Hi there! Welcome to my blog – and I might even welcome myself back at this stage, since it’s been a while since I’ve written! I’ve just not been in the frame of mind to write. Sometimes I just have to roll with that. It’s nothing new to any of us this year, but I’m feeling the strangeness of 2020 even more now. I’m just accepting that and trying to move on. Let’s talk about Christmas, shall we?
I’ve probably spent more time on social media this year than ever before (anyone else?). I’ve seen some new Christmas trends of really loading up the Christmas tree! Some designers really do a fantastically creative job. But my one take away, especially this year, is that the perfect Christmas looks exactly as you want it to. Anything goes. There is no right way and no wrong way to decorate for Christmas. Wouldn’t it be terribly boring if we all decorated the same way? I prefer that we all do it a bit differently.
Of course, Christmas is not about the decorations. It means different things to different people. Whether you celebrate the birth of Jesus, or you celebrate Santa (or both, or neither), it should be a time of joy and thanksgiving, celebrated with your family. The tremendous loss of life, the inability to be with loved ones, and the loss of livelihood for so many during this pandemic is never far from my mind. This makes our Christmas celebration somewhat somber this year. But still, our family will come together and give thanks as we celebrate the birth of Jesus.
I wish all those who celebrate, a Merry Christmas! May you find peace and joy with those you love. Stay safe.
In Peace, Dana
And that’s a wrap! Merry Christmas! Blessings to you!
Hello there! You are very welcome to my blog. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve managed to take some ‘blue sky’ pictures. When you live in Ireland, you learn to really appreciate those blue sky days! I think that it is true, that a blue sky really does lift your spirits. You can see below that I have also thrown in some ‘gray sky’ pictures, so you can see for yourself the difference a blue sky makes.
Most mornings I start my day with a walk – after the chickens are fed and their house is cleaned! I love walking, especially first thing in the morning. It really wakes me up, and gets me going. Walking in the country provides beautiful scenery (and also a lot of mud on my shoes). I then take a walk around the garden (this helps to clean my shoes!) – making mental notes of what needs to be done. But I also get to enjoy seeing and listening to the birds in the garden. I don’t spend a lot of time doing this, because I have to ‘get to work’, but just enough time to appreciate all that nature has to offer us in our little ‘neck of the woods’. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll see I usually post a view of my garden and my chickens on my morning stories. 🙂
As for the garden, I did a very late transplanting of some bearded Iris. Iris Benton Storrington have done amazingly well in my yard, and this is the second time that I have divided and transplanted them. The first time was two years ago in September (as it should be done then) and they did great. We’ll see how they do this time as I’ve not only transplanted them late, I have added them under the birch trees in a newly formed bed. It’ll just be a case of wait and see.
The garden is definitely shifting to its winter mode. The leaves are slowly falling off of the trees, and most of the plants are nearly finished blooming. I surprised myself with being able to make an arrangement of flowers from the garden this weekend, though! That is probably my favorite activity to do – creating arrangements with flowers from the garden. This is why I am always adding new and interesting plants.
The last of our apples were picked this week. I’m not sure how we will get through all of those apples, but we’re going to try! My daughter made (a few times this fall, actually) some delicious apple turnovers, which were such a treat. I’m always on the lookout for apple recipes that call for LOTS of apples! Do you have any?
I’m so thankful that I’ve been able to get out into the garden to get our fall jobs done. Even just ‘being’ in the garden is lovely, especially with all of the birds that have come to visit us now. I love seeing our birch trees standing so majestically as the sun shines on them first thing in the morning. And I love seeing my chickens seemingly so happy. Haha! This makes me think of the song ‘My favorite things’ by Julie Andrews!
I hope you are keeping well, and having lots of blue sky days! Please stay safe and healthy.
In Peace, Dana
But look at that bearded iris! Isn’t it beautiful? I can’t wait to see them in the summer!
Hello! You are very welcome to my blog. A wonderful thing took place this week. Something that I’ve wanted and planed for a very long time, finally happened. The truth is, in the past I have struggled with decisions. It could be paralyzing, actually, not being able to decide on one thing over the other. Turns out, it was a sign of a lack of self belief. Once I discovered this, I began to focus – a lot more – on trusting myself. While I have improved, I sometimes still grapple a bit. This had even spilled over to the garden. Picking items to plant, and where to plant them sometimes was a real struggle. I have been wanting to get some trees for a very long time, but could not get everything right in my head to make it happen. But a couple of weeks ago I finally nailed down exactly what I wanted and where I wanted them. And this week, it all came to pass when five Birch trees and one Magnolia tree were planted.
I would be telling an untruth if I said I wasn’t a little stressed about where exactly to put the trees. But we had them placed in exactly the spot I had envisioned for them, and I could not be happier. Although I have not created a formal layout of our garden, I have always had ideas in my head of what I wanted each section to look like. I would probably recommend creating a formal layout, though! As we change up and expand different sections of the garden going forward, I’ll be drawing up my plans. This is especially helpful as my husband needs a clearer picture than my vague descriptions if he is going to help! 🙂
The trees really are something to see. We are so happy with how they look. The staggering of the five trees also creates a small bed underneath, which I already have plans for. The variety of the Magnolia tree is called Heaven Scent. There were rave reviews online, so I’m really looking forward to seeing if the scent is as lovely as they say!
We were so lucky with the weather, too. After a week of ‘unsettled weather’ (that means bucket loads of rain along with gusty winds) we had a beautiful, blue-sky day for the trees to be planted. The next day the ‘unsettled weather’ returned.
And that is the story of how my Birch and Magnolia trees came to be!
Now, if I could just figure out how to work with that great big rock in our front yard…
In Peace, Dana
We had a pretty rainbow in between the rain, although it was still very windy. It is hard to believe we could have such lovely weather and then such horrible weather, back to back! I hope the weather by you has been good! As always, stay safe and healthy and thanks for visiting! 🙂
Hi there! Just when you thought it was time to put away those old gardening clothes, I’m here to tell you ‘Not just yet’! October is a great time to do some garden clean up. We don’t clear away everything – because we like to leave some things for the birds, but there’s lots we can do. The main jobs for us are: cut down the Peony stems and remove the Hosta leaves, continue to deadhead the roses, weed the beds, plant garlic and spring flowering bulbs, and mix in compost throughout the beds.
I love this time of year. I love every time of year! But I especially love cleaning up the beds and spreading rich, worm filled compost on them. It brings a sense of order. I have 4 sections of compost with one section ready for use. I absolutely have to empty out that section in order to be able to rotate the others. But I don’t want to fill a bed with compost until I’ve weeded the bed. So it takes a big effort to get everything done! We have been so lucky with the weather. It’s funny to say that, because we have seen quite a bit of rain, but as long as there are enough opportunities for me to get out in the garden when it is dry, all is fine by me!
We were supposed to have some work done in the garden this past year, but that fell through. We’ll possibly get our veggie beds dug up this winter (maybe?) so in the meantime, we’ve planted our garlic in a different section. No matter, I think the garlic will be fine there until it needs to be harvested in July. I didn’t plant garlic last year (because of aforementioned scheduled work!) and I really missed having it. It is so easy to plant, is very low maintenance, and yields super high rewards! You can check out my posts here and here on how to grow it.
I’ve tackled a few of our larger beds, and some smaller ones. My husband helped me plant some new bulbs, too. I love adding something new to the garden! It is the first time I’ve had white allium, so I’m looking forward to seeing those.
All in all it has been a productive month in the garden. The leaves have not all fallen yet, so there are still some very pretty colors to enjoy. How is your garden coming along? I hope it is everything you want it to be!
In Peace, Dana
This bed is called our Rainbow garden. Right now it is showing off some light purple with the Erysimum ‘Super Bowl’ Mauve, and some fiery red with the changing leaves of the Cornus Florida (flowering dogwood). All the way on the left there are spring flowering white Bergenia – some of those leaves are also turning red. The big mess in the center is a Philadelphus Mock Orange, which blooms in the summer with white flowers. The yellow blooming potentilla is mostly brown at the moment, sitting between the Begenia and the Mock Orange. This month we planted some white Honeymoon Tulips and some purple giganteum Allium in this bed. The giganteum is new for me, so I’m really looking forward to seeing that! I also cut down the dead artichoke stems. The plant is quite large and was blocking the view of the pretty dogwood tree. The stems from the peony plant were also cut and removed. My husband and son did a great job of edging this bed. It was a lot of work! We worked in a bunch of compost, too, so this bed is all set for winter.
This is my main rose bed after the cleanup! It was filled with poppies and weeds, in equal proportion. If you follow me on Instagram you might have caught some of my stories about the clean up. I might have been procrastinating a little bit – with all of those stories about the clean up! 🙂 It was so worth it though. We worked in more compost here, too.
I hope you have enjoyed my little tour of the garden, as I chatted about what we did this month!
As always, I hope you are well and staying safe. Thank you for visiting! 🙂
Hi there! Welcome to my blog, where I try really hard to write *something* at least once a week. That ‘something’ could be about gardening, flower/wreath arranging, crocheting, or just about anything, really. Today is a good example of ‘anything’. 🙂 The thing is, I was so profoundly touched by the simple act of someone reaching out to me, that I had to share.
What exactly am I talking about? I’d say that over the past year it has happened more than a few times, where someone – out of the blue – contacts me and either reconnects, or a new connection is made. I realize that this might not sound very exciting. I find that especially during these times though, that making connections with people is even more appreciated, special, and needed. Some of those connections involved me receiving some truly kind words, which is so uplifting every single time.
So I’m here to say to you, never feel too shy to send that sweet note you’ve been wanting to send. Don’t wait to tell that friend what they mean to you. Give the compliment, even though you are sure they don’t need to hear it (they actually do). And if you haven’t touched base with a friend in a long time, now is a great time to do so. You’ll be glad you did, and so will they.
In Peace, Dana
This is our ‘playhouse’ (although no longer used as such) which received a fresh coat of paint this summer, along with new roof shingles. It’s looking really well, if I do say so myself! We also have a rain catcher connected with pipes to the gutter (you can see the black pipe on the left, but the rain catcher is green and camouflaged behind the yellow rose plant). The tree with orange leaves on the left is a Mountain Ash, or Rowan tree. Its bright orange berries have already been eaten this season by the birds! The two mauve colored plants in front of the ornamental grass are Asters. I especially like them because they keep their blooms for a number of weeks. And the bright red plant between the Asters is a ‘burning bush’, or Euonymus alatus. This picture was taken mid morning (I can tell from the shadow on the playhouse) with full sun on one side and typical Irish storm clouds on the other!
And last but not least, a picture of me! It was time for an update on the status of growing out my colored hair. It is a pretty slow process, but we’re getting there. The two tone coloring doesn’t bother me anymore (it did for the first month, though!). It’s been seven months since I stopped coloring my hair. The time was right for me. I think having the brown hair still, while it grows out, is a great way to adjust to the new coloring. 🙂
I do hope you are keeping well and safe. Take care!
Hello there! Welcome to my Mom in the Garden blog. We have enjoyed some beautiful weather this past month – a true Indian summer. Thankfully, the garden also enjoyed the warmth and sunshine. I think it is still looking pretty good! The one main job I had for September was to trim my boxwood hedges, which was done on one gorgeous, sunny Saturday. Otherwise, it was just typical garden maintenance: weeding, deadheading roses, weeding, edging of beds, weeding, planning for next season, and some more weeding! 🙂
I did get the chance to make another flower arrangement, too. That was quick, easy and fun! I’m scheming on how to somehow manage to create a cutting garden in the yard. I’m not quite sure how to manage that, but I’m thinking about it!
We have two apple trees in our garden: one is called an ‘eating apple’ tree and one is called a ‘cooking apple’ tree. (I would not suggest eating the cooking apples straight off of the tree, as they really need *something* along with it – like sugar!) The eating apple tree has lovely red, crisp and juicy apples. We were very lucky this year, to have had no major storms in September. Usually, when a fall storm passes through, all of the apples are knocked off of the tree at once and then we have to figure out what to do with them all! So far this season, only the eating apples have fallen, and they fell over the course of the entire month. I’m wondering when my kids are going to get sick of apple pie, but no sign of that yet!
Ten years into first creating our garden and parts of it are in need of an overhaul. I’m not yet sure which section we’ll work on this winter, but my head is busy making plans. I just need to get those plans on paper to get them to work!
The weather has been slowly getting a bit colder and we’ve just started to see some frosty mornings. These can be quite pretty when it is sunny! I am thankful that September has been as nice as it has. It is just good for the soul. It also makes for quite a lovely birthday month! 🙂
Take care and stay safe!
In Peace, Dana
Thank you for stopping by! I hope your September was as beautiful as ours was. See you next time! 🙂
Hello there! Is it just me, or is this summer going super fast? Do they say that as you get older, time goes faster? I think it is true! The garden is shifting to ‘end of summer’ mode, with a few plants finishing their season.
We have had some *terrible* weather recently – as in lots of rain and gale force winds. Not a great mix for plants. I have to say that the garden has held up pretty well (I’ve seen worse). Thankfully, I captured some nice pictures of my roses *before* the weather turned. Some roses still look well even after all of the bad weather. They’ve had a lovely season so far! I’m afraid that my sunflowers have definitely seen better days though. They just didn’t shine as bright this year as they usually do.
The lilies have finished off their season with a bang! They were just spectacular this year. I love flowers with fragrance, and they do not disappoint. Their many blooms are pure white atop tall strong stalks.
My project this weekend was to cut some of my mophead hydrangea. I have not (yet!) perfected the exact time to cut them to have the petals dry properly. By “properly” I mean that the petals stay open and keep their color. If I cut them too soon in the season, the petals shrivel up and it really is not pretty. But, if I wait too long before cutting them, they lose their color! I believe it has more to do with the maturity of the flower than the time of the season. I am hopeful that most of the flowers I cut today will be O.K.. Last week I cut some stems off of my Vanille Fraise hydrangea paniculata ‘Renhy’. I had mixed results with some stems drying well, and some shriveling up. But I tried again about 5 days later and they have dried perfectly. I had wanted to cut them before they turned completely pink, which is why I cut them a little early. I think I’ll have a good mix of white and pink. Did you see my Instagram stories where I showed the cuttings? 🙂
Another plant near the end of its season is the globe artichoke. My plant is well established in the garden, and takes up quite a bit of space. It has produced many, many artichokes this summer. This is another plant that I like to dry and use for decoration. Earlier this summer, I tried cutting teeny tiny baby artichokes to use in wreaths, but they just shriveled up and turned brown. I’ve discovered that if you cut them right after they’ve bloomed (after the thin purple spike-like form in the center of the artichoke appears) they keep their purple color. The artichokes themselves don’t keep their lovely green color, but have a molted coloring. I like how they look in a large vase, as they are quite unusual.
I hope you are well and enjoying good weather wherever you are in the world! Are there any flowers that you like to dry and use again?
In Peace, Dana
You might notice that the leaves of my roses will usually have black spot. I have some varieties that are more hardy, but at some stage it usually hits all of the roses. If I had a bit more time I’d treat them with a milk and water solution. I’ve done that before and it does work. But I now have a lot more roses and it would take a fair amount of time to treat them. This just goes with the territory when not using chemicals.
Phew! There were a lot of photos for this post! I hope you enjoyed them all. 🙂
Hello! Welcome to my blog, where I find peace and happiness through gardening and flowers. Anyone else need some of that? 🙂 This week I’m going to give a view of what is happening all around the garden. We’ve had a strange summer, weather-wise: a very dry spring followed by a very wet early summer. Our summer so far has been cooler than normal with lots of rain. Thankfully, the sun has not been a complete stranger!
I really like the contrast with this combination of Helenium and Daisies. I’ve propped up both plants this year as they get really floppy. The Shasta Daisy have spread, and spread, and spread!
You can see in the full view of the ditch wall garden that there are a lot of daisies! I have a few varieties of yarrow, too. Lots of floppiness going on as they all seek the afternoon sun from their position under the Hawthorn trees.
This little corner is rather happy, although it might be a bit happier if it weren’t quite so windy where we live. This Clematis – Purpurea Plena Elegans – is very pretty, with a deep burgundy color. The Lychnis Coronaria Rose Campion is quite prolific! It has sprung up in a few places around the garden! Thankfully, it is quite a pretty fuchsia pink flower with a silvery stem. I actually have a few plants in this garden that just like to take off. The Japanese anemone is just now starting to come into bloom (only one light pink flower on the left of this picture). The perennial geranium is a pretty light pink, and is quite hardy and also enjoys moving about the garden! At the very back of this picture is a tall Rosemary plant. It is now quite woody, but otherwise we still use it for cooking. There is a Japanese Maple tree in the middle of all of this – but it is not thriving due to the wind. I am quite stubborn and I am always hopeful that it will grow big and strong enough to handle the wind. We’ll see!
The above picture is a view of the same bed back in April. I was quite proud of my shaping of the boxwood shrubs! The green ground cover in the front left of the picture is the Japanese Anemone. It loves to spread!
In this same ‘Japanese Maple’ bed, I have a hydrangea ‘Selma’. This is the best it has ever looked as it has loved all of our rain! The mophead flowers are redish pink around the edges with a white center. The leaves are a very pretty burgundy color.
Moving to another bed – sometimes I get my plantings right, sometimes not so much. The Russian sage – Perovskia atriplicifolia Little Spire – is really happy in this bed. The plant next to it on the left – Zantedeschia aethiopica Arum Lily – although not dead, doesn’t produce any flowers. I don’t think it is happy. I’ll be looking to move that eventually.
The bed beyond the Russian Sage plant is the Rainbow garden. It has a lot going on in there! I just want to focus on one plant, though, the Buddleis BUZZ ‘Dark Pink’ Butterfly Bush. It is really showing off this year!
The next part of the garden to highlight is our front gate bed. I’ve been saying this a few years now, but I really need to move my hydrangea Incrediball. It gets a lot of sun where it is, and it would much prefer to be in shade! This bed is full of beauty. There are two lavender plants, which are super fragrant. The Pittosporum Tom Thumb is great for some different texture. The Lychnis Coronaria Rose Campion is a fabulous splash of color (even if it decided for itself to join this bed) and all of the way on the far right is the Leycesteria formosa – which is also knowns as Himalayan honeysuckle or pheasant berry. There are a lot of wonderful things going on in this bed! I’ll be sad to see the hydrangeas go, but I’m sure we’ll find something lovely to fill their places.
The below picture is of planters that are at my back door. That is the first thing I see in the morning when I go to let the chickens out of their coop and feed them. Just a few planters with a bit of color and different sizes, shapes, textures. They’ve done really well this year!
I hope you have enjoyed the tour! The garden seems to change on an almost daily basis. No matter what goes on in the outside world, life and growth continues in the garden.
Hi there! At this time of year I am usually too busy to stop and write a ‘how to’ post about lavender and the different crafts I make with it. But by the time I do get to write about it, with ‘how to’ instructions, it is a bit too late! So this year I am providing links to all of my previous posts about lavender in this blog. That way, if you want to make a lavender wand, or a lavender wreath, you can do so while the lavender is still available!
12 seems to be the number of lavender wands that I enjoy making in a season. I make those 12 really quickly, and then I don’t have any interest to make more. I looked at possibly trying some different styles this year, but honestly, I like mine best (says she, trying to be humble about it). I did make one change for the last few that I made this year – instead of using 25 stems, I used 35 – 41 stems. They were really thick! I’m not sure if that is better, or just different. You can read how to make lavender wands here, or watch a video here.
I did get a bit of a head start on my wreath making this year. That’s because for the first time, instead of waiting for the lavender to dry, I made a fresh lavender wreath. I usually make wreaths with dried lavender, and attach the lavender with floral ‘u’ pins. This wreath was made using fresh lavender and the lavender was attached with one continuous piece of floral wire. It has a very different look! It hangs in my kitchen, and in the past couple of weeks it has grown on me. I now like it very much! You can see some of my past wreaths and how I made them here, here, here, here, and here .
There are quite a few lavender plants in our garden. They are at different stages of maturity and their blooms develop at slightly different times. I’ve gone through and cut most of the mature stems over the past two weeks. They are now drying out – in my house. It’s a bit tricky this year! I usually dry them in our ‘sitting room’ which isn’t usually used. But this year, the ‘sitting room’ is my husband’s office and my son has started playing our piano, which is also in that room. So if my husband isn’t in the room, my son is! Instead, the lavender is drying in our front hall. Some people hang their lavender. I hang my roses and other flowers to dry them, but I just haven’t managed to figure out how to hang the huge amount of lavender I have, yet. The lavender dries out really quickly – a few weeks, tops. I still have two plants with immature blooms, that should be ready for me to use next week (so I could make more wands if I wanted to!).
I will start making dried lavender wreaths in the next couple of weeks. Again, it is a bit tricky this year as the table I usually use for my crafts is now my work desk. It means that I’ll have to start and finish the task over the weekend – including cleaning up the mess! Boy do I miss the use of the ‘unused’ sitting room where I could come and go to craft, and just close the door to hide my mess until I was completely finished.
I hope you find the tutorials helpful! It is fun for me to look back on all of the different styles of wreaths and different colors of wands that I’ve made over the years. My lavender pages are by far the most popular pages on my website – I’m not alone in my enjoyment of making things from the garden! It is such a bonus to be able to enjoy the relaxing fragrance of lavender while working with it. 🙂
Will you make any lavender crafts this year?
In Peace, Dana
I hope your summer is sunny and full of fun for you 🙂
Hello! Today is Independence day in the U.S.A., and as an American it is usually a day of celebrations, parades, fireworks, being with friends and family, and wonderful summer time food! But this year, the “omph!” is missing for me. Maybe it is the social restrictions, maybe it is the weather, maybe it is Covid-19 fatigue. But whatever the reason, we seem to be a tiny bit low key this year. So as I was preparing this post, I was looking through pictures of our previous visit to see friends in the States. It was summer time, and it was such a lovely visit. Those Bar-B-Ques were the best. Of course, what is most important in our lives are friends and family. That’s the truth.
I hope that my American friends and family are able to celebrate our country’s ‘Birthday’ today in a fun and safe manner. I’ll be thinking of you all while we celebrate in a low-key sort of way. This day also makes me long for my next visit home, whenever we’re out of the woods with this pandemic…