A mild and sunny September

Hello! Welcome to my blog. We have had mild and sunny weather throughout September, and I am so thankful for that. I know that for me, when life gets chaotic, as September tends to, I need to spend more time outside in the garden. Spending time in the garden is good for the soul. 🙂 I don’t necessarily need to work in the garden, just spending time among the flowers and trees is good enough.

While there is a lot of color in the garden, the pots on the deck are providing a fabulous splash of color, too. There’s no excuse to not have flowers as they’ll grow anywhere!

The sunflowers that were planted in late May are in full bloom now, and brightening up another section of the garden. Lesson learned: stager your planting!

This week I was able to gather enough roses to have a sweet little bouquet. The good news is that rose season isn’t over yet! There are still lots of buds to bloom. I did see quite a few aphids, too, though. So I was glad to have inspected the flowers and discovered those pests – and I promptly squished them.

Dahlias are now (finally) in full flower production. What a treat! I really like the color combination I have at the moment: cream, a deep, dark red and pink. I’m still debating which color I should add to the mix next year!

I will be joining The Propagator’s Six on Saturday meme, because I find it a fun way to show you what’s happened this past week in the garden. I hope you enjoy the tour!

helenium, sunflowers and marigolds at sunrise

1 – September morning sunlight. The morning sunlight, the dew, the colors of pumpkins, marigolds, helenium and sunflowers, all makes for a very beautiful morning walk about the garden. Some mornings are more beautiful than others, but always it is worth taking the time to stroll about the garden and soak up the goodness. The changes are so subtle, like the changing color of the pumpkins, and it is fun to note them.

David Austin Roses

2 – David Austin Roses. Just a handful of roses is all it took to bring some beauty inside! They are fragrant, too. 🙂

delphinium blue ocean and cobalt dreams on the deck

3 – Container garden. These are most of my ‘blooming containers’ on our deck. The delphinium (blue ocean) has multiple stems that are all filled with flowers. The super tall delphinium (cobalt dreams) was one that I planted from seed last year. It is very tall, and is blooming up the stalk! Behind those are the Cafe au Lait dahlias. There are quite a few blooms on them, too, providing a great show. While it is great having color on the deck, I’m hoping to get some of these plants in the ground next season.

sungold sunflower with bee and small tortoiseshell butterfly

4 – Sungold Sunflower. These ‘fluffy’ sunflowers are super fun. I love their texture, and so do the bees and butterflies (at least this small tortoiseshell does). They are short which works really well in my windy garden – no staking necessary. Their stems are rather short, which makes it tricky to cut them for an arrangement, but I’ll settle for enjoying them in the garden!

Cafe au Lait and coffee at midnight and maxi dahlias

5 & 6 – Dahlias Cafe au Lait, Coffee at Midnight, Tam Tam, and Maxi. As I’ve mentioned before, these plants were all eaten to the ground by something (unknown). It took them all summer to grow back and only now are they really producing flowers full steam. But boy was it worth the wait. They are so pretty! I especially like their different shapes and textures. I do plan on adding to my collection. 🙂

I’m delighted with the selection of blooms for September. The mild weather means that I’m able to enjoy being out in the garden, admiring the blooms! Which is your favorite? (I’m not sure I’d be able to pick just one.)

Take care!

In Peace,
Dana

Take note: the weather has been amazing!

Hi there, and welcome to my blog! The weather plays an important role in the garden, and by extension, in the gardener’s life. While others might not pay too close attention to the rainfall, or the temperatures, I can definitely tell you if it was a dry or a wet season based on how much extra watering I had to do in the garden! So I tend to mention the weather … a lot. And the weather has been quite good lately. For those who live in areas that don’t see the sun as much as you’d like, you’ll know the uplift you get with a blue sky. There is nothing like being outdoors when the temperatures are mild, the sky is blue, and the sun is shining! I am very thankful for those days.

The garden has also been enjoying the mild weather. Our fig tree now has quite a few figs on it. Growing a fig tree is new to me. The figs are quite small and hard at the moment. I’m hoping that they’ll mature enough to eat before we get a frost.

The ‘fall flowers’ are looking quite pretty. The rudbeckia, persicaria, helenium and incrediball hydrangea are all near each other and the colors just look so pretty together. Next year I’m hoping to also have more purple in the mix, with the newly planted salvia and agapanthus.

The lavender is really showing off in this good weather. You might remember that I planted a border of tiny lavender plants this spring. All of those new plants are now blooming for a second time! This looks so pretty as the plants are that bit bigger than the first blooming. I’m looking forward to seeing it when they are all filled out, which should happen next year.

Next to the lavender border, I have the dwarf Little Lime hydrangeas. It took them quite a while to get blooms, but now that they have them they are quite pretty. They are planted too close to the grass, though, which means we have some more edging to do, to give them more space.

The three Marina Di Chioggia squash are all doing well. I’m looking forward to seeing how they taste!

I’ll be joining The Propagator’s Six on Saturday meme. I hope you enjoy the tour!

Figs from the fig tree

1 – Fig tree. We have figs! I’m guessing that the tree wasn’t getting enough water this summer. It didn’t produce any fruit until the rains came in September. Some of the fruit seems to be going dark and hard, too. I have some research to do!

Lavender blooming again!
lavender border view with sunflowers

2 – Lavender border. Lavender grows quite quickly. The border is filing in nicely, and what a bonus to get a second blooming! The dark purple spire flowers are so pretty, especially with the sunflower backdrop.

Fall flowers of rudbeckia, helenium, persicaria and hydrangea
helenium and incrediball hydrangea

3 – Fall flowers: Helenium, rudbeckia, persicaria, incrediball hydrangea. The helenium flowers are the second flowering from those plants. I completely deadheaded them after the first flowering. So worth it!

4 – Marina di Chioggia squash. Three different squash in these pictures and they all look different! It is a large and heavy squash!

5 – Dwarf Little Lime hydrangea border. I’m very happy with how they look as the border to this side of the garden. We just need to edge the grass a bit more so they aren’t so squished. 🙂

coleus at the back door

6 – Coleus. These beauties took a long time to get going, but they are now completely filled out (and higher than the wall). I know I just showed them not that long ago, but I thought this was a nice update.

Doesn’t it make such a huge difference when the sky is blue? I hope you found some joy while visiting my garden! Take care 🙂

In Peace,
Dana

A garden transformation with a ‘before’ and ‘after’

Hi there! Welcome to my blog where I like to talk about all things gardening. 🙂 I was scrolling back through photos the other day when I came across two pictures that you’ll see today. One is of my seed packet for Marina di Chioggia squash. This is definitely the mystery squash from last week – despite the fact that my online search of this squash doesn’t fully align with the seed packet image.

The other picture that caught my attention is of our garden from this past May. It was completely bare! So of course I had to seek out a current picture. (My feature image at the top of the page is one.) The garden looks so full now! The hosta filled out, and the sunflowers of course, along with the plants growing on the arch (sweet pea and squash), the pumpkin bed, not to mention the pear tree, blueberries and strawberries. But in addition to those, there are the perennial plants that we added this year: dwarf Little Lime hydrangeas, Lavender and Rosemary, all along the borders. The perennials have come along really well in one season, and I like the way that they frame the garden. It truly is amazing, though, how quickly everything changes!

Speaking of changes, there is definitely a fall feel to the garden, now. The helenium are on their second flush of flowers (worth deadheading the old ones!) and look very pretty with the Incrediball hydrangea as a backdrop.

The Rudbeckia (black-eyed-Susan) and Persicaria blooming under the birch trees also signals the shift to fall.

The dahlias are finally picking up the pace of flowering. You may remember that the ones that were planted in the ground this spring were eaten by something. I’m talking decimated! So it has taken this long for them to recover, grow and now produce blooms. But it is worth the wait, given the beautiful flowers I’m getting now. The dahlias in containers are a lot more work, mostly ensuring that they have enough water. But they did start flowering much faster, having not been attacked by the mystery bug. I do plan to plant them out in the ground next spring, though.

I’m joining The Propagator and his ‘Six on Saturday’ meme again this week.

Enjoy the tour!

A before and after picture of the garden looking at the sunflower bed
A before and after picture of the garden looking at the Pumpkin bed

1 – The ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures! The clouds are the only things that seem to have stayed the same. The bottom pictures aren’t completely equal because the raspberries have grown so tall that if I stood in front of them, none of the rest of the garden would be visible. Also, in the same bottom pictures, we started with garlic in the left raised bed, and ended with sunflowers. It is fun tracking the growth of everything. 🙂

Rudbeckia and Persicaria under birch trees

2 – The birch tree bed. I’m delighted with how the rudbeckia and persicaria have filled out, especially since I haven’t really given them a lot of room. I might remove some of the bearded iris to give them more space – I’m still deciding on that.

Helenium and the hydrangea bed

3 – Helenium ‘Moerheim Beauty’. You might remember that I moved these three plants from two different locations in the yard this year. They are so much happier here and have provided a lovely splash of color for a nice length of time. I also used supports for them, which kept them upright and looking lovely. I deadheaded these plants a couple of weeks ago and they are now blooming again. The red is very pretty with the white Incrediball hydrangeas. It would be even nicer with the purple agapanthus that is planted in the middle of this bed, but they decided they weren’t interested in blooming this year. Better luck next year!

seed packet of marina di chioggia

4 – Marina Di Chioggia seed packet. The picture on this seed packet isn’t like the images I get when I Google it. This is most likely the mystery squash from last week’s post. Glad I was able to figure that out (eventually).

arrangement with dahlias and sunflowers
arrangement with dahlias and Japanese anemone
arrangement with dahlias and Japanese anemone

5 & 6 – Dahlias! We have dinner plate dahlia Cafe au Lait (a creamy white), cactus dahlia Coffee at midnight (a deep red), and pompon or ball dahlia Tam Tam (also a deep red). In the top picture there is a pink dahlia that I only have as ‘Maxi’. All of them are just so pretty! I am already thinking about what colors and varieties to add for next year!

I hope you’ve transitioned nicely into the next season! I’m really liking these fall flowers, so I’m not too upset about the passing of summer. What about you? Do you prefer summer or fall flowers? 🙂

Take care!

In Peace,
Dana

Sunflower bliss (continued!)

Hi there! Welcome to my blog. Ireland’s beautiful summer weather continued this week and the garden is quite happy about that – and so am I! I hope you aren’t quite tired of sunflowers, yet, as I have more this week. There are so many different varieties, how could I not be excited? The flower heads are lovely and small so I’ve used them in some flower arrangements. I also have a mysterious squash, that perhaps you can help me to identify? 🙂

I’ll be joining the Propagator’s ‘Six on Saturday’ meme. Feel free to join in.

Enjoy the tour!

1 – Red Kuri squash. This is not the mystery squash, although it wasn’t planted here by me. This beautiful, yellow for now, squash is in my new flower bed, at the top of our garden. This bed was made last year by covering the grass with cardboard and then layering it with grass cuttings and then compost, and repeating that a few more times. So I can thank the compost for this plant, I’m sure. You might remember that last year I planted red kuri squash to grow up my pumpkin arch. It is funny how yellow they start out, because by full maturity they are a burnt orange/red. Anyway, this plant has two big squash formed, with a few tiny ones. I’m glad I let it grow, despite its awkward position in the garden.

Here’s a picture as a reminder of what the red kuri squash looked like last year on the pumpkin arch. They are the bright burnt orange/redish squash on the right side of the arch and in front, on the left.

mystery squash - large, heavy and green

2 – Mystery squash. Yeah, so these are the ones I can’t really identify. The one, top right picture, fell off of the vine and it is no wonder as it weighs 4.5 kg (9 lbs)! Here are the options of what was sown: Muscade De Provence Musk Pumpkin, Marina Di Chioggia Organic Pumpkin, or nagydobosi pumpkin. The one that fell is the wrong shape for any of these, although I’m leaning more towards nagydobosi. I’m hoping that as the others ripen more, they will reveal their true selves. One thing is clear: I need a better system for tagging plants.

Bella fuchsia in full bloom

3 – Bella fuchsia. Look at those colors! This plant has quietly been doing its thing, and completely filing the container with itself. The colors are so pretty, and yet don’t shout out for attention. I am already planning on sliding this pot into the playhouse in November to ‘over winter’ it. I’m really hoping that it will keep.

dahlais delphinium gladiolas on deck

4 – The back deck flower pots! Wow! There’s a lot of fun stuff going on here. Dahlias, delphinium, lilies, gladiolas and a sunflower. I do love having them all on the deck and in full view from my kitchen. But the plan is to plant out the dahlias next year. It’s a lot of work keeping them watered. The delphinium will not be far from this spot, but will be planted in the ground (so no moving around to suit pictures!). Who knows, I might get other plants to fill the pots. 🙂

different sunflower varieties
sunflower arrangement with globe artichokes and dahlias
different sunflower varieties

5 & 6 – Sunflowers! I made two more arrangements this week and I just can’t get enough of them. Here’s what I have:

Claret F1 (these are dark colored flowers, some are burgundy, some are chocolate, some are dark burnt orange. I LOVE these as they have so many long stems coming off of the main stem and there are loads of flowers on each stem. Lots of color variety, too, which is beautiful.

Sungold sunflowers. This has a great big (albeit dwarf!) fluffy head of golden yellow. In the top collage, it is the bottom left picture. The short stem is the downside (12″-18″ tall), but otherwise this is a super neat flower. Multiple stems with just one flower per stem. So not as much bang for your buck as the Claret, but well worth it for the unique look and texture.

Sunflower Waooh! Brown centers with yellow edges, and only 40 – 60 cm tall (16-24″). Shorter are better for the high winds we tend to get. Lots of blooms on each stem. A good, traditional sunflower.

Sunny Flowers Fantasy & Esther. These have a mixture of colors and are not too tall (70 cm). These are the first lemony yellow sunflowers I have seen. Some have brown centers, some have yellow/green centers. Lots of flowers on each stem with very strong stems.

Sunflower Giant. Of all the sunflowers, I confess that this is my least favorite and here’s why: it is a single stem that grows tall (6’/2m) with just one, single and very large flowerhead. I suppose that every sunflower garden should have at least one of these traditional flowers. I actually have two this year. The birds have already started eating the seeds of one, which you can see in the top picture.

Did you notice the ‘coffee at midnight’ dahlias and some globe artichokes in with the sunflowers? I thought that they paired really nicely with them.

And that is my ‘Six on Saturday’ collection. Thanks so much for stopping by and I really hope you enjoyed the tour. Take care!

In Peace,
Dana

Summer flower seed success

Hello! Welcome to my blog. Today, let’s talk about seeds. You may recall that I did *not* have a good start with my seedlings, way back in March. I’d moved them all to a bedroom where they did well, but since I didn’t see them all the time (like when they were in my hallway) they tended to get neglected. Just to let you know: a little bit of neglect is a quick and easy way to kill off seedlings. That was the first roadblock. The second was that some (read: lots) of my seeds didn’t take. This happens. So I tried again. And then again. So more or less, everything was late going into the garden, and a lot of what grew in the end would not have been my first choice. But nevertheless, the garden is now thriving and full of flowers and color!

What did I grow from seed? I grew: sweet pea, pumpkins, squash, sunflowers and coleus. The coleus was the very last plant to finally make it to a respectable size. I somehow have about a dozen pumpkins, even though I was convinced those were planted way too late. The sunflowers are definitely a mixed bag – I have several different varieties. Wish I could say I knew exactly which ones I planted where, but it was all a guessing game in the end. I thought I was way too late with planting them, too. I’m absolutely delighted with them, now, though! Confession time about the sweet pea: while I did sow some seed directly in the ground, I also planted small plants – to hedge my bets. So the flowering sweet pea are a combination of bought plants and sown from seed plants. You just have to do what works for you. 🙂

I am joining the Propagator’s ‘Six on Saturday’ meme, to talk about six things from the garden. Feel free to join in.

Enjoy the tour!

various sunflowers

1 – Sunflowers. Different colors, petals, sizes – they throw the idea of a traditional sunflower right on its ear! The left two bottom ones are Claret F1. The top right one is a helianthus, dwarf sunflower ‘fantasy’. The bottom right is a dwarf helianthus sunflower ‘Sungold’. The other two I think are also from the ‘fantasy’ packet. I love everything about these flowers, but especially their small size which is great for flower arrangements or even just throwing in a vase on their own. These guys are fabulous with their continuous life, too. Each stem produces several new flowers, so as the old die, the new bloom. What’s not to love? Of course the bees love sunflowers, but I was also able to capture a Red Admiral butterfly enjoying them, too.

Flower arch with sweet pea and squash with marigold in front in pots.

2 – Flower arch update. The flower arch is supporting my sweet pea this year, along with squash. I wasn’t too hopeful of the squash growing, so the sweet pea were added mainly so I wouldn’t have an empty arch. The joke is on me, though, as both the squash and sweet pea are doing great. To the right you can see the sunflower bed.

coleus

3 – Coleus. I only started growing coleus a few years ago, in memory of my dear neighbor, Betty. Betty always had coleus on her back porch. I remember sitting on her porch, surrounded by her beautiful plants, and simply enjoying her and her husband’s company. Wonderful memories of a very special couple. And if you don’t neglect your seedlings, they are very easy to grow. As for the coloring, the chartreuse is a must have color, especially when paired with the burgundy and pinkish/red. Gorgeous.

Monarda Fireball (red Bee balm)

4 – Monarda Fireball (red Bee balm). I had bee balm in our home in NY, and for the past 14 years I’ve wanted it in this garden. I am a patient person. 🙂 I love this color. This plant was in a pot for the past year and as soon as I planted it out, it seemed to breathe a sigh of relief.

globe artichoke plant in full flower

5 – Globe artichoke. I haven’t mentioned this guy in a while. It quietly goes about its business of growing tall, and producing bunches of globe artichokes. I love it when they go to flower. Their purple plume is so pretty. It is quite a large plant, and I usually cut away the lower leaves as they are rather unsightly.

Lotus dream lilies

6 – Lotus dream lilies. I’m so thankful for scented flowers! I love the lily scent. I actually used a stem in an arrangement recently and I learned that my daughter does *not* like the scent! So I kept the flowers in my office and out of her nose’s way. These lilies are in the rose bed. I’m glad to have cleaned up this bed, and the rose plants. It was time to remove the poppies (and weeds) and tidy up the place. It helps to enjoy the lilies, too, when they aren’t crowded in.

And that’s a wrap! Thanks so much for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed the tour, and that your summer is going well. Did you have a favorite flower?

In Peace,
Dana

This isn’t an Irish summer!

Hi there! Welcome to my blog. My family and I were away on a wonderful holiday to Greece last week and we’ve come home to the most amazing weather here in Ireland! This is not your typical Irish weather. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve had some beautiful summers here. But the weather is usually mild (read: not hot) and we wouldn’t typically get lots of consecutive days of sunshine. So while we could really use a good rainfall at this stage, the abundance of blue skies and sunshine is such a welcome treat. As for the garden, well, it is thirsty. Very thirsty. Rain is in the forecast and I’m really hoping that it gives the garden a good drink (at night, of course!).

The flowers are definitely suffering because of the lack of water. Mostly they just bloom and die (quickly). I’m trying to capture them as much as possible while they look good! I have a bunch of dahlias that are all blooming together, which is so pretty to see. The delphinium is one of my favorites simply because the colors are so striking (more so when having two complementary colors). And I could not resist cutting some of my sunflowers. What a collection of colors there are!

I do hope your summer is going well. It is flying by much too quickly. I’m joining the Propagator for his ‘Six on Saturday’ meme. You might see some flowers from last week (different pics, of course!) – that means they are my favorites!

Enjoy the tour!

bowl of blueberries and bouquet of delphinium Shelby and Blue Ocean

1 & 2 – Blueberries and Delphinium Shelby (in the center, light color) and Blue Ocean (darker color) and Kitty. What a difference it makes to cover your blueberries to protect them from the birds! We have never had so many blueberries to eat ourselves. 🙂 Poor birds, but lucky us! The delphinium are in pots on our deck. I love their colors.

Dahlia Café au Lait

3 – Dahlia Café au Lait. What a stunner this one is. I have a few different tubers and one produces pink-tinged flowers and one produces cream-tinged flowers. If I were to critique them I’d say that they’re a tiny bit too big, and would be more ideal a little bit smaller – for arrangements, at least. But I do still like them very much! These are in containers on our deck. The dahlias in the ground are *almost* ready to flower…

Magic star lilies

4 – Lily Magic Star. At least that’s what I bought! I’m not sure it looks like magic star, but it is very pretty. I love scented flowers. Love, love, love them. This is also in a container on our deck and is really putting on quite the show.

Gladiolus Pink Parrot and Rose Supreme

5 – Gladiolus Pink Parrot on the left and Rose Supreme on the right. I have to correct my post from last week as I named Rose Supreme Pink Parrot. These are in pots on our deck (I sense a theme here). The deck flowers provide a beautiful sea of color for me to look at when I am in our kitchen. It’s my favorite view from inside the house!

vase of sunflowers yellow, brown, burgundy in sunshine and at sunset
sunflowers in a vase

6 – Sunflowers! Wish I could tell you exactly which varieties these are, but since I switched and swapped and tried quite a few at the start, I’m not quite sure. The brownish ones are Clarets, I think there are some called ‘sunny flowers’ and some called ‘Waooh!’. I like them because they are smaller and manageable for vases. Each stem has many flowers on it at every stage – from tiny buds to mature flowers. For this reason, I don’t really like cutting stems. But I do have a lot this year, so a few vases now and again is fine (right?). The top two pictures were taken in the evening, right after I cut them and about 15 minutes apart. The sunset lighting really changes everything. The bottom full photo is from the following day, and it was so windy that my husband is actually holding the vase for me! All to get the perfect picture 🙂

Thank you for stopping by! Which was your favorite flower?

In Peace,
Dana

‘An abundance of summer’ flower arrangement

Hello! Welcome to my blog. I created another flower arrangement, and this one is filled with summer blooms! I was under some time pressure when I made it (flower arranging wasn’t on my ‘to-do’ list that day, but I squeezed it in), and it’s quite possible that the time pressure pushes me creatively. Because once I finished, that was it and I didn’t want to change it. 🙂

The sunflowers are still blooming. They are one of my favorite annual flowers to have in a summer garden. A flower that I didn’t think I’d see this summer has proven me wrong. My clematis has bloomed. This poor plant gets way more wind that it would prefer. But I love the color and it is a fun addition to flower arrangements.

I’ll be joining the Propagator’s meme ‘Six on Saturday’, if you’d like to have a look at the other gardens.

Enjoy the tour!

a summer flower arrangement with hydrangeas, gladiolas, salvia, alstromeria, astilbe, Japanese anemone

1, 2 & 3 – Summer flower arrangement. The before picture took three handfuls to hold all of the flowers! Here’s a view of the front and back. The main star for me is the dahlia. I was impatient and didn’t wait for the other dahlia’s to bloom, which would have been nicer (next time!). This arrangement has: Hydrangea ‘Vanille Fraise’ Paniculata ‘Renhy’, hydrangea incrediball, gladiolus ‘Pink Parrot’, astilbe, salvia, alstromeria, Japanese anemone, Russian sage, calla lily, dahlia ‘Café au Lait’ and a few sprigs of sweet pea. Again I used some chicken-wire and some floral frogs to keep the flowers in place (and again, probably because I was under time pressure, I forgot to tape it!). It was amazing to be able to go around the garden and collect all of these flowers. Is it a perfect design? Nope. But it works for me! 🙂

sunflowers

4 – Sunflowers. The top two pictures are of the same plant, focusing on a different flower in each. That plant is in the Rainbow garden, and wasn’t planted by me. I presume it is from my compost. The other two pictures are from the sunflower bed.

clematis Purpurea Plena Elegans (Viticella Group)

5 – Clematis ‘Elegans’. Isn’t that a great color? This flower doesn’t look too beat-up by the wind. I’m sure my plants would prefer that I create a big sheltered area for them!

hydrangeas at sunset

6 – Incrediball hydrangea and hydrangea ‘Vanille Fraise’ Paniculata ‘Renhy’ at sunset. These are the most blooms I have seen yet with these two hydrangeas. The difference this year is that I have been keeping them well hydrated. They are much happier that way.

And that’s my six (or there-about). Have I inspired you to create your own flower arrangement, yet? It’s easy and fun! I’d love to see what you create, too. 🙂

In Peace,
Dana

An adventure to Huntington Castle and Gardens for a Cut Flower demonstration

Hi there! Welcome to my blog. You might have noticed that I’ve taken a liking to creating flower arrangements, especially if you follow my Instagram – you do follow my Instagram, right? 🙂 So I jumped at the chance to go to a cut flower demonstration with my dear friend, Susan (my gardening adventure friend). The venue was the beautiful Huntington Castle and Gardens, which I’ve never been to before. It is in Clonegal, County Carlow, so of course we made a day trip out of it, stopping off at Avoca in County Wicklow on the way down, for some food and flowers (definitely worth a visit to Avoca).

The demonstration was by Fionnuala Fallon, who spoke about incorporating sustainability into the floral industry. Fionnuala and her husband run a sustainable cut-flower farm, and she gave great tips on plants to use, care, arranging, and helpful information on best resources to get started.

As it turns out, I made another flower arrangement this week! And I’d incorporated a number of the things Fionnuala talked about. Once you learn the tips and tricks, it makes life a little bit easier (like using chicken wire and floral frogs).

While I didn’t exactly make the ‘Saturday’, I’m none-the-less, joining the Propagator’s meme ‘Six on Saturday’.

Enjoy the tour!

At Huntington Castle and Gardens, Clonegal, Co. Carlow
Fionnuala Fallon at flower demonstration

1 & 2 – Cut flower demonstration with Fionnuala Fallon at Huntington Castle and Gardens, Clonegal, County Carlow. This was such a wonderful day out! Fionnuala created this beautiful arrangement in no time flat, from two containers of flowers (that honestly, didn’t look like much on their own). The huge take away for me was to grow dahlias. I kind of knew I wanted to go in this direction, and now I *really* know! They are just spectacular. The main question we all had regarding this was if she dug them up for the winters, and the answer was ‘yes’. It just has to be done. Another favorite take away for me was to use the whole sweet pea vine, not just the stems of the flowers (which is what I would usually use). What a difference it makes to the arrangement! You can see in the arrangement above, the flowing light pink sweet pea, hanging down.

For those who don’t know already, she also mentioned how bad ‘floral foam’ (or oasis) is for the environment. *Really* bad. Chicken wire is an alternative, used with floral frogs (small, heavy circle with pins to stick the flower stems in), and taped in place.

She is a proponent of ‘some-dig’ gardening, as opposed to ‘no-dig’. I’m definitely with her on this one, too. You have to do whatever works for you.

It was a helpful and informative talk, which we really enjoyed, followed by a tour of the gardens. The place is just lovely and certainly worth a visit! Even better to bring along your bestie! 🙂

Line of flowers: dahlia, sunflowers, butterfly bush flowers, Russian sage and sweet pea
Dahlia tam tam, sunflower mix, Buddleis BUZZ ‘Dark Pink’ Butterfly Bush, Russian sage, Sweet pea
sunflower flower arrangement with butterfly bush, Russian sage, sweet pea and dahlia.
Sunflower arrangement with purple butterfly bush flowers, sweet pea, Russian sage and dahlias.

3 & 4 – Sunflower arrangement. This one is definitely worth two slots! This is my first sunflower arrangement of the season! I made this the day before the talk. The sunflower stems are really short as there were lots of blooms still forming on the stems and I didn’t want to cut them off. It worked well with this container, too, to have them short. With all of the work my husband has been doing with building fruit cages, I had already taken and put aside some chicken wire for arranging. This container was perfect for experimenting with. I used two floral frogs to weigh it down (I hadn’t thought of taping it, which would be a helpful solution).

Adding colors to the garden that complement the colors of the sunflowers is what I’m now working on. The dahlia’s I’ve planted are exactly for this. The beautiful reddish colored one (called Tam Tam) is the first to bloom. Hopefully I’ll get to do more arranging with them as the season goes on.

And really, I don’t know why I don’t see more butterfly bush flowers in arrangements, they smell so sweet and are a lovely addition (dwarf varieties)!

Russian Sage

5 – Russian Sage – Perovskia atriplicifolia Little Spire. This guy is just showing off at this stage. Beautiful shape and color. I used a few stems for the above arrangement. The bright pink rose next to it is England’s Rose from David Austin.

coleus plants

6 – Coleus. These guys were planted from seed late and then when I transplanted them to these containers, they stopped growing – for weeks! They have finally started to look like decent sized (small) plants. Maybe by the end of the season they will fill the containers. But I love having them, and I love their different color combinations.

I hope you enjoyed the tour! Have a great week!

In Peace,
Dana

Enjoying the warmth of Summer

Hello! Welcome to my blog. It might have taken its sweet time in getting here, but summer is definitely gracing us now! The garden seems to be happy about the warmth, but could certainly use a good soaking (preferably over night, please and thank you). I would say that July is definitely a time when the garden is at full throttle. I’m mainly deadheading roses, weeding, and watering at the moment. I try to get a small gardening task done in the morning and another one in the evening, in order to stay on top of things. I’m not really staying on top of things, but it’s nice to think I am. 🙂

More lilies have bloomed this week, and the sunflower bed is starting to show color as more flowers are starting to bloom. It seems there are a few different varieties, which I’m happy about. I had very poor luck with my early seedlings this year and did a few different plantings as the first batches didn’t survive. So honestly, I’m glad to have anything at all.

While I haven’t found a place in the ground for my delphinium yet, they still look very pretty in containers. My goal would be to eventually create a sheltered spot for them. This is not the easiest of tasks given our windy location, but we’ll see.

This is also lavender season! The flowers are perfect for either making wreaths with now, or cutting to dry for use later. I know what I’ll be doing all day tomorrow!

Have you noticed the difference in the garden as seen in the feature image, above? It’s really filling in. The sunflower bed is all the way to the right. They aren’t very tall, but there are lots of them.

I am joining the Propagator for his Six on Saturday meme. Feel free to join in!

Enjoy the tour.

Sunflower with erysimum bowles mauve

1 – Sunflowers. In the collage above, the top right picture shows Sunflower Helianthus Ester. The other three pictures in the collage are of Sunflower Claret F1. Funny store here, the new Claret F1 seeds that I bought this year didn’t survive. So these Claret sunflowers (non-yellow) are all from my own seeds from last year’s flowers.

As for the second picture, that relatively short sunflower grew from our compost, so I’m not sure of the variety. It is in our ‘Rainbow garden’, sitting pretty next to the Erysimum Bowles ‘mauve’ plant, and in front of the globe artichoke plant.

Lotus Dream mix lilies
lotus dream mix lilies with Scepter'd Isle roses
Lotus Dream lilies with Scepter’d Isle David Austin roses

2 – Lotus Dream Mix lilies. It really seemed like overnight that these lilies decided to open up. They are highly fragrant, and I love the scent! These pictures don’t show it, but quite a few of my lilies were eaten this year by an unidentified bug/worm. I’m just glad that they weren’t all destroyed.

view of the rose bed and house
Boscobell David Austin roses

3 & 4. The rose bed and Boscobel David Austin roses. Although the first flush of roses is now just about finished, since the Boscobel roses were late starting, they still look fabulous! They are a salmon-pink color and (of course) beautifully scented. This bed really shouts out ‘pink!’ and I love all of the different shades. The Lotus Dream lilies are also in this bed.

Delphinium Cobalt dreams

Delphinium Shelby

5 & 6 Delphinium Cobalt Dreams and Shelby. The top picture is of Cobalt Dreams. I planted them from seed last year and kept them in a container all season. Before the cold weather came, I planted them next to the playhouse as that is the most sheltered ‘sun’ spot. They overwintered well, even came up in the spring. But the Bleeding Heart plant completely covered them and they stopped growing. So we dug them up (three plants, actually) and threw them in pots. This is the first one to flower this year. It is beautiful.

The second delphinium is called Shelby, and also quite beautiful with a blue ruffle outer layer. I bought this at the Rare & Special plant fair in Cork this spring. I have it in a container, and it seems to be happy enough. A big ‘to-do’ for me is to create a sheltered ‘sun’ spot in the garden so I can have these lovely plants in the garden and not just on my sheltered deck.

And that is a wrap for today’s Six on Saturday. Thanks so much for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed the tour. Which was your favorite plant? 🙂

In Peace,
Dana

Summer has arrived!

Hi there, and welcome to my blog! Summer has finally arrived to Ireland and I must say, not a minute too soon! We had cold and windy weather with gray skies for part of this week, making every picture that I took look rather ‘blah’. Thankfully, towards the end of the week the weather not only warmed up (we hit 23 degrees C / 74 degrees F), but the sun even came out every now and again. What a treat! Long may it last. 🙂

What’s happening in the garden? The hydrangeas are starting to fill out, poppies continue to bloom everywhere and some lilies have begun their show. The roses had an amazing first flush of blooms and I can’t seem to keep up with deadheading them. New buds are already forming, so more beautiful blooms should be following soon.

There’s news on the squash and pumpkin front, too. The plants are growing! We’ll have to wait and see if they flower and then if they actually form pumpkins. But at least there is a chance that they will. The sunflowers are doing well. They aren’t very tall, but they all have multiple buds on their stems. While it was definitely tough going, with multiple plantings, I’m very happy to see that we will definitely have sunflowers! (You can see them in the feature image above on the far right.)

I will be joining The Propagator’s meme Six on Saturday. Feel free to join in, or have a visit of some of the other gardens!

Enjoy the tour!

dark and light pink lilies and coral poppies
light pink lilies
sunny collage of lilies and hydrangea

1 & 2 – Lilies and Hydrangea. These are the first of my lilies to bloom. The light pink ones are very pretty and delicate looking. The darker pink ones are more, dare I say ‘basic’ looking? The bugs really enjoyed eating them before they bloomed, so they aren’t doing quite as well. The mophead hydrangea is just ‘wow’ this year! I’ve been feeding it, and keeping it watered, which pays off with these guys. I will cut many of those blooms in the fall, to dry for wreaths, so I’m happy to have the multi-colors. I’m afraid I don’t know any of the names of these three plants.

Incrediball hydrangea red poppies and Dutch Iris
collage of Incrediball (strong Annabelle hydrangea), Dutch iris and red poppies.

3 & 4 – Incrediball / Strong Annabelle Hydrangea and Dutch Iris. I started with one Incrediball, but it turned brown mid-season every year. So last year I moved it and it’s baby off-shoot to under the cherry tree where it would get morning sun and filtered afternoon sun. Whereas before I’m sure it was getting too much sun, I’m not sure it is getting enough now! I added a new plant to the mix this spring, so there are three under the tree. It’s the one with the most well developed flowers – possibly because it is getting the most sun in that position. I have been watering and feeding them and they seem to appreciate it. While our weather has been cool, we have not had great amounts of rain.

These are the very last of my iris to bloom. That was a very long season of iris! There were six different iris varieties and these Dutch ones are the finale. I like the red, white and blue of this bed.

collage of pink and coral poppies

5 – Poppies! Again 🙂 The pink one on the left is the ‘hybrid’ which showed up this season. It is in every bed, too, which is kind of fun. I love having the different colors! The hybrid is a mix of the frilly, double coral one on the right, and the single lavender one which you can see in the top of the left picture. I’ve had those two varieties for many years, so it is interesting that the hybrid showed up this year.

teasing Georgia David Austin roses cluster early July

6 – Teasing Georgia, David Austin rose. I wasn’t even a fan of yellow, but thought it would look nice next to our red playhouse. I have since become a huge fan of this lovely yellow rose! The buds are so pretty with their dark orange-red coloring. There are always clusters of flowers, too. I have to say that using Uncle Tom’s Rose Tonic seems to have really given them a boost. (Thanks to The Propagator for that tip!) I hate to mention black spot, but it would normally be rampant at this stage and that is not the case so far this year. The rose tonic isn’t cheap, but if this all natural method works to keep them healthy, I’m in.

And that’s what happened in the garden this week! I hope you are able to enjoy your weather, no matter where in the world you are. Thanks so much for stopping by!

In Peace,
Dana