty as any flower. Intermingled with beets.IMG_20191004_141232

4. Fruit of Cornus Kousa

5. Ilex Verticilata – Winterberry. Deciduous holly loaded with berries this year.IMG_20191004_1411456. Viburnum Trilobum luminous red against a backdrop of still-green maples.

Stop by the host’s site to visit gardens hither and yon…..have a good gardening week



SixOnSaturday May 18th Blossom time

Despite cold and rainy weather, our native trees and shrubs are ‘getting on with it’ and this week are putting on a great show in the garden. Frothy blossoms, along with fresh new growth in vibrant shades of lime, emerald and bronze announce that spring is finally here in New England. It is amazing how much the garden changes from week to week. Thank you to the Propagator for SixOnSaturday, which helps us to enjoy and appreciate the subtle seasonal shifts.IMG_20190511_1417271. Chaenomeles completely laden with buds this year. I always need to prune away the new growth in order to see the flowers. I don’t mind as this approach also keeps the size of the shrub in check. It also gets a shaping in late summer.


IMG_20190511_1417492. Cercis canadiensis. This is a wonderful tree, and a sad case of don’t believe everything you read! Described as a small shapely tree, the one I have is a large bulky tree. The main trunk is at least 12″ in diameter at about 10 years old. It is inappropriately situated and requires pruning at least twice a year so we can see out of the windows. The new growth can be 8 feet long. I use the prunings as bean supports. I should probably have it cut down but it is a memorial tree and extremely healthy. The blossom is gorgeous. At this point I think of it as a large Bonsai.


img_20190511_141812-e1558109847727.jpg3. Prunus glandulosa. Fragrant Almond. A lovely little shrub with double pink flowers all down every stem, very fragrant, very well behaved. You don’t often see this one. It could be because it is pretty unremarkable for 11 months of the year. I have enough space to showcase it during its glory.


IMG_20190511_1418534. Prunus Carmine Jewel. This one is part of my experimental cherry group. Traditional sweet or sour cherry trees are not suited to this land. They turn up dead on a regular basis. The Nanking, Cornelian and Carmine Jewel cherries seem to fare much better, crop well. They are not as good to eat, being small and seedy, but are fine in pie filling or jam.


IMG_20190511_1419425.There are many native Viburnums in my garden. Burkwoodii is the first to bloom and extremely fragrant.


IMG_20190511_1420206. This Amelanchier is also a native. It lives on the weedy edge of the marsh, often has wet feet and yet rewards with a fine display each May.

That’s what is blooming in our yard this week. Visit the Propagator’s site for more garden news from all over.  Have a great week!

SixOnSaturday March 9th. Vixen.

A Foxy little work-around. Still very cold here, my plan B this week was icicles in their many forms….

IMG_61841. Snow and Ice. Again. But wait, who’s that behind Fat Lady number 2?

Now becoming a regular visitor, worthy of her own whole ‘Six’. I’m sure she’s looking for a place to have her pups. At any rate she’s working on the resident water rat and squirrel population. And perhaps the groundhogs later in the season…..

IMG_61862. The Fat Ladies. Started as  2 very adorable little topiary at the entrance to my vegetable garden. Now they are ginormous and scheduled to get the chop. Sometime between ‘shelter for the birds’ time and ‘nesting’ time.

IMG_6192 crop3. Phragmites. 25 years ago there were none here. Now they are overtaking the marsh. I’m in 2 minds – obviously they provide shelter and cover for all kinds of birds and beasts. I tend to think they prevent erosion of the river banks to some degree. However, they also occupy space formerly filled by goldenrod, sea lavender, thistles and milkweed.

img_6194.jpg4. The Bass Rocks. My mostly absent neighbour has attached an un-permitted dock. I’ve never seen a boat. The wildlife enjoys it as a roosting spot. The vixen is on her way to check for leftovers.

img_6201.jpg5. Sumac. Another wild invasive. Pretty all through the winter with red seed heads that can be made into a refreshing ‘tonic’.

6. Vixen herself. Isn’t she beautiful? In a month or so we will start to hear wailing at night. Unimaginably terrifying, loud, sounding like a tortured soul. Hopefully a few weeks later, fox cubs.

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


SixOnSaturday February 23rd. Sow It Begins…

It is a funny thing, Winter drags on and I’m dying for Spring but I can’t get motivated to start sowing seeds. The basement, where I keep my supplies is cold, with a concrete floor. Cleaning and setup takes forever.

Today the sun is shining, the temp is above freezing, the birds have started singing their songs of love…and as happens every year, I just got on with it!

IMG_20190222_1145461. It begins. Every available surface. This week I started assorted annual flower seeds and peppers. Plus a few herbs and some lettuce….

img_20190222_114604.jpg2 . This little onion propagator was once a catering pack of oatmeal raisin cookies.

IMG_20190222_1146373. As if it knew it was destined to be dumped back in the heap tomorrow,  a bud finally appeared on last year’s red amaryllis .

IMG_20190222_1151014. Speaking of red, geraniums on the porch,  with a backdrop of snow.

IMG_20190222_1150475. Tete a tete daffodils,  also indoors. From a 3 dollar pack of 16 bulbs there are 3 flowers. Not very economical after all.

IMG_20190212_0633086. Sunrise, preceding one of 3 snowfalls this week. Just a few inches each time,  to remind me that it’s still mid winter here. February can be a ‘tretorus’ month, as they say around here. Actually, so can  March!

I’ll very quickly get sick and tired of having seed trays all over the house, but for now I’ll take it as a sign of Spring.

Take a visit to gardens and gardeners all over the world by visiting my inspiration in blog writing and seed sowing, the Propagator and his many Twitter friends.



SixOnSaturday February 16th – Starting to See Signs

Despite snow and ice, rain and high winds this week the days are longer. Nature is waking up. In honour of St Valentine, my Six this week is about early food sources for the (Birds) and Bees. I try to have something for them in every month of the year.

img_6163.jpg1. Snowdrops peeking through.

img_6158.jpg2. Pachysandra flower buds, among the first flowers to open. Not very glamorous, but scented and important early food for bees. An evergreen ground cover for all the little things to hide in – voles, shrews, wrens.

IMG_61563, Cornus Mas flower buds against bright blue sky. The flowers should open in the next couple of weeks, filling the air with vanilla.

IMG_61544. Kalmia ‘Elf’ promising abundant bloom in May.

img_6143.jpg5. The witch hazels are my first and last flowers, ‘Pallida’ flowering in January and a common un-named native in November. Here is ‘Pallida’ as seen through Red Osier dogwood. If you have room for a witch-hazel this one would get my vote.

img_6141.jpg6. Helleborus Niger, silly little Christmas Rose that will eventually open up sometime after Easter. This one is in my house for now in an effort to save the flower buds from whichever the ‘little thing’ is that eats them every year. It is very hardy but apparently also tasty!

Those are my Six this week. Inspired by these, I’m off to start my ‘Italians’ – onions, chillis and peppers and some sprouted garlic cloves. They will germinate on my radiator covers and live in the house on every available sunny surface for a couple of months.

Take a look at what is happening over on the Propagator’s website for more Spring Awakenings from around the world.


Garden Guests: #SixOnSaturday February 9th

There is no winter gardening in New England without a greenhouse or poly tunnel. Once the cold sets in, the ground is frozen like a rock. There are no overwintered veggies, no early sowings of peas. Winter interest is in the form of structure, coloured bark and weather ‘happenings’.

And garden guests, who somehow deal with snow and ice and gales in preparation for the Spring to come.

Here are a few from this week.

IMG_6137 - Copy1. First in the pecking order, Carolina Wren. This tiniest of birds is definitely the Boss. Loud, pushy, always earliest to the suet feeder. They nest in the rafters of my shed most years, which is fine except they rule the roost and won’t let me in!

IMG_6149 - Copy2. Tufted Titmouse, the sweetest bird of all. Shy and quick, hard to photograph. Happily I’ve seen a lot of them this year.


IMG_6173 - Copy3. Nuthatch, who cleans the suet from his beak by wiping it on the rough Redbud bark.

IMG_61364. Mr Cardinal. Man of many songs and funny antics.

IMG_61105. Oh, who’s this? Resident Hawk. He’d dropped his (dead) squirrel and is looking for it. IMG_6131He soon recovered it and flew off to a nearby maple tree to finish the job.  I think he is a Red Tail Hawk but if anyone out there knows better….

IMG_6101IMG_6104IMG_61036. Finally, just passing through today. Sitting in the sun, having a stretch, sniffing around, marking a few corners. Happy fox, happy me!!

That’s my Six for this week.

I don’t contribute every week, especially in the Winter. I do get a bit of weather ‘envy’ knowing that some of you are out in the garden when I have weeks of snow and ice to endure. However, the deep cold of the last few weeks has broken and we are starting to see a few signs.

In the meantime I can always join you all for #Six On Saturday on the Propagator’s website: