Birch trees – Part of the plan all along

Hello! You are very welcome to my blog. A wonderful thing took place this week. Something that I’ve wanted and planed for a very long time, finally happened. The truth is, in the past I have struggled with decisions. It could be paralyzing, actually, not being able to decide on one thing over the other. Turns out, it was a sign of a lack of self belief. Once I discovered this, I began to focus – a lot more – on trusting myself. While I have improved, I sometimes still grapple a bit. This had even spilled over to the garden. Picking items to plant, and where to plant them sometimes was a real struggle. I have been wanting to get some trees for a very long time, but could not get everything right in my head to make it happen. But a couple of weeks ago I finally nailed down exactly what I wanted and where I wanted them. And this week, it all came to pass when five Birch trees and one Magnolia tree were planted.

I would be telling an untruth if I said I wasn’t a little stressed about where exactly to put the trees. But we had them placed in exactly the spot I had envisioned for them, and I could not be happier. Although I have not created a formal layout of our garden, I have always had ideas in my head of what I wanted each section to look like. I would probably recommend creating a formal layout, though! As we change up and expand different sections of the garden going forward, I’ll be drawing up my plans. This is especially helpful as my husband needs a clearer picture than my vague descriptions if he is going to help! πŸ™‚

The trees really are something to see. We are so happy with how they look. The staggering of the five trees also creates a small bed underneath, which I already have plans for. The variety of the Magnolia tree is called Heaven Scent. There were rave reviews online, so I’m really looking forward to seeing if the scent is as lovely as they say!

We were so lucky with the weather, too. After a week of ‘unsettled weather’ (that means bucket loads of rain along with gusty winds) we had a beautiful, blue-sky day for the trees to be planted. The next day the ‘unsettled weather’ returned.

And that is the story of how my Birch and Magnolia trees came to be!

Now, if I could just figure out how to work with that great big rock in our front yard…

Take care!

In Peace,
Dana

birch trees view of fields
A view of the five birch trees in our front garden. We worked with a local nursery, Nature Works. We were delighted to have the heavy duty work done so easily!
birch trees close up
A close up view of the Birch trees.
front yard view before trees
A view of the yard before the trees arrived. That is the large rock I referred to. Any suggestions???
birch trees end of day
A little blue sky and sun brighten the landscape up tremendously!
birch trees full front view
A full view of the front garden.
Magnolia tree
The Heaven Scent Magnolia is between the Nootka Cypress and the cherry tree.
Cornus Florida end of Oct
I couldn’t resist this picture of our flowering dogwood tree (Cornus Florida ‘Cherokee Chief’). Isn’t it beautiful?
Erysimum 'Super Bowl' Mauve
Erysimum ‘Super Bowl’ Mauve is a must have in the garden. This plant is just so easy, and brightens up the garden, where ever it is planted.
schizostylis RED end of Oct
I showed you pink last week, but I also have red Schizostylis (Hesperanthus or Kaffir Lily). That is a dogwood shrub with burnt orange/yellow leaves in the background, which will show off its red stems in the winter.
Rainbow in garden end of Oct

We had a pretty rainbow in between the rain, although it was still very windy. It is hard to believe we could have such lovely weather and then such horrible weather, back to back! I hope the weather by you has been good! As always, stay safe and healthy and thanks for visiting! πŸ™‚

October in the Garden

Hi there! Just when you thought it was time to put away those old gardening clothes, I’m here to tell you ‘Not just yet’! October is a great time to do some garden clean up. We don’t clear away everything – because we like to leave some things for the birds, but there’s lots we can do. The main jobs for us are: cut down the Peony stems and remove the Hosta leaves, continue to deadhead the roses, weed the beds, plant garlic and spring flowering bulbs, and mix in compost throughout the beds.

I love this time of year. I love every time of year! But I especially love cleaning up the beds and spreading rich, worm filled compost on them. It brings a sense of order. I have 4 sections of compost with one section ready for use. I absolutely have to empty out that section in order to be able to rotate the others. But I don’t want to fill a bed with compost until I’ve weeded the bed. So it takes a big effort to get everything done! We have been so lucky with the weather. It’s funny to say that, because we have seen quite a bit of rain, but as long as there are enough opportunities for me to get out in the garden when it is dry, all is fine by me!

We were supposed to have some work done in the garden this past year, but that fell through. We’ll possibly get our veggie beds dug up this winter (maybe?) so in the meantime, we’ve planted our garlic in a different section. No matter, I think the garlic will be fine there until it needs to be harvested in July. I didn’t plant garlic last year (because of aforementioned scheduled work!) and I really missed having it. It is so easy to plant, is very low maintenance, and yields super high rewards! You can check out my posts here and here on how to grow it.

I’ve tackled a few of our larger beds, and some smaller ones. My husband helped me plant some new bulbs, too. I love adding something new to the garden! It is the first time I’ve had white allium, so I’m looking forward to seeing those.

All in all it has been a productive month in the garden. The leaves have not all fallen yet, so there are still some very pretty colors to enjoy. How is your garden coming along? I hope it is everything you want it to be!

In Peace,
Dana

full view of the Rainbow garden
Our Rainbow garden has every color of the rainbow throughout the spring and summer

This bed is called our Rainbow garden. Right now it is showing off some light purple with the Erysimum ‘Super Bowl’ Mauve, and some fiery red with the changing leaves of the Cornus Florida (flowering dogwood). All the way on the left there are spring flowering white Bergenia – some of those leaves are also turning red. The big mess in the center is a Philadelphus Mock Orange, which blooms in the summer with white flowers. The yellow blooming potentilla is mostly brown at the moment, sitting between the Begenia and the Mock Orange. This month we planted some white Honeymoon Tulips and some purple giganteum Allium in this bed. The giganteum is new for me, so I’m really looking forward to seeing that! I also cut down the dead artichoke stems. The plant is quite large and was blocking the view of the pretty dogwood tree. The stems from the peony plant were also cut and removed. My husband and son did a great job of edging this bed. It was a lot of work! We worked in a bunch of compost, too, so this bed is all set for winter.

Rainbow garden close up
A closer view of the Rainbow garden. On the right is a young mophead hydrangea and a Deutzia scabra. Aren’t those red leaves of the Cornus Florida pretty?
Lilac Garden
This flower bed is referred to as Cormac’s garden as my son did a lot of digging for me! There are Lilacs, hosta, lilies, and asters.
Asters and a Hazelnut tree
This is a view of Cormac’s garden further down the bed. These are Asters, with a pretty Hazel nut tree to the right, whose leaves have turned yellow.
Compost full view October
This is what our compost heap looks like now. There are four sections, although only one section (section number 3 from the left!) will be used over the next few weeks.
compost area
Ha! I had to post this, despite it being the most unkempt compost heap ever! No food in here, only garden plant materials, grass, leaves, and woody stems. This view is from June.
Rose bed full tidy October

This is my main rose bed after the cleanup! It was filled with poppies and weeds, in equal proportion. If you follow me on Instagram you might have caught some of my stories about the clean up. I might have been procrastinating a little bit – with all of those stories about the clean up! πŸ™‚ It was so worth it though. We worked in more compost here, too.

Englands Rose October
A beautiful David Austin Rose (England’s Rose).
Pink roses at gate with asters
It is always nice to see roses in bloom. I like how pretty the purple asters look behind these pink roses.
Teasing Georgia October
This David Austin Rose (Teasing Georgia) has become one of my unlikely favorites! My go to color is PINK, but this beauty gets me every time. I just love it (especially how the tips of the buds are an orange-redish color!)
Front hedge view October
I just loved this shot for the fall-feel to it. These Bergenias in front have beautiful leaves that go from green to burgundy to red. The Pittosporum Tom Thumb on the right is a beautiful dark burgundy color, with lots of texture! The beech hedge along the fence, which will keep its leaves all winter, is changing color from green to brown. The process is very pretty, although the finished brown leaves are not so pretty.
Garlic bed post planting
You’ll have to take my word for it because you certainly can’t tell from the picture, but this bed is filled with garlic! We planted Organic Vallelado garlic, which is perfect for Irish weather.
Garlic and bed
The only proof! A few cloves of the Organic Vallelado garlic which were leftover from our planting!
Nootka Cypress
Another one of my favorite fall views. This tree, Nootka Cypress, we call my droopy tree. So glad we planted this all those years ago!
purple poppy October
This pretty purple poppy will be one of the last to bloom this year.

I hope you have enjoyed my little tour of the garden, as I chatted about what we did this month!

As always, I hope you are well and staying safe. Thank you for visiting! πŸ™‚

Being on the receiving end of kindness

Hi there! Welcome to my blog, where I try really hard to write *something* at least once a week. That ‘something’ could be about gardening, flower/wreath arranging, crocheting, or just about anything, really. Today is a good example of ‘anything’. πŸ™‚ The thing is, I was so profoundly touched by the simple act of someone reaching out to me, that I had to share.

What exactly am I talking about? I’d say that over the past year it has happened more than a few times, where someone – out of the blue – contacts me and either reconnects, or a new connection is made. I realize that this might not sound very exciting. I find that especially during these times though, that making connections with people is even more appreciated, special, and needed. Some of those connections involved me receiving some truly kind words, which is so uplifting every single time.

So I’m here to say to you, never feel too shy to send that sweet note you’ve been wanting to send. Don’t wait to tell that friend what they mean to you. Give the compliment, even though you are sure they don’t need to hear it (they actually do). And if you haven’t touched base with a friend in a long time, now is a great time to do so. You’ll be glad you did, and so will they.

In Peace,
Dana

stormy sky fall playhouse

This is our ‘playhouse’ (although no longer used as such) which received a fresh coat of paint this summer, along with new roof shingles. It’s looking really well, if I do say so myself! We also have a rain catcher connected with pipes to the gutter (you can see the black pipe on the left, but the rain catcher is green and camouflaged behind the yellow rose plant). The tree with orange leaves on the left is a Mountain Ash, or Rowan tree. Its bright orange berries have already been eaten this season by the birds! The two mauve colored plants in front of the ornamental grass are Asters. I especially like them because they keep their blooms for a number of weeks. And the bright red plant between the Asters is a ‘burning bush’, or Euonymus alatus. This picture was taken mid morning (I can tell from the shadow on the playhouse) with full sun on one side and typical Irish storm clouds on the other!

single daisy in Oct
It is typical in the fall for a few stray daisies to bloom. The Rudbeckia is still providing some lovely color.
helenium in October
Another one of my late season favorites – this helenium is part of the second wave of flowers (which would not have nearly as many flowers as the first wave). Still very pretty!
anemone Mr Fokker October
You can find a Mr. Fokker anemone in my garden at just about any time of year!
Dana Oct 20

And last but not least, a picture of me! It was time for an update on the status of growing out my colored hair. It is a pretty slow process, but we’re getting there. The two tone coloring doesn’t bother me anymore (it did for the first month, though!). It’s been seven months since I stopped coloring my hair. The time was right for me. I think having the brown hair still, while it grows out, is a great way to adjust to the new coloring. πŸ™‚

I do hope you are keeping well and safe. Take care!

A blue hydrangea arrangement

Hello! Welcome to my blog, where recently I have been on a roll of crafting and creating with florals from the garden. Today was one of those gray, dreary, and very wet days. It was relentless. My chickens spent most of the day hanging out underneath their house, which protected them from the rain. This was a bit unusual as they don’t mind getting wet. But I’m glad they decided that staying dry was a better idea today! For me, it was the perfect opportunity to make something with the last batch of hydrangea flowers I dried. Given that I don’t have any floral U pins to make a wreath, I figured I’d try making an arrangement for a change.

For this project, I had an idea in my head of what I was working towards. I picked a pottery bowl instead of a vase because I wanted a large opening and a short base, and also I wanted to hide the green oasis that I’d be using. I filled the bowl with the oasis, and then simply started adding stems. The great thing about dried flowers is that they don’t need water – just stick them in and they are good to go. Some of the flowers have a pretty burgundy coloring which I thought was perfect for fall. I mixed up the blues, greens and burgundy colors. Most of the stems were the perfect length for the height I wanted, which was very handy.

I was surprised by how quickly it all came together! I have it displayed on top of our refrigerator, hiding all of the wires from our WiFi router (well, mostly hiding them). Of course I had fun making it! No better way to spend some time than working with flowers!

It was nice to have a low-key day today. Everyone needs a day to recharge. I hope you were able to do something that was fun, too!

Take care and stay safe.

In Peace,
Dana

Blue hydrangeas on drying racks
This is how I dry most of my flowers.
Oasis in the pottery
Not a pretty picture, but just a look at the reused floral foam / oasis which I used today.
Hydrangea arrangement in progress 2
I started with the tallest stem in the middle and worked around it by turning the container after each flower I added.
hydrangea arrangement in progress
There’s a little more progress with this picture.
Hydrangea arrangement full view
And before I knew it, it was complete!
hydrangea arrangement back view
This is the back (only based on the pattern of the pottery). The back just might be nicer than the front!
hydrangea arrangement side view on fridge
And here is where it now lives – on top of the refrigerator and mostly hiding all of those wires! You can see the flowers of the Fountain grass Pennisetum Advena Rubrum in the corner.
hydrangea arrangement side view on fridge 2
A side view of the arrangement (and some of the wires…).
hydrangea arrangement full view of cabinets
I think it is a nice addition to the kitchen!
hydrangea arrangement with pumpkins
There were even a few flowers left over for a tiny bouquet!
Iris the chicken up close
This is one of my girls on a lovely and sunny day!

As always, thank you for visiting! See you next time! πŸ™‚

A beautiful September

Hello there! Welcome to my Mom in the Garden blog. We have enjoyed some beautiful weather this past month – a true Indian summer. Thankfully, the garden also enjoyed the warmth and sunshine. I think it is still looking pretty good! The one main job I had for September was to trim my boxwood hedges, which was done on one gorgeous, sunny Saturday. Otherwise, it was just typical garden maintenance: weeding, deadheading roses, weeding, edging of beds, weeding, planning for next season, and some more weeding! πŸ™‚

I did get the chance to make another flower arrangement, too. That was quick, easy and fun! I’m scheming on how to somehow manage to create a cutting garden in the yard. I’m not quite sure how to manage that, but I’m thinking about it!

We have two apple trees in our garden: one is called an ‘eating apple’ tree and one is called a ‘cooking apple’ tree. (I would not suggest eating the cooking apples straight off of the tree, as they really need *something* along with it – like sugar!) The eating apple tree has lovely red, crisp and juicy apples. We were very lucky this year, to have had no major storms in September. Usually, when a fall storm passes through, all of the apples are knocked off of the tree at once and then we have to figure out what to do with them all! So far this season, only the eating apples have fallen, and they fell over the course of the entire month. I’m wondering when my kids are going to get sick of apple pie, but no sign of that yet!

Ten years into first creating our garden and parts of it are in need of an overhaul. I’m not yet sure which section we’ll work on this winter, but my head is busy making plans. I just need to get those plans on paper to get them to work!

The weather has been slowly getting a bit colder and we’ve just started to see some frosty mornings. These can be quite pretty when it is sunny! I am thankful that September has been as nice as it has. It is just good for the soul. It also makes for quite a lovely birthday month! πŸ™‚

Take care and stay safe!

In Peace,
Dana

Ancient Mariner Cluster September
A cluster of The Ancient Mariner roses from David Austin. I love how they look like peony flowers.
Ancient Mariner multi layers September
Here is another look at The Ancient Mariner roses from David Austin. Look how many layers there are on the flower!
Eustacia Vye background roses September
This is a new plant this year – the Eustacia Vye from David Austin. I love the delicate coloring – and the scent is lovely, too. There is a purple Mr. Fokker Anemone to the left, and the main rose bed behind and to the right of it.
Eustacia Vye single sunshine September
Another David Austin rose – because they’re my favorite!
Princess Anne cluster sunshine September
This bright vibrant pink rose is called Princess Anne from David Austin. The color is fabulous!
Princess Anne Cluster 2 September
Princess Anne cluster, because they tend to bloom in clusters.
Ancient Mariner Aubrieta dead poppy September
I liked this picture because you can see the Aubrieta to the right which has found a second life at the end of the summer. The Ancient Mariner rose is leaning on a dead poppy head.
New Rose bed full view September
Here’s a look at the main rose bed after I trimmed the boxwood plants. These are still filling in, so I only cut the tops. The bed is still filled with dead poppies. I’ll be clearing them out and giving it a well needed weeding in the next couple of weeks.
boxwood hedges trim
This bed was our first rose bed, but is now a secondary rose bed. The boxwood is well established, and I’ve had fun shaping it the past few years. I have to say that after trimming the 3 beds, my arms were pretty darn tired! (This pic was taken after I was finished, but too tired to clear away the cuttings! They were eventually cleared!)
Red eating apple tree August 2020
Apples anyone? The tree is now nearly bare!
Here are some of our pretty red apples and a few crochet pumpkins that I made!
Arthur Turner apple tree September
It has been a good year for apples!
Cooked apple pie
I like the expression “As American as apple pie!”.
apple sitting on branch
I love this picture because somehow the apple ended up here on its own!
Red and Green apple September
While the red apple isn’t small, the yellow/green one is HUGE!
Center garden front view edged
My son did a fantastic job of edging this bed.
Center garden from front September
And here’s the other side – but I have some work to do in the center. It is getting a bit of out of hand!
globe artichokes September garden
These globe artichokes were still blooming throughout September.
Sunflower arrangement September
A quick and easy summer flower arrangement.
Marigolds dahlia hen house September
Fall vibes in front of the chicken house
three chickens in frost September
a frosty run!
Fall view of full garden September
So beautiful in the fall!
Bales of Straw September
Bales of straw make for fun shapes!
Mom in the Garden and Hubby
Happy Birthday to me! A little get away with my husband.

Thank you for stopping by! I hope your September was as beautiful as ours was. See you next time! πŸ™‚

A quirky, pointy hydrangea paniculata wreath

Hi there! I love crafty projects – you might have guessed that by now if you’ve followed me for a bit. πŸ™‚ Wreaths are my favorite, hands down. They don’t take a lot of time to make, and they are simply fun to create. Whether for yourself or for others, they make great gifts, too! This week I made a wreath with the dried flowers from my hydrangea ‘Vanille Fraise’ Paniculata Renhy. The hydrangea starts out white early in the season. As it matures it changes first to light pink and then continues darkening throughout the season.

I started taking cuttings from the plant in early August, as I wanted smaller flowers to work with. It was nice having those smaller blooms, but their stems were not very strong, which made it a tiny bit tricky when pinning them to the wreath frame. The more mature, bigger blooms had nice strong stems and were easy to work with. The key to getting really nice dried flowers is to not cut them too soon (a lesson that is very hard for me to accept)!

The wreath frames are simply made of straw, and I always reuse mine. Dried flowers need to be replaced over time, so after they fade, I take the wreaths apart and reuse the wreath frame as well as the floral ‘U’ pins (I use the ‘u’ pins to attach the flowers to the wreath). As always, I started with all of my flowers on the table, and one by one I placed them on the wreath. I placed two large flowers across from each other, and then added a third (smaller flower) in the center, working my way around the wreath with that pattern. I didn’t have a plan, or an idea of how I wanted it to look. Only once I began, and I could see what I had to work with and how they were falling into place, did I have an idea of what I wanted to achieve. When I work this way, the wreaths tend to come out a little bit quirky and definitely bespoke! That fits my personality perfectly. πŸ™‚

We have been enjoying some beautiful weather, which I find very helpful for my creativity. I hope the weather has been nice where you live, too! Take care and stay safe.

In Peace,
Dana

Hydrangea Vanille Fraise Paniculata Renhy full plant white
In the beginning of the season, the flowers are mostly white.
Hydrangea Vanille Fraise Paniculata Renhy full plant pink
The flowers change from white, to light pink, and then to further shades of dark pink.
Hydrangea Vanille Fraise Paniculata Renhy full plant pink in sun
What’s not to love about those pretty cream and pink flowers?
Hydrangea Vanille Fraise Paniculata Renhy close up
A creamy white flower contrasted with shades of pink.
Hydrangea Vanille Fraise Paniculata Renhy Wreath set up
This is how it starts: A big mess on the table!
Hydrangea Vanille Fraise Paniculata Renhy first four stems
These are the first 4 flowers which I attached – starting with two at a time.
Hydrangea Vanille Fraise Paniculata Renhy close up of floral u pins
Here is a close up of how I attach the stems with the floral ‘U’ pins.
Hydrangea Vanille Fraise Paniculata Renhy wreath in progress
Half way there!
Hydrangea Vanille Fraise Paniculata Renhy wreath in progress
Close up – wondering if the lumps and bumps and pointy bits are all going to fit into place (and look nice)…
Hydrangea Vanille Fraise Paniculata Renhy full wreath outside
Ta-da! Finished!
Hydrangea Vanille Fraise Paniculata Renhy close up outside
This pointy greenish section on the outside, and dark pink on the inside were both an ‘add on’. I had to cut a few more stems while making the wreath as I was going to be short of flowers. So they are fresh and not dried. But given how late it is in the season, I think they will dry perfectly ok (fingers crossed!).
Hydrangea Vanille Fraise Paniculata Renhy wreath outside Center
The center is anything but circular! I’m getting used to wreaths like that.
Hydrangea Vanille Fraise Paniculata Renhy on the playhouse
Of course I had to hang it on our playhouse door! It’s a right of passage for my wreaths.
Hydrangea Vanille Fraise Paniculata Renhy Playhouse
What a beautiful morning it was to take pictures!
Playhouse Sept 20 hydrangea paniculata vanille fraise
Another quirky and fun wreath completed!

I really enjoyed making that wreath. I hope you enjoyed seeing the process. Thank you for visiting! πŸ™‚

Creative fun designing a Hydrangea Wreath

Hi there! You are very welcome to my blog. September is a great month, don’t you think? You can feel a distinct change in the air with the start of fall, or as oft happens to the kids on their return to school – it turns into a beautiful Indian summer! September is also when I like to get creative with dried mophead hydrangeas.

Mophead Hydrangeas dry really well – when you cut them at the right time. Even after all of these years, I’m still learning! The flowers/stems have to be sturdy. If they are young they will wither and the flowers don’t look as nice. I hang mine upside down, because that is easiest for me. I’ve had flowers dry while in a vase, too.

I used a 17 inch straw wreath frame, and this time I used floral wire as well as floral ‘u’ pins to attach the flowers. It is simply a case of covering the frame with flowers, one at a time. Surprisingly, the flowers are forgiving and you can squish them together, or squish one in here or there to fill in gaps. This frame is bigger than I usually use, and the shape ‘got away from me’! I have three rows of flowers going around the frame, instead of my usual two. It was a funny shape when I finished the first time! I realized after I’d hung it on the door that it wasn’t quite right. I just squished in some more flowers here and there and it is more or less a decent shape now. I can get away with that because: 1. It is just for me, and 2. that’s what you get with hand made!

These wreaths really aren’t difficult to make, as long as you have the materials. I have to say that some of the flowers I used were somewhat shrivelled, but when they are all mixed in I think they look O.K.. πŸ™‚

I hope that your September is going well. Any creative plans?

In Peace,
Dana

basket of hydrangea
It all starts with cuttings from the garden.
basket of hydrangea full garden view
The colors are pink, purple and a bluey-green, but they mostly dried the bluey-green!
hydrangea collage
They sure were beautiful when I cut them!
Hydrangea Wreath beginning
It all starts with everything on the table! I had the dried flowers in laundry baskets. Like I said, they are pretty forgiving πŸ™‚

In the picture above you can see the floral wire I used for half of the wreath. It is in the middle of the wreath. I wrapped it around the stem and then around the wreath, and then again around the flower (that part wasn’t fun). It then became more difficult than helpful to me, so I switched to the floral U pins. I have some pictures in this blog post of the floral U pins as they are used.

Hydrangea Wreath wire closeup
A peek at the wire.
Hydrangea Wreath a bit done
It was after this point that I switched to using the floral U pins.
Hydrangea Wreath half finished
Here you can see the start of my funny shaped wreath…
Dried FRESH lavender wreath September 2020
This is the lavender wreath I made this summer from fresh lavender (not dried). It is now well dried, but I think it looks nice. This is the kitchen door I always have a wreath hanging from! I had to take this wreath down to hang my hydrangea wreath.
Hydrange wreath vs 1
OK, so I hung it on the door and realized it needed some more shaping! πŸ™‚
Side view inside hydrangea wreath
Closeup view
Hydrangea Wreath full view
Ta-da!
Hydrangea Wreath side view outside
Another side view
Hydrangea Wreath + my daughter
My daughter was a good sport about holding it for photos and helping to take photos.
Dana + Hydrangea wreath
She looks a lot like me, doesn’t she?

Thank you for stopping by. Take care and stay safe!

Creative Floral Fun

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In Peace,
Dana

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

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

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

What’s happening in the garden in August?

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

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

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

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

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

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

In Peace,
Dana

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

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

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

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

Take care!

A summer flower arrangement

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks so much!

In Peace,
Dana

Rose arrangement

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

Rose arrangement collage 2

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

Rose arrangement collage

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

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

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