Hi there! Welcome to my blog, where I try really hard to write *something* at least once a week. That ‘something’ could be about gardening, flower/wreath arranging, crocheting, or just about anything, really. Today is a good example of ‘anything’. 🙂 The thing is, I was so profoundly touched by the simple act of someone reaching out to me, that I had to share.
What exactly am I talking about? I’d say that over the past year it has happened more than a few times, where someone – out of the blue – contacts me and either reconnects, or a new connection is made. I realize that this might not sound very exciting. I find that especially during these times though, that making connections with people is even more appreciated, special, and needed. Some of those connections involved me receiving some truly kind words, which is so uplifting every single time.
So I’m here to say to you, never feel too shy to send that sweet note you’ve been wanting to send. Don’t wait to tell that friend what they mean to you. Give the compliment, even though you are sure they don’t need to hear it (they actually do). And if you haven’t touched base with a friend in a long time, now is a great time to do so. You’ll be glad you did, and so will they.
In Peace, Dana
This is our ‘playhouse’ (although no longer used as such) which received a fresh coat of paint this summer, along with new roof shingles. It’s looking really well, if I do say so myself! We also have a rain catcher connected with pipes to the gutter (you can see the black pipe on the left, but the rain catcher is green and camouflaged behind the yellow rose plant). The tree with orange leaves on the left is a Mountain Ash, or Rowan tree. Its bright orange berries have already been eaten this season by the birds! The two mauve colored plants in front of the ornamental grass are Asters. I especially like them because they keep their blooms for a number of weeks. And the bright red plant between the Asters is a ‘burning bush’, or Euonymus alatus. This picture was taken mid morning (I can tell from the shadow on the playhouse) with full sun on one side and typical Irish storm clouds on the other!
And last but not least, a picture of me! It was time for an update on the status of growing out my colored hair. It is a pretty slow process, but we’re getting there. The two tone coloring doesn’t bother me anymore (it did for the first month, though!). It’s been seven months since I stopped coloring my hair. The time was right for me. I think having the brown hair still, while it grows out, is a great way to adjust to the new coloring. 🙂
I do hope you are keeping well and safe. Take care!
Hello! Welcome to my blog, where recently I have been on a roll of crafting and creating with florals from the garden. Today was one of those gray, dreary, and very wet days. It was relentless. My chickens spent most of the day hanging out underneath their house, which protected them from the rain. This was a bit unusual as they don’t mind getting wet. But I’m glad they decided that staying dry was a better idea today! For me, it was the perfect opportunity to make something with the last batch of hydrangea flowers I dried. Given that I don’t have any floral U pins to make a wreath, I figured I’d try making an arrangement for a change.
For this project, I had an idea in my head of what I was working towards. I picked a pottery bowl instead of a vase because I wanted a large opening and a short base, and also I wanted to hide the green oasis that I’d be using. I filled the bowl with the oasis, and then simply started adding stems. The great thing about dried flowers is that they don’t need water – just stick them in and they are good to go. Some of the flowers have a pretty burgundy coloring which I thought was perfect for fall. I mixed up the blues, greens and burgundy colors. Most of the stems were the perfect length for the height I wanted, which was very handy.
I was surprised by how quickly it all came together! I have it displayed on top of our refrigerator, hiding all of the wires from our WiFi router (well, mostly hiding them). Of course I had fun making it! No better way to spend some time than working with flowers!
It was nice to have a low-key day today. Everyone needs a day to recharge. I hope you were able to do something that was fun, too!
Take care and stay safe.
In Peace, Dana
As always, thank you for visiting! See you next time! 🙂
Hello there! Welcome to my Mom in the Garden blog. We have enjoyed some beautiful weather this past month – a true Indian summer. Thankfully, the garden also enjoyed the warmth and sunshine. I think it is still looking pretty good! The one main job I had for September was to trim my boxwood hedges, which was done on one gorgeous, sunny Saturday. Otherwise, it was just typical garden maintenance: weeding, deadheading roses, weeding, edging of beds, weeding, planning for next season, and some more weeding! 🙂
I did get the chance to make another flower arrangement, too. That was quick, easy and fun! I’m scheming on how to somehow manage to create a cutting garden in the yard. I’m not quite sure how to manage that, but I’m thinking about it!
We have two apple trees in our garden: one is called an ‘eating apple’ tree and one is called a ‘cooking apple’ tree. (I would not suggest eating the cooking apples straight off of the tree, as they really need *something* along with it – like sugar!) The eating apple tree has lovely red, crisp and juicy apples. We were very lucky this year, to have had no major storms in September. Usually, when a fall storm passes through, all of the apples are knocked off of the tree at once and then we have to figure out what to do with them all! So far this season, only the eating apples have fallen, and they fell over the course of the entire month. I’m wondering when my kids are going to get sick of apple pie, but no sign of that yet!
Ten years into first creating our garden and parts of it are in need of an overhaul. I’m not yet sure which section we’ll work on this winter, but my head is busy making plans. I just need to get those plans on paper to get them to work!
The weather has been slowly getting a bit colder and we’ve just started to see some frosty mornings. These can be quite pretty when it is sunny! I am thankful that September has been as nice as it has. It is just good for the soul. It also makes for quite a lovely birthday month! 🙂
Take care and stay safe!
In Peace, Dana
Thank you for stopping by! I hope your September was as beautiful as ours was. See you next time! 🙂
Hi there! I love crafty projects – you might have guessed that by now if you’ve followed me for a bit. 🙂 Wreaths are my favorite, hands down. They don’t take a lot of time to make, and they are simply fun to create. Whether for yourself or for others, they make great gifts, too! This week I made a wreath with the dried flowers from my hydrangea ‘Vanille Fraise’ Paniculata Renhy. The hydrangea starts out white early in the season. As it matures it changes first to light pink and then continues darkening throughout the season.
I started taking cuttings from the plant in early August, as I wanted smaller flowers to work with. It was nice having those smaller blooms, but their stems were not very strong, which made it a tiny bit tricky when pinning them to the wreath frame. The more mature, bigger blooms had nice strong stems and were easy to work with. The key to getting really nice dried flowers is to not cut them too soon (a lesson that is very hard for me to accept)!
The wreath frames are simply made of straw, and I always reuse mine. Dried flowers need to be replaced over time, so after they fade, I take the wreaths apart and reuse the wreath frame as well as the floral ‘U’ pins (I use the ‘u’ pins to attach the flowers to the wreath). As always, I started with all of my flowers on the table, and one by one I placed them on the wreath. I placed two large flowers across from each other, and then added a third (smaller flower) in the center, working my way around the wreath with that pattern. I didn’t have a plan, or an idea of how I wanted it to look. Only once I began, and I could see what I had to work with and how they were falling into place, did I have an idea of what I wanted to achieve. When I work this way, the wreaths tend to come out a little bit quirky and definitely bespoke! That fits my personality perfectly. 🙂
We have been enjoying some beautiful weather, which I find very helpful for my creativity. I hope the weather has been nice where you live, too! Take care and stay safe.
In Peace, Dana
I really enjoyed making that wreath. I hope you enjoyed seeing the process. Thank you for visiting! 🙂
Hi there! You are very welcome to my blog. September is a great month, don’t you think? You can feel a distinct change in the air with the start of fall, or as oft happens to the kids on their return to school – it turns into a beautiful Indian summer! September is also when I like to get creative with dried mophead hydrangeas.
Mophead Hydrangeas dry really well – when you cut them at the right time. Even after all of these years, I’m still learning! The flowers/stems have to be sturdy. If they are young they will wither and the flowers don’t look as nice. I hang mine upside down, because that is easiest for me. I’ve had flowers dry while in a vase, too.
I used a 17 inch straw wreath frame, and this time I used floral wire as well as floral ‘u’ pins to attach the flowers. It is simply a case of covering the frame with flowers, one at a time. Surprisingly, the flowers are forgiving and you can squish them together, or squish one in here or there to fill in gaps. This frame is bigger than I usually use, and the shape ‘got away from me’! I have three rows of flowers going around the frame, instead of my usual two. It was a funny shape when I finished the first time! I realized after I’d hung it on the door that it wasn’t quite right. I just squished in some more flowers here and there and it is more or less a decent shape now. I can get away with that because: 1. It is just for me, and 2. that’s what you get with hand made!
These wreaths really aren’t difficult to make, as long as you have the materials. I have to say that some of the flowers I used were somewhat shrivelled, but when they are all mixed in I think they look O.K.. 🙂
I hope that your September is going well. Any creative plans?
In Peace, Dana
In the picture above you can see the floral wire I used for half of the wreath. It is in the middle of the wreath. I wrapped it around the stem and then around the wreath, and then again around the flower (that part wasn’t fun). It then became more difficult than helpful to me, so I switched to the floral U pins. I have some pictures in this blog post of the floral U pins as they are used.
Thank you for stopping by. Take care and stay safe!
Hello there! You are very welcome to my blog. Today I was working with my 16 year old daughter, making face masks together. It was her first real sewing project, and she was deservedly proud of herself. I was glad we did it together, and even more glad that she had initiated it. But confession time: sewing is something I am not comfortable with. I just never fell in love with it. I’m hoping that she will learn how to sew and learn to really enjoy it, too. Now – working with flowers – THAT is something I love to do!
I had a bunch of chores to do around the house yesterday. As a ‘treat’ to myself for doing all of that, I decided to make another flower arrangement. 🙂 All work and no play makes for a very dull day. Just like I did for my last arrangement a few weeks ago, I walked around the garden with my secateurs and snipped whatever I fancied. The tricky part was finding something ‘lofty and light’, which honestly I couldn’t find. But let me walk you through what I did use, and why:
Leycesteria formosa – also known as Himalayan honeysuckle or pheasant berry. This is great for creating structure. I love how the berries hang – giving a curve to the ends of the branch. The deep burgundy color of the berries and flowers is very pretty, too.
Pittosporum Tom Thumb – this deep, dark (purple/burgundy?) colored shrub with curly edged leaves is so easy to work with. I used it as filler to help hold things in place and to hide the white tape (see below for why I used white tape).
Rosemary – I liked the different texture of this plant. These are straight spikes and given I couldn’t really maneuver them in my container (I’ll explain below) I only used a few sprigs.
Erysimum ‘Super Bowl’ Mauve – I added these light purple stems to break up the strong tones of burgundy in the arrangement. Each stem only had a couple of small flowers on the very end of them, so I added two stems for each place that I added them. They more or less stayed together.
Clematis Purpurea Plena Elegans – this flower worked so well last time, I couldn’t pass it up. I was able to bring some of the flowers quite high, which is what I was hoping for. They are also a burgundy color.
Poppy pods – you know me, I have HUNDREDS of poppies in my garden! I collected small pods (the pod is what is left after the flower finishes blooming, and which holds the seeds) with long stems. In the center of the arrangement I have a group of them which I cut to all the same height. The rest of the pods I fanned out high above everything else.
Ornamental grass. I have one stem of this grass fanned out just on one side of the arrangement – to flow with the poppy pods and the sideways leaning Leycesteria formosa.
David Austin Roses – Eustacia Vye (an apricot-pink color), Lichfield Angel (cream), Boscobel (salmon), Scepter’d Isle (light pink) and possibly one more light pink variety but I can’t recall which one! There were too many beautiful roses in the garden to not put them in an arrangement.
The container I used is part of our pottery collection from when we were married 24 years ago (Suzanne May Irish pottery). I still love it! I used two frogs to hold the roses, but that wasn’t nearly enough for the rest of the plant materials. So I used white tape along the rim to create a bit of a grid to support the stems. Honestly, it worked well enough! You can see the white tape around the rim of the container in some of the pictures.
I gathered some flowers, started the arrangement, and then went out and gathered some more. I was delighted to have so many different plants to use!
For me, the moral of the story is, do what you love to do! I’m so glad to have planted materials that I can use for flower arranging – and I can’t wait to add some more!
I hope you are enjoying the last little bit of summer! Stay safe and healthy.
In Peace, Dana
I hope you enjoyed your visit to Mom in the Garden! I am very happy to say that my daughter was quite happy with her sewing project and made several very nice masks. I’m so happy for her! Take care! 🙂
Hello there! Is it just me, or is this summer going super fast? Do they say that as you get older, time goes faster? I think it is true! The garden is shifting to ‘end of summer’ mode, with a few plants finishing their season.
We have had some *terrible* weather recently – as in lots of rain and gale force winds. Not a great mix for plants. I have to say that the garden has held up pretty well (I’ve seen worse). Thankfully, I captured some nice pictures of my roses *before* the weather turned. Some roses still look well even after all of the bad weather. They’ve had a lovely season so far! I’m afraid that my sunflowers have definitely seen better days though. They just didn’t shine as bright this year as they usually do.
The lilies have finished off their season with a bang! They were just spectacular this year. I love flowers with fragrance, and they do not disappoint. Their many blooms are pure white atop tall strong stalks.
My project this weekend was to cut some of my mophead hydrangea. I have not (yet!) perfected the exact time to cut them to have the petals dry properly. By “properly” I mean that the petals stay open and keep their color. If I cut them too soon in the season, the petals shrivel up and it really is not pretty. But, if I wait too long before cutting them, they lose their color! I believe it has more to do with the maturity of the flower than the time of the season. I am hopeful that most of the flowers I cut today will be O.K.. Last week I cut some stems off of my Vanille Fraise hydrangea paniculata ‘Renhy’. I had mixed results with some stems drying well, and some shriveling up. But I tried again about 5 days later and they have dried perfectly. I had wanted to cut them before they turned completely pink, which is why I cut them a little early. I think I’ll have a good mix of white and pink. Did you see my Instagram stories where I showed the cuttings? 🙂
Another plant near the end of its season is the globe artichoke. My plant is well established in the garden, and takes up quite a bit of space. It has produced many, many artichokes this summer. This is another plant that I like to dry and use for decoration. Earlier this summer, I tried cutting teeny tiny baby artichokes to use in wreaths, but they just shriveled up and turned brown. I’ve discovered that if you cut them right after they’ve bloomed (after the thin purple spike-like form in the center of the artichoke appears) they keep their purple color. The artichokes themselves don’t keep their lovely green color, but have a molted coloring. I like how they look in a large vase, as they are quite unusual.
I hope you are well and enjoying good weather wherever you are in the world! Are there any flowers that you like to dry and use again?
In Peace, Dana
You might notice that the leaves of my roses will usually have black spot. I have some varieties that are more hardy, but at some stage it usually hits all of the roses. If I had a bit more time I’d treat them with a milk and water solution. I’ve done that before and it does work. But I now have a lot more roses and it would take a fair amount of time to treat them. This just goes with the territory when not using chemicals.
Phew! There were a lot of photos for this post! I hope you enjoyed them all. 🙂
Hello there! We have enjoyed some absolutely beautiful summer days recently. I definitely get more accomplished on sunny days! (Is that the same for you, too?) I hope you have also had good weather, wherever you are in the world. As you may know, I love flowers. I always have in mind, when I’m planting flowers, if I can use them again – either in a live or dried flower arrangement. Last week I had a free morning on a beautiful sunny day and I decided to make a flower arrangement. I should add that just a few months ago I bought myself a book on flower arranging. It is called Floret Farm’s A Year in Flowers, by Erin Benzakein. It is filled with 300 pages all about ‘designing gorgeous arrangements for every season’ and complemented with the most beautiful pictures. It is a fantastic resource for learning everything you need to know about flowers, foliage, containers, flower care and of course, design. The premise is to use as many local flowers as possible, incorporating items that might not have typically been considered for arrangements. Something else that I liked seeing and learning about was creating a loose and airy look. I found it to be the motivation I needed to try something different.
I did not have a visual of the arrangement in my head before I started. I walked through the garden with my clippers and just clipped anything that I thought might work. I noted that in the book, Erin had used clematis, which were lovely additions to arrangements. That is not a plant I would have thought would be usable for arrangements! It’s great to learn new things. 🙂
Post arrangement, I found that my Japanese anemone did not fare well. I possibly should have tried a special method for their hydration (which I would do next time). Also, an obvious note was that the roses that looked ‘perfect’ when picked, were fasted to drop. My David Austin roses tend to have short stems, so I was more concerned with finding flowers with longer stems than with their maturity. But other than that, the flowers all did really well for the week. I was super lazy and didn’t even add water to the container (O.K., so I probably shouldn’t admit that).
As for the container, I’ve had that little gem for nearly 20 years. It was a gifted flower arrangement (I save everything). I think this is definitely my favorite thing I’ve done with it, though! It just seemed to all fit together nicely.
I hope you like my arrangement! I’d love it if you would please leave me a comment below, telling me which is your favorite flower, or if you enjoy flower arranging, or just say hello!
Thanks so much!
In Peace, Dana
The container has two frogs in the bottom, which I used to secure the roses in place. This probably isn’t recommended, but I also used glass marbles to help to hold the rest of the flowers in place – that’s called ‘making due with what I have’! Most of the roses are David Austin roses, although I still have one rose plant that is not a David Austin rose, and I did use one of those roses.
Above is a closer look at the ceramic container. Also, just a couple highlights of the flowers: the Leycesteria formosa – also known as Himalayan honeysuckle or pheasant berry, is a hanging burgundy color flower with berries and green leaves – it also sometimes has white flowers. The tall yellow flower is fennel. I used it to tie in the yellow centers from the pink Japanese anemone. The spiky purple flower is Russian sage – Perovskia atriplicifolia ‘Little Spire’, which also dries really well.
The only other flower to highlight is the clematis, Purpurea Plena Elegans, which is also a burgundy color.
I loved every minute of creating this arrangement! I have to say that I was happy with my end result, even though at the back of my mind I know there were some techniques that might have been ignored. Nothing ventured, nothing gained! 🙂 Take care!
Hello! Welcome to my blog, where I find peace and happiness through gardening and flowers. Anyone else need some of that? 🙂 This week I’m going to give a view of what is happening all around the garden. We’ve had a strange summer, weather-wise: a very dry spring followed by a very wet early summer. Our summer so far has been cooler than normal with lots of rain. Thankfully, the sun has not been a complete stranger!
I really like the contrast with this combination of Helenium and Daisies. I’ve propped up both plants this year as they get really floppy. The Shasta Daisy have spread, and spread, and spread!
You can see in the full view of the ditch wall garden that there are a lot of daisies! I have a few varieties of yarrow, too. Lots of floppiness going on as they all seek the afternoon sun from their position under the Hawthorn trees.
This little corner is rather happy, although it might be a bit happier if it weren’t quite so windy where we live. This Clematis – Purpurea Plena Elegans – is very pretty, with a deep burgundy color. The Lychnis Coronaria Rose Campion is quite prolific! It has sprung up in a few places around the garden! Thankfully, it is quite a pretty fuchsia pink flower with a silvery stem. I actually have a few plants in this garden that just like to take off. The Japanese anemone is just now starting to come into bloom (only one light pink flower on the left of this picture). The perennial geranium is a pretty light pink, and is quite hardy and also enjoys moving about the garden! At the very back of this picture is a tall Rosemary plant. It is now quite woody, but otherwise we still use it for cooking. There is a Japanese Maple tree in the middle of all of this – but it is not thriving due to the wind. I am quite stubborn and I am always hopeful that it will grow big and strong enough to handle the wind. We’ll see!
The above picture is a view of the same bed back in April. I was quite proud of my shaping of the boxwood shrubs! The green ground cover in the front left of the picture is the Japanese Anemone. It loves to spread!
In this same ‘Japanese Maple’ bed, I have a hydrangea ‘Selma’. This is the best it has ever looked as it has loved all of our rain! The mophead flowers are redish pink around the edges with a white center. The leaves are a very pretty burgundy color.
Moving to another bed – sometimes I get my plantings right, sometimes not so much. The Russian sage – Perovskia atriplicifolia Little Spire – is really happy in this bed. The plant next to it on the left – Zantedeschia aethiopica Arum Lily – although not dead, doesn’t produce any flowers. I don’t think it is happy. I’ll be looking to move that eventually.
The bed beyond the Russian Sage plant is the Rainbow garden. It has a lot going on in there! I just want to focus on one plant, though, the Buddleis BUZZ ‘Dark Pink’ Butterfly Bush. It is really showing off this year!
The next part of the garden to highlight is our front gate bed. I’ve been saying this a few years now, but I really need to move my hydrangea Incrediball. It gets a lot of sun where it is, and it would much prefer to be in shade! This bed is full of beauty. There are two lavender plants, which are super fragrant. The Pittosporum Tom Thumb is great for some different texture. The Lychnis Coronaria Rose Campion is a fabulous splash of color (even if it decided for itself to join this bed) and all of the way on the far right is the Leycesteria formosa – which is also knowns as Himalayan honeysuckle or pheasant berry. There are a lot of wonderful things going on in this bed! I’ll be sad to see the hydrangeas go, but I’m sure we’ll find something lovely to fill their places.
The below picture is of planters that are at my back door. That is the first thing I see in the morning when I go to let the chickens out of their coop and feed them. Just a few planters with a bit of color and different sizes, shapes, textures. They’ve done really well this year!
I hope you have enjoyed the tour! The garden seems to change on an almost daily basis. No matter what goes on in the outside world, life and growth continues in the garden.
Hi there! At this time of year I am usually too busy to stop and write a ‘how to’ post about lavender and the different crafts I make with it. But by the time I do get to write about it, with ‘how to’ instructions, it is a bit too late! So this year I am providing links to all of my previous posts about lavender in this blog. That way, if you want to make a lavender wand, or a lavender wreath, you can do so while the lavender is still available!
12 seems to be the number of lavender wands that I enjoy making in a season. I make those 12 really quickly, and then I don’t have any interest to make more. I looked at possibly trying some different styles this year, but honestly, I like mine best (says she, trying to be humble about it). I did make one change for the last few that I made this year – instead of using 25 stems, I used 35 – 41 stems. They were really thick! I’m not sure if that is better, or just different. You can read how to make lavender wands here, or watch a video here.
I did get a bit of a head start on my wreath making this year. That’s because for the first time, instead of waiting for the lavender to dry, I made a fresh lavender wreath. I usually make wreaths with dried lavender, and attach the lavender with floral ‘u’ pins. This wreath was made using fresh lavender and the lavender was attached with one continuous piece of floral wire. It has a very different look! It hangs in my kitchen, and in the past couple of weeks it has grown on me. I now like it very much! You can see some of my past wreaths and how I made them here, here, here, here, and here .
There are quite a few lavender plants in our garden. They are at different stages of maturity and their blooms develop at slightly different times. I’ve gone through and cut most of the mature stems over the past two weeks. They are now drying out – in my house. It’s a bit tricky this year! I usually dry them in our ‘sitting room’ which isn’t usually used. But this year, the ‘sitting room’ is my husband’s office and my son has started playing our piano, which is also in that room. So if my husband isn’t in the room, my son is! Instead, the lavender is drying in our front hall. Some people hang their lavender. I hang my roses and other flowers to dry them, but I just haven’t managed to figure out how to hang the huge amount of lavender I have, yet. The lavender dries out really quickly – a few weeks, tops. I still have two plants with immature blooms, that should be ready for me to use next week (so I could make more wands if I wanted to!).
I will start making dried lavender wreaths in the next couple of weeks. Again, it is a bit tricky this year as the table I usually use for my crafts is now my work desk. It means that I’ll have to start and finish the task over the weekend – including cleaning up the mess! Boy do I miss the use of the ‘unused’ sitting room where I could come and go to craft, and just close the door to hide my mess until I was completely finished.
I hope you find the tutorials helpful! It is fun for me to look back on all of the different styles of wreaths and different colors of wands that I’ve made over the years. My lavender pages are by far the most popular pages on my website – I’m not alone in my enjoyment of making things from the garden! It is such a bonus to be able to enjoy the relaxing fragrance of lavender while working with it. 🙂
Will you make any lavender crafts this year?
In Peace, Dana
I hope your summer is sunny and full of fun for you 🙂