Will July bring the summer weather?

Hi there, and welcome to my blog! Poor weather has been a strong theme over the past number of my posts, unfortunately. That’s just the way it is, sometimes the weather is good, and sometimes it isn’t. I think the garden is doing remarkably well, given the strong winds we’ve had. I won’t complain too much about the rain, as it seems the plants are happy with it!

The very last of the Sarah Bernhardt peonies bloomed this week, so I wanted to use them in an arrangement. In fact, I made two flower arrangements this week. It is such a treat to have flowers inside! This year I realized that it just took time (four or five years) for my roses to mature enough for them to have long stems. It was so worth the wait, though, and they are brilliant to work with in arrangements.

My last variety of iris (Dutch) also started to bloom this week. It was duly used for one of the arrangements.

I have to give an update that the lavender border around the new raised beds is filled with flowers, albeit very tiny ones! It looks great, even with the plants being so small. The Little Lime hydrangeas are also filling in nicely.

Have you checked out The Propagator’s meme Six on Saturday? I’ll be joining again today. Ready for the tour?

iris, peony, rose arrangement outside
Iris peony rose open poppy flower arrangement inside

1 – Flower arrangement with Dutch iris. This was another quick, easy arrangement that just came together. I used Himalayan honeysuckle, or Leycesteria formosa, because it is so different (texture, shape) and neat looking. The pink Sarah Bernhardt peony flowers were all the tiny ‘second’ flowers, but if you ask me they are as nice as the larger ‘first’ blooms. I had a lot of them. I added enough of my yellow Teasing Georgia David Austin roses to balance out the color. I added the poppy seed heads and a few ‘ready to bloom’ poppies to have different shapes (you can see in the second picture where the lavender poppies have opened). And finally, there is the Dutch iris, which I thought matched the blue jug very well! I used two floral frogs to keep some of the bigger flowers in place. This is my favorite arrangement so far.

Campanula peony rose arrangement

2 – Flower arrangement with campanula. This arrangement also used the tiny ‘second’ Sarah Bernhardt peony blooms and Teasing Georgia David Austin roses. This time I added white campanula flowers and Erysimum Bowles’s Mauve, along with a couple of Lichfield Angel (cream) David Austin roses. It also smells lovely! The jug is one of my favorites, as it was a special gift.

collage of poppies

3 – Poppies. I’ll probably write about these a lot this summer as they are everywhere in my yard! I have a very hard time with saying ‘no’ to them. I hope that next year I can have a dedicated ‘poppy bed’, so they aren’t getting in the way of other plants, which is kind of what the situation is now. I am a big fan of them, though, and want to make sure that they go to seed this year so they’ll continue on next year!

mophead hydrangea

4 – Mophead hydrangea. This shrub has so many flowers on it this year! I am very excited because this is my main source for flowers to make dried hydrangea wreaths in the fall. I love the multicolors! I add ‘hydrangea colourant’ to the soil to help turn it blue (or in this case, purple). And I water the hydrangea plants, because they love water.

lavender and marigolds

5 – Lavender border. See what I mean? There are so many flowers on this tiny plant. I’m excited to see what it will look like as the plants get bigger.

Full view of garden with sunflowers and Kitty

6 – Raised bed update. The sunflowers are growing! Yay! There was one point when I really thought I would have *no* sunflowers this summer. But thankfully, the second and third plantings have taken, and things are looking very good. We actually staked them after the last storm, despite them being pretty sturdy.

Thank you so much for stopping by, and for taking the tour! I hope you enjoyed seeing what’s happening in my garden. 🙂

In Peace,
Dana

Strawberries and Roses galore!

Hi there! You’re very welcome to my blog. This week’s summer solstice coincided with what finally felt like the start of summer in Ireland. Not to get too excited, but we hit 23 degrees Celsius – which is 73 degrees Fahrenheit. Not overly hot, but better than what we’d been having! 🙂 This was great news for our strawberries. A little bit of warmth was exactly what they needed. We’ve had several great harvest and the strawberries are so sweet.

June is typically the month for my roses to start showing off, too. The rose shrubs have been covered in buds and now those buds are finally open flowers. The bed is a beautiful mass of pink! Although I was quite late in applying it, this year I have used Uncle Tom’s Rose Tonic to help keep them healthy. It is a nature-identical plant food. A few of the plants tend to suffer from black-spot, which I’d love to prevent. We’ll see how they do. (Just a note that the product is pricey.)

The peony are still hanging on! My Sarah Bernhardt and Bowl of Beauty are the last two varieties in bloom. I couldn’t resist, and I created a large arrangement with them this week. I was quite pleased with it, with the added bonus of it smelling lovely, too!

I am joining The Propagator’s meme Six on Saturday. Feel free to have a visit of the other contributors, too!

Enjoy the tour!

In Peace,
Dana

1 – Strawberries! Remember when I said I’d give this bed one year to prove itself? Well, it did. We’ve had more than these three hauls and the strawberries have been large, firm and delicious. The covers that my husband built were great to keep the birds out and light enough to easily take off. Strawberry plants do take work: the runners need to be kept in check, you need to keep a balance of old and new plants, and they need to be weeded – all of which is hard on the back. It is why I wanted to make sure the work would be worth it with LOTS of strawberries. I’m so glad this is the case. My back-up alternative plan is to have a bed full of peony plants, which isn’t too bad either.

2 – A peony, poppy & rose arrangement. This was fun to create! I love it when I am able to collect lots of flowers for an arrangement. The different shades of pink are fabulous, but what I think makes the arrangement are the coral colored poppies. The deep pink roses are Princess Anne, and there are some mid-pink The Ancient Mariner roses, both are David Austin varieties. In the center, there is one small Kansas peony (it’s a deep pink), along with Bowl of Beauty and Sarah Bernhardt peonies. And finally, I added some lychnis Coronaria rose campion, just to have some flowers that were a little smaller. The only thing I was missing was sun to photograph it! 🙂

3 – Princess Anne, David Austin roses. This shrub is covered in deep pink flowers and is just show stopping! I’m glad I have it on the outer edge of the bed. It is also sweetly scented. This is one of the plants that suffers from black-spot, badly. We’ll see if this new treatment can perhaps help that over time. I have used the milk/water solution in the past, after the black-spot appears. It is quite a lot of work if you have many plants to do. Stay tuned!

4 – The Ancient Mariner, David Austin roses. This beautifully scented shrub just seems to be a tiny bit ahead of the others with the amount of flowers it has. It is spectacular! But because it has other rose shrubs around it, I can’t fully get a perfect picture of it. But this one isn’t bad. 😉

5 – Bowl of Beauty peony. This peony, like a bunch of my other ones, had to be moved last year. We ended up dividing it into two plants. Not surprising, it only had a few blooms this year. Like all the rest of my moved peonies, I’m hoping with feed and time they will settle in and increase the number of those flowers.

6 – Boxwood. A rather unglamorous picture! But I wanted to try and capture the work that went in to tidying up the boxwood plants. I did a lot of weeding of the boxwood, and then gave it a good feed. These plants were all grown from our cuttings a few years ago and they are really doing great! I also weeded the rose bed, although I’m still debating about pulling those poppies out. We’ll see.

And that is my Six on Saturday! Thank you for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed the tour. See you next time.

A peony bouquet for Six on Saturday

Hi there! Welcome to my blog. Sunshine has been on short supply here in Ireland this past week. There have, thankfully, been snippets of it here and there, and we even had some warmer temperatures. A full ‘summer feel’ evades us, though. The upside is that my peony plants have lasted a good while! I still have one more variety to bloom (Sarah Bernhardt), and then peony season will be finished.

I decided to make a bouquet of peony today, as some of them were nearly finished anyway. I’ve really enjoyed seeing them in the garden, but there is nothing like a fresh bouquet of flowers inside! The yellow Bartzella peony has produced an abundance of flowers this season, so has become my new favorite. This is the plant that I will be moving in the fall, to the Rainbow garden, so it will fit in better with the colors there. It will sit right next to the Kansas peony, which is another showy plant with bright pink flowers.

The other interesting news from the garden is a new color of poppy. I believe that two of my colors have mixed to create this new one. This is all through nature, so I’m not sure I’ll find others in the garden. It is quite pretty, though, being a mix of coral and lavender.

I will be joining The Propagator’s meme of Six on Saturday. Feel free to join in!

I hope you enjoy the tour. 🙂

In Peace,
Dana

bouquet of peony

1 – Peony Bouquet. Peony are just so lovely and beautifully scented, what’s not to love? The only complaint would be that they don’t last nearly long enough. That possibly makes them more appealing (something like wanting more of what you can’t have?).

Kansas peony and bee

2 – Peony Kansas. What an outstanding color this is! Fuchsia at it’s best. I originally planted this at my ditch wall. It was there for four years, limping along. Last fall I moved it to the Rainbow garden, and it is so much happier here. I’m so glad I finally moved it. Giving plants time to settle in is one thing, not thriving is another.

Peony Gardenia

3 – Peony Gardenia. The full name is paeonia lactiflora ‘Gardenia’. It smells wonderful! I bought this during lock-down in 2020 (something to do with retail therapy). We had to move it unexpectedly last year, though. And I’m not sure this is the ideal spot for it, so I will be moving it again in the fall. I think my new bed at the top of the garden will suit it much better. And everyone knows that peony plants don’t really like being moved around!

Bartzella peony with forget me nots

4 – Peony Bartzella, an Itoh (hybrid). You’ve seen this one before, but it’s in the bouquet and I thought the forget-me-nots looked so pretty with it. I also bought this in 2020 during lockdown – Leamore Nursery benefited greatly from my garden retail therapy! – and just two years later it has been completely covered in outstanding blooms this season. An absolute star! I’ve even grown to like the yellow color. 🙂

White peony

5 – White peony (unknown name). I know I had this one last week, too, but since I used the very last flower for my bouquet today, I thought I’d add it in again. This was moved two years ago and is finally settling in. It was well established at our back wall for many years and always had loads of blooms. It had about a dozen blooms this year, but they were much smaller than in the past. I’m hoping that it just needs time.

Pink colored poppy with bee
three colors poppies

6 – New Color Poppy. The first picture is of the new color, the second picture shows all three colors: coral, lavender and the new mix of dark pink. Depending on the angle, you can see the coral shade in the sides of the new poppy. These are two different types of poppies, too, as one has many layers of ‘ruffled’ petals while the lavender has just a single layer of petals. I think the new one is very pretty, and would love to have them all over the garden. We’ll see what happens!

bouquet of peony

That’s all for today! I hope you’ve enjoyed the tour. Take care!

The rainbow garden comes to life

Hi there! You are very welcome to my blog. I have really enjoyed watching my rainbow garden come to life and transition from spring to summer. I’ve decided to refrain from using the white peony flowers for an arrangement, and instead I’m enjoying them in the garden. I don’t mind too much, since I know that I will have plenty of pink Sarah Bernhardt peony flowers that will be blooming shortly, which I can use to play with. 🙂

I’m actually happy that I have anything at all to showcase this week since our weather continues to be quite unsettled (read: windy, rainy and cold). Not ideal conditions, but at least the sun does make appearances, albeit quick ones!

I’ll be joining The Propagator for his Six on Saturday meme, if you’d like to join in or visit the other lovely gardens. Enjoy the tour!

In Peace,
Dana

Rainbow garden with white peony, purple Siberian iris, red poppies and Deutzia Scabra

1 – Deutzia Scabra. This tall, white shrub in my rainbow garden has been hit or miss over the years. But this year it is definitely a hit! This is one of the reasons why I’ve left the white peony alone, as I think they look nice together. Also providing color in this picture are: red poppies, some orange California poppies, Siberian iris (unknown variety), and the very end of the Easydendron Rhododendron ‘Marcel Menard’. Way over on the left, in the rose bed, you can actually see a yellow Bartzella peony flower. Those blooms are amazing, too!

Siberian Iris with Deutzia Scabra

2 – Siberian iris. Iris love my yard. Wish I could take credit, but they are no maintenance. This clump was divided from the side yard a few years ago. Not only does it provide color, but it is great for flower arranging, too – the blooms last and there are multiple flowers per stem.

White peony

3 – White peony (name unknown). This plant was well established at the back of the house when I moved it last year. While it has a dozen or so blooms this year, they are much smaller than what would bloom before we moved it. Hopefully, next year will see it back to its former self. Nonetheless, the flowers are beautiful with their pink hue, and ever so tiny splashes of color lining the tips of the center petals. Thankfully, we don’t have ants in Ireland, at least I have never seen them, so we don’t have that issue (not a fond memory from when we lived in the States).

lupine with lots of new growth

4 – Lupine/lupin. This plant is just a powerhouse of color. It goes and goes and goes. Look at all of those cute little babies! Again, a very easy plant (my specialty).

Cornus Kousa 'Claudia' dogwood tree

5 – Cornus Kousa ‘Claudia’ (dogwood tree). This is my first flowering dogwood tree and I’m enthralled by the flowers and how they are changing colors. The pink is quite striking! I’m so happy to have added this to the garden this year.

View of allium lupine iris

6 – Allium Purple Sensation. You’ve seen this view before, but it is my favorite spot in the garden right now. These allium are much bigger than the other ones in my garden. They really are quite showy. From here, you can see the lupine and beyond that the bearded iris, and beyond that you can see the orange of the California poppies (which are in the rainbow garden).

Thank you so much for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed your visit. 🙂

Springtime bouquets for Six on Saturday

Hi there! Welcome to my blog. For those who are new here, I like to create things with my hands – things like flower arrangements, wreaths, lavender wands (not to mention crocheting). I have had so much fun creating bouquets from what is growing in the garden, especially as my garden matures and there is more to play with. My kitchen table has had a bunch of different arrangements this spring, and hopefully there will be more as the season continues. It definitely motivates me to have plants that work together, color wise. Today I’ll be joining The Propagator for his Six on Saturday meme. You can click the link and see some other participating, and beautiful, gardens, if you like.

I so appreciate you stopping by! I hope you enjoy your visit. 🙂

In Peace,
Dana

Bartzella Itoh peony arrangement with allium and Siberian iris
yellow peony arrangement inside

1 – Sunshine bouquet (yellow peony flower arrangement). It was somewhat difficult to really capture the look of this arrangement, as the huge Bartzella peony grabs all of the attention. This is an Itoh peony, which is a hybrid between a tree peony and an herbaceous one. This particular shrub had lots of buds on it, so I was happy to use five flowers for this arrangement. The big open one actually opened up a couple days before, so it had a ‘head start’ on the others. It is quite big (bigger than my open hand). To the arrangement I added allium, Siberian iris, some forget me nots, lamb’s ear, and a couple of pieces of ornamental grass. I was really happy with it, especially since I made it on a whim, during my morning walk-about the garden!

vase of flowers with roses, allium, anemone and forget me nots

2 – Small jug of flowers. This small arrangement was made for the kitchen table for a special dinner with family. I especially liked that it was fragrant from the Eustacia Vye David Austin roses and branches from a lilac shrub (Syringa meyeri ‘Palibin’). I also added allium, forget me nots, and anemone. It was super easy and quick to throw together, and wasn’t too distracting to have on the dinner table.

bouquet of Dutch iris, peony, roses and a single white calla lily

3 – Tabletop Dutch iris work bouquet. I had this on my desk because the scent from the peony and roses was so lovely! Also included is a single white calla lily (Zantedeschia aethiopica Arum Lily). This is the first time this plant is flowering for me since I planted it in 2018. This is the third time I’ve moved it, and I think this time it is finally happy.

Purple Sensation allium

4 – Allium. These next three flowers go together, and you can see them in these pictures. I’ll start with the Purple Sensation Allium. Now I have to say that the coloring is definitely Purple Sensation, but the very large heads, with the stems spread far apart, are not. At least none of the other Purple Sensation allium that I’ve purchased over the years are like this. I still like them, they just aren’t what I was expecting. This color matches the bearded iris in the background, and also the other allium across the yard. I like the big impact they give with the mass planting. This bed will continue to have flowers after the allium are finished. There are poppies coming up all around them, and I have agapanthus that will hopefully flower later in the summer (new to this bed). Also newly planted here our some Helenium plants. Under the cherry tree you’ll find three strong Annabelle hydrangeas, which should bloom later in the summer.

lupin and bearded iris

5 – Lupine / lupin. The color on these spires sure isn’t dull! It is quite a happy, bright pink color and a large, sturdy, and easy to care for plant. It is a stand alone show stopper, if you ask me. The bearded iris used to be in this bed and I had to move them because I didn’t like the clash in colors. I think there is enough distance between them now, though, that they look nice as neighbors. This bed also has a couple of small peony plants, a paniculata hydrangea, lavender, bergenia and pittosporum (Tom thumb).

bearded iris Benton Storrington

6 – Bearded iris Benton Storrington. These are the happiest flowers in my garden. They have multiplied many times over! They are a plum color, which is very similar to the Purple Sensation allium. This bed is only a couple of years old, and has something for every season. Hellebores start off the year, then hyacinth in early spring, followed by bearded iris, and then black eyed Susans with Persicaria blackfield (red spire flowers) for summer / fall. I love the white birch no matter what is growing around them.

And that is the end of today’s tour! What was your favorite part? Mine is the Sunshine bouquet! 🙂

Pretty Peonies to showcase for Six on Saturday

Hi there! Welcome to my blog. I get so excited every time I go into the garden these days, as there is so much going on (and that’s with the weather not even cooperating). The highlight for me is that peony season is well underway, and I have a few different varieties to showcase this week. Adding some vibrant purple color to the yard are the allium that also are now in bloom – purple sensation is my favorite. I also have a couple of new plants to show you from my adventures a few weeks ago. I’ll be joining The Propagator’s Six on Saturday meme, which you can also join or visit! Let’s get started!

Flower arrangement with peony iris and allium

1 – A spring flower arrangement. I just had to use these flowers as there were so many iris this year! It would have been a shame to not use them. The peony are very early blooming, and were all bent over – which I suppose worked fine for the arrangement. There are three types of allium: white, purple sensation, and not purple sensation (although they were sold as purple sensation). The bright, vibrant colored allium is purple sensation, the other ones are nice, but more of a dull color, which is nice for contrast. It is a pretty commanding arrangement, but it fits perfectly in our family room.

Paeonia 'Hillary' Itoh

2 – Peony ‘Hillary’. This is a Itoh peony, which is a hybrid of garden and tree peonies. The coloring on this one is rather unusual, and in fact, as it ages it turns yellowish (which is not my favorite part, if I’m honest). It has loads of buds on it this year, which is great. I finally have a perfect place in mind for this and I plan to move it in the fall. It is currently in the rose bed with pinks and purples, which is not ideal.

Tree Paeonia Renkaku

3 – Tree Paeonia Renkaku. This beauty had two flowers this year, double last year! I think it is *finally* happy with its location. It took a long time to figure out where it would be happy. The flowers are so pretty, although I do with they’d last longer!

Allium Purple Sensation

4 – Allium. These were planted this past fall, and I am so happy with how they look as a group. These are supposed to be purple sensation, but they are very different from my previous purple sensation allium (they are bigger, and the little flowers are further apart). I do still like them, though. They were especially pretty when the cherry tree was still in bloom.

Easydendron Rhododendron 'Marcel Menard'

5 – Easydendron Rhododendron ‘Marcel Menard’. I bought this on my trip to Altamont gardens a few weeks ago. This Rhododendron doesn’t require acidic soil, as is normally the case with Rhododendrons. The color is not what I thought I was getting, but turns out to be much nicer! I’m delighted with it, and could not believe how many flowers it had in full bloom. Fingers crossed that it settles in well to my garden.

Cornus Kousa 'Claudia'

6 – Cornus Kousa ‘Claudia’. Another purchase from Altamont gardens! I have wanted a flowering dogwood for many years, so I am delighted to finally have such a lovely one. The flowers start out green, turn to white, and then they should finish pink (I’ll let you know).

line of plants from plant sale

OK, not the most glamorous of pictures, but these are the plants that I bought on my adventures a few weeks ago to Altamont and the Rare & Special plant fair. I didn’t do too badly! Hopefully I’ll cover all of them in the blog at some stage.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the tour of my garden. Thank you for visiting! 🙂

The start of May and all is calm…

Hello! Welcome to my blog. Gardening always has its ups and downs, and that’s just the way it goes. I had some big fails with my seeds this year, and while I still have some plants that might grow, it is nothing compared to what I had at this stage last year. The good news is that I have lots of other plants (not from seed) that I’m so excited to have planted, and while the garden might look different than last year, I think it’ll look lovely in a new way. 🙂

It is always nice getting jobs done in the garden and this was a very productive week! My husband was tasked with figuring out a way to cover the strawberry plants to keep the birds out but also allows us to easily pick the strawberries. We’ve tried netting before, but it was a mess (and birds can get stuck in them). His design is not only functional and light weight, they also look really good. He did a great job, and I am very hopeful to have lots of strawberries this season!

Tulip season is still going strong with the late varieties just coming into their glory now. I have two different types in front of the playhouse and they are quite pretty. The jury is still out about these two tulips being paired together, though!

It is such a wonderful time of the year, with new flowers awakening and blooming all of the time. I am joining The Propagator again this week for his Six on Saturday meme, as I think it is a perfect way to sum up the week! Feel free to join in.

Thanks so much for stopping by. I hope you have had a good week!

In Peace,
Dana

Playhouse with tulips and bleeding heart
Tulip Lilac perfection and Tulip Mascotte
Tulip Lilac perfection and Tulip Mascotte with bleeding heart plant

1 & 2 – Tulip Lilac perfection and Tulip Mascotte. Ok, I think you can tell that I prefer the Mascotte tulips, although that might just be because they are a tiny bit further along than the Lilac perfection. I like the fringed edging. They are both lovely, and I’m happy with them, the bleeding heart and Japanese maple around the playhouse. Last year I pulled out a scraggly lavender plant that was in front of the playhouse, and I think that these tulips look much nicer. I now need to think of what to plant here for the summer!

Lily of the valley in May

3 – Lily of the valley. The scent! Oh how I love scented flowers. These are tops. And they have finally settled in enough to spread. That took a little longer than I’d hoped, but never mind, they are finally doing it. They are in the shade of an evergreen, and I really like them there.

Cherry tree with rapeseed in background

4 – Cherry tree. I know I showed the cherry tree last week, but I loved the contrast in this picture of the black cloud with the yellow rapeseed field and the sun shining on the cherry tree. I’m sure this is the longest that I’ve seen the cherry trees looking their best. They’ve had a super season.

Garden planters in May

5 – Freesia. This is more a picture of the planters that I tidied up this week than of the tiny freesia flowers, with bluebells and tulips in the background. I was so glad to finally have weeded the containers, put in some fresh potting soil and feed, and cleaned them up. Great to see some signs of life in the planters, too.

collage of strawberry bed covers
view of whole raised bed garden at dusk

6 – Strawberry covers. It wasn’t until my husband was nearly finished with the covers that I asked him if he’d taken any pictures along the way. So the best he could do was a picture of the painting side of things (a hassle in itself, I suppose). There are five sections, and they are light enough to lift with one hand. They will also attach to the base, which I’ll show in another post. The last picture was taken after I planted the squash/pumpkin plants that managed to survive their transition to outside. I have a few of them under a mini poly tunnel. We’ll see how they do. My sunflower plants are so teeny tiny! I’m not sure they’ll bloom this season! Fingers crossed.

Thanks again for visiting. I hope you’ve enjoyed the tour! 🙂

Another page is turned – Goodbye, April

Hello, and welcome to my blog! Today is the last day of April and the first good rain we’ve had in more than two weeks. The rain started this morning and has continued all day. While it isn’t a heavy rain, I think it is good enough for the garden (and farmers) to be quite thankful. I did very little in the garden this week (energy levels are still quite low following Covid), but it isn’t looking too shabby. We (read: my husband) painted the playhouse, and I’m absolutely delighted with it. Don’t be surprised, though, if the two front ‘windows’ get a facelift at some stage. 🙂

The mid-season tulips are now blooming, while the late-season daffodils are finishing up. I planted late-season tulips right in front of the playhouse this year, which will extend the tulip season. There are two different varieties and I can’t wait to see how they look.

The aubrieta is looking stunning, still. I have a bright pink color, that I’d describe as fuchsia. It is in two neighboring beds, and is supposed to be trailing down the wall. Mine like to grow inwards, though! Hopefully, it will eventually work its way down the wall.

The apple trees are in bloom and look beautiful. I’m pretty sure that there aren’t as many flowers as there usually are. We’ll see what the crop looks like. There are normally too many apples on the branches, anyway. Maybe this way there will be the perfect amount and no need to drop any due to weight. Fingers crossed! The pear tree’s blossoms have already withered!

The strawberry plants have been weeded (again), and fed and should be all set for a really good season. Plenty of little flowers already forming. I really do hope we get loads of strawberries this year – because I’m about ready to convert the bed into a flower bed if we don’t get loads of strawberries! It’s a lot of work tending strawberries. I don’t mind if we actually get the fruit, but I’m not doing it just for fun… They’ve been warned!

It’s Saturday, so I’m going to join The Propagator’s meme Six on Saturday. Feel free to join in, or visit the other gardeners!

I hope you are well. Here’s to getting my energy back so I can get back to gardening! 🙂

In Peace,
Dana

Bleeding Heart - Lamprocapnos spectabilis (old name Dicentra spectabilis)

1 – Bleeding Heart – Lamprocapnos spectabilis (old name Dicentra spectabilis). Mine is a delicate plant and usually gets knocked over by our strong winds. This year has been relativity mild (so far) so it is still looking good. You can see the late-season tulips at the front of the playhouse, patiently waiting to bloom.

Strawberry bed all weeded and ready for the season

2 – Strawberry bed. I had to have this picture since they look so neat and tidy. Long may it last.

collage of Arthur Turner cooking apple tree in full bloom

3 – Apple tree – Arthur Turner cooking apple tree. I love the deep pink of these flowers (the eating apple tree has light pink flowers). The daffodils underneath are finishing up, but still look nice.

collage of cherry tree in full bloom

4 – Cherry trees. While it seems that most of the world have pink flowering cherry trees, I have three white flowering cherry trees. I would have preferred to have pink, but there you have it. The white flowers are still very pretty. The top right picture also has the eating apple tree, where the light pink flowers look to be white. It is just so nice to have everything in bloom!

kalanchoe blossfeldiana houseplant with pink flowers

5 – Kalanchoe Blossfeldiana – at least I think that is the name of it. Here’s something new for me: a house plant! I’m usually very good at killing house plants. But I have been working on not over watering my plants, and it really does help in making them happy. This plant is completely covered in beautiful pink flowers, I had to take a picture. Honestly, though, I didn’t have a place inside that was worthy of a picture so I just brought it outside. I’m going to use the Covid excuse again. 🙂

Queen of the Night and Pretty Princess tulips in the rose bed

6 – Tulips: Queen of the night and Pretty Princess. I added more Pretty Princess tulips this year, as they faded more than the Queen of the night tulips had. But I think I can use even more, to balance them out. I’ll have to mark out now the area to plant in as the bed it getting quite full!

Rose bed filled with aubrieta and tulips (dark purple and bright pink) in full bloom

This is my favorite photo of this season. It captures the tulips, aubrieta, anemone, the roses and peony to come, the apple and cherry tree, the birch trees, the pink parrot tulips way down by the gate, and the top right corner is a field of rapeseed – all taken on a lovely sunny day!

I do hope you’ve enjoyed the tour. Thanks ever so much for stopping by! 🙂

The trials and tribulations of April 2022

Hello! You are very welcome to my blog. I have so much to tell you. I’ll start with why I missed last week: we were away all weekend at the Irish dancing World Championships in Belfast, Northern Ireland. What a great two days we had! My daughter’s girls ceili danced on Saturday and my daughter and son were partners for their mixed team ceili on Sunday. Both teams did great and we are so proud of them. It was such a treat to watch them dance together. My son ‘retired’ in 2014 after his mixed ceili team *won* the World Championships (talk about going out on a high!). So it was lovely to have him back dancing this year and be able to partner with his sister.

Then, unfortunately, it finally happened: I came down with Covid. While I appreciate that really I am fine, at the same time I feel kind of miserable. I’m definitely over the worst of it, thankfully, but still have a bit more to go before I’m fully myself. This comes at a time when so much needs to be done in the garden! My husband has been a tremendous help, and of course whatever doesn’t get done, simply doesn’t get done. And while my handy dandy list is getting lots crossed off of it, new items are being added (daily!).

I am excited to show you what’s new in the garden this week! I showed you last time that we planted a border of Little Lime hydrangeas at the far end of our raised bed garden. We now have a small Rosemary border on the opposite side of the Little Limes, and a lavender border planted along the length of the garden. It is going to take a season or two for everything to fill in to its place, but I am so happy with it. The next step is figuring out a system for dividing the hoggin from the mulch, but my husband is already working on that. 🙂

Another new item is on our playhouse: my husband made an ‘American red barn’ style window cover. This ‘window’ is actually a space that a slide came out of when the playhouse was used by our kids. But after we pulled the slide out, we covered up the space with plexiglass and I have disliked it ever since. You might remember that my son and husband put new roofing on the playhouse a couple of years ago. Now all we need is to give the house a fresh coat of paint and it’ll be looking brand new!

There’s more, of course: there’s the Stellata magnolia that had a last burst of a few new flowers before they all faded, and blooming tulips, and the last of the daffodils. It hasn’t been all good news, though. A bunch of my seedlings didn’t survive. I tried them in a new location and that just didn’t work out. I have done a second round of seeds, but I’m not sure if I’m too late or not. We’ll see! This week I’m joining The Propagator’s meme Six on Saturday.

I hope you are keeping well. Thanks so much for stopping by! Enjoy the tour 🙂

In Peace,
Dana

View from top of garden down to playhouse, including magnolia tree and rainbow garden

1 – Tulips! I just love this photo, actually, as it has the Heaven Scent magnolia tree, the rainbow garden with tulips and the start of peony plants, and you can see the new cover on the playhouse. The white tulips are fringed and called swan wings. The pink ones are called Finola.

Tulip Finola in top photo and swan wings tulips in bottom photo

2 – New window cover. What’s not to love? It makes such a big difference to me!

View of the new window cover designed like traditional American Red Barn doors.

3 – The borders of the raised bed garden. It’s going to take some training for me to get used to not just walking through the plants. I prefer to have plants than to have a fence, though. I’m looking forward to seeing how it looks as the rosemary, lavender, and hydrangeas grow. The lavender plants are tiny, but I bought them that size before and they grew almost full size in two seasons. Getting the black weed mat covered is the next project.

View of the new border plants around the raised bed garden

4 – Stellata magnolia flowers. After all of the first flush of flowers had turned brown, I discovered a few pure white flowers and they just looked so pretty. I am now a huge fan of this magnolia!

Magnolia Stellata white flowers

5 – Apricot Parrot and Apricot Beauty Tulips. I know that not everyone likes parrot tulips, but I certainly do. They just have so much personality! They aren’t afraid to strut their stuff. These were a new purchase for me this year. I wanted to find some to match my pink parrot tulips, and these actually worked out really well. I mixed the parrot with the non-parrot, and I’m still on the fence if they’d all look better in their own groups or mixed in. What do you think?

collage of Apricot Beauty tulips and Apricot parrot tulips

6 – Double daffodils. These were planted this year, and I have to say that I really like them. I’m always torn about cutting flowers and bringing them inside, but these were too pretty not to. I am planning to plant some in a large container next year.

I so appreciate you visiting! Have a great week. I’ll leave you with a picture of my two favorite Irish dancers 🙂

The excitement of what’s to come!

Hello, and welcome to my blog! Spring has truly arrived, with trees covered in buds and early blooming flowers totally showing off. What a glorious time it is, filled with hope and excitement as we watch everything unfold before our eyes. (It’s not just me, is it?!) No matter how many years I’ve experienced this newness of spring, it still feels magical every single time. And there isn’t even a need to wait until flowers are fully in bloom to enjoy their beauty – they are truly beautiful from the first sign of life! I see parallels in life, here. The only thing that is not fully aligned with spring is the temperature. At least here in Ireland it is still rather cold. No matter, I just bundle up and out I go (note the wooly hat in my picture below).

I think the most exciting thing in the garden for me this week is that we planted our ‘Little Lime’ hydrangeas. I bought these at Pergola Nurseries, in Virginia. Perhaps you’ve seen their videos on Instagram? They do lots of short, informative videos about so many different plants that the owner has become quite the celebrity! (And well deserved!) It is well worth a visit there – either online or in person. But back to my Little Limes, I’ve planted five of them to form a wall at one end of the raised bed garden. I decided to go with the dwarf hydrangeas because full size hydrangeas can grow quite big, and I didn’t want them blocking sun or taking over that area. I also went with Little Limes because they are supposed to be the easiest hydrangea to grow, and I really like ‘easy’! I’m excited to see how it will look as they grow.

I hope you have been enjoying the wonderful signs of spring where you live. In these times especially, it is really important to seek out the beauty in the world. I will be joining The Propagator again this week, for his Six on Saturday meme. Thank you for visiting, and have a great week!

In Peace,
Dana

Hyacinth Woodstock and Bleeding hearts

1 – These hyacinth are called Woodstock, from Farmer Gracy. I think the color is absolutely stunning. They are next to the bleeding heart plant (Lamprocapnos spectabilis, formerly Dicentra spectabilis) which will grow much bigger as the season progresses. This area is around our playhouse, where I also have a bunch of tulips planted – still waiting on them to bloom.

collage of tulips

2 – Tulips! These are new to me this year: the pinks are Finola tulips and the white ones are Swan wings (I think).

collage of double daffodils under the apple tree
hand held bouquet of mixed varieties of daffodils

3 – Daffodils! It doesn’t take many to make a delightful bouquet that can brighten your day! I love having so many different varieties. My plan is to add more in containers next year, as that worked really well this year.

Dana selfie at rose bed

4 – Things to come: I love how the peony plants look as they first throw out their new foliage. I know the flowers are the main show, but after the gloom of winter it is so nice to see the pretty shades of their leaves! This picture was an evening that I was weeding in the garden, and working in the last of the aged manure. Such a great feeling to keep the beds looking tidy – for now!

View of Little Lime hydrangeas freshly planted as a wall

5 – Little Lime hydrangea plants. Not much else to say about these cuties, and you can’t even see them in the picture! The five plants are between the black weed mat and the grass. We still have some things to figure out, like how to neatly cover the weed mat. But we’ll get there. 🙂

6 – A view of the beds in April. We have our garlic growing (to harvest in July), and the raspberry plants have started to grow after getting a trim early in the winter. The strawberry plants (on the far end) are also starting to slowly look better after the winter. Nothing beats the blue sky, though!

Thanks so much for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed your visit. 🙂