Wednesday, July 31, 2013


I've been picking either currants or gooseberries every day for more than a week now, and cooking and straining the berries or canning the juice every evening.  I'm getting a little tired of it but, of course, I'm the one who planted all the bushes and am so much into this project.  My family is helping me some, but not as much as I would like.The raspberries aren't much this year but I have also picked and frozen blue berries.I just noticed that the blackberries are starting to ripen so pretty soon I will be on to them.  The birds must be busy with some other berries, probably choke berries and are now leaving the blue berries alone.  I would like to make some chokecherry juice but make not get to it.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Ripe Ribes

My gooseberries and currants are all ripe right now and I am frantically trying to pick as many as possible to make juice.  In fact, this morning I picked about a gallon of black currants and I have about 5 gallons of gooseberry juice I nedd to can tonight after the West Newbury Square Dance. I t seems to me that some of the gooseberries don't have as much flavor as in drier years.  I hope the juice is OK. I have been planting daylilies among the berry bushes as they flower at the time I am spending alot of time in those rows of bushes

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Daylily Season

Even though I once thought I was all through with Hemerocallis, now I'm back in love with them.  I've been planting them near my currants and gooseberries so I can enjoy them while I am picking fruit.  I've made alot of red currant and gooseberry juice and I now have alot of daylilies in bloom nearby.  My two favorites at the moment are 'Tuscawilla Tigress' and 'Alabama Jubilee'.  Both are large, tetraploid,  and vivid orange. I have been crossing them almost every day which is very simple with Hemerocallis- simply take the stamens from one and rub some pollen on the stigma of the other (the pod parent).

I like 'Buttered Popcorn' which is gold and 'Ophir' (gold) which is an old diploid variety.  I like all the clear lemon yellow ones such as 'Big Bird' which is blooming now (a tet).  I also like the clear, true reds one such as 'Baja' and have a few different good reds.

I'm planning to buy 5 or 10 new ones of the daylilies Bill Frost has bred in the last 30 years.  I hope tomorrow morning.  I don't really need more plants

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Berries ripening

All of a sudden I noticed that my goumis (an Eleagnus), red currants, gooseberries and black currants are ready to pick.  I picked all the goumis last night-I had already had to net them against birds and made them into juice..  I cooked and mashed them and put them in jelly bags overnight--I just barely covered the fruit with water first, before cooking that is. Now the juice is waitin for me to add sugar and can.

This morning I madly picked red currants before getting in to work late and I have to go back to pick more tonight..   The ripe black currants are almost  falling off the bushes but the majority aren't ripe yet.  Usually I wait till more are ripe but I don't like the premature dropping.  I don't think daily, heavy downpours help.  I hope I can wait to harvest gooseberries.  I already netted all these fruits and by the way white currants aren't nearly as attractive to birds as red ones.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Hydrangea Collection

Hydrangea paniculata is getting to be my favorite flowering shrub.  They bloom for a long period- July, August and September and are very showy.  I prefer the type with the wild form inflorescence--in other words the lacey ones with lots of true flowers mixed with a sprinkling of sterile florets--not the very fat clunky ones.  Over the weekend I planted: Big Ben, Dharuma, Pink Diamond, Pink Lady, Unique, Tardiva, White Moth, Brussell's Lace and Mystical Fire.  I already have Pinky Winky, Summer Princess, Floribunda, Skylight, Mega Pearl, White Diamonds, Passionate, Fire and Ice and Great Star.  In my new bed, I planted them about six feet apart and will kill the grass in between them with black plastic. Perhaps in the future, I will having "Hydrangea Teas"