Summer has arrived!

Hi there, and welcome to my blog! Summer has finally arrived to Ireland and I must say, not a minute too soon! We had cold and windy weather with gray skies for part of this week, making every picture that I took look rather ‘blah’. Thankfully, towards the end of the week the weather not only warmed up (we hit 23 degrees C / 74 degrees F), but the sun even came out every now and again. What a treat! Long may it last. πŸ™‚

What’s happening in the garden? The hydrangeas are starting to fill out, poppies continue to bloom everywhere and some lilies have begun their show. The roses had an amazing first flush of blooms and I can’t seem to keep up with deadheading them. New buds are already forming, so more beautiful blooms should be following soon.

There’s news on the squash and pumpkin front, too. The plants are growing! We’ll have to wait and see if they flower and then if they actually form pumpkins. But at least there is a chance that they will. The sunflowers are doing well. They aren’t very tall, but they all have multiple buds on their stems. While it was definitely tough going, with multiple plantings, I’m very happy to see that we will definitely have sunflowers! (You can see them in the feature image above on the far right.)

I will be joining The Propagator’s meme Six on Saturday. Feel free to join in, or have a visit of some of the other gardens!

Enjoy the tour!

dark and light pink lilies and coral poppies
light pink lilies
sunny collage of lilies and hydrangea

1 & 2 – Lilies and Hydrangea. These are the first of my lilies to bloom. The light pink ones are very pretty and delicate looking. The darker pink ones are more, dare I say ‘basic’ looking? The bugs really enjoyed eating them before they bloomed, so they aren’t doing quite as well. The mophead hydrangea is just ‘wow’ this year! I’ve been feeding it, and keeping it watered, which pays off with these guys. I will cut many of those blooms in the fall, to dry for wreaths, so I’m happy to have the multi-colors. I’m afraid I don’t know any of the names of these three plants.

Incrediball hydrangea red poppies and Dutch Iris
collage of Incrediball (strong Annabelle hydrangea), Dutch iris and red poppies.

3 & 4 – Incrediball / Strong Annabelle Hydrangea and Dutch Iris. I started with one Incrediball, but it turned brown mid-season every year. So last year I moved it and it’s baby off-shoot to under the cherry tree where it would get morning sun and filtered afternoon sun. Whereas before I’m sure it was getting too much sun, I’m not sure it is getting enough now! I added a new plant to the mix this spring, so there are three under the tree. It’s the one with the most well developed flowers – possibly because it is getting the most sun in that position. I have been watering and feeding them and they seem to appreciate it. While our weather has been cool, we have not had great amounts of rain.

These are the very last of my iris to bloom. That was a very long season of iris! There were six different iris varieties and these Dutch ones are the finale. I like the red, white and blue of this bed.

collage of pink and coral poppies

5 – Poppies! Again πŸ™‚ The pink one on the left is the ‘hybrid’ which showed up this season. It is in every bed, too, which is kind of fun. I love having the different colors! The hybrid is a mix of the frilly, double coral one on the right, and the single lavender one which you can see in the top of the left picture. I’ve had those two varieties for many years, so it is interesting that the hybrid showed up this year.

teasing Georgia David Austin roses cluster early July

6 – Teasing Georgia, David Austin rose. I wasn’t even a fan of yellow, but thought it would look nice next to our red playhouse. I have since become a huge fan of this lovely yellow rose! The buds are so pretty with their dark orange-red coloring. There are always clusters of flowers, too. I have to say that using Uncle Tom’s Rose Tonic seems to have really given them a boost. (Thanks to The Propagator for that tip!) I hate to mention black spot, but it would normally be rampant at this stage and that is not the case so far this year. The rose tonic isn’t cheap, but if this all natural method works to keep them healthy, I’m in.

And that’s what happened in the garden this week! I hope you are able to enjoy your weather, no matter where in the world you are. Thanks so much for stopping by!

In Peace,

Will July bring the summer weather?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Campanula peony rose arrangement

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

collage of poppies

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

mophead hydrangea

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

lavender and marigolds

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

Full view of garden with sunflowers and Kitty

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

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

In Peace,

Strawberries and Roses galore!

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

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

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

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

Enjoy the tour!

In Peace,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A peony bouquet for Six on Saturday

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

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

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

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

I hope you enjoy the tour. πŸ™‚

In Peace,

bouquet of peony

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

Kansas peony and bee

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

Peony Gardenia

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

Bartzella peony with forget me nots

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

White peony

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

Pink colored poppy with bee
three colors poppies

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

bouquet of peony

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

The rainbow garden comes to life

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

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

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

In Peace,

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

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

Siberian Iris with Deutzia Scabra

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

White peony

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

lupine with lots of new growth

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

Cornus Kousa 'Claudia' dogwood tree

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

View of allium lupine iris

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

Thank you so much for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed your visit. πŸ™‚

Springtime bouquets for Six on Saturday

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

I so appreciate you stopping by! I hope you enjoy your visit. πŸ™‚

In Peace,

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

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

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

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

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

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

Purple Sensation allium

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

lupin and bearded iris

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

bearded iris Benton Storrington

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

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

Pretty Peonies to showcase for Six on Saturday

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

Flower arrangement with peony iris and allium

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

Paeonia 'Hillary' Itoh

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

Tree Paeonia Renkaku

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

Allium Purple Sensation

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

Easydendron Rhododendron 'Marcel Menard'

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

Cornus Kousa 'Claudia'

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

line of plants from plant sale

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

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

Rare & Special gardening adventures

Hi there! Welcome to my blog. I had the great fortune of spending an entire weekend with a very dear friend, who happens to be as passionate about plants and gardening as I am. What an adventure we had! The end goal was to attend the Rare and Special Plant Fair, in County Cork, but I have to say that the adventures along the way were even more special than the actual fair itself (and the fair was very good!).

First of all, everyone needs to have a ‘Susan’ in their lives. She is simply one of those very good friends – someone who ‘gets me’. We have gone on a few gardening adventures at this stage, and each one brings laughter, smiles, discussions, and me taking notes, because Susan knows so much about so many different plants! When thinking about our trip, a line from The Sound of Music movie comes to mind: ‘these are a few of my favorite things’: spending time with a good friend, garden tours, buying plants, and good food!

Our first stop was to Rare Plants Ireland, in County Dublin, as I wanted another ‘Strong Annabelle’ (mine was called Incrediball, but they are the same), and the very nice proprietor, Finlay Colley, had one set aside for me. This nursery is well worth a visit, in it’s beautiful setting.

We stopped for lunch at one of my favorite places: Avoca (in Rathcoole), as we made our way down the country. Just in case you don’t know, you can be guaranteed of delicious food at any one of the Avoca locations. Their shop is fun to browse, and some locations also have plants for sale. It is always a treat for me, as there are none near where I live. From here, we set out for Altamont Gardens, in County Carlow. I have been wanting to go here for many years, and somehow it just never happened. We decided that this was an opportune time to make it happen.

Before we actually explored Altamont gardens, though, we spent some time in their nursery. A very long time, actually! Every plant that was in flower in the gardens, was available to buy in the shop. It is fantastic marketing – seeing plants in all their glory is definitely the best time to buy them. I had a list of plants that I’ve been thinking of buying, and came away with those and a few others! But I’ll save that for another blog post. Eventually, we did make it to the gardens. The mature gardens at Altamont are simply beautiful. We strolled along the paths taking it all in. The scents all around us were so fabulous! I’m sure I looked quite funny, but I kept ‘sniffing’ the air as it was simply wonderful! We were so lucky with the weather as it was a mild, dry and sunny day – perfect for meandering through the lovely scenery. While pictures are nice, it is always so much better in person.

We did eventually make our way to County Cork. Thankfully, while at Rare Plants Ireland, the owner, Finlay, gave us a heads-up that we should arrive to the Rare and Special Plant Fair 30 minutes before it begins, to get the best selection. We’re so glad he mentioned that! Arriving 30 minutes early got us parked up close and within the first 30+ people on line. We noted the long line of cars waiting to get in, as we were leaving, and were happy to have gone early. The fair itself is in a big open space, with many vendors. You really needed to know what you wanted here, as there were a lot of people and not a lot of space when you were in each vendor’s stall. There was quite a buzz about the place, and so many plants! Two vendors that I usually buy from are Camolin Potting Shed, and Leamore Nursery and they did not disappoint. I managed to find plants here that were on my list! πŸ™‚

The last garden that we visited was Annes Grove Gardens, near Castletownroche, County Cork. These gardens were in the Annesley family since the 1600s. In 2015 they were gifted to the Irish state and entered the care of the Office of Public Works. They have only been opened recently to the public, and while extensive work has already been done, there is still much more planned. Due to ongoing works, you can only view the gardens on a guided tour, which we took part in. We learned interesting information about the gardens and the Annesley family (the name Annes Grove is for Annesley, explaining why there isn’t an apostrophe). It is rhododendron season, and there were many beautiful colors to see. There were also some white crabapple trees that were outstanding. I would definitely say it is well worth a visit. We hope that the OPW, who also run Altamont gardens, will bring the two houses on both estates to a state where they can be toured and appreciated.

I’ve only touched upon these beautiful places to visit. I hope you will venture to see them yourselves. I’m so thankful that I had the opportunity to spend the weekend with Susan, doing what we love to do!

I hope you enjoy the pictures from my adventures!

In Peace,

collage of pictures of Susan and Dana

It is so much fun to be with someone who doesn’t take themselves too seriously. Life is for enjoying. Do note, though, how we managed to match our outfits perfectly with our surroundings! πŸ™‚

Altamont gardens

Here are some of the beautiful views at Altamont. I loved the sculpted yew trees!

the lake at Altamont

My favorite aspect of this walk was actually the smells and sounds of spring. The rich scents were glorious to enjoy as we made our way along the paths, with the delight of birdsong! The sights weren’t too shabby, either! (Altamont gardens)

Yews and lake at Altamont

There were so many beautiful sights. I tried to balance enjoying the moment with capturing the moment with my camera. (Altamont Gardens)

A bridge between two White crab apple trees

This is one of the first images that grabbed our attention at Annes Grove Gardens. The two white crabapple trees are truly outstanding among the woodlands. The waterway was actually created so that the family could enjoy the sound of the river (!).

The chorus girls, rhododendron

Look at those colors! This fantastic group of rhododendron and bluebells in Annes Grove are referred to as the ‘Chorus Girls’. A very fun name for some vibrant (and boisterous, perhaps?) colors! It certainly brightens up the evergreen background.

Some of the rhododendron at Annes Grove Gardens

Rhododendron are spectacular plants that can grow quite tall. Traditionally, they prefer acidic soil, although some new varieties (Easy-dendron) can grow in any type of soil. I purchased one of these types at Altamont garden – stay tuned for that update! This collage of rhododendron are from Annes Grove. The white ones were definitely my favorite. We were told by our guide that the soil in this area is actually not acidic, but that because of all of the pine trees, the rhododendron do well here. Interesting fact!

The man made pond at Annes Grove

These are some views from the pond / river garden, which as I mentioned, was man-made.

Formal gardens at Annes Grove

I love walled gardens, and this was no exception. There were little nooks and crannies that will hopefully be more open to explore as renovations are completed.

A Fuchsia Gooseberry plant, a black peony and a wedding cake tree

These images are of a black peony (top right), a ‘wedding cake’ tree (Cornus controversa ‘Variegata’), and a very interesting Fuchsia gooseberry shrub (FuchsiaflowerΒ Gooseberry) – all from Annes Grove Garden.

This wild garlic and bluebells among some beautiful trees is from Annes Grove Gardens – an end to a wonderful weekend. I hope you’ve enjoyed the tour, and that you will be able to visit the gardens yourself at some stage. As always, thank you for stopping by! πŸ™‚

The start of May and all is calm…

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

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

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

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

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

In Peace,

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

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

Lily of the valley in May

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

Cherry tree with rapeseed in background

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

Garden planters in May

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

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

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

Thanks again for visiting. I hope you’ve enjoyed the tour! πŸ™‚

Another page is turned – Goodbye, April

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In Peace,

Bleeding Heart - Lamprocapnos spectabilis (old name Dicentra spectabilis)

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

Strawberry bed all weeded and ready for the season

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

collage of Arthur Turner cooking apple tree in full bloom

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

collage of cherry tree in full bloom

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

kalanchoe blossfeldiana houseplant with pink flowers

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

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

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

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

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

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