Do you see what I see?

stay tuned for this view in bloom...

stay tuned for this view in bloom…

My husband and I work for two different entities that are both located at Dublin City University.  We walk around the same grounds and, technically, we see the same things.  It turns out though, that we see completely differently what is right in front of both of us.  Funny how that is.  🙂

Looking at the back of the DCU front entrance

Looking at the back of the DCU front entrance

lovely rows of plants

lovely rows of plants

I tend to look at the trees, shrubs, flowers, and whether the environment feels inviting.  It’s no secret that those things bring me joy, so I seek them out.  My husband, not so much.

I guess I like to see things neat and orderly

I guess I like to see things neat and orderly

This whole conversation came about when I asked my husband if he liked how the crocus were planted among the daffodils, as we walked past them.  Maybe you can guess his response:  “What crocus?”  followed by “and what daffodils?”.  These flowers are in front of the Nurses building where we often meet for lunch.  I love the combination!  How did he not *see* them?

Crocus among the daffodils

Crocus among the daffodils

A non-close-up view of the crocus/daffodil combination

A non-close-up view of the crocus/daffodil combination in front of the nurses building.

I love the tall structure of the evergreens along the pathway.

the other side of the pathway near the Nurses building

the other side of the pathway near the Nurses building while the picture below is from the other side of the other side!

Looking out towards the tall structured evergreens

A boxwood oval formation with rocks and shaped boxwood inside the figure.  Hmmm, interesting look?

I really like the grounds at DCU.   I love seeing flowers.  I think they create an inviting atmosphere no matter where they are.

Near the front reception of DCU

Near the front reception of DCU

If there is “sun” in the weather forecast I throw my camera in my bag, because you just never know what you might see on your lunch-time walk.

ornamental cabbage in the park

ornamental cabbage in the park

Take this ornamental cabbage, for example!  What a pleasant surprise to see this in the park.  I must try growing these at some stage because it is wonderful to have some color in the garden at this time of year.

color in the garden with ornamental cabbage and primrose

color in the garden with ornamental cabbage and primrose

purple ornamental cabbage

purple ornamental cabbage

The loop around the park is a wonderful walk during lunch break.  It is peaceful and beautiful.

I see structure

I see structure among the trees…

But if you look closely underneath the trees, you will see these lovely crocus:

crocus under the trees

crocus under the trees

a bit of a curved yellow formation

a bit of a curved yellow formation

deep purple are my favorite

the deep purple colored crocus are my favorite

white crocus

white crocus

wild life ;-)

wild life 😉

an Irish robin in the park

an Irish robin in the park

The tete-a-tete were just starting to bloom when I took these pictures last week.

tete-a-tete (dwarf daffodil) with one anemone

tete-a-tete (dwarf daffodil) with one anemone

tete-a-tete and hyacinth

tete-a-tete and a hyacinth whose leaves have seen better days…

DCU woodlands ... sort of

DCU woodlands … sort of

I call the above picture “anticipation”!  So much bloomin’ potential!

crocus in the park at DCU

crocus in the park at DCU … I love the play of sunlight.

I hope you enjoyed “seeing what I see” while walking around DCU.

In peace,
Dana

There is so much more to this picture than just a building. Do you see the hedges, trees, monument, paving???

There is so much more to this picture than just a building. Do you see the two layers of hedges, tree lines, monument, paving?  😉

Brighten your day with cheerful colors

In the beginning...

In the beginning…

I love flower arranging.  My husband knows this and he very kindly bought bunches of bright cheerful colored roses for me to “play” with.  Isn’t he sweet? 🙂

Adding colors one by one

Adding colors one by one

I started with the orange roses.  I trimmed a bit off of the bottom and then took most of the leaves off (just my personal preference).   The orange color is really pretty.

Natural lighting in our front hall

Natural lighting in our front hall

The yellow roses were the largest roses and I really like them. I only trimmed the tiniest amount off of the stems to keep them nice and tall.

Full view

Full view

I prefer not to have all of the flowers the same height in order to give the arrangement some depth. So I cut some pink roses quite short and have them throughout the middle and the outside of the vase.

Outside lighting

Outside lighting

The colors all went so well together.  To me, it is quite cheerful!

Cheerful colors for everyday

Cheerful colors for everyday

What a lovely “pick me up”!  And so easy to do.  The vase is a very plain large opening glass vase, which was perfect for the amount of roses.

lighting just not working for this picture...

lighting just not working for this picture…

It might be St. Valentine’s Day tomorrow, but really, why not have flowers in our lives everyday?

Happy “Flowers Every Day”  to you!

In peace,
Dana

February brings Spring to Ireland … sorta

signs of spring

signs of spring

Hmmm, I am wondering how I somehow sneak back into blogland after not posting anything for three months?  Do I just jump back in and pretend I’ve been here all along???  Or maybe I list the five million reasons why I haven’t been able to blog??? No, I think I’ll start with:

I have REALLY missed taking pictures and blogging!!!

O.K., now to my list of excuses 🙂   Suffice it to say that working, coaching, parenting kids who swim and Irish dance, and traveling 700 miles a week has kept me out of the garden. But it has been during this time when I couldn’t be on my blog that I discovered how much I truly enjoy working on my blog, and I really miss it.  So once again, I will do my best to stay on top of my garden and reporting all things beautiful to you (while hopefully maintaining a level of sanity)!

Daffodil bulbs - more signs of spring

Daffodil bulbs – more signs of spring

What could be more beautiful than the greens from bulbs pushing their way out of the soil?  I see this as new signs of life and hope for all things beautiful to come!  I can even ignore all of the weeds and ONLY see the new greens from the bulbs … because why spoil something so exciting?

Tulips pushing through

Tulips pushing through in the Rose Garden

Look at the stones in my soil!  I clear them away all the time, and new ones appear.   Ha!  The same thing happens with the weeds!

Winter Sunshine Helleborus

Winter Sunshine Helleborus

I bought this lovely “Winter Sunshine” Hellebore last year.  The flowers are really pretty!

Helleborus Winter Sunshine

Helleborus Winter Sunshine – look at all of those flowers!

Have I mentioned our weather to you? I titled today’s blog “February brings spring to Ireland … sorta” because the weather we have been having is more  “winter storm-like” than spring-like. We haven’t gone more than a day without rain, and I mean a lot of rain. The bad weather has been relentless since November. November!  We’ve had major (rain & wind) storm after storm after storm.  The funny thing about Ireland is, though, that the sun will peek out for a short amount of time every now and then… just enough to keep us from going completely crazy. Good thing!

Helleborus Winter Sunshine

Helleborus Winter Sunshine

O.K.,  now I have a picture that could win a prize for “Worst Garden Ever” due to the bed being completely taken over by grass.  This is why you should never have a wild flower garden where you really want a proper flower bed.  Lesson learned!

Grass is everywhere!

Grass is everywhere!

I definitely know that anything can be achieved by starting small. Just look at any of my gardening projects and you’ll know I have patience and perseverance. But this bed has me running for any other job in the garden!   I’m hoping one of these days I’ll just dive in and dig up that grass (again)!!!

Weeping Cypress Nootka

Weeping Cypress Nootka

Elsewhere in the garden… My weeping Cypress Nootka is well settled in now. I simply love it.

Abies Koreana

Abies Koreana

Almost directly across from my Weeping Cypress Nootka is my newest tree, an Abies Koreana.  It shouldn’t grow too big, and has a lovely “Christmas tree” shape.  We grow our garden one tree/plant at a time!

Ditch Wall Garden

Ditch Wall Garden

The color in my ditch wall garden is really striking at the moment, don’t you think?

Favorite Winter Flower - Anemone

Favorite Winter Flower – Anemone

I probably have too many pictures of my anemone, but I love the color they provide in the winter and very early spring months!

It was so lovely sharing my garden with you.  I hope you enjoyed it, too!

I hope that no matter what the weather is where you are that you are able to enjoy it! … and I also hope that the rain in Ireland eases up a bit so we can enjoy more time in the garden!

Happy Winter/Spring! 🙂

In peace,
Dana

In a Vase on Monday: Parrot Tulips and a vase of misfits

Parrot tulips

Parrot tulips

Given that I had a vase of flowers from the garden, I could hardly let my Monday go by without contributing to Cathy’s meme “In a Vase on Monday”!  Thank you Cathy, of Rambling in the garden https://ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com/2015/05/04/in-a-vase-on-monday-in-your-own-hands/ , for hosting such a fun meme! Pop on over to Cathy’s blog to see some great ideas for creating arrangements from what is in the garden now from gardens all around the world!

up close

up close

These parrot tulips are new flowers for me. We planted them last fall, and they have provided a lovely pop of colour in the garden.

front garden with parrot tulips

front garden with parrot tulips

They are rather unusual, or shall I say “sloppy”?  Yes, I’m sorry, I think they are rather sloppy the way they open up and seem to almost hang with their arms wide open!  I still like them, I just find them rather … odd?

different backdrop

different backdrop

Their petals have a fringe to them, too, just to make sure they are completely different looking to other tulips! 😉

My second vase is filled with flowers that were either on the ground, or I cut them because they were on their way out…

what a stormy sky for a backdrop

what a stormy sky for a backdrop

Lovely colours, even if a bit tattered looking!

miscellaneous tulips

miscellaneous tulips

I’m loving that I had enough tulips to cut for a vase.  I *still* struggle with cutting flowers from the garden!  It’s not so bad if they are nearly gone though.

view from above

view from above

I’ll finish with one more look at a most unusual tulip…

Parrot tulip

Parrot tulip

Happy Monday!

Dana

In a Vase on Monday: In like a Lion and out like a Lamb

Lion Lamb Spring Bouquet

A Lion & a Lamb & a Spring Bouquet

Are you smiling?  I hope so!  I had a little fun with this “In a Vase on Monday” post.  I came across these cute puppets last week when I was deep cleaning our playroom (read: went through all of the toys to get rid of what wasn’t played with anymore).  I’m hopeless though, and only a few things were actually taken away.  Items like these cute puppets were just squished into higher-up cabinets to have on hand for little visitors. (Did ya like that pun?)  Somehow, thankfully, the room did end up tidied and I found some props for my post!

full view

full view

I really can’t believe it is nearing the end of March.  The weather was true to the expression: it was crazy at the beginning of the month and it has thankfully calmed down (enough to garden at least!).

Daffodil season in full swing

Daffodil season in full swing (Ice King & Tresamble). These large daffodils have since turned a creamy white. the Ice King variety resembles a carnation.

We have collected quite a few different varieties of daffodils over the past few years and I am really liking all of them!

different varieties of daffodils

The small daffodils (Velocity) I bought from Mr. Middleton’s Garden Shop in Dublin. The  catalogue describes them perfectly: early dwarf daffodil with deep yellow strongly reflexed petals and an orange red corona.  So true!

pink anemone

pink anemone: Anemone coronaria ‘Sylphide’

I have only one pink anemone, but I thought it was stunning so I had to add it. It is my favourite colour of pink!  Just one little bloom for the vase. This little guy is planted in a container. He did really well last year, and I’m delighted to see flowers again this year.  I’ve read that the anemone will do better after several years. Lovely news!

Paperwhites were forced inside (and the family don't enjoy their scent!)

Paperwhites (Narcissus papyraceus) were forced inside (and my family do not enjoy their scent!)

stacking the flowers on top of each other

stacking the flowers on top of each other

We have been so lucky to have good weather on the weekends.  I have so enjoyed working in the garden!  The sunny days help to inspire creating an arrangement.

Anemones blooming all winter long

Anemones blooming all winter long

I was rather surprised to have enough for an arrangement.  If you looked at the yard you’d wonder where the flowers came from, they are spread all around, not really making an impact just yet (except for the purple anemones as they have been making an impact all winter.)

Anemone clump

Anemone clump

Anemone beauty on a frosty morning

Anemone beauty on a frosty morning

The Mr Fokker Anemone fade to a light purple as they age.  They start a lovely deep, dark purple.

Belleek vase seemed fitting for March (think St. Patrick's Day)

Belleek vase seemed fitting for March (think St. Patrick’s Day)

I missed quite a few ‘In a Vase on Monday’ postings this winter.  I have to say it is nice to be back at it again.  I hope you will also join us!  Cathy at Rambling in the Garden https://ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com/2015/03/23/in-a-vase-on-monday-between-sweet-williams-two-lips/  hosts this fun (read: addictive) meme. You will see some lovely arrangements when you stop by!

Happy Spring!
Dana

my favourite picture of the group

my favourite picture of the group

My First Weekend in the garden and boy was it lovely!

Pulmonaria

Pulmonaria

What a wonderful weekend I had in the garden!  The weather was perfectly spring like.  There was so much weeding and cleaning up to do it was a bit overwhelming at first.  Ever feel that way?  All I could do was start with one little job at a time.

Primrose

Primrose

There are lovely signs of spring.

Anemone Mr. Fokker

Anemone Mr. Fokker

I also had some new plants to plant, and others to move around the yard. My husband is very good and does the planting for me, even the movings around of plants (sometimes more than once).

Anemone

Anemone

I had forgotten that I had some very pink anemone growing in a container.  What a lovely surprise to see them this week!

Anemone

Anemone

Our strawberry plants are in a mess.  You should really clean up the plants around September.  Some how our schedules got in the way of our gardening last fall.  So we  are now in the process of cleaning them up and what a job it is!

Strawberry beds in need of attention

Strawberry beds in need of attention

I cut back all of the green leaves of my Hellebores. Some of their leaves were turning black and it wasn’t pretty.  They have been flowering all winter, so if you are looking for a winter blooming plant, this is definitely one to get (and so many colours to choose from).

Hellebores

Hellebores

Our winter garlic is finally up, growing and doing well. And look at that, another strawberry bed in need of attention!  (arg!)

Garlic bed

Garlic bed

Garlic

Garlic

This is the first daffodil in my yard.  It is kind of lonely all on its own. Hopefully the others will be up soon!

Daffodil

Daffodil

I’m so happy to have had time in the garden this weekend! I hope spring has sprung for you, too (or will soon)!

Happy spring!
Dana

Wordless Wednesday (sort of): Cup of Roses with a slice of Cake

Wordless Wednesday: oh how I love posting pictures just for fun!

Dried roses from the garden

Dried roses from the garden

I took these pictures in December on a cold but beautifully sunny day.  The sun sits so low this time of year that shadows are unavoidable.

birthday cake

birthday cake

I made this cake for my niece’s 10th birthday. She picked the colour icing and the “white” cake (she didn’t want chocolate!).  I tried something a little different with my favourite white cake recipe by adding peppermint extract.  It was a love it or hate it reaction!  I really liked it.  🙂

Seriously moist cake

Seriously moist cake

For those of you who are always looking for a good cake recipe, here is the link to my favourite: http://iambaker.net/the-perfect-white-cake/   Seriously, it is super moist and always comes out lovely!

Cake & Roses

Cake & Roses

Cup of Roses & Cake

Roses & Cake

I love this textured pottery cup and saucer.  It is from Japan.

Cup of Roses

Cup of Roses

There. Finished. and I didn’t use too many words. sorta.

Happy Wednesday!  It is blustery cold here.  I hope wherever you are in the world that you are nice and warm!

Peace,
Dana

 

Lavender Season – a delight to behold!

 

Lavender up close

Lavender up close

We moved into our home four years ago. My husband and I really like living in the country, and our home suits us just right. The yard was more or less a blank canvas for us, except for the established lavender garden. What a treat! Lavender! So pretty to look at, and a scent to match that beauty!

One view of the lavender garden

One view of the lavender garden.  (As a side note, the fields in the background are planted with potatoes and the plants have bloomed with white flowers!)

Our first summer here, one of my sisters-in-law suggested I dry the lavender. I’ve been drying it and finding different things to do with it ever since. I have really grown to love it.   It is so fragrant that I don’t even need to brush past it to enjoy the scent; it is already wafting in the air.  It truly is a relaxing fragrance too.

Lavender garden with an old milk container squished in

Lavender garden with an old milk container squished in

Full lavender garden view with milk container

Full lavender garden view with milk container

Someone with so much lavender in their yard surely has to do something creative with it!  I surprised myself last year with the number of lavender wands I made.  The colors of the ribbons I used to weave the lavender were so pretty to work with.

Lavender Wands

Lavender Wands

I shouldn’t forget the wreath, either.  I was really delighted with how it came out.  This year I just haven’t had the time to spend on crafts, unfortunately.  That is a huge unfortunately, because I really enjoy making things with my hands.

Lavender wreath with dried roses

Lavender wreath with dried roses

There is still a bit of time left to work with the lavender, so I just might get something made.  This past week I have been cutting some of it to dry for bouquets.  (All is definitely not lost!)

If you would like to try your hand at making lavender wands, you can have a look at my post from last year:   https://mominthegarden.wordpress.com/2013/07/22/lavender-wands-my-first-lavender-wreath/

Lavandula angustifolia Lavender in our fruit and vegetable garden

Lavandula angustifolia Lavender in our fruit and vegetable garden

Even after working long days, it has been so wonderful to go into the garden and cut lavender. The lavender I just planted last year was the first in need of cutting. I can’t believe how much it grew!  Lavandula angustifolia Lavender.  It was just a bit bluer than my established lavender, and the blooms were a bit thinner, too.  But still beautiful.

Nature also enjoy the lavender

Nature also enjoying the lavender

I bet you didn’t think I could pose this many pictures of lavender, now did you?  Even the different times of day give it a different appearance!

Lavender in evening sunlight

Lavender in evening sunlight – this looks almost pink (but is definitely purple)

Clematis Bagatelle 'Dorothy Walton' and lavender

Clematis Bagatelle ‘Dorothy Walton’ and lavender

Lavender and play house

Lavender and play house

A sunny evening with dark clouds in the background

A sunny evening with a dark sky in the background

I loved how the lavender gave some pretty color to our fruit and vegetable garden.  I was sad to cut the color away…

Lavender close up

Lavender close up

One last view of the lavender garden

One last view of the lavender garden

And that is the story of my lavender this season!  I hope you have enjoyed seeing all of my pictures.  I wish I could share the beautiful scent with you too! Maybe one day we’ll have the technology to do that. 🙂

Dana

 

 

 

 

 

A stone tower in the garden (of course. Don’t you have one?)

Tower in the garden

Tower in the garden

And you probably thought I was kidding, didn’t you?  … So this is the story of friends getting together to enjoy each other’s company, share gardening stories, and have a walk about our gardens.  “Tour” is such a formal word.  We were among friends and there was laughter,  a relaxed atmosphere, and it was a very enjoyable day!  Oh, and yes, that tower is in a fabulous garden.

Susan and her egg painting

Susan and her egg painting

The organizer of everything wonderful is my dear friend Susan.  She has such a wealth of knowledge, and knows tons about plants too!  I couldn’t ask for a better friend.  We laughed when I took this picture because I love the painting above her head.  It was a very sly way of me capturing both. 🙂

I love Irish pottery

Beautiful Irish pottery

I love pottery.  Isn’t this purple design lovely? We enjoyed coffee (or tea) and homemade scones at the start of our visit.

Cup of tea to start our morning

Cup of tea to start our morning

Susan’s garden is amazing.  There is a great deal of beautiful stone work in addition to the tower!  It has a very welcoming feel all around. I found it difficult to capture it in pictures, try as I may.  Even though you might not get the entire feel of the garden, I think you will enjoy seeing bits and pieces as captured through my lens.

Stone entryway to an open garden (perfect for gatherings)

Stone entryway to an open garden (perfect for gatherings)

Stone hideaway that is very much like Newgrange in County Meath!

Stone hideaway that is very much like Newgrange in County Meath!

View of the lake  from lower garden

View of the lake from lower garden

Not so much a gardening picture as a picture to remind us to sit and enjoy the view...

Not so much a gardening picture as a picture to remind us to sit and enjoy the view…

The sound of the water on the shore is so relaxing

The sound of the water on the shore is so relaxing

Leaving the lower gardens through the stones

Leaving the lower gardens through the large stone entryway

Blue hydrangea

Blue hydrangea

I especially love the boxwood lining the path/garden.

I especially love the boxwood lining the path/garden.

I don't think I was completely successful in capturing all of the front garden. There was was too much for my lens!

I don’t think I was completely successful in capturing all of the front garden. There was was too much for my lens!

lacecap hydrangea

lacecap hydrangea

hydrangea which is supposed to be green (but is quite pretty the color it is)

hydrangea which is supposed to be green (but is quite pretty the color it is)

Flowering dogwood tree (definitely not the official name...)

Flowering dogwood tree (definitely not the official name…)

lambs ear flower (yes, I really must work on learning the proper names...)

Stachys byzantina (lamb’s ear flower)

One of my favorite flowers! Lychnis Coronaria (dusty miller)

One of my favorite flowers. Lychnis Coronaria (dusty miller)

Filipendula purpurea (Japanese Meadowsweet)

Filipendula purpurea (Japanese Meadowsweet)

Debbie loved the color contrast here, and I have to agree it is so pretty!

Debbie loved the color contrast here, and I have to agree it is so pretty!

Annabelle hydrangea underneath a cherry tree

Annabelle hydrangea underneath a cherry tree with boxwood lining the front

I've called this picture "Susan's Lamp" as I need to come back and fill in the names of plant/shrub/tree. Stay tuned...

I’ve called this picture “Susan’s Lamp” as I need to come back and fill in the names of plant/shrub/tree. Stay tuned…

View of lake from main garden area

Wouldn’t it be nice to enjoy your morning coffee here?

These wonderful ladies are mentoring me in my gardening adventures!

These wonderful ladies are mentoring me in my gardening adventures!

It was a full morning just at Susan’s house!  I will save the pictures from Debbie’s and Gio’s garden for another post.   I’m grateful for my friends, and that they share their love of gardening with me.

Happy gardening (even better with a friend)!

Dana