A Tree For Tuesday March 3rd. Liquidambar styraciflua


American sweetgum, also known as American storax, hazel pine, bilsted, redgum, satin-walnut, star-leaved gum, alligatorwood, or simply sweetgum, is a deciduous tree in the genus Liquidambar native to warm temperate areas of eastern North America and tropical montane regions of Mexico and Central America. Wikipedia

American sweetgum seeds are eaten by eastern goldfinches, purple finches, sparrows, mourning doves, northern bobwhites and wild turkeys. Small mammals such as chipmunks, red squirrels and gray squirrels also enjoy the fruits and seeds.

Sweet Gum tea was an herbal treatment for the flu and the Cherokee made a tea out of the bark. The leaves are star shaped and brilliant red in the fall. I’ve never noticed fruits on these 2 trees in previous years.


A Tree for Tuesday. Scots Pine

A tree for Tuesday. Scots pine.20200222_074403

This was a group of 3 lovely twisted pines, full of cones, birds and insects. 20200222_074440One of them was randomly chopped down by the Parks department. The remaining 2 are still beautiful.

Here’s a link to an article from the Irish Wildlife Trust.



A Tree for Tuesday. Street Tree.

On my daily walks I come across some spectacular neighbourhood trees. And some horrific ones. This is an example:

20200213_104422~2Take up 2 square pavers right next to a main road and directly under power lines. Plant a sapling. Choose a variety that grows quickly in all directions, and that suckers vigorously from both roots and trunk. 20200213_104446~2When the branches are tall enough to interfere with said power lines chop them off. Annually. When the root ball shoves up between the pavers to form a rectangular plateau about a foot high take note but do nothing. 20200213_104549~2In a desperate effort to live, the tree will make bolls where it’s branches were amputated. Water spouts will bristle out of them and endanger passing pedestrians.

When the pedestrians start complaining that not only is it impossible to walk because the surrounding sidewalk resembles the foothills of the nearby White Mountains, chop down the tree, fix the pavement and plant a new sapling in the exact same predicament.

SixOnSaturday February 1st. Long Hill.

Winter at my house is when we ‘get things done indoors’ knowing that with Spring will come complete lack of interest in being house bound. This year we are working on the oldest part of the house. New ceilings and paint. Refinishing the 100 year old wide pine floors. Dust everywhere. Things piled high in the rooms we are not working on. So it’s only Wednesday but the day is gorgeous so I’m getting a little jump on Six On Saturday.

1. Growing tired of the smell of polyurethane floor varnish I decided to check on the status of my storage onions and garlic. Most of the garlic is sprouting so was relegated to the freezer for later use in making garlic spray. The 2020 crop is already up.20200129_135404

2. The alliums added so much richness to the general stench that I had to open the windows, turn on the fans and leave. The beagle and I found our way to a favourite hidden gem. Long Hill was the summer home of Ellery Sedgwick. Both his wives were horticulturalists and money was no object. Pulling up to the house we were greeted by a lovely tulip poplar.20200129_105328

3. The house is not usually open to the public. It has an extensive library of gardening books and very botanical wallpaper!


4. There are a number of garden rooms and a little farm. For me the most impressive winter views are of the wonderful specimen trees. Legend has it that many of the mature beech trees are from Beverley, England.


5. This specimen evergreen had no label. It formed an igloo around a large rock, a perfect place to pause. The feathery foliage whispered secrets..


6. Heading back we passed the gleaming rustiness of this beautiful mature Paperbark Maple, Acer Grisum.20200129_122517~220200129_122539

There are so many wonderful trees here. We will be back soon.

Meanwhile take a look at the prop’s blog for more February Sixes.


A Tree for Tuesday. Catalpa Speciosa.

Catalpa speciosa is a Midwest native tree grows 40 to 60 feet tall, with a narrow, open, irregularly rounded crown and spreading branches. It has large, heart-shaped leaves and large clusters of fragrant, white flowers. The long, interesting seed pods persist through the winter. Northern catalpa is very adaptable to adverse conditions, but has weak wood and branch structure. This one drops it’s seed pods around the neighborhood where they last all winter long.20200128_071629

I live in a Garden City. On my daily walks I come across some spectacular neighbourhood trees. A very special mature Rowan was chopped down this week. I don’t want any other trees to pass un-noticed.

A Tree for Tuesday January 21st. Pin Oak

20200111_083617~3This is a lovely example of a Pin Oak in the neighbourhood. It is probably 3/4 mature and unlike some of the straggly unkempt street trees it always looks tidy and well structured. Pin Oaks hold their leaves throughout the winter. The Arbor Day foundation sent me one to try. Mine is about 2 feet tall at the moment but I hope it will thrive in the lower, wetter part of my yard, down by the river, to provide food for the wildlife and oak leaves as a natural mulch.

Arbor Day Facts
Mature Height 60’–70′
Mature Spread 25’–40′
Growth Rate Fast
Shape Pyramidal
Sun Preference Full Sun
Soil Preference Acidic, Clay, Loamy, Moist, Rich, Sandy, Well-drained, Wet
Wildlife Value Pin oak acorns are eaten by many songbirds, wild turkeys, white-tailed deer, squirrels and smaller rodents but are a particularly important food for many ducks.
History/Lore The name pin oak comes from its short, tough branchlets located along the branches and limbs. Because of its tolerance for wet conditions, the tree is also known regionally as swamp oak, water oak and swamp Spanish oak. The tree was first observed scientifically prior to 1770.

SixOnSaturday January 11th. 6 Random plant-y/garden-y things.

The weeks are flying by and it is Saturday again!

1. The bulb shaming worked on 1 amarylis. The other one is still in the dunce corner.20200109_085714

2. The witch hazel ‘Pallida’ twigs brought in for moral support are sweetly opening. 20200109_085725.jpg

3. My first ever successful Lemon Verbena cutting has come out of the dunce corner. It is finally showing new growth.20200111_100319~2

4. Just a gorgeous Begonia Rex.20200111_100413

5. Mr Magnolia is bursting with buds. 20200111_100629

6. Almost free seeds from the University of Rhode Island co-operative extension in association with Burpee. 34 packets for $8.50 shipping and handling. You can choose the type but not the varieties. It’s a fun selection pack, a chance to try varieties I would never normally order.20200111_100906.jpg

So that’s my Six for the week. I am in a hurry today…..please excuse the random ‘stream of consciousness’ nature of this post and pop over to the Propagator’s blog for more considered and well-written offerings! Have a wonderful week!




Six on Saturday January 4th 2020 – Dilemmas, Dreams and Disappointments

The January thaw arrived in late December this year, permitting the harvest of late vegetables that I usually lose to sub zero, can’t even get the fork in the ground for months, temperatures. I still have arugula and mache unprotected in the garden, not only that, it is still edible. Here are my 6 unseasonably available garden-y things for the week.

1. Leeks. What do you do with 25lbs of newly harvested Bleu Solaise leeks?20191231_120211~2

2. Similarly turnips. These are Gilfeather, a local heirloom. They are large and probably only good for soup.20191231_120156~2

3. Dreaming of Spring. Pussy Willows from the tree that was ‘coppiced’ (read “Hacked Down to ground level”) by one of my hired hardy New England ‘landscapers’ last spring. At least I can reach the whips to cut them now.20191231_120307~2

4. More Dreaming. Sneaky little Snowdrops peeking through. Won’t see the flowers until March of course. There is plenty of Winter left here.20191231_120251~2

5. Disappointment. The last bowl of carrots. Usually my best storage crop, decimated by carrot fly this year. 20191224_093432Although we’ve had quite a few meals off them already, here’s what I took to the compost pile from the bottom of the basket.20191224_093438

6. And finally, bulb-shaming the Amarylies that wouldn’t. One new bulb and one 3 year old that always does. Not this year. Disappointing!!!20191224_095643

I hope your gardening week went well and that the appropriate amount of Prosecco was consumed in celebration of the end of the ‘terrible teens’. Take a look at all the other gardens at the website of the host:  http://www.thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com

Happy New Decade!

SixOnSaturday April 13th. Prune Plant Sow.

Prune,  plant,  sow,  harvest,  mow,  bloom,  feed,  grow…

IMG_20190412_1518481. Prune.  Its what I do mostly. Here’s last week’s pile o’ pruning, mostly brambles and holly. Roses next.


IMG_20190412_1236012. Plant. All unidentified ‘misc’ bulbs I hoarded over the winter and carefully potted up to see what they were, turned out to be – garlic!! Duly planted next to my October planted garlic.


img_20190412_123629.jpg3. Sow. Self sown Pushkinia. In every corner and crevice. Smelling strongly of gumdrops. Buzzing with bees and other assorted pollinators. Reminds me I need to get on with sowing annual flowers for summer and fall.


IMG_20190408_0914174. Bloom. Cornus mas is the 🌟 this week. Along with many Squill, Narcissus, Hellebore and Mr Magnolia. Terrible photo, great tree…


IMG_20190412_1350215. Feed. Homemade holly and bramble ramial chip mulch for my raspberry section.


IMG_20190412_1350486. Oh no!  Here’s a charming little nest I found among the cut branches. I think it belonged to a pair of American robins. They have plenty of time to rebuild. This will be my last major pruning job for the spring so as not to disturb any more nests.

Spring is here at last. It is still cold,  but everything is growing. Each trip around the garden brings something new and wonderful at this time of year.

Go visit the host site and be amazed by garden stories from around the world.





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.