Creative Floral Fun

Hello there! You are very welcome to my blog. Today I was working with my 16 year old daughter, making face masks together. It was her first real sewing project, and she was deservedly proud of herself. I was glad we did it together, and even more glad that she had initiated it. But confession time: sewing is something I am not comfortable with. I just never fell in love with it. I’m hoping that she will learn how to sew and learn to really enjoy it, too. Now – working with flowers – THAT is something I love to do!

I had a bunch of chores to do around the house yesterday. As a ‘treat’ to myself for doing all of that, I decided to make another flower arrangement. πŸ™‚ All work and no play makes for a very dull day. Just like I did for my last arrangement a few weeks ago, I walked around the garden with my secateurs and snipped whatever I fancied. The tricky part was finding something ‘lofty and light’, which honestly I couldn’t find. But let me walk you through what I did use, and why:

Leycesteria formosa – also known as Himalayan honeysuckle or pheasant berry. This is great for creating structure. I love how the berries hang – giving a curve to the ends of the branch. The deep burgundy color of the berries and flowers is very pretty, too.

Pittosporum Tom Thumb – this deep, dark (purple/burgundy?) colored shrub with curly edged leaves is so easy to work with. I used it as filler to help hold things in place and to hide the white tape (see below for why I used white tape).

Rosemary – I liked the different texture of this plant. These are straight spikes and given I couldn’t really maneuver them in my container (I’ll explain below) I only used a few sprigs.

Erysimum ‘Super Bowl’ Mauve – I added these light purple stems to break up the strong tones of burgundy in the arrangement. Each stem only had a couple of small flowers on the very end of them, so I added two stems for each place that I added them. They more or less stayed together.

Clematis Purpurea Plena Elegans – this flower worked so well last time, I couldn’t pass it up. I was able to bring some of the flowers quite high, which is what I was hoping for. They are also a burgundy color.

Poppy pods – you know me, I have HUNDREDS of poppies in my garden! I collected small pods (the pod is what is left after the flower finishes blooming, and which holds the seeds) with long stems. In the center of the arrangement I have a group of them which I cut to all the same height. The rest of the pods I fanned out high above everything else.

Ornamental grass. I have one stem of this grass fanned out just on one side of the arrangement – to flow with the poppy pods and the sideways leaning Leycesteria formosa.

David Austin Roses – Eustacia Vye (an apricot-pink color), Lichfield Angel (cream), Boscobel (salmon), Scepter’d Isle (light pink) and possibly one more light pink variety but I can’t recall which one! There were too many beautiful roses in the garden to not put them in an arrangement.

The container I used is part of our pottery collection from when we were married 24 years ago (Suzanne May Irish pottery). I still love it! I used two frogs to hold the roses, but that wasn’t nearly enough for the rest of the plant materials. So I used white tape along the rim to create a bit of a grid to support the stems. Honestly, it worked well enough! You can see the white tape around the rim of the container in some of the pictures.

I gathered some flowers, started the arrangement, and then went out and gathered some more. I was delighted to have so many different plants to use!

For me, the moral of the story is, do what you love to do! I’m so glad to have planted materials that I can use for flower arranging – and I can’t wait to add some more!

I hope you are enjoying the last little bit of summer! Stay safe and healthy.

In Peace,
Dana

Plant materials
I started with some roses, Pittosporum Tom Thumb, Leycesteria formosa, and some short stems of ornamental grass which I later traded for one full, very long stem with several strands of grass, and some Rosemary. In this picture is also a single dahlia (a deep fuchsia color) which didn’t make the cut.
arrangement in progress
This is how we roll! The container on the table is filled with apples from a branch that broke from our tree. They are patiently waiting to be made into pie, or crumble or apple sauce! But back to the arrangement: I used 4 strips of tape to create a grid which more or less worked to support the stems.
Leycesteria formosa flower closeup
A close up view of the Leycesteria formosa flower.
Full arrangement close up sun day 2
I made the arrangement yesterday, but the weather was rather dull. So these pictures were taken today when it was lovely and sunny, because everything looks nicer with blue skies! Some of the roses are more open today, day 2.
Full arrangement day 1
See, isn’t there a very dull feeling to this picture, which was taken yesterday?
Close up Eustacia Vye day 1
The center rose, Eustacia Vye, is such a lovely mix of colors (apricot and pink). Here it is slightly open on day 1.
Center of arrangement full sun day 2
The center rose, Eustacia Vye, has really opened up on day 2!
Lichfield angel tall cream rose
The buds of the Lichfield angel rose are a peachy pink, before blooming into a lovely cream color. In this picture there is also a small green poppy pod, some Rosemary, and some Erysimum ‘super bowl’ mauve. I thought the mauve color brought some nice change to the strong burgundy theme.
Lichfield angel above
A view of Lichfield angel from above.
back of arrangement close up full sun day 2
This is a close up of the back of the arrangement, with a focus on the Boscobel rose. I knew there was going to be a front and back and I’m going to blame my inability to anchor items properly for the poor design of the back. The two roses are just lost in space here. Nevertheless, I still love the front, and will take note of changes for the back for next time!
Back of arrangement full sun day 2
Full view of the back – there is room for improvement!
Eustacia Vye center sunlight day2
Eustacia Vye, center rose on day 2, with Clematis and Pittosporum Tom Thumb.
Eustacia Vye center day 1
Eustacia Vye, the center rose on day 1.
Full view arrangement in sun
It was a fun floral project, and I think that perhaps my Poppy pods, although not light and lofty, had a similar effect.

I hope you enjoyed your visit to Mom in the Garden! I am very happy to say that my daughter was quite happy with her sewing project and made several very nice masks. I’m so happy for her! Take care! πŸ™‚

my daughter using the sewing machine
My daughter did a great job learning how to sew and how to use the sewing machine!

What’s happening in the garden in August?

Hello there! Is it just me, or is this summer going super fast? Do they say that as you get older, time goes faster? I think it is true! The garden is shifting to ‘end of summer’ mode, with a few plants finishing their season.

We have had some *terrible* weather recently – as in lots of rain and gale force winds. Not a great mix for plants. I have to say that the garden has held up pretty well (I’ve seen worse). Thankfully, I captured some nice pictures of my roses *before* the weather turned. Some roses still look well even after all of the bad weather. They’ve had a lovely season so far! I’m afraid that my sunflowers have definitely seen better days though. They just didn’t shine as bright this year as they usually do.

The lilies have finished off their season with a bang! They were just spectacular this year. I love flowers with fragrance, and they do not disappoint. Their many blooms are pure white atop tall strong stalks.

My project this weekend was to cut some of my mophead hydrangea. I have not (yet!) perfected the exact time to cut them to have the petals dry properly. By “properly” I mean that the petals stay open and keep their color. If I cut them too soon in the season, the petals shrivel up and it really is not pretty. But, if I wait too long before cutting them, they lose their color! I believe it has more to do with the maturity of the flower than the time of the season. I am hopeful that most of the flowers I cut today will be O.K.. Last week I cut some stems off of my Vanille Fraise hydrangea paniculata ‘Renhy’. I had mixed results with some stems drying well, and some shriveling up. But I tried again about 5 days later and they have dried perfectly. I had wanted to cut them before they turned completely pink, which is why I cut them a little early. I think I’ll have a good mix of white and pink. Did you see my Instagram stories where I showed the cuttings? πŸ™‚

Another plant near the end of its season is the globe artichoke. My plant is well established in the garden, and takes up quite a bit of space. It has produced many, many artichokes this summer. This is another plant that I like to dry and use for decoration. Earlier this summer, I tried cutting teeny tiny baby artichokes to use in wreaths, but they just shriveled up and turned brown. I’ve discovered that if you cut them right after they’ve bloomed (after the thin purple spike-like form in the center of the artichoke appears) they keep their purple color. The artichokes themselves don’t keep their lovely green color, but have a molted coloring. I like how they look in a large vase, as they are quite unusual.

I hope you are well and enjoying good weather wherever you are in the world! Are there any flowers that you like to dry and use again?

In Peace,
Dana

two Princess Anne David Austin Roses
From David Austin, this is the Princess Anne shrub rose.

You might notice that the leaves of my roses will usually have black spot. I have some varieties that are more hardy, but at some stage it usually hits all of the roses. If I had a bit more time I’d treat them with a milk and water solution. I’ve done that before and it does work. But I now have a lot more roses and it would take a fair amount of time to treat them. This just goes with the territory when not using chemicals.

Ancient Mariner David Austin Rose close up
Ancient Mariner David Austin Rose
Gertrude Jekyll rose with poppy pods
Another David Austin rose, this is Gertrude Jekyll. This is actually a ‘replacement’ rose, as the first plant completely died on me. There is a three year guarantee with all of the David Austin roses and they very quickly sent me on another plant. It was a pleasure dealing with them and I’m happy to say that this plant is doing very well!
Harlow Carr group
Harlow Carr – of course a David Austin rose!
Eustacia Vye, from David Austin, a new addition to my garden.
Eustacia Vye David Austin Rose cluster
Eustacia Vye, a lovely light pink with apricot coloring.
These light pink roses are called Olivia Rose Austin.
LIght pink david austin roses group
Deadheading is a full time sport when you have lots of roses!
Here’s another light pink variety that I’m not sure of the name of – it is either Olivia Rose or the Ancient Mariner or Scepter’d Isle (all from David Austin). Two problems here: when I take a lot of pictures I don’t always remember where the plant is when I go back to name them. The second problem is that some of my plants no longer have their name tags (and I didn’t note which ones went where when I first planted them – BIG MISTAKE!).
two Lichfield Angel David Austin Roses
These two Lichfield Angel David Austin Roses are not in a rose bed, but mixed with other flowers in the Rainbow garden.
Englands Rose collage
England’s rose, a David Austin rose
Scepter d Isle David Austin Rose collage
Scepter’d Isle, David Austin Rose
two Strawberry Hill Climber David Austin Roses
Two Strawberry Hill Climber David Austin Roses
Teasing Georgia David Austin Rose cluster mid August
A cluster of Teasing Georgia David Austin Roses in mid August
Garden view with roses
Blue skies make everything look beautiful! It helps though, when the roses are all in bloom!
full view sunflowers morning sun
This is a full view of the two sunflower beds. The one flower on down on the ground will appear in a vase later in this post.
Sunflower center
A sunflower closeup
Sunflower bed in mid August
Sunflower bed in mid August
Blue tit eating sunflower
Blue tit bird eating seeds from a sunflower
Blue tit sitting on sunflower
Blue tit bird sitting on a sunflower
Sunflower beds higher view
View of Sunflower beds from an elevated view
Back deck flowers sunflower
The back deck flowers have a late summer look, including the sunflower which I saved after it was knocked over in a storm.
White lilies closeup in morning sun
Fragrant white lilies in morning sun
Full view white lilies
Every possible bloom opened!
Hydrangea Vanille Fraise Paniculata Renhy full plant
A very full Hydrangea Vanille Fraise Paniculata ‘Renhy’
Hydrangea Vanille Fraise Paniculata Renhy close up of group
Hydrangea Vanille Fraise Paniculata ‘Renhy’ closeup. They start off white and turn pink as they mature.
hydrangea vanille fraise paniculata renhy white closeup
Hydrangea Vanille Fraise Paniculata ‘Renhy’ – a bloom that is still white!
hydrangea collage
One mophead hydrangea was so full of blooms!
basket of hydrangea
This is a very special basket, given to me by my nieghbor Betty, when we lived in Manlius, NY. Betty loved gardening and flowers, so I love it when I can use it in the garden.
Globe artichokes in vase closeup
An arrangement of globe artichokes. I wasn’t kidding when I said it was unusual looking!
Globe artichokes in vase room view
The globe artichoke arrangement fits right in to our family room! (on the couch is the ‘poppy blanket’ which I crocheted).

Phew! There were a lot of photos for this post! I hope you enjoyed them all. πŸ™‚

Take care!

A summer flower arrangement

Hello there! We have enjoyed some absolutely beautiful summer days recently. I definitely get more accomplished on sunny days! (Is that the same for you, too?) I hope you have also had good weather, wherever you are in the world. As you may know, I love flowers. I always have in mind, when I’m planting flowers, if I can use them again – either in a live or dried flower arrangement. Last week I had a free morning on a beautiful sunny day and I decided to make a flower arrangement. I should add that just a few months ago I bought myself a book on flower arranging. It is called Floret Farm’s A Year in Flowers, by Erin Benzakein. It is filled with 300 pages all about ‘designing gorgeous arrangements for every season’ and complemented with the most beautiful pictures. It is a fantastic resource for learning everything you need to know about flowers, foliage, containers, flower care and of course, design. The premise is to use as many local flowers as possible, incorporating items that might not have typically been considered for arrangements. Something else that I liked seeing and learning about was creating a loose and airy look. I found it to be the motivation I needed to try something different.

I did not have a visual of the arrangement in my head before I started. I walked through the garden with my clippers and just clipped anything that I thought might work. I noted that in the book, Erin had used clematis, which were lovely additions to arrangements. That is not a plant I would have thought would be usable for arrangements! It’s great to learn new things. πŸ™‚

Post arrangement, I found that my Japanese anemone did not fare well. I possibly should have tried a special method for their hydration (which I would do next time). Also, an obvious note was that the roses that looked ‘perfect’ when picked, were fasted to drop. My David Austin roses tend to have short stems, so I was more concerned with finding flowers with longer stems than with their maturity. But other than that, the flowers all did really well for the week. I was super lazy and didn’t even add water to the container (O.K., so I probably shouldn’t admit that).

As for the container, I’ve had that little gem for nearly 20 years. It was a gifted flower arrangement (I save everything). I think this is definitely my favorite thing I’ve done with it, though! It just seemed to all fit together nicely.

I hope you like my arrangement! I’d love it if you would please leave me a comment below, telling me which is your favorite flower, or if you enjoy flower arranging, or just say hello!

Thanks so much!

In Peace,
Dana

Rose arrangement

The container has two frogs in the bottom, which I used to secure the roses in place. This probably isn’t recommended, but I also used glass marbles to help to hold the rest of the flowers in place – that’s called ‘making due with what I have’! Most of the roses are David Austin roses, although I still have one rose plant that is not a David Austin rose, and I did use one of those roses.

Rose arrangement collage 2

Above is a closer look at the ceramic container. Also, just a couple highlights of the flowers: the Leycesteria formosa – also known as Himalayan honeysuckle or pheasant berry, is a hanging burgundy color flower with berries and green leaves – it also sometimes has white flowers. The tall yellow flower is fennel. I used it to tie in the yellow centers from the pink Japanese anemone. The spiky purple flower is Russian sage – Perovskia atriplicifolia ‘Little Spire’, which also dries really well.

Rose arrangement collage

The only other flower to highlight is the clematis, Purpurea Plena Elegans, which is also a burgundy color.

Rose arrangement close up
A close up of what I consider the front of the arrangement.
Rose arrangement full view 3
Full view of what I consider the back of the arrangement.
Rose arrangement full view 2
Full view of the front of the arrangement (with ornamental grass behind it).
Rose arrangement in kitchen
Well I had to bring it inside at some stage!

I loved every minute of creating this arrangement! I have to say that I was happy with my end result, even though at the back of my mind I know there were some techniques that might have been ignored. Nothing ventured, nothing gained! πŸ™‚ Take care!

A summer garden tour

Hello! Welcome to my blog, where I find peace and happiness through gardening and flowers. Anyone else need some of that? πŸ™‚ This week I’m going to give a view of what is happening all around the garden. We’ve had a strange summer, weather-wise: a very dry spring followed by a very wet early summer. Our summer so far has been cooler than normal with lots of rain. Thankfully, the sun has not been a complete stranger!

Helenium and daisies
Helenium ‘Moerheim Beauty’ with Shasta Daisy
Helenium and bee
Bees love Helenium, too!

I really like the contrast with this combination of Helenium and Daisies. I’ve propped up both plants this year as they get really floppy. The Shasta Daisy have spread, and spread, and spread!

View of the Ditch Wall Garden July
Our ditch wall garden with daisies, helenium, and yarrow.

You can see in the full view of the ditch wall garden that there are a lot of daisies! I have a few varieties of yarrow, too. Lots of floppiness going on as they all seek the afternoon sun from their position under the Hawthorn trees.

Clematis view
A view of the Clematis Purpurea Plena Elegans, lychnis coronaria rose campion, and perennial geranium.

This little corner is rather happy, although it might be a bit happier if it weren’t quite so windy where we live. This Clematis – Purpurea Plena Elegans – is very pretty, with a deep burgundy color. The Lychnis Coronaria Rose Campion is quite prolific! It has sprung up in a few places around the garden! Thankfully, it is quite a pretty fuchsia pink flower with a silvery stem. I actually have a few plants in this garden that just like to take off. The Japanese anemone is just now starting to come into bloom (only one light pink flower on the left of this picture). The perennial geranium is a pretty light pink, and is quite hardy and also enjoys moving about the garden! At the very back of this picture is a tall Rosemary plant. It is now quite woody, but otherwise we still use it for cooking. There is a Japanese Maple tree in the middle of all of this – but it is not thriving due to the wind. I am quite stubborn and I am always hopeful that it will grow big and strong enough to handle the wind. We’ll see!

Clematis Purpurea Plena Elegans single
A close up view of the Clematis Purpurea Plena Elegans
Clematis Purpurea Plena Elegans full view
Clematis Purpurea Plena Elegans
lychnis Coronaria rose campion
Lychnis Coronaria Rose Campion – one of my favorite flowers
Japanese Maple Garden spring
A view in April of our Japanese Maple garden

The above picture is a view of the same bed back in April. I was quite proud of my shaping of the boxwood shrubs! The green ground cover in the front left of the picture is the Japanese Anemone. It loves to spread!

Hydrangea Selma full view
Hydrangea Selma

In this same ‘Japanese Maple’ bed, I have a hydrangea ‘Selma’. This is the best it has ever looked as it has loved all of our rain! The mophead flowers are redish pink around the edges with a white center. The leaves are a very pretty burgundy color.

Hydrangea Selma single
Hydrangea Selma

Moving to another bed – sometimes I get my plantings right, sometimes not so much. The Russian sage – Perovskia atriplicifolia Little Spire – is really happy in this bed. The plant next to it on the left – Zantedeschia aethiopica Arum Lily – although not dead, doesn’t produce any flowers. I don’t think it is happy. I’ll be looking to move that eventually.

Russian Sage
The Russian Sage has really filled out. The Zantedeschia aethiopica Arum Lily would love to be in a different location, preferable near water. A mistake on my part!

The bed beyond the Russian Sage plant is the Rainbow garden. It has a lot going on in there! I just want to focus on one plant, though, the Buddleis BUZZ ‘Dark Pink’ Butterfly Bush. It is really showing off this year!

field view
A view of the fields and the Rainbow garden
Buddleis BUZZ Dark Pink Butterfly Bush July
Buddleis BUZZ Dark Pink Butterfly Bush in July
butterfly bush closeup
butterfly bush closeup

The next part of the garden to highlight is our front gate bed. I’ve been saying this a few years now, but I really need to move my hydrangea Incrediball. It gets a lot of sun where it is, and it would much prefer to be in shade! This bed is full of beauty. There are two lavender plants, which are super fragrant. The Pittosporum Tom Thumb is great for some different texture. The Lychnis Coronaria Rose Campion is a fabulous splash of color (even if it decided for itself to join this bed) and all of the way on the far right is the Leycesteria formosa – which is also knowns as Himalayan honeysuckle or pheasant berry. There are a lot of wonderful things going on in this bed! I’ll be sad to see the hydrangeas go, but I’m sure we’ll find something lovely to fill their places.

Front Gate Garden full view
Pittosporum Tom Thumb, Lavandula angustifolia Lavender, hydrangea Incrediball, hydrangea paniculata, lychnis Coronaria Rose Campion, Syringa v. Beauty of Moscow Lilac, and Leycesteria formosa, Bergenia and Iris ‘Benton Storrington’

The below picture is of planters that are at my back door. That is the first thing I see in the morning when I go to let the chickens out of their coop and feed them. Just a few planters with a bit of color and different sizes, shapes, textures. They’ve done really well this year!

Back deck flowers
Pots of plants at my back door. Lots of hosta, some dahlia, calla lilies, and soon to bloom marigolds, and gladiolas.

I hope you have enjoyed the tour! The garden seems to change on an almost daily basis. No matter what goes on in the outside world, life and growth continues in the garden.

Stay safe and healthy!

In Peace,
Dana

Hosta in sunlight
Hosta flowers in evening sunlight.

The time for playing with lavender is now!

Hi there! At this time of year I am usually too busy to stop and write a ‘how to’ post about lavender and the different crafts I make with it. But by the time I do get to write about it, with ‘how to’ instructions, it is a bit too late! So this year I am providing links to all of my previous posts about lavender in this blog. That way, if you want to make a lavender wand, or a lavender wreath, you can do so while the lavender is still available!

12 seems to be the number of lavender wands that I enjoy making in a season. I make those 12 really quickly, and then I don’t have any interest to make more. I looked at possibly trying some different styles this year, but honestly, I like mine best (says she, trying to be humble about it). I did make one change for the last few that I made this year – instead of using 25 stems, I used 35 – 41 stems. They were really thick! I’m not sure if that is better, or just different. You can read how to make lavender wands here, or watch a video here.

I did get a bit of a head start on my wreath making this year. That’s because for the first time, instead of waiting for the lavender to dry, I made a fresh lavender wreath. I usually make wreaths with dried lavender, and attach the lavender with floral ‘u’ pins. This wreath was made using fresh lavender and the lavender was attached with one continuous piece of floral wire. It has a very different look! It hangs in my kitchen, and in the past couple of weeks it has grown on me. I now like it very much! You can see some of my past wreaths and how I made them here, here, here, here, and here .

There are quite a few lavender plants in our garden. They are at different stages of maturity and their blooms develop at slightly different times. I’ve gone through and cut most of the mature stems over the past two weeks. They are now drying out – in my house. It’s a bit tricky this year! I usually dry them in our ‘sitting room’ which isn’t usually used. But this year, the ‘sitting room’ is my husband’s office and my son has started playing our piano, which is also in that room. So if my husband isn’t in the room, my son is! Instead, the lavender is drying in our front hall. Some people hang their lavender. I hang my roses and other flowers to dry them, but I just haven’t managed to figure out how to hang the huge amount of lavender I have, yet. The lavender dries out really quickly – a few weeks, tops. I still have two plants with immature blooms, that should be ready for me to use next week (so I could make more wands if I wanted to!).

I will start making dried lavender wreaths in the next couple of weeks. Again, it is a bit tricky this year as the table I usually use for my crafts is now my work desk. It means that I’ll have to start and finish the task over the weekend – including cleaning up the mess! Boy do I miss the use of the ‘unused’ sitting room where I could come and go to craft, and just close the door to hide my mess until I was completely finished.

I hope you find the tutorials helpful! It is fun for me to look back on all of the different styles of wreaths and different colors of wands that I’ve made over the years. My lavender pages are by far the most popular pages on my website – I’m not alone in my enjoyment of making things from the garden! It is such a bonus to be able to enjoy the relaxing fragrance of lavender while working with it. πŸ™‚

Will you make any lavender crafts this year?

In Peace,
Dana

July 10 front gate garden
It is traditional to post a picture of this bed! It has 2 lavender plants, Incrediball hydrangea, hydrangea paniculata, Lychnis Coronaria Rose Campion, Pittosporum Tom Thumb, Bergenia, and Syringa v. Beauty of Moscow.
Bunch of lavender wands
This season’s lavender wands in front of one of our lavender plants. The stems are a bright green when they are first cut, but will dry to a dark green over time.
lavender wands in lavender
Lavender wands are easy to make and mostly involve weaving ribbon through stems.
Lavender display
The easiest way to display lavender is to simply throw it in a vase (no water required)!
basket of lavender
This basket full of lavender is from part of one plant.
Lavender wreath in progress collage
It was a little bit challenging to make the wreath with one continuous piece of wire. But it was a lot faster than my usual method!
Wreath on playhouse collage
I used dried peony flowers (Sarah Bernhardt) as an accent.
lavender wreath inside collage
This is where the wreath lives now – in my kitchen.
fresh lavender wreath
A fresh lavender wreath hanging on our playhouse door.
Mom in the Garden with lavender
Sunny, blue skies are every reason to smile!

I hope your summer is sunny and full of fun for you πŸ™‚

A Fourth of July like no other

Hello! Today is Independence day in the U.S.A., and as an American it is usually a day of celebrations, parades, fireworks, being with friends and family, and wonderful summer time food! But this year, the “omph!” is missing for me. Maybe it is the social restrictions, maybe it is the weather, maybe it is Covid-19 fatigue. But whatever the reason, we seem to be a tiny bit low key this year. So as I was preparing this post, I was looking through pictures of our previous visit to see friends in the States. It was summer time, and it was such a lovely visit. Those Bar-B-Ques were the best. Of course, what is most important in our lives are friends and family. That’s the truth.

I hope that my American friends and family are able to celebrate our country’s ‘Birthday’ today in a fun and safe manner. I’ll be thinking of you all while we celebrate in a low-key sort of way. This day also makes me long for my next visit home, whenever we’re out of the woods with this pandemic…

Stay safe and healthy!

In Peace,
Dana

Artwork from the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) in Boston, Massachusetts
Artwork from the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) in Boston, Massachusetts (from the preamble of the Constitution of the United States of America)
House with Flag in garden
I was walking through a quaint village when I snapped this photo.
flowers and stars and stripes napkins
Some flowers from the garden with Stars and Stripes napkins
Betty & Harold at the 4th of July parade in 2006 in Manlius, NY
Our beloved neighbors when we lived in NY: Betty (far left in blue top) & Harold with my very young children at the annual 4th of July parade in 2006 in Manlius, NY
Fireworks
Maybe the fireworks won’t be ‘live and in person’ this year, but the memories when they were are still vivid!

Take care and thanks for visiting! πŸ™‚

Roses – adding to life’s beauty

Hello, and welcome! Today’s post is about roses. I certainly have quite a few pictures of roses to show you, but I also want to share how I came to have roses in our garden. I love working with my hands. That covers a lot of areas (!) including gardening, flower arranging, and crafting to name but a few of my hobbies. So when we moved into our home all of those years ago, and the garden was like a blank slate, I was in my glory! Top of the list was to add plants which I could use for flower arranging.

Having cut flowers from the garden is something I’ve always wanted. This goes back to the days in the late 1990s when my sister and I would read Martha Stewart’s Living magazine from cover to cover. Of course the magazine would feature Martha’s home(s) which would always be filled with beautiful cut flowers from her garden(s). My sister’s garden was well ahead of mine in those days. Whenever I’d visit her, my bedroom and guest bathroom would be adorned with flowers. It was always such a lovely touch!

Today, many years later, I still love having cut flowers in our home. It has taken time to build up enough plants that I don’t mind cutting some to bring inside – since there will still be enough to enjoy outside. I hesitate to say I have a favorite flower, because I love all of them. Roses, though, they would have to be at the top of the list. I have two requirements when I buy them for my garden now: they have to be scented and they have to be disease resistant. For this reason, my collection includes many David Austin roses.

I’m still learning. Every year I work on my pruning skills (still not there yet!). I also never used to feed my roses, although their beds are always covered in my compost a couple of times a year. So they haven’t been totally neglected! They should be fed twice a year – once in spring (late March / early April) before the leaves are fully open, and right about now – after the first flush of flowers. Deadheading is something I do on a regular basis, as it promotes new growth.

I’ve lost my focus! Back to why my garden is filled with roses. There are many reasons why I grow roses. They have a very long flowering season – from early June all the way through November in some years! Some colors are excellent for drying, too, often being added to my lavender wreaths. I love their scents which you can enjoy throughout the garden. They also keep their scent even after they dry (did you know that?). And they are a perfect cut flower. Whether your arrangement is all roses, or they are combined with other flowers, they are simply beautiful to bring indoors.

Here are some pictures of my roses from the past number of weeks. I think they benefited from our dry spring. Although most are disease resistant, black spot tends to hit when the rain comes (and at this stage, the rains are with us).

I hope you are well and keeping safe. Thanks for stopping by!

In Peace,
Dana

Full view of rose bed
A view of the main rose bed June 7, 2020. The bed is lined with Boxwood plants which we grew from cuttings from other plants from the garden. They are growing really well! The grass on the other hand, was still desperate for water here.
Harlow Carr
Harlow Carr – David Austin Rose
Teasing Georgia open and orange red  buds
I love the dark orange/red color of the buds on this Teasing Georgia – David Austin Rose, which is pure yellow when completely open.
COLLAGE Teasing Georgia David Austin Roses
Our Teasing Georgia – David Austin rose shrub is next to our ‘Playhouse’, with lavender not yet in bloom in front.
small vase yellow rose
A small vase of David Austin roses, featuring Teasing Georgia.
Princess Anne white roses COLLAGE
Our Princess Anne – David Austin tree rose, which has deep pink flowers, sprouted a stem with white roses! Although they are beautiful, I cut it off as I’d prefer the original color.
Princess Anne Tree rose WHITE offshoot single
Princess Anne – David Austin tree rose – a white off-shoot.
Princess Anne open with buds
Princess Anne – David Austin shrub rose
Boscobel COLLAGE
Boscobel – David Austin roses looking different depending on the light. A salmon colored, sweet smelling rose.
Princess Anne shrub rose flower fully open
Princess Anne – David Austin shrub rose
Princess Anne closed flower
The coloring of the Princess Anne – David Austin shrub rose is simply striking!
James Austin full bloom
Very similar in color to Princess Anne is this James Austin shrub rose.
Olivia Rose David Austin roses full plant
This Olivia Rose – David Austin shrub rose is one of the more established shrubs in the bed.
Olivia Rose Austin roses
Olivia Rose Austin roses
Roses and Poppies in sunlight
Poppies have joined the roses
Vase of Peony flowers, roses and Dutch iris
A vase of Sarah Bernhardt peony, Teasing Georgia – David Austin roses, Dutch Iris and ornamental grass, all from my garden.
Vase of peony flowers roses and iris
Vase of Sarah Bernhardt peony, Teasing Georgia – David Austin roses, Dutch Iris and ornamental grass – all from my garden.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the flower show! Take care! πŸ™‚

Poppy: a beautiful flower, or just a weed?

Hello! You are very welcome to my blog. The topic today is poppies, because the garden is just now entering a phase where poppies are everywhere! I once had someone casually refer to poppies as weeds (this was right after I mentioned that I’d planted a mix of poppies in my main flowerbed). Despite this, I do not consider them weeds. I enjoy their fleeting beauty – and it really is fleeting. I also love that there are so many varieties! And if you don’t like where they decide to grow, they are easy to pull out, as long as you don’t wait too long.

I confess that I don’t know the names of any of my poppies. I just refer to either the red ones, or the pink ones, or the ones with the white centers … πŸ™‚ In case you don’t know, they self seed, at least usually! I have a favorite one. It is bright pink with ruffles. I planted this variety quite a few years ago and since then I’ve always had *many* of these pretty ruffled petal flowers every summer. But this year, the area where they normally flower is rather over grown and unruly. So unfortunately, there are no poppies in that bed. But, alas, I recently discovered a single one of these poppy plants growing right in front of my compost!

Slight diversion here, as I tell you about my compost. I have a lot of compost! There are 4 sections, but they look like one big heap. I also have two tumblers, which I use just for food scraps, but that is another story. I throw grass and garden cuttings in the compost – but no weeds. It takes about a season to get dark brown, soil-like, usable compost, which is filled with worms. I recently used the end of last season’s compost, emptying that section, which was perfect timing as the other sections needed to be spread out and turned. But I held off on this job when I noticed the poppy growing right there in front of the compost area. I didn’t want to disturb it. πŸ˜‰

Finally, the poppy bloomed and I felt it was safe enough for the compost to be taken care of. My son was kind enough to do this big, messy job for me. There was fantastic compost underneath the freshly added grass cuttings! Yes, this is what I get excited about – rich, worm filled, compost! O.K., diversion finished. Back to poppies.

I have a few varieties throughout the garden. Last year I let the lavender colored poppies take over my rose bed. You can see those pictures here. That wasn’t a great decision, although they were fabulous to see when they were all in bloom! So this year I’ve kept them distanced from my roses, and I’m trying to keep the numbers down. Trying.

They might well indeed be considered to be weeds by some, but certainly not by me. I have them growing around the entire garden, and every one of them has their own beauty – whether their delicate or ruffled petals, their markings or lack of markings, or their different colors. Best of all, they are all loved by the bees!

I have a few pictures of my poppies to share with you below. I hope you enjoy them!

In Peace,
Dana

Pink poppy with compost
Pink poppy in front of one section of compost.
poppy-compost-heap
A mess of a compost heap with red and lavender colored poppies. Those are sweetly scented Elderflowers hanging above the compost to the right.
Turned Compost
Freshly turned compost.
First poppy
First poppy to bloom from this single plant.
pink-poppy-with-bee
Pink poppy with bees.
Pink ruffle poppy open
Pink ruffle poppy.
Red poppy + bee
Red poppy with black center and a bee!
orange  poppy white center + bee
Orange poppy with white center and a flying bee!
Red poppy black center
Red poppy with black cross center.
Red poppy opening from bud
Red poppy opening from bud.
Red poppies forming a  tower
A cluster of red poppies.
Lavender colored Poppy
Lavender colored Poppy.
lavender poppy single
Lavender colored poppy.

Thanks for visiting!

Peony splendor

Hello! This week I found myself sorting through pictures that I’ve taken over the past couple of months. I take a lot of pictures, and I don’t usually sit down and go through them right away. So it is really nice when I am able to see the different aspects of the garden, and the different phases of the flowers through the memory of my lens.

When we first moved into our home ten years ago the yard was full of gardening possibilities – a blank slate, really. We had some lavender plants at the back of the house and that was it. Slowly, ever so slowly, I created bed after bed, all organically (I have this thing about chemicals). Were they all thought out and planned meticulously? The short answer is ‘no’! I confess that there were plants that I wanted to have and I threw them in beds as soon as I could, and Peonies were top of the list! Over time, I’ll get everything in the right place. In the meantime, I’ll keep on enjoying things where they are. πŸ™‚

I have several Peony plants. The blooming starts around the second week of May for my early bloomers and will go well into June for the last of my plants. Not a bad season when you can stretch it that long! The first to bloom is an old fashioned redish colored plant which my Father-in-law gave me years ago (name unknown).

Peony red
The first Peony to bloom at the beginning of May
red peony and bluebells closeup
Red Peony with Bluebells

The red Peonies went into the only bed I had at the time, at our front gate. I’ve since divided them and they are now on both sides of our front gate.

Paeonia 'Hillary'
Paeonia ‘Hillary’

The next Peony to bloom was the Paeonia ‘Hillary’ which is an ‘Itoh’. Itohs are hybrids between garden and tree peonies. I bought this last year and it was full of blooms early on this season, but between gale force winds and other mishaps, only two buds were left when it was time to bloom. The weather was not cooperating at this stage, either, so I don’t think we’ve seen its best year yet. You can see how dry the soil is in some of the pictures.

Peony Hillary
Paeonia ‘Hillary’

I’m happy with this location for my ‘Hillary’ and I think it should do well here – apart from when we have gale force winds. The soil conditions are really good, and it is in full sun. The plant is an unusual color, a very soft redish-pink, and I think it suits this bed.

Peony Hillary + allium
Paeonia ‘Hillary’ blooming with the Allium
Peony Hillary
Paeonia ‘Hillary’
Peony Hillary side view
Paeonia ‘Hillary’

As the ‘Hillary’ faded, the next two plants started to bloom. These two are planted at the back of our house and get morning sun and some afternoon sun. The soil where they are growing is not good! But it has good drainage and I’ve started to give it more attention with compost. Again with these plants, it was the case of wanting to put them somewhere! They aren’t doing too poorly, thankfully.

peony-white-first-single
The first bloom is a full week ahead of the rest of the plant. White and pink Peony.
Peony white and pink + fennel
The white and pink Peony is planted next to a Fennel plant.
Peony white and chicken house
The Peony plant is on one side of our driveway while our chickens are on the other side.
Hosta and Peony view
Here’s a view from our back door. On the other side of the wall (and the Hostas) is the white and pink Peony.
Peony White and Pink pink flower
White and pink Peony.

I have this white and pink Peony supported. I like this support because I can put it in place any time (a lot of supports should be put in place before the plant is fully grown). Most Peony flowers are large and heavy and tend to droop if not supported.

Peony white and pink outside bouquet
This display is like having a bouquet of Peony in the yard!

Just two Fennel plants down from the white and pink Peony, and flowering at the same time, is Paeonia ‘Bowl of Beauty’. The color reminds me of bubble gum. πŸ™‚ On the other side of the Paeonia is lavender, while on the deck there are geraniums and my rain catcher / water butt.

Paeonia Bowl of Beauty lavender view
Paeonia ‘Bowl of Beauty’ next to lavender
Paeonia Bowl of Beauty closed
Paeonia ‘Bowl of Beauty’
Paeonia Bowl of Beauty upclose
Paeonia ‘Bowl of Beauty’
Paeonia 'Bowl of Beauty'
Paeonia ‘Bowl of Beauty’
Paeonia 'Bowl of Beauty'
Paeonia ‘Bowl of Beauty’

There is a bit of an overlap with the next two Peony plants. The white and pink Peony and the ‘Bowl of Beauty’ are not yet finished, as the next two are starting to bloom. I’ll start with Paeonia ‘Kansas’ as it has two flowers in bloom. The location is at my ditch wall garden, which I’ve decided should be more wild flowers – so I don’t think it is ideal for this pretty Peony. The color is amazing – a beautiful deep magenta.

Paeonia 'Kansas'
Paeonia ‘Kansas’ among Foxgloves
Paeonia 'Kansas'
Paeonia ‘Kansas’
Paeonia 'Kansas'
Paeonia ‘Kansas’
Paeonia 'Kansas' with Small Tortoiseshell butterfly
Paeonia ‘Kansas’ with Small Tortoiseshell butterfly
Paeonia 'Kansas'
Paeonia ‘Kansas’

The last of my Peony plants to bloom are my ‘Sarah Bernhardt’ plants. I have two, and one is still only buds, while the other has one fully open flower with a few others starting to open. The one in flower is in my Rainbow garden and is happy – and I am happy where it is. The ‘Sarah Bernhardt’ Peony is pink – as in cotton candy pink! I love the stand out color.

Peony Sarah Bernhardt
Peony ‘Sarah Bernhardt’
Sarah Bernhardt Peony
Paeonia ‘Sarah Bernhardt’

We had very little rain this spring. Thankfully, the rains have returned, somewhat, this past week, which has been a welcome relief to my garden.

I hope you enjoyed the tour! I’ve planted a few more Peony plants this year, so we’ll all have those to look forward to next year!

In Peace,
Dana

An escape to the Garden

Iris Benton Storrington petals out

Iris Benton Storrington looking ready for a flower show with the petals out

Hi there! I don’t know about you, but the weeks now seem to be flying by, compared to when ‘Work From Home’ first began three months ago! Today’s post is a bit of a walk around the garden and seeing what is blooming. There was even some weeding done, so the boxwood (box) plant lining three of my beds is looking much more neat and tidy. We’ve had very little rain of substance for the past three months, so the garden is very dry. We’ll see how things hold up. The roses are looking amazing, but I think my next post will be dedicated just to them, so only a couple pictures of them today.

I hope you have been able to get out and enjoy some fresh air. That’s my main goal when I’m out. Of course I like getting things done in the garden, but I’m starting to spend more time just enjoying being in the garden – and not necessarily ‘working’ – which is a big change for this “type A” personality!

Enjoy the tour! Let me know which are your favorite flowers πŸ™‚

In Peace,
Dana

Iris Benton Storrington

The colors of this Iris Benton Storrington are a very pretty pinkish purple

O.K., so one of the super stars in the garden at the moment is Iris Benton Storrington. This is one flower that has done well in every corner of my yard, which is quite a feat! It likes full sun, or partial shade. As a bearded Iris, the rhizomes should be planted just above the soil, so they can have exposure to the sun. The tough thing it has to contend with in my yard is wind. It really takes a battering – which accounts for some of the weird shapes!

Iris Benton Storrington in the rainbow garden

Iris Benton Storrington in my rainbow garden

This Iris is doing really well in my yard. Too well, infact! I’ve had to divide it a few times, which is why it is now all over the place. It works well in some of the places I’ve planted it, but I have to confess that in one particular bed it kind of clashes with its neighbor!

Iris and Lupin

Iris and lupin

If only those lupin were some shade of purple, they could work together. But I really don’t like the pink and purple here. I’m planning on making a dedicated bed just for the Iris. I just have to figure out where to put it!

Iris Benton Storrington side garden

Iris Benton Storrington in our side garden

Another star in the garden, the Allium have looked very pretty this season. It is nice to have different shapes in the beds and these globe shaped blooms are perfectly different!

allium and David Austin roses

Purple Sensation allium among my David Austin roses

allium and Siberian Iris

allium and Siberian Iris

The above allium (with the Siberian Iris) are another variety {sorry, I don’t have the name of this one} with more tiny blooms packed in tight to make up the globe shape. They are the last of my allium to bloom. The Siberian iris behind them had a very short life this year, due to lack of rainfall.

Allium + Siberian Iris + perennial geranium

Allium, Siberian Iris and perennial pink geranium in the background

 

allium closeup

Allium made up of tightly packed teeny tiny flowers!

 

Siberian Iris group

The Siberian Iris bloomed quickly and unfortunately also withered quickly

 

Siberian Iris stack with bee

The bees also love Siberian Iris (can you spot it in the middle?)

Last year I chopped/trimmed this Viburnum Opulus Roseum. I was trying to give it some shape – I’m just not sure which shape I was going for! Thankfully, this is a forgiving shrub and should fill in again.Β  It is low maintenance, which is perfect for meΒ  πŸ™‚

Viburnum opulus Roseum full view

Viburnum Opulus Roseum

The flowers on this shrub are so pretty up close! They remind me of hydrangea blooms. It really is a lovely shrub.

Viburnum opulus Roseum closeup

Viburnum Opulus Roseum

Viburnum opulus Roseum half view

Viburnum Opulus Roseum with lots of white flowers

I’m just showing off all of my hard work in the next two pictures because I spent a lot of time weeding the boxwood hedging on these two beds. Shameless…

Boxwood check

Flower bed lined with Boxwood

 

Rose bed box hedge

Rose bed lined with boxwood hedge

The Rose bed is filled with scented David Austin roses. My favorite color is pink, and I’ve filled the bed with shades from pale pink through to deep pink. On the far end I also have a peachy-pinky color, which doesn’t match perfectly. But they are incredibly pretty with a delectable scent with just enough pink for me to keep them right where they are.

Rose bed full view

A full view of the Rose bed with deep pink Princess Anne roses in the front

Boscobel - David Austin Rose

Boscobel – David Austin Rose (a salmon colored, sweet scented rose)

 

Pink David Austin roses in black vase

This is my favorite vase for my heavy headed David Austin roses

Strawberry Hill climber David Austin rose

We have this sweet scented Strawberry Hill climber David Austin rose at our front gate

I could go on forever, because I really take too many pictures in the garden! But I will leave you with this last picture of two bees enjoying this foxglove. Do take care!

Foxglove + 2 bees

Foxglove and 2 bees