Friday, October 30, 2015

Apple Cider

At this time of year, we make alot of cider and apple pies. The secret to both is to use at least three different kinds of apples- all of which should be tart or strongly flavored. Namby-pamby apples have less taste when pressed or baked. Unfortunately, some of the varieties I have bought, based on glowing descriptions in catalogs are poor--or at least I don't care for them. It has taken some of these varieties 15 years or more to fruit enough for me to decide I don't like them. I would say roughly have of the feral apples around me have a good taste for cider and have aren't worth pressing. In my gardens I am trying to do a last weeding and mulching before the winter. I planted 4 kinds of Narcissus: Altun Ha, Pistachio, Avalon and Garden Classic (it could be Classis Garden)--I also put in some Puschkinia. I still have Allium 'Ozawa' bloong.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Mid -October Flowers

I had to give up swimming for the year last Sunday but my garden has not given up yet. I have planted quite alot of varieties of Hydrangea paniculata which are still blooming and pretty if a little somber. Some of my favorite cultivars are Big Ben, Floribunda, Pinky Winky, Pink Diamond. Unique and White Moth: I like all the vaieties with a natural style inflorescence. Besides the hydrangeas, I have lots of Rudbeckia triloba--I sort of let it naturalize. There is also some of the late, quite blue monkshood (A. arendsii), also some late Helianthus, especially maximillian's sunflower (H. salisifolius) which doesn't become such a weed as many. I have Colchicum and Allium Ozawa which are both magenta and quite short- I really prefer taller plants suitable for large flower arrangments. At church last week, the minister had to bend a sprig of beech foliage as it was blocking peoples view. I have to be more carefull.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Still Juicing

I'm in the process of making Aronia melanocarpa juice at the moment, Aronia growers in Iowa (I believe it is) decided aronia-berry sounds better than chokeberry as a common name for these. Two years ago, I made Aronia -Schizandra juice which was excellent, last year I made Aronia-Schizandra-elderberry-Prinsepia(sp?) juice. This year, we already made some very good Aronia-Dolgo crabapple juice and now I'm making some plain Aronia, which, by the way, have more anti-oxidants than any other fruit. I still have Schizandra, grapes to make juice from.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Still Canning

Last night we put up 1.5 gallons of quite nice yellow plum jam- from 'La Crescent'. For some reason this year these plums were outstanding- usually something goes wrong which I've assumed to be cucurlios (sp?), but this year either the winter killed them or because I do no spraying populations of natural predators reduced their population. I'm just afraid that the tree will now die- it's been there 21 years which is elderly for a plum. I still have elderberries to harvest 9not quite ripe yet) and Dolgo crabapples which I'm hoping to use with the elderberries. Alos, the Aronias are coming on and the Schizandra., Tonight we're making more pickles.

Thursday, August 20, 2015


My canning season is here. Last night Dana and I canned 8 gallons of plum-"Dolgo" crabapple- blackberry juice. Tonight it's pickles-- I got up, staggered outside only to find a 5 gallon pail of cucumbers waiting to be pickled--and I hate wasting food. I nedd to stop at Hannafords on the way hame to buy sugar, cider vinegar and still more canning jars. We made our first cider Monday out of Yellow Transparent, Duchess, Prairie Magic, Whitney and Antonova (Sp?)-- it was successful.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Hydrangea paniculata

Lately I've gotten into Hydrangeas- especially those with large loose (wild form) inflorescenses (sp?). Here are some photos

Friday, July 31, 2015


This is the season when my daylilies reign supreme-- I prefer the pure lemon and canary yellow, orange, and true red (not the older muddy, brownish or barn red varieties).. Some of my favrites are: Buttered Popcorn
Ruby Throat
Tuscwilla Tigress
Alabama Jubilee

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Trip to Arnold Arboretum on July 6th

Our older daughter, Kady is working this year as an intern at the Arnold Arboretum in Boston. We spent a Day visiting her there, looking at mostly shrubs and vines after driving around downtown Boston for an hour-trying to follow a GPS. These are some interesting plants there.

Juicing Berries

2015 turns out to be a wonderful year for many berries. I have picked most of my gooseberries and am still trying to pick the red currants and black currants-- I'm crouching, kneeling, bending or sitting some evenings and most maornings trying to harvest them before they go bad. Then at night, I usually have all the burners of my apartment sized stove going cooking berries and canning juice. My chandelier is usually hung with cloth bags full of dripping juice. I have a gallon of black currants sitting on my kitchen table and plan to pick more tonight. I let my pie cherries get eaten by birds, but I'm trying to pick red raspberries every other dsay. I saw a blackberry already black yesterday-- I was hoping for a rest before they came in. Luckily, the blueberries were badly eaten by deer and they died back alot in the winter so I don't have to struggle to keep up with them.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Flowers for the West Newbury Church

This past Sunday I featured a peony called Dinner Plate (as I remember) which as you can see is a huge pink cabbage. Also, I had Japanese iris, goatsbeard, Rodgersia and a few Malva and "big blue" geraniums. It has been a good spring for flowers and plants in general --after a rough winter--with the exception of peonies: some of them rotted, many were filled with rose chafers and most flopped

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Gardens Doing Better than Normal This Year

Probably because I have had Mondays off most of May and June, I'm having more time to work in my garden than normal. My gardens show it: I have 2 people working for me which helps me greatly. I even have my baby beets and carrots weeded and I weeded my asparagus patch this morning

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Old Fashioned Iris Project

For the last several years I have been collecting "old fashioned" Iris from peoples gardens-- Iris which are vigorous enough to be almost weedy--Iris which do not poop out in the garden. Of course, in poorer, more sandy soil, I might have better success with the huge modern Standard Tall Bearded Iris which are beautiful.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Lilac tea photos

Lilac Tea a Success

We had our lilac tea on May 24th at 4:00. The lilacs were at their peak, it was sunny, the dancing demonstration and Scottish folk music went well. It you had to complain, there were black flies and the tea wasn't made properly. My lilacs are still nice, so I have invited a few people to come this Sunday at 4:00 when we were originally going to have our tea.If you would like to come, you are invited.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Daffodil WalkOne Week Away

Things are coming along well as far as the flowers at my house go. The daffodils should be at their peak by Sunday (although, of course, some won't bloom for quite a while).