A summer floral arrangement with pizazz

Hey there! Thanks for visiting my blog. The garden is filled with lots of color, so I thought I’d take advantage of that and create a floral arrangement. Creating an arrangement is fun to do! It is great to be able to wander about the garden, gathering flowers and then being able to create something with them – the more unconventional, the better. That is what motivates me to plant lots of different textures, colors, and shapes in the garden! Speaking of lots of color, my container garden is really starting to shine, too. I bought a bunch of new plants this year and when you put them all together, there is a wonderful impact! I’m joining The Propagator’s ‘Six on Saturday’ meme, so you can read all about it in my ‘six’ below.

Summer floral arrangement
There isn’t really a front or back on this arrangement!
summer floral arrangement
One side has more sunflower fronts, the other side has sunflower backs – which I find to be equally as pretty!
Side profile of summer arrangement 14 Aug 21

1 – Summer floral arrangement. Who doesn’t love having flowers in a vase? I know it is wonderful to have them in the garden, but it is also nice to bring them inside. This one has: sunflowers (Claret F1), Japanese Anemone, Helenium Moerheim Beauty, globe artichokes, David Austin roses (Boscobel), and Leycesteria formosa – also known as Himalayan honeysuckle or pheasant berry. It is a very summery arrangement, full of color. It is much different than any arrangement that I made last year, which I’m happy about – change is good! I used two ‘frogs’ on the bottom of the vase to pin the stems in place, and then, since I didn’t secure the frogs down, I used glass marbles to keep down the stems after pinning them in the frogs. The good news is that the flowers aren’t moving anywhere. 🙂

Very tall Japanese anemone in a vase
I hadn’t realized how tall these Japanese anemones were until I cut them!
Japanese anemone in flower bed
Here’s the bed where I cut the Japanese anemone from. They will spread everywhere if you let them! They pair well with my clematis, too.

2 – Japanese anemone. I’m including this pretty, yet subdued flower, because it is a lovely addition to the garden as well as the arrangement. They have long stems with multiple flowers on them. But be warned, they will spread everywhere if you let them! They bloom mid to late summer, which I like as I don’t have enough plants that bloom then. 🙂

Container garden on back deck (lots of flowers)
My container garden on my back deck.

3 – My container garden. Lots of plants here! I potted up many more plants this year than usual. I’d say Covid had something to do with it! I already mentioned the lilies last week. So this week I’m adding two gladiolas:

Gladiolus Rose Supreme 13 Aug
This stem of Rose Supreme broke on one of our very windy days. That’s a great excuse to bring it inside!

4 – Gladiolus Rose Supreme. This gladiola was part of a medley of flowers planted together in 2014. This year I finally took everything out of the original container and planted out three containers from all of the bulbs! There were quite a few lilies that bloomed earlier in the summer, and now the gladiolas are starting to bloom. I’m so glad I separated them all, as I didn’t have nearly as many flowers when they were all in one pot (I’m sure they weren’t happy there for a few years).

Gladiolus Pink Parrot
This Pink Parrot is very similar to the Rose Supreme, I tend to gravitate towards pink!

5 – Gladiolus Pink Parrot. This is a new purchase this year, and an experiment in that I planted all 30 bulbs into the one (big) pot. It has only just started to bloom, so I’ll have to wait and see if it is worth planting them all together.

Pumpkin arch update 14 Aug 21

6 – Pumpkin arch update (with pictures of pumpkins this time). I don’t think we’ve made any progress up the arch this week. I guess this means I need to plant them out earlier next year. I’ll plan to do that and then cover them with fleece if the weather isn’t warm enough (it definitely wasn’t warm enough this year). There are still pumpkin and squash flowers, with a couple of new fruit started. But I’m not sure if those fruit will fully develop. I’ve had a bunch of pumpkins and squash not form completely this week, and just fall off the vines. I’m not sure why, actually, but thinking it is just the end of their season.

three Red Kuri squash and one green pumpkin

Here’s a good example of what I was just mentioning: the small green pumpkin in the picture above dropped off of the vine right after I took this picture (you can see it is kind of yellow on the bottom). These three Red Kuri squash are doing really well, though. You can see they’ve turned from yellow to orange.

Green pumpkin and one orange squash (Red Kuri Squash) hanging on side of arch

This picture shows a small pumpkin hanging from the side of the arch, while a Red Kuri squash hangs further along the arch. It has already started turning oragne, too.

two small green pumpkins hanging on side of arch

And here are two more (green for the moment) pumpkins hanging from the side of the arch. I like having them vertical instead of on the ground, even if they didn’t quite make it over the arch!

Back of the pumpkin arch and sunflowers 12 Aug

The back of the arch and sunflower bed don’t get nearly enough attention! The sunflowers and squash are a great addition to the garden. Every morning, I take a walk about the garden, spending most of my time right here. I find it to be peaceful and it simply brings me joy.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my tour this week! Thanks for stopping by!

In Peace,
Dana

An unsettled start to August

Hello and welcome to my blog! Here in Ireland, we have enjoyed some glorious weather this summer. Near the end of July we had two full weeks of sun, heat and stillness with no rain. It was amazing (and unusual)! The garden is now appreciating the long drinks of water it has been getting the past week. There is a distinct change in the air, though, that fall is not too far off. The garden is in a constant state of flux, and it is fun to note it with a simple meme of ‘Six on Saturday’, hosted by The Propagator. Let’s see what’s in store this week!

Blueberries in hand in July
Bowl of Blueberries 5 August

1 – Blueberries! I planted blueberry shrubs in my garden quite a few years ago. From the beginning, it seemed they didn’t really enjoy our garden. They always seemed to drop their berries before turning blue! But it turns out, the birds had more to do with this than I realized. I didn’t mind too much, since to me the plants were spectacular in the fall with their leaves turning from green to crimson. This year, though, with the garden revamp, we decided to spend some extra time to see if we could get some blueberries for us to eat! We first spread out the older shrubs as they were getting quite cramped. Also this season, we added Sulphate of Iron to the soil. I believe it was Laura, from Garden Answer, who suggested it in one of her videos. The third thing we did differently this year was we added netting. Although it wasn’t the pretties of setups, it did the job, and the blueberries stayed on the shrubs until they were blue! I picked two small bowls of blueberries, and a few times I just went out and ate a handful. They were delicious! We will hopefully figure out a ‘prettier’ way to cover them next year.

Garlic in June
Garlic harvest July 11

2 – Garlic! Last October we planted our over wintering organic garlic Vallelado. It is very easy to plant garlic! They should be planted between the end of October and the end of November, ideally. Plant at a depth of three to five inches (7.6 cm) and six inches apart. I harvested mine the beginning of July and they have been drying out in our shed since. The only other thing I did was weed the bed a few times. We also had a relatively dry spring, so I kept it watered. So easy, and so tasty!

lavender and shaved plant
The lavender plant looks like it got a shave!
Dana with lavender harvest
There’s some lavender left on the plant beside me.

3 – Lavender! I’m a bit late on writing about this one, too. Lavender is usually harvested in July. I managed to still cut some in August this year as our growing season was a bit off due to a strange spring. I love working with lavender! I made a few fresh lavender wreaths this year (as opposed to dried lavender wreaths). I didn’t make any Lavender Wands this year, though. (You can check out how I make them here.) There just wasn’t any time. If you do dry lavender, it is worth noting that the flowers keep their scent for years!

Double lilies in rose bed
Lotus Dream Mix
double lilies on deck
Magic Star lilies in a container on my deck.
Double lilies
Double Surprise lilies blooming before the plain white variety of lilies bloom.

4 – Double lilies! New to my garden this season are two groups of lilies: I purchased a Lotus Dream Mix of double oriental lilies and planted them in my rose bed. I also added a Magic Star lily to my container garden, on my back deck. These join my ‘double surprise’ lilies, which live next to my largest lavender plant off of the back deck and are neighbors to a plain white variety of lilies that are always last to bloom later in August. I love scented flowers, and these beauties have a wonderful scent that can be noted without having to bend down to specifically smell them!

Perovskia Russian Sage
Perovskia atriplicifolia Little Spire or Russian Sage

5 – Perovskia atriplicifolia Little Spire! I have to confess that when my friend Susan exclaimed how fabulous my Perovskia looked, it took me a minute to realize she meant the Russian Sage. I’m just not very good at proper names. Hopefully now I’ll remember this one! This plant was purchased as a small plant in 2017 and seems to be quite happy. If you like to dry flowers, this one keeps its purple stems for quite a long time before fading.

Pumpkin arch update 7 Aug 2021 with rainbow
The rainbow is quite faint, but can bee seen right over the pumpkin arch in the above picture!
Back of pumpkin arch 7 Aug 2021
A view of the back of the arch.
Pumpkin arch update 7 Aug with sun
The blue sky backdrop is harder to come by these days. I captured this in a very short window between heavy rain showers! We’ll see if the vines climb any higher.

6 – Pumpkin Arch update! The arch has two different types of squash growing on it: Jack O’Lantern pumpkins and Red Kuri squash. The pumpkins are growing quite large. I usually grow baking pumpkins which are medium to small size. These guys are getting huge. I’m not exactly worried, but I think it would be better if they didn’t get so big! The Red Kuri squash start out yellow and then change from orange to a reddish color. They are medium sized. Some have started to change color already. You can’t really see any of that just yet since all of the leaves are still in the way! I will have to try and get some close up pictures so you can see the squash and pumpkins. I’m wondering if it won’t grow any higher, either. It doesn’t seem to have grown ‘up’ this past week, although the outside vines of some of the plants are still growing out. We’ll see. It certainly is getting plenty of rain this week.

That’s my garden update! I hope you are enjoying your summer, no matter what the weather is like. 🙂

In Peace,
Dana

24 July 2021 Six on Saturday

Hello and welcome to my blog! We have been enjoying some super summer weather for a few weeks now, and boy does it show in the garden! The forecast is for some unsettled weather to head our way, so I’ve been spending as much time in the garden as possible. It has been so wonderful, I’ll be sad to see the good weather leave! I’m joining The Propagator’s meme of ‘Six on Saturday’ again this week. It was really hard picking just six as so many plants are showing off in the garden at the minute. But alas, here are the six I’ve picked:

Buddleis Buzz 'dark pink' butterfly bush

1 – Buddleis BUZZ ‘Dark Pink’ Butterfly Bush. I *love* the scent of these flowers! They are so sweet! This butterfly bush is non-invasive and will only get about 4 feet tall and wide. Deadheading the flowers will encourage more flowers, so it’s worth the work. You can give them a hard prune in the spring, which means a later blooming time, but it also means an extended season for pollinators. The color is a fabulous magenta.

Butterfly bush lichfield angel California poppies Potentilla

I think this is a lovely combination of flowers and colors: Buddleis BUZZ ‘Dark Pink’ butterfly bush, Lichfield Angel (cream) David Austin roses, (orange) California poppies, and in the background (yellow) Potentialla.

Rainbow garden butterfly bush

This is another view of the butterfly bush. It’s in my Rainbow garden and this is definitely a banner year for it. While I do like to keep my colors to a minimum in other beds, I love that I have every color in this bed. The big messy green plant on the right is a mock orange. I’m not sure I’m going to keep that, though, as it doesn’t really produce a lot of flowers and it is just so messy!

Sweet pea hand held bouquet

2 – Organic Sweet pea ‘Old Spice’. This is another scented flower that I *love*! I’ve grown sweet pea for several years now, simply because the scent is so beautiful to have in the garden and in the house. They make very sweet bouquets, too. My Sweet pea fence is shorter than usual this year, and I think I’ll have less flowers because of that. But so far I am getting a nice full bunch every couple of days!

Sweet pea on fence

The sweet pea is really nice to have in the garden not only for its pretty colors, but for its sweet scent!

Pink Coleus

3 – Coleus ‘Rainbow’. I am somewhat new to growing flowers from seed. Although I’ve been growing sunflowers from seed for a number of years, some flowers just seem much more delicate. This was a pretty successful year, though. These coleus took their time growing, but now that they are nearly full grown, they are lovely!

young flower seedlins

I will have to show you the Cock’s comb flowers (on the left, back) next week! The Coleus took their time, but they look very well!

Coleus three in a row

This is what the coleus looks like today. Only the one plant is coming out a strong pink color. I plan to bring these three containers inside this winter so that they are ready to go next spring.

dark sunflowers with blue sky

4 – Sunflower Claret F1. I know I showed one of these guys last week, but they have really come into their own this week! They are just spectacular! This one has yellow, orange, red and brown in it, while some are a chocolatey brownish red, and some are brighter with more orange and yellow. They are tall (180 cm / 5.9 feet). I’m glad our bed frames are wide so that I can stand on them to take pictures!

Full Sunflower bed 21 July

5 – Full sunflower bed update. The sunflower bed has completely filled in and although the first batch of sunflowers bloomed a little early and are now fading, they are producing small little offshoots that are providing more color. Those short yellow flowers are supposed to be 6 feet tall! I guess they didn’t get the memo, as they are all equally short! There is one more layer on the far side of the Claret flowers that have not bloomed yet. They are dwarf sunflowers and I thought the slugs had completely eaten them after I planted them in the bed, but they actually rebounded and I only lost one of the six plants.

This is a picture of my seedlings early on in the season. This is definitely the most I have ever done in one season! I’ve had some successes, and some failures. But overall I’m really happy with what I have! I do need to work on a better system for keeping track to who’s who, though. Thankfully, it’s usually pretty easy to tell in the end.

Pumpkin Arch update 24 July

6 – Pumpkin arch update. The pumpkin arch is filling up! I have a few Jack O’lantern pumpkins, and a lot of Red Kuri squash/pumpkins. I think it will be nice and colorful! I am enjoying the orange squash flowers and all of the greenery while it lasts. The Claret sunflowers on the right are continuing to bloom, too.

Full view of garden incl raspberries 22 July

I took this picture from above in my daughter’s bedroom window. Everything is green and lush (haha! except our grass and the fields of barley!).

Full garden view from above 23 July

Here I’ve zoomed in a bit.

Full garden update July 24

And here we are back on the ground! I’ve enjoyed watching as the pumpkins make their way up the arch. I’m looking forward to watching it continue!

I hope you have enjoyed my garden tour! Feel free to join me on Instagram, too. I’m a big fan of using ‘Stories’ to give updates on the garden and my chickens.

Enjoy your week!

In Peace,
Dana

A garden clean up for today’s ‘Six on Saturday’

Hi there, and welcome to my blog! I’ve been spending a lot of time cleaning up the garden as we’ve had some really warm days and everything is in overdrive! I’ve decided that my roses are absolute Divas! They are nothing short of spectacular, and they completely show off their loveliness. But they require the most care of any plant in my garden (real Divas!). Of course I’ll be showcasing one of them today as I join The Propagator‘s ‘Six on Saturday’ meme. You can visit his site and see lots of other links joining the meme as well!

light pink David Austin Roses

1 The Ancient Mariner – David Austin Rose. This has been a fantastic year for roses. They are almost finished with their first flush of flowers, and boy were they amazing. But admittedly, these flowers require a lot of time both in preseason and during the season. Getting the pruning right can really help the season go well. I gave most of my plants a hard pruning this year, and they are doing much better than last year. I have noted the ones that didn’t get a hard prune as it will be their turn next year. But for now, deadheading is a full time job! This week I made an extra effort to clean up all of the dropped petals and leaves. It really looked so much nicer when it was tidy. I’ve added some feed and fresh compost to all of the plants, too. I’m hoping that it pays off with a good second flush of flowers!

Pink lilies in container

2 Pink lilies. A number of years ago I bought a selection of pink flowers to be planted in one planter. It worked great and looked pretty over many weeks each season. But as time went on, the plants weren’t doing so well and seemed to be crowded and unhappy. So this year, I took all of the bulbs out to repot them. I could not believe how many bulbs there were! I filled three large pots with lilies, gladiolas and some other flowers I’m not quite sure of. The lilies looked so much nicer than they ever have (even after being eaten by some bug/slug). I’m looking forward to seeing all of the gladiolas, as so many have come up!

3 Sunflower Claret F1. I almost always grow sunflowers. I love having them in the garden! This is the first year I’ve tried a ‘non-traditional’ sunflower, and I think they are absolutely fabulous! They’re described as wine-red, but some of mine are a chocolatey brown/wine-red, with yellow on the back of the petals. They are tall, well taller than me, with lots of little off-shoots on every stem. I’m very happy with them, and hope to use some in an arrangement at some stage, too.

Helenium Moerheim Beauty with daisies

4 Helenium ‘Moerheim Beauty’. I added Helenium to my garden a few years ago, and I’m so glad I did. I think they look nice next to my daisies, but I also have some next to my yellow ‘Teasing Georgia’ David Austin roses and they look great there, too! Their mixture of colors (red, yellow and orange, with brown centers) is always fun. Mine do much better with supports, I’ve finally learned!

Young Red Kuri squash that is yellow

5 Red Kuri squash (pumpkin). Funny to be called Red Kuri and look this yellow. They apparently start out yellow and turn a redish-orange as they mature. I’m excited about this item in my garden as I actually have quite a lot of them. They are supposed to be quite tasty and our family like different types of squash, so I’m looking forward to eating these!

Pumpkins growing on arch in garden

6 Pumpkin Arch update. Well, the plants are growing up the arch! What I need to clarify though, is what the plants are. So, way back in March, I sowed a bunch of seeds for the garden. But there were too many for my suntrap hallway that I use (because it is perfect for sowing seeds). While I tried to keep the different varieties in specific containers, and separated, that all fell apart once I started putting them outside to acclimate. So while I *thought* the red kuri pumpkins didn’t survive and the jack o’lanterns did, it seems quite the reverse happened (although I believe there are two jack o’lantern plants). This actually works out much better for my arch, because the Red Kuri squash are smaller than the jack o’lantern. It’s a learning process for me! Oh, and on the right side of the arch, on the right of the bed, are some Claret Sunflowers, although you can’t see the flowers because they are so dark!

That’s another week done. I hope you had a good one. I’m just so thankful for the wonderful weather we’ve been having. It has allowed me to work in the garden to my little heart’s content!

Feel free to check out the other ‘Six on Saturday’ posts!

In Peace,
Dana