Six on Saturday-Jan 20

It’s been bitter cold for weeks, but suddenly the snow is melting and slosh turning to mud is the outlook for the weekend.  All this “stuck indoors time” has given me the opportunity to consider improvements and skills for the coming season.  So here’s my top Six for Saturday!  Rain chain compressed  I saw this adorable rain chain during GardenWalk in Buffalo, NY.   If you need inspiration for gardening in small spaces, or innovative gardening ideas design or plant-wise, go to GardenWalk (July 28 & 29, 2018!)  There are over 400 beautiful, creative urban gardens open for visits in one weekend.  This rain chain was the creation of Jim Charlier, who blogs at Art of Gardening.  You should visit his blog just to see his shed.  It’s amazing.  Or his Harry Potter Garden.  But I digress….. I think I need a rain chain like that one for the Lady Cottage, don’t you?       I saw this apple tree on our trip to Normandy last fall.  Apple tree columnar compressed  If I could learn to grow a columnar apple tree, there would be room for one in my potager, or maybe even two! Or maybe I should try an espalier like this potted one awaiting planting at P. Allen Smith’s Moss Mountain kitchen garden: MM espalier  I wonder what the price tag is on a beauty like that!  Not sure I can live long enough to grow one like that myself, or afford a potted one but it sure would be lovely along the fence or against the Lady Cottage.

In another garden in Buffalo, I saw these colorful allium seed heads, and thought “If I sprayed mine bright orange, they’d add a spark to the potager’s interior border in that gap between spring bulbs and the slower annuals.”  Spray them after they are done blooming on a nice, dry sunny day.allium sprayed compressed  What do you think?  Too garish?  I think I’ll give it a go, and if it’s too much, they can always be clipped off.

I’ve been reading lots of Brit’s posts about growing sweet peas with great envy.  I do manage to grow a few, like this one in a pot.Sweet peawhich was quite lovely, but there were so few and by the time they bloomed the heat was on.  All the ones I planted along the fence between the Lady Cottage and greenhouse were devoured by rabbits.  I did learn I need to pinch off the tops to make them bushier, which I’ve never done (but wouldn’t that slow them down even more?)  so I’ll give them an earlier start, pinch, and put chicken wire along the bottom to keep the rabbits from feasting on them.  During this cold, cold spell I’ve had lots of time to review all the photos I took during last season.   Here’s one of the North Island bed. North Island shastas compressed  One of the things I noticed is that it needs some shastas at the west (far) end to balance the ones on the east (front) end.  And maybe I need to make the entire island a bit bigger, especially at the far end.  So, I’ll be seeding more shastas along with the violas and pansies this weekend.  That’s my “Six on Saturday.”  What plans are you making for the coming season?

Thanks to “The Propagator” for sponsoring the “Six on Saturday” meme.  And hey, aren’t you impressed?  I finally figured out how to do the link part! (I hope!)


About carolee

A former professional herb and lavender grower, now just growing for joy in my new potager. When I'm not in the garden, I'm in the kitchen, writing, or traveling to great gardens.
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16 Responses to Six on Saturday-Jan 20

  1. bcparkison says:

    I love the little pot rain chain. .Might have a go at that . And sweet peas…have seed but for some reason they never got in the dirt. Now Shasta’s are a fav. of mine and I managed to kill all of them. Some where I read they have to be divided or they will just poop out. I’m guessing this is what happened.e
    Hang in there…Spring is coming….I’m sure of that.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. cavershamjj says:

    Well done on the link!


  3. Island Time says:

    Lovely post! I never knew about pinching out the tops of sweet peas to make them bushier. Thanks for that tip! Pesky rabbits! Just discovered the “link” thing myself as well, thanks to another blog I noticed one day on FB; something about things to do before pushing the publish button….I was thrilled as I always wondered how a person did that! I have to admit I rather overdid it on my last post, but I was practising! Not sure about spraying the alliums; though it does add a certain something to the overall effect! That mud….a sure sign that spring is on its way. Sounds like you are having fun!


  4. John Kingdon says:

    There’s a fierce debate over on this side of The Pond about sprayed plants – that’s heathers and the like coloured (and killed) while still growing. Spraying dried flower heads for indoor decoration is totally different, of course, but I’ve never thought of spraying the “gone over” flower heads for colour whilst they remain in the garden. That’s something to think about, I think ;). I’ll think while I’m making a rain chain. Thanks for such an interesting post.


    • carolee says:

      My daughter lives in Germany, so I’ve seen the colored heathers and orchids that are sprayed for sale in garden centers. Rarely see them in gardens or planters, so I wonder how well they sell. Well enough that they keep stocking them apparently. Also wonder how they look when new growth appears. I’d not seen sprayed gone-over alliums before, but it looks fun. Thanks for taking the time to respond! Herbal blessings, Carolee


  5. I pinch the tops off anything that needs support as it grows, from tomatoes to hops. For most things, I give it 3 nodes of growth before pinching the primary shoot.
    I’ve heard of coloring flowers, but I’m not sure how I feel about it. Worth giving a go, I’m sure!


  6. Lora Hughes says:

    I bought an Asian pear tree trained like the one in your photo, only because it was the kind of pear I wanted & at the time I bought it, the only ‘shape’ left. I’m not sure what happens next to it, now that it’s in my inexpert care. As to painted alium seed heads, go for it. Some other Six did say, however, that dead heading the alium leads to bigger blossoms next year. Bigger blossom, fuchsia pink seed heads . . . decisions, decisions.


  7. I’d love to grow alliums (not paint them though) but it is far too hot here. But sweet peas are my default flower, or weed. They take over. So there’s a lesson for you. We always want what we can’t have. Love the rain chain too

    Liked by 1 person

  8. katvyce says:

    I love sweet peas too, and I’ve seen gardeners here in Alberta with gorgeous swathes of them climbing support frames, and our summer is also very short -so it must be possible. I think they like a little cold, so I’m planning to plant some as soon as the ground is workable and see what happens. I’ll probably try a hardy perennial variety first…


    • carolee says:

      Ohhh! Proceed with great caution on the perennial variety of sweet peas. I was lured into planting ONE on a small fence at the herb farm years ago, and battled hundreds of offspring for decades afterwards. I’ll never plant it again because it came up everywhere and it was very difficult to dig out with roots 4 times as long as any top growth


      • katvyce says:

        Good to know! What zone are you in? I’m in zone 3 so thinking I might get away with it.


      • carolee says:

        I’m zone 4b, but I think perennial sweet peas are hardy to zone 2. And the seeds are poisonous, so don’t grow them if pets or children might find them. The plant kinda shoots them out of their pods if you don’t remove them all (and they can be hard to spot) up to about 6′.


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