A sunny day in September

Hi there, and welcome to my blog! There simply is truth to the saying that only when the light fades do you truly appreciate it. Living in a country where gray skies and clouds are not unusual certainly makes me more appreciative of when the sky is blue and the sun is shining bright. This weekend we had an incredibly beautiful day on Saturday. It was the perfect day to enjoy some time in the garden. It was also a great opportunity to take some pictures. I captured the garlic that I harvested back in July, the apples that keep falling from our tree, and some flowers (of course)!

It’s September, which means that it is getting darker much earlier in the evening. There’s a distinct change in the air, despite the weather still being somewhat mild during the day. The pumpkins are turning orange, and we can’t keep up with the apples that are falling from our two apple trees. The red apples are ‘eating’ apples and the green ones are ‘cooking’ apples. While many of the sweet pea plants are going to seed, there are still quite a few that continue to produce flowers. The benefit of planting them so late is that they flower late.

I have dahlia plants in the yard that still haven’t flowered yet. They are *so* close! I think they are more of the Cafe au Lait dahlias. I’ll keep you posted. 😉

Sunflowers are growing in a few different places in my yard, and I have to say that our season is not yet over. Again, because some of the plants were planted out later, they are extending the season even further. I will aim to plant out late again next year, too, as it is nice to still have sunflowers blooming into the fall. The birds are truly doing an amazing job of eating so many seeds! I have put some flowers aside to keep some seeds for me.

The garlic was harvested in July and left to cure in our playhouse. This past weekend I just cut the tops off and tidied them up a bit to make them easier to store and use. I had them in my shed last year and that did not work well (by the end of the season, many of them went moldy). But this year I planted half as much, which is more in line with what I’ll need, plus a little to give away. I’m also hopeful that they’ll store better – and they are definitely not going in the shed.

I have just two Red Kuri squash that are on the vine, slowly changing from yellow to burnt orange. I also have three pumpkins that are still growing on their vine. I’ve cut eight pumpkins off the vine and placed them in the sun at the front of the arch. My ‘mystery’ squash, that turned out to be Marina di Chioggia, have produced another squash, bringing the total to four. I’m happy with that.

So much to take in! And so lovely to capture some of it on such a beautiful day.

I hope you enjoy the tour!

Sunny view of arch with apples & garlic

This picture makes me smile! It was such an inviting day, outside! The sun is almost a bit too bright for pictures. The left side of the arch has sweet pea, the right side has the Marina di Chioggia squash and then sunflowers to the right of that. There are four pumpkins on each side of the arch. I’ve been cutting a little sweet pea posy every few days for the past few weeks! I did plant way too many plants for the amount of space, which is why it is now looking somewhat unruly.

collage of sweet pea posies

Speaking of sweet pea, here are the most recent posies. They do smell so wonderful! I think this year, my favorite color is the white with lilac around the edge. I also like the bright colors, that are just blooming now. Most of the season I had very dark burgundy colors. That is pretty, but I prefer the brighter color sweet pea.

collage of dahlia flowers, red apples and garlic

Just a fun way to capture the ‘fruits from the garden’! I’m just realizing now that the two bowls were both wedding gifts. And they are very special to me!

Sunflower view of arch

Here you can see the other four pumpkins and a great view of these sunflower plants. These plants are *covered* in sunflowers!

apple pie and sun flowers

Which is why I keep bringing some inside. And here is the first apple pie of the season. It was yummy. 🙂

Thank you so much for stopping by! Now which sweet pea colors are your favorite?

In Peace,
Dana

Good Enough

My veggie / fruit section of the garden

I haven’t written about the garden in a while. I’ve been beating myself up that it isn’t good enough to photograph, or talk about, or inspire.  Not.Good.Enough.  What??? Over the past eight years I’ve created a garden that brings me right to my happy place. How can that not be good enough? Admittedly, five years ago, this same patch of garden looked somewhat different, and perhaps more inspiring:

Purple Brussels sprouts, pumpkins, and squash in my 2013 garden

In fact, when I visited that blog post recently, the garden blew me away! Seriously, have a look. That did NOT help my feelings of inadequacy for my current garden! But so much has changed since then. The biggest change was that four years ago I went back to work after being a stay-at-home mom for 16 years. 16 years! Wow! I was lucky. I loved it. And now I am glad to be back working (outside the home) too… except that means a lot less time for taking care of the garden. It means that my view of what is Good Enough has had to change. And today I am stopping myself from saying it isn’t good enough, to saying it most certainly is Good Enough!

a cluster of our pears – almost ready for picking

our pear tree with a few handfuls of pears

I will focus on the good stuff: Our fruit trees.  We have one pear tree, one “eating apple” tree, and one “cooking apple” tree (Arthur Turner), and they are all filled with fruit this year! I must give credit to my husband for tidying up the base of our trees.  Ideally, the clearing should match the width of the branches, so every year as the tree grows, the clearing should be widened. It had been a few years since this task was done, so it was a big job this year. After all of his digging, he then worked a lot of our compost into the soil.  I think the trees look neat and tidy, and rather pretty if I do say so myself! (although perhaps slightly tilted?!)

funny, my husband doesn’t think this tree is leaning ever so slightly …

Fabulous combination of pretty and delicious!

I don’t have a variety name for the eating apples. They are sweet, and delicious tasting.  The cooking apple variety, Arthur Turner, are not sweet, and definitely need sugar when used. They are usually a greenish yellow color, but this year they have a pink hue.

do you also see the slight tilt on this tree too???

a pink hue to our Arthur Turner cooking apples

This year I planted pumpkins, squash, and sunflowers. As surprising as it is to hear, Ireland experienced a drought this summer. So some things in the garden didn’t quite thrive.  My sunflowers bloomed very early and died very quickly!  I cut off a few large heads, and have dried them to use the seeds next year. The rest are still in the garden for the birds to enjoy.

My daughter was helping me take pictures of my lavender wreath (which is in her hand) when I took this picture of the sunflowers. Kitty also enjoys being in pictures, just not posing for them… Off to the right you can see my leaning gladiolus The Dark Knights. I sense a leaning theme.

A bird eating the seeds from a sunflower

It is worth leaving the dying flowers for the birds to feast on the seeds, even though the plants look unsightly!  I love seeing the birds in the garden. It is worth having the dead plants there just for them 🙂

a common Blue tit sitting on one of my sunflowers

this is what the flower head looks like when you leave it in the garden for the birds to eat – lots of seeds missing!

The pumpkins also had an unusual growing situation this summer. Similar to the sunflowers, they ripened much quicker than usual.  Honestly, it is usually around Thanksgiving time (November) when mine finally turn orange!  This year they turned orange in August…

Four pumpkins completely orange in August…

They have provided a lovely splash of color in the garden, along with the summer squash.  (I stopped picking the squash many weeks ago, but they still provide beautiful color!)

nearly ripe pumpkin … in August!

There are two more pumpkins in the garden, but they have chosen to grow and ripen at the normal rate for us albeit in an unusual place:

this pumpkin is growing in ornamental grass (this was not planted by me!) and will hopefully turn orange right around Halloween 🙂

I tend to be rather hard on myself. When I stop and pay attention, I do of course appreciate that I have worked quite hard to create my happy space of a garden.  “Good Enough” was never an expression I would have accepted years ago.  But now I know that it is much more important to appreciate what is in front of me.  I might need reminders of that every now and again, but I do now accept that Good Enough is Perfect!

I hope you have enjoyed the views in my Good Enough garden!

In peace,
Dana

There were only a few gladiolus stems this year (due to the drought) but they were still pretty!