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 🙂

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.  It is low maintenance, which is perfect for me  🙂

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

Be the Change and Say His Name #GeorgeFloyd

Heart shaped roseHello, You are very welcome to my blog.

A lot has been weighing on my mind over the past number of days, specifically the topic of racism, and the horrific death in the U.S. of George Floyd, his death caused by the police. I can’t make sense of it, or the countless times this has already happened to people of color. What I find eye opening are the personal stories of what ‘every day life’ is like for people who simply aren’t white. Have you read their stories? Eye opening is one way to phrase it, scary is another, unacceptable is another. People who cannot live their lives without extreme caution of how they are perceived by others, namely the police. Where the simple fact of being a man of color makes you threatening. A life where injustice is the accepted norm by those carrying out the injustices – with no repercussions.

How has this gone on for so long? We are all equal, and yet clearly we are not all treated as equal. But this time, this time seems to have triggered a response from not just those in the U.S., but the world. This time it has gone too far. Although we’ve been told before, now it seems to be sinking in, what it *really* means to be a person of color in America.

The conversations need to start at home. How we treat one another, how we speak of others, how we act towards those who aren’t part of our ‘inner circle’ – these are all ways in which the next generation learns how to behave. They will see and learn from us. If we sit on the sidelines and do and say nothing, they will learn from that, too.

It is my hope that this collective outrage will finally bring about the changes that are long overdue. This isn’t about politics, it is about right and wrong. The Obama Foundation website has numerous ways for Americans to get involved. Have a look here.

I have not lost hope that there is good in the world. We’ve seen it all week long – the peaceful protests, the community clean-ups, some police joining in the protests. Change is possible. It has taken too long, but it can and must happen now.

Because #BlackLivesMatter .

In Peace,
Dana

Memorial Day – A Time to Remember

Arlington National Cemetery

Hello there! Although I’ve lived in Ireland for nearly 12 years, if you heard me speak just a few words you would know that I am American. 🙂  But my being American goes much deeper than my accent, of course. I will always be American, and proud of where I come from. So as an American, Memorial Day is a special day to remember those who have fought for freedom. On this day, I am reminded of a trip our family took last year to visit Arlington National Cemetery, in Arlington, Virginia. It was quite a somber experience. It was spring time, and I have to say it was the most beautiful cemetery I’ve been to, with spring flowering deciduous trees throughout the vast grounds which are punctuated with gravestones – many, many gravestones (of approximately 400,000 veterans and their eligible dependents). There was a strong feeling of gratitude for those who have fought for our freedom. The sense of awe and admiration was truly palpable. We didn’t say much as we walked through the grounds. It was a contemplative time, a peaceful time, a time to remember.

Arlington National CemeteryWe toured a number of national memorial monuments around Washington D.C. while on that trip, and I share with you today just a few of those pictures.

American flag at half mast at Arlington National Cemetery

American flag at half mast at Arlington National Cemetery

May we always remember those who have fought for freedom.

I hope you continue to be safe and well.

In Peace,
Dana

Arlington National Cemetery view of headstones

Arlington National Cemetery

From the Arlington National Cemetery website: Arlington officially became a national cemetery on June 15, 1864. The original cemetery was 200 acres, and has since grown to 639 acres (as of early 2020). Initially, being buried at a national cemetery was not considered an honor, but it ensured that service members whose families could not afford to bring them home for a funeral were given a proper burial. The first official “Decoration Day,” later renamed Memorial Day, was held at Arlington National Cemetery on May 30, 1868.

Arlington National Cemetery Tomb of unknown soldier

Arlington National Cemetery – Tomb of the Unknown soldier

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was dedicated on November 11, 1921, with interment of the Unknown from World War I.

Arlington National Cemetery Memorial Amphitheater

Arlington National Cemetery – Memorial Amphitheater

Memorial Day became so popular that in 1873, the amphitheater was constructed to hold the official ceremonies. Renamed the James Tanner Amphitheater, it has recently been reopened after reconstruction.

Arlington National Cemetery spring trees

Arlington National Cemetery – spring flowering deciduous trees

Arlington National Cemetery pink dogwood

Arlington National Cemetery – Pink Dogwood tree

 

Freedom is not free memorial

Freedom is not Free – part of the Korean War Veterans Memorial

A reminder that freedom comes at a cost.

The Price of Freedom - description of memorial

The Price of Freedom – World War II Memorial

The Price of Freedom - World War II Memorial

The Price of Freedom – World War II Memorial. Each star represents 100 people who died or remain missing in the war.

Easy Organic treatment for Aphids

Lilies May 2020

Lilies May 2020 after treating with soapy water

Hi there! Apparently, it is that time of year again: the season of aphids. Aphids are small, come in many colors – although mine are all green, and are soft bodied. Oh, and they love to suck the life out of your plants! The other day I discovered one of my hellebore plants was completely covered in them. I’m not sure how I missed seeing them before it reached this stage, but the plant was infested! As I continued my walk around the garden, I discovered that my lilies were also covered with aphids, not as badly, but nonetheless, covered. The roses didn’t have any, which surprised me because that is the only place I’d usually find them. This post is to help anyone who is trying to get rid of aphids, organically.

Lilac Sensation + helleborus foetidus or the stinking hellebore

Lilac ‘Sensation’ + helleborus foetidus or the stinking hellebore (or in this case, the infested hellebore)

I have to admit that I don’t usually have a huge issue with aphids. Perhaps the ladybirds (ladybugs), a natural predator of them, normally keep them in check. I’ve only ever seen them on my roses, and I can usually get rid of them with my fingers (think: squish – sorry, that’s probably a bit gross). But this time, there were too many aphids on the hellebore plant, and they were well into the lilies, where I couldn’t get to them. So I searched online for organic solutions. The top solution that came up was using a power hose. I guess that is fine if you have a sturdy plant, but anyway, that isn’t an option for me. The next solution was to spray the plant with soapy water. I had my doubts that this would work.

Syringa vulgaris Sensation with Syringa v Ludwig Spaeth in background

Syringa vulgaris ‘Sensation’ with Syringa v ‘Ludwig Spaeth’ in the background. This is a much nicer picture than of aphids!

Both plants were sprayed down thoroughly. I also removed as many aphids as possible with my fingers (yes, I squished them). I’ve done this over a few days, and both plants look so much better! The lilies seem completely clear, and while the hellebore isn’t completely clear yet, it has only a few left. I’ll be honest with you: I’m going to now cut the hellebore down to the ground since its season is finished anyway. It is advised to continue spraying for a couple of weeks, which I’ll do to the lilies. I used simple dish soap and cold water in a small spray bottle. It really is a simple and safe solution, which I’m happy to share.

Lilies August 2019

The lilies looked beautiful in August last year!

There are no photos of the infestation! I was more concerned with getting rid of them than photographing them. I will hopefully have beautiful photos of the lilies when they bloom in July, though! Please do stay tuned. 🙂

I hope you’ve found this helpful, although I more hope that you won’t need to use it!

Do take care!

In Peace,
Dana

Chicken with egg in house

One of our newest members of the flock, very proud of her egg!

I’ve always gardened organically for my family. It seems important now, too, to continue that way for our chickens, especially since we enjoy eating their eggs.

baby egg yolk + adult egg yolk

The ‘baby’ chickens are about 6 months old, and our other ones are 1.5 years old. There is a bit of a difference in the size of the eggs!

4 chickens in green turtle

It has taken a month, but they finally all ‘hang out’ together!

 

Life is still beautiful

Columbine

This flower is known as Columbine, Aquilegia or Granny’s bonnet

Hi there! This Covid-19 has me up and down, and spinning all around. Honestly I find myself relishing being home all the time and at the same time feeling guilty because, well, I like being home all the time. I go out once a week to do our grocery shopping, and that’s it. I think I feel the most stress when I am out shopping, because it is during this time that I think about the fact that this is a pandemic. We are living through a pandemic. And while so many people will recover after getting Covid-19, many people will not. I try not to have that thought hang around in my head for too long, but I do acknowledge it.

Hawthorn flowers

Some of the Hawthorn trees are in bloom with these lovely white flowers that are lightly scented

Since the stay at home order was initiated, we have started a new family routine of everyone meeting in the tv room, every night, for the evening news. This was something that we just never did before. I’m glad we do it now. We listen, we discuss, we think about what is happening, and best of all, we are together. We also enjoy family dinners together – every night! With our crazy schedules, that was quite a feat before the stay at home orders. The kids are old enough to help out, too. And by ‘help out’ I mean they make dinner start to finish and then clean up (we are so appreciative!). I’m proud to say that their meals are top notch, too. So for me, there have been many benefits, which I am quick to balance with the knowledge that for so many, there are terrible hardships.

Rosemary flowers

My Rosemary plant is in full bloom with tiny blueish flowers

There is one thing that is constant, though, and that is that there is beauty all around us – pandemic or not. Look and you shall find … Beauty: in nature, in the trees, in the flowers, in the weather, in family and friends, in smiles (that perhaps we can’t see behind the face masks, but are there nonetheless). There are people doing “good deeds” all around the world, and I challenge you to share those good news stories. Better still, be the one doing those good deeds. Now, more than ever, we need to be supporting one another and lifting each other up.

Strawberry Hill Climber David Austin Rose

My roses have just begun to bloom. This one is called Strawberry Hill, and is a David Austin climber

I hope you are keeping well, in every sense of the word. As always, I find my garden to be my sanctuary. I hope you’ll enjoy a bit of a tour around the garden to see what is blooming now and what is coming shortly. It seems to change every day. Take care!

In Peace,
Dana

Syringa vulgaris Sensation

Syringa vulgaris ‘Sensation’

This lilac with variegated flowers is full of blooms this year. I’ve been waiting patiently for this to happen, as it usually only produces a few blooms. Whether it is full of flowers, or has just a few, it is still a lovely shrub to have!

Lilac shrubs

On the left: Syringa v Sensation and next to it: Syringa v Ludwig Spaeth

Syringa Ludwig Spaeth

Syringa v Ludwig Spaeth has deep redish-purple flowers

Ludwig Spaeth lilac

A little evening sunlight on our Ludwig Spaeth lilac

The allium are also blooming now. I have some that I planted many years ago, which are a light purple color. They have spread, and this year there are quite a few of them, although their blooms are somewhat small. We also have some newer ‘Purple Sensation’ allium, that are not in full bloom yet. Their color is ‘WOW’ purple! 🙂

allium group

Allium (not ‘Purple Sensation’)

Allium Purple Sensation

Allium ‘Purple Sensation’

Allium closeup

Allium ‘Purple Sensation’ not quite in full bloom

Allium from above

Allium ‘Purple Sensation’ from above

Allium + bamboo

Allium with our bamboo in the foreground

OK, the bamboo needs to be addressed. I was given a small pot of bamboo quite a few years ago. It is a black variety, I believe. But I haven’t found the right spot for it in the yard (yet), so I’ve kept it in a pot, and then divided it, and then divided it, and then divided it, and here we are! I think it has been too dry for it this spring, but otherwise it is usually happy.

Queen of the Night + Allium

Queen of the Night tulips with ‘Purple Sensation’ Allium

The beautiful Queen of the Night tulips are still looking lovely. We’ve had a mild spring, both related to rain and wind, so it is nice to enjoy them this length of time.

single Queen of the Night tulip

A single Queen of the Night tulip

Rose bed pre bloom

The rose bed with Queen of the Night tulips, ‘Purple Sensation’ allium and roses

This next plant doesn’t usually get any ‘blog time’ at this stage of the season. But I believe the dry spring has helped with us not having the dreaded black spot. I usually cut the leaves off of this hellebore for most of the season, due to black spot. The flowers may be finished, but I’m really enjoying the beautiful blue tinge leaves of my Winter Sunshine hellebore!

Helleborus Winter Sunshine

Helleborus Winter Sunshine

I also have a white lilac. It is actually light pink, until it opens white. I think the closed pink flowers are as pretty as the open ones!

Lilac Syringa v Beauty of Moscow

Syringa v Beauty of Moscow

Syringa v Beauty of Moscow closeup

Lilac Beauty of Moscow

Orange poppies + erysimum

California Poppies and Erysimum ‘Super Bowl’ Mauve

What a combination of colors with the California Poppies and the Erysimum ‘Super Bowl’ mauve! I love the boldness of the orange and purple! What do you think?

California Poppy with purple background

California Poppy with Erysimum ‘Super Bowl’ Mauve

Globe artichoke from above

Globe artichoke from above

We don’t eat the Globe artichokes. I love their beauty in the garden!

Globe artichoke

Globe artichoke

artichoke plant

The full globe artichoke plant – can you see the very tiny artichoke (center right)?

What’s up next?  These two beauties!

Iris pre bloom

Iris ‘Benton Storrington’

Peony pre bloom

Peony

Take care, and stay tuned to see what blooms next in the garden! 🙂

A heartfelt blanket :-)

bleeding heart

Bleeding heart (Dicentra spectabilis)

Hi there! How are you? I hope you are safe and well, and able to do things that bring you joy. Today’s post isn’t about gardening, but about my second hobby: crocheting! I really enjoy having projects to focus on. As it turns out, at the start of our ‘stay at home’ orders due to Covid-19 here in Ireland, I was asked to make a blanket for a sweet little girl who liked pink and purple. This was a perfect distraction for me, and a project which I really enjoyed!

c2c first corner

The c2c blanket is made ‘corner to corner’

I like crocheting and creating with my hands. I have to say that I like a bit of a challenge, too, and to learn new stitches or patterns. So I went searching for something new to catch my eye for this blanket. I was very lucky to come across a lovely heart blanket from Motorave_slc on Instagram (she’s also on Etsy: Motorave_slc). I sent Jessica a message on Instagram and she kindly sent me the diagram of the blanket, which is the basis for the pattern. This was a lovely act of kindness on Jessica’s part, which I’m so thankful for!

back c2c half way through

the back of the c2c half way through

This blanket pattern is called ‘corner to corner’ (written c2c). Unlike traditional blankets which are made row by row from bottom to top, this blanket is made from bottom right corner to top left corner. The main stitch used throughout is a double crochet (American terminology) done in groups of 3, along with chain stitches – all very easy. Once you get the hang of the pattern, it is fun to make! The interesting part was having all of the colors attached to the blanket as you create it, which at some points in the blanket was tricky to work around!

c2c single upsidedown blackberry heart

The pattern had two upside down hearts

I started off watching a video tutorial by The Crochet Crowd. Over the course of nearly an hour, they covered every aspect of making a c2c blanket as well as creating and reading a c2c pattern. After all of that I was finally ready to begin!

c2c close up side

A view of the side hearts and the border

As usual, I used my favorite yarn which is Caron Simply Soft, in soft pink, orchid, lavender, blackberry and fuchsia. I just love the colors and I thought they all went so well with the soft pink background. The size ended up being 44 inches x 35 inches – not too big and not too small. It just goes to show that it is always worth having lots of stock of different colors in the house, because you never know when you’ll be in lock-down and unable to buy more yarn! 😉

c2c close up side

A view of the side hearts and the border

c2c border start

The border changes with every additional color added

Once I finished the main blanket, I then had to pick a border. I decided on a stitch that is very similar to the border I used on my last blanket (my poppy blanket). I just like that style: a simple single crochet stitch with a spike stitch. 

c2c side hearts

I thought the hearts were just perfect!

I will admit to being one of the slowest crocheters ever! I just don’t go fast. And if I’m crocheting, I’m crocheting, and I’m not multi-tasking. That’s just how I do it. So this blanket took me a month to complete. I really enjoyed watching how it came together with each heart. The center part with the name was tricky. That’s all I’ll say about that!

c2c corner border

a closeup of the corner border

c2c full flat view

A full view of the blanket

I was very happy with the finished blanket! I will definitely use the corner to corner pattern again. I’m not sure what my next project is…but I have a few ideas!

Take care and stay safe!

In Peace,
Dana

c2c full blanket

My daughter holding up the blanket for me to photograph

 

Today is brought to you by the letter ‘T’ – for Tulips and Together

Double late Mount Tacoma tulip

Double late Mount Tacoma tulip

Hi there! Welcome to my blog, where I’ll chat about just about anything, but I will always have pictures of flowers. I hope you are keeping well during this pandemic. Life is really crazy, isn’t it? For some, it is mostly an inconvenience to have to stay home. But for so many, it is much, much more. For that reason, I struggled for a long time about blogging. I don’t want to make light of a situation which is quite dire for so many. But I’ve also discovered that it is really important for us to have our breaks away from ‘everything Covid-19’. I’m also sure, if we conducted a study which measured people’s feelings after showing them pictures of flowers, that there would be a huge improvement in their mood. Don’t you think so, too? So it is a public service that I’m offering to lift spirits! 🙂

Did you notice my little nod to the children’s program ‘Sesame Street’ with my title? It always makes me smile when I hear references to sweet things from my childhood. I hope it made you smile! (Apologies if you haven’t seen Sesame Street, making my title a bit strange indeed.) The main star in the garden right now are my tulips. We’ve been so fortunate to have had such a mild and sunny April. Sometimes the tulips really get a beating with the wind and rain – but not this year. So I’ve managed to get a few (hundred?!) pictures. Of course, there are many sides to a flower – when it is sunny they open right up, first thing in the morning they are closed, and then there is the ‘in between’ phase. I don’t have a favorite, as I think every phase is beautiful. Please do enjoy the pictures I’ve put together for you.

Take care! Remember, we are in this together.

In Peace,
Dana

Pretty Princess upclose

inside the Pretty Princess tulip

Pretty Princess group of tulips

Pretty Princess tulips are a bright, happy pink color!

Pretty Princess tulips facing sun

Pretty Princess tulips facing the sun, which shows the different shades of the colors

The bright, cheerful colors of the Pretty Princess tulips are balanced in the same flower bed with the darker color of the Queen of the night tulips. The Queen of the night tulips are a deep purple, and are not a typical color that I would gravitate to – but I LOVE the color!

Queen of the night upclose

inside the Queen of the night tulip

Queen of the night group April 2020

Queen of the night tulips

Queen of the night through sunlight

Queen of the night tulips are a rich, deep purple color

Orange is also a color that I wouldn’t usually pick for flowers. But these Ballerina tulips are one of my favorite varieties! I like the subtlety of the different colors, and their beautiful shape. Boy, do they shout for attention, too – no matter where they are in the yard!

Ballerina tulip fully open

A very sunny day for the Ballerina tulip to open fully

Ballerina tulip slightly open

Ballerina tulip slightly opened

Ballerina tulip single no sun

a single Ballerina tulip – this is my favorite picture of this flower

The Fringed tulip Swan wings is a pure white variety with spiky edging. It is stunning.  Unfortunately, this is the only one left of the ten I planted a number of years ago. It is tucked behind a small group of creamy white tulips called Spring Green.

Fringed tulip swan wings

the inside of Fringed tulip Swan wings

Fringed tulip swan wings side and inside

Fringed tulip Swan wings

Tulips Spring Green and Swan Wings

the inside of Spring Green tulips and the single Swan Wings tulip

Tulip Spring Green

Tulip Spring Green

Tulip Spring Green closed

a mostly closed Tulip Spring Green

There is a strong pink theme throughout my garden. All shades of pink! This Merlot tulip has found its way into two of my flower beds, as I love the color.

Tulip Merlot center

inside Tulip Merlot

Merlot slightly open

Merlot tulip slightly open

Merlot closed

Merlot tulip closed

pink and white tulip

this one always reminds me of cotton candy!

pink and white tulip and anemone

the anemone are still blooming throughout the garden

tulip and anemone

a single tulip surrounded by anemone Mr. Fokker

The Parrot tulip is so unusual, but has always been one I have liked. No surprise that it is pink!

Parrot tulip

inside the pink Parrot tulip

Parrot tulip single no sun

a single, closed pink Parrot tulip

That’s it from me! I hope you enjoyed yourself! 🙂

picture of mom in the garden April 2020

I’m sending you best wishes, all bundled up warm in my garden! I hope I’ve made you smile!

Expectations vs. Reality

Bergenia White

Bergenia (Bressingham white, possibly)

Hello there! Welcome to another blog post written during the Covid-19 ‘stay-at-home’ time. Confession: I’m afraid that I am not one of those people who have completely organized their home, weeded the entire garden, finished countless craft projects, learned a new skill, and managed to not loose my cool while living and working with 4 other adults (full time!) during these uncertain times. There have been good days, and there have been gloomy days. I’m learning to take them as they come. I think that everyone’s energy levels are a bit down. There feels to be a weight on my (everyone’s?) shoulders, which I’ve named ‘Everything Covid-19’. Thankfully, there are more good days than gloomy, and I wouldn’t trade this time with my family for anything. There is definitely good to be found in every situation. But I have to be realistic with myself, and not beat myself up if this slower pace means, well, that the bar needs to be lowered a bit! 🙂

The plus side: there is lots of beauty in the garden, even with minimal work on my side. Also, I just finished crocheting a blanket which was a new pattern for me (more on that in a later post). We even had a BBQ outside, something that due to schedules and weather, we have rarely done in the past. Finally, we acquired two new chickens (I purchased chicken feed from a local farmer and picked up two cuties while I was at it). Integrating them with my 1.5 year old hens was/is challenging!

So life has been ticking on for us, amid the Covid-19 situation around the entire world. I am grateful that we are able to stay home and stay safe. I’m more aware of my gratitude these days, as there is so much that I am grateful for. I’m also grateful for my blog, and for connecting with people from around the world. I hope you find it to be a sanctuary, like my garden is to me.

Enjoy the pictures, which give a sampling of what has been happening here over the past few weeks.  And please do stay safe!

In Peace,
Dana

Bergenia White full view

Bergenia ‘Bressingham White’ in full bloom

This white blooming bergenia (Bressingham white, I believe), is in full bloom and has never looked as pretty! It is rather difficult to see from this angle, as the grass is so long!

front garden

Oops! only half of this bed has been fully weeded! You can just see the Bergenia on the left.

Sunny days really do make a difference! The tulips are beautiful right now. I fear that tulip fire is making its way around the garden, though.

Tulips with bergenia and erysimum

Tulips with Bergenia and Erysimum in the background

I just love evergreen trees. The one right behind the tulips is Abies Koreana, and the one below in the far background is a Nootka Cypress.

Tulips with Abies Koreana + Chamaecyparis nootkatensis 'Pendula'

Tulips with Abies Koreana + Chamaecyparis nootkatensis ‘Pendula’

The Aubrieta continues to provide beautiful color, along with the anemone ‘Mr. Fokker’. It is now also joined by tulips Merlot (and some stray tulip Ballerina).

Aubrieta April 11 tulips anemone view of gates

Aubrieta and tulips on April 11

Full view of aubrieta and garden

Aubrieta in two of the rose beds and a theme of very pink flowers!

Tulip Merlot + aubrieta

A backdrop of Aubrieta for the Tulips Merlot

Tulip Merlot + Tulip Ballerina

Tulip Merlot + Tulip Ballerina

tulip leaves with fire?

I’m not sure, but this looks like tulip fire

Tulip Ballerina in vase

This vase was a perfect match for the Ballerina tulips.

I added some vases of flowers to my kitchen this week. I brought in Ballerina tulips and some grape hyacinth.  It was interesting to see how they changed as they ‘matured’.

Grape hyacinth in a vase inside

Grape hyacinth and Ballerina tulips

So, we ran out of gas for our grill, but that didn’t stop us from having one heck of a BBQ outside! Some wood, some charcoal, some determined people, we made it happen. You’ll notice that I am dressed for winter, while my kids are quite comfortable in much less clothing! I feel the cold much more than they do 🙂

BBQ outside with the family

The First BBQ of the season!

Moving on from the BBQ – I’ll add that we did not eat chicken – let’s talk about our pet chickens!

chickens in crate

The first introduction to the older hens

One thing that we have learned is that you can’t just add ‘new’ chickens to ‘old’ chickens. They need to be integrated over a period of time. We didn’t realize how trying this was going to be! The older girls (they are 1 and a half years old now) were not nice to the ‘babies’ who are 5 months old. The first night, we actually kept the babies in our back-room (in the crate). But not before we snuggled with them to make them feel welcome!

chicken sitting on my lap

Just a chicken resting on my lap!

The next step was to have the new girls in a section of the run that was separated from the old girls. Everyone needed to be able to see each other, but not peck each other.

chickens in their run

Our sectioned off area for the babies.

We maybe could have waited a few more days before mixed them all together, but they are now all together. Night time is tricky. I still supervise everyone going to bed, to make sure the babies aren’t getting a ‘peck’ before bed.

Sweet Pea + Iris under hedge

We now have two teams of two… Here is Sweet Pea and Iris under the hedge

two chickens together

Team Daisy + Rose resting together

Kitty on top of ladder

This is the ladder we used to get in and out of the run to take care of the babies (yep, we need to build a gate!)

The chickens are getting along better in their run. The older girls still chase the babies, but they aren’t pecking them, which is a relief. The babies sure are fast!

Narcissus Sir Winston Churchill

Narcissus Sir Winston Churchill

Mom in the Garden

Mom in the Garden – anything is possible when the weather is good! Take care!

Not exactly ‘business as usual’

single anemone on ground

anemone ‘Mr. Fokker’

Hi there. I’ve been quiet here on the blog front. Honestly, I’m not sure what to say. In some cases, it is ‘business as usual’ and life is more or less ticking along. But in so many other cases, it is not ‘business as usual’ and lives are completely disrupted. There is a lot of stress, uncertainty and tremendous loss as a result of Covid-19. So I feel funny jumping on here and talking about my garden. But I also know that there are many good things that have happened during this situation and even because of this situation, which I hope you’ve also witnessed and experienced. And while life can be quite serious at the moment, I hope that a little deviation from that, with some pictures of flowers, can alleviate the situation, even if for a short time. Welcome to my sanctuary! 🙂

early spring ditch wall garden

signs of spring with daffodils and tulips coming into bloom

Narcissus Ice King Double Daffodil

Narcissus ‘Ice King’ (Double Daffodil)

ice king daffodils and red tulips

always searching for the perfect angle

There is always weeding to do in the garden. I’m not sure that anyone really likes weeding, but the place sure looks better after its done! Given that we can’t go anywhere, I’ve been able to spend more time on that task than I would usually. I’m slowly getting around the garden to each bed. It is a lot of work, and sometimes I really have to talk myself into it. But it is always worth doing, even if just a little bit at a time. It helps for me to see the next set of plants pushing up through the soil. The continuity of the garden with its flowers and trees is something very special to me. It brings hope for tomorrow.

lilac buds

the new buds on our lilac shrubs

Lilies in April

Lilies, which won’t bloom until July, have already pushed through the soil.

This next picture caught my attention. The tulip leaves, especially, are quite ragged looking, and I would have described them as having wind-burn (as we live in a very windy area). But I did a quick google search as I was putting this post together, only to discover that these tulips have something called ‘tulip fire’. So this is the last picture I have of them in the ground because I immediately went out and had them dug up (thank you, husband!). Tulip fire is a fungal disease of tulips caused by Botrytis tulipae, and the only treatment is removing the tulips – and not replanting with tulips in that bed for 3 years. A sad day for my Viburnum plant, as it will now look quite bare without the tulips. I’ve posted a few pictures below, about the tulip fire, just so you know what it looks like and to be aware.

Viburnum and tulips

Viburnum opulus ‘Roseum’ and Mystic van Eijk tulips with beech hedge still in winter mode

leaves with tulip fire fungus

Infected tulip leaves (tulip fire fungus)

Tulip fire cut tulips

a bouquet of ‘tulip fire’ infected Mystic van Eijk tulips 😦

Mystic van Eijk tulips

Mystic van Eijk tulips with ‘tulip fire’

Moving on to more healthy plants…

narcissus actea pheasants eye

narcissus actea ‘pheasants eye’

narcissus actea pheasants eye

narcissus actea ‘pheasants eye’

daffodil side profile

daffodil season

daffodils

Purple hyacinth

hyacinth and anemone

single mr fokker anemone

Mr. Fokker anemone

The daffodils are blooming, as are the hyacinth and anemone. The bright pink of the aubrieta can be seen from afar! While the hellebores are just finishing up their season, there are so many other plants now coming to life. I’m so thankful that I do get to spend time in the garden.

aubrieta April full bed

Aubrieta in full bloom

white hyacinth

white hyacinth and a white (spotted) hellebore

Spring show hyacinth hellebore lilacs with buds

A spring showing with lilacs coming into bud and hyacinth in bloom while hellebores are at the end of their season

Single white flower Winter Sunshine hellebore

a single white flower of the Winter Sunshine hellebore, at the very end of its season

Bleeding Heart - Dicentra spectabilis

Bleeding Heart – Dicentra spectabilis with baby blooms!

I am mindful of all of those people who are suffering due to Covid-19. I keep those thoughts close to my heart, to keep everything in perspective. I also focus on the many blessings in our lives, right now. And I pray. I pray for everyone’s safety and well being, especially during these uncertain times.

Let me know how you are doing! I would love to hear from you!

In Peace,
Dana

Celebrating Mother’s Day during very trying times

Pure white hellebore in sunshine

Helleborus Niger – an all white hellebore

Hi there, and welcome to my ‘Mom in the Garden’ blog. I think that looking at pictures of pretty flowers is exactly what we all need right about now. I’m all info’d out when it comes to Covid-19. Even with sticking to trusted sources, it just gets too much to focus on for too long. My family and I are doing our part and we are staying home. It was exactly how I would want to spend my Mother’s day, too.  Join me as I escape from the realities of this pandemic with pictures from my garden.

Pure white hellebore after rain

a pure white hellebore – Helleborus Niger

The hellebores have had a very good run this season. This pure white one (helleborus Niger), and a few others in the garden, still have some new growth. But their season will be wrapping up as spring ends.

helleborus orientalis double ellen red

helleborus orientalis double Ellen red

Here’s another hellebore (double Ellen red) that still had pretty blooms!

hellebore double ellen red

I don’t know the names of all of my hellebore plants. This lovely dark pink one was given to me years ago by my friend Susan. It is lovely and showy.

hellebore dark pink sunshine

Hellebore – dark pink

Dark pink hellebore in rain

the same plant but on a rather wet day

hellebore dark pink

a beautiful hellebore flower

White speckled hellebore with chicken

chickens make the best backgrounds

My chickens had been getting some garden time in the evenings. But recently there has been a scare of avian flu, so I haven’t been letting them out. This is sad for all of us!

white speckled hellebore with chickens

white speckled hellebore (with chickens)

The next plant is one I haven’t posted about in a long time. It is difficult to get a good picture of the flowers since they rarely open fully.  It is called helleborus foetidus, or the stinking hellebore. It does have a strange smell, but thankfully isn’t too fragrant.

hellebore foetidus or the stinking hellebore

helleborus foetidus or the stinking hellebore

helleborus foetidus or the stinking hellebore

A full view of the helleborus foetidus or the stinking hellebore

Aubrieta creeping

Aubrieta creeping

As always, the garden offers signs of hope and new growth. The aubrieta is slowly creeping along in the bed and down the wall.

Full bed of aubrieta

A full bed of aubrieta!

I still love the thrill of seeing flowers showing life in the new season. Like this Itoh Hybrid Peony ‘Hillary’. If you’d like to know more about the hybrid peony, you can read my post about this one, here.

Itoh Hybrid Peony ‘Hillary’

new growth of my Itoh Hybrid Peony ‘Hillary’ (and lots of new growth from weeds, too!)

That’s really all the break I needed to clear my head. Honestly, I’m devastated for those who have lost their lives in this pandemic. I think about those who have already lost their jobs, or who will lose their jobs in the future because of this situation. The impact on all of us will be tremendous. It is tremendous. And it is during these times that I am most especially thankful for my family and friends. Because although we aren’t all close together, we are all close at heart.

I am praying for everyone affected by Covid-19, because I have a strong faith and I believe in the power of prayer. I pray that we will all get through this, together.

I hope that you, too, are able to find time to look after yourself and your well being –  both physically and mentally. It really is important.

And although a difficult time, I wish all of the Moms celebrating Mother’s day today, a very special day.

Stay safe everyone.

In Peace,
Dana