Easy Organic treatment for Aphids

Lilies May 2020

Lilies May 2020 after treating with soapy water

Hi there! Apparently, it is that time of year again: the season of aphids. Aphids are small, come in many colors – although mine are all green, and are soft bodied. Oh, and they love to suck the life out of your plants! The other day I discovered one of my hellebore plants was completely covered in them. I’m not sure how I missed seeing them before it reached this stage, but the plant was infested! As I continued my walk around the garden, I discovered that my lilies were also covered with aphids, not as badly, but nonetheless, covered. The roses didn’t have any, which surprised me because that is the only place I’d usually find them. This post is to help anyone who is trying to get rid of aphids, organically.

Lilac Sensation + helleborus foetidus or the stinking hellebore

Lilac ‘Sensation’ + helleborus foetidus or the stinking hellebore (or in this case, the infested hellebore)

I have to admit that I don’t usually have a huge issue with aphids. Perhaps the ladybirds (ladybugs), a natural predator of them, normally keep them in check. I’ve only ever seen them on my roses, and I can usually get rid of them with my fingers (think: squish – sorry, that’s probably a bit gross). But this time, there were too many aphids on the hellebore plant, and they were well into the lilies, where I couldn’t get to them. So I searched online for organic solutions. The top solution that came up was using a power hose. I guess that is fine if you have a sturdy plant, but anyway, that isn’t an option for me. The next solution was to spray the plant with soapy water. I had my doubts that this would work.

Syringa vulgaris Sensation with Syringa v Ludwig Spaeth in background

Syringa vulgaris ‘Sensation’ with Syringa v ‘Ludwig Spaeth’ in the background. This is a much nicer picture than of aphids!

Both plants were sprayed down thoroughly. I also removed as many aphids as possible with my fingers (yes, I squished them). I’ve done this over a few days, and both plants look so much better! The lilies seem completely clear, and while the hellebore isn’t completely clear yet, it has only a few left. I’ll be honest with you: I’m going to now cut the hellebore down to the ground since its season is finished anyway. It is advised to continue spraying for a couple of weeks, which I’ll do to the lilies. I used simple dish soap and cold water in a small spray bottle. It really is a simple and safe solution, which I’m happy to share.

Lilies August 2019

The lilies looked beautiful in August last year!

There are no photos of the infestation! I was more concerned with getting rid of them than photographing them. I will hopefully have beautiful photos of the lilies when they bloom in July, though! Please do stay tuned. 🙂

I hope you’ve found this helpful, although I more hope that you won’t need to use it!

Do take care!

In Peace,
Dana

Chicken with egg in house

One of our newest members of the flock, very proud of her egg!

I’ve always gardened organically for my family. It seems important now, too, to continue that way for our chickens, especially since we enjoy eating their eggs.

baby egg yolk + adult egg yolk

The ‘baby’ chickens are about 6 months old, and our other ones are 1.5 years old. There is a bit of a difference in the size of the eggs!

4 chickens in green turtle

It has taken a month, but they finally all ‘hang out’ together!

 

Life is still beautiful

Columbine

This flower is known as Columbine, Aquilegia or Granny’s bonnet

Hi there! This Covid-19 has me up and down, and spinning all around. Honestly I find myself relishing being home all the time and at the same time feeling guilty because, well, I like being home all the time. I go out once a week to do our grocery shopping, and that’s it. I think I feel the most stress when I am out shopping, because it is during this time that I think about the fact that this is a pandemic. We are living through a pandemic. And while so many people will recover after getting Covid-19, many people will not. I try not to have that thought hang around in my head for too long, but I do acknowledge it.

Hawthorn flowers

Some of the Hawthorn trees are in bloom with these lovely white flowers that are lightly scented

Since the stay at home order was initiated, we have started a new family routine of everyone meeting in the tv room, every night, for the evening news. This was something that we just never did before. I’m glad we do it now. We listen, we discuss, we think about what is happening, and best of all, we are together. We also enjoy family dinners together – every night! With our crazy schedules, that was quite a feat before the stay at home orders. The kids are old enough to help out, too. And by ‘help out’ I mean they make dinner start to finish and then clean up (we are so appreciative!). I’m proud to say that their meals are top notch, too. So for me, there have been many benefits, which I am quick to balance with the knowledge that for so many, there are terrible hardships.

Rosemary flowers

My Rosemary plant is in full bloom with tiny blueish flowers

There is one thing that is constant, though, and that is that there is beauty all around us – pandemic or not. Look and you shall find … Beauty: in nature, in the trees, in the flowers, in the weather, in family and friends, in smiles (that perhaps we can’t see behind the face masks, but are there nonetheless). There are people doing “good deeds” all around the world, and I challenge you to share those good news stories. Better still, be the one doing those good deeds. Now, more than ever, we need to be supporting one another and lifting each other up.

Strawberry Hill Climber David Austin Rose

My roses have just begun to bloom. This one is called Strawberry Hill, and is a David Austin climber

I hope you are keeping well, in every sense of the word. As always, I find my garden to be my sanctuary. I hope you’ll enjoy a bit of a tour around the garden to see what is blooming now and what is coming shortly. It seems to change every day. Take care!

In Peace,
Dana

Syringa vulgaris Sensation

Syringa vulgaris ‘Sensation’

This lilac with variegated flowers is full of blooms this year. I’ve been waiting patiently for this to happen, as it usually only produces a few blooms. Whether it is full of flowers, or has just a few, it is still a lovely shrub to have!

Lilac shrubs

On the left: Syringa v Sensation and next to it: Syringa v Ludwig Spaeth

Syringa Ludwig Spaeth

Syringa v Ludwig Spaeth has deep redish-purple flowers

Ludwig Spaeth lilac

A little evening sunlight on our Ludwig Spaeth lilac

The allium are also blooming now. I have some that I planted many years ago, which are a light purple color. They have spread, and this year there are quite a few of them, although their blooms are somewhat small. We also have some newer ‘Purple Sensation’ allium, that are not in full bloom yet. Their color is ‘WOW’ purple! 🙂

allium group

Allium (not ‘Purple Sensation’)

Allium Purple Sensation

Allium ‘Purple Sensation’

Allium closeup

Allium ‘Purple Sensation’ not quite in full bloom

Allium from above

Allium ‘Purple Sensation’ from above

Allium + bamboo

Allium with our bamboo in the foreground

OK, the bamboo needs to be addressed. I was given a small pot of bamboo quite a few years ago. It is a black variety, I believe. But I haven’t found the right spot for it in the yard (yet), so I’ve kept it in a pot, and then divided it, and then divided it, and then divided it, and here we are! I think it has been too dry for it this spring, but otherwise it is usually happy.

Queen of the Night + Allium

Queen of the Night tulips with ‘Purple Sensation’ Allium

The beautiful Queen of the Night tulips are still looking lovely. We’ve had a mild spring, both related to rain and wind, so it is nice to enjoy them this length of time.

single Queen of the Night tulip

A single Queen of the Night tulip

Rose bed pre bloom

The rose bed with Queen of the Night tulips, ‘Purple Sensation’ allium and roses

This next plant doesn’t usually get any ‘blog time’ at this stage of the season. But I believe the dry spring has helped with us not having the dreaded black spot. I usually cut the leaves off of this hellebore for most of the season, due to black spot. The flowers may be finished, but I’m really enjoying the beautiful blue tinge leaves of my Winter Sunshine hellebore!

Helleborus Winter Sunshine

Helleborus Winter Sunshine

I also have a white lilac. It is actually light pink, until it opens white. I think the closed pink flowers are as pretty as the open ones!

Lilac Syringa v Beauty of Moscow

Syringa v Beauty of Moscow

Syringa v Beauty of Moscow closeup

Lilac Beauty of Moscow

Orange poppies + erysimum

California Poppies and Erysimum ‘Super Bowl’ Mauve

What a combination of colors with the California Poppies and the Erysimum ‘Super Bowl’ mauve! I love the boldness of the orange and purple! What do you think?

California Poppy with purple background

California Poppy with Erysimum ‘Super Bowl’ Mauve

Globe artichoke from above

Globe artichoke from above

We don’t eat the Globe artichokes. I love their beauty in the garden!

Globe artichoke

Globe artichoke

artichoke plant

The full globe artichoke plant – can you see the very tiny artichoke (center right)?

What’s up next?  These two beauties!

Iris pre bloom

Iris ‘Benton Storrington’

Peony pre bloom

Peony

Take care, and stay tuned to see what blooms next in the garden! 🙂

Today is brought to you by the letter ‘T’ – for Tulips and Together

Double late Mount Tacoma tulip

Double late Mount Tacoma tulip

Hi there! Welcome to my blog, where I’ll chat about just about anything, but I will always have pictures of flowers. I hope you are keeping well during this pandemic. Life is really crazy, isn’t it? For some, it is mostly an inconvenience to have to stay home. But for so many, it is much, much more. For that reason, I struggled for a long time about blogging. I don’t want to make light of a situation which is quite dire for so many. But I’ve also discovered that it is really important for us to have our breaks away from ‘everything Covid-19’. I’m also sure, if we conducted a study which measured people’s feelings after showing them pictures of flowers, that there would be a huge improvement in their mood. Don’t you think so, too? So it is a public service that I’m offering to lift spirits! 🙂

Did you notice my little nod to the children’s program ‘Sesame Street’ with my title? It always makes me smile when I hear references to sweet things from my childhood. I hope it made you smile! (Apologies if you haven’t seen Sesame Street, making my title a bit strange indeed.) The main star in the garden right now are my tulips. We’ve been so fortunate to have had such a mild and sunny April. Sometimes the tulips really get a beating with the wind and rain – but not this year. So I’ve managed to get a few (hundred?!) pictures. Of course, there are many sides to a flower – when it is sunny they open right up, first thing in the morning they are closed, and then there is the ‘in between’ phase. I don’t have a favorite, as I think every phase is beautiful. Please do enjoy the pictures I’ve put together for you.

Take care! Remember, we are in this together.

In Peace,
Dana

Pretty Princess upclose

inside the Pretty Princess tulip

Pretty Princess group of tulips

Pretty Princess tulips are a bright, happy pink color!

Pretty Princess tulips facing sun

Pretty Princess tulips facing the sun, which shows the different shades of the colors

The bright, cheerful colors of the Pretty Princess tulips are balanced in the same flower bed with the darker color of the Queen of the night tulips. The Queen of the night tulips are a deep purple, and are not a typical color that I would gravitate to – but I LOVE the color!

Queen of the night upclose

inside the Queen of the night tulip

Queen of the night group April 2020

Queen of the night tulips

Queen of the night through sunlight

Queen of the night tulips are a rich, deep purple color

Orange is also a color that I wouldn’t usually pick for flowers. But these Ballerina tulips are one of my favorite varieties! I like the subtlety of the different colors, and their beautiful shape. Boy, do they shout for attention, too – no matter where they are in the yard!

Ballerina tulip fully open

A very sunny day for the Ballerina tulip to open fully

Ballerina tulip slightly open

Ballerina tulip slightly opened

Ballerina tulip single no sun

a single Ballerina tulip – this is my favorite picture of this flower

The Fringed tulip Swan wings is a pure white variety with spiky edging. It is stunning.  Unfortunately, this is the only one left of the ten I planted a number of years ago. It is tucked behind a small group of creamy white tulips called Spring Green.

Fringed tulip swan wings

the inside of Fringed tulip Swan wings

Fringed tulip swan wings side and inside

Fringed tulip Swan wings

Tulips Spring Green and Swan Wings

the inside of Spring Green tulips and the single Swan Wings tulip

Tulip Spring Green

Tulip Spring Green

Tulip Spring Green closed

a mostly closed Tulip Spring Green

There is a strong pink theme throughout my garden. All shades of pink! This Merlot tulip has found its way into two of my flower beds, as I love the color.

Tulip Merlot center

inside Tulip Merlot

Merlot slightly open

Merlot tulip slightly open

Merlot closed

Merlot tulip closed

pink and white tulip

this one always reminds me of cotton candy!

pink and white tulip and anemone

the anemone are still blooming throughout the garden

tulip and anemone

a single tulip surrounded by anemone Mr. Fokker

The Parrot tulip is so unusual, but has always been one I have liked. No surprise that it is pink!

Parrot tulip

inside the pink Parrot tulip

Parrot tulip single no sun

a single, closed pink Parrot tulip

That’s it from me! I hope you enjoyed yourself! 🙂

picture of mom in the garden April 2020

I’m sending you best wishes, all bundled up warm in my garden! I hope I’ve made you smile!

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 🙂