SixOnSaturday July 18th. Harvest.

My gardening year ends and begins with the harvest of the first ripe tomato in week 52. Don’t ask why, it is completely random. Its when I turn my focus from pruning, planting and sowing and onto harvesting, making and growing plans for next year. In my garden today it’s week 49 and harvest time.

1. I’d not tasted garlic until going to college. I will never be without it again. This is my ‘runt’ row from odds and ends of bulbs and cloves that I wasn’t 100% sure were even garlic. The ‘good’ row has even bigger bulbs and is taking a bit longer in the ground to mature properly. 20200715_114419

2. Cucumber time is here. Picking at least 4 a day from 2 plants. I’m learning to pickle them.20200715_113729

3. Chard is not a vegetable we eat a lot. I find it bitter. I grow it because it is gorgeous and fool proof. Recipe suggestions anyone?20200715_114232

4.Summer raspberries. Polana is an autumn raspberry but by spring-pruning only half the plants you get 2 harvests. Or so I’m told. These are delicious.20200715_113712

5. Our Blueberry bushes are loaded. The first ones are ripe. I’m waiting for a calm weather day to take the nets off for the first picking.20200703_161001 And here’s the first pint.


6. Meet my bean isolation unit. It is a  last ditch attempt to outwit the rabbitzen and have a bean harvest. Hiding inside are pole beans and black beans. They are getting big and fat now (the rabbits, not the beans) and have added all my parsley and carrot tops to last week’s menu. There’s a sturdy fence on next year’s shopping list. And probably a replacement beagle in the spring.20200715_113859

Those are my Six for the week. You may find many others in the comments section of the host’s blog

SixOnSaturday June 20th. Uncertain Harvests.

SixOnSaturday is a discussion of Six things from your garden, posted on a Saturday. Those are more or less the rules! Tag the host in your post…..and leave a link to your post in the comments section of his post.

It’s like a virtual global community garden. With only the nicest, kindest members, and all types of gardens.

Today marks 100 days of self isolation. And 95 days with no rain. Needless to say this is a very challenging time in the vegetable garden. While most of my trees, shrubs and perennials have been around for quite a few years and have pretty good drought resistance the annual veggies aren’t doing so well.

Peas, carrots and onions are pretty much dessicated. They’re still hanging in but not growing at all. The leeks will recover.20200620_101254

Peppers, pumpkin and squash are loving the heat and should be fine if I can keep them hydrated.20200620_101211

Tomatoes are lush and flowering well with no sign of fruit yet.20200620_101123

We’ve been eating lettuce from containers On our 2nd storey deck for months. It’s really the only way to keep it cool (and safe from Big Bun and Baby Bunny). Today’s the first really hot and humid day. The lettuce will have bolted by tomorrow.

Thank goodness for the rhubarb and garlic!IMG_20190515_154921

20200620_101141Garlic rhubarb pie with a pumpkin custard anyone?

SixonSaturday February 29th. I’m Late!

Although we’ve had the 2nd warmest winter on record in Massachusetts I am very much behind in my gardening prep. I’ve had a lot of indoor work to do, along with winter house guests. House guests and seed trays on every warm sunny flat surface don’t really mix all that well, especially with an over-excited beagle thrown in.

This time last year I was celebrating the appearance of tiny seedlings. This year I’m resigned to an experiment in March sowing. And wishing for a greenhouse…..

5 things in the garden to celebrate and 1 to worry about:

  1. There are healthy buds on the fruit trees. A frost in March won’t be cold enough to kill them20200226_100533
  2. Self sown seedlings are strong enough to survive whatever March throws at them.20200226_100550~2
  3. Over wintered kale, arugula and mache will start growing again for a very early harvest.
  4. Perennials will be off to an early start without too much winter kill to be pruned out.
  5. Saplings that spent the winter in pots did not get frozen solid and are showing fresh buds. They’re alive!20200226_100438~2
  6. However, pests and diseases are also likely to have made it through. My worst pest is Winter Moth, whose caterpillars can decimate a fruit tree overnight. Which means I’ll probably have to spray with Neem oil. I only spray in an emergency, preferring to cultivate a healthy ecosystem as far as possible.20200226_100847 So for a few more days the debate will be on, until the opportune time has passed. If I do  decide to spray this year, at least my fingers won’t freeze…..

Take a look at the comments in the Propagator’s blog for more Sixes to enjoy. Have a great gardening 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:

Happy New Decade!

Six on Saturday, Giving Thanks.

1. As a result of traveling in October we missed Halloween. So did my only pumpkin. I picked it green before we left. It finally turned orange this weekend and was processed just in time for Thanksgiving pies, breads and treats. My aged beagle loves pumpkin mash.


2. Harvesting the carrots, beets and some of the many leeks took up my time this week. Enough to keep us in my favourite roasted root vegetables  for the next couple of months. IMG_20191110_115435

3. Still in the ground are most of the leeks, parsley, kale and chard. If weather holds on the mild side we can still pick from the greens. The leeks will be fine until spring, even if I have to cut them above the frozen earth. IMG_20191110_115851

4. The compost bins have been ransacked to cover as many empty beds as possible. IMG_20191110_115813

5. Dahlias are safely in storage.IMG_20191110_115502

6. There are still leaves to be raked,  windfall logs to be chopped,  compost piles to be built and spread. But here’s a happy little volunteer mullein,  all ready to shine next Spring! IMG_20191110_132327

There’s no end and no beginning in gardening. One thing always leads to another. Thanksgiving is always appropriate.

On that note, please visit the website of the host: for news from his own garden and many more.

Six on Saturday October 19th. Strange Times.

It’s been a funny old week. I’ve had laryngitis, no voice at all,  much to everyone’s relief. Very frustrating for me. So we went to the local agricultural fair,  by all accounts the oldest of its kind in the US.

1. Behold, the record-breaking giant pumpkin! IMG_20191013_163240Shortly after this picture was taken one of our party was rushed by ambulance to the ER, suffering what was diagnosed to be a panic attack brought on by all the crowding and shoving around the giant!

2. I grew lots of vines this year but only found this one, green pumpkin so far. It’s a nice heavy one, perfectly formed. IMG_20191016_130959

It has been sitting there in the marsh for a while doing nothing. We were expecting a storm so I hauled it back in. It has begun to take on an orange tinge,  so by Halloween it might be ready.

3. The storm (or bomb cyclone as they are known these days in over dramatic weather forecasting circles)  roared through and aside from laying down an old, dead shagbark hickory did no real damage in the garden. IMG_20191018_123334My neighbours were not so lucky,  ending up with giant Norway maples on their roofs, cars and in their pools.

4. The worst casualty here was the flattening of the  giant purple dahlia. It’s a really ugly thing anyway, and won’t be coming in for the winter.  IMG_20191018_123510I’m saying thank you and goodbye to it as soon as I can find time to get the pruners out. It could have taken a first at the local agricultural show, based on the sad prizewinning entries.

6. Finally for this week, something I’ve never seen.  Cercis canadiensis is flowering again. IMG_20191018_123059

I’ve  reminded her that it’s Autumn and time to think about powering down. Strange times….

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

SixonSaturday. September 21st: Golden Days

The September marsh is ablaze with goldenrod and sumac. There’s a golden theme this week.

1. Caryopteris. Abuzz with pollen-packed bees.IMG_20190916_163441

2. Clematis durandii, perfectly blue with sunshine yellow centres. IMG_20190916_163534

3. Jerusalem artichoke or sunchokes; marsh wildings stealing space from Japanese anemones. IMG_20190915_101644

4. Golden Bantam corn. The rabbit missed a few. IMG_20190918_153919

5. Butternut squash. IMG_20190917_104058

6. Golden fleshed first gleaning of Laratte and Desiree potatoes. IMG_20190917_104025

More Six on Saturday garden snapshots can be found in the comments section of the host,  www.


SixOnSaturday August 10th: Harvest Happens.

I have been harvesting herbs today. Bay leaves, thyme, sage,  marjoram, lemon verbena. IMG_20190802_104714These are tied in bunches using lengths of raffia that in a former life I scrounged from a fish vendor in Hong Kong.IMG_20190809_104937 The bunches hang in my warm, dark basement until dry, before being crumbled for use in cooking, as teas and as gifts for work.IMG_20190809_104816

Soon there will be poppy seeds. These are bread seed poppies. The seedpods don’t open up like salt shakers, so you can either leave them to dry in place or hang them. IMG_20190719_122920

The garlic is in.IMG_20190807_104341A really good haul this year. I planted only 24 cloves to harvest a whole muck-bucket full. IMG_20190808_142600Unusual in that quite a few of the singly planted cloves have sprouted 3 or 4 very large heads of garlic. I couldn’t say what variety, as I haven’t bought seed garlic in years. I just plant the biggest and best cloves around October 15th.

I pulled the little brown onions. IMG_20190809_102914The Alisa Craigs are still putting on weight so I’ll leave them to grow  for now. IMG_20190727_091703

Blueberries have been fantastic this year. I’ve been picking every other day or so, and from only 2 bushes have enough to eat and stock the freezer. This is today’s haul.IMG_20190802_114852 It’s all about netting. I use plain net curtains from Ikea. The birds can’t get tangled in the very fine mesh. There’s nothing worse than trying to rescue a furious grackle!

Chillies, peppers and squash can be picked daily. The weather is perfect.IMG_20190809_133544And it is tomato time at last! They will have their own Six!

Check out all the other Sixes by following the Propagator Enjoy  the harvest!

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 and have a wonderful week.

SixOnSaturday – reasons to be cheerful.

Today is my first blogging anniversary. Thank you to The propagator and his Blog-followers for inspiration and guidance. Follow here:

It is the second night of Passover and Easter Saturday. All reasons to be cheerful.

It is also a full moon. I wish I knew or could retain more of the lore and legend surrounding the Spring holidays. My Six this week just celebrate the magic.


IMG_62251. From the Passover Seder.  Parsley, representing springtime and all it promises. It is in the ground this week and in 2 more weeks will be ready to be sampled!


IMG_62242. Horseradish, the bitter herb, a reminder of hardship. This one is still very small and might be a dock! I’m not sure, but if it is horseradish it will be harvested for Rosh Hashana in the Autumn.


IMG_20190419_1439303. For certain, Easter peas. Sown on St Patrick’s Day (indoors of course) and planted on Good Friday according to (my) tradition. One row each of Lincoln & Topps. To be supplemented by more sowings outdoors. When I get around to it. I love peas.


IMG_20190419_1040254. Bloodroot, which has blood red sap. Seems symbolic of all the needless bloodshed and sacrifice that Spring holidays stand for….


img_6226.jpg5. Simple Daffodils. For me, the best harbingers of Spring. These are probably Ice Follies, or Mount Hood. They look to be ready for dividing. add that to the endless to-do list!



6. The white birds were one of my reasons for starting this blog. They arrive like tourists from a cruise ship in spring and congregate for their departure at the first threat of frost. They are back for the season. The male on the left has his ‘glad-rags’ on and is all ready for date night. She doesn’t look too sure….

I am catching up to the rest of you. I do have tulips already. I wait so long for early spring that I don’t want to move on to the next phase too quickly. Tulips can wait until next time.

Enjoy your week!