SixOnSaturday August 22nd. Consequences.

It’s so dry. We’ve had a dry mild winter followed by almost no rain this year. The garden is baking. The drought is having serious consequences.

1. Struggling to live without sufficient rain, Mr Magnolia has his first bad case of magnolia scale. The scale insects suck the sap from the tree, attach themselves to the branches and die. The next generation is incubated inside the dead bodies to emerge in the autumn and repeat the cycle. In a last ditch attempt to interrupt the next generation’s progress I will be resorting to a neem spray. This will have to be done at night in order to avoid the millions of bees, wasps, ants and other insects feasting on the leaking sap. And must be done exactly when the disgusting crawlers hatch. Mostly I believe in letting pests and diseases sort themselves out but in this case it’s a big old tree and I want to save it if possible. Of course if drought is our future this will be a short lived remedy and a dead magnolia by this time next year.20200821_131922

2. Sadly no sweetcorn. Those dastardly squirrels have had it again. Last week they ate the hazelnuts, leaving the shells artfully arranged around my vegetable garden bench. This week the ears of corn are empty. Still attached to the stalks. But gone.20200821_132053

3. Tomatoes are taking a break. Temperatures are too high for them to ripen. It’s OK, they have produced a fantastic crop this year. And they will pick up again next month. We haven’t bought any vegetables for weeks. Here’s a salad.20200821_142546

4. Not all consequences are bad. Winter squash is ready for harvest quite a bit earlier than usual. The plants are still setting fruit.20200821_131906

5. Zinnias and sunflowers are thriving.20200821_121557

6. And here is our almost-rain for this week. No-one here got rained on during the passage of this cold front. (Begins regular early morning rain dance regime….)20200819_180833

Six on Saturday is a weekly theme hosted on his blog by the Propagator himself. Six garden things on a Saturday. What could be better?

SixOnSaturday July 25th. Summer things.

In a steamy week when we finally had some real rain, bee magnet Echinops Ritro went from punky to rumpled.20200724_15053920200724_150514Nicotiana Fragrant Cloud lived up to her name.20200721_091550Oriental Lily was scent-sational.20200724_150431A bonus poppy popped up.20200721_091332The first sunflower shone.20200722_133111And Zinnias sizzled20200724_145621Just summer things doing their summer thing.

Check out other summer sixes and even some winter ones in the comments section of the host’s blog.


SixOnSaturday April 11th. Reconsidering orange.

Six gardening things on a Saturday. Hosted by the Propagator himself.

1. My Nanking Cherry bushes are now in full bloom. There’s a recipe for cherry blossom cordial that I may try, given all the extra time I have at the moment. If it would stop raining for a couple of hours I could harvest some flowers and still have plenty left to make cherries.20200410_142806

2. My recalcitrant Helleborus Niger or Christmas rose has finally flowered. Just in time for Easter.20200410_143209~2

3. Early daffodils are opening up. Golden yellow King Alfred, an unknown white and orange small cup, 20200405_161007~2Jetfire with orange trumpet20200405_161028~2 and Tete-a-Tete. 20200405_161019~2Most of my daffs are Ice Follies and Thalia. These orangy ones are few and far between and end up in a vase.

4. I’m growing California poppies from seed this year. The little feathery plants are adorable but will have to be carefully located.20200407_064305

5. I neglected to sow Benary’s Giant zinnias last year in favour of Queen Red Lime. I thought it would be more tasteful. Just disappointing. I missed my big brash Benarys with their screeching colours and neon orange star-shaped stamens and this year they will be back. Probably in the vegetable garden.03740_1024x1024

6. Tulip Praestans van Fusilier on parade in vermilion orange jackets are out and about.20200410_142705

Purple wasn’t welcome in the beginning. I was all about pink, white and blue. And green if course. And yellow if only on the pale lime side. Gradually purple has insinuated itself in the form of precious violas, hellebores and clematis. It is a wonderful foil for spring greens and the rosy shades I’m fond of. I am sorry to have missed out on it for all these years. As a result I am reconsidering orange. In moderation, where it is justifiably an accent. Strange times indeed!

Stay safe and well out there and continue to follow the rules. Thank goodness for the garden!

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 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