A St. Patrick’s day to remember

Hi there! Whether you are Irish or not, celebrating the patron saint of Ireland is something that is done around the world. St. Patrick’s day, March 17th, is a national holiday in Ireland, and the festivities (and weather) in Dublin did not disappoint this year.

This was our first time attending the Dublin parade, and I have to say that there was a wonderful atmosphere. The theme was ‘We are one’, which was perfect, given the times we live in. We enjoyed the music of the marching bands, the costumes of the performing arts, and the festive nature of the many participants! We were very lucky with the weather, too, as the rain held off until the late afternoon.

After the parade, we headed across Dublin to the ‘festival quarter’ at the National Museum of Ireland, Collins Barracks. There we went to the Céilí Mór – hosted by Dearbhla Lennon with The Shandrum Céilí Band. As it happens, my daughter was part of the dance troupe. It was really nice to see her on stage, enjoying herself! They split the time between the Irish dancers performing for us, Ciara Lennon calling out steps to teach us how to céilí, and volunteers giving their best shot at speaking Irish. Dearbhla did a wonderful job hosting. It was fun, entertaining and best of all, everyone enjoyed themselves! 🙂 One look around the crowd spoke volumes, as we saw countless people céilí dancing – probably not perfectly (me included!), but definitely with smiles on their faces. Even some ‘soft rain’ didn’t dampen their spirits. Thankfully, the sun did follow the rain, shortly after.

I’ve collated a few of the pictures from the parade and the Céilí Mór. It is so difficult picking just a few to post!

I was in Dublin earlier this week, too. I happened to walk through St. Stephen’s Green and was delighted to see the park all dressed up for spring! There were daffodils, primroses and hyacinth galore. And the beds are all starting to waken, with many signs of what is to come. Even though the day was gray, the flowers were so uplifting.

I’m joining Garden Ruminations for the Six on Saturday meme, although I’m possibly stretching the guidelines a tiny bit. I hope you’ll enjoy the pictures I’ve selected!

In Peace,

St. Stephen's green flowers of primroses and daffodils and hyacinths
Flowers from St. Stephen's green (daffodils and hyacinth)

1 – St. Stephen’s Green park.

daffodils from St. Stephen's Green park

1 – St. Stephen’s Green park. I didn’t want to squish these pictures into a collage – so I’m sheepishly adding them to my first item. It is such a joy to walk through the park and see the beds so well tended to. As far as I could tell, the main beds were just filled with daffodils, primroses and hyacinth. I thought it was beautiful!

Floating garden pictures from Dublin

2 – ‘Floating Gardens’ in Dublin. I love seeing flowers tucked into places that you might not think possible. What are the Floating Gardens? “The Floating Gardens were designed to enhance the biodiversity of the surrounding St. Stephen’s Green area, providing a source of pollen and nectar for bees and butterflies. We commissioned the gardens as part of our strategy to enrich our buildings and green our portfolio.” (per IPUT Real Estate Dublin).

Collage of pictures from St. Patrick's day parade in Dublin, including St. Patrick
collage of pictures from St. Patrick's day parade in Dublin
Collage of pictures from St. Patrick's day parade in Dublin, colorful dancers, masks and the globe represented in a puzzle

3, 4 & 5 – Dublin’s St. Patrick’s day parade. Aren’t those colors fabulous? It’s impossible to give the parade full justice in just a few pictures, but I’ve done my best here. You might find a reel or two on my Instagram account this week, that might bring the colors to life!

Ceili Mor as part of the St. Patrick's day festival

6 – The Céilí Mór. The smiles say it all! Definitely head to my Instagram account for some reels from the dancing. 🙂

How did you celebrate St. Patrick’s day? I hope you had fun!

A (last?) visit from Winter

Hello! I might have been getting a wee bit ahead of myself there in the garden. Mother nature has put me firmly back in my place, though, with a cold snap and even some snow! We seem to be out the other side of it now, thankfully. The snow was pretty, but I’m done with winter and want to move full steam ahead into spring! 🙂

Thankfully, the flowers which were in bloom are no worse off after the cold snap. The daffodils, hellebores, primroses and iris reticulata might have had some droopy moments for a bit, but are back to standing tall and showing off their beauty.

I am sheepishly joining Garden Ruminations for the Six on Saturday Sunday meme. Enjoy the tour!

In Peace,

Daffodils in pots and one covered in snow

1 – Daffodils! One container is well on its way to having most of the flowers in bloom, while the second container is just starting to think about blooming! I’ve switched them around to play with the sun positioning, and that seems to be helping.

Helleborus 'Anemone Picotee'

2 – Helleborus ‘Anemone Picotee’. This is now well established after a few years in the garden. It was just a teeny tiny plant when I bought it; a very simple, yet pretty flower.

Helleborus SP Isabelle Spring Promise 'SP Frilly Isabelle' LenzRose

3 – Helleborus Isabelle Spring Promise ‘SP Frilly Isabelle’, also known as a LenzRose. This plant is also well established in the garden, at this stage. It brings a pretty pink color to this bed in early spring, and it will be followed by hyacinth in shades of pink and white.

Helleborus orientalis 'Double Ellen Red'

4 – Helleborus orientalis ‘Double Ellen Red’. I have four pictures of this one plant because I like the different aspects of it. This plant has been blooming for a while, already. I can’t say enough good things about hellebores. If you don’t have any in your garden, I would recommend you go and get some! 🙂

Helleborus Harvington Double Red

5 – Helleborus Harvington Double Red. This plant is a couple of years old, and not fully settled in yet. I bought two plants together, and one is thriving and this one is ever so slowly coming along. Hopefully, next year will be better.

HGC Ice N' Roses Picotee (Helleborus Gold Collection)

6 – HGC Ice N’ Roses Picotee (Helleborus Gold Collection). This hellebore was added to the garden just a few weeks ago. I bought it at Altamont Gardens in February. I decided to go big this time, and not have to wait too long for it to get established. I’m definitely drawn to the simple flowers of white and pink.

collage of primroses, iris reticulata and aubrieta, all with snow.

And that’s a look at the garden this week. I’m thankful the snow didn’t last very long – just long enough to get some pretty pictures! Thanks so much for stopping by! 🙂

Beauty in the Garden (the show) begins!

Hi there! Are you an excited gardener? I sure am! Because it’s happening. While there were some pretty blooms in the winter, now is when the real show-offs emerge from their slumber and start the show that we call Beauty in the Garden. We’ll get to enjoy fabulous displays of color and texture throughout the garden starting now and lasting right through until late fall! How amazing is that? The anticipation for all of the new bulbs planted last year, or the new beds waiting to be planted, or just to see the old favorites again this year, well, it’s intoxicating!

Primroses, hellebores, pulmonaria, and iris reticulata – these beauties are gracing my garden at the minute. There’s been lots of prep work going on for the later blooming plants – the rose shrubs have been pruned, as have most of my hydrangeas. They’ll also be getting a good feed shortly. I’ve been tidying up the garden and clearing away the finished sunflowers from last year – with still more to do!

I’m joining the Six on Saturday meme through Garden Ruminations. It’s nice to join the group and see what is growing in different parts of the world.

Thanks so much for stopping by! Enjoy the tour. 🙂

In Peace,

Pulmonaria 'Opal'

1 – Pulmonaria ‘Opal’. Whether this is truly ‘Opal’ could be up for debate. Nonetheless, I love this plant. The spotted leaves are quite quirky – which is right up my alley. These tiny, pretty flowers look lovely with daffodils, which is what they are planted among. Still waiting on the daffodils, though!

Iris reticulata

2 – Iris reticulata. More pretty, tiny flowers, although they are substantially bigger than the pulmonaria. There are four flowers, for 20 bulbs, so I’m hoping more will still bloom. They look a little bit lost where they are. I have made a note to at least get more bulbs to fill that spot. I’m still working on that bed, and possibly expanding it, so there’s lots of potential. 🙂

Ornamental grass cut down to 18 inches with primroses around the base

3 – Ornamental grass – cut! I love when we cut back the ornamental grass. I almost prefer it this way than in full grown-out bloom as it is so much easier to control now. It is a big job to cut it back, especially when I want to keep it small and manageable. I’m thankful that my husband does this job! I planted these primroses last year and was delighted to see them back this year. Small joys.

Hellebore - unknown variety, white

4 – White hellebore. It is quite disappointing to not have the exact name for this plant. I do have the name that was on the tag, Aspen High, but given the markings on the white petals, that isn’t right. It is very pretty, though!

Helleborus Harvington Double Apricots

5 – Helleborus Harvington Double Apricot. I used four images of the same plant because it is so pretty and looks different at every angle. The plant is filled with blooms and is well established since planting it in February 2021.

Helleborus Anna's Red

6 – Helleborus Anna’s Red. This hellebore is fabulous for having flowers that don’t hang down, facing the ground. You can see the inside of the flowers from across the garden! It is such a striking color, too. And last but not least, the leaves on this plant (which I’ve cut off for now, due to black spot) are so unusual and pretty. They are what drew me to this plant in the first place. It will be lovely to see them again later in the season.

Thanks again for visiting! Which is your favorite plant? Better still, which plant would you recommend from your garden, as your favorite plant for this time of year? Thanks! 🙂 Dana

A quick spa getaway to Iceland

Hi there! My goodness, February sure flew by, didn’t it? It went all the faster for me with the anticipation of my trip to Iceland at the end of the month. What a treat that was! My husband and I had a whirlwind visit that was simply amazing!

I was actually meant to go at the end of January, but strong winds got in the way of that. Thankfully, we had no major weather issues in February.

But let me tell you a bit more about how this trip came about. We first visited Iceland in August 2021. We explored the south-east of the country for about a week and had a wonderful time. I made a mental note that I wanted to return for more time at the Blue Lagoon, given that it is just a two hour and twenty minute flight from Dublin, Ireland. Having just retired, I decided this was the perfect time for a special spa getaway!

It was a super quick visit: we arrived on Sunday afternoon and left early Tuesday morning. We stayed at the Silica hotel, which is a 20 minute drive from the airport, and just a seven minute walk to the Blue Lagoon. The Silica hotel has its own private lagoon, which we thoroughly enjoyed upon our arrival. We more or less had the lagoon to ourselves, with beautiful views of the landscape all around us. We managed to see the sun, briefly, as it was setting, which was stunning. The temperature of the water was around 38° C (100° F). We found the water here to be slightly warmer than at the Blue Lagoon, but both were still very relaxing.

While there are a few different packages for the Blue Lagoon, we chose to visit the Retreat Spa for the day on Monday. It’s a five hour package that nonetheless goes by much too quickly! There are a number of skin treatments to pass the time, as well as a sauna, private lagoon, polar bath, restaurant and quiet places to relax. We also had our very first in-water massage. This was quite the experience! Describing it is rather complicated, but suffice it to say that I loved the juxtaposition of being completely submerged and on my back in the warm water except for my exposed face, which could feel the elements (like when it started drizzling rain for a bit), while getting a back and neck massage under the water. It was super relaxing, and I’d definitely do it again.

We ate dinner both nights at the Lava restaurant, which is at the Blue Lagoon. The food was delicious. We enjoyed lamb, beef and fish (and desserts)! It was just a seven minute walk between the two locations. There is a lovely path to follow through the unique and beautiful moss-covered lava fields. Surprisingly, the path wasn’t lit, which I think would be a really good idea. There was also the option of a shuttle bus, but we preferred to walk. Despite being a short walk, we needed to completely bundle up as it was so windy and cold!

The getaway was everything I had hoped it would be, and more. I loved how convenient everything was and of course, the superb quality. I am already looking forward to the next time I will visit, whenever that will be!

In Peace,

view of the landscape and lagoon at Silica hotel

Look at that scenery! This is the view from the lagoon at Silica hotel. Off in the top right is the Blue Lagoon hotel & spa. We were very lucky to see the sun – briefly!

collage of images from Silica hotel, including the lagoon, view from the balcony and the hotel itself.

Here are some more pictures from and of Silica hotel. I was lucky that my husband captured these lovely pictures while I enjoyed the relaxing waters of the lagoon!

path from Silica hotel to the Blue Lagoon

These pictures are of the walk from Silica hotel to the Blue Lagoon. The views were of the moss-covered lava fields, and lagoons with beautiful blue waters.

Dana and Paraic at Silica hotel, on the walk to the Blue Lagoon, and in the Blue Lagoon.

We took these pictures outside of Silica hotel (top), on our walk to the Blue Lagoon (building in the picture on the bottom left), and our only picture from the Retreat Spa at the Blue Lagoon. It’s worth noting that there were very few people there in the morning.

The lagoon at Silica hotel at sunset in February 2023.

Ah, isn’t that amazing? 🙂

A February visit to Altamont Gardens

Hi there! Welcome to my blog. Something very special happened this week. It is something that I’ve been wanting to do for many years and this year it finally happened: I went to Altamont Gardens to see the snowdrops (Galanthus)! You know the story, schedules, weather, parenting duties, there have been many excuses for my not going over the years. But this year everything fell into place for me to go with my dear friend, and fellow gardening enthusiast, Susan.

You might remember that I mentioned my very first visit to Altamont Gardens just this past May (you can see that post here). As you can imagine, it was a completely different experience in February, but no less wonderful! We spent the first part of our visit in the nursery. Late winter and early spring is not just a time for pretty flowers such as hellebores and snowdrops. It is also a time for plants with sweet scents in the garden. As we walked along the path we were greeted with the amazing smells of daphne odora, sarcococca, and edgeworthia chrysantha, all stacked on a display cart. The fragrances from these plants can be enjoyed while just standing next to them! Ideally, they should be planted in areas where you’ll best get to enjoy their scent as you pass them by. I have a goal to add at least one to my garden next year!

But most people flock to Altamont Gardens in January and February to see the snowdrops. I’m a newbie to snowdrops. Honestly, I’m happy enough with any type of snowdrop. But you can get lots of different varieties! It is well worth a visit just to see the drifts of snowdrops throughout the gardens. They are a lovely plant for woodlands, and will spread naturally. I was quite surprised to see some very large varieties in the gardens (I prefer the smaller ones). What I didn’t know, was that the leaves of snowdrops have specially hardened tips which they use to push through frozen soil. This is how we get to enjoy them in the coldest months of the year. 🙂

The gardens and nursery were both filled with many different varieties and colors of hellebores, too: double, single, black, white, yellow, pink, green, speckled, plain, hybrid – you name it, they’ve got it!

The walk around the gardens, leading around to the lake, is serene and beautiful. There are benches along the way, to encourage you to stop and take it all in. There were plenty of birds (Great tit, Blue tit, Bullfinches, Goldfinches) and ducks to see.

We were lucky with the weather. It wasn’t too cold, it only sprinkled rain for a short while, and then we enjoyed glorious sunshine to finish out our visit.

It only costs €2 for parking, and is free into the gardens. But it is as much fun buying plants in the nursery as it is exploring the gardens, so be sure to bring your wallet!

collage of flowers from Altamont gardens with road sign for Altamont Gardens. Snowdrops and iris reticulata

Snowdrops, iris reticulata & hellebores greeted us first, upon our arrival at Altamont. The pictures speak for themselves! These beauties are shining bright in the garden, no matter the late winter/early spring weather! The iris reticulata were planted in bunches, which has such a lovely impact. It was the same situation for the snowdrops, with the added benefit of what looked like snow drifts through their naturalizing.


The top right picture is of galanthus Lucy. This variety has lots of green markings on the outside, which I found a little comical. I don’t have a favorite, as they are all beautiful in their own unique way.

snowdrops around the trees at Altamont gardens

Big, beautiful trees line the start of the walk, and they are surrounded by beautiful bouquets (clumps) of snowdrops. It is a sight to see.

iris reticulata in bunches giving an impact along the hedging

These pictures are from near the nursery. The spring flowering cyclamen (a bright fuchsia color) was shouting for some well deserved attention. It certainly broke up the coloring of the snowdrops and iris reticulata. I have to confess that I don’t usually plant bulbs so close together, as is done here with the iris, but what a wonderful impact it has! I will be changing my ways to do the same. (And isn’t that ‘pot’ amazing, in the top right picture?)

scented flowers for the winter and early spring garden: sarcococca and edgeworthia

These are two of the scented plants I mentioned earlier. I didn’t get a picture of the sarcococca flower, but it is a very small and delicate white flower with a big, beautiful scent!

different varieties of hellebores

Here is just a small selection of some of the hellebores at Altamont. There was something for everyone!

Views of Altamont gardens lake and formal garden

Those sculpted yews are my favorite! But of course, the lake is always beautiful.

Views of the lake at Altamont and the lake paths with benches to enjoy the views

An invitation to sit and relax and enjoy the sights and sounds of Altamont gardens!

Dana and Susan at the Daphne shrub at Altamont gardens

I will sheepishly admit that I was not fully sold on the Daphne plant when we first saw a small potted version in the nursery. It wasn’t until we walked near this particular shrub when my senses were fully awakened to the amazing scent of Daphne! I had to get a picture of myself and Susan here. It was such a highlight of the day for me. We laughed, we chatted, we enjoyed the beauty of it all. The day was made perfect by spending it with someone who truly enjoys gardening as much as I do.

Be sure to find yourself a friend just like Susan!

Thanks for stopping by!

In Peace,

Summer delights for motivation

Hi there! It is February and thankfully the weather has eased up a tiny bit. I was able to get out into the garden more this week and every minute was such a blessing. And while I do have pictures from this past week, instead of sharing those, I’m going to share my pictures of some of the flowers that I am looking forward to seeing in just a few months. I’m using them as motivation! I’ve started with my feature image at the top of the page, which is what the garden looked like in July last year!

I’m joining Garden Ruminations for the Six on Saturday meme. 🙂

I hope you enjoy my motivational trip down memory lane!

In Peace,

collage of fruit from the garden including strawberries, blueberries, pears and apples

1 – Fruit from the garden. Last year we finally caged up our blueberries. What a harvest we had! Up until then, the birds were the beneficiaries of the delicious blueberries. We had a decent harvest of strawberries, too. The strawberry ice cream we made was quite a treat! It was the best harvest yet for our pears. My husband made a pear and almond torte (twice!) that was absolutely delicious – and well worth the work that went into making it. Finally, our apples: red eating and yellow/green cooking. There is something quite satisfying about eating an apple from your own tree! 🙂

collage of David Austin roses: colors coral, light pink, medium pink and dark pink

2 – David Austin roses. Clockwise from top right: Princess Anne is a beautiful deep pink rose, Boscobel is a pretty salmon color. The next one is either Olivia Rose Austin or Ancient Mariner, I have both, but at this point, I don’t know which is which and they are very similar. The last one is Harlow Carr, and this I know because it is *very* thorny! They all are scented, which is something I look for in flowers. I had a super rose season last year, and I have to give credit to Uncle Tom’s Rose Tonic, which I used for the first time. Per the label: it contains pure potassium phosphite. It’s not cheap, but I did see an improvement in the health of my roses.

collage of iris grown from February through July

3 – Iris from February through July. We can start with Iris reticulata (bottom center) that blooms in February. Mine aren’t blooming just yet this year, but are up from the soil. We then have a bit of a break until May when most of the others start to bloom. We have Dutch Iris (top right), bearded Iris Benton Storrington (middle right), and the Siberian Iris ‘Shirley Pope’. The Siberian iris (top left) also blooms in May/June. And lastly, to finish out the iris season, we have another variety of Dutch iris that blooms at the end of June through the beginning of July. It is planted among the Incrediball hydrangea. I usually use it in a fourth of July arrangement.

Astra White Balloon Flower

4 – White balloon flower. This simple little beauty is happiest in sun and provides sweet white flowers, starting in June. They will continue to flower with deadheading.

collage of allium

5 – Allium. Starting in May and going through June, allium are a treat in the garden! I planted some en masse and I really like how they look. I usually cut some to bring inside as they dry beautifully, too. I’ve even spray painted them! My favorite type is Purple Sensation, but the ones en masse (bottom three photos) are a really neat star-like shape which I find to be as pleasing as the coloring of the Purple Sensation!

collage of poppies colored orange, red, pink, lilac.

6 – Poppies. Of course we have poppies! Each year they seem to find a new spot in the garden. We have had a range of colors, including: orange, red, lavender, pink, and coral! The seed heads are also fun to work with in arrangements.

That was so much fun! I hope you are as inspired as I am. Which is your favorite flower? And of course, thanks for stopping by!

January blues

Hi there! It’s the very end of January, and although I’m not a fan of wishing time away, I am happy to see it go. I chose today’s blogpost title with a couple of thoughts in mind. First off, January can be a tough month, can’t it? I find it easy to feel blue when I can’t work in the garden. We’ve had lots of gray days, too, which dampens my spirits. But the other meaning of ‘blues’ that I had in mind, was beauty through color. Just this week we had the most spectacular sunset with purples, blues, oranges, and yellow, creating an absolutely amazing show! I have been lucky enough to see quite a few of these beautiful sunsets and sun rises – all with hues of blue – this month. There is always something to be grateful for!

There’s been a little bit of progress in the garden, actually. A few of the hellebores are now really showing off. They look so pretty since I cut away their leaves (most had black-spot).

I have a flower situation that I would like to work on over the next number of weeks. Years ago we planted bluebell and daffodil bulbs along the hedge. Well, in truth, we seemed to have planted them under the hedge. So by the time the flowers are blooming, the hedge is covering them and their lovely blooms are invisible – unless you lower your head to look under the hedge… This year I’d like to finally dig them up and move them out from under the hedge. I know it will be worth it, it’s just a matter of making it happen!

Oh! And did I mention that something ‘big’ happened in January? I have jumped into (early) retirement! I’ve been processing so many emotions, but mostly I am very excited for what this will look like for me. I’m planning on traveling, visiting with family and friends, and lots more time in the garden.

This week, I am joining Garden Ruminations for the Six on Saturday meme. There’s always lots to see there, if you’re curious about other gardens from around the world!

Thanks so much for visiting! I hope you enjoy the tour.

In Peace,

Sunset with purples, yellow and oranges over the playhouse garden
Sunset of purple, oranges and yellow over garde

1 – Blues (purples) of January Sunset. This sunset was from Monday, January 23rd, the day I retired. It was a perfect way to welcome me into my new adventure!

Hellebore Winter Sunshine after cutting the leaves away

2 – Hellebore Winter Sunshine. I really do like the color of the leaves on this hellebore. They are a blueish green and very pretty – when they don’t have blackspot! But the plant is just so much prettier when it is full of buds and flowers and the leaves aren’t blocking the view. The collage shows the progression of the day, starting with the bottom left photo.

Hellebore Double Ellen

3 – Hellebore Double Ellen Red. The lovely flowers on this hellebore hang down. So for this picture I put my phone right under the flower. Awkward positioning, but I think it worked. I cut away the main leaves from this plant a number of weeks ago, and it is doing really well, with lots of flowers.

Hellebore Anemone Picotee

4 – Hellebore Anemone Picotee. This is the most delicate of all of my hellebore. It has taken a few years to get established, but it has been worth the wait. The flowers are so delicate looking, with interesting purple veins.

Bluebells or daffodils coming through the soil

5 – Bluebells under the hedge. This is going to be a bit of a pain of a job, but I know it will be worth it. I have ivy starting to grow under the hedge, too, so it really needs a good clear-out!

Dana and Susan celebrating at Strandfield Restaurant with Quinoa grain salad

6 – Celebrating with Susan! My dear friend Susan happened to stop by on my first day of retirement, so we decided to celebrate together with a trip to one of our favorite local cafes: Strandfield! It was such a serendipitous visit! The food at Strandfield is always delicious. We both enjoyed the quinoa grain salad which was as tasty as it was colorful! They also have a gift and flower shop, which is where I treated myself to my new favorite (and very pink) hat. We both left happily content!

And that’s a wrap! Although January was somewhat blue, I’m so grateful to have so many people and things to be thankful for to get through those blues. What about you? How did your January go?

Enjoying a beautiful winter color palette

Hello! Welcome to my blog. Every week, before I start writing a new post, I always go through my photos first. That is usually where my inspiration comes from. I go out into the garden all week long, at different times during the day, and I take pictures. Unfortunately, taking pictures is all I’ve been doing in the garden lately. I can’t wait to get started in some actual garden work, which will hopefully happen very soon.

What has really struck me recently, though, has been the colors in the sky. The morning sky has been beautiful shades of pink and purple on the far side of the house, while near the chicken run, we’ll see darker shades of orange, red and purple. It is amazing! And then, just like that, the sun is under a blanket of clouds and the show is over. I’ve learned to appreciate the sun whenever it shines, and to take the pictures right then and not wait for a better shot later!

I am joining in on the Six on Saturday fun again, hosted now by Garden Ruminations. It’s good to be back!

I hope you enjoy the garden tour. 🙂

In Peace,

hellebore: Winter Sunshine, Double Ellen and Anemone Picotee

1 – Hellebores. Mine are not really ready to be photographed just yet, but we’re getting there. The one on the left is Winter Sunshine. This is probably the best opportunity for me to use the word floriferous, as it is always *covered* in flowers. There are a load of buds on it at the moment. I do need to cut away those ugly brown leaves, though. While most of the green leaves are ok, some are showing signs of black-spot, so they also need to be cut away. The top red plant is called Double Ellen Red. Its flowers are especially pretty. The smallest hellebore, in the bottom right corner, is called Anemone Picotee. The flowers will be white with purple. It has a more delicate flower.

Primroses yellow, purple and pink

2 – Primroses. I have to say that I was a bit surprised to see these lovelies in the garden. I planted them last year just to fill the space. I’ve not had great luck with primroses returning, so this was nice to see.

morning view of the flower arch with a pink sky

3 – Daffodils pushing through the soil. Can you see them in the large front flower pot on the left? It is in high gear with loads of green growth. I’m not sure what the hurry is though, as they shouldn’t bloom before March. It is so wonderful to see what is coming next. It bring hope that there will be more to come. You can see that I have not yet taken away last year’s sunflowers or sweet pea. 🙂

Morning sunrise view over the chickens

4 – Sunrise over the chickens. I don’t really have much to add to this picture. The sky looks amazing. As the sun rose, though, the clouds covered everything and it was a rather dark day.

View of playhouse with pink sky

5 – Pink tinted morning view of the playhouse garden. I love mornings like these! It was a little foggy and frosty and was so beautiful with that sky! Just being in the garden on mornings like this brings a sense of peace. ❤️

collage of new bed view in frost and non-frost in sun

6 – Newest bed view. While the main view is of the newest bed, the dogwood off to the left provides a lovely splash of color! I don’t know the exact variety of cornus that it is, but if I had to guess, I’d say midwinter fire. It is a mixture of mostly orange but with some red. This new bed isn’t fully planted out yet, but right now we can see the cherry tree on the left, a burning bush (Euonymus alatus compactus) to the right of it, and then two hazelnut trees. There are some snowdrops starting to push through the soil here, too.

Thanks so much for stopping by! I have had to look outside the box to find beauty in the garden this January. But I think it is still there. Don’t you?

A January gardening win!

Amen and Hallelujah! What joy there was today as I was able to get out and work in the garden! I didn’t realize how badly I needed that until I was outside, kneeling in the soil, weeding, and it just felt *perfect*. It has been a long time since that has happened. Did I mention that the sun was shining? We had glorious sunshine and it was beautiful!

We have had quite a bit of rain (as well as high winds) for the past month, so the soil is very wet. It’s actually too wet for weeding. But I have some snowdrops just starting to push through the soil in a new spot this year, and I want to be able to see the pretty snowdrops and not just the weeds around them, so I did my best to clear the space.

Since it was a mild day, I took advantage of the lack of wind and laid out some cardboard where I want to kill the grass. My husband then put down compost/grass cuttings on top of the cardboard to keep it in place. Yay! We can check that job off of the list.

It was a perfect afternoon to get a few outside jobs done, and I’m so thankful to have had the chance to do exactly that. I had a different blog post in mind for today (continuing a review of last year’s garden) but I’ll save that for another day. Today is all about living in the moment, and enjoying what is in front of me.

The garden isn’t offering many picture worthy elements just yet (or maybe I’m being a tiny bit picky). So I’m going to leave you with just two: One of Kitty when she jumped on my back while I was weeding today, and one of a sunset view from our front yard.

I hope you are also able to seize those opportunities to be outside when the weather is good!

In Peace,

Kitty helping me weed by sitting on my back

Kitty is my loyal gardening supporter. Whenever I go in the garden, she is sure to be nearby, either being on the lookout for field mice, sitting on my kneeler to keep it warm for me, or sometimes, she offers her physical support by laying on my back, as surely that would motivate me to pull the weeds faster. 🙂

Sunset view from the front garden

This picture is a snapshot into the peacefulness of my garden. It’s just me, the birds, and Kitty. 🙂

Thanks for stopping by!

A look back on the garden from 2022 (Q1)

Happy New Year! Are we all about fresh starts for January? 🙂 I guess that even in the garden, we’re looking for ways to improve. I like to look back and see how things went, to start with. That’ll usually help me decide what I need a ‘fresh start’ with or what needs adjustment. I have to admit that the title of today’s post isn’t very glamorous. I tried, but what I went with seemed to make the most sense (too practical for my own good). I love taking time now, when we’re technically taking a wee rest from gardening, to look back at all that we grew last year. I honestly don’t remember all of the flowers that graced us until I review the pictures! It is a process that fills me with gratitude, and energizes me for the upcoming season.

As the garden grows, so too, do the number of pictures – exponentially! Capturing four months in just a few collages is truly an exercise of discipline. There are so many pictures from the garden that I’d love to share!

While I haven’t captured everything from January to May 2022 in the pictures below, it is a pretty good job. What flowers are you thinking of adding this year? I already have a few in mind!

I hope you are enjoying your winter rest time, too!

In Peace,

A collage of pictures from Jan 2022 including anemone and hellebores, a chicken and a cat + a pretty sunrise.

January 2022. There might not be as much growing in the garden in the winter months as in the summer months, but there are some very pretty sunrises and sunsets. My garden ‘must haves’ for January flowers: anemone and hellebores! The cat and chicken are just bonus babies in the garden. 🙂

A collage of flowers from February including hellebores, snowdrops and iris.

February 2022. My hellebores saved their best performances for February. I moved some around this year so it’ll be interesting to see if they will be happier in their new homes (or not). The very short Iris reticulata were new this year. They bring a lovely splash of color to the bed! And snowdrops should definitely grace every garden. They are completely maintenance free, will eventually spread, and always provide a cheerful spray of pristine white flowers to brighten any winter day.

February view of the raised beds garden

The above picture was taken in February 2022. Look how bare the beds are!

collage of March flowers: aubrietia, daffodils, hyacinth, and magnolia.

March 2022. The pinks and purples are blanketing the garden! The showy, white Magnolia Stellata was completely covered in flowers this year (first full year in the garden). It is such a beautiful shrub. March is when we trimmed the ornamental grass. It looks rather funny here, but I like keeping it a manageable size. The kitties seemed to enjoy the bed more, too. The aubrieta is slowly making its way over the wall. It is a beautiful fuchsia color, tying in nicely with the hyacinth. And of course we had daffodils!

collage of April flowers: daffodils, tulips, apple blossoms, bleeding heart and aubrietia.

April 2022. We saw the apple and cherry trees show off their beautiful blossoms in April. I hadn’t realized how big a bleeding heart plant (Lamprocapnos spectabilis) can grow. Ours must be happy! Daffodils continued to offer their beauty while the early blooming tulips started their show. I added Apricot Parrot tulips this year, and I think they were fabulous!

collage of May flowers including tulips, Lily of the Valley, lilacs, Bluebells and Easydendron Rhododendron 'Marcel Menard'

May 2022 Part I. Lots and lots of tulips! 60 bulbs each of tulip Mascotte and tulip Lilac Perfection gave HUGE impact in front of our playhouse. They were spectacular. Last fall we just dug a big space in front of the playhouse and laid out the bulbs, covering them with soil when we were finished. It was so EASY! The Bluebells were in full bloom by May, as were the Lily of the Valley plants. The lilacs were not quite as full as in years past, but they weren’t too shabby, either. The Freesia was a new addition this year (in the pot). Also a new addition: Easydendron Rhododendron ‘Marcel Menard’ Inkarho. This is a dwarf variety that does well in any soil type – not requiring the usual acidic soil. I was happy that it seemed to settle in well, showing off a bunch of beautiful blooms (another picture in collage below). The final picture is actually of the strawberry bed cage/top that my husband built to keep the birds at bay. He did a great job as it worked!

May 2022 Part II. I did a mass planting of 50 Allium bulbs last year, too. If you have the space to do a mass planting, it really is worth it! And it isn’t that much space that is needed, actually. And best of all: bees love allium. Paeonia ‘Hillary’, an Itoh, is a soft redish color. This is a hybrid between garden and tree peonies. I’m still undecided on which I prefer, Itohs or ‘regular’ peony. I have an all white tree peony, too. But I’ve moved him around so much, the poor thing is not quite sure what to do. That is not the case with the lupine plant – as it gives a great show every year! The final plant I’ll mention in this post is the iris. I have quite a few varieties, one that much prettier than the next and all blooming at different times which was a wonderful way to extend their season!

Thanks so much for being a part of my gardening journey! Which flowers are your favorites? 🙂