The start of May and all is calm…

Hello! Welcome to my blog. Gardening always has its ups and downs, and that’s just the way it goes. I had some big fails with my seeds this year, and while I still have some plants that might grow, it is nothing compared to what I had at this stage last year. The good news is that I have lots of other plants (not from seed) that I’m so excited to have planted, and while the garden might look different than last year, I think it’ll look lovely in a new way. 🙂

It is always nice getting jobs done in the garden and this was a very productive week! My husband was tasked with figuring out a way to cover the strawberry plants to keep the birds out but also allows us to easily pick the strawberries. We’ve tried netting before, but it was a mess (and birds can get stuck in them). His design is not only functional and light weight, they also look really good. He did a great job, and I am very hopeful to have lots of strawberries this season!

Tulip season is still going strong with the late varieties just coming into their glory now. I have two different types in front of the playhouse and they are quite pretty. The jury is still out about these two tulips being paired together, though!

It is such a wonderful time of the year, with new flowers awakening and blooming all of the time. I am joining The Propagator again this week for his Six on Saturday meme, as I think it is a perfect way to sum up the week! Feel free to join in.

Thanks so much for stopping by. I hope you have had a good week!

In Peace,

Playhouse with tulips and bleeding heart
Tulip Lilac perfection and Tulip Mascotte
Tulip Lilac perfection and Tulip Mascotte with bleeding heart plant

1 & 2 – Tulip Lilac perfection and Tulip Mascotte. Ok, I think you can tell that I prefer the Mascotte tulips, although that might just be because they are a tiny bit further along than the Lilac perfection. I like the fringed edging. They are both lovely, and I’m happy with them, the bleeding heart and Japanese maple around the playhouse. Last year I pulled out a scraggly lavender plant that was in front of the playhouse, and I think that these tulips look much nicer. I now need to think of what to plant here for the summer!

Lily of the valley in May

3 – Lily of the valley. The scent! Oh how I love scented flowers. These are tops. And they have finally settled in enough to spread. That took a little longer than I’d hoped, but never mind, they are finally doing it. They are in the shade of an evergreen, and I really like them there.

Cherry tree with rapeseed in background

4 – Cherry tree. I know I showed the cherry tree last week, but I loved the contrast in this picture of the black cloud with the yellow rapeseed field and the sun shining on the cherry tree. I’m sure this is the longest that I’ve seen the cherry trees looking their best. They’ve had a super season.

Garden planters in May

5 – Freesia. This is more a picture of the planters that I tidied up this week than of the tiny freesia flowers, with bluebells and tulips in the background. I was so glad to finally have weeded the containers, put in some fresh potting soil and feed, and cleaned them up. Great to see some signs of life in the planters, too.

collage of strawberry bed covers
view of whole raised bed garden at dusk

6 – Strawberry covers. It wasn’t until my husband was nearly finished with the covers that I asked him if he’d taken any pictures along the way. So the best he could do was a picture of the painting side of things (a hassle in itself, I suppose). There are five sections, and they are light enough to lift with one hand. They will also attach to the base, which I’ll show in another post. The last picture was taken after I planted the squash/pumpkin plants that managed to survive their transition to outside. I have a few of them under a mini poly tunnel. We’ll see how they do. My sunflower plants are so teeny tiny! I’m not sure they’ll bloom this season! Fingers crossed.

Thanks again for visiting. I hope you’ve enjoyed the tour! 🙂

Another page is turned – Goodbye, April

Hello, and welcome to my blog! Today is the last day of April and the first good rain we’ve had in more than two weeks. The rain started this morning and has continued all day. While it isn’t a heavy rain, I think it is good enough for the garden (and farmers) to be quite thankful. I did very little in the garden this week (energy levels are still quite low following Covid), but it isn’t looking too shabby. We (read: my husband) painted the playhouse, and I’m absolutely delighted with it. Don’t be surprised, though, if the two front ‘windows’ get a facelift at some stage. 🙂

The mid-season tulips are now blooming, while the late-season daffodils are finishing up. I planted late-season tulips right in front of the playhouse this year, which will extend the tulip season. There are two different varieties and I can’t wait to see how they look.

The aubrieta is looking stunning, still. I have a bright pink color, that I’d describe as fuchsia. It is in two neighboring beds, and is supposed to be trailing down the wall. Mine like to grow inwards, though! Hopefully, it will eventually work its way down the wall.

The apple trees are in bloom and look beautiful. I’m pretty sure that there aren’t as many flowers as there usually are. We’ll see what the crop looks like. There are normally too many apples on the branches, anyway. Maybe this way there will be the perfect amount and no need to drop any due to weight. Fingers crossed! The pear tree’s blossoms have already withered!

The strawberry plants have been weeded (again), and fed and should be all set for a really good season. Plenty of little flowers already forming. I really do hope we get loads of strawberries this year – because I’m about ready to convert the bed into a flower bed if we don’t get loads of strawberries! It’s a lot of work tending strawberries. I don’t mind if we actually get the fruit, but I’m not doing it just for fun… They’ve been warned!

It’s Saturday, so I’m going to join The Propagator’s meme Six on Saturday. Feel free to join in, or visit the other gardeners!

I hope you are well. Here’s to getting my energy back so I can get back to gardening! 🙂

In Peace,

Bleeding Heart - Lamprocapnos spectabilis (old name Dicentra spectabilis)

1 – Bleeding Heart – Lamprocapnos spectabilis (old name Dicentra spectabilis). Mine is a delicate plant and usually gets knocked over by our strong winds. This year has been relativity mild (so far) so it is still looking good. You can see the late-season tulips at the front of the playhouse, patiently waiting to bloom.

Strawberry bed all weeded and ready for the season

2 – Strawberry bed. I had to have this picture since they look so neat and tidy. Long may it last.

collage of Arthur Turner cooking apple tree in full bloom

3 – Apple tree – Arthur Turner cooking apple tree. I love the deep pink of these flowers (the eating apple tree has light pink flowers). The daffodils underneath are finishing up, but still look nice.

collage of cherry tree in full bloom

4 – Cherry trees. While it seems that most of the world have pink flowering cherry trees, I have three white flowering cherry trees. I would have preferred to have pink, but there you have it. The white flowers are still very pretty. The top right picture also has the eating apple tree, where the light pink flowers look to be white. It is just so nice to have everything in bloom!

kalanchoe blossfeldiana houseplant with pink flowers

5 – Kalanchoe Blossfeldiana – at least I think that is the name of it. Here’s something new for me: a house plant! I’m usually very good at killing house plants. But I have been working on not over watering my plants, and it really does help in making them happy. This plant is completely covered in beautiful pink flowers, I had to take a picture. Honestly, though, I didn’t have a place inside that was worthy of a picture so I just brought it outside. I’m going to use the Covid excuse again. 🙂

Queen of the Night and Pretty Princess tulips in the rose bed

6 – Tulips: Queen of the night and Pretty Princess. I added more Pretty Princess tulips this year, as they faded more than the Queen of the night tulips had. But I think I can use even more, to balance them out. I’ll have to mark out now the area to plant in as the bed it getting quite full!

Rose bed filled with aubrieta and tulips (dark purple and bright pink) in full bloom

This is my favorite photo of this season. It captures the tulips, aubrieta, anemone, the roses and peony to come, the apple and cherry tree, the birch trees, the pink parrot tulips way down by the gate, and the top right corner is a field of rapeseed – all taken on a lovely sunny day!

I do hope you’ve enjoyed the tour. Thanks ever so much for stopping by! 🙂

The trials and tribulations of April 2022

Hello! You are very welcome to my blog. I have so much to tell you. I’ll start with why I missed last week: we were away all weekend at the Irish dancing World Championships in Belfast, Northern Ireland. What a great two days we had! My daughter’s girls ceili danced on Saturday and my daughter and son were partners for their mixed team ceili on Sunday. Both teams did great and we are so proud of them. It was such a treat to watch them dance together. My son ‘retired’ in 2014 after his mixed ceili team *won* the World Championships (talk about going out on a high!). So it was lovely to have him back dancing this year and be able to partner with his sister.

Then, unfortunately, it finally happened: I came down with Covid. While I appreciate that really I am fine, at the same time I feel kind of miserable. I’m definitely over the worst of it, thankfully, but still have a bit more to go before I’m fully myself. This comes at a time when so much needs to be done in the garden! My husband has been a tremendous help, and of course whatever doesn’t get done, simply doesn’t get done. And while my handy dandy list is getting lots crossed off of it, new items are being added (daily!).

I am excited to show you what’s new in the garden this week! I showed you last time that we planted a border of Little Lime hydrangeas at the far end of our raised bed garden. We now have a small Rosemary border on the opposite side of the Little Limes, and a lavender border planted along the length of the garden. It is going to take a season or two for everything to fill in to its place, but I am so happy with it. The next step is figuring out a system for dividing the hoggin from the mulch, but my husband is already working on that. 🙂

Another new item is on our playhouse: my husband made an ‘American red barn’ style window cover. This ‘window’ is actually a space that a slide came out of when the playhouse was used by our kids. But after we pulled the slide out, we covered up the space with plexiglass and I have disliked it ever since. You might remember that my son and husband put new roofing on the playhouse a couple of years ago. Now all we need is to give the house a fresh coat of paint and it’ll be looking brand new!

There’s more, of course: there’s the Stellata magnolia that had a last burst of a few new flowers before they all faded, and blooming tulips, and the last of the daffodils. It hasn’t been all good news, though. A bunch of my seedlings didn’t survive. I tried them in a new location and that just didn’t work out. I have done a second round of seeds, but I’m not sure if I’m too late or not. We’ll see! This week I’m joining The Propagator’s meme Six on Saturday.

I hope you are keeping well. Thanks so much for stopping by! Enjoy the tour 🙂

In Peace,

View from top of garden down to playhouse, including magnolia tree and rainbow garden

1 – Tulips! I just love this photo, actually, as it has the Heaven Scent magnolia tree, the rainbow garden with tulips and the start of peony plants, and you can see the new cover on the playhouse. The white tulips are fringed and called swan wings. The pink ones are called Finola.

Tulip Finola in top photo and swan wings tulips in bottom photo

2 – New window cover. What’s not to love? It makes such a big difference to me!

View of the new window cover designed like traditional American Red Barn doors.

3 – The borders of the raised bed garden. It’s going to take some training for me to get used to not just walking through the plants. I prefer to have plants than to have a fence, though. I’m looking forward to seeing how it looks as the rosemary, lavender, and hydrangeas grow. The lavender plants are tiny, but I bought them that size before and they grew almost full size in two seasons. Getting the black weed mat covered is the next project.

View of the new border plants around the raised bed garden

4 – Stellata magnolia flowers. After all of the first flush of flowers had turned brown, I discovered a few pure white flowers and they just looked so pretty. I am now a huge fan of this magnolia!

Magnolia Stellata white flowers

5 – Apricot Parrot and Apricot Beauty Tulips. I know that not everyone likes parrot tulips, but I certainly do. They just have so much personality! They aren’t afraid to strut their stuff. These were a new purchase for me this year. I wanted to find some to match my pink parrot tulips, and these actually worked out really well. I mixed the parrot with the non-parrot, and I’m still on the fence if they’d all look better in their own groups or mixed in. What do you think?

collage of Apricot Beauty tulips and Apricot parrot tulips

6 – Double daffodils. These were planted this year, and I have to say that I really like them. I’m always torn about cutting flowers and bringing them inside, but these were too pretty not to. I am planning to plant some in a large container next year.

I so appreciate you visiting! Have a great week. I’ll leave you with a picture of my two favorite Irish dancers 🙂

The excitement of what’s to come!

Hello, and welcome to my blog! Spring has truly arrived, with trees covered in buds and early blooming flowers totally showing off. What a glorious time it is, filled with hope and excitement as we watch everything unfold before our eyes. (It’s not just me, is it?!) No matter how many years I’ve experienced this newness of spring, it still feels magical every single time. And there isn’t even a need to wait until flowers are fully in bloom to enjoy their beauty – they are truly beautiful from the first sign of life! I see parallels in life, here. The only thing that is not fully aligned with spring is the temperature. At least here in Ireland it is still rather cold. No matter, I just bundle up and out I go (note the wooly hat in my picture below).

I think the most exciting thing in the garden for me this week is that we planted our ‘Little Lime’ hydrangeas. I bought these at Pergola Nurseries, in Virginia. Perhaps you’ve seen their videos on Instagram? They do lots of short, informative videos about so many different plants that the owner has become quite the celebrity! (And well deserved!) It is well worth a visit there – either online or in person. But back to my Little Limes, I’ve planted five of them to form a wall at one end of the raised bed garden. I decided to go with the dwarf hydrangeas because full size hydrangeas can grow quite big, and I didn’t want them blocking sun or taking over that area. I also went with Little Limes because they are supposed to be the easiest hydrangea to grow, and I really like ‘easy’! I’m excited to see how it will look as they grow.

I hope you have been enjoying the wonderful signs of spring where you live. In these times especially, it is really important to seek out the beauty in the world. I will be joining The Propagator again this week, for his Six on Saturday meme. Thank you for visiting, and have a great week!

In Peace,

Hyacinth Woodstock and Bleeding hearts

1 – These hyacinth are called Woodstock, from Farmer Gracy. I think the color is absolutely stunning. They are next to the bleeding heart plant (Lamprocapnos spectabilis, formerly Dicentra spectabilis) which will grow much bigger as the season progresses. This area is around our playhouse, where I also have a bunch of tulips planted – still waiting on them to bloom.

collage of tulips

2 – Tulips! These are new to me this year: the pinks are Finola tulips and the white ones are Swan wings (I think).

collage of double daffodils under the apple tree
hand held bouquet of mixed varieties of daffodils

3 – Daffodils! It doesn’t take many to make a delightful bouquet that can brighten your day! I love having so many different varieties. My plan is to add more in containers next year, as that worked really well this year.

Dana selfie at rose bed

4 – Things to come: I love how the peony plants look as they first throw out their new foliage. I know the flowers are the main show, but after the gloom of winter it is so nice to see the pretty shades of their leaves! This picture was an evening that I was weeding in the garden, and working in the last of the aged manure. Such a great feeling to keep the beds looking tidy – for now!

View of Little Lime hydrangeas freshly planted as a wall

5 – Little Lime hydrangea plants. Not much else to say about these cuties, and you can’t even see them in the picture! The five plants are between the black weed mat and the grass. We still have some things to figure out, like how to neatly cover the weed mat. But we’ll get there. 🙂

6 – A view of the beds in April. We have our garlic growing (to harvest in July), and the raspberry plants have started to grow after getting a trim early in the winter. The strawberry plants (on the far end) are also starting to slowly look better after the winter. Nothing beats the blue sky, though!

Thanks so much for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed your visit. 🙂

The blessing of a stretch of good weather in Ireland – Six on Saturday

Hello, and welcome to my blog! It is funny how I have lived in a bunch of places where the weather was often the topic of discussion. In Arizona, it was remarkable when it rained – or if it wasn’t sunny. In Pittsburgh, the weather was typically overcast, and remarkable when sunny. In Syracuse, it was more snowy than sunny – averaging 100 inches per season! Zurich, well, Zurich’s weather was rather unremarkable because it was a reasonable mix of sunny and overcast (overall it was quite pleasant, actually). Now, Ireland’s weather is so often ‘unsettled’ – meaning overcast / windy / rainy – that it is remarkable when it is sunny and calm, and boy does everyone take notice then!

Sunny and calm is exactly what the weather has been over the past nearly three weeks. In fact, at this stage, we really need a good rain! I am thankful to have gotten a lot of gardening jobs done in March: trimmed the boxwood hedge, pruned the Russian sage, (the roses were pruned the end of February/beginning of March), cut the ornamental grasses, moved some plants: some snowdrops, hellebores and a peony (the peony should ideally be moved in September, but I’m hoping that getting it done before it had serious spring growth will be ok), and worked in a ton, figuratively speaking, of aged manure! Of course weeding was done along the way. Weeding is always being done!

A highlight for me, was creating a flower arch for my daughter’s 18th birthday. That was a lot of fun, as I love getting the chance to be creative. It all came together serendipitously!

I’m thankful for the joy that the garden brings to me. The flowers pushing up through the soil bring such a feeling of hope. Be sure to see the beauty that is all around you! I’m joining The Propagator for his Six on Saturday meme. Won’t you join me?

In Peace,

Playhouse with beautiful clouds

1 – Ornamental grass and daffodils. Here’s a look at the now cubed ornamental grass. The grasses should be cut low every year. I don’t want this one getting big and unruly, and even though it will quickly grow back, I quite like this look! I planted a bunch of primroses in this circle bed, just to give it some color for the spring. The two large containers of daffodils brought such color and cheer to the garden. I’m so glad to have added them this year.

Narcissus Dutch Master
Narcissus Double under the apple tree

Speaking of daffodils! The first picture is a close up of the daffodils from one of the containers, and are quite traditional if you ask me. They are called Narcissus Dutch Master, and their color really grabs your attention. The collage is of Narcissus Double, and they are super pretty and rather delicate looking. Unfortunately, they face the ground, which is a bummer. I have them under one of the apple trees.

Magnolia Stellata

2 – Look at this beauty! Magnolia Stellata is completely covered with fabulous white flowers. The flowers appear to be star-like to me, although I’ve read of them looking similar to water lilies. This variety should be planted where it won’t get morning sunlight (thank God for a tall hedge!) as they tend to bloom when it can still be frosty, and the morning sunlight on the frosted flowers will thoroughly kill that beautiful look. I am absolutely thrilled with this slow growing, mid-sized shrub which was a gift for our 25th wedding anniversary last year. It is in with my chickens, so I have it caged up for protection. Being chickens, they still try and eat the flowers, though. I am hoping to get something nicer to protect it, and that eventually they will not bother it!

View of boxwood cutting, trimmed Russian sage and aubrietia

3 – It was time to trim the boxwood hedge. I had my husband help me with this job, which was tough because he had a different idea of what I wanted. 🙂 But all is good and I think it looks neat and tidy again. This bed is now fully ready for the season as the boxwood is trimmed, the Russian sage and roses have been pruned, the aged horse manure has been worked in, AND it has been weeded! The aubrieta is such a stunner and it seemingly comes to life all of a sudden. It is supposed to grow over and down the wall, but mine prefers to grow into the bed.

Aged manure and lots of worms!

4 – Did someone say horse manure? My neighbors gave me this garden gold. It’s not like me, but I didn’t take a picture of their beautiful horses when we picked up the manure. I’ll have to do that next time. The best part was seeing all of these amazing worms!

hyacinth woodstock, white and pinks

5 – It turns out that I have a ‘thing’ for hyacinth! I have pinks and white under the lilac shrubs (picture bottom left). New this year for me are the burgundy colored ones, called Woodstock from Farmer Gracy, which are under the birch trees. I *really* like their color! Those two beds where these hyacinth are have all been weeded and ‘manured’! Woohoo! 🙂

Mom in the Garden's daughter under the birthday flower arch

6 – The birthday flower arch. Our ‘baby’ is 18! It truly doesn’t seem possible that the past 18 years have flown by that quickly. I’m so excited for what the future holds for her. I’m also so happy she liked the flower arch! My older daughter helped me out and made the ’18’, which I think made it perfect. So, the frame is made of bamboo and dogwood. My neighbor, a different one!, was doing major yard work and offered them to me for the arch. The timing was perfect, as I’d just mentioned to her my idea of making an arch. My husband helped me to tie the branches together and put them in my two pots of bamboo that I’ve had for years. We used two very heavy (and ugly, I might add) cinder blocks to hold the pots in place. The fake flowers were somehow all in my house, already! They’ve been used for different projects over the years, and this will probably finish out their lives. The six white painted allium are the only real flowers from the garden. I added ribbons, too, as I thought it was more festive with them.

And that’s a very full, Six on Saturday! Thank you so much for visiting, and I hope you enjoyed the tour. I leave you with one final picture, of one of the many lovely sunsets we’ve enjoyed of late. 🙂

Evening sunset over the garden

We’ve had some beautiful sunsets, too, with this lovely weather!

The ebb and flow of the garden – Six on Saturday

Hello, and welcome to my blog! I was thinking this week about the ebb and flow of the garden – how the garden takes a time of rest in the winter, and well, is busy producing abundant beauty for most of the rest of the year. And yet, I don’t allow the same rest for myself! As I was struggling this week to get things done in the garden, I thought about my need to take it easy and not go full steam all of the time. So to help me during this ‘down’ time, I have created a list of the jobs I want to get done. I work through it at my slower pace. This helps me to manage the stress of having ‘things to do’ in my head. It also keeps me focused on my jobs in the garden. 🙂

So what jobs have I managed to work on that are on the list? Well, I finally started my seed sowing. But I don’t have everything sown just yet. I’m planning that I’ll get the rest of the seeds planted this coming week. Trimming the box hedge is on the list – we made a great start to that today, I’m happy to say. There’s still a tiny bit more to do, but thankfully the majority of that job is done. All of the flowering summer plants need to get fed and have some extra compost placed around their base. I’ve started this in the order of blooming, beginning with the lilac shrubs. Still lots more to do there. I’ve also started to do a clean up of the garden, getting rid of the spent flowers that were left for the winter and weeding the beds as I do so. This is a pretty big job, and I’m not sure it ever gets completely crossed off of the list! But it is one of the most satisfying jobs in the garden.

I’ve put together a collection of pictures from the past week in the garden as part of The Propagator’s meme Six on Saturday. I hope you will enjoy a walk through the late winter garden.

Take care and be safe!

In Peace,

Collage of daffodils and ornamental grass that was trimmed

1, 2, & 3 – Ornamental grass, daffodils & cats. I decided to give the ornamental grass a severe trim. I actually had my husband do it as it was a very big job. Even he had a hard time with the electric cutters on it. I like how it has opened up the space, at least for now! Although the cubed shape is unusual for grass, I quite like it. I planted a bunch of primroses in the bed as they just seemed to fit in perfectly.

There are two cats in the bottom right picture. I own the white one. You know her by now, she’s Kitty. The black one comes frequently to visit Kitty. He is quite vocal, and super friendly. I call him Frank. I know better than to feed him, but I do give him attention, which he surprisingly likes.

It’s daffodil season! I am so happy to have filled two large containers with daffodil bulbs this past fall. Very few of my ‘in the ground’ daffodils are up, yet the containers are providing an abundance of cheerful color.

Magnolia Stellata

4 – Magnolia Stellata. This was a gift for our 25th wedding anniversary last summer. I have it in with my chickens, so we placed a fence around it so the girls wouldn’t destroy it before it had a chance to get settled in. There are so many buds on it! The pretty white flowers have started to bloom, and it is just so lovely.

Hellebore Anna's Red

5 – Hellebore Anna’s red. O.K., I’ve had this in quite a few of my blog posts of late. And that’s because it is an absolute star! Today I was thinking that if I had to pick a ‘plant of the year’, I think this one would be it. The coloring really stands out, the flowers are very pretty (and don’t fully face the ground), and it settled into the garden really quickly. A definite keeper.

Frosty view of the garden mid March

6 – A frosty garden. This one is just a reminder that the weather is 100% unpredictable! And look at that blue sky – I LOVE seeing the blue sky! 🙂

Sunset over front garden March 19

This one is a bonus – Sunset over the front garden.

As always, thank you kindly for stopping by. It’s nice to know that others smile at my garden, too! 🙂

Wherever you are – it is enough

Hi there, and welcome to my blog. I want to offer you a place to escape the terrible realities of the world. While I love sharing my garden with all of you, I am also mindful of the evil war going on in Ukraine. I hope you will join me for a short time to see beauty and in so doing, to defy evil.

I know it seems like a really long time that we have not been living a ‘normal’ life. For me, I am taking each day in turn, and whatever I get done in that day, it is enough. Gone are the super long ‘to-do’ lists, and in its place is a short (and manageable) list. I typically get affected by bad weather. That is now compounded by watching the news, so I have to go easy on myself. I am thankful to have my garden to work in. It brings me joy.

I hope you are keeping well, safe, and healthy. Thank you so much for stopping by. I appreciate your visit. 🙂

In Peace,

Helleborus Anna's Red

This hellebore, Anna’s red, is a real star. I planted it this year, and it has been blooming the past month with lots of flowers. The flowers face slightly outward, which is not the typical ‘facing the ground’ position of most hellebores. The color is a lovely shade of what I would call ‘plum’ (and not red) and is quite eye catching from across the garden. I’m so happy to have added this to my hellebore collection!

Mr. Fokker Anemone

This is Mr. Fokker anemone. I love the incredible details of this flower, especially the stamen. I have these growing all around the garden, so I don’t mind cutting some and bringing them inside to enjoy. They are a lovely, easy to grow, cut flower that blooms all year long (this picture was taken this week).

View of the garden beds in March

Here’s a look at what the garden beds look like in March. The planters on the left have hosta in them, which won’t be seen for quite a few months still. But I think having the planters there at least adds color. The planter on the right is filled with daffodil bulbs, some of which have started to bloom. There is another planter filled with daffodils near the playhouse. I am so glad to have planted them in the fall. It is so wonderful to have big splashes of color in the garden! The raspberries (bed at front of picture) have been pruned, and the winter garlic seems to be doing fine. It should be ready for harvest at the beginning of July.

rainbow over the compost heap

Did I mention the weather hasn’t been great? But at least after this big rain, we were able to enjoy a big, beautiful, double rainbow. It’s the little things!


Here’s another ‘little thing’: Our pretty, all white cat, Kitty. She is a tiny bit spoiled, and when I’m lucky, she showers me with love.

Playhouse with daffodils at sunset

This picture is from today, after I finished working in the garden. It was a lovely evening, despite the cold and wind. I finished with an easy job of raking the hoggin (the gravel mixture between the beds to the right). It’s so satisfying to clear away the weeds. It is also satisfying to see all of the new bulbs that are pushing up around the playhouse. I’m so excited to see how they will look!

Thanks again for stopping by! Find your joy 🙂

One day at a Time

Hello there! Welcome to my blog. You might have noticed that I have been absent the past few weeks. I hope you know that I really enjoy writing about and photographing my garden. It gives me so much joy! But sometimes I simply get blue and it just isn’t possible for me to joyfully write about the garden. My blues could be weather related, news related, or just life.

This week has been tough because of the war in Ukraine. Really tough. I don’t understand how it could be happening. I’m upset that it is happening. I’m afraid of the outcome. I’m concerned for the future. So given the war in Ukraine, and how I was feeling, I wasn’t really sure about writing a blog post. But I am taking my lead from a dear friend of mine (thank you Lynn-Beth) who said to me “we cannot let evil negate our notice of beauty”. So although my heart is heavy for the innocent people of Ukraine, I share with you my garden, in the hopes that you too, will see beauty. (And I will share today’s post with The Propagator’s meme ‘Six on Saturday’ to spread the beauty even further.)

view of raised garden beds
spreading of compost in raised beds

1 – The raised garden beds. Well, this is what they look like now. They are mostly empty, aside from the winter garlic, strawberry plants and blueberry shrubs. We will be building a new compost storage area in the very near future. So my husband has been clearing out as much compost as is ready, so it won’t have to be moved to the new area. I think it is ok to spread the compost in the beds now, actually. The birds certainly think so! 🙂 I still have to clear the one bed of the dead sunflower plants. It’s definitely time.

new flower bed
Helleborus Aspen High

2 – A new flower bed. Now this is exciting for me! I have created all of the flower beds in the yard. Most of the time I cover the soil for 4 or 5 months, and then dig up the sod. That is a big job. So this time, I tried something different. Here’s what I did this past fall: I laid down some cardboard, covered it with a lot of grass clippings, then I covered that with compost. Then I added more compost. And then I added some more compost again! The birds also love this bed, with all of those worms from the compost. I do hope they’ll leave some for the soil.

It is nearly impossible to see, but there are two very young hazelnut trees, and one dwarf burning bush (Euonymus alatus ‘Compactus’) along with the well established cherry tree on the left. Today we added to the bed, planting the lovely white hellebore in the picture above. It is called Helleborus Aspen High. We also added a peony plant that we moved from another part of the garden. It wasn’t getting enough sun in the old spot, so I’m hoping that once it settles in, it’ll be much happier in this location. I don’t know the name of the peony, but it is a pretty red, and is always the first of all of my peony plants to bloom.

Since the evening was so nice, we continued on and moved two more very small hellebores that weren’t performing well in their homes. Fingers crossed that they will settle in and do well.

rose bushes in various stages of pruning

3 – Pruning roses. I try to get my roses pruned in February. While I made great progress last month, I still have a few more plants to get to – hopefully in the very near future. I want to show you the difference in these three pictures: the one on the left was just pruned. The one on the right on top, was pruned a year ago, and the one on the right on the bottom was not pruned last year.

I have to say that my confidence in pruning has increased over time. Practice makes perfect! One thing that I’ve learned is that when they say to cut off the tiny stems that are less than the thickness of a pencil, it is because if you don’t (which I previously hadn’t), the roses will be too heavy to be supported by such tiny stems. Also, there needs to be air circulation within the plant, and that is why it is best to prune the stems growing towards the center. Do I get it right all of the time? Probably not. But I do my best!

bowl of hellebore flowers
collage of hellebores

4 – Hellebores. How can I resist? They are still going strong! They are so lovely to display in a bowl. If you have them, you should definitely do so. I added a purple Mr. Fokker anemone into my bowl – which looks a little bit out of place. The bottom collage: Left: Helleborus Spring Promise ‘SP Frilly Isabelle’, top right: Helleborus Harvington Double Red, bottom right: Helleborus Anna’s Red (I love those leaves!).

Iris Reticulata

5 – Iris Reticulata. This little tiny plant has just really lifted up my spirits. It is so pretty. When we planted these in the fall, we also added allium to this bed, and they are all coming up, which is so heartening to see. Good things to come!

Frosty March view of playhouse and garden

6 – A frosty garden. We have had a few hard frosts this winter, but honestly, nothing too bad. We had a couple of days of snow flurries, but again, nothing substantial. As I have mentioned, though, we’ve had quite a few bad storms with high winds and rain. Right now I’m thankful that we’ve had blue skies a few times this week. Sun + blue skies = lifted spirits.

And that’s my view of the garden. I hope you enjoyed your visit.

When I sign ‘In Peace’, I truly mean it. May there be peace among all of us and may Ukraine stand strong against this evil war.

In Peace,

A snow covered February garden

Hello there! I hope you are keeping warm and cozy wherever you are in the world. We have had the craziest weather of late! Thankfully, I was able to get out and work in the garden earlier this month, which I always find helpful for my mental health. It’s too windy and cold for my liking at the moment, though. We even had snow! O.K., it was gone within a few hours, but it sure was pretty to look at while it lasted.

I have to say that I am very happy to have flowers blooming in February. It gives me such hope as I watch their progress. That goes for all flowers, actually. I think it is why a lot of us have gardens in the first place. I am conscious of not wishing time to go faster for more pleasant gardening conditions. I think it is better to make do – and make better – what is on offer during the ‘off’ months. You’ll see that I’ve been building my collection of hellebores. I also added an early variety of iris this year, that is currently in bloom. It is called Iris reticulata and its flowers are so pretty and delicate.

I hope you’ll enjoy the collection of pictures I’ve gathered, showing you my February garden and my chickens.

Take care, and stay safe!

In Peace,

collage of hellebore flowers

I had to start with these beauties! It is so wonderful having Hellebore flowers in a winter garden. They are very easy to maintain and while their flowers usually point downwards, they are beautiful none the less. There are ‘single’ and ‘double’ varieties, as can be seen in their single layer of petals vs. multiple layers of petals.

This collage’s hellebores:
Right three from the top: Anemone Picotee, Double Ellen Red, Anna’s Red.
Top left: SP Frilly Isabelle.
Bottom from the left: Harvington Double Red, Winter Sunshine.

collage of full hellebore plants

The beauty of hellebores isn’t just in closeups of their flower faces, the plants themselves are lovely in full view.

This collage’s hellebores include:
Right from the top: Double Ellen Red, Harvington Double Red, Anna’s Red.
Center from the top: Anemone Picotee, Winter Sunshine, Unknown variety (pink).
Left: SP Frilly Isabelle.

Iris Reticulata

Look how sweet these Iris Reticulata are! I brought one inside after it was bent over. I’m delighted to be enjoying the pretty coloring from the comforts of my kitchen.

weeding the hoggin!

This is a picture of one of the jobs I was able to (partially) do earlier in the month. I weeded the Hoggin! Hoggin is a mix of gravel, sand and clay that works really well for pathways as it allows water to drain through it. Turns out that it also needs weeding. You can see around the edging that I have a weed blocking sheet underneath the hoggin – and below that I also have cardboard. The truth is that weeds will grow despite your best intentions! These weeds were pretty harmless though, and mostly grass. I used a hoe-like tool and raked them up. It took longer than I thought it would, but I was happy with the results. I still have more to do, whenever the weather settles down!

view of the winter garlic mid Feb 2022

The weather on this day was super! I took this picture of my winter garlic after I finished weeding the hoggin. The temperature was mild and the sun was shining – perfect gardening weather! 🙂

snow garden with snowdrops, hellebore, fennel and garden arch.

Then the weather changed… Thankfully, most of the plants are O.K. with snow. I thought the dried fennel looked quite pretty completely covered in snow (bottom right picture). The Snowdrops, too, looked lovely. But the Anemone Picotee hellebore looks a little bit weighed down!

chickens in the snow

The chickens were not too impressed with the snow. They stayed under their house while it was snowing, and only ventured out after it stopped. Funny enough, they have no issue with wandering about when it is raining out! Here we can see the Bluebell (she is the only one I really call by her name, which is ‘Buckbeak’), Daisybell. and two Rhode Island Red hybrids. They’re still laying eggs, too!

View of the garden with and without snow.

Just like that, everything can change. I’m glad that in this case, the garden went back to ‘green’! Thanks so much for stopping by! I’d love for you to leave a message of where you’re visiting from. 🙂

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. 🙂

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. 🙂

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,