In a Vase on Monday: Sweet Pea, Hosta & Perovskia (Russian Sage)

Without any sun it is quite drab

Without any sun it is somewhat drab

Today is Monday. It is a wet, cold, and miserable day!  What a yucky end to the summer.  The bright aspect of today, though, is the start of my joining in on “In a Vase on Monday”.  Cathy, of Rambling in the Garden, hosts this lovely blogging theme.  Here is my first “go” at joining in.  To see some other lovely vases of flowers, please do visit Cathy’s blog: http://ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com/2014/08/11/in-a-vase-on-monday-reddy-or-not/

Add a touch of sun and Voila! magic.

Add a touch of sun and Voila! magic. The vase is from our Irish pottery collection from when we married 18 years ago (Suzanne May).

I know my crazy schedule, so I cut these flowers on Saturday evening.  My sweet pea are white and different shades of pink and purple. They smell amazing in the wide open garden.  The fragrance in the house when I have a vase of sweet pea inside is heavenly!

Perovskia 'Atriplicifolia' (Russian Sage)

Perovskia ‘Atriplicifolia’ (Russian Sage)

I planted Perovskia ‘Atriplicifolia’ (Russian Sage) last year.  I missed it from my previous garden.  I’m so glad to have it again.  It is such a delicate plant.  I’ve added just a few strands to the arrangement to give it a bit of extended form.

The Russian Sage gives it some reach.

The Russian Sage gives it some reach.

I also used some hosta at the base to kind of keep some form to the arrangement. I tried to not have it look like a collar, but I did like the contrast of the sweet pea on the green at the base.

Up close

Up close

The vase of flowers is sitting in front of me this morning as I am writing this post. It is still smelling fragrant and looking well.  I’m glad I took those pictures on Saturday, though, as the weather is horrendous today! Even on Saturday the weather was changeable.  You can see how it was cloudy and sunny while I was taking photos!  The difference in photos is like night and day.

In a Vase: Sweet Pea, Hosta & Perovskia (Russian Sage)

In a Vase: Sweet Pea, Hosta & Perovskia (Russian Sage)

I love flower arranging, so this was pure pleasure in putting together.  The hardest part for me is cutting the flowers in the garden!  I love seeing them in the yard.  Incentive for me to plant enough to have in the yard, and in a  vase!

I hope your Monday is lovely and bright.

Dana

Sharing from the garden…

Daffodil Double Poet White

Daffodil Double Poet White given to me by a dear friend

Time. It is something that I always want more of.  With a recent change in my schedule, my time in the garden has been cutback dramatically. I’ve been enjoying late evenings in the garden watering the more needy flowers during a bit of a dry spell. A common expression here is “when the weather is good, there is nowhere in the world as nice as Ireland”! I have to say that feels so true these days of sunny and warm, but not hot, weather!

View of our fruit garden from the deck

The garden doing well with the good weather

I had the chance to catch-up with my dear friend Susan this week. We hadn’t seen each other in ages and it was so nice to have some time together. After catching up on how our families are doing, we spent a lot of time talking about plants! We are planning a mini garden tour among a few of our friends. Last year when we did something similar our hostess shared a bunch of different plants with us. I made out very well!

Schizostylis

Schizostylis (given to me by that same dear friend)

Schizostylis

Schizostylis

My ditch wall garden was pretty much filled with gifted plants!  I have a few pictures from early spring and now.  It is amazing how everything fills in and really comes to life.

Ditch wall garden in March

Ditch wall garden in March

Ditch wall garden at the end of June

Ditch wall garden at the end of June

That is some difference, isn’t it?!  Here are a few pictures of some of the gifted plants, too. The first is of Monkshood.  It is very pretty, and (very) poisonous.  I didn’t know what it was when I got it, otherwise I’m not sure I would have planted it.  Thankfully, my kids, and my cat, aren’t interested in eating plants.

Monkshood (poisonous plant)

Monkshood (poisonous plant)

Monkshood

Monkshood

Monkshood closeup

Monkshood closeup

I’m not sure how I managed it, but I ended up with 4 different plants from our last “tour”!

Dogwood

Dogwood and primrose

The red stems on this dogwood really stood out this past winter.  The primrose is just starting to wake up in the above picture.  I have a better picture here:

primrose

primrose

Seriously, aren’t they fabulous?  They really brightened up the garden in late winter/early spring!

I think we should be doing some plant sharing this time, too. Some of the plants that Susan has shared with me over the past few years have grown and thrived. This year we have so many babies!!!

Dusty Miller babies

Dusty Miller babies … lots of ’em!

Dusty Miller Lychnis Coronaria

Dusty Miller Lychnis Coronaria

Dusty Miller Lychnis Coronaria

Dusty Miller Lychnis Coronaria

Dusty Miller Lychnis Coronaria

Dusty Miller Lychnis Coronaria

When I lived in New York, every year just before our kids were finished school in June we would get together with a bunch of friends for lunch and a plant swap.  It was always something to look forward to!  (Thank you Ellen A. for always hosting and having lots of plants to share!)

Now it is my turn to share the bounty. It is lovely to think of friends as you see the plants they have given you come into bloom. Have you shared any plants lately?

To all of my American friends and family I wish you a Happy 4th of July!

Share the love of gardening!
Dana

Happy Fourth of July!

Our American flag.

Our American flag.

Proud to be an American…  I don’t think it can be explained, American pride that is.  For me, it just is a part of me, no matter where I’ve lived.  During my last visit home, I particularly noticed all of the American flags waving on flag poles at everyone’s homes.  It was so nice to see!

My parents' American flag is put up every day.

My parents’ American flag is put up every day. I remember having this be one of my jobs as a child.

Always at the front!  Ellen's American flag.

Always at the front! Ellen and Darryl ‘s American flag.

As long as the weather is good, you will usually find the flag outside, and in good condition.

Ed & Jen's flag in perfect condition.

Ed & Jen’s flag in perfect condition.

Rob & Lisa's flag looks really nice in the breeze.

Rob & Lisa’s flag looks really nice in the breeze.

I bet my friends are going to smile when they see their flags here.  I just loved seeing them (the friends and the flags!).

Independence Day Cake!

Independence Day Cake!

The 4th of July celebrations usually involve a parade, and then getting together with friends and family for a barbeque or picnic, and field games.    The activities would be finished off with some spectacular fireworks after dark.  It really is a wonderful way to celebrate!

American flag cake.

American flag cake.

I don’t know where I got it in my head to try making a flag cake this year.  Thankfully, I had the help of my daughter.  It was a bit time consuming (I think we work kinda slow!), but it was neat to have something different.  We celebrated a bit early with this cake, which gave me the chance to post it here! 🙂

Even though we live abroad, we still celebrate.  We’ll be meeting some other Americans for a family picnic.  Might not have a parade, but it’ll have the American spirit!

Happy 4th of July!
Dana

A little girl’s pink room on a sunny day.

Our littlest one's very pink room!

Our littlest one’s very pink room!

Today was such a lovely sunny day.  After a couple of weeks of gray darkness, the sun was a welcome change!  Over the Christmas break, my littlest one and I cleaned her room.  You wouldn’t think an eight year old’s room could get very untidy, would you?  Well, it took us an entire day! I had to capture it on camera while it still looked good.

A very pink room!

An antique “zig-zag” blanket.

We worked together in organizing her clothes, toys, books, dolls and room so that everything has a place.  Yeah, I know, I’ll be happy if it lasts even just a little while!  I love her room.  I think the pink is fun and cheerful.  She has some things from my childhood in there, too (antiques!?).   The blanket on the bed was made by my mother when I was eight.  We called it the zig zag pattern.

A ceramic music box.

A ceramic music box.

This music box little girl has been around for quite a few years!  My mother painted her in ceramics when I was a little girl. I loved pink back then, too.  My sister was given a blond girl with a blue dress, which matched her personality.  Happy memories!

Made with love.

Made with love.

There is a painting in her room, too.  It was painted by a local woman from where we used to live in Manlius, New York. I have three paintings by Terry Garwood as I love her style! It’s not surprising that there are flowers in the painting, is it?

Painting by Terry Garwood.

Painting by Terry Garwood.

I also love baby pictures.  This one is special because she is wearing a sweater that my grandmother had made when I was a baby.  I still have that sweater – packed away in my cedar chest!

My daughter is wearing a very special sweater in the top right picture.

My daughter is wearing a very special sweater in the top right picture.

Those are fairy lights at the top of the picture frame. She used to use them as a night light, but prefers the dark these days; a sure sign of her growing up. 😦

There was a light breeze coming in through the open window today.

There was a light breeze coming in through the open window today.

It really was a gorgeous day today.  I had all of the windows open in the house! I love her curtains, so simple and sweet.

Sweet little girl curtains.

Sweet little girl curtains.

Here is the view from her window to the side of the house:

The driveway & garden from the littlest one's bedroom window.

The driveway & garden from the littlest one’s bedroom window. We have a big garden project underway: my husband is building borders for our beds!

It just felt like a pink kind of a day.  Even the tulips given to me on Sunday were opening up!

Pink tulips.

Pink tulips.

Pink tulips in the sun.

Pink tulips in the sun.

I hope you have the chance to soak up some “pink” today!

Dana

The most photographed beech hedges in Ireland!

Vegetable garden in November.  The beech hedges are finally finished!

Tenacious.  This word played around in my head as I enjoyed another day of working in the garden.  You’ll never guess what I was doing… more weeding and trimming along the hedge! Tenacious, or maybe crazy?  No, I like tenacious better than crazy.  Determined is another word that comes to mind.  It just once again shows me that anything is possible if you put your mind to it, stick to it, and take it in small steps!  You know, maybe it does help to be just a little bit crazy, too.

Frosty beech hedges.

Frosty beech hedges.

Messy November veggie garden.

Messy November veggie garden.

I have been very unlucky with nettles the past few times in the garden.  My hands, my legs, my feet, my ear (!) have all been stung numerous times.  I wish I could say I’m getting used to it, but it still hurts every time.  Some of the nettles were as tall as me.  You could say that the weeds had gotten a bit out of hand! The very good news is that I have finished the worst of the job.  I worked on the area around our vegetable beds, and it looks better than it ever has.  I am so pleased with it.  I really didn’t like taking pictures of that area since the weeds were higher than my hedges.  Granted, a lot of the weeds were on the farmer’s side of the fence, but still.

A cleaned up vegetable garden.

A cleaned up vegetable garden.

SAM_1864

Cleaned up beech hedges.

Cleaned up beech hedges.

Speaking of the farmer, he was out harvesting his sugar beet in the field behind our house yesterday.  He’ll use the sugar beet to feed his cattle.  I enjoyed a nice chat with him.  He offered to spray those weeds on his side of the fence for me.  He said he hadn’t done that since he knew I didn’t like sprays.  (He’s getting to know me!) He’ll be moving cattle into the field next week.  Do cows eat nettles???

Field of sugar beet.

Field of sugar beet.

Harvested field of sugar beet.

Field in foreground is harvested sugar beet.

An Irish Robin under the fence.

An Irish Robin under the fence.

I was lucky enough to catch a picture of this little Robin while I was working.  It’s worth keeping the camera at hand! The picture of the harvested sugar beet above, was taken at around 1 PM. I thought the sky was so pretty, even though still somewhat gray.  I think this is my first post with no pictures of flowers in it, but I’ll finish with a picture I took of the moon.  It was quite low, and you can just make out the trees (if you look *real* closely) and the cloud behind the moon.  It was spectacular to see!

Thanks for visiting.

Dana

A beautiful moon.

A beautiful moon.

Life is … A Bed of Roses!

I love roses, especially fragrant ones.  So it was no surprise to my husband when I planned out a rose bed for one of my first gardening projects.   And plan I did!  The area that is our new Rose Garden was simply grass last year.  I marked out the area I wanted with layers of newspapers and added compost and seaweed on top, and a few stones to keep the papers in place.  I then left it alone for the grass to break down.  As for the next step of  picking a border, I have to say that there is something about boxwood plant borders that I really like.  I think it is the functionality of the plant!  So boxwood is what we went with (as soon as it went on sale locally).  The garden had quite a few months of really not looking all that pretty, I have to admit.  This doesn’t bother me as long as I have a clear vision of what it is going to look like in the long run!

Last fall I decided that tulips would be a nice flower to have in the rose garden.  I planted bulbs and then covered everything up with some local horse manure (see my previous post: https://mominthegarden.wordpress.com/2012/02/07/laying-down-manure/).  Some of the tulips are up now (Blueberry ripple & Innuendo). I’m still waiting on a few double late tulips.  I was all ready to plant some roses this weekend  so I gave the garden a really good digging through!  I used my hoe and mixed in/up/around everything! It’s a good thing I love gardening, because this was some seriously hard work!   This was it, I was finally ready to call it a garden bed.   We  planted 3 Rosa Jacques Cartier roses (what a fancy name!), and then 3 roses with names not nearly as exciting.    My husband and I have a little debate going on.  The debate is whether or not it is worth buying special (read “expensive”) roses via catalogue, or are the inexpensive “sale” ones just as good.   We’ll have to wait until this summer to find out which roses are the winners!

How about you, which do you prefer?  Buying through the catalogue or locally?  I’d love to know!

Dana

Future home of a rose garden (newspapers, compost, seaweed & rocks)!

Getting closer to being a rose garden (with horse manure).

My new rose garden (with tulips)!

My new rose garden (with tulips, too)!

“Innuendo” tulips.

“Blueberry ripple” tulips.

“Blueberry ripple” tulips in my new rose garden.