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. 🙂

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. 🙂

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. 🙂

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

A garden clean up for today’s ‘Six on Saturday’

Hi there, and welcome to my blog! I’ve been spending a lot of time cleaning up the garden as we’ve had some really warm days and everything is in overdrive! I’ve decided that my roses are absolute Divas! They are nothing short of spectacular, and they completely show off their loveliness. But they require the most care of any plant in my garden (real Divas!). Of course I’ll be showcasing one of them today as I join The Propagator‘s ‘Six on Saturday’ meme. You can visit his site and see lots of other links joining the meme as well!

light pink David Austin Roses

1 The Ancient Mariner – David Austin Rose. This has been a fantastic year for roses. They are almost finished with their first flush of flowers, and boy were they amazing. But admittedly, these flowers require a lot of time both in preseason and during the season. Getting the pruning right can really help the season go well. I gave most of my plants a hard pruning this year, and they are doing much better than last year. I have noted the ones that didn’t get a hard prune as it will be their turn next year. But for now, deadheading is a full time job! This week I made an extra effort to clean up all of the dropped petals and leaves. It really looked so much nicer when it was tidy. I’ve added some feed and fresh compost to all of the plants, too. I’m hoping that it pays off with a good second flush of flowers!

Pink lilies in container

2 Pink lilies. A number of years ago I bought a selection of pink flowers to be planted in one planter. It worked great and looked pretty over many weeks each season. But as time went on, the plants weren’t doing so well and seemed to be crowded and unhappy. So this year, I took all of the bulbs out to repot them. I could not believe how many bulbs there were! I filled three large pots with lilies, gladiolas and some other flowers I’m not quite sure of. The lilies looked so much nicer than they ever have (even after being eaten by some bug/slug). I’m looking forward to seeing all of the gladiolas, as so many have come up!

3 Sunflower Claret F1. I almost always grow sunflowers. I love having them in the garden! This is the first year I’ve tried a ‘non-traditional’ sunflower, and I think they are absolutely fabulous! They’re described as wine-red, but some of mine are a chocolatey brown/wine-red, with yellow on the back of the petals. They are tall, well taller than me, with lots of little off-shoots on every stem. I’m very happy with them, and hope to use some in an arrangement at some stage, too.

Helenium Moerheim Beauty with daisies

4 Helenium ‘Moerheim Beauty’. I added Helenium to my garden a few years ago, and I’m so glad I did. I think they look nice next to my daisies, but I also have some next to my yellow ‘Teasing Georgia’ David Austin roses and they look great there, too! Their mixture of colors (red, yellow and orange, with brown centers) is always fun. Mine do much better with supports, I’ve finally learned!

Young Red Kuri squash that is yellow

5 Red Kuri squash (pumpkin). Funny to be called Red Kuri and look this yellow. They apparently start out yellow and turn a redish-orange as they mature. I’m excited about this item in my garden as I actually have quite a lot of them. They are supposed to be quite tasty and our family like different types of squash, so I’m looking forward to eating these!

Pumpkins growing on arch in garden

6 Pumpkin Arch update. Well, the plants are growing up the arch! What I need to clarify though, is what the plants are. So, way back in March, I sowed a bunch of seeds for the garden. But there were too many for my suntrap hallway that I use (because it is perfect for sowing seeds). While I tried to keep the different varieties in specific containers, and separated, that all fell apart once I started putting them outside to acclimate. So while I *thought* the red kuri pumpkins didn’t survive and the jack o’lanterns did, it seems quite the reverse happened (although I believe there are two jack o’lantern plants). This actually works out much better for my arch, because the Red Kuri squash are smaller than the jack o’lantern. It’s a learning process for me! Oh, and on the right side of the arch, on the right of the bed, are some Claret Sunflowers, although you can’t see the flowers because they are so dark!

That’s another week done. I hope you had a good one. I’m just so thankful for the wonderful weather we’ve been having. It has allowed me to work in the garden to my little heart’s content!

Feel free to check out the other ‘Six on Saturday’ posts!

In Peace,
Dana

A floral arrangement for ‘Six on Saturday’

Hello, and welcome to my blog! The garden is really hitting its stride now, with just a ton of growth everywhere. It is fun to watch the changes happen, seemingly overnight! If you follow me on Instagram (you do, right?), you’ll know that I capture a lot of the garden in my stories. I like to take a walk around the garden first thing in the morning – well, right after I feed the chickens. It is a peaceful time to listen to the birds and see what’s happened in the garden, and of course to note what needs to be done. Before I get into more details about what is happening in the garden, let me just say that I’ll be joining The Propagator again this week for his ‘Six on Saturday’ meme. If you click the link, you can find lots of other bloggers joining in, too! O.K., so here are my six:

Arch update 9 July 2021
Pumpkin arch

1 My pumpkin arch. This is probably my favorite item in the garden. My husband ‘made’ it for me this year (the arches were bought, but he added fencing material over it and staked it all, in order for it to be able to support pumpkins). A lot of work went into it! The pumpkin plants on either side of it are flowering and there are a bunch of fruit, too. I have been weaving the ends through the fencing, working it up towards the top. Just watching its progress is fun! This entire area had a complete makeover this year. Here is what it looked like in July 2018:

Pumpkin beds July 2018
Pumpkin patch July 2018

The pear tree on the right is the same that is on the left in the first picture. You’ll notice that I grew pumpkins and sunflowers then, too! I think the garden looks much nicer now 🙂

Strawberry Hill roses with Iris in background

2 Strawberry Hill rose, a David Austin variety. I have it on my front gate, and to me the color is just so delicate and pretty. Thankfully, blackspot hasn’t taken over this one (yet?). The fuzzy purple in the background is my late blooming iris.

Strawberry Hill rose single flower
Strawberry Hill, a David Austin Rose

3 Blueberries! We love eating blueberries, and I have to say that it is lovely growing them, too. Many years the birds enjoy them before us, but we’ll usually get some, too. I moved these this year as part of the big garden makeover, and they seem to be happier. Fingers crossed we get to eat the blueberries before the birds get them!

Blueberry shrub July 2021
Blueberries upclose July

4 Lavender poppies. This variety came to my garden through a friend. She shared a few with me as she thought I’d like them, which of course I do! That was a bunch of years ago. These current ones, and most of them in my yard now, were not planted, but came via my compost. I always throw the spent poppies into my compost. If there was any doubt as to how the poppies end up all over my yard, I have two brand new beds this year, that I didn’t have any poppies in last year (so no chance for self seeding). But both beds were given a ton of my compost. And now I have a ton of poppies! Good thing I like them!

Lavender Poppies in Birch tree bed

5 Coral poppies. This variety was given to me about 5 years ago. At one point I thought they wouldn’t return, as I had so few one year! But I had nothing to fear. While the lavender ones are predominant this year, the coral were predominant last year. It’s only fair to take turns, right? 🙂

coral poppies in rose bed

6 Floral arrangement. Today I was supposed to weed (haha! every day could be a weeding day!) but I found myself walking around the garden gathering flowers to make an arrangement. It is fun when the mood strikes, to create something from the garden!

Flower arrangement with lady's mantle

I started with poppy seeds, I think that they are so neat! It’s nice to have that unusual shape. Then I added lady’s mantle. I don’t usually like lady’s mantle, and I often pull it out of the garden (it grows and spreads like a weed). But I really liked the color here, and the texture.

Flower arrangement close up peony

I was surprised to see that I still have a few Sarah Bernhardt peony left in the garden. The smaller blooms were perfect. I also used the late blooming iris. Here I’ve used 3 that aren’t open yet.

flower arrangement cream roses and peony

And finally, I used Lichfield angel roses, another David Austin variety. They are a lovely cream color, although they have a peach tint before they bloom. Some of the flowers were quite heavy. The one in the picture above is actually resting on the peony bloom.

Flower arrangement side view

This is more of a side view. The vase is an antique, one of a set, that my mother gave to me a number of years ago. It is one of my favorite gifts from her and I love to fill it with flowers.

And that is my Six for Saturday! I hope you’ve enjoyed them. I know I am enjoying being a part of this meme. See you next week!

In Peace,
Dana

Peony delights for ‘Six on Saturday’

Hi there, and welcome to my blog! This week I’m highlighting four of my peony plants as part of the ‘Six on Saturday’ meme, while the other two slots are being filled with pumpkin flowers and our cat Kitty. I find this to be a great way to recap what is going on in the garden (with of course a bit of chat!). I’m joining The Propagator as this is his meme, and if you stop by his blog you’ll see lots of other beautiful contributors, too!

1 – Paeonia Sarah Bernhardt
I love peony! I especially love if they are scented. Normally, I enjoy them in the garden for as long as possible, and then I will cut a bouquet if there are enough flowers. My usual trusty plant which typically produces at least a dozen flowers was lack luster this year. But my ‘standby’ plant (a bit younger) went all out this year, and completely made up for the lack of flowers from my main plant. Lucky me! I’ve cut them after they were completely open, so I’ll only get a couple of days of enjoyment from their bouquet, but I still think it is worth it.

Peony Sarah Bernhard in garden

This Sarah Bernhardt Peony plant is squished in next to some pretty pink roses. I think that because I gave the rose bush a really hard prune this year, that this peony plant really enjoyed soaking up more sun because of it.

Sarah Bernhardt Peony bouquet in vase portrait

I was able to completely fill an ice bucket with peony flowers!

2 – Paeonia Kansas
This peony came from the National Trust Hidcote in 2017 when I traveled with some gardening girlfriends to visit a few gardens in the UK. We had such a wonderful time, I’m so glad to have this peony as a memento! It is a beautiful, bright fuchsia color. I would like to move it from where it currently lives, as this ‘ditch wall’ garden is slowly going to the wayside. It’s an area that needs more attention than I can give it, and I’m thinking of letting it grow over. That’s not an idea situation, but I’d rather focus on beds that I can actually keep neat and tidy. I have to say that I think this peony looks quite nice in among the foxgloves and monkshood. (Monkshood, as a point of interest, is highly poisonous and should never be eaten or even dug up without wearing gloves. It is so toxic, that having an open wound touch the roots could be fatal. It sure is pretty, though!)

Peony Kansas end of June

This peony, Kansas, is a beautiful bright fuchsia color. I must say that I’ve never had an issue with the stems bending over, as I do with the Sarah Bernhardt peony.

Peony Kansas with Monkshood

The color of peony Kansas is spectacular and can be spotted from across the yard. It pairs well with the blue (purple) Monkshood and the pink foxglove.

3 – Paeonia Bowl of Beauty
I find this to be such a pretty peony. It always reminds me of a bowl of ice cream when it is fully opened! This plant was divided and moved early this spring and yet still produced a bunch of flowers. Peony do not like to be moved, and so I didn’t expect much from the plant this season. It now blends right into its current bed which is filled with lots of pink!

Bowl of Beauty single

Peony Bowl of Beauty with a bee. The many white petals are so interesting looking!

Bowl of Beauty open Peony with roses and lupines

Here you can see the Bowl of Beauty peony in the foreground, pink lupines to the right, and pink roses in the background. They really fit right in!

4 – Paeonia Bartzella
Let’s talk about the color yellow. In one gardening article that I read a few years ago, the author completely trashed having yellow in the garden. I thought it was such a sad article of one person’s opinion that would probably influence many people to not grow yellow flowers. It made me think about the fact that even gardening has ‘influencers’, deciding what is in fashion for the moment, and what isn’t. Shouldn’t it be that we grow the flowers that we want to grow, in the colors of our own choosing? I’m afraid that it is unavoidable that some things will flow in and out of fashion, including in our gardens. Good thing that I don’t pay any attention to that! This gorgous Itoh peony (a cross between a tree peony and a regular peony) is quite a vibrant shade of yellow that I would describe as lemony (not the soft yellow that I thought it was going to be). It is currently in a bed that is all pink, so I’m afraid it just doesn’t fit in. But I think it will fit in perfectly in the ‘Rainbow’ garden, which is the bed right behind it.

Itoh Paeonia Bartzella Yellow peony

The petals of the peony Bartzella are so delicate and pretty. The color looks a soft yellow in this picture, but it is not!

Peony Bartzella Yellow side view with roses

See what I mean about the yellow not fitting in with all of the pink? 🙂

Peony Bartzella Yellow open

There is no doubt that this flower is stunning! I purchased it during lockdown from Leamore Nursery as part of some ‘retail therapy’. I’m so glad I did, but I just need to find the right place for it!

Peony Bartzella yellow with California poppies

You can see the ‘Rainbow’ garden in the background in the above picture, and I think that is where we’ll move this yellow peony!

5 – Pumpkin flowers
Oh how I love pumpkin flowers! They are so bright and cheerful, and the bonus is that they are (sometimes) followed by pumpkins! Male flowers won’t produce pumpkins, but they help to!

Young pumpkin plant in sun

This is a pumpkin flower early in the season (the plant is still small).

Pumpkin single flower open

This flower is on a more developed plant.

Pumpkin arch view end of June

This is the arch that my husband built for me. I say he built it because although we bought the four arches that comprise it, he added the extra fencing support and it was quite a big deal to erect it – which I really appreciate! The idea is that the pumpkin plants will grow up and over the arch and the pumpkins will hang down on either side. We’ll see if it happens that way!

6 – Our cat, Kitty
Kitty is almost always with me in the garden (unless it is her naptime). Funny enough, she is sitting on my desk, next to me, while I type this post! There are many times when I really wish she didn’t think that I create all of the garden beds just for her use. But usually I just enjoy her company in the garden. We’ve had her for 6 years, which is the longest we’ve had a cat.

Kitty watching chickens from driveway

Kitty likes to keep an eye on the girls. She learned early on not to mess with the chickens as they will put her in her place! So she keeps her distance.

Kitty on Rose bed wall in sun

Doesn’t she look to be the boss that she is?

I hope you’ve enjoyed my ‘Six on Saturday’! I’ve really enjoyed breaking things down this way. Be sure to check out the others on The Propagator’s page!

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you are keeping well.

In Peace,
Dana

A Simple ‘Six on Saturday’

Hi there, and welcome to my blog! Although I have not posted here in a while, I have indeed been working in my garden. So much has been growing! Honestly, I didn’t know what to write about first since there’s been so much going on in the garden. I therefore thought it would be fun to join in on The Propagator‘s meme of ‘Six on Saturday’, to get me back into the groove. You can check out lots of ‘Six on Saturday’ posts at The Propagator’s site, where we all list our links in the comments. I’ll be screeching in to the end of it at this late stage of the day! Here are my six:

  1. Pink lupine. This huge bunch (almost looking like a clump) of pink and yellow flowers has provided the most lovely display for a number of weeks. It is just fabulous, and I’m so happy with it. This contrasts with a pink and white variety, which I originally preferred because of the coloring, but was lack luster with its blooming.
Full pink lupine plant early June
Pink and yellow lupine on the left (vs. pink and white on the right)

2. Plum colored bearded iris: Benton Storrington. I transplanted this bearded iris late this past fall, in a new bed that was created after planting some birch trees. I wasn’t sure how they’d do, given how late in the year it was. Thankfully, just about every plant flowered and bloomed. They are really quite pretty!

Benton Storrington Iris full sun
Bearded iris: Benton Storrington
Pink lupine and Iris Benton Storrington early June
Pink lupine and plum colored bearded iris Benton Storrington

3. Siberian Iris: Shirley Pope. This sweet little flower joined our garden way back in 2017. Unfortunately, it was in a bed that had very poor quality soil (the lavender does great in there). It has never bloomed until this year! What a beauty it is. Worth the wait.

Siberian iris Shirley Pope
Siberian and Bearded Iris with Birch trees
Siberian iris Shirley Pope in front of birch trees with Iris Benton Storrington in the background

4. Cream colored David Austin Roses: Lichfield Angel. I love roses. Sure what’s not to love? These in particular have centers that remind me of swirled piped icing on cupcakes! They are super ‘ruffly’ with a seemingly endless amount of petals. I believe my area has ideal conditions for black spot, though, and this rose would suffer from it. I do my best with my milk/water combination spraying, which is fine by me. They are so beautiful that I think they are worth it.

Lichfield angel hand bouquet
A hand held bouquet of Creamy white Lichfield Angel David Austin roses, with a backdrop of James Austin roses.
Lichfield Angel David Austin Rose end of June
The centers of the Lichfield Angel David Austin roses are what I find intriguing!

5. Pink Paeonia lactiflora: Sea Shell. Last year during lockdown, through one of my retail therapy sessions (almost all of which were garden related, by the way), this gorgeous peony joined my garden from Leamore nursery. It is pink, delicate and simply lovely. Funny enough, I had to move it this past spring, and it still bloomed!

Paeonia lactiflora Sea Shell
Paeonia lactiflora Sea Shell

6. Last, but not least, coming in at number six, are my six chickens! The big news is that three young hens have joined us over the past month. They are Daisybell, Maran, and Bluebelle varieties, and are just lovely. They join my three Rhode Island Red (hybrids), who are really not happy about the newcomers. They were separated by a fence for a week, but still the pecking order has to be established. That is still ongoing, unfortunately. I’m hopeful that they will all get along well one day soon!

Daisybell, Maran and Bluebelle chickens
The Daisybell, Maran and Bluebelle chickens joined us this month!
4 Rhode Island Red chickens
This picture is from November, when I had four Rhode Island Red (hybrid) chickens. They are now bossing the new girls around!

I hope you have enjoyed my ‘Six on Saturday’! It was a great way to jump back into blogging again! Have a lovely week!

In Peace,
Dana

Springtime garden bliss

Hello, and welcome to my blog! I’m sitting at my desk at the end of a weekend where I spent more time being in the garden than I did in the house – and what a great experience that is! While the weather is still not exceptionally warm (it was around 13°C / 55°F), the sun was shinning for most of the weekend. There is no doubt that sunny days lift my mood, and when I’m able to get into the garden, it is euphoric!

What’s going on in the garden in April? Well, I’m mainly taking care of my new trees, the plants which we moved in March, as well as the new plantings. We haven’t had a lot of rain, so it was a big enough job making sure everyone had enough water this weekend. The first year of planting trees is pretty important, after that their roots will hopefully be deep enough so that it isn’t as big a deal if we miss some rain. I also added more compost around the birch trees to help keep the moisture in and to feed the soil. We will need to move our compost ‘heap’ this season and I want to use up as much of the ‘good stuff’ as possible before we set up the new spot. The new spot has not yet been determined, unfortunately. All in good time (says she, hopefully). 🙂

The strawberry plants have settled in perfectly. They are hardy, to say the least. The blueberry shrubs also seems to be happy enough in their new homes. The raspberries, on the other hand, are giving me trouble. Some of them are wilting. Perhaps it was from the frost we had after they were planted? But then why aren’t they all wilting? We’ll see. Again, I’m still hopeful!

The vegetable plants that I started from seed are now growing a little too fast. I’ve started to acclimatize some of them, setting them outside during the day. If all goes well weather wise, I’m hoping to get some of them planted the beginning half of May. My little flower seedlings aren’t growing at as fast a pace. I’ve moved them to the south facing part of the house and I can already see an improvement. I have no choice but to be hopeful!

The tulips are in full bloom. The early varieties have already started to fade. This has me planning on what I can add to which bed for next year. But for now, there are so many signs of what’s still to come, I don’t think we’ll be stuck for color any time soon!

We’ve observed so many birds resting in the new trees now. There is a noticeable increase in avian visitors, which is delightful to see. It is just a joy to see and hear them. If you follow me on Instagram, you can often hear them in the background of my stories.

I hope you are enjoying your weather, wherever you are in the world! I also hope that you, too, have much to be hopeful for.

In Peace,
Dana

Veggie beds April 24

There isn’t too much progress on the new beds. The raspberries in front are challenging me, while the blueberries and strawberries seem to be doing fine. The pear tree is flowering, too, with pretty white blossoms.

Aurthur Turner (cooking) apple

The blooms on the Arthur Turner (cooking) apple tree are a very pretty deep pink before they open to a lighter pink. The tree is covered in blooms.

eating apple tree

This apple tree will have red apples that are classified as ‘eating’ apples (not cooking). The blossoms are a light pink when closed and a pale pink when opened. The tree is quite a sight as it is completely covered in flowers!

different varieties of tulips

April was all about Tulips! We enjoyed a lovely display, mostly due to the fact that we hadn’t had any major storms, which would usually batter the tulips. So thankful for the calm! (Top right: Queen of the Night, bottom right: Pretty Princess)

an inside view of tulips
all pink tulips
orange and yellow tulips
fringed tulipa Honeymoon

This white tulip is a new variety this year, although I have had similar before. It is called Tulipa Honeymoon and is pure white with a fringed edging. It is very pretty. I thought Kitty looked sweet sunning herself in the evening sunlight between some of the tulips.

seeds started in pots

Our hallway is becoming quite full! I can’t wait until we can plant out everything in the garden! I did buy some fleece, just in case we get frost *after* I plant them out. The picture on the left shows the plants which are further along (outside).

birch trees

I spent a lot of time with the birch trees this weekend!

Rose bed April 25

I think the ‘Rose bed’ looks so pretty at the moment, with the aubrietia (in front), purple anemone, pink and deep purple tulips and the rose bushes starting to fill out with leaves. Oh, and that blue sky sure helps!

Thanks for stopping by! Take care! 🙂

Re-creating veg and flower beds

Hello there, and welcome to my blog! The weather has not been cooperating, and it has been a colder than usual start to April. The one saving grace is that there have been nice stretches of sunshine, making the cold somewhat bearable. Despite the cold, our big garden project is well underway. We are really happy with the progress so far. Actually, it all started 10 years ago, when we first created the vegetable garden. We had 7 beds, a few apple and pear trees and lots of enthusiasm! Over the years, the enthusiasm faded as the weeds took over. The paths were never correctly made, and more or less it all became too much to maintain. I’d hung on to about 4 bed over the past number of years, but once we decided to do a makeover, I’d stopped fighting with those, too – and the weeds finally won.

Due to the failed attempt at creating stone paths, and the terrible state of everything, we decided to have the area dug up, and start fresh. The idea of then covering the entire area with weed preventing ground cover was very, very appealing! But in thinking about it, and talking with other gardeners (thank you Paddy!), the issues like how unsightly it is when it inevitably peeps up along the edges, and how annoying and tedious it is to cut through it when trying to add new plants, played a roll in my final decision. I’ve decided to mainly use the ground cover in the pathways and not in any of the beds. We put down cardboard under the ground cover, too, to help keep the weeds down as long as possible! To cover the paths, we are using Hoggin. Hoggin is a mix of gravel, sand and clay that is firm when compacted (read: easy to walk on), yet also allows water to drain through it. It was recommended to us, and we are really happy with it.

We now have 8 beds in place, and they are filled with topsoil. I’m mixing my compost into the beds too. It is quite wonderful to work in beds with no weeds! 🙂 The size of these beds are more comfortable for weeding, too. I have one bed that is quite large and is specifically large for me to fill with sunflowers. The other beds are (roughly) 2.4m x 1.2m. Our strawberry bed is double the length. I’m already much happier with the slimmer width! Much easier for planting and future weeding.

So, the beds could be filled in no time. We usually grow sweet pea, garlic, pumpkins, and sunflowers – depending on how the seed planting goes! We sometimes grow courgette (zucchini), too. One bed has strawberries and one has blueberries. If I don’t use the beds for veggies I will certainly fill them with flowers! I’ll also have a shaded area, near the hedge, that I plan to use for potted plants (I’m thinking hostas). It’s still a work in progress – all of the Hoggin has not been spread out, and we need to finish off the edging. I’ve put mulch around our blueberry shrubs. I haven’t used that mulch before, so it is a bit of an experiment. I know some people like it, and some people don’t. So I am trying it around the blueberries as a start.

My husband and son have done all of the hard work (aside from the clearing of the mess). I drew up the master plan and have persevered to help get it done. I’ve also started all of our seeds to help fill those beds. Even though I do this every year, it is still nerve wracking until the seeds have germinated, the plants have grown, been transplanted into the bed, and they have finally settled in to their beds! It’s a long 8 – 10 weeks!

Before we had everything dug up, I saved a bunch of strawberry plants (all those that were not completely covered in weeds). They are now planted in their new home, as are the blueberry plants, and some raspberry plants which my neighbor gave me. Taking a bit of a chance with the raspberries as it is a tiny bit late to plant them, but hoping they will take. I’m really happy with how it is all coming together. I’m glad to have something in the garden to focus on, since that’s how I enjoy spending my time. I found some lovely pictures of the area from earlier years, to compare what it looked like then to now. I know it wasn’t great previously, but I did still love it. I’m just glad to have the area looking a bit more neat and tidy.

Do you have any projects that you are working on? I hope they are going well!

Stay safe and healthy.

In Peace,
Dana

before and after pictures of garden project

OK, so there is nothing like starting with the worst looking pictures, ever! We didn’t tidy up the strawberry beds or the sunflower bed this season, because we knew we were going to do *something* with the area! It wouldn’t normally look quite as bad as it does above – although it was in pretty bad shape! One big change this time around is that we’ve pulled the beds out from the hedges. The hedges were very young and low when we first built the beds, but they have grown and now provide quite a bit of shade! We’ll probably cut the hedges a bit lower, too, to keep the shade in check. We also have more room between the beds now, which is better for getting the wheelbarrow in and out and is just generally more comfortable. You can see the pile of Hoggin in the bottom left photo. Getting that spread out is the next job.

a cleared garden section

A clean slate! I was a tiny bit sad, but more relieved to have all of the mess cleared away.

flower bed of raspberries

The newest addition to the garden: raspberries! I mixed in a bunch of our compost, which had loads of worms. We’ll see how the plants do. Confession time: we’ve tried raspberries before and they didn’t survive. No idea why.

strawberry plants

Here’s our new strawberry bed (it’s a double). The beds weren’t screwed together yet, which you can see in this photo. I have room for 3 more plants!

view of the garden before renovation

Here’s a peek back to the ‘old’ garden. Sweet peas, sunflowers and the stone path.

pumpkins, sunflowers and playhouse

Another peek back! This was a good year for pumpkins (a few years back). This is also the old playhouse roof. That was changed last year to a nicer black shingle.

pink aubrietia in the garden

O.K., enough about the veggie garden. Moving on to other items in the garden: The aubrietia is looking beautiful and PINK these days! I’d forgotten how vibrant it can be.

Magnolia tree - Heaven Scent

This was another new addition to the garden at the end of October last year. It is a Magnolia tree ‘Heaven Scent’ and it has a bunch of blooms on it. I didn’t really notice any scent around them, even when I climbed the ladder 🙂

magnolia 'heaven scent'

A view from the ladder! The flowers are quite pretty.

hyacinth flowers, pink, white and bright pink

Some years the weather is brutal with wind and rain, and the hyacinth, which are quite top heavy, fall over. We’ve been lucky this year and although it has been cold, they have mostly stayed upright. The holed leaves are curtesy of the slugs. I love the scent of hyacinth (which is not for everyone).

white bergenia

My white Bergenia is another plant that is doing exceptionally well this year. There are lots of blooms, which start out white and fade to light pink. The leaves show signs of slugs, but not too badly. It’s making a nice impact statement at the front of the Rainbow garden.

grape hyacinth flowers

I have some grape hyacinth growing under our hedge. I think it is perfect there, because I don’t mind cutting it to bring it inside (if it were in the yard, I’d be more inclined to leave it outside!). It can be quite pretty in a vase.

hyacinth, grape hyacinth and candles

Sadly, I didn’t put this ‘together’ until after Easter! Missed opportunity. But we are enjoying it now.

Mom in the garden

What can I say? It’s still sweater whether, but at least I match the aubrietia (it’s my favorite color). I hope you enjoyed the garden tour! Take care! 🙂

Mindful busyness

Hi there! Welcome to my blog. I last spoke about how times are feeling tough, so now I want to share what I’ve been doing to lift my spirits. SEED SHOPPING! Yes, that’s right, I’ve been seed shopping. It has been wonderful to plan what will go in the garden when the weather warms up again. The weather has been horrible (read: very, very wet) which has directly influenced the huge quantity of seed packets I have ordered!

I have decided to switch things up a bit this year. I am a geranium girl. I think I have always had geraniums in planters on the back deck. I almost always have pink geraniums, with the odd year where I might go red. But this year I’m not going to have geraniums and I’m going to try lots of different flowers in lots of different colors. Well, at least the plan is to grow them from seed and if that works then I’ll have flowers. We’ll see!

The first batch of seeds have arrived already. They came from Irish Plants Direct. I confess that I am most excited for the Coleus Rainbow Mix. Our next door neighbors back in Manlius, New York, were very special to us and Betty always had Coleus in her summer planters. I think of Betty whenever I see them (as I’d never really noticed Coleus before seeing her planters.). Sadly, Betty passed away in 2019 and I still miss her dearly. So I’ll be planting them in her honor.

As for the rest of the planters, I have some cockscomb, zinnia, and Helichrysum strawflower Tom Thumb to try out. They all should provide lots of color!

I have grown sunflowers the past number of years because I think they are just fabulous. Although I still have some seeds from last year, I decided to add a few different varieties to the mix. There will be some shorter ones (Waooh) and some darker (a wine-red color) ones (Claret) as well as the standard version.

Sweet peas are another staple in my garden, mainly for their scent! I’ll try a different organic mix this year, called old spice.

I’ll also grow nasturtium and Bells of Ireland. The last item, Gourd seeds, was a ‘Ah sure, let’s give it a try’ kinda purchase. I’m hoping they will be fun to grow and harvest!

The real influence to go all out with seeds this year was the government recommending that we plan for ‘staycations’ again this year. If we’re going to be home all year, I want to have as many flowers as possible!

Those are a good start to my garden planning!

What have you been doing to stay mindfully busy during these times? I hope you are staying mentally well and healthy. 🙂

In Peace,
Dana

Snowdrops Feb 4 sunshine

Although we have seen quite a lot of rain, there were a few times when the sun came out (ever so briefly). These snowdrops are covered in raindrops but are looking lovely!

Frilly Isabelle hellebore full plant

My Frilly Isabelle hellebore is much slower to bloom this year, although it is starting to slowly look itself again.

Helleborus SP Frilly Isabelle

A lovely closeup of the flowers, which usually hang down. Here you can see their frilliness!

Hellebore Winter Sunshine February 4

Quite a different looking hellebore is this Winter Sunshine one. I’ve cut the leaves completely back as they were covered in black spot (typical for this plant at this time of year). Last year, after cutting the leaves at the start of the season, they remained healthy throughout the entire year, which was a real treat!

Growing garlic in winter

Here’s a look at the garlic. It is ever so slowly growing! I can almost see all of the rows. (We planted some of them a tiny bit too deep, so it’ll be interesting to see how they do!)

foggy and rainy view of country road

This is how things were for a very long time – rainy and foggy!

Kitty hanging off of my desk

This is Kitty. She isn’t usually allowed in my ‘office’ because she’ll try to be close to me in the most awkward way possible. Here she is hanging off of the table/desk directly in front of my keyboard…

Irish Plants Direct seeds

And here is the first batch of seeds to arrive! Thank you Irish Plants Direct!

Stormy sky Feb 4

The weather has been so changeable! We had blue skies for a couple of hours on this day, and then the sky turned dark again. At least we managed to see the sun for a tiny bit!

Thank you again for visiting! Stay safe! 🙂