Probably my most favorite time of the year!

Peony bouquet on table July 9

Peony ‘Sarah Bernhardt’ bouquet July 9th

Well hello, and welcome to my blog! There is something about summer that creates a feeling of being carefree, don’t you think? The bright evenings and, when we get it, the warmth of the sun energizes me. The all too busy family schedule takes a bit of a breather, which is a welcome reprieve. Best of all, we get to spend more time with family and friends. The garden, on the other hand, is full steam ahead!

Peony bouquet up close Sarah Bernhardt July 9

Peony ‘Sarah Bernhardt’ bouquet July 9th

The peony season was fantastic this year! The very last of my peony (two ‘Sarah Bernhardt’ plants) finished blooming just this week.¬† Oh they were so pretty!

Peony Sarah Bernhardt July 9

Peony ‘Sarah Bernhardt’ July 9th

Also coming to an end this week were the poppies growing in my rose bed. There were hundreds of flowers! I was surprised how strong some of their roots were, which I discovered as I pulled them up. One ‘two handed pull’ had me landing on my backside when it finally came free! ūüôā They were pretty, but the downside was that they didn’t allow any air circulation around my roses, which I think was quite unfortunate.¬† I will have to thin them out next year, and not allow them to take over the bed!

Purple Poppies Full Bloom Rose Bed

Purple Poppies in full bloom in the Rose bed – Where are the roses?

Purple Poppies ONE bloom Rose Bed

Just a couple of blooms of the Purple Poppies left in the Rose bed

Poppy heads

the Poppies I pulled from the Rose bed

Rose bed

A look at the Rose bed just after pulling the purple Poppies (and after a bit of weeding)

I did manage to get some pictures of some very pretty roses (ones that weren’t hidden by poppies!).¬† Over the past few years I have planted quite a few David Austin roses. All of them are scented, some more so than others. Sometimes their blooms can be so heavy that they face down, and therefore are harder to photograph (if you see me crouching on the ground, this is why!). But other than that, I think they are absolutely wonderful!

Light Pink David Austin 'Olivia Rose Austin' Rose July 13

David Austin ‘Olivia Rose Austin’ Rose

David Austin 'Teasing Georgia' Rose July

David Austin ‘Teasing Georgia’ Rose

Boscobel David Austin Rose

David Austin ‘Boscobel’ Rose

The hosta are in bloom with tall lilac colored flowers. Hosta would prefer shade, which I have very little of in my yard. For now, they seem to be doing OK.

Hydrangea, Lilies, Hosta

Hydrangea, Lilies, and Hosta in bloom

Lilies + Hosta

Lilies in a pot, Hosta flowers in bloom

The area in the background of the above picture was originally all brambles and weeds. Over the past two years, after clearing the area, I’ve added some really hardy perennials to see if they will overtake the weeds. This year looks pretty good! The perennial geranium, bergenia, and Lychnis coronaria (rose campion) came back and are doing well!

Lychnis coronaria rose campion

Lychnis coronaria (also known as rose campion) is a real eye-catcher in the garden!

There are different varieties of hydrangea in the garden, and the Incrediball is just now coming into ‘color’ bloom (creamy white), which you can see in the picture below. The pink lupin (or lupine) to the right of it is just about finished, and there is some Lychnis coronaria (also known as rose campion) in there, too. The hydrangea paniculata is still forming its blooms, with no color just yet, while the lavender is perfect for harvesting (to dry) right now!

Front Gate Garden July 18

Our Front Gate Garden July 18

Front Gate garden hydrangea lavender lupin

The same Front Gate Garden the week before: with pink lupin (or lupine), hydrangea ‘incrediball’ and lavender

Early morning view of lavender

Lavandula angustifolia – Lavender July 18th and ready for harvesting (for drying)

Phew! There is so much going on in the garden! And the lavender is just calling me to do something creative with it. ūüôā

I hope you are enjoying your summer, too!

In peace,
Dana

Peony 'Sarah Bernhardt' fully open July 9

Peony ‘Sarah Bernhardt’ fully open July 9

Spring Reflections

Queen of the Night Tulip

I love spring! It is so nice to welcome in the warmer weather, the singing birds, and the colorful flowers.¬† These are such simple pleasures, and all it takes is a conscious effort to stop and make the time to appreciate them. I genuinely LOVE these simple pleasures! This is what I hashtag #beautyallaroundyou.¬† (Sorry, I can’t help myself!)

cherry blossoms and bluebells

It is also the time when I plan out any changes or additions to the garden.  I add at least a few new things to the garden every year.  I just like to have something new to look forward to!

New additions this year: Tulips Don Quichotte and Mystic van Eijk surrounding viburnum

Apple blossoms from our Arthur Turner (cooking) apple tree and our new tulips surrounding the viburnum

The viburnum in the photo(s) above isn’t new. I had it in a pot for two years.¬† It was happy for the first year, and then it wanted more attention which I neglected to give it.¬† So I hoped it would be happier in the ground, and so we planted it at the end of last season, and then added tulip bulbs around it last fall.¬† The viburnum has lots of little blooms on it, but they are a light green still, whereas when they are in full bloom the flowers will be white.

a nicer view of the colors of tulips Don Quichotte and Mystic van Eijk

I have some (O.K., LOTS of) ideas for additions to the garden.¬† I have to pace myself though, as it is a lot of work to take care of!¬† I don’t use any chemicals, so that means there are a lot of weeds to pull!¬† It also means that there are a lot of weeds I don’t get around to taking out, and that is O.K., too.¬† I really enjoy working in the garden, but I want to be able to enjoy other activities, too, so I just have to be conscious not to over do it.

Parrot tulips

This garden needs some more tulips!

The above picture shows the bed which has the pink parrot tulips in it. They are near the end of their lives in this picture.  But we have lost some of these tulips over the years, and I really would like to get more for this bed.  The bright pink flowers in front are bergenia and they are doing great!

bergenia in front and parrot tulips in the back

I will be changing around our vegetable/fruit garden a tiny bit.¬† I have been focusing more on flowers than food, and the garden just needs some adjustments.¬† It is all part of maintaining a balance.¬† Here’s a look at some of the fruit that looks great right now in the early stages!

blueberry flowers and a bee

teeny tiny pears

cooking apple (Arthur Turner) blossoms

eating apple blossoms

But my favorite bed at the moment is the one that has our Japanese Maple. It took us nearly three years to realize our Japanese Maple was extremely unhappy (we had different issues with it along the way).¬† But I think we’ve managed to finally get it right with this tree, as it looks beautiful this year!

side view Japanese Maple garden

I find it peaceful and rejuvenating when I get to spend time in the garden.  Oh, and I also LOVE to take pictures!  Lots and lots and lots of pictures!

Bluebells and Japanese Maple tree

I hope you also get to enjoy some time in the garden! But either way, I hope you enjoyed your visit to my garden. ūüôā

In peace,
Dana

Our Rainbow Garden

Deutzia Scabra looking rather pretty in June

Do you name your garden beds? ¬†I do. ¬†But as the beds change and evolve so do their names. ¬†This bed was formerly known as “messy garden”. ūüėČ ¬†It still is messy, actually, but it has become quite colorful so I think our new name of “Rainbow Garden” is much nicer.

The “messy garden bed” in June (plus Kitty)

The above picture is a “neat” view of our messy bed. ¬†It was early in the summer, and the Deutzia (the white flowering shrub) was in full bloom. We have spent about five years trying different plants (with lots of fails along the way!) to get it to where it is today. ¬†Part of the bed gets quite wet, while part is on the dry side (go figure), we get a lot of wind, and the soil wasn’t in great shape when we started. But now, the bed is really filling in and the plants are doing well.

the Rainbow Garden in early spring featuring erysimum bowles mauve in full bloom

I love to see bees in the garden! (Erysimum Bowles Mauve)

The bed now has two hellebores, a peony, Erysimum ‘Bowles’ Mauve’, globe artichokes, Mock Orange, Cornus florida ‘Cherokee Chief’, a yellow potentilla shrub and some white flowering bergenia. ¬†In the spring there are some tulips, and in summer there are quite a few poppies. And brand new this year we’ve added Zantedeschia aethiopica Crowborough (these are large white calla-like lilies).

Spring flowering white bergenia (the not-yet flowering potentilla is behind the tulips)

the tiny white Bergenia flowers in spring time

Boy do we have some color now! ¬†The poppies really give a POP of color. ¬†ūüôā The California poppies are short with a light orange color and *everywhere*. ¬†There are also several different varieties of annual poppies in varying shades of red and orange.

Rainbow Garden at the end of July

poppies

We have enjoyed flowers blooming in this bed all year, starting with our ‘winter sunshine’ Hellebore in January/February. The mild weather here in Ireland has the benefit of early blooming spring flowers, too. Now the bed is almost in full bloom with lots of color! ¬†I’m still waiting on the globe artichokes to bloom.

the Potentilla in full bloom with yellow flowers

Buddleja Buzz (dwarf butterfly bush) + Red Admiral butterfly

Buddleja Buzz (dwarf butterfly bush) on a sunny day

The garden is “peppered” with wild flowers, which provide a few different colors. ¬†I’m still not sure if that was a good idea or not, scattering wild flower seed throughout the bed a number of years ago. I actually thought I’d dug out all of the poppies this year! But I’m glad for their color, and they are easy enough to pull once they are done blooming.

Rainbow Garden on a cloudy day

this view is rather messy, but shows the pretty blue/green leaves from the hellebore

‘winter sunshine’ Hellebore in full bloom in February minus the leaves which I cut off due to blackspot

I could certainly look at the bed and think of all of the work which still needs to be done (how about some edging?!). But I choose to only see the pretty, albeit messy, side. Just a few years ago there was nothing there but grass. I like it much better now!

Rainbow Garden

I love living in the country. I find it so peaceful to spend time in the garden. Being able to create different beds with all different flowers is just icing on the cake!

I hope you are able to find some peace in what you do, too.

In peace,
Dana

Gardening Goals: Got this one

"before"

“before”

Well isn’t it nice of me to pop in to blog-land for a visit? ¬†I was beginning to wonder what was going on … But here we are now, ready to share some pictures and a gardening story.

I made a gardening goal for myself¬†as part of my New Year resolutions. ¬†It was to finally clean up this bed. ¬†REALLY clean it up. ¬†I figured without making it a top priority then it just wasn’t going to happen.

This is my “messy garden bed”. ¬†The above picture is from late summer when the poppies were in full bloom. ¬†I love the color that poppies provide, but I’m weary of the mess of them.

Part of the problem is that the border around the bed hasn’t worked. ¬†I originally had a small stone wall around the bed but we couldn’t keep it neat. ¬†I have two flower beds which have boxwood for a border. ¬†There is a third bed (between the first two) which will also have boxwood. ¬†I love the shape and neatness that the boxwood gives.

boxwood around the first rose bed

boxwood around the first rose bed

a small stone wall at the front of the ditch wall garden

we’ve managed to keep this low stone wall at the front of the ditch wall garden looking somewhat neat

So I’ve removed the stones and we will eventually plant boxwood. ¬†I’m going to make sure to have enough space on the outside of the boxwood to allow the mower’s wheels to fit! ¬†We just don’t have time to ‘strim’ around the garden. ¬†I’d like to have¬†more time enjoying¬†the garden, and not all of my time spent working in the garden. That balance needs a little tweaking for me.

in full bloom in July with Philadelphus (Mock Orange), Globe Artichokes, Deutzia (scabra), peony, bergenia, potentilla, and various wild flowers

in full bloom in July with Philadelphus (Mock Orange) on the left, Globe Artichokes in the middle, Deutzia (scabra) on the right, peony on the right, bergenia, potentilla, and various wild flowers

We’ve had quite a time figuring out this center garden bed. ¬†It can get *really* wet and the soil was anything but well-drained. ¬†It has taken time and lots of compost to get the soil in a fairly decent state. ¬†We’ve lost many a plant in this bed (nick-named the plant graveyard)! ¬†Some plants I have managed to save just by moving them to a different part of the yard.

what a mess

what a mess

So with the help of my son and husband we’ve been working on giving this bed a proper shape and getting rid of the grass, weeds and wildflowers. ¬†I just have to clear away this mess! It simply bothers me.

mostly cleared

(mostly cleared) on the left is a Buddleia BUZZ (butterfly bush) and on the right is a potentilla

It has been a lot of work. ¬†I go out for an hour at a time to turn the soil, pull out the grass, pull out the weeds, turn the soil again… ¬†arduous! But I think it is so worth it. ¬†I want to be able to really enjoy the plants that are in the garden, which this year I think I will be able to. ¬†These guys are tough, and have proved to me that they can survive this soil!

digging out a shape

digging out a shape.  The newest addition to the garden is a Cornus (florida) what I would call a Dogwood tree which is near the middle of the bed.

If I can manage it, I’ll pull the oval out just a tiny bit more. ¬†I’d like to get it right before planting the border. ¬†But I’m really happy with how it has evolved. ¬†I like the different shapes within the bed, and the different heights. ¬†I’m looking forward to seeing¬†how the colors look¬†this summer.

Hellebore

Hellebore

And that is what has been keeping me busy this last while! ¬†I hope you’ve managed to keep some of your resolutions!

In peace,
Dana

a frosty view of the garden in February

a frosty and foggy view of the garden in February

Purpose driven flower beds … Gladiolus: The Dark Knights

In the beginning...

In the beginning…

I.Love.Flowers. I do. Over the past 6 years I have created quite a few flower beds (10 beds, actually!) because like Claude Monte I need flowers every day. ūüôā

then came the first bloom

then came the first bloom

I am still learning and deciding which styles I like for beds, and how to display the flowers in the beds; i.e. in groups or dispersed throughout, one color / color theme or a mix of colors. I also like the idea of a ‚Äėcutting flower‚Äô bed, where the flowers are purpose grown specifically for cutting.

every stage of growth shows something new

every stage of growth shows something new

This particular bed (photo at top) was created with the intention of using it for planting squash.¬†¬† I wanted to grow squash on a trellis. Maybe you‚Äôve seen pictures on Pinterest of how lovely that can look? So I killed the grass with newspapers (that is shorthand for explaining how to kill grass without chemicals: cover with newspapers for minimum 3 months), dug up the soil, added compost, let it sit for a season and then it was all set for planting. ¬†The only problem was that we weren’t set for building a trellis (yet).

gladiolus with supports

gladiolus with supports (calendula in the bottom left photo)

The squash lost out, because I decided that I was going to fill the bed with the 40 Gladiolus which I had bought the previous year. Of all 40 bulbs, not a single one bloomed in the containers I had planted them in. ¬†I was hoping¬†that maybe in some nice compost and enough room they might be happier and I’d get a few flowers.

the blooms are quite large

the blooms are quite large

What a turn-around those bulbs had after I planted them in the bed.  They have been blooming since mid-July and it is now mid-August and they still looking all showy.

growing a bit sideways

growing a bit sideways

About the colors… I like purple in the garden, and the picture on the package is purple and burgundy and nothing at all like the purple and red colors which have bloomed in my garden. ¬†It reminds me too much of Christmas! ¬†But never the less, I love them.

we get a lot of wind!

we get a lot of wind!

Can you guess which way the winds blow at our house? ¬†The poor stems were fighting a loosing battle. ¬†I’m not sure how much help our supports are for them either, since they are still leaning forward! But they continue to bloom and they are simply stunning.

between the bloom size and color and hardiness, I love these guys!

between the bloom size and color and hardiness, I love these guys!

perfect flowers

perfect flowers

cuttings from the garden

cuttings from the garden

I have indeed cut stems and put them in a vase a few different times.  The stems are so long that after the lower flowers die I can cut the stem a second time and continue with all new blooms at the top of the stem.

2nd half of the stems!

2nd half of the stems!

showy from across the garden, too

showy from across the garden, too

I really like how they stand out across the garden.  Unusual colors for my garden, but I can make them work.

Purpose driven gardening, I like that. ūüôā

In Peace,
Dana

Taking a moment to SIT in the garden

Are you like me and constantly on the go? ¬†I mean I am constantly on a schedule. ¬†There is just so much to¬†plan and do and enjoy…

Running out of time, Running late, Running on time, or Running out of time: Which is it for you?

I love this clock which I saw in Glasgow. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†“Go! Go! Go!”

But every once in a while, usually dictated by my body shouting that it has had enough, it is necessary to recharge.

View in the garden

Views in the garden today

Today was that day for me.  Life has been pretty full for us lately, all good, but it has me rather run down.  I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to rest today, and really enjoy my garden (after a few chores, of course!).

Hawthorn tree in full bloom

Hawthorn tree in full bloom

What I really wanted today was a nap; but between the sunshine, and the neighbouring farmer working his field, that was just not happening.  So I did a few jobs that have been on my list:

  • Turned over a new flower bed.
new flower bed

new flower bed

  • Turned over the compost.
Compost looking pretty good

Compost looking pretty good

  • Marked with stones the hyacinth before they fade away.
Pink & White Hyacinth from early spring

Pink & White Hyacinth from early spring

Same garden, but the pink hyacinth are replaced by purple flowers.

Same garden, but the pink hyacinth are mostly gone and now it is a purple garden with lilacs, allium, Columbine, and Iris.

After those jobs were done, then I sat in the grass and watched, and listened, and simply enjoyed the garden.

view in the garden toward one of our cherry trees

view in the garden toward one of our cherry trees

view of our "messy" garden that will hopefully be cleaned up this summer...

view of our “messy” garden that will hopefully be cleaned up this summer… You can see some orange California poppies

Christmas tree

allium garden

allium garden (*great* year for allium this year, following last year’s poor show…)

Blue Tit bird feeding babies in the basketball hoop pipe...

Blue Tit bird feeding babies in the basketball hoop pipe…

Wow, what a feeling that was.  It was kinda strange because I really and truly have a hard time sitting and relaxing.  The weather was definitely a huge help. We have had very sunny, warm and simply perfect days.

Monkshood & bee

The bees were busy but hopefully also enjoying the good weather!

I hope that you are able to take some time out to enjoy all that is around you, too.

In peace,
Dana

 

Life is too short – plant those flowers

Blushing Lady tulip

Blushing Lady tulip

Life is too short so Plant flowers? ¬†Pardon me? ¬†Here is where I’m coming from: I know of way too many cases of terminal illnesses, or extremely serious illnesses, or instances of hardship. ¬†It is heartbreaking, and can really get me¬†down.¬†

early in the tulip season, right after some rain

early in the tulip season, right after some rain

Are flowers the answer to all of that heartache? ¬†No, they aren’t. ¬†But they can be a peaceful and beautiful diversion.

they are works of art to me

they are works of art to me

fully opened parrot tulip

fully opened parrot tulip

I think it is important to do things that make us happy, bring us joy, or simply make us smile.

burgundy colored tulips (I am getting quite the collection of colors!)

burgundy colored tulips (I am getting quite the collection of colors!)

Why not do something simple that brings such nice returns? ¬† You’d be surprised how just seeing flowers¬†can improve your mood. ¬†Last year I posted on my facebook page some pictures of flowers which my neighbor grows in her “roadside garden”.

Flowers from a roadside garden near my home

Flowers from a roadside garden near my home

They are so lovely to see. ¬†It seems I am always in a hurry and have too much on my mind yet when I see those flowers I just “stop” and enjoy that moment of beauty.

sure if you're gonna stop and take pictures you'd might as well say hello to the animals too! ;-)

sure if you’re gonna stop and take pictures you’d might as well say hello to the animals too! ūüėČ

For all of those people who are suffering in any way, I pray for you to find peace. May we all find ways to help those around us who might need that extra bit of kindness.

a little bit of sunshine opens up the flowers

a little bit of sunshine opens up the flowers

I think I’ll do my part in planting more flowers, too, to hopefully bring more beauty in the world.

Flowers from my neighbor's roadside garden

Flowers from my neighbor’s roadside garden

With warm regards,
Dana

 

 

Family time in the garden

The ditch wall garden full of color

The ditch-wall garden full of color

Working in the garden is not something that my kids would consider a “fun” past time, (or even my husband, ahem…) despite my best efforts to convince them it is! ¬†But yesterday, Easter Monday, we were all outside and at one point we were all working in one garden bed when my older daughter¬†laughed and said “isn’t this nice?”!

The Center Garden ever so slowly being transformed

The Center Garden ever so slowly being transformed

YES, yes it was! ¬†What I call the “Center Garden” is where we were all working. ¬†Over the past few years I’d had a wild-flower garden here, but it went terribly wrong with more grass this year than garden. ¬†I’ve spent quite a bit of time turning the soil/grass/sod. ¬†Yesterday we were able to shake the sod and get rid of the grass while leaving the soil. ¬†What a painstaking process! ¬†It was so wonderful to get the family’s help!

dark pink Hellebores

dark pink Hellebores

A bit of a side note from our working in the garden, but I’ve taken a real liking to Hellebores in the garden. ¬†They can add color all through the winter. ¬†These (above) are a dark pink color, and although they love to get black spot, after I cut off their leaves they look really pretty. ¬†They look like pink bells to me!

Another section of the ditch wall uncovered.

Another section of the ditch-wall uncovered

Another big job the family helped me with is clearing a second section of the ditch-wall.  It was all brambles, ivy and nettles!

close-up of the new section of the ditch wall

close-up of the new section of the ditch-wall

What a job that has been! The wall is in very poor shape. ¬†I’m trying to be careful to keep it as much in tact as possible. ¬†I’m focusing on the bottom section now that the stones are cleared. Believe it or not, ¬†I am hopeful that I’ll be able to plant here this summer. ¬†That is my motivation! ¬†I still have a lot to do to pull up those ivy roots. ¬†If only my good plants were so strong!

full view of "original" ditch wall

full view of “original” ditch wall

Just a few yards up from the new clearing my “original” ditch-wall garden is showing lots of color! ¬†I planted some aubretia last year and it is just starting to bloom. ¬†The daffodils are also just starting to add their color.

sunlight makes everything beautiful

sunlight makes everything beautiful

The key expression around here is … all in good time!

I hope that you and your family get to enjoy time together in the garden, even if not for pulling weeds!

In peace,
Dana