Thursday, November 10, 2016

Foliage and Berries

This September and especially October were about the best we ever had for fall foliage. I think of October for leaves and then November for berries.
I have been using Euonymus europaeus and Ilex verticillata and Celastris orbiculatus berries. These are the "flowers" I have done recently for the West Newbury Church.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Last Batch of Juice for the Season

I canned about 10 gallons of juice last night. I still plan to make cider but I have to freeze it as canning ruins it. I made a couple gallons of Schizandra- Aronia with a tiny bit of Dolgo crabapple thrown in. Also, I made my grapes into juice as we've had two light frosts and once the grapes freeze, they are no good for anything--I've tried to juice them after they freeze and no-go.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Martha's Vineyard Vacation

We're spending 10 days on Martha's Vineyard visiting our daughter, Kady. I've volunteered 2 days at the Polly Hill Arboretum where she works; raking leaves (I learned a new excellent 3 person method of picking up leaves after they are raked into a pile: I might be able to convert it to a one person method}, planting Clethra (they are embarking on a Clethra evaluation project: we transplanted 'Ruby Spice', and fencing plants against deer. They have a wonderful collection of oaks at the Polly Hill
The Franklinia is in bloom there
We are going to be here 2 more days: I'm sketching the ocean a lot.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Elderberry Crop Failure

This year many if no most of my elderberries fell off the bushes just before they were dead ripe. I think it was due to dryness. First I thought it was birds eating them even though I did put nets over them, sort of,.... (it wasn't a very good netting job). However there were lots of little - not quite ripe- elderberries all over the ground. I checked the berries for fruit fly maggots and didn't see any, although 2 farms near me had fruit flies ruining their blueberries. I did make one batch of crabapple-elderberry juice which I plan to can tonight. I still plan to make aronia-schizandra juice and grape juice.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Making Juice and Cider

I've been making juices this year with no sugar or other sweetener as i"m now pre-diabetic. Gooseberry and crabapple are quite good the different juices I have made with blackberries are not as good as with sugar. I haven't given up though. I still have elderberries to harvest although they are been ruined by birds and I still plan to make grape juice when my grapes are ready. I made excellent cider last week using Duchess apples and Whitney crabapples which previously I had let all rot.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Sea Buckthorn, Seaberry, or Hippophae rhamnoides

We harvested my sea buckthorn yesterday: they were soft and I guess ripe. They are one of the worst of all thorny fruit to pick: they don't come off the stems easily and the hawthorn-like thorns (little spur branchlets) are wicked. Also, they are downright sour with a tangerine-like smell. I made juice, combining them with blackberries which is one of the worst tasting juices I have made yet. It doesn't help that I put no sugar in. I'll see later about canning the stuff- tonight I'm going to Tosca and my wife Dana is having possibly severe car problems in Templeton, Mass.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Diabetic Juice and Shin-Boku Nursery

I've already harvested my gooseberries and black and red currants and made them into juice with no sugar and canned that. With the black currants, I made the pulp remaining in the jelly bags into diabetic jam by running it through a foley food mill and adding stevia, to one batch and splenda to another: the splenda tastes better to me. I used "no sugar needed" pectin. I seem to have developed "pre-diabetes". I'm drinking the juice with no sugar and it's not too bad, especially the gooseberry. Now, my blackberries are in and I want to make some into juice adding seaberry and/or Dolgo crabapple. So far, I've frozen the berries. I visited Shin-Boku nursery in Wentworth, NH on Saturday, after work at the nursery. Palmer Koelb has amazing huge trees pruning in the "Japanese style" : they look like full-size bonsai specimens.
Palmer Koelb also has a Japanese "Stroll Garden" open to the public any time which incorporates a lot of magnificent specimens of carefully pruned evergreens and some deciduous plants such as Enkianthus and a Stewartia and some summer-blooming deciduous azaleas.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Hemerocallis Breeding

For the last several years, as the result of an article in a gardening magazine, I have been toying with making crosses of my two favorite daylilies which are 'Alabama Jubilee'which is red orange ruffly tet and 'Tuscawilla Tigress'which is a medium orange tet with a prominant yellow stripe. I have taken pollen from one
and put it on the stigma of the other. Then I grew the seedlings for a couple of years and this is the result: 'Kady' Now I am trying to breed for very tall daylilies: after reading the recent article in 'Horticulture' magazine about Ollalie Daylily farm in Newfane, VT. The pictured 'Towers of Eisenkramer'which was both out of stock, according to their website, and cost $150.00. So I'm tring to breed my own with Hemerocallis citrina Vesperitina as the pod parent and 'Ophir' and an unnamed tall yellow as the pollen (sperm) donor. Hope I succeed.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Itoh Hybrid Peonies

This is the season for poppi
es and peonies: roses are just starting. I've become increasingly interested in the Itoh Hybrids( between herbaceous and tree peonies}. The are very good growers, come in wonderful colors -like tree peonies and have the same interesting foliage as tree peonies do. I unfortunately just noticed that rose chafers like them also.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Lilacs and Poppies

Our Lilac Tea was quite successful and well attended. It acted as if it might rain but the rains held off, although there were some bugs. The lilacs were at their peak - the next week they weren't quite as good and the following Sunday it poured rain. The masses of orange poppies didn't come till the next week- nor were the orange Mandarin Light deciduous azaleas out. The iris were maybe at their peak yesterday but the hail last night might have ruined them somewhat. Now the roses and peonies are coming. By the way the peonies in bloom during the tea were Athena and Claire de Lune. In the last 2 weeks, I've been attempting to get the labeling corrected on my lilacs- I've done pretty well.
The next day after the Lilac Tea, Kady and I went for a walk up Urquhart road looking at the Polygala and pink ladyslippers and the blossoms of Acer spicatum and Acer pensylvanicum.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Lilac Tea

My annual lilac tea is happening this coming Sunday at four in the afternoon.
It looks like they could be out in time although the season is somewhat behind where it usually is. I'm busy getting ready for it: weeding, mowing not to mention baking. Both Kady and Libby are going to be here this year. My lilacs were excellent last year and some how there was alot of dead this spring which we have tried to prune out--I figured this would be a good year for a more drastic pruning anyway. On another note, I found and photographed some painted Trillium growing here in West Newbury

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Daffodil Walk Reviewed

My Narcissus are just coming into it now. Some are not out yet but almost none are gone by. Now or even next weekend would be perfect for the Daffodil party we had just over a week ago on May 1st. One could say we had the worst daffodil year we've ever had. Luckily I have a lot of them so that losing a few thousand isn't as noticeable. First after coming on early, we had 2 consecutive nights of 4 degrees: that killed a lot of flower buds and ruined some foliage, then we had the snow storm which flattened them. The final two blows were several weeks of unseasonably cold weather which set them back and of coarse, it rained for our walk. Other than that it was perfect.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Martha's Vineyard and the Polly Hill Arboretum

This coming Sunday, May 1st at 4:00 we're having our annual "Daffodil Walk"--I haven't started preparing any food for what has become a rather elaborate tea. I'm going to have to start baking tonight. That my blood sugar level is too high and may be borderline for pre-diabetes takes some of the fun out of gooseberry/black currant squares and shortbread. However, now we are on Martha's Vineyard in the rain. It's a wonderful place and I want to return when I have more time. We got our daughter, Kady, to her job as a curatorial intern at the Polly Hill Arboretum in West Tisbury, Martha's Vineyard. Yesterday was her first day. It;s the best arboretum or public garden I've ever been to. Not only were many very rare things, a lot of which I had never seen or even heard of, blooming, but also there were very few people. The best thing about this arboretum is that all the people who work there know more than I do and seem very willing to talk to the visitors. I'll try to post some of the photos I took. I think Kady will be able to learn a huge amount there. Other people whom we have met have also been very friendly and helpful: a stranger who got me closer to a seal than I have ever been, a young man who checked out my radiator hoses and gave me some antifreeze to fill the radiator when the high temperature light came on at 9:30 at night came on (I know very little about such things).

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Daffodil Walk

Our annual daffodil "walk" is going to be Sunday, May 1st at 4:00 in the afternoon. First things were coming along so fast that we thought of an earlier date , but then, we had much cooler weather. We even had two consecutive nights where the temperature got down to 4 degrees F which was enough to zap some Narcissus foliage and even some flower buds, That's the second time in thirty years that I have seen any damage to daffodils from cold.
Hopefully it will make no difference to the overall display.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Transplanting Snowdrops

Galanthus nivalis is one of my favorite perennials- perhaps it's so easy to end up with lots and lots of them and they bloom so early. I simply go out when they are in bloom, dig up clumps and stick little bunches of bulbs here and there- they are even OK in a lawn- especially when you can avoid mowing real early in the spring: in other words, where the grass is a little thin- they seem to like rich moist areas.