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! πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ™‚

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! πŸ™‚

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. πŸ™‚

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! πŸ™‚

A moment to acknowledge that ‘this’ is tough

Hi there! You are very welcome to my blog. I did not intend to skip a few weeks. I thought I was doing well and handling O.K., the news that Covid-19 was still in full control of our lives. But I guess that wasn’t truly the case, and I needed time to re-adjust. I have found ‘this’, the whole situation around Covid-19, to be tough. I have tried to not beat myself up about being a bit down and not getting everything on my ‘to do’ list done. I am actually getting through everything on the list, just at a much, much slower pace. Even with this post, I thought it better to talk about what is really on my mind than force a gardening topic.

So, have you hit a bit of a wall like me? Are you having a hard time with these long term restrictions? Please don’t get me wrong; I understand why we have the restrictions and I have no intention of breaking those restrictions. But it is much harder, mentally, to adjust to continue on this way well into 2021. Mainly, it is the fact that I can’t travel to visit my family in the States. That’s very frustrating. I am still quite thankful that my family here are all together and everyone is doing well. I think everyone is looking forward to real live people contact again, whenever that will take place.

Thankfully, my book club is meeting again, albeit on Zoom, and the timing could not have been better. Our meeting fell just as we were realizing that this latest set of restrictions were going to last much longer than first anticipated. Our get together was just what we needed in these tumultuous times! We are all so different and it is simply wonderful to chat and get everyone’s perspective and of course to enjoy that feeling of community. Despite living within three miles of each other, we haven’t seen each other for ages! (Where the crawdads sing, by Delia Owens, which I loved, was the book we read this month.) That Zoom call really helped to lift my spirits.

Another ‘lockdown’ activity that I recently started participating in is an ‘Instagram live’ gardening program with two Irish gardening experts. It is called Garden Conversations with Diarmuid Gavin and Paul T Smyth. Their current ‘course’ started last week and runs Monday through Friday at 7 PM for an hour every week and it really is a bit of ‘craic’ – as the Irish say (it is a bit of fun). They started doing it way back in March, but I’ve only learned of it recently. It is a wonderful distraction! They talk about different gardening topics and answer questions from us. They’ve covered soil composition, trees, pruning, aspect, and they’ve talked about garden design. It is great to pick up bits and pieces of interesting information in a fun atmosphere – there is a lot of banter between them. This is definitely not a classroom setting type of course! It is a great service that they are providing to the gardening community. πŸ™‚

One thing I learned on Diarmuid and Paul’s program is that when the ground is as wet as it is now – and boy have we had lots of rain (if it squishes when you walk on it – and the mud sticks to your boots when you walk in it), it is best to not work in the garden as you’ll do more harm than good. There is always plenty of planning to do for the garden, anyway. This is a great time for me to focus on garden design!

I hope you have been taking care of yourself, too. It’s gonna be a long haul. Good thing we’re in it together!

Stay healthy and safe.

In Peace,
Dana

Sunny Frosty DAY view of playhouse

We’ve had plenty of hard frosts so far this winter (more than usual). It turns the grass white – and produces a substantial ‘crunch’ sound when walked on it!

Snowdrops mid January

Life continues on in the garden! The Snowdrops have pushed through the soil and are blooming!

Frilly Isabelle hellebore January

Not all of my hellebore plants are blooming just yet. But this Frilly Isabelle is. I have to say that this plant had more flowers on it at this stage last year. We have had a very wet time of late, though, which I am going to blame!

ornamental grass frosty morning blue sky

I do like ornamental grass, no matter what the color! Better still when the backdrop is a beautiful blue sky.

Primroses

I have used some floral therapy recently. Small purchases of flowers which always brighten my spirits! Aren’t these primroses lovely?

Primroses in snow

And they don’t mind the snow!

birch trees sunny frosty Jan morning

I am so delighted with my new birch trees! This sunlight is mid morning as it comes around the back of the house.

Afternoon sunlight on playhouse January

Like so many people, I’m working from home. So I make sure to go outside a couple of times a day, even if for just a few minutes. I especially like taking pictures when the sky is blue! This is late afternoon.

fluffy chicken bums in snow

This is what my girls show me when I ask to take their picture… They sure have fluffy bums!

chickens-in-snow-1

The girls are fine in the cold. The snow usually melts before the end of the day. I give them more pellets to eat now, too. The rain is more of a hassle than the cold!

open field with blue sky

I try and go for a short walk in the afternoons. It is terrible how sedentary I’ve become since working from home! I am now much more aware and make an effort to get up and move every day! This picture of one of the fields I pass just reminds me of the ‘pick me up’ I got from my blue sky walk!

Lidl roses on desk

Here is another example of my floral therapy! For just eight euros I bought these two dozen roses from Lidl! They are sitting right in front of me on my desk and without a doubt they make me happy! I possibly could have gotten away with just getting 12 for four euro (but I’m so glad I went for 24!).

Winter scene of playhouse blue sky mid January

My favorite scene to photograph right now is our playhouse! This was still early morning sunshine, as there is still frost on the playhouse roof. I’m so thankful for the days that have the sun and blue sky combination!

It really is the little things that bring us joy.

Thank you for visiting. Please feel free to say hello! I’d love to hear from you πŸ™‚

Take care!

Christmas Eve and all is calm

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

Blue sky playhouse and garden
This was one of those perfectly sunny, blue sky mornings after a heavy frost.
Pink sunset December 23
December’s beautiful sunrises have been matched by the most magical sunsets.
4 chickens with the morning sunlight
Here are my girls (Rose, Daisy, Iris and Sweet Pea) on a frosty morning as the sun slowly rises.
Hand made Christmas wreath with purple flowers
I made this wreath earlier this month. The greenery and the dried purple statice flowers are all from my garden. It was an easy and fun project!
garlic growing up through frosty soil
My garlic is pushing through! Frost is good for it (they say it gives it better flavor). It is always fun to have something growing in the garden!
Christmas ornaments
A few of my favorite ornaments: I’ve had the handpainted egg for years and it is so special to me. The candles, as you can see, have never been lit. We bought them when we lived in Zurich, Switzerland. I like how they look on the tree, especially with our red bows. We also have several Holy Family ornaments.
Christmas ornaments
Some more of my favorite ornaments: The other side of the hand painted egg! The real cotton angel was given to me by a very special friend. We’ve been friends since we were 11! Can you see the ribbon in the background? I like how the design incorporates a winding tree that is covered with shiny red berries.
Christmas tree lit
It isn’t big, but it is perfect for us!
Lindt chocolates advent calendar
Some of the goodies from our Lindt Advent Calendar.
Crochet Christmas tree
I crocheted this Christmas tree a few years ago. I then sewed the little beads on (they look like snow, right?). I finished it off by stringing and knotting the bells onto thread. I apparently had lots of extra time that year… It sure is one of a kind!
the family
We’ve had some lovely family time! Here we are in Carlingford after a walk.
Carlingford near greenway
Gorgeous views along our walk in Carlingford.
Abies Koreana with Christmas balls
This is our real live outdoor Christmas tree – an Abies Koreana which we’ve decorated with lights and large silver Christmas balls.
Chicken coop frosty sunny morning
This is one of my favorite morning views!
Frosty playhouse scene
Who doesn’t love a blue sky?
Mom in the Garden selfie
This was the day of my work Christmas Zoom party. We actually had a lot of fun! I’m wearing the required Christmas jumper πŸ™‚ This is a very subtle update on my ‘no hair color since March’ look. On the left is indoor lighting, on the right is natural lighting (albeit in my car).

And that’s a wrap! Merry Christmas! Blessings to you!

‘Little moments’ from the Garden

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. πŸ™‚

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

Heaven Scent Magnolia last leaf
The very last leaf on our Heaven Scent Magnolia tree
Last cooking apple
The very last apple on our ‘cooking apple’ tree
Cherry Tree last of the leaves
Our Cherry tree with a blue sky!
Cherry tree gray sky
Same Cherry tree, but with a gray sky!
birch trees with bearded iris
This was a big job of digging up two sites of bearded iris, dividing them and then transplanting them. My husband was a HUGE help and did most of the work!
Iris Benton Storrington single flower
Iris Benton Storrington

But look at that bearded iris! Isn’t it beautiful? I can’t wait to see them in the summer!

Viburnum opulus Roseum November
Some very pretty coloring on our Viburnum opulus ‘Roseum’!
Mushrooms in the yard November
There’s always some interesting mushrooms in the yard. I’m not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing!
Flowers from the Garden in hand November 14
A handful of flowers from the garden! Shasta Daisy, bergenia leaves, pink and red hesperanthus (or schizostylis / kaffir lily), Erysimum ‘Super Bowl’ Mauve, Achillea filipendulina ‘Cloth of Gold’, Fountain Grass Pennisetum Advena Rubrum, Pittosporum Tom Thumb, and one snapdragon.
Flowers from the garden November 14 in hand
Flowers from the Garden November 14
And here’s what I created!
Mr Fokker aubrieta frosty morn November
This was taken on a frost morning. The Mr Fokker anemone are still blooming, and the Aubrieta have started blooming again. Glad to know that they weren’t killed off with the very dry spring which we had.
apple turnover
Emer’s apple turnovers were super delicious, especially hot out of the oven. We are so thankful that our kids enjoy cooking and baking!
David Austin Roses dark pink NOVEMBER
There are still some blooms on our roses, although the wind has been working extra hard to knock them off…
sunny foggy morning birch trees
I took this picture on what had been a foggy morning.
mystic sky November garden
I like this photo for the fall feel and the mystic looking sky
4 chickens November
‘The Girls’ also known as Iris, Sweet Pea, Daisy and Rose.

Thanks for stopping by! Take care!

Blue sky play house with back hills
The latest fall view of our playhouse and the surrounding fields (and one of my favorite pictures).

Birch trees – Part of the plan all along

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! πŸ™‚

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…

Take care!

In Peace,
Dana

birch trees view of fields
A view of the five birch trees in our front garden. We worked with a local nursery, Nature Works. We were delighted to have the heavy duty work done so easily!
birch trees close up
A close up view of the Birch trees.
front yard view before trees
A view of the yard before the trees arrived. That is the large rock I referred to. Any suggestions???
birch trees end of day
A little blue sky and sun brighten the landscape up tremendously!
birch trees full front view
A full view of the front garden.
Magnolia tree
The Heaven Scent Magnolia is between the Nootka Cypress and the cherry tree.
Cornus Florida end of Oct
I couldn’t resist this picture of our flowering dogwood tree (Cornus Florida ‘Cherokee Chief’). Isn’t it beautiful?
Erysimum 'Super Bowl' Mauve
Erysimum ‘Super Bowl’ Mauve is a must have in the garden. This plant is just so easy, and brightens up the garden, where ever it is planted.
schizostylis RED end of Oct
I showed you pink last week, but I also have red Schizostylis (Hesperanthus or Kaffir Lily). That is a dogwood shrub with burnt orange/yellow leaves in the background, which will show off its red stems in the winter.
Rainbow in garden end of Oct

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! πŸ™‚

October in the Garden

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

full view of the Rainbow garden
Our Rainbow garden has every color of the rainbow throughout the spring and summer

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.

Rainbow garden close up
A closer view of the Rainbow garden. On the right is a young mophead hydrangea and a Deutzia scabra. Aren’t those red leaves of the Cornus Florida pretty?
Lilac Garden
This flower bed is referred to as Cormac’s garden as my son did a lot of digging for me! There are Lilacs, hosta, lilies, and asters.
Asters and a Hazelnut tree
This is a view of Cormac’s garden further down the bed. These are Asters, with a pretty Hazel nut tree to the right, whose leaves have turned yellow.
Compost full view October
This is what our compost heap looks like now. There are four sections, although only one section (section number 3 from the left!) will be used over the next few weeks.
compost area
Ha! I had to post this, despite it being the most unkempt compost heap ever! No food in here, only garden plant materials, grass, leaves, and woody stems. This view is from June.
Rose bed full tidy October

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! πŸ™‚ It was so worth it though. We worked in more compost here, too.

Englands Rose October
A beautiful David Austin Rose (England’s Rose).
Pink roses at gate with asters
It is always nice to see roses in bloom. I like how pretty the purple asters look behind these pink roses.
Teasing Georgia October
This David Austin Rose (Teasing Georgia) has become one of my unlikely favorites! My go to color is PINK, but this beauty gets me every time. I just love it (especially how the tips of the buds are an orange-redish color!)
Front hedge view October
I just loved this shot for the fall-feel to it. These Bergenias in front have beautiful leaves that go from green to burgundy to red. The Pittosporum Tom Thumb on the right is a beautiful dark burgundy color, with lots of texture! The beech hedge along the fence, which will keep its leaves all winter, is changing color from green to brown. The process is very pretty, although the finished brown leaves are not so pretty.
Garlic bed post planting
You’ll have to take my word for it because you certainly can’t tell from the picture, but this bed is filled with garlic! We planted Organic Vallelado garlic, which is perfect for Irish weather.
Garlic and bed
The only proof! A few cloves of the Organic Vallelado garlic which were leftover from our planting!
Nootka Cypress
Another one of my favorite fall views. This tree, Nootka Cypress, we call my droopy tree. So glad we planted this all those years ago!
purple poppy October
This pretty purple poppy will be one of the last to bloom this year.

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! πŸ™‚

Being on the receiving end of kindness

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’. πŸ™‚ 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

stormy sky fall playhouse

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!

single daisy in Oct
It is typical in the fall for a few stray daisies to bloom. The Rudbeckia is still providing some lovely color.
helenium in October
Another one of my late season favorites – this helenium is part of the second wave of flowers (which would not have nearly as many flowers as the first wave). Still very pretty!
anemone Mr Fokker October
You can find a Mr. Fokker anemone in my garden at just about any time of year!
Dana Oct 20

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. πŸ™‚

I do hope you are keeping well and safe. Take care!

A beautiful September

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! πŸ™‚

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! πŸ™‚

Take care and stay safe!

In Peace,
Dana

Ancient Mariner Cluster September
A cluster of The Ancient Mariner roses from David Austin. I love how they look like peony flowers.
Ancient Mariner multi layers September
Here is another look at The Ancient Mariner roses from David Austin. Look how many layers there are on the flower!
Eustacia Vye background roses September
This is a new plant this year – the Eustacia Vye from David Austin. I love the delicate coloring – and the scent is lovely, too. There is a purple Mr. Fokker Anemone to the left, and the main rose bed behind and to the right of it.
Eustacia Vye single sunshine September
Another David Austin rose – because they’re my favorite!
Princess Anne cluster sunshine September
This bright vibrant pink rose is called Princess Anne from David Austin. The color is fabulous!
Princess Anne Cluster 2 September
Princess Anne cluster, because they tend to bloom in clusters.
Ancient Mariner Aubrieta dead poppy September
I liked this picture because you can see the Aubrieta to the right which has found a second life at the end of the summer. The Ancient Mariner rose is leaning on a dead poppy head.
New Rose bed full view September
Here’s a look at the main rose bed after I trimmed the boxwood plants. These are still filling in, so I only cut the tops. The bed is still filled with dead poppies. I’ll be clearing them out and giving it a well needed weeding in the next couple of weeks.
boxwood hedges trim
This bed was our first rose bed, but is now a secondary rose bed. The boxwood is well established, and I’ve had fun shaping it the past few years. I have to say that after trimming the 3 beds, my arms were pretty darn tired! (This pic was taken after I was finished, but too tired to clear away the cuttings! They were eventually cleared!)
Red eating apple tree August 2020
Apples anyone? The tree is now nearly bare!
Here are some of our pretty red apples and a few crochet pumpkins that I made!
Arthur Turner apple tree September
It has been a good year for apples!
Cooked apple pie
I like the expression “As American as apple pie!”.
apple sitting on branch
I love this picture because somehow the apple ended up here on its own!
Red and Green apple September
While the red apple isn’t small, the yellow/green one is HUGE!
Center garden front view edged
My son did a fantastic job of edging this bed.
Center garden from front September
And here’s the other side – but I have some work to do in the center. It is getting a bit of out of hand!
globe artichokes September garden
These globe artichokes were still blooming throughout September.
Sunflower arrangement September
A quick and easy summer flower arrangement.
Marigolds dahlia hen house September
Fall vibes in front of the chicken house
three chickens in frost September
a frosty run!
Fall view of full garden September
So beautiful in the fall!
Bales of Straw September
Bales of straw make for fun shapes!
Mom in the Garden and Hubby
Happy Birthday to me! A little get away with my husband.

Thank you for stopping by! I hope your September was as beautiful as ours was. See you next time! πŸ™‚

What’s happening in the garden in August?

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? πŸ™‚

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

two Princess Anne David Austin Roses
From David Austin, this is the Princess Anne shrub rose.

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.

Ancient Mariner David Austin Rose close up
Ancient Mariner David Austin Rose
Gertrude Jekyll rose with poppy pods
Another David Austin rose, this is Gertrude Jekyll. This is actually a ‘replacement’ rose, as the first plant completely died on me. There is a three year guarantee with all of the David Austin roses and they very quickly sent me on another plant. It was a pleasure dealing with them and I’m happy to say that this plant is doing very well!
Harlow Carr group
Harlow Carr – of course a David Austin rose!
Eustacia Vye, from David Austin, a new addition to my garden.
Eustacia Vye David Austin Rose cluster
Eustacia Vye, a lovely light pink with apricot coloring.
These light pink roses are called Olivia Rose Austin.
LIght pink david austin roses group
Deadheading is a full time sport when you have lots of roses!
Here’s another light pink variety that I’m not sure of the name of – it is either Olivia Rose or the Ancient Mariner or Scepter’d Isle (all from David Austin). Two problems here: when I take a lot of pictures I don’t always remember where the plant is when I go back to name them. The second problem is that some of my plants no longer have their name tags (and I didn’t note which ones went where when I first planted them – BIG MISTAKE!).
two Lichfield Angel David Austin Roses
These two Lichfield Angel David Austin Roses are not in a rose bed, but mixed with other flowers in the Rainbow garden.
Englands Rose collage
England’s rose, a David Austin rose
Scepter d Isle David Austin Rose collage
Scepter’d Isle, David Austin Rose
two Strawberry Hill Climber David Austin Roses
Two Strawberry Hill Climber David Austin Roses
Teasing Georgia David Austin Rose cluster mid August
A cluster of Teasing Georgia David Austin Roses in mid August
Garden view with roses
Blue skies make everything look beautiful! It helps though, when the roses are all in bloom!
full view sunflowers morning sun
This is a full view of the two sunflower beds. The one flower on down on the ground will appear in a vase later in this post.
Sunflower center
A sunflower closeup
Sunflower bed in mid August
Sunflower bed in mid August
Blue tit eating sunflower
Blue tit bird eating seeds from a sunflower
Blue tit sitting on sunflower
Blue tit bird sitting on a sunflower
Sunflower beds higher view
View of Sunflower beds from an elevated view
Back deck flowers sunflower
The back deck flowers have a late summer look, including the sunflower which I saved after it was knocked over in a storm.
White lilies closeup in morning sun
Fragrant white lilies in morning sun
Full view white lilies
Every possible bloom opened!
Hydrangea Vanille Fraise Paniculata Renhy full plant
A very full Hydrangea Vanille Fraise Paniculata ‘Renhy’
Hydrangea Vanille Fraise Paniculata Renhy close up of group
Hydrangea Vanille Fraise Paniculata ‘Renhy’ closeup. They start off white and turn pink as they mature.
hydrangea vanille fraise paniculata renhy white closeup
Hydrangea Vanille Fraise Paniculata ‘Renhy’ – a bloom that is still white!
hydrangea collage
One mophead hydrangea was so full of blooms!
basket of hydrangea
This is a very special basket, given to me by my nieghbor Betty, when we lived in Manlius, NY. Betty loved gardening and flowers, so I love it when I can use it in the garden.
Globe artichokes in vase closeup
An arrangement of globe artichokes. I wasn’t kidding when I said it was unusual looking!
Globe artichokes in vase room view
The globe artichoke arrangement fits right in to our family room! (on the couch is the ‘poppy blanket’ which I crocheted).

Phew! There were a lot of photos for this post! I hope you enjoyed them all. πŸ™‚

Take care!