SixOnSaturday May 29th. The last days of spring.


It’s the last weekend in May, Memorial Day is Monday here in the US. Officially the day of planting tender crops here in the northeast. Although this year the weather has been so pleasant that mine are already quite established in the ground. SixOnSaturday time is here. Rules and more contributions in the comments section of the host’s blog

  • It has been the most perfect spring. An early gentle transition from a moderate winter. No late killing frosts. Sunny, warm, with enough rain to keep everything healthy and happy. As a result all the fruit trees and shrubs are loaded. This grape vine has never looked better.
white seedless grape
  • Baptisia, complete with buzzy bee. The whole plant is mobbed by bees including honey bees which are rarely seen here.
  • Big Red Rhodie is earning her keep. Once a straggly rescue stick, she is spectacular and due for a trim. I like to keep her around 8 x 8 feet.
  • Poppies are popping! A few of last year’s California poppies have come back, but not too many. They are pretty accents. In the long border the oriental poppy volcano is about to erupt.
  • First rose of this year is Abraham Derby. I love everything about this rose. The foliage is gorgeous and the fragrance is divine. Pest and disease free and flowers all summer long.
  • Saving the best for last, my kitchen is undergoing a tortuous renovation. It will be lovely when it’s finished but for the moment I’m most excited about my other projects. Some of the old oak cabinets have been upcycled into seed trays, cold frames and a very exciting very large planter for the deck. Shall it be flowers or pumpkins? Or both? It’s big enough!
This cold frame will protect bush beans from the rabbits. In summer it has a screen window cover and in winter it will be a glass window. The windows are also up-cycled from another project.

In a vase on Monday June 15th. Morning and Evening.

The peonies and roses are spectacular this year. In celebration, and as a memoir to my ex-career in fashion design here are 2 colourways of the same bouquet. Using the same vase for both.

A) Sarah Bernhardt peonies with Rosa Zephirine Drouhin and Nigella. An old copper sundial completes the scene.20200614_110059

B). Peony Moonstone, Rosa Mme Plantier, white daisies and Anemone Sylvestris sit with a stone votive. The candle is not yet lit. Evenings come late in June.20200610_133214

The vase is a silly little 2 handled urn. I like white vases.

Thank you to Cathy for hosting.


SixOnSaturday June 13th. Well behaved.

Six garden related things on a Saturday that make you smile. Simple. Hosted by the Propagator himself. More Sixes for your enjoyment can be found in the comments section of his blog:

This week I’m highlighting some of my favourite stalwarts. In my high maintenance world of crushing drought, finicky onion seedlings, crop rotation and thieving bunnies these are low maintenance standouts.

1. First is Abraham Darby. A David Austin rose with golden apricot petals and a tangerine scent. The shrub is compact and tidy with pretty foliage.20200608_133419

2. On a tangerine theme, my first ever seed grown California Poppy. The grey foliage offsets the mango colour nicely. The whole effect more subtle than expected. I’m growing it next to pale lemon Xanthos cosmos and blue cornflower in a dry sunbaked bed. Looking forward to seeing the whole  in action in a week or two. I’m hoping for an impressive show and much orderly self seeding.20200610_101916

3. Daylily. I’m not a fan of ‘lilies’ as they are known around here. The ubiquitous straggly wild orange ones are almost impossible to avoid. I do like this dainty golden one standing guard over my pumpkins. Don’t know its name. It requires nothing from me.20200610_092617

4. Foxgloves. All self seeded, on patrol under the very disappointing dwarf apple trees that don’t give fruit.20200610_092554

5. Anemone sylvestris. Lovely ground cover in a shady spot, lovely in a vase, perfectly trouble free.20200610_100834

6. Kousa Dogwood. A tree that doesn’t fail. Keeps in its corner, flowers when it’s supposed to. Makes fruit for the wildlife and has great winter foliage. And did I mention I’ve never had to spray it, rescue it or prune it?20200610_100959

As I prepare to head out to net blueberries, pull bindweed and hack back the redbud tree (again) all in a howling wind, I give thanks for my well behaved few. And remind myself to be on the lookout for more….


In a vase on Monday June 8th.

20200607_111256~2For my first socially distanced visit to a dear friend’s garden today. Her garden is shady and wooded so she doesn’t get the opulent flowers of early summer. I’m bringing Peony “Bowl of Beauty” , roses “Zephirine Drouhin” and “Leander” with the first of the Nigella damascena and Heuchera flowers.

The vase is a stoneware milk jug. The bouquet is very similar to my wedding flowers.

Thanks Cathy for hosting #iavom!


SixOnSaturday June 6th – Happy Six.

This week is all about flowers. It’s time for a happy post!

1. English rose “Leander” pink of bud, opening apricot and fading to lemon.20200605_084002

2. Zephirine Drouhin. Perfectly pink and plenty of them20200603_161615~2

3. Knockout red brightens a shady corner.20200605_084026~2

4. Also pink, a cactus Dahlia that may be Rosella. Or may not. It’s a few years old and flowering very early.20200605_083713

5. Peony Moonstone. Many peonies to come next week, they’re not quite open yet except for this one20200605_104413

6. Blackberry. Most years I lose patience with the thorns and hack these very vigorous vines back. They give large sweet berries if given the chance. The flowers this year have been spectacular so they’re having a reprieve. I’ll be having berries!20200603_161411

Another week, another Six.

Stop by the comments section of the host for more garden inspiration.

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 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 June 29th: A riot of roses

Through the long cold winters and hard working springs, this is the week I wait for. In a good year, when nature keeps everything is well watered, the temps are low and the afternoon sea breeze keeps the air moving, peak rose week can last for a month! The shrubs are huge, the foliage is clean, the flowers are gorgeous and the fragrance wafting through my window as I write is sensuously stunning.

There is enough rose interest in the garden now to write at least six Sixes…here are my current favourites.

IMG_20190624_1656511. Graham Thomas. One of the oldest of my English roses, this was planted in memory of my tough little sister who passed away before her time in 2000. Every one of her 38 years was a bonus. She loved yellow.

IMG_20190624_1657442. Zephirine Drouhin. ZD the first succumbed years ago from being planted in the flood zone. This cutting on higher ground survived, producing foliage last summer and flowers this year.  The thornless rose is wonderful in a vase.

IMG_20190624_1702233. Mme Plantier. Another survivor, this time from the feet of construction professionals and their tools. She is highly fragrant and very unruly, over-run by several similarly wayward clematis. Jackmanii is photo bombing.

img_20190624_165711.jpg4. Leander. A big strapping lass of a rose starting apricot and fading to buff, with a lovely fruity aroma.

IMG_20190624_1620245a Heritage. Quintessentially David Austin. Perfect shell pink.

img_20190624_162019.jpg5b Abraham Darby. Also one of the best David Austin roses in its day. I still love its changing colour and strong scent. Underplanted with germander and the odd weed…

IMG_20190624_1619446. Cuisse de Nymphe (Great Maiden’s Blush). Another of the great old roses, my original shrub is huge, scents the whole street and produces very easily rooted suckers. consequently I have a number of these around the place, none as large and impressive as the mother. She only flowers once a year, a huge, generous flush of buds, perfect flowers and fallen petals. Great hips too if left un-pruned after flowering.  This last one is for grandma. She would know why, but I am not telling.

Catch up with what is going on down the garden path by looking at the comments section of the Propagator’s blog.

Have a great gardening week.


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