About Mominthegarden

I'm an American enjoying life in Ireland. I live in the country with my family. It is so beautiful here! I've been creating our garden from "scratch" and having fun doing it! I blog about my gardening adventures, and a bit about Ireland, too.

Snowdrops and Hellebores in a February garden – Six on Saturday

Hi there! Welcome to my winter garden, where the weather might not be the best, but you will still find interesting things to see. I’ve had a few people recently comment to me that surely I’m not working in the garden now. It’s winter! But honestly, there are always things to do. For my garden, I weed all year round to try and stay on top of it. I also might have ‘projects’ to work on for the garden – like an area that needs to be cleared or plants removed. Admittedly, I am a fair weather gardener, meaning that the weather has to be somewhat decent for me to venture out. But if the temperature isn’t too cold or the wind too blustery, I enjoy being outside working in the garden. Let’s see what’s happening in the garden as I join The Propagator for his meme of Six on Saturday.

snow drops and robin

1 – Snowdrops. I know it’s not much, but this little bunch of tiny white flowers brings such excitement, as they’ve pushed through the soil and bloomed in what is usually rather unpleasant weather (I’m being polite). I have another bunch, directly across from these, but their white flowers seem to have been eaten by something. Ideally, I will divide this clump after they flower (or at the end of the season in March), to spread the beauty next year. I have my eye on a new place for them, so stay tuned to see how that goes.

Helleborus orientalis 'Double Ellen Red'

2 – Helleborus Double Ellen Red. This plant bloomed very late last year, and with not a lot of flowers. Plants can be quite funny that way. It certainly looks beautiful, healthy and full of blooms right on time this year. The flowers face downwards, which isn’t great for pictures. I just prop the flowers up to capture their beauty. This Hellebore is five years old, and it’s taken this long to really establish itself.

Helleborus Harvington Double Reds

3 – Helleborus Harvington Double Red. What can I say, I like double reds! This one joined my garden last year, and so I’m happy to see the handful of blooms on it. There is another similar hellebore in this bed, bought the same time, and it doesn’t have any blooms yet this year. Hellebores are low maintenance plants and their blooms are lovely to see in the winter. They typically are used in woodlands, but seeing that I don’t have lots of trees in my yard, I simply planted them where ever there was room. πŸ™‚

Helleborus Winter Sunshine

4 – Helleborus Winter Sunshine. This hellebore would be my favorite if I had favorites. The leaves are a pretty blueish-green, and it is covered in blooms all winter long! The flowers start out white and turn pink over time. I planted this in 2014 and it is a really nice sized ‘clump’ now. If it gets blackspot (not uncommon), I just cut those leaves off and it will continue to bloom without issue. Isn’t it lovely?

sky views in morning and evening

5 – Winter skies. I will never grow tired of the beautiful skies we have the privilege of seeing. Even if nothing else in the garden is looking special, the sky can be spectacular. The top right picture is a sunrise, bottom left is mid-day sun, while the other two are sunsets.

Irish Robin

6 – Irish Robin. I distinguish this with ‘Irish’ because the American Robin, while similarly orange breasted, is much bigger and with a gray back. These Robins *love* to sing. They also love to keep me company when I’m weeding. Sure it’s no wonder they hang about, because when I turn the soil, they have easy access to the worms! I’m always glad for their company.

And that’s what is happening in the garden. There are a few more hellebore plants that will hopefully be blooming over the next few weeks. And then it will nearly be time for daffodils! Winter will be gone before we know it. πŸ™‚

I hope you are keeping well. Thanks so much for stopping by. I’d love for you to say hello in a comment!

In Peace,
Dana

A look back on the garden, The Final Chapter (part IV)

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Hello! What a fun time I’ve had, going through photos of the garden from the past year. For the past 11 years, I’ve continually added to the nearly blank slate of a garden that was here when we moved in. I’ve learned a lot, I’ve done a lot, and I continue to learn and do! It’s my happy place, and I don’t need the proof from the studies that show ‘gardening is good for you’, I already know it. This last chapter is mostly about fall vibes and a tiny bit of winter. Enjoy!

September collage with sunflowers, butterfly bush, apples, pumpkins and delphinium but

This first collage starts in September. Look at all of our red eating apples! I don’t actually ‘pick’ them to eat, but instead I use the ones that have dropped to the ground. We didn’t have any major wind storms this fall (rather unusual) so I was able to gather apples at a reasonable pace. It’s harder when they all are knocked off at once!

The Buddleis Buzz ‘dark pink’ butterfly bush is covered with Tortoiseshell butterflies. We might also get Peacock butterflies, or Red Admiral butterflies, or Painted Lady butterflies. The butterfly bush is a dwarf variety, so it is quite a manageable size, and with lots of vibrant color. This one has quite a sweet scent as well.

The Monarda Fireball (red Bee balm) is new for me and was planted in a container. I really want to get it somewhere in the garden, but I’m not sure where just yet.

The top left picture is just to show you the contrast of the yellow dwarf sunflowers with the tall Claret F1 burgundy sunflowers. I loved the look of this flower bed! And just a few steps away is the pumpkin arch, which still had mostly green pumpkins in September. The blue Delphinium was quite a treat for me as I grew it from seed. That was a new flower for me to grow from seed, and I’m glad it not only survived but it thrived. Fingers crossed that it will survive the winter and we can enjoy it again in 2022!

I added the picture of the Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia ‘Little Spire’) as it looks really nice with the roses. The birch tree bed now has Rudbeckia goldstrum (Black-eyed-Susan) and Persicaria Blackfield just starting to bloom.

September collage of roses, pumpkins, ornamental grass, tulip bulbs

Staying in September, these David Austin ‘Eustacia Vye’ are relatively new to my garden. Not only are they beautiful, they have a delicious scent, too!

I made an outrageous flower arrangement with Pink Parrot gladiolas. While I do love the bright, shocking pink color, it is rather difficult to pair with in an arrangement. πŸ™‚

The pumpkin arch update, at this stage, shows that the pumpkins are starting to turn orange, while the Red Kuri squash are turning their final color or burnt orange/red. The Green Hokkaido squash, which are more flat than the rounded pumpkins, remain a dark green color. The Claret F1 sunflowers always had a flurry of activity with birds. I was happy to capture this Great Tit (the largest of the Tit family) in this picture. The sunflowers have been enjoyed by the birds for most of the season. I did save a couple of flower heads for seeds for me, but the rest are there for the birds to eat.

The ornamental grass is the feature item in this bed. But the Asters put on quite a show in September. In the same bed, but in the bottom middle picture, is an Astilbe (marked pink, but it sure looks red to me). This is just a single plant that I think is still getting established. We’ll see how it does in 2022 and determine if it needs a new location.

The bottom left photo is of the Persicaria Blackfield, which pairs really well with the Rudbeckia, and birch trees. They also fill in quite nicely. Something I did this year that I probably shouldn’t do again, is that I bought my bulbs early in the season. So by the time my ‘normal’ time for ordering bulbs rolled around, I wanted to buy more (and did)! These are some of the early purchases of tulips being planted.

September collage of apples, pears, sunflowers, compost and chickens

September still, and just an update on everyone’s growth: the apples, both eating and cooking, the pears, the new chickens, the delphinium, the sunflowers, they were all thriving at this stage! Those are pink Asters in the top left photo, with the ornamental grass. They really steal the show in September! One final picture of my compost in the tumbler, which you can see is filled with worms (and eggshells that probably should have been broken down more before being added). This is great stuff, and as it becomes ready – completely broken down – I add it to the garden.

October collage of pumpkins, roses, asters, raspberry, sunflower and sunsets

October is all about orange (including the sky)! We had a great haul of pumpkins and squash this year. If nothing else, I like growing pumpkins simply for their orange coloring (including their flowers). Of course we enjoy eating squash, too, but what a bonus for it to look pretty in the garden, too!

I’ve included a couple more pictures of the pink Aster because they really are fabulous, and require no maintenance. I love easy to grow plants and this is one of them! This is also a better picture of the Astilbe with the Aster. I think they will look pretty together when the Astilbe fills out more.

Another first for us this year was planting raspberry canes. While we only had a few raspberries – and they were really tasty – the canes have definitely established themselves in the bed. So fingers crossed that in 2022 we’ll not only have a nice crop, we’ll figure out the best way to cover them from the birds.

October collage of roses, pumpkins, marigolds, asters, roses, dogwood leaves, and garlic being planted

October is also when I planted our winter growing garlic. I’ve grown the same variety, ‘Vallelado’ Organic Garlic, for a number of years because it is really good for our Irish weather. The rule of thumb is to get it in the ground before Christmas. (I get mine at Fruit Hill Farm in Cork.)

I have two different color pink Asters in the yard. These fuchsia pink and are super vibrant! The roses are still going strong – this year was really super for roses. Also, I had some super big, late blooming marigold flowers. The top right picture is of my dogwood tree. Although it doesn’t flower – this variety needs hot weather (so why on earth it is sold in Ireland is beyond me) – but I find the leaves to be quite lovely, especially as they turn red.

Collage from October & November of anemone, dahlia, roses, blueberry shrub, marigolds

Now we’re on the cusp of November with the Dahlias are finally blooming. Dahlias are relatively new for me, and I’m still learning. You’re supposed to cut their main stem a short time after it starts to grow, to prevent one big heavy stem from growing, and instead have multiple stems to balance out the weight. I did this quite late in the season which is why they bloomed so late for me. Lesson learned! These are in containers, as they need to be protected in the winter and that’s the easiest way for me to do that. Given how pretty they are, I’ve ordered some more for 2022. I have plans to plant them in the ground, which means I’ll have to dig them up next November. I’ll keep you posted.

The blueberry shrub has the pretties fire-red leaves in the fall. It is such an extra bonus after enjoying the yummy blueberries!

A shrub with berries for the birds is the Leycesteria formosa (Himalayan honeysuckle). These have long dangly flowers with berries. The main stems of this lovely plant look like bamboo, while the shorter stems with the flowers are great for using in flower arrangements.

collage from November & December of wreaths, anemone, roses, hellebore and hesperanthus

Here we are in the last two months of the year. The pink and red Hesperanthus (formerly known as Schizostylis) is such a treat to have in November, when there aren’t many other flowers about. This year, though, I also had roses. The Anemone can often be found in the winter garden, as can the Hellebore ‘Winter Sunshine’.

I’ve been patiently waiting the past few years for my fig tree to produce fruit. While it did grow fruit this year, they didn’t properly ripen enough to eat. I’m really hoping that next year will be the year!

I made a few wreaths during this time, too. I just like using my hands, and not letting anything go to waste. All of the greenery and plant materials came from my garden.

And that is a look back on my garden for the year! I’ve really enjoyed reviewing everything, and reminding myself of all that we’ve done in the garden. Being and working in the garden is simply something that I love to do. I hope you’ve enjoyed the tour!

Take care, and stay safe πŸ™‚

In Peace,
Dana

A look back on the garden, part III

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Hi there! Don’t mind me, in this third part post, I’m just walking down memory lane where I look back on the garden from July and August, and boy was there a lot going on! Some plants, like my sweet pea, took a while to get started, but once they did, they really took off. I grew three different types of sunflowers this year. What was nice about the different varieties was 1. how completely different they looked and 2. how they all bloomed at different times. This meant that I was able to enjoy sunflowers from summer into fall. These two months saw a lot of growth in the pumpkin / squash category, too. And let’s not forget that July is notable for harvesting lavender and garlic. Let’s get started!

Collage of flowers from the garden in July: pumpkin flowers, peony, hosta, poppy, sunflowers, iris and eggs.

This first collage is from the beginning of July, and the yellow Itoh (hybrid) peony ‘Hillary’, on the bottom, just made the cutoff. I only had one delicate flower, and its color was quite lemony, a first for my garden. It was planted two years ago, so it should have more blooms in 2022. The other ‘end of the season’ peony was my Sarah Bernhardt variety. I’ve had this plant quite a few years so I get lots of big, beautiful, and scented, flowers. If you like peony, I’d definitely recommend this variety. Also during this time, the pumpkin and squash plants started to progress up the pumpkin arch. While they never made it all the way up, I did in fact, gets lots of pumpkins and squash – we’re still eating the squash!

To add some ‘interest’ along the hedge in the new garden, this year I added a bunch of planters filled with hosta. Most of the plants I’d had already, either in containers or in the ground. But I did purchase a couple of new ones as well, which are in the smaller pots, and they bloomed in July. The hosta flowers are not as nice as the leaves, if you ask me, as I think the leaves are the real attraction. These iris, as every year, were the very last of my four varieties to bloom.

While some flowers were finishing up for the season, it was at this stage that the first of the sunflowers started to bloom. They were mid-height – they were supposed to be 5 feet (1.5 meters) tall, but were more in the area of 3 feet (.9 meter) tall – and had only one flower per plant. This would be my least favorite sunflower because of the single flower. That doesn’t mean I didn’t like them, though. πŸ™‚ At the top of the collage is a double poppy that thankfully shows up in the garden every year. And finally, I have a picture of three very different eggs, representing the 3 new variety of chickens that joined my hens this spring.

July collage of flowers: coleus, poppies, sweet pea, pumpkin flower, apples, Maple tree

Apple update: the pretty blossoms are now cute little apples! Another picture of the double poppies, because they are absolutely beautiful. I’ve also included a ‘yucky’ picture in here, too: it is my maple tree with a powdery mildew. We haven’t seen this before, and there isn’t really anything you can do for it, except at the end of the season to clear away the leaves (and not add them to the compost). Fingers crossed that it has a better season in 2022. The picture of the sweet pea is the first cutting of the season. I know this because it is such a small posy, and by the end of the season they were big bouquets.

The middle photo is of my ‘rainbow garden’. In the front, the cream colored David Austin Lichfield roses and yellow potentilla shrub are at their peak. I only learned this year that I could prune the potentilla, which I duly did at the end of the season. I can’t wait to see how it looks in 2022. I have helenium ‘Moerheim Beauty’ growing in a couple of places in the garden, as it’s a lovely splash of red and golden color (here it is along side my daisies).

I am all about having splashes of color in the garden, no matter if it’s from flower plants or veggie plants. It’s another reason I love to grow pumpkins and squash, I mean, what’s not to love about those big orange flowers? I picked the last photo for the pretty sunset, as the poppies under the birch trees are not quite at their peak.

July collage of flowers including garlic, freesia, peony, lilies, sunflowers, roses, poppies, and pumpkin arch

We’re in mid July here, and that’s when I harvested my garlic. The timing was perfect as we had some dry weather. There’s nothing worse than getting caught in a wet spell and not being able to harvest the garlic in time. I’ve planted about half of that amount for the 2022 season, which will still be more than enough for us. It keeps all winter, in a cool, dry location. Garlic is one of the easiest things to plant, and I highly recommend growing your own. It is so worth it in taste!

You will see through the different collages that I have a lot of containers. Part of that is me trying new flowers, part of it is that we have a deck that suits containers really well, and part of that is that I don’t have a more suitable place in the garden for those flowers. The pink, yellow and white freesia are a perfect example of looking lovely in a container but wouldn’t suit in the garden. So I’m glad for the containers! Funny enough, I filled both my garden and containers with lilies this year. Best decision ever as they are so easy to grow and are perfectly showy.

The birch tree bed was completely taken over by poppies in July. It was quite remarkable as they were 99% one variety (a single flower, lilac color) and I didn’t plant any of them. They come from my compost which apparently doesn’t get hot enough to kill seeds. So whatever I put in the compost, has the potential to come back!

I threw in another picture of the mid-height sunflowers as a progress report, as well as some roses just to remind me that the roses were still going strong. πŸ™‚

End of July collage of flowers: sunflowers, lavender, daisies

We’re now at the end of July. The second variety of sunflowers have started to bloom – and this Claret F1 lasted well into fall, with so many flowers per stem. The colors were from chocolate to yellow and burnt orange / burnt red, with medium sized flowers, and they grew pretty tall (well over my head!).

I was a bit late in harvesting my lavender this year, but that didn’t stop me from making some fresh wreaths (pictures in the next picture). The clematis, ‘purpurea Plena Elegans’ is a pretty raspberry/wine color, but doesn’t really like the amount of wind that we have. It looks ok, but isn’t ideal in our yard, unfortunately.

The lychnis Coronaria rose campion has really pretty fuchsia pink flowers, although the evening sunlight in the picture doesn’t show that very well. Those flowers will actually spread like wildfire, so unless you want them everywhere, you have to pull them out as soon as they show up in their new spots (they are easy to pull out).

Of course I had to throw in another pumpkin arch update!

July collage of flowers: roses, sweet pea, lavender wreaths, blueberries

We’re finishing up July with blueberries! We had a great ‘little’ harvest this year, of several little bowls of blueberries. This was the first year that we covered the shrubs with netting and that worked great for keeping the birds away. I also spread out our plants that were crowded together previously, and fed them more than I typically would, which paid off. I’m excited for the 2022 season, as we learned a lot last season.

Finally, a picture of the chickens! We added three new varieties in March, but I only took video of them in the beginning, so I had no pictures to share earlier. We have a Bluebell (she’s gray), a Maran (with stripes), and a Daisy Belle (the largest of all of them and quite pretty with green shimmers in her black feathers). The Bluebell is quite friendly and likes to sit on my lap when I’m in the yard with them.

I made these two fresh lavender wreaths (as opposed to dried lavender). The bottom one I made first, and the one above was made second – I think I get better over the course of the season! The Celosia, the top right picture, I grew from seed. They were easy to grow, and dry really well, so I might grow them again.

More roses – of course!

August collage of flowers: helenium, pumpkins, hydrangea, gladiolas, lilies,

I told you it was a lot of flowers! These pictures are from August. This is another another batch of helenium flowers. These are next to my ‘Teasing Georgia’ yellow David Austin roses, as I think the colors go nicely together. The other flowers are: ‘Magic Star’ lilies, gladiolas ‘Pink Parrot’, hydrangea Selma, clematis ‘purpurea Plena Elegans’, and some more poppies. This sunflower is the first of the dwarf sunflowers to bloom. Next to the two small pumpkins is a picture of Liatris spictata Kobold, which is such an unusual flower for my garden – so I love it!

August collage of flowers: incrediball hydrangea, vanilla fraise hydrangea, coleus, lilies, agapanthus, calla lilies, sweet pea, Russian sage, pumpkin arch

So I found myself picking flowers for this collage that we’ve seen before. But it is interesting to me to see how much they grow and fill out and change colors during the season! The Incrediball hydrangea (bottom right) was moved in early spring 2021, but seems to have settled in well. This plant takes a lot of water, and I have still not figured out the perfect balance of getting that right. It doesn’t help that it is just out of reach of our hose, either. I’ll keep at it until we get it right! It’s not too far from the paniculata hydrangea Vanilla Fraise, actually – which is just starting to turn pink in this picture. The paniculata has not had any water issues, thankfully.

The coleus was my pride and joy this summer as I grew it from seed and it just looked so spectacular! Also, it was planted as a reminder of my dear former neighbor and friend Betty, who always grew them.

See the single, purple agapanthus flower? That didn’t do great in a container for me. Turns out the few that I had in the garden weren’t very happy either, but I had them in a somewhat shady area. So I’ve moved all of them into a new – sunny – spot in the garden and I can’t wait to see if that does the trick (along with extra feed).

Look at the Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia ‘little spire’)! I had some growing in partial shade and it wasn’t very happy. This guy, in full sun, is just shouting out with joy! I’m glad the space is large enough for it. These potted pink Calla lilies looked really well and bloomed for weeks.

Of course I’ve included another update on the pumpkin arch!

end of August collage of flowers

We’re wrapping up August with this collage. I rarely mention the wild fennel that I grow, but it is very pretty. The flowers are yellow and dainty. I enjoy watching the birds as they try and balance on the stems while eating the seeds in the winter. The plant isn’t just for birds, as it is edible for our consumption, too. The other plant not mentioned often enough: globe artichokes. I’ve used some in this flower arrangement – they look like purple thistle. The globe artichokes were arranged with roses, sunflowers and helenium.

The paniculata ‘Vanille Fraise’ hydrangea has turned pink by this stage. It’s around this time that you can cut the flowers to easily dry them. The Red Kuri squash look orange at this point in their growth, but as they mature, they will turn a more burnt orange/red. This view of the pumpkin arch shows us two Red Kuri squash, which are still orange, growing up the fencing.

The red apple tree is an eating apple tree, while our second tree is a cooking apple tree. I know I’m biased but, the red apples are incredibly tasty! I enjoyed eating our supply of apples right up until Christmas. I should have cooked and frozen some, to keep them longer. That will be something I’ll try in 2022, if we get a good crop.

The top picture is of some of my lilies – both pink and white. The white ones are in the garden, while these pink ones are in a container. They’re just so easy to grow, why wouldn’t you want that beauty and fabulous scent?

And finally, the sunflowers: the neat line of dwarf sunflowers bloomed in a perfect line. Not only that, they also then continued to bloom multiple flowers on their stems. The burnt red and yellow sunflowers were tall and floppy, grew all over the place, and were absolutely lovely in their uniqueness.

Phew! Are you still reading? You’re amazing! That was a really long post. I’m kind of impressed (and surprised!) with all of the flowers that I grow. Although I of course know all that I grow, it is only looking at them in this monthly review format that I really appreciate all that I have. And I really do appreciate them! I appreciate them so much that I created a new bed, in order to plant more flowers! πŸ™‚

Thanks so much for stopping by. Let me know what you think!
Part IV will finish out the year.

In Peace,
Dana

A look back on the garden – Part II

Hello! I’ve had quite a time going through my photos from 2021 – there are a lot! Every season brings something different and interesting, so I can’t even say which is my favorite season. They are all wonderful in their own way. But in this post, we’ll look at the garden from April through June. As you can imagine, that’s a pretty busy time in the garden. Some of what you’ll see: Tulips, Allium, Bluebells, Lily of the valley, apple and cherry blossoms, and Roses – lots and lots of Roses! I hope you enjoy the tour. πŸ™‚

April collage of apple blossoms, cherry blossoms, anemone and magnolia

April is definitely a time when we start to see a lot more happening in the garden. We enjoy seeing the two varieties of apple tree blossoms – one has very light pink flowers, while the other has bright pink flowers. Our cherry tree blossoms are also light pink, and start to show at this time. The Anemones have been going all winter and continue to bring a pop of purple color to the garden. I have a picture of the green leaves from one of my peony plants here, too: Paeonia ‘Hillary’ is an Itoh (hybrid). I think the green leaves are lovely. I guess I have a thing for ‘greens’ because I also have a picture of my Nootka Cypress ‘Pendula’ simply because it is one of my favorite trees.

April collage of tulips

I had to have a tulip block! I love tulips, with a special fondness for pinks. These pictures are all from April. I have to say that I planted a bunch more this past fall, so we’ll see how they do in a few months!

April collage of frosty grass, bleeding heart, bergenia, hyacinth, magnolia, grape hyacinth and hellebores

We’re still in April! Just a reminder, as shown in the photo with the birch trees and the hen house, that we can still get a hard frost (in May, too, unfortunately). As for flowers, in April we have Bleeding Hearts, white and pink varieties of Bergenia, Grape Hyacinth, Hyacinth, and Hellebores. The ‘heaven scent’ Magnolia tree and the Birch trees were planted at the same time in November 2020. While I confess that I didn’t really notice a strong scent, I found the Magnolia flowers to be quite pretty.

May collage of hosta, tulips, lilacs, cherry blossoms

Moving along to May, we are still enjoying tulips. Other bloomers at this time: Lily of the valley, Columbine (or Aquilegia), lilacs, fully blooming cherry blossoms, and Erysimum ‘super bowl’ mauve. The Hosta were moved from the ground into planters this year, to decorate the new garden. They started to fill out in May. The plants in the veggie beds and the sunflower bed are all doing well and showing lots of growth. The Globe Artichoke plant, behind the mauve Erysimum plant, is one of my favorites for the unusual leaves and of course the artichokes, which flower purple when left to fully mature. I grow it because I think it is so interesting to look at!

May collage of blue bells, garlic, rosemary, lilacs and potted plants

Although still in May, the organic plant based food ‘Nature Safe’, which I use throughout the garden, would have been taken out in March to start feeding my evergreens, and the lilac shrubs. I really like this product, plain and simple. It took me too long to learn that feeding your plants regularly is *really* important. Some more blooms in the garden: Bluebells, Rosemary (did you know it flowers?) and lilacs. At this time, everything I’ve grown from seed gets acclimated to get ready for the move to outdoors. Here’s a look at how the garlic is doing, too.

May collage of flowers with lilacs, lily of the valley, poppy, pumpkin, peony and allium

Still in May! The lilacs have finally opened completely, while the Viburnum Opulus ‘Roseum’ is just coming into bloom – it starts out green and will eventually turn white. The first of my peony, an old fashioned variety, also starts to bloom (it is a deep red) and looks quite nice among the Bluebells. Tis the season for Allium, and Poppies. These orange ones, like all of the Poppies in my yard, were not planted by me. They were either planted by a bird, or more likely, by my compost. The pumpkin plants are planted in the ground and showing signs of wind burn (but they mostly survived this). The Bearded Iris were planted in the bed of the Birch trees in November, and I just wasn’t sure if they would survive. But they sure did survive! Here one is getting ready to bloom.

May project of Pumpkin arch

Our ‘Pumpkin Arch’ project was done in June. My husband made it for me based on a few requirements I had. He really did a great job and it is my favorite feature in the garden. We planted pumpkins and squash at the base of it, and that worked out really well. They didn’t reach the top of the arch this year, though, so I’d like to plant them earlier in the season. I plan to also cover the young plants with fleece to protect them from windburn (our area is really windy) and from frost. Maybe then they’ll reach the top of the arch!

June collage of iris, roses, strawberries, pumpkins & lupin

June! The sunflowers are getting taller, the strawberries are ripening, the pumpkin plants are finally settling in to the soil and producing flowers. The lupins looked exceptionally fantastic this year. I didn’t do anything differently, so hopefully they’ll be as lovely again this year. I have three different varieties of iris in the collage above, but I only know the bearded iris name: Benton Storrington. And since this is early June, the black spot hasn’t gotten hold of the rose shrubs (yet).

June collage of roses and peony

The roses really take over the show in June, but they aren’t alone as also showing off in the best kind of way are the different varieties of peony plants that I have. Last year wasn’t the best year for my peony plants (some had been moved early in the season). I’m hoping they’ll be happier this year.

My oh my that’s a lot of flowers and plants in the garden! I made it a goal to work for a short time in the garden every morning before work. I have to say that doing that small bit (nearly) every morning made my life so much easier in the garden. I was able to stay on top of weeding – mostly – and I was able to enjoy working in the garden since it was just a short amount of time. I might not get out in the garden every day, but I do try and do small bits here and there to keep the weeds in check.

Thanks so much for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed the tour. Until next time, stay safe and healthy!

In Peace,
Dana

June 5, 2021 sunset in new garden
June 5, 2021 Sunset view from the garden

A look back on the garden, while planning ahead

Happy New Year! While life all around us is still rather unsettled with Covid-19 (the Omicron variant being the latest cause of widespread infection), there is one thing that, thankfully, remains a constant: the garden. January is the perfect time to look back over what we grew in the garden last year. I like to reflect on what did well, what didn’t, and think about what we want to add. I’ll do this in four parts, using a collage of pictures. Shall we get started? πŸ™‚

January snow on snowdrops, chickens and the playhouse with a picture of the compost, too.

We had a light dusting of snow last January, which made everything quite pretty. The snowdrops are usually the first to flower. I’ve just checked today on the snowdrops and they have pushed through the soil, so it shouldn’t be long now before they bloom again! Also early to flower are these ‘Winter Sunshine’ hellebores. This plant in particular flowers profusely all winter long, and when the leaves aren’t suffering from black spot, the leaves are a very pretty blue-green (I cut them off if they have black spot, and the plant does fine). I took a picture of our compost heap because it really is amazing stuff, despite its messy look. As for my Rhode Island Red (hybrid) chickens, I can never resist taking pictures of the girls’ fluffy bums!

February collage of pictures, including a snowman, cookies, seed packets, a hellebore and chickens.

We had (just) enough snow in February to make a snowman! My daughters and I had a fun time in the snow. I’m so thankful that they have a silly side and that they want to include me in their fun! We also did some baking – dark chocolate is our favorite to bake with. As for the garden, a couple more of our hellebore plants started to flower. The single hellebore flower is Anemone Picotee, while the more showy hellebore is Frilly Isabelle. Funny enough, not all of my hellebores flowered last year. I know that last year I cut their leaves late in the season, so I didn’t do that this year. (I’m not sure that would do it, but worth a shot.) The birch trees were only planted in November of 2020, so I took a lot of pictures of them. You can just barely see the bearded iris stumps at the bottom of the trees, the first plants I added to the birch tree bed. The chickens weren’t sure what to make of the snow, but thankfully, it wasn’t around for long. This was also the time my seeds arrived, which is always a time of excitement. πŸ™‚

February collage of pictures of hellebores, snow drops and cupcakes

A few more pictures from February, as I added a couple new hellebore plants underneath the birch trees: Harvington Double Apricots and Harvington Double Reds, both of which came from Altamont Gardens, in County Carlow. They are both very frilly and showy, making them just perfect. The snowdrops also opened up nicely, which can really be appreciated on a sunny day. I don’t have the name of my pink hellebore, but it is a ‘single’ and very pretty. We did some more baking in February, too!

March collage of pictures of anemone, hellebores, daffodils, and compost.

Moving right along to March, I’ve captured here the single pink anemone that I have. It is quite a bright pink color, while all of the rest of the anemone in my yard – and there are a lot – are purple. The end of February / beginning of March is when I gave my rose shrubs a hard prune. That worked out great this year, as the roses did really well. I am slowly learning that to prune more is better than to prune less with my roses. The Pulmonaria flower, in the middle, blooms along with the daffodils, and is a nice companion plant to them. This variety (whose name I don’t know) also has pretty spotted leaves. I so enjoy having chickens and getting fresh eggs every day! They are such a treat. Not to be outdone by the chickens, Kitty enjoys being in the garden with me. While I do take lots of pictures of her, you can also find her photobombing her share of pictures. And we have another picture of our compost! The compost benefits from being ‘turned’, the more the better. But even if it is just left over the winter (sorry to say that this happens a lot with us!), the bottom of the heap will be good to use by the summer.

March collage of pictures of tulips, daffodils, magnolia, hyacinth, ranunculus, and seed trays.

March (and creeping into the start of April) brings more color into the garden, with ranunculus, tulips, daffodils, hyacinth, anemone, bergenia (this one is a white variety) and our magnolia tree in bloom. The Aubrieta definitely steals the show in the rose bed at this time of year. That pink ‘pops’ from clear across the yard. My plan was for it to grow over and down the wall. Its plan is to grow into the garden! I’m hoping my plan wins. Last March is also when I started some flowers in seed trays. This was the first year I tried this, and overall it went well. The coleus and delphinium were the biggest successes, or at least my favorite.

collage of a baby blanket with farm animals

I was a little busy with this creative project, too, last March. It’s kind of fun to look back on what kept me busy! It actually took about 6 weeks to make this baby blanket. It was a fun project that I was very pleased with. But I haven’t really worked on any crocheting since, which means it’s about time to start again!

I skipped our biggest project which we started last March: the cleaning up of the veggie/fruit garden and the addition of the pumpkin arch. I will definitely cover that in my next post.

Meanwhile, I hope you are staying healthy, and are having a good start to the new year!

In Peace,
Dana

P.S. The feature photo is from last year, we have not had snow this year (yet?).

The endurance run of 2021

It’s the end of 2021. I honestly don’t know how I feel. It was another year dominated by Covid-19, but at least this year we had the opportunity to get vaccinated. And although only in a limited capacity, we were able to travel and meet up with family and friends. But we all have grown tired of this seemingly never ending pandemic. This has truly been a test of endurance; keeping a positive attitude when times have been tough. I think it is important to acknowledge that it has not been easy and there have been frustrating times along the way – and it isn’t over yet. But I’m going to focus on the good times that we’ve had, the wonderful people in our lives, and the blessings we’ve experienced in the everyday. As far as the garden is concerned, it has thrived with the extra attention, while I have benefited from giving it the extra attention. The highlight has to be the addition of the pumpkin arch, and of course, the cleanup of that section of the garden. It was so worth the wait and the work!

While I originally wanted to go through a month by month show of the garden, I’ve decided that that will be a perfect ‘new year’ project! Stay tuned for that. For now, I simply want to wish you a Happy and Healthy New Year! Thank you so much for being a part of Mom in the Garden. I’m so thankful that you care to stop by to read about what is happening in the garden, for your ‘likes’, your kind words, and your follows. May 2022 be everything you hope it to be!

In Peace,
Dana

Let’s make 2022 a little less serious and a lot more fun! πŸ™‚

Merry Christmas to one and all!

It truly is the most wonderful time of the year! I love Christmas time. It is fun to transform our home with so many Christmas decorations (too many, perhaps?). I also do a lot of baking of Christmas cookies. I give most of them away to those dear to us, although I must say we have more than our share left over. It’s also a time I enjoy creating wreaths and table arrangements. This year I was able to do that with greens collected from our own yard, which is such a bonus! And don’t forget Christmas music. I honestly wait to start listening to Christmas music until two weeks before Christmas. I think it is worth waiting, so as not to get my fill too soon! But best of all, Christmas is when family and friends come together to enjoy each other’s company and to wish each other well for the year ahead. We are all filled with love and excitement (especially if there are littles about)! For those of us who are spiritual, we keep Jesus as the focus (or we do our best to). It is truly a celebration of love.

I wish you and your family a wonderful holiday season filled with love! I hope you all are safe and well and able to be with friends and family, either face to face or through Facetime or Zoom. May the magic of Christmas be with you!

In Peace,
Dana

Outdoor Christmas wreath with red ribbon
images from creating a Christmas wreath

This is a large wreath I made to hang outside our house. The wrought iron frame was made for me by a good friend, and it is just perfect! The big white snowflakes are decorations that I never used inside, but look really nice on the wreath. There is a definite musical theme, too. πŸ™‚

Christmas decorations of snowmen and santas and Christmas trees

Who doesn’t like collecting Snowmen and Santas? I’ve noticed that I also have quite a few small Christmas trees. The one on top, with small red bells was one I crocheted a few years ago. It might be time for a new crochet Christmas project!

Christmas decorations
Christmas decorations

I probably don’t need to add that I like quirky. But I do! It is great that I have enough ‘stuff’ to arrange things differently every year. I like to mix things up a bit, and make the kids go looking for their favorite items, instead of knowing where they’ll be.

table arrangement of greens

Sometimes, it gets a little chaotic. There never seems to be enough time to get everything done. But creating wreaths and table arrangements helps to calm me. It is something I love to do!

Christmas tree and decorations

I changed up our tree this year – no red! I chose some antique balls of blueish gray, and gold with silver. They are very special ornaments, so I’m happy to have them out on display.

Dana and cookies and Christmas tree

These are some of the cookies I baked this year. It is my favorite time of year to do marathon baking sessions! I’m grateful that my family enjoys eating them, too.

Thanks so much for joining me this Christmas! Merry Christmas!

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