SixOnSaturday December 7th. All is White

1. First snow.

And so it came, on the first day of the last month of the decade. Not an inch or so as predicted, but 8 inches over 36 hours.


2. The beagle and I had gathered festive foliage for our winter window boxes. The woods we walked in were carpeted with leaves. Lots of white pine windfall branches to be had. Strangely,  no cones this year.  Plenty of time to find them on another walk,  another day. Or so I thought….IMG_20191201_114141

3. From my garden, we cut red twigs and holly,  cedar,  fir and juniper, seed heads of actea. IMG_20191201_115725

4. Thankfully I had already filled up the bird feeders. The antics of chickadees, titmouse and wren kept us entertained throughout the storm. The heron has left for a warmer climate and the goldfinches are wearing their khaki winter plumage. Dark-eyed Juncos and Buffleheads have arrived, with an occasional merganser or eider duck in the flotilla. Cardinals, Blue Jays and woodpeckers brighten up the scene.


5. The hawk awaits….IMG_6108

6. All is calm,  all is white!IMG_20190304_080822

Visit to see what’s going on in gardens everywhere. I’m sure that somewhere it is warm with flowers!

SixOnSaturday June 22nd New for 2019

Here in Massachusetts Spring has been cool, damp and cloudy, much like the English Springs I recall. Plants are lush and floppy. As usual I didn’t get around to staking any of them: result, I have roses, poppies and peonies with muddy faces. Travelling overseas for the first half of June has exacerbated the problem. OK as cut flowers for the house, they are definitely not photo shoot material. On the other hand I tried a few new things this season. With mixed results.


  1. At last. The very first apples on my Cox’s Orange Pippin. I can’t wait to see whether I got the tree I ordered or an un-identified leftover that lost its tag at the nursery. As an example my so-called Arkansas Black Apple is decidedly lime green and suitable only for making pectin as it is sour and doesn’t store well.


IMG_20190619_1450302. Cosmos Xanthos. Those seed catalogs in January should be banned. A pale yellow Cosmos – how wonderful! Not really. Compared to “Purity’ or ‘Psyche white’ that I usually grow to fill odd patches in the sunny borders, Xanthos is underwhelming at best. Flowering early but only a foot or so high  it can’t compare to the 6 foot pure white classic beauties I wish for at this time of year. Although they would probably be face down in the mud like everything else…..



3. Disappointing double white Clematis flowering for the first time in its second spring. Looking sadly like a wet paper towel. I can’t even be bothered to look up it’s name for this post.


IMG_20190619_0934264. Scrumptious Honeoye strawberries. Newly planted, mulched with straw and properly hydrated (thanks to the weather) these are the best ever.



5. Exciting to find a few cherries on 2 year old Carmine Jewel. Bodes well for a hearty harvest next year. The plant is shrub-like in form, for easy netting, with normal sized cherries.





6. And what’s this? A few of these plants have volunteered in odd places around the garden. This one is in my herb garden. Looks a bit like a prostrate Rosemary but has no fragrance.  It’s really pretty but I’m stumped. Anyone out there have any ideas?

Those are my Six for this week. I’m hoping for a break in the clouds so i can get out and start pruning away some of the floppies. I know there are lilies and zinnias somewhere under there……

Thanks once again to the Propagator for hosting. Visit the comments section on his post to see all the other Sixes and have a great week!


SixOnSaturday May 25th. Going Native.

A disappointing start to Memorial Day Weekend with leaden grey skies, a broken lawnmower and an impossible to-do list. So I’ve thrown in the trowel for today in favour of some blogging and retail therapy. The marsh is coming into bloom,  with creeping buttercup,  honesty, Dame’s rocket and cornflower leading the spring weed pack. I always hope for poppies too. A bit of red would really add to the display. Anyway,  on to my Six for this week, inspired as usual by the Propagator and his gang.


IMG_20190524_1438171. Doublefile viburnum. This spectacular shrub usually flowers on Mother’s Day (which is in May here). It’s a bit late due to the cold and rainy Spring. It will be perfect for another week or 2 before setting the bird-beloved berries that if left to ripen would be blackish purple in the Autumn,  against wonderful burgundy foliage.



2. Snowball Viburnum. A very imposing large shrub with lime green pompoms which gradually fade to pure white. They are at the pale lime stage at the moment. Gorgeous in a vase. They don’t produce seed but are easily propagated from root suckers.


IMG_20190524_1439313. Cranberry Viburnum. The flowers on this one are a little more subtle,  but the garnet Jewel like fruit are fantastic.



4. Arrow wood viburnum. Not a showy specimen in any season but useful material for stakes and supports. It’s also well-behaved,  stays in its allotted space,  doesn’t encourage the nasties, and always looks pretty.


IMG_20190524_1441005. Moving on from viburnum to vaccinium. The blueberries are absolutely loaded with flowers.  I have my net curtains ready this year.


1558728709058-8497888066. Finally Fothergilla. Another good shrub with vanilla scented ‘fothery’ bottlebrush flowers. These are dotted around for their scent and their wonderful Autumn colours. They are so much prettier than the ubiquitous ‘burning bush’ euonymous that we see us much here. Even though it’s a native I never met a euonymous I liked.

So take a look at the propagators site for more gardening,  grumbling and growing from around the world.

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 October 6th.

I had a few days to myself this week. Ladders were set up, tools sharpened, trees pruned, branches chipped, compost turned, potatoes dug. I’m happily exhausted! After a final tidy-up mow, I’m taking time to honour six pretty random things from the garden that made me smile.

IMG_20181005_1411191.Winterberry, Ilex Verticillata. This deciduous Holly brightens winter window boxes and bouquets. I have a bad feeling the male pollinator plant met the man with the chain saw earlier this summer and may need to be replaced next spring.

IMG_20181005_1412162. Winter vegetable garden,  scallions,  leeks,  kale,  chard,  beets and carrots. Comfort food.

IMG_20181005_1414333. Blueberry Bush with goldenrod. When did that get in there? I’ve weeded that area repeatedly and never noticed it until it flowered.

IMG_20181005_1410454. Viburnum Mariesii colouring up nicely. Always first to turn vibrant burgundy. One of my favourite shrubs.

IMG_20181005_141017.jpg5. Hydrangea fading to Victorian watercolor. Dusky washes of violet,  mauve and puce with shades of grey.

IMG_20181005_1409386. Montauk Daisy. This plant is a real bonus. Spring green succulent foliage with large clear white daisies. Hardy as can be. Easily roots from stem cuttings. Almost the last plant of the year to flower. Only hardy chrysanthemums are to follow before the ‘big cold’ sets in, along with my ‘big grumpy’. Hope to squeeze a few more Sixes in before that though… .

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

SixOnSaturday September 29th. Its all about the lighting.

These are the days.  Cool, damp mornings, brilliant sunshine, blue skies and starry nights. Plants to plant, trees to trim,  harvests to haul.IMG_-6tm0pf1. Pumpkins and squash. This big one had to be dragged screaming and kicking back in from the marsh,  where he was hiding among the phragmites . He must weigh at least 30lbs.

IMG_20180929_0927492. Sunlight through Ruby chard. It’s the only reason I grow chard.  We never eat it.

IMG_20180929_0929203. More sunshine,  this time through Cosmos Purity.

IMG_20180929_0924424. Sunshine on cucumbers growing through my deck railing .

IMG_20180929_0921485. Caryopteris busy with bees.

IMG_20180929_0922356. Finally, this year’s mystery weed. It’s popping up all over.  It’s pretty,  a lovely sunny lime green. I’m keeping it for now…ideas?

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