Planting out the seedlings

Hello! Well there certainly was some excitement this week when the rain finally stopped and the sun shone brightly for two days in a row! I celebrated by planting out most of my seedlings, including sweet pea, pumpkins and sunflowers. Now the fun part starts: keeping the slugs away!

I want to back up a tiny bit and talk about the seedlings. I’ve learned the hard way that the stems of pumpkin plants are fragile. One snap and that’s the end of the plant. My typical ‘flip the pot over’ into my hand ended in disaster last year. So I’m happy to report that there were no snapping of stems this year. The main reason is that I no longer flip them. 🙃 That’s just not the best way to get them out of their containers. It also helped to grow them on a couple of weeks longer, so they were definitely stronger.

The sweet pea were also started a tiny bit earlier this year. They grew long and leggy quite quickly, so I kept pinching them back which seemed to strengthen them and encouraged them to grow more stems.

The sunflowers were an interesting bunch. I have several different varieties, but they have not all grown equally well. I have my hunch as to which ones will perform the best – those that from very early on had multiple leaves and a strong stem – but I will give them all an equal shot!

The biggest issue I now face is that of slugs. They can destroy all of my work in a very short period of time. I’ve already removed several from the beds and from some of the plants. They come out in the late evening and early morning, and they camouflage perfectly in the soil. And don’t be fooled by size, even the teeniest of slugs can do serious damage! Hopefully, I can get the plants all settled and growing before the slugs do major damage.

I’m joining Garden Ruminations for the Six on Saturday meme (because it is fun to do so!).

Enjoy the tour of my garden!

In Peace,
Dana

image of pumpkin plant, sunflowers and sweetpea

1, 2 & 3 – Pumpkins, Sunflowers & Sweet pea. I’ve placed eggshells around the plants to deter the slugs. Honestly, I don’t think it works, but I feel better having at least tried it. One side of the arch will be covered in sweet pea, while the other side will have pumpkins growing on it. That’s the plan, anyway!

slug on a pumpkin plant

4 – Slug. Yup, I took a picture of a slug. This guy was quite long and easy to spot. I also tend to look harder around the leaves that have damage done to them. I’ve found that ‘hunting’ them down, both morning and night, is the best way to deal with them – and always with gloves.

Full view of the raised beds with the new seedlings in.
full view of garden with narcissus and raspberries

5 – View of the raised beds from both sides (after planting). In the bottom picture you can also see the raspberry plants. The border includes lavender on one side, Rosemary on another, little lime hydrangea on the far size, and beech hedging with containers of hosta on the last. Seeing blue skies is such a treat!

cherry tree at sunset

6 – Cherry tree at sunset. I couldn’t resist taking this picture. I was working on the other side of the garden and the lighting was just so perfect here that I was enticed to come over. I’d like many more days like these, please!

Thanks so much for stopping by! Do you have any (organic) means to get your slugs? 🙂

When everything (isn’t) coming up roses

Hi there! I know it is so much more fun to talk about all the wonderful aspects of gardening, but sometimes, it’s a good idea to cover the ‘ugly’, too. Today I’m talking about tulips and something called ‘tulip fire’.

Tulips are a bulbous herb, that are planted in the fall and flower in the spring. They are considered perennial, as they should return every year. In truth, I have found that only in rare instances do they return year after year. It isn’t uncommon to have them dwindle in numbers as time goes on. In the worst case, they come down with tulip fire. Here’s what I’ve learned about that:

Tulip fire is a fungal disease of tulips caused by Botrytis tulipae, which produces brown spots and twisted, withered and distorted leaves. It is so named because in severe cases plants appear as if scorched by fire.

The Royal Horticultural Society

My experience is that the leaves look terrible and they don’t actually produce flowers, or if they do, they are of very poor quality. The solution is to dig up the bulbs and throw them out (not on the compost). Also, it is advised to not replant tulips in that spot for at least three years.

While one way to prevent tulip fire is to ensure the bulbs are of a high quality, with no signs of the black mold on them, I have had the misfortune of tulip fire occurring on subsequent years after planting. For this, there are no preventative measures.

Playhouse with tulips and bleeding heart

Here’s my story of how tulip fire wiped out a full bed of tulips. In the fall of 2021, we planted 60 bulbs each of Tulip Mascotte (fringed tulips) and Tulip Lilac Perfection in front of our playhouse. They were amazing that first year!

Tulip Lilac perfection and Tulip Mascotte
Tulip Lilac Perfection.

They were truly fabulous tulips! There were so many blooms that seemed to last forever. And of course they made great cut flowers, too.

Tulip Mascotte in a vase
Tulip Lilac perfect in a vase

And now we turn to what they looked like on year two (this year) …

Tulips with tulip fire fungus.
Tulips with tulip fire fungus dug up for disposal.

It was pretty heart breaking to go from 120 beautiful tulips to this dreadful mess, and in just one year. But there’s no point in dwelling on it. That’s just the risk you take with gardening. I have some tulips in the garden that have returned for many years, as well as tulips that seem to live by the moto ‘one and done’!

It’ll take more than one or two cases of tulip fire to keep me from planting tulips in different places around the garden, though. They’re just too pretty. Nevertheless, I’m now on the lookout for an alternative to tulips for this spot in front of the playhouse.

I hope you never experience tulip fire, but if you do, you know what to do. 🙂

In Peace,
Dana

Tulip season!

Hi there! While we should be well and truly into spring at this stage, the weather has only been teasing us with spring-like weather. Despite this, the garden continues to come to life, with all of the tulips now up and blooming. As I mentioned in an earlier post, not all of my tulips have returned from last year. But, the ones that did are fabulous.

I’m joining Garden Ruminations for the Six on Saturday meme, where folks from all over the world give a peek into their gardens.

Enjoy the tour!

In Peace,
Dana

View of the apple, cherry and birch trees with a cloudy sky

1 – April sky. I thought this picture summarizes perfectly what the weather has been like! It is sunny, but there is also a black cloud, which brought rain. You can see the white/pink blossoms of the apple tree on the left, with the cherry tree in the center, and the five birch trees on the right.

Pretty Princess tulips

2 – Pretty Princess tulips. These tulips are a lovely, bright and cheerful pink, with a dark contrast color in the middle of the petals. These particular flowers were planted this past fall, but they join other Pretty Princess tulips that have been in this bed for a few years.

Queen of the night tulips (dark) with some Pretty Princess below

3 – Queen of the Night tulips. I love this deep, dark burgundy color, in contrast to the brightness of the pink Pretty Princess tulips. These tulips are a few years old.

Vincent van Gogh tulips
Vincent van Gogh tulips

4 – Vincent van Gogh tulips. We planted these dark, fringed tulips this past fall, to tie-in with the Queen of the Night tulips, since they are across from each other. These have a beautiful burgundy – red tinge. Unfortunately, they are being surrounded (smothered) by poppies.

Tulip ballerina

5 – Tulip ballerina. Aren’t these lovely? I had a lot more of these years ago, but every year less return. I’ve shifted my colors more to wine/pink/white, though, so I’m not sure if I’ll find a little nook to keep these colors.

Fringed Tulipa Honeymoon

6 – Fringed Tulip Honeymoon. These are just two years old, and the pack has thinned out. It’s a constant battle in this bed, though, with poppies and weeds, so I’m not too surprised they don’t return here.

Kitty in front of Cool Crystal tulips

I’m sneaking in one more picture. Here is ‘Kitty’ sitting pretty in front of the Cool Crystal tulips, which are still looking fantastic. Kitty likes to keep me company in the garden. 🙂

I hope you’ve enjoyed the tour! Any favorites?

A very pink start to spring

Hi there! The garden has been coming to life with some very pretty shades of pink over the past couple of weeks. My magnolias are blooming, the aubrietia is still showing off, and the tulips, those that have returned, are looking lovely. I did have plenty of tulips that didn’t return this year, unfortunately. That does happen, which is why it’s good to have a variety of flowers blooming, and to not just rely on one. But I’m still very disappointed.

The weather has only partially cooperated this week, with mostly dry conditions but also rather cloudy and cool. The rains returned last night and they continue into today. Hoping for lots of May flowers given all of these April showers!

I mustered short stints in the garden this week. The area around our raised beds, including the beds, is now all set for the season! I was a little surprised by how many weeds managed to grow in the hoggin ground cover, despite having cardboard and weed blocker fabric underneath. It is great to have it all cleared now. What a job that was! I have lots of sunflower plants in pots that are ready to be moved into those raised beds. We have another risk of frost this coming week, so it’ll be a little bit longer until I can move them out, though.

I’m joining Garden Ruminations for Six on Saturday. Feel free to join in.

Enjoy the tour!

In Peace,
Dana

bright pink anemone and aubrietia

1 – Pink anemone. I confess that I am unsure how I’ve ended up with pink anemone. I have quite a lot of purple anemone (mostly Mr. Fokker). It spreads, and I really like it. But this bright pink anemone showed up a couple of years ago and is ever so slowly multiplying. I am partial to pink, so I’m perfectly ok with it making itself at home here.

aubrietia and bee

2 – Aubrietia and bee. I can see Aubrietia being in my ‘Six’ for a few weeks. Even the bees love it! 🙂

Magnolia Heaven Scent with four flowers

3 – Magnolia Heaven Scent. It seems there are only six flowers this year. This tree was planted just a couple of years ago, so I’m not sure if I should be concerned with just six flowers this year or maybe it needs more time to settle in. I’m going to be optimistic and hope for more next year. 🙂 Given the name, it is supposed to have a lovely scent. But the flowers are too high up for me to actually smell them!

Magnolia Susan with one flower

4 – Magnolia Susan. This little shrub is about two feet tall, if that. It was nearly a give away at one of the plant sales I went to last year with my friend Susan. Given the pretty, dark color of the flowers AND the name, I had to buy it. 🙂

compost and worms from our tumbler compost bin

5 – Compost from our tumbler. WORMS! This compost is from one of our compost tumblers (we have two). It is mostly made up of our uncooked kitchen vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, egg shells, and toilet roll cardboard. I use this when I’m planting out plants (I moved some delphinium this week and added the compost to the soil). I also use it to add to the beds, making sure to work it into the soil – partially to protect the worms from the many birds in the yard!

tulips from last year, and same tulips, diseased, this year.
tulip Mascotte on left and tulip lilac perfection on the right (last year's flowers)

6 – Tulip Mascotte (left) and Tulip Lilac Perfection (right). Oh I wish I could say these are from this year! These beautiful tulips are from one year ago. The bottom image of the top picture is what they look like today (diseased greens with only a single flower). I will have to dig them all up, along with the soil, and destroy them. It is probably tulip fire.

Thanks so much for stopping by. Have you ever had this ‘tulip fire’ in your garden? I had it a bunch of years ago, and dug all of the bulbs up and didn’t replant in that area. So I’m super disappointed to have it happen again, and in a different area. I’d love to know what your experience has been. Thanks! 🙂

A little sunshine does the trick!

Hi there! We were away for nearly all of last week and the garden looks completely transformed. Thank God for warmer weather with some sunshine thrown in, between the showers, of course. It is great to see. It really lifts my spirits when the weather improves. Suddenly I find myself outside in the garden, not wanting to come in!

All is not perfect in the garden, though. I seem to have some issues with my hyacinth and some tulips. I’ll give the tulips a bit more time, but the hyacinth have already bloomed, albeit half heartedly. Such a change from last year. I’m hoping it is due to the very wet spring we’ve had.

Otherwise, the garden is looking good, with lots of growth and buds of things soon to come.

I’m joining Garden Ruminations for the Six on Saturday meme. Feel free to join in! 🙂

Enjoy the tour.

In Peace,
Dana

pink aubrietia
pink aubrietia

1 – Pink Aubrietia. This makes me smile every spring. Mine was more interested in growing into the bed than down the wall, but I think we’ll eventually get there. It is really quite striking! Last year I planted more in the second bed and it is already heading down the wall.

'Cool Crystal' (pink parrot) tulips
'Cool Crystal' (pink parrot) tulips

2 – ‘Cool Crystal’ (pink fringed, peony-like) tulips. These were planted just this past fall, in my newest bed. They haven’t all fully opened yet, and they already look very pretty.

Helleborus Harvington Double Apricots

3 – Helleborus Harvington Double Apricot. I know I’ve already shown these a while back, but I really think they are at their peak now. Wow! So many blooms, all with dainty double petals, in a delicate apricot and pink coloring. 🙂

Primeroses

4 – Primroses. These are also back for show and tell, again. I just can’t get over how well they’ve done (counter to all my previous primroses). I wasn’t able to capture them all in the picture, but I have red, purple, cream, light yellow, dark yellow, and dark pink. And I’m sure that they’ve spread from what I planted last year.

dark pink, light pink and purple hyacinth

5 – Hyacinth. The pinks are part of the Raspberry Ice Fusion collection. I don’t know the exact name of the ‘purple’ ones. These all did fairly well again this year. I’ve had these for quite a few years now, and I am always happy with them.

Hyacinth Woodstock last year
Hyacinth Woodstock this year

6 – Hyacinth Woodstock. Here’s my example of poorly performing hyacinth! The top picture of these pretty maroon-purple hyacinth is from last spring (they were planted that fall). They were full flowered and beautiful. The bottom picture is this year. They look terrible! I am hoping it was just because of the rain. I’ll give them another year before digging them up.

I hope your garden is faring well with whatever weather you have!

Thanks so much for stopping by. If you have an idea of why my hyacinth aren’t happy, please do share! 🙂

Our 2023 Irish Dancing World Championships experience

Hi there! We’ve happily been an Irish dancing family for the past 18 years, when my son first started dancing at the age of six. All three of our kids have enjoyed it over the years. They have danced in teams (ceili) and solo. Currently, our 19 year old daughter, Cliona, is the only one dancing. The World Championships, of course, is the biggest competition, where people travel from all over the world to compete. Everyone at the World’s must first qualify to be there through regional qualifying competitions. To simply walk on to the World stage is a huge accomplishment!

Cliona on the World stage for her reel.

This year was the first time that Cliona qualified for the World Championships in solo dancing. The event always takes place over Holy Week, rotating between Ireland, the UK, the US and Canada. This year they were held in Montréal, Canada, and what a time we had!

Irish Dancing World Championships in Montreal, Canada.

The World Championships competition is a bit different for the girls, as it is held over two days for each age group, instead of the typical one day for the boys. Cliona’s competition was relatively small with just 105 dancers. They all dance their reel and hornpipe on the first day. Then there is a 50% recall where the top 50% are brought back the second day to dance their reel and hornpipe again. Then there is another recall of the top 2/3. Those dancers then get to dance their set-dance. There are five judges for each dance, and for each round of dancing there are five different judges. So for this competition there would be 25 different judges.

Proud parents with our Irish dancer

So many hurdles to jump through to get to the final results! Our daughter was delighted to get the two recalls and then to have placed 32nd. The caliber of dancers was incredible. We are so proud of her! Admittedly, the first day was quite nerve-racking. It felt like the blanket of stress was lifted once she knew that she recalled for the second day. And that upbeat feeling stayed with her – and us – through the second day, too, as Cliona fully enjoyed the experience.

Cliona getting her first recall medal, with her Aunt and Uncle, and hugging her father after learning that she recalled.

I have to say that everyone we met was so lovely. At this stage, Cliona has been dancing with many of the girls for quite a few years. The recall process is such an ordeal, especially when your friends who are also really good dancers, don’t make it through. I was touched by the kindness and encouragement shown to Cliona by girls who didn’t recall. It was a true showing of sportsmanship. The bottom right picture above shows Cliona getting a hug from her Dad upon finding out she got the first recall. The top picture is of Cliona and her proud Aunt and Uncle. And she was all smiles with me and her first recall medal. 🙂

dancing friends at the World's in Montreal
Friends and fellow dancers from our dance school

We are so proud of how hard our daughter has worked to get to this point. And we’re so thankful to be part of a school, Scoil Rince Móna Ní Rodaigh, that is encouraging, nurturing and supportive, no matter what the outcome is.

Two of our dance teachers: Ciara Lennon and Mona ni Rodaigh with our dancer, Cliona after getting her second recall medal.
Cliona with two of her dance teachers, Ciara and Mona, after the final results

While we were there for the dancing, we did manage to see a bit of Montréal and enjoy time with my brother and sister-in-law. The weather wasn’t quite as hospitable. We had freezing rain, and some cold, gray days, but thankfully we also had some sunny days. We managed to find some wonderful restaurants (Italian, Spanish, Lebanese, and Canadian). I also want to note that we thoroughly enjoyed some freshly made bagels at St. Viateur Bagel Shop – an absolute treat for us as there is nothing like this in Ireland! The weather on our free day was perfect for meandering through ‘Old Montréal’ with its cobblestone streets, markets, and souvenir shops.

collage of family pictures in Montreal
There’s nothing like family! ❤️
Homemade bagels, dinner with family, and at the airport to go to Montreal

We went to Easter mass at the Notre-Dame basilica of Montréal. What a beautiful experience that was, even with the mass being mostly in French.

The Notre-Dame basilica of Montreal
images from within the Notre-Dame basilica of Montreal.

We also discovered the most photographed piece of public art in Montréal, The Illuminated Crowd by Raymond Mason, which is located at McGill College Avenue. This was so intriguing. I must share the description of the sculpture:

A crowd has gathered, facing a light, an illumination brought about by a fire, an event, an ideology – or an ideal. The strong light casts shadows, and as the light moves toward the back and diminishes, the mood degenerates; rowdiness, disorder and violence occur, showing the fragile nature of man. Illumination, hope, involvement, hilarity, irritation, fear, illness, violence, murder and death – the flow of man’s emotion through space.

The Illuminated Crowd, Raymond Mason
1985
The Illumination sculpture by Raymond Mason

It was nice to get out and explore the city, and on such a sunny day!

family pictures around Montreal

What a lovely experience it was, to watch our daughter compete in the World Championships. It was such a pleasure to see her shine! Better still to have family there, with us! We’re so thankful that my brother and sister-in-law made the trip to support Cliona. And we all were able to enjoy Montréal as well! 🙂

Cormac with his World Champion first place globe for u16 ceili dancing and Cliona with her 3rd place globe for u13 ceili dancing

The above picture is a throwback to 2014 when my son’s under 16 mixed ceili team won the World Championships in London (That was amazing!) and Cliona’s under 13 mixed ceili team placed third! This picture was taken when we brought the globes home to show the family over Easter.

Here’s to more fun adventures in Irish dancing. 🙂

In Peace,
Dana

Wait! One last winter project: A crochet blanket

Hi there! As I mentioned recently, I crocheted a blanket for my first daughter when she went to college a few years ago (you can see that blanket here). So of course when our second daughter was getting ready for college, the topic of another blanket came up. I wanted to make one for her, too! She started college this past fall, and I finished her blanket this winter.

Crocheting is a hobby I learned as a young girl and have enjoyed doing ever since. I like to learn new crochet techniques or try new patterns. I especially like working with lovely colors. Sometimes, the hardest part of a project is finding the right pattern to use with the right colors. It took me a long time to find the right pattern that was a good fit for my daughter. But after going through many, many patterns, we found one that was perfect! She then picked the colors, which are beautiful earthy tones of greens, brown and burgundy and cream.

The pattern is called Geometrics and is by One Skein of Love. At 92 pages long, the pattern is incredibly detailed with lots of pictures to ensure you keep on track. I found it to be a good pattern and enjoyed the rhythm of making the blanket. It was a little unusual for me, as it is made row by row and not in rounds. Also, the border is made up of two layers (front and back) that are crocheted together. That was a great way to avoid weaving in all of the ends from every row!

I used Caron ‘Simply Soft’ yarn, which is my favorite for blankets. And I used Amour Crochet Hooks by Clover because they are really comfortable.

Cliona and Dana holding the crochet blanket

Ta-da! Here it is! It is large enough to cover a single bed.

Cliona and Dana wrapped up in the crochet blanket

My daughter likes it!

Geometrics pattern by One Skein of Love (crochet blanket)

It was so neat to watch the pattern unfold with each row! Honestly, this was not a difficult blanket to make. It is all single and double crochet (American stitches). 🙂

Geometrics pattern by One Skein of Love (crochet blanket, the border)

The backside of the border is dark sage green and is as pretty as the burgundy on the front. I actually left a row of green showing on the front border, as I liked the two colors together.

Dana running with the Geometrics crochet blanket

I think it looks fabulous (great pattern)!

It certainly was a busy winter for crocheting this year. I wonder what project will be next? 🙂

Thanks for visiting!

In Peace,
Dana

Dana wrapped in the crochet blanket

Perfect for wrapping up in!

A March visit to Powerscourt House & Gardens (and Hotel)

Hello! I think one of the main things people are talking about here, in Ireland, is the amount of rain we’ve had over the past number of weeks. Oh boy, has it been wet! Thankfully, we didn’t let the rain stop us from visiting Powerscourt House and Gardens. It was well worth the visit – and the rain held off while we were in the gardens!

I last visited the gardens in September a year ago with my gardening enthusiast friend, Susan. We decided to visit again now, to see the spring version. 🙂 On both visits, we managed to pick times when there were very few people about, which is great for taking pictures. The Japanese Garden was our favorite on this visit. Although, I have to say that I really liked the formal Italian Garden, too.

View of the Italian garden and Tritan lake at Powerscourt House and Gardens

I loved these flower urns with the cherubs seemingly smelling the flowers (violets). This view looks down on part of the the formal Italian Garden, with Triton Lake down below. Sugar Loaf Mountain in the background completes the picture!

Fun fact: The fountain in Triton Lake is based on the fountain in Piazza Barberini in Rome.

View of the Italian garden at Powerscourt House & Gardens

Here’s another view of the formal Italian Garden. Susan noted that the boxwood hedging around the rose beds that we’d seen on our last visit, has been replaced. We surmise that this is due to the boxwood blight going around the country.

View of the Italian garden at Powerscourt

I took this last picture of the formal Italian Garden to showcase the trees in the background which have daffodils alternating between them. We thought that this grouping is a lovely alternative to a straight row of flowers.

Views from the Japanese garden at Powerscourt House & Gardens

The main splash of color in the Japanese Garden was provided by this beautiful Rhododendron (top right picture). I loved seeing the wild garlic (bottom right picture) and I didn’t realize it would grow on a wall!

rock formation covered in greens.

This interesting rock structure is covered in greens, with water provided by piping which is discreetly placed around the top. It is very pretty in person.

Japanese garden at Powerscourt

This is my favorite picture of the Japanese Garden. It is so serene and beautiful.

Pepperpot Tower

We walked to Tower Valley, which is where you can climb to the top of Pepperpot Tower.

Fun fact: Pepperpot Tower was modelled on a favorite pepperpot from Lord Powerscout’s dining table.

Dana and Susan at the top of Pepperpot tower

Susan and I climbed the 54 steps of Pepperpot Tower and enjoyed a view of the trees.

Daffodils at Powerscourt gardens

It wouldn’t be spring without a display of daffodils!

Powerscourt gardens view of the house and Triton Lake

Here’s another view of Triton Lake looking up to the House and the Italian Garden. The sky was quite gray, but we were happy it stayed dry for us.

Afternoon tea at Powerscourt Hotel
dessert at Powerscourt Hotel

We finished the visit off by enjoying afternoon tea at the Powerscourt Hotel. The food was delicious. Just look at those delightful treats! (We’d finished the sandwiches before I’d even thought to take a picture.) The view out to the gardens was beautiful from our table.

Despite the gloomy weather, we had an absolutely lovely day! And for shopping enthusiasts, there is a gift and plant shop as well as an Avoca shop, all on the estate – definitely something for everyone. It truly is well worth a visit.

Thanks so much for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed our visit to Powerscourt House & Gardens and Hotel! 🙂

In Peace,
Dana

flowers at Powerscourt Hotel

Flower display in the Powerscourt Hotel lobby.

A crochet granny square ‘Elmer’ sweater

Hello! Well, Mother Nature has decided to keep us chilled a bit longer with another cold snap. The timing is perfect for me, as I just finished crocheting what I am calling an ‘Elmer’ sweater. Elmer is a colorful elephant from a children’s story, by David McKee, who teaches that being yourself is the best way to be. I made an Elmer blanket for my daughter a few years ago (you can see it here). The difference this time is that I added black while connecting all of the colorful squares, and Elmer the elephant doesn’t have that. I’ve been told by friends that this gives it a stained glass look. 🙂

Making this sweater was a huge challenge for me because I did not have a pattern, and I have not made many sweaters. All I had was an idea in my head. It was definitely a learning process, but in the end I was happy with how it came out. I made tiny granny squares, just two rows each. It took me about two months to make, and required way more squares than I’d originally thought! But I loved working with all of the different colors (29 Caron Simply Soft colors in all). A few years ago I switched to Amour Crochet Hooks by Clover. They have made a huge difference with comfort.

colorful granny squares

The colors should be random, but I did try – really hard – to make sure they were spaced out. This picture is of the back after I took apart my first block of sewing them together. I realized I needed more rows in both directions, so it was easier to unravel the joined up squares and start again. I had a tough time deciding which color to fill in that space with!

colorful granny squares

This image shows the original block, mentioned above and that was too small, on the right. On the left is the draft of the front of the sweater – including the ‘v’ neck, but without the ‘half squares’. I ended up going with 10 squares across and 8 squares down. The half squares took some fiddling with to get the stitches right – I needed to have 10 stitches on each side. I eventually figured it out! 🙂

in the process of putting together a patchwork granny square crochet sweater

My patience were very low with this project as my excitement was very high! Also, since I wasn’t sure what would have to be re-done or re-worked, I kind of rushed through parts to see if they would work. This picture shows the front, back and one sleeve pinned together to see if the sizing worked (it did!).

neckline of finished crochet granny square crochet sweater

I knew I wanted a ‘v’ neck, but I wasn’t sure what that would look like. I decided that I would keep the border for all three edges (neck, sleeves and bottom) a simple three layers of black. It just felt right.

colorful granny square sweater

So many colors!

the back of the Elmer sweater
Dana with finished crochet granny square crochet sweater
Dana with finished crochet granny square crochet sweater

Ta-da! That was a fun project. I’m glad I did it, despite not being sure if I could figure it out. And it is a very warm sweater! 🙂

Thanks for stopping by!

In Peace,
Dana

Magnolia coming to life, and other promising signs

Hi there! Growing plants from seed never ceases to amaze me. I am surprised every single time that I see the seedling push through the soil! Perhaps I should have a little more faith? 🙂 I started a bunch of plants from seed again this year and they are up and growing. Last year I had a terrible time with slugs eating my small plants once I planted them out in the garden. So I have just started a second bunch of plantings, as back up. So far, I have sweet pea, sun flowers, coleus, ranunculus, delphinium, and I just planted pumpkins (yesterday). Between the slugs and our windy location, the plants need to be quite hardy to survive here!

The weather has been quite unpredictable. We’ve had lots of rain and gray skies, but we’ve been lucky to get glimpses of the sun, too, which is great for lifting my spirits!

My Magnolia Stellata is starting to come into bloom and it is so pretty. I have it in my chicken run, which means that it is ‘caged up’ so the girls don’t peck at it. That’s not a problem for the shrub, just my camera. 😉

One thing I will be focusing more on in the garden, is companion planting. I honestly have not put much thought into this, until now. Starting small, I added some cyclamen to my iris reticulata (per my friend Susan’s suggestion) and to me it was a game changer. So I added some grape hyacinth to my daffodils, and again, I think it looks so much nicer. I’ll be eyeing the rest of the garden a little differently now.

I’m joining Jim at Garden Ruminations for the Six on Saturday meme. Feel free to join in!

Enjoy the tour!

In Peace,
Dana

Magnolia Stellata

1 – Magnolia Stellata. This was a gift to us two years ago for our 25th wedding anniversary (what a super gift!). I love how unusual the flowers are. Even more, I love how early it blooms!

Helleborus Harvington Double Red

2 – Helleborus Harvington Double Red. I’ve shown this one before, but perhaps a bit too soon. This hellebore is only now coming in to its full glory. It is living up to the ‘lenten rose’ description sometimes given to hellebores, with its late winter/early spring blooming.

iris reticulata purple and cyclamen pink

3 – Companion planting of Iris reticulata and Cyclamen. I’m very happy to report that all of the iris bloomed, despite me shifting them at the start of their season. They were spread out, and I moved them close together in a cluster. I got this idea following my visit to Altamont gardens where all of their iris reticulata were planted in clusters for more visual impact. Copying is the greatest form of flattery, right?

trays of seedlings (sunflower, coleus, sweet pea)

4 – My seed trays. The image is deceiving as the bottom right corner pic is taken from quite high and the other three are close-ups! Bottom right is mostly sunflowers with sweet pea in the bottom right of it. Coleus are in the bottom left picture, ranunculus are top right – those corms were from last year, so I’m happy even though all of them didn’t sprout up (yet?). And top left are some delphiniums. I’ve only had hit or miss luck with those, but the hits are always good!

daffodils and grape hyacinth

5 – Daffodils with grape hyacinth. This is more a picture of a blue sky than the flowers!

anemone blue (purple) and pink

6 – Anemone pink and purple. I like these guys in the garden as they are no maintenance and they spread. Who doesn’t like a little purple in the garden here and there? I now also have a pink variety growing, and I’m honestly not sure how they got there but happy to have them.

daffodils and grape hyacinth at garden arch

These big bunches of brightness have truly lifted my spirits during these gray days. We could have a blue sky in the morning, and hailstones in the afternoon – it’s just the way it is. I am so glad to have them and I truly go out into the yard just to look at them. 🙂

Thank you so much for stopping by. Let me know if you have any favorite companion plantings that you’d recommend!