Hello, and welcome to my blog! It is funny how I have lived in a bunch of places where the weather was often the topic of discussion. In Arizona, it was remarkable when it rained – or if it wasn’t sunny. In Pittsburgh, the weather was typically overcast, and remarkable when sunny. In Syracuse, it was more snowy than sunny – averaging 100 inches per season! Zurich, well, Zurich’s weather was rather unremarkable because it was a reasonable mix of sunny and overcast (overall it was quite pleasant, actually). Now, Ireland’s weather is so often ‘unsettled’ – meaning overcast / windy / rainy – that it is remarkable when it is sunny and calm, and boy does everyone take notice then!
Sunny and calm is exactly what the weather has been over the past nearly three weeks. In fact, at this stage, we really need a good rain! I am thankful to have gotten a lot of gardening jobs done in March: trimmed the boxwood hedge, pruned the Russian sage, (the roses were pruned the end of February/beginning of March), cut the ornamental grasses, moved some plants: some snowdrops, hellebores and a peony (the peony should ideally be moved in September, but I’m hoping that getting it done before it had serious spring growth will be ok), and worked in a ton, figuratively speaking, of aged manure! Of course weeding was done along the way. Weeding is always being done!
A highlight for me, was creating a flower arch for my daughter’s 18th birthday. That was a lot of fun, as I love getting the chance to be creative. It all came together serendipitously!
I’m thankful for the joy that the garden brings to me. The flowers pushing up through the soil bring such a feeling of hope. Be sure to see the beauty that is all around you! I’m joining The Propagator for his Six on Saturday meme. Won’t you join me?
In Peace, Dana
1 – Ornamental grass and daffodils. Here’s a look at the now cubed ornamental grass. The grasses should be cut low every year. I don’t want this one getting big and unruly, and even though it will quickly grow back, I quite like this look! I planted a bunch of primroses in this circle bed, just to give it some color for the spring. The two large containers of daffodils brought such color and cheer to the garden. I’m so glad to have added them this year.
Speaking of daffodils! The first picture is a close up of the daffodils from one of the containers, and are quite traditional if you ask me. They are called Narcissus Dutch Master, and their color really grabs your attention. The collage is of Narcissus Double, and they are super pretty and rather delicate looking. Unfortunately, they face the ground, which is a bummer. I have them under one of the apple trees.
2 – Look at this beauty! Magnolia Stellata is completely covered with fabulous white flowers. The flowers appear to be star-like to me, although I’ve read of them looking similar to water lilies. This variety should be planted where it won’t get morning sunlight (thank God for a tall hedge!) as they tend to bloom when it can still be frosty, and the morning sunlight on the frosted flowers will thoroughly kill that beautiful look. I am absolutely thrilled with this slow growing, mid-sized shrub which was a gift for our 25th wedding anniversary last year. It is in with my chickens, so I have it caged up for protection. Being chickens, they still try and eat the flowers, though. I am hoping to get something nicer to protect it, and that eventually they will not bother it!
3 – It was time to trim the boxwood hedge. I had my husband help me with this job, which was tough because he had a different idea of what I wanted. 🙂 But all is good and I think it looks neat and tidy again. This bed is now fully ready for the season as the boxwood is trimmed, the Russian sage and roses have been pruned, the aged horse manure has been worked in, AND it has been weeded! The aubrieta is such a stunner and it seemingly comes to life all of a sudden. It is supposed to grow over and down the wall, but mine prefers to grow into the bed.
4 – Did someone say horse manure? My neighbors gave me this garden gold. It’s not like me, but I didn’t take a picture of their beautiful horses when we picked up the manure. I’ll have to do that next time. The best part was seeing all of these amazing worms!
5 – It turns out that I have a ‘thing’ for hyacinth! I have pinks and white under the lilac shrubs (picture bottom left). New this year for me are the burgundy colored ones, called Woodstock from Farmer Gracy, which are under the birch trees. I *really* like their color! Those two beds where these hyacinth are have all been weeded and ‘manured’! Woohoo! 🙂
6 – The birthday flower arch. Our ‘baby’ is 18! It truly doesn’t seem possible that the past 18 years have flown by that quickly. I’m so excited for what the future holds for her. I’m also so happy she liked the flower arch! My older daughter helped me out and made the ’18’, which I think made it perfect. So, the frame is made of bamboo and dogwood. My neighbor, a different one!, was doing major yard work and offered them to me for the arch. The timing was perfect, as I’d just mentioned to her my idea of making an arch. My husband helped me to tie the branches together and put them in my two pots of bamboo that I’ve had for years. We used two very heavy (and ugly, I might add) cinder blocks to hold the pots in place. The fake flowers were somehow all in my house, already! They’ve been used for different projects over the years, and this will probably finish out their lives. The six white painted allium are the only real flowers from the garden. I added ribbons, too, as I thought it was more festive with them.
And that’s a very full, Six on Saturday! Thank you so much for visiting, and I hope you enjoyed the tour. I leave you with one final picture, of one of the many lovely sunsets we’ve enjoyed of late. 🙂
We’ve had some beautiful sunsets, too, with this lovely weather!
Hello, and welcome to my blog! I was thinking this week about the ebb and flow of the garden – how the garden takes a time of rest in the winter, and well, is busy producing abundant beauty for most of the rest of the year. And yet, I don’t allow the same rest for myself! As I was struggling this week to get things done in the garden, I thought about my need to take it easy and not go full steam all of the time. So to help me during this ‘down’ time, I have created a list of the jobs I want to get done. I work through it at my slower pace. This helps me to manage the stress of having ‘things to do’ in my head. It also keeps me focused on my jobs in the garden. 🙂
So what jobs have I managed to work on that are on the list? Well, I finally started my seed sowing. But I don’t have everything sown just yet. I’m planning that I’ll get the rest of the seeds planted this coming week. Trimming the box hedge is on the list – we made a great start to that today, I’m happy to say. There’s still a tiny bit more to do, but thankfully the majority of that job is done. All of the flowering summer plants need to get fed and have some extra compost placed around their base. I’ve started this in the order of blooming, beginning with the lilac shrubs. Still lots more to do there. I’ve also started to do a clean up of the garden, getting rid of the spent flowers that were left for the winter and weeding the beds as I do so. This is a pretty big job, and I’m not sure it ever gets completely crossed off of the list! But it is one of the most satisfying jobs in the garden.
I’ve put together a collection of pictures from the past week in the garden as part of The Propagator’s meme Six on Saturday. I hope you will enjoy a walk through the late winter garden.
Take care and be safe!
In Peace, Dana
1, 2, & 3 – Ornamental grass, daffodils & cats. I decided to give the ornamental grass a severe trim. I actually had my husband do it as it was a very big job. Even he had a hard time with the electric cutters on it. I like how it has opened up the space, at least for now! Although the cubed shape is unusual for grass, I quite like it. I planted a bunch of primroses in the bed as they just seemed to fit in perfectly.
There are two cats in the bottom right picture. I own the white one. You know her by now, she’s Kitty. The black one comes frequently to visit Kitty. He is quite vocal, and super friendly. I call him Frank. I know better than to feed him, but I do give him attention, which he surprisingly likes.
It’s daffodil season! I am so happy to have filled two large containers with daffodil bulbs this past fall. Very few of my ‘in the ground’ daffodils are up, yet the containers are providing an abundance of cheerful color.
4 – Magnolia Stellata. This was a gift for our 25th wedding anniversary last summer. I have it in with my chickens, so we placed a fence around it so the girls wouldn’t destroy it before it had a chance to get settled in. There are so many buds on it! The pretty white flowers have started to bloom, and it is just so lovely.
5 – Hellebore Anna’s red. O.K., I’ve had this in quite a few of my blog posts of late. And that’s because it is an absolute star! Today I was thinking that if I had to pick a ‘plant of the year’, I think this one would be it. The coloring really stands out, the flowers are very pretty (and don’t fully face the ground), and it settled into the garden really quickly. A definite keeper.
6 – A frosty garden. This one is just a reminder that the weather is 100% unpredictable! And look at that blue sky – I LOVE seeing the blue sky! 🙂
This one is a bonus – Sunset over the front garden.
As always, thank you kindly for stopping by. It’s nice to know that others smile at my garden, too! 🙂
Hi there, and welcome to my blog. I want to offer you a place to escape the terrible realities of the world. While I love sharing my garden with all of you, I am also mindful of the evil war going on in Ukraine. I hope you will join me for a short time to see beauty and in so doing, to defy evil.
I know it seems like a really long time that we have not been living a ‘normal’ life. For me, I am taking each day in turn, and whatever I get done in that day, it is enough. Gone are the super long ‘to-do’ lists, and in its place is a short (and manageable) list. I typically get affected by bad weather. That is now compounded by watching the news, so I have to go easy on myself. I am thankful to have my garden to work in. It brings me joy.
I hope you are keeping well, safe, and healthy. Thank you so much for stopping by. I appreciate your visit. 🙂
In Peace, Dana
This hellebore, Anna’s red, is a real star. I planted it this year, and it has been blooming the past month with lots of flowers. The flowers face slightly outward, which is not the typical ‘facing the ground’ position of most hellebores. The color is a lovely shade of what I would call ‘plum’ (and not red) and is quite eye catching from across the garden. I’m so happy to have added this to my hellebore collection!
This is Mr. Fokker anemone. I love the incredible details of this flower, especially the stamen. I have these growing all around the garden, so I don’t mind cutting some and bringing them inside to enjoy. They are a lovely, easy to grow, cut flower that blooms all year long (this picture was taken this week).
Here’s a look at what the garden beds look like in March. The planters on the left have hosta in them, which won’t be seen for quite a few months still. But I think having the planters there at least adds color. The planter on the right is filled with daffodil bulbs, some of which have started to bloom. There is another planter filled with daffodils near the playhouse. I am so glad to have planted them in the fall. It is so wonderful to have big splashes of color in the garden! The raspberries (bed at front of picture) have been pruned, and the winter garlic seems to be doing fine. It should be ready for harvest at the beginning of July.
Did I mention the weather hasn’t been great? But at least after this big rain, we were able to enjoy a big, beautiful, double rainbow. It’s the little things!
Here’s another ‘little thing’: Our pretty, all white cat, Kitty. She is a tiny bit spoiled, and when I’m lucky, she showers me with love.
This picture is from today, after I finished working in the garden. It was a lovely evening, despite the cold and wind. I finished with an easy job of raking the hoggin (the gravel mixture between the beds to the right). It’s so satisfying to clear away the weeds. It is also satisfying to see all of the new bulbs that are pushing up around the playhouse. I’m so excited to see how they will look!
Hello there! Welcome to my blog. You might have noticed that I have been absent the past few weeks. I hope you know that I really enjoy writing about and photographing my garden. It gives me so much joy! But sometimes I simply get blue and it just isn’t possible for me to joyfully write about the garden. My blues could be weather related, news related, or just life.
This week has been tough because of the war in Ukraine. Really tough. I don’t understand how it could be happening. I’m upset that it is happening. I’m afraid of the outcome. I’m concerned for the future. So given the war in Ukraine, and how I was feeling, I wasn’t really sure about writing a blog post. But I am taking my lead from a dear friend of mine (thank you Lynn-Beth) who said to me “we cannot let evil negate our notice of beauty”. So although my heart is heavy for the innocent people of Ukraine, I share with you my garden, in the hopes that you too, will see beauty. (And I will share today’s post with The Propagator’s meme ‘Six on Saturday’ to spread the beauty even further.)
1 – The raised garden beds. Well, this is what they look like now. They are mostly empty, aside from the winter garlic, strawberry plants and blueberry shrubs. We will be building a new compost storage area in the very near future. So my husband has been clearing out as much compost as is ready, so it won’t have to be moved to the new area. I think it is ok to spread the compost in the beds now, actually. The birds certainly think so! 🙂 I still have to clear the one bed of the dead sunflower plants. It’s definitely time.
2 – A new flower bed. Now this is exciting for me! I have created all of the flower beds in the yard. Most of the time I cover the soil for 4 or 5 months, and then dig up the sod. That is a big job. So this time, I tried something different. Here’s what I did this past fall: I laid down some cardboard, covered it with a lot of grass clippings, then I covered that with compost. Then I added more compost. And then I added some more compost again! The birds also love this bed, with all of those worms from the compost. I do hope they’ll leave some for the soil.
It is nearly impossible to see, but there are two very young hazelnut trees, and one dwarf burning bush (Euonymus alatus ‘Compactus’) along with the well established cherry tree on the left. Today we added to the bed, planting the lovely white hellebore in the picture above. It is called Helleborus Aspen High. We also added a peony plant that we moved from another part of the garden. It wasn’t getting enough sun in the old spot, so I’m hoping that once it settles in, it’ll be much happier in this location. I don’t know the name of the peony, but it is a pretty red, and is always the first of all of my peony plants to bloom.
Since the evening was so nice, we continued on and moved two more very small hellebores that weren’t performing well in their homes. Fingers crossed that they will settle in and do well.
3 – Pruning roses. I try to get my roses pruned in February. While I made great progress last month, I still have a few more plants to get to – hopefully in the very near future. I want to show you the difference in these three pictures: the one on the left was just pruned. The one on the right on top, was pruned a year ago, and the one on the right on the bottom was not pruned last year.
I have to say that my confidence in pruning has increased over time. Practice makes perfect! One thing that I’ve learned is that when they say to cut off the tiny stems that are less than the thickness of a pencil, it is because if you don’t (which I previously hadn’t), the roses will be too heavy to be supported by such tiny stems. Also, there needs to be air circulation within the plant, and that is why it is best to prune the stems growing towards the center. Do I get it right all of the time? Probably not. But I do my best!
4 – Hellebores. How can I resist? They are still going strong! They are so lovely to display in a bowl. If you have them, you should definitely do so. I added a purple Mr. Fokker anemone into my bowl – which looks a little bit out of place. The bottom collage: Left: Helleborus Spring Promise ‘SP Frilly Isabelle’, top right: Helleborus Harvington Double Red, bottom right: Helleborus Anna’s Red (I love those leaves!).
5 – Iris Reticulata. This little tiny plant has just really lifted up my spirits. It is so pretty. When we planted these in the fall, we also added allium to this bed, and they are all coming up, which is so heartening to see. Good things to come!
6 – A frosty garden. We have had a few hard frosts this winter, but honestly, nothing too bad. We had a couple of days of snow flurries, but again, nothing substantial. As I have mentioned, though, we’ve had quite a few bad storms with high winds and rain. Right now I’m thankful that we’ve had blue skies a few times this week. Sun + blue skies = lifted spirits.
And that’s my view of the garden. I hope you enjoyed your visit.
When I sign ‘In Peace’, I truly mean it. May there be peace among all of us and may Ukraine stand strong against this evil war.
Hello there! I hope you are keeping warm and cozy wherever you are in the world. We have had the craziest weather of late! Thankfully, I was able to get out and work in the garden earlier this month, which I always find helpful for my mental health. It’s too windy and cold for my liking at the moment, though. We even had snow! O.K., it was gone within a few hours, but it sure was pretty to look at while it lasted.
I have to say that I am very happy to have flowers blooming in February. It gives me such hope as I watch their progress. That goes for all flowers, actually. I think it is why a lot of us have gardens in the first place. I am conscious of not wishing time to go faster for more pleasant gardening conditions. I think it is better to make do – and make better – what is on offer during the ‘off’ months. You’ll see that I’ve been building my collection of hellebores. I also added an early variety of iris this year, that is currently in bloom. It is called Iris reticulata and its flowers are so pretty and delicate.
I hope you’ll enjoy the collection of pictures I’ve gathered, showing you my February garden and my chickens.
Take care, and stay safe!
In Peace, Dana
I had to start with these beauties! It is so wonderful having Hellebore flowers in a winter garden. They are very easy to maintain and while their flowers usually point downwards, they are beautiful none the less. There are ‘single’ and ‘double’ varieties, as can be seen in their single layer of petals vs. multiple layers of petals.
This collage’s hellebores: Right three from the top: Anemone Picotee, Double Ellen Red, Anna’s Red. Top left: SP Frilly Isabelle. Bottom from the left: Harvington Double Red, Winter Sunshine.
The beauty of hellebores isn’t just in closeups of their flower faces, the plants themselves are lovely in full view.
This collage’s hellebores include: Right from the top: Double Ellen Red, Harvington Double Red, Anna’s Red. Center from the top: Anemone Picotee, Winter Sunshine, Unknown variety (pink). Left: SP Frilly Isabelle.
Look how sweet these Iris Reticulata are! I brought one inside after it was bent over. I’m delighted to be enjoying the pretty coloring from the comforts of my kitchen.
This is a picture of one of the jobs I was able to (partially) do earlier in the month. I weeded the Hoggin! Hoggin is a mix of gravel, sand and clay that works really well for pathways as it allows water to drain through it. Turns out that it also needs weeding. You can see around the edging that I have a weed blocking sheet underneath the hoggin – and below that I also have cardboard. The truth is that weeds will grow despite your best intentions! These weeds were pretty harmless though, and mostly grass. I used a hoe-like tool and raked them up. It took longer than I thought it would, but I was happy with the results. I still have more to do, whenever the weather settles down!
The weather on this day was super! I took this picture of my winter garlic after I finished weeding the hoggin. The temperature was mild and the sun was shining – perfect gardening weather! 🙂
Then the weather changed… Thankfully, most of the plants are O.K. with snow. I thought the dried fennel looked quite pretty completely covered in snow (bottom right picture). The Snowdrops, too, looked lovely. But the Anemone Picotee hellebore looks a little bit weighed down!
The chickens were not too impressed with the snow. They stayed under their house while it was snowing, and only ventured out after it stopped. Funny enough, they have no issue with wandering about when it is raining out! Here we can see the Bluebell (she is the only one I really call by her name, which is ‘Buckbeak’), Daisybell. and two Rhode Island Red hybrids. They’re still laying eggs, too!
Just like that, everything can change. I’m glad that in this case, the garden went back to ‘green’! Thanks so much for stopping by! I’d love for you to leave a message of where you’re visiting from. 🙂
Hi there! Welcome to my winter garden, where the weather might not be the best, but you will still find interesting things to see. I’ve had a few people recently comment to me that surely I’m not working in the garden now. It’s winter! But honestly, there are always things to do. For my garden, I weed all year round to try and stay on top of it. I also might have ‘projects’ to work on for the garden – like an area that needs to be cleared or plants removed. Admittedly, I am a fair weather gardener, meaning that the weather has to be somewhat decent for me to venture out. But if the temperature isn’t too cold or the wind too blustery, I enjoy being outside working in the garden. Let’s see what’s happening in the garden as I join The Propagator for his meme of Six on Saturday.
1 – Snowdrops. I know it’s not much, but this little bunch of tiny white flowers brings such excitement, as they’ve pushed through the soil and bloomed in what is usually rather unpleasant weather (I’m being polite). I have another bunch, directly across from these, but their white flowers seem to have been eaten by something. Ideally, I will divide this clump after they flower (or at the end of the season in March), to spread the beauty next year. I have my eye on a new place for them, so stay tuned to see how that goes.
2 – Helleborus Double Ellen Red. This plant bloomed very late last year, and with not a lot of flowers. Plants can be quite funny that way. It certainly looks beautiful, healthy and full of blooms right on time this year. The flowers face downwards, which isn’t great for pictures. I just prop the flowers up to capture their beauty. This Hellebore is five years old, and it’s taken this long to really establish itself.
3 – Helleborus Harvington Double Red. What can I say, I like double reds! This one joined my garden last year, and so I’m happy to see the handful of blooms on it. There is another similar hellebore in this bed, bought the same time, and it doesn’t have any blooms yet this year. Hellebores are low maintenance plants and their blooms are lovely to see in the winter. They typically are used in woodlands, but seeing that I don’t have lots of trees in my yard, I simply planted them where ever there was room. 🙂
4 – Helleborus Winter Sunshine. This hellebore would be my favorite if I had favorites. The leaves are a pretty blueish-green, and it is covered in blooms all winter long! The flowers start out white and turn pink over time. I planted this in 2014 and it is a really nice sized ‘clump’ now. If it gets blackspot (not uncommon), I just cut those leaves off and it will continue to bloom without issue. Isn’t it lovely?
5 – Winter skies. I will never grow tired of the beautiful skies we have the privilege of seeing. Even if nothing else in the garden is looking special, the sky can be spectacular. The top right picture is a sunrise, bottom left is mid-day sun, while the other two are sunsets.
6 – Irish Robin. I distinguish this with ‘Irish’ because the American Robin, while similarly orange breasted, is much bigger and with a gray back. These Robins *love* to sing. They also love to keep me company when I’m weeding. Sure it’s no wonder they hang about, because when I turn the soil, they have easy access to the worms! I’m always glad for their company.
And that’s what is happening in the garden. There are a few more hellebore plants that will hopefully be blooming over the next few weeks. And then it will nearly be time for daffodils! Winter will be gone before we know it. 🙂
I hope you are keeping well. Thanks so much for stopping by. I’d love for you to say hello in a comment!
Hello! What a fun time I’ve had, going through photos of the garden from the past year. For the past 11 years, I’ve continually added to the nearly blank slate of a garden that was here when we moved in. I’ve learned a lot, I’ve done a lot, and I continue to learn and do! It’s my happy place, and I don’t need the proof from the studies that show ‘gardening is good for you’, I already know it. This last chapter is mostly about fall vibes and a tiny bit of winter. Enjoy!
This first collage starts in September. Look at all of our red eating apples! I don’t actually ‘pick’ them to eat, but instead I use the ones that have dropped to the ground. We didn’t have any major wind storms this fall (rather unusual) so I was able to gather apples at a reasonable pace. It’s harder when they all are knocked off at once!
The Buddleis Buzz ‘dark pink’ butterfly bush is covered with Tortoiseshell butterflies. We might also get Peacock butterflies, or Red Admiral butterflies, or Painted Lady butterflies. The butterfly bush is a dwarf variety, so it is quite a manageable size, and with lots of vibrant color. This one has quite a sweet scent as well.
The Monarda Fireball (red Bee balm) is new for me and was planted in a container. I really want to get it somewhere in the garden, but I’m not sure where just yet.
The top left picture is just to show you the contrast of the yellow dwarf sunflowers with the tall Claret F1 burgundy sunflowers. I loved the look of this flower bed! And just a few steps away is the pumpkin arch, which still had mostly green pumpkins in September. The blue Delphinium was quite a treat for me as I grew it from seed. That was a new flower for me to grow from seed, and I’m glad it not only survived but it thrived. Fingers crossed that it will survive the winter and we can enjoy it again in 2022!
I added the picture of the Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia ‘Little Spire’) as it looks really nice with the roses. The birch tree bed now has Rudbeckia goldstrum (Black-eyed-Susan) and Persicaria Blackfield just starting to bloom.
Staying in September, these David Austin ‘Eustacia Vye’ are relatively new to my garden. Not only are they beautiful, they have a delicious scent, too!
I made an outrageous flower arrangement with Pink Parrot gladiolas. While I do love the bright, shocking pink color, it is rather difficult to pair with in an arrangement. 🙂
The pumpkin arch update, at this stage, shows that the pumpkins are starting to turn orange, while the Red Kuri squash are turning their final color or burnt orange/red. The Green Hokkaido squash, which are more flat than the rounded pumpkins, remain a dark green color. The Claret F1 sunflowers always had a flurry of activity with birds. I was happy to capture this Great Tit (the largest of the Tit family) in this picture. The sunflowers have been enjoyed by the birds for most of the season. I did save a couple of flower heads for seeds for me, but the rest are there for the birds to eat.
The ornamental grass is the feature item in this bed. But the Asters put on quite a show in September. In the same bed, but in the bottom middle picture, is an Astilbe (marked pink, but it sure looks red to me). This is just a single plant that I think is still getting established. We’ll see how it does in 2022 and determine if it needs a new location.
The bottom left photo is of the Persicaria Blackfield, which pairs really well with the Rudbeckia, and birch trees. They also fill in quite nicely. Something I did this year that I probably shouldn’t do again, is that I bought my bulbs early in the season. So by the time my ‘normal’ time for ordering bulbs rolled around, I wanted to buy more (and did)! These are some of the early purchases of tulips being planted.
September still, and just an update on everyone’s growth: the apples, both eating and cooking, the pears, the new chickens, the delphinium, the sunflowers, they were all thriving at this stage! Those are pink Asters in the top left photo, with the ornamental grass. They really steal the show in September! One final picture of my compost in the tumbler, which you can see is filled with worms (and eggshells that probably should have been broken down more before being added). This is great stuff, and as it becomes ready – completely broken down – I add it to the garden.
October is all about orange (including the sky)! We had a great haul of pumpkins and squash this year. If nothing else, I like growing pumpkins simply for their orange coloring (including their flowers). Of course we enjoy eating squash, too, but what a bonus for it to look pretty in the garden, too!
I’ve included a couple more pictures of the pink Aster because they really are fabulous, and require no maintenance. I love easy to grow plants and this is one of them! This is also a better picture of the Astilbe with the Aster. I think they will look pretty together when the Astilbe fills out more.
Another first for us this year was planting raspberry canes. While we only had a few raspberries – and they were really tasty – the canes have definitely established themselves in the bed. So fingers crossed that in 2022 we’ll not only have a nice crop, we’ll figure out the best way to cover them from the birds.
October is also when I planted our winter growing garlic. I’ve grown the same variety, ‘Vallelado’ Organic Garlic, for a number of years because it is really good for our Irish weather. The rule of thumb is to get it in the ground before Christmas. (I get mine at Fruit Hill Farm in Cork.)
I have two different color pink Asters in the yard. These fuchsia pink and are super vibrant! The roses are still going strong – this year was really super for roses. Also, I had some super big, late blooming marigold flowers. The top right picture is of my dogwood tree. Although it doesn’t flower – this variety needs hot weather (so why on earth it is sold in Ireland is beyond me) – but I find the leaves to be quite lovely, especially as they turn red.
Now we’re on the cusp of November with the Dahlias are finally blooming. Dahlias are relatively new for me, and I’m still learning. You’re supposed to cut their main stem a short time after it starts to grow, to prevent one big heavy stem from growing, and instead have multiple stems to balance out the weight. I did this quite late in the season which is why they bloomed so late for me. Lesson learned! These are in containers, as they need to be protected in the winter and that’s the easiest way for me to do that. Given how pretty they are, I’ve ordered some more for 2022. I have plans to plant them in the ground, which means I’ll have to dig them up next November. I’ll keep you posted.
The blueberry shrub has the pretties fire-red leaves in the fall. It is such an extra bonus after enjoying the yummy blueberries!
A shrub with berries for the birds is the Leycesteria formosa (Himalayan honeysuckle). These have long dangly flowers with berries. The main stems of this lovely plant look like bamboo, while the shorter stems with the flowers are great for using in flower arrangements.
Here we are in the last two months of the year. The pink and red Hesperanthus (formerly known as Schizostylis) is such a treat to have in November, when there aren’t many other flowers about. This year, though, I also had roses. The Anemone can often be found in the winter garden, as can the Hellebore ‘Winter Sunshine’.
I’ve been patiently waiting the past few years for my fig tree to produce fruit. While it did grow fruit this year, they didn’t properly ripen enough to eat. I’m really hoping that next year will be the year!
I made a few wreaths during this time, too. I just like using my hands, and not letting anything go to waste. All of the greenery and plant materials came from my garden.
And that is a look back on my garden for the year! I’ve really enjoyed reviewing everything, and reminding myself of all that we’ve done in the garden. Being and working in the garden is simply something that I love to do. I hope you’ve enjoyed the tour!
Hi there! Don’t mind me, in this third part post, I’m just walking down memory lane where I look back on the garden from July and August, and boy was there a lot going on! Some plants, like my sweet pea, took a while to get started, but once they did, they really took off. I grew three different types of sunflowers this year. What was nice about the different varieties was 1. how completely different they looked and 2. how they all bloomed at different times. This meant that I was able to enjoy sunflowers from summer into fall. These two months saw a lot of growth in the pumpkin / squash category, too. And let’s not forget that July is notable for harvesting lavender and garlic. Let’s get started!
This first collage is from the beginning of July, and the yellow Itoh (hybrid) peony ‘Hillary’, on the bottom, just made the cutoff. I only had one delicate flower, and its color was quite lemony, a first for my garden. It was planted two years ago, so it should have more blooms in 2022. The other ‘end of the season’ peony was my Sarah Bernhardt variety. I’ve had this plant quite a few years so I get lots of big, beautiful, and scented, flowers. If you like peony, I’d definitely recommend this variety. Also during this time, the pumpkin and squash plants started to progress up the pumpkin arch. While they never made it all the way up, I did in fact, gets lots of pumpkins and squash – we’re still eating the squash!
To add some ‘interest’ along the hedge in the new garden, this year I added a bunch of planters filled with hosta. Most of the plants I’d had already, either in containers or in the ground. But I did purchase a couple of new ones as well, which are in the smaller pots, and they bloomed in July. The hosta flowers are not as nice as the leaves, if you ask me, as I think the leaves are the real attraction. These iris, as every year, were the very last of my four varieties to bloom.
While some flowers were finishing up for the season, it was at this stage that the first of the sunflowers started to bloom. They were mid-height – they were supposed to be 5 feet (1.5 meters) tall, but were more in the area of 3 feet (.9 meter) tall – and had only one flower per plant. This would be my least favorite sunflower because of the single flower. That doesn’t mean I didn’t like them, though. 🙂 At the top of the collage is a double poppy that thankfully shows up in the garden every year. And finally, I have a picture of three very different eggs, representing the 3 new variety of chickens that joined my hens this spring.
Apple update: the pretty blossoms are now cute little apples! Another picture of the double poppies, because they are absolutely beautiful. I’ve also included a ‘yucky’ picture in here, too: it is my maple tree with a powdery mildew. We haven’t seen this before, and there isn’t really anything you can do for it, except at the end of the season to clear away the leaves (and not add them to the compost). Fingers crossed that it has a better season in 2022. The picture of the sweet pea is the first cutting of the season. I know this because it is such a small posy, and by the end of the season they were big bouquets.
The middle photo is of my ‘rainbow garden’. In the front, the cream colored David Austin Lichfield roses and yellow potentilla shrub are at their peak. I only learned this year that I could prune the potentilla, which I duly did at the end of the season. I can’t wait to see how it looks in 2022. I have helenium ‘Moerheim Beauty’ growing in a couple of places in the garden, as it’s a lovely splash of red and golden color (here it is along side my daisies).
I am all about having splashes of color in the garden, no matter if it’s from flower plants or veggie plants. It’s another reason I love to grow pumpkins and squash, I mean, what’s not to love about those big orange flowers? I picked the last photo for the pretty sunset, as the poppies under the birch trees are not quite at their peak.
We’re in mid July here, and that’s when I harvested my garlic. The timing was perfect as we had some dry weather. There’s nothing worse than getting caught in a wet spell and not being able to harvest the garlic in time. I’ve planted about half of that amount for the 2022 season, which will still be more than enough for us. It keeps all winter, in a cool, dry location. Garlic is one of the easiest things to plant, and I highly recommend growing your own. It is so worth it in taste!
You will see through the different collages that I have a lot of containers. Part of that is me trying new flowers, part of it is that we have a deck that suits containers really well, and part of that is that I don’t have a more suitable place in the garden for those flowers. The pink, yellow and white freesia are a perfect example of looking lovely in a container but wouldn’t suit in the garden. So I’m glad for the containers! Funny enough, I filled both my garden and containers with lilies this year. Best decision ever as they are so easy to grow and are perfectly showy.
The birch tree bed was completely taken over by poppies in July. It was quite remarkable as they were 99% one variety (a single flower, lilac color) and I didn’t plant any of them. They come from my compost which apparently doesn’t get hot enough to kill seeds. So whatever I put in the compost, has the potential to come back!
I threw in another picture of the mid-height sunflowers as a progress report, as well as some roses just to remind me that the roses were still going strong. 🙂
We’re now at the end of July. The second variety of sunflowers have started to bloom – and this Claret F1 lasted well into fall, with so many flowers per stem. The colors were from chocolate to yellow and burnt orange / burnt red, with medium sized flowers, and they grew pretty tall (well over my head!).
I was a bit late in harvesting my lavender this year, but that didn’t stop me from making some fresh wreaths (pictures in the next picture). The clematis, ‘purpurea Plena Elegans’ is a pretty raspberry/wine color, but doesn’t really like the amount of wind that we have. It looks ok, but isn’t ideal in our yard, unfortunately.
The lychnis Coronaria rose campion has really pretty fuchsia pink flowers, although the evening sunlight in the picture doesn’t show that very well. Those flowers will actually spread like wildfire, so unless you want them everywhere, you have to pull them out as soon as they show up in their new spots (they are easy to pull out).
Of course I had to throw in another pumpkin arch update!
We’re finishing up July with blueberries! We had a great ‘little’ harvest this year, of several little bowls of blueberries. This was the first year that we covered the shrubs with netting and that worked great for keeping the birds away. I also spread out our plants that were crowded together previously, and fed them more than I typically would, which paid off. I’m excited for the 2022 season, as we learned a lot last season.
Finally, a picture of the chickens! We added three new varieties in March, but I only took video of them in the beginning, so I had no pictures to share earlier. We have a Bluebell (she’s gray), a Maran (with stripes), and a Daisy Belle (the largest of all of them and quite pretty with green shimmers in her black feathers). The Bluebell is quite friendly and likes to sit on my lap when I’m in the yard with them.
I made these two fresh lavender wreaths (as opposed to dried lavender). The bottom one I made first, and the one above was made second – I think I get better over the course of the season! The Celosia, the top right picture, I grew from seed. They were easy to grow, and dry really well, so I might grow them again.
More roses – of course!
I told you it was a lot of flowers! These pictures are from August. This is another another batch of helenium flowers. These are next to my ‘Teasing Georgia’ yellow David Austin roses, as I think the colors go nicely together. The other flowers are: ‘Magic Star’ lilies, gladiolas ‘Pink Parrot’, hydrangea Selma, clematis ‘purpurea Plena Elegans’, and some more poppies. This sunflower is the first of the dwarf sunflowers to bloom. Next to the two small pumpkins is a picture of Liatris spictata Kobold, which is such an unusual flower for my garden – so I love it!
So I found myself picking flowers for this collage that we’ve seen before. But it is interesting to me to see how much they grow and fill out and change colors during the season! The Incrediball hydrangea (bottom right) was moved in early spring 2021, but seems to have settled in well. This plant takes a lot of water, and I have still not figured out the perfect balance of getting that right. It doesn’t help that it is just out of reach of our hose, either. I’ll keep at it until we get it right! It’s not too far from the paniculata hydrangea Vanilla Fraise, actually – which is just starting to turn pink in this picture. The paniculata has not had any water issues, thankfully.
The coleus was my pride and joy this summer as I grew it from seed and it just looked so spectacular! Also, it was planted as a reminder of my dear former neighbor and friend Betty, who always grew them.
See the single, purple agapanthus flower? That didn’t do great in a container for me. Turns out the few that I had in the garden weren’t very happy either, but I had them in a somewhat shady area. So I’ve moved all of them into a new – sunny – spot in the garden and I can’t wait to see if that does the trick (along with extra feed).
Look at the Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia ‘little spire’)! I had some growing in partial shade and it wasn’t very happy. This guy, in full sun, is just shouting out with joy! I’m glad the space is large enough for it. These potted pink Calla lilies looked really well and bloomed for weeks.
Of course I’ve included another update on the pumpkin arch!
We’re wrapping up August with this collage. I rarely mention the wild fennel that I grow, but it is very pretty. The flowers are yellow and dainty. I enjoy watching the birds as they try and balance on the stems while eating the seeds in the winter. The plant isn’t just for birds, as it is edible for our consumption, too. The other plant not mentioned often enough: globe artichokes. I’ve used some in this flower arrangement – they look like purple thistle. The globe artichokes were arranged with roses, sunflowers and helenium.
The paniculata ‘Vanille Fraise’ hydrangea has turned pink by this stage. It’s around this time that you can cut the flowers to easily dry them. The Red Kuri squash look orange at this point in their growth, but as they mature, they will turn a more burnt orange/red. This view of the pumpkin arch shows us two Red Kuri squash, which are still orange, growing up the fencing.
The red apple tree is an eating apple tree, while our second tree is a cooking apple tree. I know I’m biased but, the red apples are incredibly tasty! I enjoyed eating our supply of apples right up until Christmas. I should have cooked and frozen some, to keep them longer. That will be something I’ll try in 2022, if we get a good crop.
The top picture is of some of my lilies – both pink and white. The white ones are in the garden, while these pink ones are in a container. They’re just so easy to grow, why wouldn’t you want that beauty and fabulous scent?
And finally, the sunflowers: the neat line of dwarf sunflowers bloomed in a perfect line. Not only that, they also then continued to bloom multiple flowers on their stems. The burnt red and yellow sunflowers were tall and floppy, grew all over the place, and were absolutely lovely in their uniqueness.
Phew! Are you still reading? You’re amazing! That was a really long post. I’m kind of impressed (and surprised!) with all of the flowers that I grow. Although I of course know all that I grow, it is only looking at them in this monthly review format that I really appreciate all that I have. And I really do appreciate them! I appreciate them so much that I created a new bed, in order to plant more flowers! 🙂
Thanks so much for stopping by. Let me know what you think! Part IV will finish out the year.
Hello! I’ve had quite a time going through my photos from 2021 – there are a lot! Every season brings something different and interesting, so I can’t even say which is my favorite season. They are all wonderful in their own way. But in this post, we’ll look at the garden from April through June. As you can imagine, that’s a pretty busy time in the garden. Some of what you’ll see: Tulips, Allium, Bluebells, Lily of the valley, apple and cherry blossoms, and Roses – lots and lots of Roses! I hope you enjoy the tour. 🙂
April is definitely a time when we start to see a lot more happening in the garden. We enjoy seeing the two varieties of apple tree blossoms – one has very light pink flowers, while the other has bright pink flowers. Our cherry tree blossoms are also light pink, and start to show at this time. The Anemones have been going all winter and continue to bring a pop of purple color to the garden. I have a picture of the green leaves from one of my peony plants here, too: Paeonia ‘Hillary’ is an Itoh (hybrid). I think the green leaves are lovely. I guess I have a thing for ‘greens’ because I also have a picture of my Nootka Cypress ‘Pendula’ simply because it is one of my favorite trees.
I had to have a tulip block! I love tulips, with a special fondness for pinks. These pictures are all from April. I have to say that I planted a bunch more this past fall, so we’ll see how they do in a few months!
We’re still in April! Just a reminder, as shown in the photo with the birch trees and the hen house, that we can still get a hard frost (in May, too, unfortunately). As for flowers, in April we have Bleeding Hearts, white and pink varieties of Bergenia, Grape Hyacinth, Hyacinth, and Hellebores. The ‘heaven scent’ Magnolia tree and the Birch trees were planted at the same time in November 2020. While I confess that I didn’t really notice a strong scent, I found the Magnolia flowers to be quite pretty.
Moving along to May, we are still enjoying tulips. Other bloomers at this time: Lily of the valley, Columbine (or Aquilegia), lilacs, fully blooming cherry blossoms, and Erysimum ‘super bowl’ mauve. The Hosta were moved from the ground into planters this year, to decorate the new garden. They started to fill out in May. The plants in the veggie beds and the sunflower bed are all doing well and showing lots of growth. The Globe Artichoke plant, behind the mauve Erysimum plant, is one of my favorites for the unusual leaves and of course the artichokes, which flower purple when left to fully mature. I grow it because I think it is so interesting to look at!
Although still in May, the organic plant based food ‘Nature Safe’, which I use throughout the garden, would have been taken out in March to start feeding my evergreens, and the lilac shrubs. I really like this product, plain and simple. It took me too long to learn that feeding your plants regularly is *really* important. Some more blooms in the garden: Bluebells, Rosemary (did you know it flowers?) and lilacs. At this time, everything I’ve grown from seed gets acclimated to get ready for the move to outdoors. Here’s a look at how the garlic is doing, too.
Still in May! The lilacs have finally opened completely, while the Viburnum Opulus ‘Roseum’ is just coming into bloom – it starts out green and will eventually turn white. The first of my peony, an old fashioned variety, also starts to bloom (it is a deep red) and looks quite nice among the Bluebells. Tis the season for Allium, and Poppies. These orange ones, like all of the Poppies in my yard, were not planted by me. They were either planted by a bird, or more likely, by my compost. The pumpkin plants are planted in the ground and showing signs of wind burn (but they mostly survived this). The Bearded Iris were planted in the bed of the Birch trees in November, and I just wasn’t sure if they would survive. But they sure did survive! Here one is getting ready to bloom.
Our ‘Pumpkin Arch’ project was done in June. My husband made it for me based on a few requirements I had. He really did a great job and it is my favorite feature in the garden. We planted pumpkins and squash at the base of it, and that worked out really well. They didn’t reach the top of the arch this year, though, so I’d like to plant them earlier in the season. I plan to also cover the young plants with fleece to protect them from windburn (our area is really windy) and from frost. Maybe then they’ll reach the top of the arch!
June! The sunflowers are getting taller, the strawberries are ripening, the pumpkin plants are finally settling in to the soil and producing flowers. The lupins looked exceptionally fantastic this year. I didn’t do anything differently, so hopefully they’ll be as lovely again this year. I have three different varieties of iris in the collage above, but I only know the bearded iris name: Benton Storrington. And since this is early June, the black spot hasn’t gotten hold of the rose shrubs (yet).
The roses really take over the show in June, but they aren’t alone as also showing off in the best kind of way are the different varieties of peony plants that I have. Last year wasn’t the best year for my peony plants (some had been moved early in the season). I’m hoping they’ll be happier this year.
My oh my that’s a lot of flowers and plants in the garden! I made it a goal to work for a short time in the garden every morning before work. I have to say that doing that small bit (nearly) every morning made my life so much easier in the garden. I was able to stay on top of weeding – mostly – and I was able to enjoy working in the garden since it was just a short amount of time. I might not get out in the garden every day, but I do try and do small bits here and there to keep the weeds in check.
Thanks so much for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed the tour. Until next time, stay safe and healthy!
Happy New Year! While life all around us is still rather unsettled with Covid-19 (the Omicron variant being the latest cause of widespread infection), there is one thing that, thankfully, remains a constant: the garden. January is the perfect time to look back over what we grew in the garden last year. I like to reflect on what did well, what didn’t, and think about what we want to add. I’ll do this in four parts, using a collage of pictures. Shall we get started? 🙂
We had a light dusting of snow last January, which made everything quite pretty. The snowdrops are usually the first to flower. I’ve just checked today on the snowdrops and they have pushed through the soil, so it shouldn’t be long now before they bloom again! Also early to flower are these ‘Winter Sunshine’ hellebores. This plant in particular flowers profusely all winter long, and when the leaves aren’t suffering from black spot, the leaves are a very pretty blue-green (I cut them off if they have black spot, and the plant does fine). I took a picture of our compost heap because it really is amazing stuff, despite its messy look. As for my Rhode Island Red (hybrid) chickens, I can never resist taking pictures of the girls’ fluffy bums!
We had (just) enough snow in February to make a snowman! My daughters and I had a fun time in the snow. I’m so thankful that they have a silly side and that they want to include me in their fun! We also did some baking – dark chocolate is our favorite to bake with. As for the garden, a couple more of our hellebore plants started to flower. The single hellebore flower is Anemone Picotee, while the more showy hellebore is Frilly Isabelle. Funny enough, not all of my hellebores flowered last year. I know that last year I cut their leaves late in the season, so I didn’t do that this year. (I’m not sure that would do it, but worth a shot.) The birch trees were only planted in November of 2020, so I took a lot of pictures of them. You can just barely see the bearded iris stumps at the bottom of the trees, the first plants I added to the birch tree bed. The chickens weren’t sure what to make of the snow, but thankfully, it wasn’t around for long. This was also the time my seeds arrived, which is always a time of excitement. 🙂
A few more pictures from February, as I added a couple new hellebore plants underneath the birch trees: Harvington Double Apricots and Harvington Double Reds, both of which came from Altamont Gardens, in County Carlow. They are both very frilly and showy, making them just perfect. The snowdrops also opened up nicely, which can really be appreciated on a sunny day. I don’t have the name of my pink hellebore, but it is a ‘single’ and very pretty. We did some more baking in February, too!
Moving right along to March, I’ve captured here the single pink anemone that I have. It is quite a bright pink color, while all of the rest of the anemone in my yard – and there are a lot – are purple. The end of February / beginning of March is when I gave my rose shrubs a hard prune. That worked out great this year, as the roses did really well. I am slowly learning that to prune more is better than to prune less with my roses. The Pulmonaria flower, in the middle, blooms along with the daffodils, and is a nice companion plant to them. This variety (whose name I don’t know) also has pretty spotted leaves. I so enjoy having chickens and getting fresh eggs every day! They are such a treat. Not to be outdone by the chickens, Kitty enjoys being in the garden with me. While I do take lots of pictures of her, you can also find her photobombing her share of pictures. And we have another picture of our compost! The compost benefits from being ‘turned’, the more the better. But even if it is just left over the winter (sorry to say that this happens a lot with us!), the bottom of the heap will be good to use by the summer.
March (and creeping into the start of April) brings more color into the garden, with ranunculus, tulips, daffodils, hyacinth, anemone, bergenia (this one is a white variety) and our magnolia tree in bloom. The Aubrieta definitely steals the show in the rose bed at this time of year. That pink ‘pops’ from clear across the yard. My plan was for it to grow over and down the wall. Its plan is to grow into the garden! I’m hoping my plan wins. Last March is also when I started some flowers in seed trays. This was the first year I tried this, and overall it went well. The coleus and delphinium were the biggest successes, or at least my favorite.
I was a little busy with this creative project, too, last March. It’s kind of fun to look back on what kept me busy! It actually took about 6 weeks to make this baby blanket. It was a fun project that I was very pleased with. But I haven’t really worked on any crocheting since, which means it’s about time to start again!
I skipped our biggest project which we started last March: the cleaning up of the veggie/fruit garden and the addition of the pumpkin arch. I will definitely cover that in my next post.
Meanwhile, I hope you are staying healthy, and are having a good start to the new year!
In Peace, Dana
P.S. The feature photo is from last year, we have not had snow this year (yet?).