A pink and purple theme

Hi there, and welcome to my blog! The mild fall weather absolutely spoiled me, allowing me to work comfortably in the garden for well into November. So when the weather turned ‘normal’ for this time of year, I was a teeny, tiny bit annoyed and withdrew inside. Thankfully, I’ve acclimatized, and have ventured out again – albeit with many layers. You’ll see what I mean about about a pink and purple theme when I show you what I gathered from the garden. πŸ™‚

collage of pink and purple flowers in a vase

Whoa! Look at those colors! So here we have it, my pink and purple flowers. The rose shrubs are more or less at the end of their season, and I saw no reason to leave the flowers outside where no one would be enjoying them (it’s too cold!). I added the anemone because now is when they actually start showing up all over the garden. They might appear to be a frail flower, but they do great in arrangements, as do roses, of course. The roses opened up over the course of the week and were truly lovely. The bottom left photo in the collage was taken a few days after I brought the flowers inside, while the others are from just a short time after cutting the flowers. Never mind that in the same room I had a fall colored arrangement for Thanksgiving. Yes, it clashed, and nope, I didn’t really care.

Pink and Purple bouquet

This picture shows the flowers after a few days being inside. They all opened up beautifully. It’s the simple things.

Pink and Blue sunrise

Look at that morning sky! We’ve seen lots of pink and purple hues of late. It’s just beautiful, and something I will never tire of. While I do love pink and purple, it’s now time to get into Christmas mode (and colors). We’ve just put up our outside Christmas lights, and that really helps to get everyone in the Christmas spirit!

I hope you are keeping safe, and well, and that your December is exactly what you need it to be.

In Peace,
Dana

lit Christmas tree outside with kitty
Kitty was helping me to check on the lights. πŸ™‚

Gardening thanks for ‘Six on Saturday’

Hello, and welcome to my blog! This week I’d like to take a moment to reflect on what I’m thankful for in relation to my garden. This seems appropriate now, as Thursday is Thanksgiving in America. I’m so glad that our family still celebrates Thanksgiving here in Ireland, although it has shifted to the weekend to accommodate everyone’s schedules. It is such a wonderful opportunity to be with family and give thanks for our blessings. For today’s post, I’ll be joining The Propagator’s meme ‘Six on Saturday’ as I show you what I’m thankful for in the garden.

Dana & PΓ‘raic in the garden

1 – My husband. πŸ™‚ I have to say that my husband has always supported me, and the garden is no exception. There was basically nothing in the yard when we moved here and he has helped me to create what we have today. All of the heavy lifting in the garden is done by him, as is a lot of the planting – and replanting, and without complaint! He also built the arch (above his head in the picture) for me this year, based solely on my request for an arch to hold pumpkins. I am very thankful for him!

Pumpkins and squash growing on arch

2 – Pumpkin arch. This was such a joy to work with this year! We really weren’t sure if it would hold the pumpkins, or if the pumpkins would hold up, but it sure did and they sure did. They grew about 2/3 the way up the arch, so I’m hoping to get them all the way up next year (of course!). The Red Kuri squash are a fabulous color to have in among the green Hokkaido squash and of course the orange pumpkins, although they are green for most of the growing season. The arch is actually four arches, along with fencing and stakes to secure everything. It was quite a job to create, but as I mentioned above, my husband did a great job.

New vegetable beds
The new beds filled with sunflowers, sweet peas and squash

3 – The new vegetable and flower bed area. This was another project that started as an idea in my head and came about with my husband’s hard work. I had learned a tremendous amount from the similar raised bed set-up which we previously had in this same spot. We decided to make a clean go of it and had the area totally dug out. Ah, a clean slate! We mapped things out based on what I like to grow. One of my favorite new things that we did this time around was to have thicker (eco-friendly) sleepers. They just look nicer. Also, the Hoggin, a compactable ground cover, has worked out great around the beds and I really like the way it looks. We’re not completely finished with this project, but hopefully we’ll get the last bits done over the coming year. I’m delighted with how well the sunflowers, sweet pea, and squash did here!

apple tree flowers
Apples, pears and blueberries

4 – Our fruit trees and shrubs. Is there anything nicer than home grown fruit? We have eating and cooking apples, pears and blueberries. We have a fig tree, too, but I’ll save judgement on that until we actually get to eat a fig. This year we managed to figure out a decent way to cover the blueberries, keeping the birds out for most of the season. I’m sure the birds were disappointed as they’ve enjoyed the blueberries over quite a few years! There are a few different varieties and I can say that the small blueberries are just as tasty as the great big ones. As for the pears, we had two delicious – and huge – pears this season. That is down from the start of the season when we had more than a dozen of them. I’ve had a tough time with this pear tree, unfortunately, but we’ll keep trying. Thankfully, the apples are very low maintenance and provide plenty of delicious apples for us to enjoy.

birch trees in different seasons

5 – Birch trees. This was a big decision on my part last year. In the past, I’ve done things in small, incremental ways. So the decision to have five tall trees planted here was challenging to me. But I am so thankful that I did it! The bark of the Birch trees is such a pretty color, and their tall structure is something the garden needed. This also gave me the opportunity to create another flower bed (you can never have enough flowers!). I have managed to have flowers blooming here throughout the entire year, from hellebores, to iris, poppies, rudbeckia and persicaria.

Chickens and eggs

6 – Chickens. Having chickens as pets is such a treat for me. It is something that I waited to do but it was definitely worth it. I’m glad that they have a large run and that they can hang out under the hedge, too (there is fencing in the hedge which should keep them safe). They are chatty and friendly and generally easy to manage. Oh, and of course they lay eggs!

There’s so much more to be thankful for! But I’ll stick to the ‘six’ for the meme. πŸ™‚ I hope that you have a wonderful Thanksgiving, if you celebrate it. As the Covid cases go up, and life gets a bit crazy again, I especially hope that you are doing well, and staying safe and healthy.

In Peace,
Dana

The show isn’t over yet! for ‘Six on Saturday’

Hi there, and welcome to my blog! The garden has not quite given up yet, despite it being mid November. We’ve been lucky with very mild weather, and a healthy serving of sunshine, too. This really makes a difference when getting the garden ready for winter. I raked leaves today because it was so still (a rare occurrence for us). How easy it is to pick up leaves when the wind isn’t blowing them all around! I’m still planting bulbs, too. I made the mistake of ordering and planting my fall bulbs timely this year. Which left me extra time to order more! I’m sure it’ll be lovely in the spring, but right now I’m wondering where I’m going to put them all! πŸ™‚

Never mind, I’m sure I’ll find someplace nice to plant them. In the meantime, I will be joining the Propagator for his meme ‘Six on Saturday’. Let’s see what I have this week to show you!

Blueberry leaves, Rowan berries, cherry tree leaves to form a flower

1 – Garden whimsy. I worked/played/hung-out in the garden most of today. It’s my happy place, so that’s a good thing. After I’d done a respectable amount of work, I decided to have some fun. I discovered *one* single sunflower bloom (it is really tiny) and decided to use it as a center piece of a flower. The beautiful crimson leaves are from my blueberry shrubs. They are just W.O.W.! I also had some berries from one of our Rowan trees, and some cherry tree leaves. There were much nicer cherry tree leaves, but I’d already raked them up earlier in the day, not realizing I was going to be playing with leaves later! Just a little bit of fun.

Fall vibes pic at playhouse with marigolds and pumpkins
Marigolds

2 – Marigolds. I don’t know the variety. I planted a bunch of seeds around the blueberries, but only a few seeds took. But boy did they take! I’ve never had such tall marigolds. I think them blooming late has worked out great. It’s nice to have a big splash of color now when the other plants have all finished their show. I cut a large bouquet of them and took some pictures in front of our playhouse. I still have the pumpkins, too, as I really like orange in the garden in November!

figs on a tree

3 – Ficus carica (Fruiting Fig tree). So we bought this lovely tree in 2019 and this year is the first we have fruit. Now, I’m not sure if the figs will mature enough to eat before the weather turns frosty. We’ll see!

Cliona and Buckbeak (chicken)

4 – My daughter and Buckbeak (a Bluebell chicken). Sometimes, it’s nice to take a break with the chickens! Buckbeak loves to interact with us. She’ll either jump onto our laps or if you are anyway bent over, she’ll jump on your shoulder/back and chat away to you. We find her to be very sweet, as is my daughter!

New birch trees sunset

5 – Birch trees. I had five birch trees planted last November. Unfortunately, two of them didn’t make it. So I’ve just had two replacement trees planted. We’re now back to five birch trees. This was the evening that they were planted. I went out to water them and was treated to a beautiful sunset. I was so glad that I had to go outside, or I might have missed it!

Fall garden view with playhouse

6 – November view of the vegetable garden. I just caught the lighting right for this picture. Shortly after I took this picture, the rains came and stayed for the entire day. My take away? Seize the moment!

Would it be too much if I hope that the weather remains mild? At least until I get the rest of my bulbs planted! Do take care of yourself.

In Peace,
Dana

A visit to Powerscourt House & Gardens for ‘Six on Saturday’

Hello, and welcome to my blog! I had the pleasure of visiting one of Ireland’s beautiful country estate gardens a few weeks ago. It was my first visit and I can assure you that I will be back again as it was simply a wonderful experience. It is no surprise that National Geographic Magazine has rated it one of the top 10 gardens in the world. I traveled with my friend Susan down to Enniskerry, County Wicklow. We made a day of it, topping it off with afternoon tea at the Powerscourt Hotel (located adjacent to the gardens). I’ve decided to share my reflections on the day as part of the ‘Six on Saturday’ meme as led by The Propagator. So let’s begin!

Powerscourt House & Gardens Italian Garden
Dana and Susan with Italian Garden and urns with geraniums

1 – The Italian Garden. I like the orderliness of the Italian garden. Everything is neatly in its place, with formal lines and symmetry. I find that peaceful (and funny enough, the opposite of my own garden). October 12th happened to be mostly sunny and mild, which was perfect weather for walking the gardens. I was a tiny bit obsessed with the geranium planters. Firstly I really liked the foliage of the geranium. Some of the urns had sweet cherubs, facing in to the plant. But with the plant overgrown, it quite looked like they were hiding their faces. Some of the urns had devil-like faces and always with horns (a symbol of strength). Very interesting to see these on innocent flower planters. We also enjoyed the views of the Sugar Loaf Mountain, as can be seen clearly from here. As a note of interest, the terraces were designed in the 1840s by architect Daniel Robertson, taking more than 12 years to build.

Japanese Garden at Powerscourt House and Garden
Japanese Garden at Powerscourt House and Gardens, Dana and Susan

2 – Japanese Garden. As far as our timing, we were probably a couple of weeks out from peak foliage coloring. But we thoroughly enjoyed seeing the trees as they were in their transition state. The Japanese garden, created in 1908, has lovely, sometimes hidden, pathways. We meandered around the paths, taking it all in. It was so interesting to capture the views with different perspectives, as there are many different levels in the garden. This is a much more intimate feeling space than the Italian garden.

Images from the walled garden at Powerscourt Gardens
flowers from the walled garden at Powerscourt Gardens

3 & 4 – Walled Garden. This one definitely deserves two counts! I totally lost myself in the Walled garden, among ‘Ireland’s longest herbaceous border’. There was simply an abundance of color, shape and texture! Dahlia’s stole the show for me, but there were many supporting flowers. I have to add that one of the workers, who was busy weeding the beds here, was so kind and patiently answered our questions, even going out of her way to point out to us her favorite flowers. I spent a lot of time gawking. I loved the palate of colors, and with the mostly clear day, the mountains were a pretty backdrop.

fresh flowers in the entrance of Powerscourt Hotel
Afternoon tea at Powerscourt Hotel

5 – Afternoon tea at Powerscourt Hotel. Sure why not? What’s not to love about having delicious food in a beautiful setting with a dear friend? I have to confess that my love of flowers has me scrutinizing hotel lobbies, seeking out if they have fresh flowers. Powerscourt Hotel did not disappoint! The flowers, in shades of purple and pink, were quite showy and absolutely gorgeous! Our own dining table had a beautiful orchid, looking so delicate in a glass bowl. And sweetly, there were tiny flower petals on our sandwiches. I usually drink my (decaf) coffee in a heavy pottery mug. Drinking out of a tea cup made it feel that bit special. It was a treat that we both thoroughly enjoyed!

Triton lake at Powerscourt House and Gardens

6 – Triton lake. I’m always drawn to water. I usually find it soothing, especially fountains. This fountain is based on the one in Piazza Barberini, in Rome. It is a quite a focal point when looking out across the lake.

There were so many beautiful plants, trees and ‘things’ to see at Powerscourt House and Gardens! I’d highly recommend a visit, no matter what month it is. I’m sure the gardens are equally as lovely throughout the different seasons.

I hope you are keeping well. Take care!

In Peace,
Dana

Autumn vibes for this Six on Saturday

Hello there, and welcome to my blog! This fall has been filled with amazing colors, and that’s even before including the beautiful sunsets and sunrises. It has truly been non-stop beautiful. We’ve had mild weather for the most part, so far. I’ve been pottering about the garden, getting little jobs done here and there. The garden still looks good, thanks to fall blooming plants (fall bloomers), the changing colors of leaves and lots of pumpkins! I’ll again be joining the Propagator for his meme ‘Six on Saturday’. Let’s begin!

Dark pink asters

1 – Dark pink asters. No official name on these, but they are still going strong, even after my ‘light pink’ asters have long faded. They are a fabulously vibrant, fuchsia color and just shout ‘look at me’! They are quite tall, at least three feet, and *really* get blown around a lot (we live in a windy spot). A super easy plant that provides lots of color.

Princess Anne David Austin Rose

2 – Princess Anne rose. This David Austin rose shrub, Princess Anne, has been covered with bright pink roses all summer long and is continuing now through the fall. The flowers are also fragrant, which is a lovely bonus. The color is striking and can be seen from across the garden. This shrub does tend to get blackspot easily, unfortunately. But that’s my only complaint!

sunflower stem with multiple flowers

3 – Sunflower – Claret F1. This is probably one of the very last of the sunflowers to bloom. I had one plant in an extra bed which I needed to clear to plant some winter garlic. There were just two stems on the plant, so I cut them off and brought them inside. The teeny, tiny little blooms growing up the stem did indeed bloom after a few days! It was nice to have a bit of the garden inside. By the way, the wreath in the background is a hydrangea wreath that I made a couple of years ago. I’ll usually keep them until their color fades. This blue one hasn’t gotten the boot yet!

4 – Dahlia CafΓ© au Lait. I think the back of this lovely lady is as pretty as the front! OK, so I didn’t know you are supposed to cut the main stem of the dahlia shortly after it starts to grow, so that it will then have multiple blooming stems instead of one main – too heavy – stem. Erin at Floret Farm happened to have a video mid-season explaining all of this, and while she said it wasn’t too late to do this, I think that in Ireland it probably was too late. Anyway, with the weather being unpredictable, I brought the dahlia inside and it has continued to bloom, beautifully I might add. I am looking forward to getting it right next year!

Japanese Anemone dark pink

5 – Japanese anemone, dark pink. I have loads and loads and loads of the light pink variety of Japanese anemone (they spread like crazy)! But this was my only dark pink variety, stuck in the middle of all of the light pinks. I am not quite sure if I’ll manage to single it out to ensure it will multiply instead of the light pinks, but I really should try as it is very pretty.

I hadn’t realized that I’d picked mostly pink flowers for today’s post! Next week I will have to show you the blueberry shrubs and their amazing red leaves, which are providing some fabulous color in the garden. But back to pinks, check out this sky!

Sunrise blue and pink sky

6 – Sunrise over the garden. What can I say? It is such a treat to get up and see the sky like this! It really lit up my pumpkins, too. They have all turned orange, and just in time for Halloween! (Although I’m likely to keep them on for fall harvest decorating, instead of jack o’lantern use.)

Sunrise with moon in sky

One final look at the garden with the beautiful sunrise and visible moon. I hope you have had a beautiful October, too. I think we’re spoiled with all of this beauty to help us get through the not quite as beautiful winter months. That works for me! Take care!

In Peace,
Dana

Pumpkin arch finale for ‘Six on Saturday’

Hello and welcome to my blog! It’s the start of a new month, and a great time to take a quick look back at what’s been happening in the garden. I have finally cut down my pumpkins from the ‘pumpkin arch’. They’re all lined in front of it now, posing for the many pictures I’ve managed to take, and will probably continue to take! It was a lot of fun watching the pumpkins and squash grow and make their way up the arch. Hopefully, it’ll be as fun next year, too! I’m joining the Propagator’s meme of ‘Six on Saturday’ today. I think it’s a super and succinct way to cover what’s going on in the garden. Here we go!

Persicaria backfield with Rudbeckia goldstrum

1 – Persicaria backfield with Rudbeckia goldstrum. Persicaria is a new plant to me. This past spring I was buying the black-eyed Susan’s specifically for under my birch trees, when the Persicaria was recommended to me (thanks Darren at Nature Works!). There are many different varieties. But this one, with red spires, fits in perfectly with the Rudbeckia and birch trees. I like the different shape of the spires compared to the other flowers in the garden.

Coleus full grown with flowers
Coleus plants up close

2 – Coleus plants. I planted these guys from seed this year and I’m so please with them. There are so many different looks to them and they are all fabulous: solid burgundy leaves with a very fine trim of chartreuse around the edges, to a mix of fuchsia, burgundy and white leaves with chartreuse trim, as well as a thick edging of chartreuse and designs of burgundy within! They also bloom tall spires of tiny lilac flowers. I will try and overwinter them this year, but I think I’d also like to try growing some more. πŸ™‚

Red Astilbe

3 – Red Astilbe. This single flower is all that grew this year from the single plant that I planted at the end of last season. It is lovely, so I hope it eventually settles in, makes itself at home and spreads!

Compost in a tumbler

4 – Compost! The compost in my tumbler is *perfect* at the moment! It is full of worms, is somewhat crumbly (it is moist, though) and doesn’t smell. I’m so pleased with it and have been working it into different flower beds. It is somewhat awkward getting the compost out of the tumbler, but otherwise the tumbler works well. I have two tumblers for food waste, the rest of my garden waste goes on open compost ‘heaps’. The system works for us, and I get a lot of compost from it all.

Dana with Pumpkin arch and squash
Pumpkin arch October 1st

5 – Pumpkin arch. Ta-da! I think we’re at the end of the pumpkin arch now. I have cut off all of the pumpkins and there are just 3 Red Kuri squash hanging on. I’m quite pleased with what we’ve grown (all of it from seed). I’m already planning for next year, of course. I’m hoping to start earlier to get them over the top of the arch! πŸ™‚

Full view of garden from above

6 – Full view of the vegetable garden from above. It’s nice to get a bird’s eye view now and again! The asters and pumpkins really ‘pop’ in this picture, along with the Rowan tree! It was a really good season with the sunflowers, sweet pea, squash, pumpkins, coleus, blueberries, (and two pears!). I’m grateful to be able to do what I love to do – spend time in the garden!

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you have enjoyed some quality time doing what you love to do, too!

In Peace,
Dana

September Splendor in Sunshine for Six on Saturday

Hello! Welcome to my blog! “What’s been happening in the garden?” you ask? Well that is a great question! πŸ™‚ I’m delighted to report that the garden is looking really well, if I do say so myself. I’m going to sum it up with picking six items to tell you about as I join the Propagator’s meme ‘Six on Saturday’. Feel free to have a look and see what others have picked for their six!

Two pears in tree

1 – We’re going to start with pears. My pear tree has good years and bad years. This year we have two pears. I’m looking at it that at least we have two!

Eustacia Vye rose in September

2 – While I love roses and have quite a few, this one is my favorite at the moment. It is a David Austin rose called Eustacia Vye and while it is pink, it has soft peach undertones. Of course it also has a lovely scent. There is a cluster of roses, which is what I’ve tried to capture here.

Delphinium collage

3 – Delphinium. This delphinium is something I’m quite proud of as I grew it from seed. Of all the plants that I grew from seed this year, I had the least success with the delphinium. I did get two seeds to germinate, though, and had two flowering plants. This is the second one and the biggest by quite a long shot. They are both just in pots, as I wasn’t sure they were going to really make it the whole season! But since they have, in the next couple of weeks I will find a sheltered spot to plant them in, since it is quite windy where we live. I think their color is a lovely addition to the garden.

Vase with black calla lilies

4 – Black calla lilies. I’m currently a bit obsessed with black (or dark purple) flowers. These calla lilies are so pretty. The arrangement in the vase is actually what is left from what was a much bigger arrangement. These guys, bar the roses, lasted quite a while! This arrangement has Himalayan honeysuckle, black calla lilies, cream and pink roses, and Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia).

Asters and view of pumpkins

5 – Asters! I think the pink asters are a perfect contrast to the typical fall colors you’ll find in the garden. If you look closely at the ornamental grass, you will see that I have French braided the grass to keep it from hiding the asters. I think it came out quite well!

The front and back view of the pumpkin arch with squash and pumpkins

6 – The pumpkin arch! Wow, we’re just about there with almost all of the pumpkins turning orange! I’ve taken a picture of the front and back view, lining up a lot of the squash and a few of the pumpkins up front. I am really happy with how it turned out. Aiming to get those pumpkins higher next year! πŸ™‚

Pumpkin arch with apples and flowers

We’ve had some beautiful weather in September. It is so invigorating to have sunny days with a blue sky! It is also nice to have everything in the garden come together. It’s been such a pleasure to work in the garden, as there has always been something in bloom or coming into bloom. Lucky me!

I hope September has been good to you, too.

In Peace,
Dana

A summer floral arrangement with pizazz

Hey there! Thanks for visiting my blog. The garden is filled with lots of color, so I thought I’d take advantage of that and create a floral arrangement. Creating an arrangement is fun to do! It is great to be able to wander about the garden, gathering flowers and then being able to create something with them – the more unconventional, the better. That is what motivates me to plant lots of different textures, colors, and shapes in the garden! Speaking of lots of color, my container garden is really starting to shine, too. I bought a bunch of new plants this year and when you put them all together, there is a wonderful impact! I’m joining The Propagator’s ‘Six on Saturday’ meme, so you can read all about it in my ‘six’ below.

Summer floral arrangement
There isn’t really a front or back on this arrangement!
summer floral arrangement
One side has more sunflower fronts, the other side has sunflower backs – which I find to be equally as pretty!
Side profile of summer arrangement 14 Aug 21

1 – Summer floral arrangement. Who doesn’t love having flowers in a vase? I know it is wonderful to have them in the garden, but it is also nice to bring them inside. This one has: sunflowers (Claret F1), Japanese Anemone, Helenium Moerheim Beauty, globe artichokes, David Austin roses (Boscobel), and Leycesteria formosa – also known as Himalayan honeysuckle or pheasant berry. It is a very summery arrangement, full of color. It is much different than any arrangement that I made last year, which I’m happy about – change is good! I used two ‘frogs’ on the bottom of the vase to pin the stems in place, and then, since I didn’t secure the frogs down, I used glass marbles to keep down the stems after pinning them in the frogs. The good news is that the flowers aren’t moving anywhere. πŸ™‚

Very tall Japanese anemone in a vase
I hadn’t realized how tall these Japanese anemones were until I cut them!
Japanese anemone in flower bed
Here’s the bed where I cut the Japanese anemone from. They will spread everywhere if you let them! They pair well with my clematis, too.

2 – Japanese anemone. I’m including this pretty, yet subdued flower, because it is a lovely addition to the garden as well as the arrangement. They have long stems with multiple flowers on them. But be warned, they will spread everywhere if you let them! They bloom mid to late summer, which I like as I don’t have enough plants that bloom then. πŸ™‚

Container garden on back deck (lots of flowers)
My container garden on my back deck.

3 – My container garden. Lots of plants here! I potted up many more plants this year than usual. I’d say Covid had something to do with it! I already mentioned the lilies last week. So this week I’m adding two gladiolas:

Gladiolus Rose Supreme 13 Aug
This stem of Rose Supreme broke on one of our very windy days. That’s a great excuse to bring it inside!

4 – Gladiolus Rose Supreme. This gladiola was part of a medley of flowers planted together in 2014. This year I finally took everything out of the original container and planted out three containers from all of the bulbs! There were quite a few lilies that bloomed earlier in the summer, and now the gladiolas are starting to bloom. I’m so glad I separated them all, as I didn’t have nearly as many flowers when they were all in one pot (I’m sure they weren’t happy there for a few years).

Gladiolus Pink Parrot
This Pink Parrot is very similar to the Rose Supreme, I tend to gravitate towards pink!

5 – Gladiolus Pink Parrot. This is a new purchase this year, and an experiment in that I planted all 30 bulbs into the one (big) pot. It has only just started to bloom, so I’ll have to wait and see if it is worth planting them all together.

Pumpkin arch update 14 Aug 21

6 – Pumpkin arch update (with pictures of pumpkins this time). I don’t think we’ve made any progress up the arch this week. I guess this means I need to plant them out earlier next year. I’ll plan to do that and then cover them with fleece if the weather isn’t warm enough (it definitely wasn’t warm enough this year). There are still pumpkin and squash flowers, with a couple of new fruit started. But I’m not sure if those fruit will fully develop. I’ve had a bunch of pumpkins and squash not form completely this week, and just fall off the vines. I’m not sure why, actually, but thinking it is just the end of their season.

three Red Kuri squash and one green pumpkin

Here’s a good example of what I was just mentioning: the small green pumpkin in the picture above dropped off of the vine right after I took this picture (you can see it is kind of yellow on the bottom). These three Red Kuri squash are doing really well, though. You can see they’ve turned from yellow to orange.

Green pumpkin and one orange squash (Red Kuri Squash) hanging on side of arch

This picture shows a small pumpkin hanging from the side of the arch, while a Red Kuri squash hangs further along the arch. It has already started turning oragne, too.

two small green pumpkins hanging on side of arch

And here are two more (green for the moment) pumpkins hanging from the side of the arch. I like having them vertical instead of on the ground, even if they didn’t quite make it over the arch!

Back of the pumpkin arch and sunflowers 12 Aug

The back of the arch and sunflower bed don’t get nearly enough attention! The sunflowers and squash are a great addition to the garden. Every morning, I take a walk about the garden, spending most of my time right here. I find it to be peaceful and it simply brings me joy.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my tour this week! Thanks for stopping by!

In Peace,
Dana

An unsettled start to August

Hello and welcome to my blog! Here in Ireland, we have enjoyed some glorious weather this summer. Near the end of July we had two full weeks of sun, heat and stillness with no rain. It was amazing (and unusual)! The garden is now appreciating the long drinks of water it has been getting the past week. There is a distinct change in the air, though, that fall is not too far off. The garden is in a constant state of flux, and it is fun to note it with a simple meme of ‘Six on Saturday’, hosted by The Propagator. Let’s see what’s in store this week!

Blueberries in hand in July
Bowl of Blueberries 5 August

1 – Blueberries! I planted blueberry shrubs in my garden quite a few years ago. From the beginning, it seemed they didn’t really enjoy our garden. They always seemed to drop their berries before turning blue! But it turns out, the birds had more to do with this than I realized. I didn’t mind too much, since to me the plants were spectacular in the fall with their leaves turning from green to crimson. This year, though, with the garden revamp, we decided to spend some extra time to see if we could get some blueberries for us to eat! We first spread out the older shrubs as they were getting quite cramped. Also this season, we added Sulphate of Iron to the soil. I believe it was Laura, from Garden Answer, who suggested it in one of her videos. The third thing we did differently this year was we added netting. Although it wasn’t the pretties of setups, it did the job, and the blueberries stayed on the shrubs until they were blue! I picked two small bowls of blueberries, and a few times I just went out and ate a handful. They were delicious! We will hopefully figure out a ‘prettier’ way to cover them next year.

Garlic in June
Garlic harvest July 11

2 – Garlic! Last October we planted our over wintering organic garlic Vallelado. It is very easy to plant garlic! They should be planted between the end of October and the end of November, ideally. Plant at a depth of three to five inches (7.6 cm) and six inches apart. I harvested mine the beginning of July and they have been drying out in our shed since. The only other thing I did was weed the bed a few times. We also had a relatively dry spring, so I kept it watered. So easy, and so tasty!

lavender and shaved plant
The lavender plant looks like it got a shave!
Dana with lavender harvest
There’s some lavender left on the plant beside me.

3 – Lavender! I’m a bit late on writing about this one, too. Lavender is usually harvested in July. I managed to still cut some in August this year as our growing season was a bit off due to a strange spring. I love working with lavender! I made a few fresh lavender wreaths this year (as opposed to dried lavender wreaths). I didn’t make any Lavender Wands this year, though. (You can check out how I make them here.) There just wasn’t any time. If you do dry lavender, it is worth noting that the flowers keep their scent for years!

Double lilies in rose bed
Lotus Dream Mix
double lilies on deck
Magic Star lilies in a container on my deck.
Double lilies
Double Surprise lilies blooming before the plain white variety of lilies bloom.

4 – Double lilies! New to my garden this season are two groups of lilies: I purchased a Lotus Dream Mix of double oriental lilies and planted them in my rose bed. I also added a Magic Star lily to my container garden, on my back deck. These join my ‘double surprise’ lilies, which live next to my largest lavender plant off of the back deck and are neighbors to a plain white variety of lilies that are always last to bloom later in August. I love scented flowers, and these beauties have a wonderful scent that can be noted without having to bend down to specifically smell them!

Perovskia Russian Sage
Perovskia atriplicifolia Little Spire or Russian Sage

5 – Perovskia atriplicifolia Little Spire! I have to confess that when my friend Susan exclaimed how fabulous my Perovskia looked, it took me a minute to realize she meant the Russian Sage. I’m just not very good at proper names. Hopefully now I’ll remember this one! This plant was purchased as a small plant in 2017 and seems to be quite happy. If you like to dry flowers, this one keeps its purple stems for quite a long time before fading.

Pumpkin arch update 7 Aug 2021 with rainbow
The rainbow is quite faint, but can bee seen right over the pumpkin arch in the above picture!
Back of pumpkin arch 7 Aug 2021
A view of the back of the arch.
Pumpkin arch update 7 Aug with sun
The blue sky backdrop is harder to come by these days. I captured this in a very short window between heavy rain showers! We’ll see if the vines climb any higher.

6 – Pumpkin Arch update! The arch has two different types of squash growing on it: Jack O’Lantern pumpkins and Red Kuri squash. The pumpkins are growing quite large. I usually grow baking pumpkins which are medium to small size. These guys are getting huge. I’m not exactly worried, but I think it would be better if they didn’t get so big! The Red Kuri squash start out yellow and then change from orange to a reddish color. They are medium sized. Some have started to change color already. You can’t really see any of that just yet since all of the leaves are still in the way! I will have to try and get some close up pictures so you can see the squash and pumpkins. I’m wondering if it won’t grow any higher, either. It doesn’t seem to have grown ‘up’ this past week, although the outside vines of some of the plants are still growing out. We’ll see. It certainly is getting plenty of rain this week.

That’s my garden update! I hope you are enjoying your summer, no matter what the weather is like. πŸ™‚

In Peace,
Dana

24 July 2021 Six on Saturday

Hello and welcome to my blog! We have been enjoying some super summer weather for a few weeks now, and boy does it show in the garden! The forecast is for some unsettled weather to head our way, so I’ve been spending as much time in the garden as possible. It has been so wonderful, I’ll be sad to see the good weather leave! I’m joining The Propagator’s meme of ‘Six on Saturday’ again this week. It was really hard picking just six as so many plants are showing off in the garden at the minute. But alas, here are the six I’ve picked:

Buddleis Buzz 'dark pink' butterfly bush

1 – Buddleis BUZZ ‘Dark Pink’ Butterfly Bush. I *love* the scent of these flowers! They are so sweet! This butterfly bush is non-invasive and will only get about 4 feet tall and wide. Deadheading the flowers will encourage more flowers, so it’s worth the work. You can give them a hard prune in the spring, which means a later blooming time, but it also means an extended season for pollinators. The color is a fabulous magenta.

Butterfly bush lichfield angel California poppies Potentilla

I think this is a lovely combination of flowers and colors: Buddleis BUZZ ‘Dark Pink’ butterfly bush, Lichfield Angel (cream) David Austin roses, (orange) California poppies, and in the background (yellow) Potentialla.

Rainbow garden butterfly bush

This is another view of the butterfly bush. It’s in my Rainbow garden and this is definitely a banner year for it. While I do like to keep my colors to a minimum in other beds, I love that I have every color in this bed. The big messy green plant on the right is a mock orange. I’m not sure I’m going to keep that, though, as it doesn’t really produce a lot of flowers and it is just so messy!

Sweet pea hand held bouquet

2 – Organic Sweet pea ‘Old Spice’. This is another scented flower that I *love*! I’ve grown sweet pea for several years now, simply because the scent is so beautiful to have in the garden and in the house. They make very sweet bouquets, too. My Sweet pea fence is shorter than usual this year, and I think I’ll have less flowers because of that. But so far I am getting a nice full bunch every couple of days!

Sweet pea on fence

The sweet pea is really nice to have in the garden not only for its pretty colors, but for its sweet scent!

Pink Coleus

3 – Coleus ‘Rainbow’. I am somewhat new to growing flowers from seed. Although I’ve been growing sunflowers from seed for a number of years, some flowers just seem much more delicate. This was a pretty successful year, though. These coleus took their time growing, but now that they are nearly full grown, they are lovely!

young flower seedlins

I will have to show you the Cock’s comb flowers (on the left, back) next week! The Coleus took their time, but they look very well!

Coleus three in a row

This is what the coleus looks like today. Only the one plant is coming out a strong pink color. I plan to bring these three containers inside this winter so that they are ready to go next spring.

dark sunflowers with blue sky

4 – Sunflower Claret F1. I know I showed one of these guys last week, but they have really come into their own this week! They are just spectacular! This one has yellow, orange, red and brown in it, while some are a chocolatey brownish red, and some are brighter with more orange and yellow. They are tall (180 cm / 5.9 feet). I’m glad our bed frames are wide so that I can stand on them to take pictures!

Full Sunflower bed 21 July

5 – Full sunflower bed update. The sunflower bed has completely filled in and although the first batch of sunflowers bloomed a little early and are now fading, they are producing small little offshoots that are providing more color. Those short yellow flowers are supposed to be 6 feet tall! I guess they didn’t get the memo, as they are all equally short! There is one more layer on the far side of the Claret flowers that have not bloomed yet. They are dwarf sunflowers and I thought the slugs had completely eaten them after I planted them in the bed, but they actually rebounded and I only lost one of the six plants.

This is a picture of my seedlings early on in the season. This is definitely the most I have ever done in one season! I’ve had some successes, and some failures. But overall I’m really happy with what I have! I do need to work on a better system for keeping track to who’s who, though. Thankfully, it’s usually pretty easy to tell in the end.

Pumpkin Arch update 24 July

6 – Pumpkin arch update. The pumpkin arch is filling up! I have a few Jack O’lantern pumpkins, and a lot of Red Kuri squash/pumpkins. I think it will be nice and colorful! I am enjoying the orange squash flowers and all of the greenery while it lasts. The Claret sunflowers on the right are continuing to bloom, too.

Full view of garden incl raspberries 22 July

I took this picture from above in my daughter’s bedroom window. Everything is green and lush (haha! except our grass and the fields of barley!).

Full garden view from above 23 July

Here I’ve zoomed in a bit.

Full garden update July 24

And here we are back on the ground! I’ve enjoyed watching as the pumpkins make their way up the arch. I’m looking forward to watching it continue!

I hope you have enjoyed my garden tour! Feel free to join me on Instagram, too. I’m a big fan of using ‘Stories’ to give updates on the garden and my chickens.

Enjoy your week!

In Peace,
Dana