Expectations vs. Reality

Bergenia White

Bergenia (Bressingham white, possibly)

Hello there! Welcome to another blog post written during the Covid-19 ‘stay-at-home’ time. Confession: I’m afraid that I am not one of those people who have completely organized their home, weeded the entire garden, finished countless craft projects, learned a new skill, and managed to not loose my cool while living and working with 4 other adults (full time!) during these uncertain times. There have been good days, and there have been gloomy days. I’m learning to take them as they come. I think that everyone’s energy levels are a bit down. There feels to be a weight on my (everyone’s?) shoulders, which I’ve named ‘Everything Covid-19’. Thankfully, there are more good days than gloomy, and I wouldn’t trade this time with my family for anything. There is definitely good to be found in every situation. But I have to be realistic with myself, and not beat myself up if this slower pace means, well, that the bar needs to be lowered a bit! 🙂

The plus side: there is lots of beauty in the garden, even with minimal work on my side. Also, I just finished crocheting a blanket which was a new pattern for me (more on that in a later post). We even had a BBQ outside, something that due to schedules and weather, we have rarely done in the past. Finally, we acquired two new chickens (I purchased chicken feed from a local farmer and picked up two cuties while I was at it). Integrating them with my 1.5 year old hens was/is challenging!

So life has been ticking on for us, amid the Covid-19 situation around the entire world. I am grateful that we are able to stay home and stay safe. I’m more aware of my gratitude these days, as there is so much that I am grateful for. I’m also grateful for my blog, and for connecting with people from around the world. I hope you find it to be a sanctuary, like my garden is to me.

Enjoy the pictures, which give a sampling of what has been happening here over the past few weeks.  And please do stay safe!

In Peace,
Dana

Bergenia White full view

Bergenia ‘Bressingham White’ in full bloom

This white blooming bergenia (Bressingham white, I believe), is in full bloom and has never looked as pretty! It is rather difficult to see from this angle, as the grass is so long!

front garden

Oops! only half of this bed has been fully weeded! You can just see the Bergenia on the left.

Sunny days really do make a difference! The tulips are beautiful right now. I fear that tulip fire is making its way around the garden, though.

Tulips with bergenia and erysimum

Tulips with Bergenia and Erysimum in the background

I just love evergreen trees. The one right behind the tulips is Abies Koreana, and the one below in the far background is a Nootka Cypress.

Tulips with Abies Koreana + Chamaecyparis nootkatensis 'Pendula'

Tulips with Abies Koreana + Chamaecyparis nootkatensis ‘Pendula’

The Aubrieta continues to provide beautiful color, along with the anemone ‘Mr. Fokker’. It is now also joined by tulips Merlot (and some stray tulip Ballerina).

Aubrieta April 11 tulips anemone view of gates

Aubrieta and tulips on April 11

Full view of aubrieta and garden

Aubrieta in two of the rose beds and a theme of very pink flowers!

Tulip Merlot + aubrieta

A backdrop of Aubrieta for the Tulips Merlot

Tulip Merlot + Tulip Ballerina

Tulip Merlot + Tulip Ballerina

tulip leaves with fire?

I’m not sure, but this looks like tulip fire

Tulip Ballerina in vase

This vase was a perfect match for the Ballerina tulips.

I added some vases of flowers to my kitchen this week. I brought in Ballerina tulips and some grape hyacinth.  It was interesting to see how they changed as they ‘matured’.

Grape hyacinth in a vase inside

Grape hyacinth and Ballerina tulips

So, we ran out of gas for our grill, but that didn’t stop us from having one heck of a BBQ outside! Some wood, some charcoal, some determined people, we made it happen. You’ll notice that I am dressed for winter, while my kids are quite comfortable in much less clothing! I feel the cold much more than they do 🙂

BBQ outside with the family

The First BBQ of the season!

Moving on from the BBQ – I’ll add that we did not eat chicken – let’s talk about our pet chickens!

chickens in crate

The first introduction to the older hens

One thing that we have learned is that you can’t just add ‘new’ chickens to ‘old’ chickens. They need to be integrated over a period of time. We didn’t realize how trying this was going to be! The older girls (they are 1 and a half years old now) were not nice to the ‘babies’ who are 5 months old. The first night, we actually kept the babies in our back-room (in the crate). But not before we snuggled with them to make them feel welcome!

chicken sitting on my lap

Just a chicken resting on my lap!

The next step was to have the new girls in a section of the run that was separated from the old girls. Everyone needed to be able to see each other, but not peck each other.

chickens in their run

Our sectioned off area for the babies.

We maybe could have waited a few more days before mixed them all together, but they are now all together. Night time is tricky. I still supervise everyone going to bed, to make sure the babies aren’t getting a ‘peck’ before bed.

Sweet Pea + Iris under hedge

We now have two teams of two… Here is Sweet Pea and Iris under the hedge

two chickens together

Team Daisy + Rose resting together

Kitty on top of ladder

This is the ladder we used to get in and out of the run to take care of the babies (yep, we need to build a gate!)

The chickens are getting along better in their run. The older girls still chase the babies, but they aren’t pecking them, which is a relief. The babies sure are fast!

Narcissus Sir Winston Churchill

Narcissus Sir Winston Churchill

Mom in the Garden

Mom in the Garden – anything is possible when the weather is good! Take care!

Not exactly ‘business as usual’

single anemone on ground

anemone ‘Mr. Fokker’

Hi there. I’ve been quiet here on the blog front. Honestly, I’m not sure what to say. In some cases, it is ‘business as usual’ and life is more or less ticking along. But in so many other cases, it is not ‘business as usual’ and lives are completely disrupted. There is a lot of stress, uncertainty and tremendous loss as a result of Covid-19. So I feel funny jumping on here and talking about my garden. But I also know that there are many good things that have happened during this situation and even because of this situation, which I hope you’ve also witnessed and experienced. And while life can be quite serious at the moment, I hope that a little deviation from that, with some pictures of flowers, can alleviate the situation, even if for a short time. Welcome to my sanctuary! 🙂

early spring ditch wall garden

signs of spring with daffodils and tulips coming into bloom

Narcissus Ice King Double Daffodil

Narcissus ‘Ice King’ (Double Daffodil)

ice king daffodils and red tulips

always searching for the perfect angle

There is always weeding to do in the garden. I’m not sure that anyone really likes weeding, but the place sure looks better after its done! Given that we can’t go anywhere, I’ve been able to spend more time on that task than I would usually. I’m slowly getting around the garden to each bed. It is a lot of work, and sometimes I really have to talk myself into it. But it is always worth doing, even if just a little bit at a time. It helps for me to see the next set of plants pushing up through the soil. The continuity of the garden with its flowers and trees is something very special to me. It brings hope for tomorrow.

lilac buds

the new buds on our lilac shrubs

Lilies in April

Lilies, which won’t bloom until July, have already pushed through the soil.

This next picture caught my attention. The tulip leaves, especially, are quite ragged looking, and I would have described them as having wind-burn (as we live in a very windy area). But I did a quick google search as I was putting this post together, only to discover that these tulips have something called ‘tulip fire’. So this is the last picture I have of them in the ground because I immediately went out and had them dug up (thank you, husband!). Tulip fire is a fungal disease of tulips caused by Botrytis tulipae, and the only treatment is removing the tulips – and not replanting with tulips in that bed for 3 years. A sad day for my Viburnum plant, as it will now look quite bare without the tulips. I’ve posted a few pictures below, about the tulip fire, just so you know what it looks like and to be aware.

Viburnum and tulips

Viburnum opulus ‘Roseum’ and Mystic van Eijk tulips with beech hedge still in winter mode

leaves with tulip fire fungus

Infected tulip leaves (tulip fire fungus)

Tulip fire cut tulips

a bouquet of ‘tulip fire’ infected Mystic van Eijk tulips 😦

Mystic van Eijk tulips

Mystic van Eijk tulips with ‘tulip fire’

Moving on to more healthy plants…

narcissus actea pheasants eye

narcissus actea ‘pheasants eye’

narcissus actea pheasants eye

narcissus actea ‘pheasants eye’

daffodil side profile

daffodil season

daffodils

Purple hyacinth

hyacinth and anemone

single mr fokker anemone

Mr. Fokker anemone

The daffodils are blooming, as are the hyacinth and anemone. The bright pink of the aubrieta can be seen from afar! While the hellebores are just finishing up their season, there are so many other plants now coming to life. I’m so thankful that I do get to spend time in the garden.

aubrieta April full bed

Aubrieta in full bloom

white hyacinth

white hyacinth and a white (spotted) hellebore

Spring show hyacinth hellebore lilacs with buds

A spring showing with lilacs coming into bud and hyacinth in bloom while hellebores are at the end of their season

Single white flower Winter Sunshine hellebore

a single white flower of the Winter Sunshine hellebore, at the very end of its season

Bleeding Heart - Dicentra spectabilis

Bleeding Heart – Dicentra spectabilis with baby blooms!

I am mindful of all of those people who are suffering due to Covid-19. I keep those thoughts close to my heart, to keep everything in perspective. I also focus on the many blessings in our lives, right now. And I pray. I pray for everyone’s safety and well being, especially during these uncertain times.

Let me know how you are doing! I would love to hear from you!

In Peace,
Dana

Celebrating Mother’s Day during very trying times

Pure white hellebore in sunshine

Helleborus Niger – an all white hellebore

Hi there, and welcome to my ‘Mom in the Garden’ blog. I think that looking at pictures of pretty flowers is exactly what we all need right about now. I’m all info’d out when it comes to Covid-19. Even with sticking to trusted sources, it just gets too much to focus on for too long. My family and I are doing our part and we are staying home. It was exactly how I would want to spend my Mother’s day, too.  Join me as I escape from the realities of this pandemic with pictures from my garden.

Pure white hellebore after rain

a pure white hellebore – Helleborus Niger

The hellebores have had a very good run this season. This pure white one (helleborus Niger), and a few others in the garden, still have some new growth. But their season will be wrapping up as spring ends.

helleborus orientalis double ellen red

helleborus orientalis double Ellen red

Here’s another hellebore (double Ellen red) that still had pretty blooms!

hellebore double ellen red

I don’t know the names of all of my hellebore plants. This lovely dark pink one was given to me years ago by my friend Susan. It is lovely and showy.

hellebore dark pink sunshine

Hellebore – dark pink

Dark pink hellebore in rain

the same plant but on a rather wet day

hellebore dark pink

a beautiful hellebore flower

White speckled hellebore with chicken

chickens make the best backgrounds

My chickens had been getting some garden time in the evenings. But recently there has been a scare of avian flu, so I haven’t been letting them out. This is sad for all of us!

white speckled hellebore with chickens

white speckled hellebore (with chickens)

The next plant is one I haven’t posted about in a long time. It is difficult to get a good picture of the flowers since they rarely open fully.  It is called helleborus foetidus, or the stinking hellebore. It does have a strange smell, but thankfully isn’t too fragrant.

hellebore foetidus or the stinking hellebore

helleborus foetidus or the stinking hellebore

helleborus foetidus or the stinking hellebore

A full view of the helleborus foetidus or the stinking hellebore

Aubrieta creeping

Aubrieta creeping

As always, the garden offers signs of hope and new growth. The aubrieta is slowly creeping along in the bed and down the wall.

Full bed of aubrieta

A full bed of aubrieta!

I still love the thrill of seeing flowers showing life in the new season. Like this Itoh Hybrid Peony ‘Hillary’. If you’d like to know more about the hybrid peony, you can read my post about this one, here.

Itoh Hybrid Peony ‘Hillary’

new growth of my Itoh Hybrid Peony ‘Hillary’ (and lots of new growth from weeds, too!)

That’s really all the break I needed to clear my head. Honestly, I’m devastated for those who have lost their lives in this pandemic. I think about those who have already lost their jobs, or who will lose their jobs in the future because of this situation. The impact on all of us will be tremendous. It is tremendous. And it is during these times that I am most especially thankful for my family and friends. Because although we aren’t all close together, we are all close at heart.

I am praying for everyone affected by Covid-19, because I have a strong faith and I believe in the power of prayer. I pray that we will all get through this, together.

I hope that you, too, are able to find time to look after yourself and your well being –  both physically and mentally. It really is important.

And although a difficult time, I wish all of the Moms celebrating Mother’s day today, a very special day.

Stay safe everyone.

In Peace,
Dana

It’s O.K. to make mistakes

anemone mr fokker

Anemone ‘Mr. Fokker’ blooms all winter

Hello there! You are always welcome to my Mom in the Garden blog, where I’ll chat about the garden, or my chickens, or anything at all, really! Something happened this week that just had me thinking about some personal struggles that, thankfully, I’m slowly getting over. It was an email ad, actually, that my husband had received from a huge international company, advertising a new breakfast special. But the price was a pound, and we live in the Republic of Ireland and we don’t use pounds, we use euros. Sure enough, a little while later my husband received another email ad, with an ‘Oops!’ and a correction of the price from pound to euro. Not a big deal, really, just a mistake.

I’m going to back up a few years, to my life prior to going back to work. I was a stay at home mom for 16 years. Loved it. Did lots. Never bored. Then the time came, and I returned to work outside of the home. I won’t even talk about how different the world was from when I left the work force, but I had changed. I was now holding myself to an unreasonable standard, where mistakes were simply unacceptable. Holy cow, the pressure I put myself under! Even writing an email had my palms all sweaty (What if I said the wrong thing? or didn’t ‘cc’ the right people?). It was debilitating. And it took a long time to learn that everyone, and I mean everyone, makes mistakes. And that is O.K.! You deal with the mistake, you learn from the mistake, and you move on from the mistake. End of story.

So I had to laugh when my husband told me about the email ad. Just another reminder that even the marketing departments in big, international corporations make mistakes.

I’m getting better at moving on after mistakes. There is still room for improvement, but I’m in a much healthier place than the impossible ‘mistake free’ mentality I had.

I hope you are having a mistake-free day – and that if you do make a mistake, you’ll know it is O.K.. 🙂

In Peace,
Dana

two chickens ashes dirt bath

My two girls, Daisy and Rose, underneath their house, having a dirt bath with ashes.

two eggs and two chickens

Our girls provide us with two fabulous eggs, nearly every day.

Cat on wall in sun

This is Kitty. She doesn’t like to look at the camera, but likes to be in the picture.

Frilly Isabelle Feb

This hellebore, Frilly Isabelle, is one of my favorite shades of pink, and is covered with blooms.

wild fennel in February morning sunlight

Wild fennel in morning sunlight

Playhouse in February morning sun and frost

The morning sunlight was simply magical here – the side of the playhouse roof – the fronds of the ornamental grass, the fields – the lighting was amazing!

Who’s got your heart?

two chickens in front of beech hedge

Rose and Daisy in their run

I always think of February as the month of ‘red hearts’.  🙂 O.K., maybe it has become somewhat commercialized, but I still see it as ‘the month of love’ for giving Valentine’s cards, maybe a small gift, but definitely showing appreciation for those we love.

January was a really busy month in our household. Holy Cow it has been crazy! Honestly, the schedule isn’t really slowing down much this month either. Thankfully, my husband and I are still able to manage a teeny, tiny bit of ‘down time’ to recharge, every once in a while. I’d be lost without that. We all would be! It is so much better for everyone, when we can recharge. I’m especially thankful because my husband makes it a priority that we both get the time we need to keep the work/life/family balance.

My kids are growing up – 21, 19, and 15 years old – so I really appreciate whenever I get to spend time with them. They are so different from each other! It is a joy to watch them grow into the wonderful people that they are. Those everyday moments can be quite special.

It seems we are too frequently reminded of how fleeting life can be. There are, sadly, no guarantees. It really is important to make the most of every day and to be the best version of ourselves. (That’s not always easy, but it is always worth it.)

I hope you are surrounded by the people you love, and who love you right back.

In Peace,
Dana

Winter sunshine hellebore

Winter sunshine hellebore (in January)

My three top performing hellebore plants are shown in this post: Winter Sunshine, Frilly Isabelle, and Double Ellen Red.

Winter Sunshine hellebore

Winter Sunshine hellebore in full bloom

We have just a couple of rose flowers in the garden – at the very end of their lives.

Ancient Mariner David Austin Rose

Ancient Mariner David Austin Rose

James Austin (David Austin)Rose

James Austin rose (from David Austin)

Double Ellen Red Hellebore

Double Ellen Red Hellebore

Hellebore Double Ellen Red up close

Hellebore Double Ellen Red

I enjoy taking pictures in the fog…

Nootka Cypress tree in fog

Nootka Cypress tree on a foggy morning

Frilly Isabelle Hellebore

Frilly Isabelle Hellebore

Frilly Isabelle Hellebore

Frilly Isabelle Hellebore

Frilly Isabelle Hellebore

Frilly Isabelle Hellebore

Ornamental Grass sunny

The ornamental grass, in the beautiful sunshine, is laden with raindrops

 

 

The beauty of January

Frosty sunrise chickenhouse view

Rise and shine chickens!

Hi there! Has it been frosty where you live? or maybe snowy? We’ve been so lucky (well, I consider it lucky) that we’ve only had a few days of hard frost, which by any standards isn’t bad at all. There have been some beautiful sunrises and some absolutely gorgeous sunsets too, making January quite enjoyable!

I managed to get in the garden twice so far this year. Yup, twice: once to start pruning my roses and once to do some weeding. Both jobs are not nearly done! But it did feel good to get outside in the fresh air. I have a very warm pair of gardening gloves that were perfect for those cold days.

The days are ‘getting longer’ too! The chickens were going to bed at 4:30 pm in the darkest days of winter, whereas they are now going to bed after 5 pm! Yay for more daylight!

Here are a few pictures from my garden in January, and mostly on frosty days.

I hope you are staying cozy and warm!

In Peace,
Dana

Nootka Cypress

One of my favorite trees: Nootka Cypress

Globe Artichokes January

Globe Artichokes from the summer in a pink hued sky

Frosty view of front garden

Another one of my favorite evergreen trees: Abies Koreana

Black spider plants

I don’t know the name of this plant (given to me by a neighbor). I think it is a black ornamental grass of some type. 🙂

Frozen rose

a frozen rose

 

Frosty January view of playhouse

a frosty view of the garden around the playhouse

2019 was full of Flowers, Fowl, and Fun

Snowdrops in January

Snowdrops in January

Hellebore Frilly Isabelle

Hellebore Frilly Isabelle in February

Happy (almost) New Year! What a joy it has been looking through pictures of this past year while putting together this blog post! I love taking pictures and capturing what is happening in the garden, and it is nice to then go back and see what changes there were in the garden throughout the course of the year. The garden is always in a state of flux and growth. The biggest change to the garden this year, though, was the addition of chickens. I adore having them as pets. The Long Island Red (hybrid) chickens joined our family in March, at 23 weeks. They each started laying one egg a day a couple of weeks later and have continued ever since. Their house and run now take up a large part of our back garden, where I can watch them from our kitchen.

There have been other changes in the garden, too. In one of my lavender beds, I removed a large plant that I have never been a fan of (name unknown). What a great feeling it was to get rid of it! In its place, I added a fig tree. My love of evergreen trees continues, with the addition of a small one, Picea pungens ‘Super Blue’,  to the garden this year.

Plants and shrubs were added to a few of the beds around the yard. I like making these small changes, which of course add up over time.

My two rose beds have also had more David Austin roses added to the collection. The boxwood (box) hedge in the newest rose bed is doing really well and slowly filling in. This is exciting to see because we grew all of these plants from cuttings. “Yay!” for successful ways to save money in the garden!

We had quite a fruitful crop of apples and pears this year! Lucky enough, we didn’t have any major storms to knock down the fruit prematurely from the trees, as has happened in the past. (And they tasted delicious!)

I’m thankful for our harvest of garlic, too. There is nothing nicer than homegrown garlic!

My crop of sweet pea smelled simply amazing this year. I was able to cut bouquet after bouquet of pretty, sweet smelling flowers for weeks.

Like Sweet pea, Sunflowers have been a staple in the garden for the past number of years, and I plan to continue with that tradition.

Not all was pretty in the garden this year though. My Incrediball Hydrangea started the season off well, but finished with a burnt look from, apparently, too much sun. I will move it to a shady spot this year.

Another section of the back garden has become quite overrun by weeds – in a very bad way! And therein lies my challenge for 2020!

I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in the garden, photographing it and writing about it. I hope you have also enjoyed it.

I’m very excited to see what the garden brings in 2020!

Thank you so much for being a part of my gardening and blogging experience! I have had visitors to my blog from all over the world, and I’m so glad you’ve stopped by. Please do feel free to write a note, especially from where you are from. I’d love to e-meet you! 🙂

I wish you all best wishes for a wonderful and healthy New Year! May 2020 be everything you hope it to be!

In Peace,
Dana

 

Garlic in Feb 2019

Garlic in February

Cleared out lavender + hydrangea bed March 1

Lavender bed cleared of unwanted plants while Lavender, Hydrangea & Lilies remain – March 1

pink hyacinth in a jug with chicken house in the background

A bouquet of Hyacinth and the hen house

Hellebore Winter Sunshine March GREEN

Hellebore Winter Sunshine in March

Freshly dug up bed - Lavender + hydrangea - fresh compost

Lavender bed cleared of unwanted plants while Lavender, Hydrangea & Lilies remain. Here it has been freshly turned with compost added.

Abies Koreana + pine cones March 31st

Abies Koreana covered in pine cones March 31st

Surrounding fields in April

Surrounding fields in April

Aubrietia in April

Aubrietia in April (can you see my boots?)

Front Garden View April 26

Front Garden View at the end of April

Japanese Maple garden view end of April

Japanese Maple garden view end of April

Dug-up bed mature Lavender + hydrangea + hosta + lilies

Lavender bed cleared of unwanted plants while Lavender, Hydrangea & Lilies remain.

Merlot tulips + aubrietia

Merlot tulips and aubrietia

Dana in compost with chickens and cat

Dana in compost with chickens and Kitty

Strawberry Plants May 2

Strawberry Plants at the beginning of May

Chamaecyparis nootkatensis 'Pendula' (Nootka Cypress)

Chamaecyparis nootkatensis ‘Pendula’ (Nootka Cypress) in May

 

Lily of the Valley + cypress Nootka

Lily of the Valley planted with our cypress Nootka

view of garden around playhouse in May

View of the garden around the playhouse in May

Hawthorn trees in May

Hawthorn trees in May

 

Lilacs + Hawthorn May

Lilacs and Hawthorn in May

Mature lavender + mystery plant

Here is a picture of the mystery plant (at the back of the bed) last year. The mature lavender plant at the front is the source of many of my lavender wands!

Newly dug up bed mature lavender + hydrangea + new fig tree

Lavender bed cleared of unwanted plants while Lavender, Hydrangea & Lilies remain, and a fig tree has been added.

Chicken house + 1 chicken in May June

Chicken house and 1 free range chicken in June

Viburnum June

Viburnum in June

Full rose plant in June

Full rose plant in June

Poppy garden June

Poppy garden in June

4 chickens in Japanese Maple garden

4 chickens in Japanese Maple garden

Primula capitata subsp mooreana

Primula capitata subsp mooreana

June view of the veggie garden

June view of the veggie garden

Playhouse flowers lupin iris bleeding heart

Flowers at the playhouse – lupin, iris and bleeding heart

June Rainbow garden

June Rainbow garden

Lavender colored poppies

Lavender colored poppies

Chickens following Emer

Chickens following my daughter

Chicken at ditch wall garden July 11

Chicken at ditch wall garden July 11

July front garden

Front garden in July

July harvest of garlic

July harvest of garlic

Newest evergreen - Picea pungens 'Super Blue

Newest evergreen – Picea pungens ‘Super Blue’

July cleaned up lavender bed

July cleaned up lavender bed

Vase of Daisies in July

Vase of Daisies in July

Pears in July

Pears in July

Lavender wands in July

Lavender wands in July

August View of Garden Sunflowers + hydrangea

August View of Garden Sunflowers and hydrangea

Sweet pea + Kitty

Sweet pea + Kitty

August Lily + chickens

August Lily and chickens

August Sunflowers

August Sunflowers

 

Lilies in August

Lilies in August

Fig plant in August

Fig tree in August

Chicken in driveway in August

Chicken in driveway in August

Sunflower + Apple tree in August

Sunflower and Apple tree in August

Black ornamental Grass in August

Black ornamental Grass in August

Light Pink David Austin Roses in August

Light Pink David Austin Roses in August

Buttercup squash August

Buttercup squash in August

 

Chickens + pink hydrangea

Chickens  and pink hydrangea

Chickens outside run in September

Chickens outside their run in September

Pears in September

Pears in September

apples in bowl + tree

apples in bowl and apple tree

Deep pink David Austin Roses in September

Deep pink David Austin Roses in September

Yellow David Austin Roses in September

Yellow David Austin Roses in September

October apple pie and sunflowers

Apple pie and sunflowers in October

October Playhouse garden with chickens

Playhouse garden with chickens in October

October Hydrangea

Hydrangea blooms in October

The first evergreen tree which we planted: Chamaecyparis nootkatensis 'Pendula' (Nootka Cypress)

The first evergreen tree which we planted: Chamaecyparis nootkatensis ‘Pendula’ (Nootka Cypress)

October Garden Hazelnut tree

Hazelnut tree in October

Nov Lavender wreath

Lavender wreath made in November

November Chicken house in Sunrise

November Chicken house in Sunrise

December Chickens and Cat

December Chickens and Cat

Blue Blanket with poppies + Dana in Family room

Me with my poppy blanket which I crocheted 🙂

 

Thankful for the Birdsong

Mrs Hop's Scarecrow

My friend Betty made this scarecrow for me many years ago.

I’m going to be honest; I haven’t worked in my garden in weeks, other than deadheading some of my roses. But every single day I am thankful to be able to look out into my garden and enjoy what is there. The garden will always attract me, but I also love watching the birds in and around the garden. It seems to be the perfect time of year for starlings to put on their shows – or murmurations. It is so neat to watch! Our garden is filled with birds, as there is still a lot for them to eat.

June 2013 Monsignor McCloskey in the garden

Monsignor McCloskey in the church garden in 2013, in Fayetteville, NY

Three very dear friends of mine, all of whom sadly have now passed away, also had a love of birds. Monsignor McCloskey used to have several bird feeders outside his living room window so that he could watch them during the day in his retirement. He also had a wrist watch that had several different bird whistles that it could play on command. He loved showing this to the children before or after mass on a Sunday!

Betty & Harold at the 4th of July parade in 2006 in Manlius, NY

Betty (far left in blue top) & Harold with my very young children at the 4th of July parade in 2006 in Manlius, NY

My other friends, and former neighbors, Betty and Harold, had their bird feeders right outside their kitchen window. I loved my visits with Monsignor and my visits with Betty and Harold, and it was such a bonus to get to enjoy the bird shows, too!

Aug 2015 bird at Betty's feeder

At a visit to ‘Betty’s kitchen’ in 2015

Aug 2015 hummingbird drinking at Betty's window

This was a a treat for me while visiting Betty and Harold in 2015 as I rarely see hummingbirds!

Aug 2015 chipmunk at Betty's feeder

O.K., so not always birds at Betty’s bird feeders!

I think of Monsignor, Betty, and Harold now as I marvel at the starling’s formations, or as I enjoy the birdsong that is constant in my yard, despite not having a ‘bird feeder’. I miss them, and am so thankful for the many years we enjoyed each other’s friendship. I still can’t believe how blessed I am to have had such special people in my life.

Tree full of birds Nov 16

This tree, as seen from my yard, is always filled with either starlings or crows, depending on the day!

They have had such a huge impact on me, simply by being themselves. I can still hear their voices, and their words of wisdom and comfort, and their laughs. They might not be here in person, but they are always with me in my heart.

Dead sunflowers with Goldfinch Oct 2019

These sunflowers will be left for most of the winter. In the middle of this picture (although not in focus) is a lovely male Goldfinch, noted by his red face and black and white head.

I’m thankful for the pure beauty of the birdsong, and the chance to not only hear it but to see the birds in all of their singing glory. I’m also thankful for those who share in this love of birdsong, especially Monsignor, Betty and Harold. May we each find our own ‘birdsong’.

I wish all of my American family and friends a Happy Thanksgiving!

In Peace,
Dana

Dried fall flowers Thanksgiving 2019

Dried fall flower arrangement.

Inspiration from the Beatitudes

I rarely write about my faith, and not because I don’t have a strong faith. I just don’t usually bring it up when I’m chatting about my garden. 🙂 But you haven’t heard from me in a couple of weeks because, well, I couldn’t find the right words to say. Today began the St. Gerard Majella novena in the area where I live. (A novena is a devotion with prayers or services on nine consecutive days.) This is the only novena I’ve participated in, and I try to go to at least some part of the nine days every year, and have done so for the past 8 years. As I sat in the pew today, and listened to the prayers and the sermon, I felt compelled to share the eight Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-10), which are the teachings of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount.

helenium young Aug 27

The eight Beatitudes in Matthew:

Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Helenium up close Jul 29

Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.

Helenium Sep 19 upclose

Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.

Helenium Jul 31

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.

Helenium Moerheim Beauty Sept 18

Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.

helenium + daisies

Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.

Yellow David Austin Rose + Helenium morning sun Sept 21

Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.

Helenium 'Moerheim Beauty'

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Red Admiral & Small Tortoiseshell butterflies

May we all be blessed by our actions and what is in our hearts.

In peace,
Dana

Fall (re)view of the garden

Ladder view of sunflowers + sweet pea + apples Sept 10

A view of the garden while standing on a ladder

Recently, while walking in the garden, I had a thought of ‘Now this is exactly what I was working towards’. I’m going to temper that ‘perfect feeling’ with a disclaimer that my garden is very far from perfect. But, it brings me peace, and joy, and I simply love my time in the garden. I have sunflowers, sweet pea, apple trees, a pear tree, and the rose bed is filled with roses and buds about to bloom. I walk around the garden, with chickens nearby, and simply enjoy everything around me and honestly, I’m learning to ignore the weeds. 🙂

Apple tree + bowl of apples + sunflowers Sept 10

A beautiful day in September means a fun photo shoot in the garden

miniature sunflower vase + apple

A very tiny sunflower in a very tiny vase

We have two apple trees: one is an eating apple tree (variety unknown), and one is a cooking apple tree (Arthur Turner). Some of the apples have grown to quite a large size this year. The first few years we had ‘baby’ apples, really. So it is nice to have these ‘full size’ ones. Both of our trees lean to one side and as they are maturing it is getting worse. We started to straighten up one of the trees this past winter, and it worked, straightening it up a bit. We’ll be doing the same again this winter for the 2nd tree, and a bit more on the first tree to get it fully upright. I’m just glad we are still able to rectify this leaning issue!

Sunflower closed Aug 31

Even before sunflowers bloom they are so pretty!

sunflowers in a vase Aug 19

It’s nice to be able to cut flowers and enjoy them in a vase, too.

The sunflowers have been so easy to grow. They haven’t needed any special attention. I have short and tall plants, and almost all of them have several flowers per stem, and best of all, the birds love them! I’ve taken a few flower heads to save the seeds to plant for next year and the birds get to eat the rest. Not a bad deal for the birds!

Sunflower head with missing seeds Sep 7

A sunflower head with only half of its seeds, thanks to the birds.

Sunflower full bloom blue sky Aug 24

The bees enjoy all of the different sunflower varieties I have

Sunflower cluster Sep 10

Large or small, the sunflowers are bright and cheerful and always make me smile!

I am going to boast that the Tamar mix organic sweet peas are STILL going strong! I have had cut flowers in the house for the past 5 weeks. They are so sweet! Now, they really only last for about 3 (maybe 4) days inside, but their scent is amazing during that time. I’ll be looking to save those seeds, too.

Sweet pea + sunflowers Sept 10

The Tamar mix organic sweet pea is still going strong!

Roses. Doesn’t everyone love roses? I think I have always wanted a rose bed, and it was the first bed I created when we started this garden. I try to get roses that are fragrant as well as beautiful and hardy (tough standards here!). This year the roses are doing so well. I don’t use chemicals, which means I don’t spray them for blackspot. Some of the plants do well, some suffer a bit during the season. But they all seem to be doing well now and the bed looks and smells beautiful!

A cluster of light pink David Austin roses (Scepter'd Isle)

A cluster of light pink David Austin roses (Scepter’d Isle)

A light pink David Austin roses (Scepter'd Isle)

A light pink David Austin roses (Scepter’d Isle)

Lichfield Angel David Austin Rose

A creamy white David Austin Rose (Lichfield Angel)

David Austin Teasing Georgia yellow rose Sept 18

A yellow David Austin rose (Teasing Georgia)

A medium pink David Austin Rose (Harlow Carr)

Look at all of the buds on this medium pink colored David Austin Rose (Harlow Carr)!

Gertrude Jekyll - David Austin Rose

A deep pink David Austin Rose (Gertrude Jekyll)

I usually have a picture in my head of what I’m working towards in the garden. Sometimes it’s clear, sometimes not so much. Thankfully, one idea plays into the next and they all tend to work together. It is a process that requires a lot of patience! There is still planning going on in my head, and loads more to do in the garden, but I love this process.

Sunflower heads + heart Sep 7

The seeds from these two sunflower heads have been harvested for next year’s planting

I hope you’ve enjoyed the walk through my garden! Make sure to say ‘hello’ to the chickens on your way out! 🙂

In peace,
Dana

 

four chickens in the garden

‘The girls’ roaming the garden