An unsettled start to August

Hello and welcome to my blog! Here in Ireland, we have enjoyed some glorious weather this summer. Near the end of July we had two full weeks of sun, heat and stillness with no rain. It was amazing (and unusual)! The garden is now appreciating the long drinks of water it has been getting the past week. There is a distinct change in the air, though, that fall is not too far off. The garden is in a constant state of flux, and it is fun to note it with a simple meme of ‘Six on Saturday’, hosted by The Propagator. Let’s see what’s in store this week!

Blueberries in hand in July
Bowl of Blueberries 5 August

1 – Blueberries! I planted blueberry shrubs in my garden quite a few years ago. From the beginning, it seemed they didn’t really enjoy our garden. They always seemed to drop their berries before turning blue! But it turns out, the birds had more to do with this than I realized. I didn’t mind too much, since to me the plants were spectacular in the fall with their leaves turning from green to crimson. This year, though, with the garden revamp, we decided to spend some extra time to see if we could get some blueberries for us to eat! We first spread out the older shrubs as they were getting quite cramped. Also this season, we added Sulphate of Iron to the soil. I believe it was Laura, from Garden Answer, who suggested it in one of her videos. The third thing we did differently this year was we added netting. Although it wasn’t the pretties of setups, it did the job, and the blueberries stayed on the shrubs until they were blue! I picked two small bowls of blueberries, and a few times I just went out and ate a handful. They were delicious! We will hopefully figure out a ‘prettier’ way to cover them next year.

Garlic in June
Garlic harvest July 11

2 – Garlic! Last October we planted our over wintering organic garlic Vallelado. It is very easy to plant garlic! They should be planted between the end of October and the end of November, ideally. Plant at a depth of three to five inches (7.6 cm) and six inches apart. I harvested mine the beginning of July and they have been drying out in our shed since. The only other thing I did was weed the bed a few times. We also had a relatively dry spring, so I kept it watered. So easy, and so tasty!

lavender and shaved plant
The lavender plant looks like it got a shave!
Dana with lavender harvest
There’s some lavender left on the plant beside me.

3 – Lavender! I’m a bit late on writing about this one, too. Lavender is usually harvested in July. I managed to still cut some in August this year as our growing season was a bit off due to a strange spring. I love working with lavender! I made a few fresh lavender wreaths this year (as opposed to dried lavender wreaths). I didn’t make any Lavender Wands this year, though. (You can check out how I make them here.) There just wasn’t any time. If you do dry lavender, it is worth noting that the flowers keep their scent for years!

Double lilies in rose bed
Lotus Dream Mix
double lilies on deck
Magic Star lilies in a container on my deck.
Double lilies
Double Surprise lilies blooming before the plain white variety of lilies bloom.

4 – Double lilies! New to my garden this season are two groups of lilies: I purchased a Lotus Dream Mix of double oriental lilies and planted them in my rose bed. I also added a Magic Star lily to my container garden, on my back deck. These join my ‘double surprise’ lilies, which live next to my largest lavender plant off of the back deck and are neighbors to a plain white variety of lilies that are always last to bloom later in August. I love scented flowers, and these beauties have a wonderful scent that can be noted without having to bend down to specifically smell them!

Perovskia Russian Sage
Perovskia atriplicifolia Little Spire or Russian Sage

5 – Perovskia atriplicifolia Little Spire! I have to confess that when my friend Susan exclaimed how fabulous my Perovskia looked, it took me a minute to realize she meant the Russian Sage. I’m just not very good at proper names. Hopefully now I’ll remember this one! This plant was purchased as a small plant in 2017 and seems to be quite happy. If you like to dry flowers, this one keeps its purple stems for quite a long time before fading.

Pumpkin arch update 7 Aug 2021 with rainbow
The rainbow is quite faint, but can bee seen right over the pumpkin arch in the above picture!
Back of pumpkin arch 7 Aug 2021
A view of the back of the arch.
Pumpkin arch update 7 Aug with sun
The blue sky backdrop is harder to come by these days. I captured this in a very short window between heavy rain showers! We’ll see if the vines climb any higher.

6 – Pumpkin Arch update! The arch has two different types of squash growing on it: Jack O’Lantern pumpkins and Red Kuri squash. The pumpkins are growing quite large. I usually grow baking pumpkins which are medium to small size. These guys are getting huge. I’m not exactly worried, but I think it would be better if they didn’t get so big! The Red Kuri squash start out yellow and then change from orange to a reddish color. They are medium sized. Some have started to change color already. You can’t really see any of that just yet since all of the leaves are still in the way! I will have to try and get some close up pictures so you can see the squash and pumpkins. I’m wondering if it won’t grow any higher, either. It doesn’t seem to have grown ‘up’ this past week, although the outside vines of some of the plants are still growing out. We’ll see. It certainly is getting plenty of rain this week.

That’s my garden update! I hope you are enjoying your summer, no matter what the weather is like. 🙂

In Peace,
Dana

A floral arrangement for ‘Six on Saturday’

Hello, and welcome to my blog! The garden is really hitting its stride now, with just a ton of growth everywhere. It is fun to watch the changes happen, seemingly overnight! If you follow me on Instagram (you do, right?), you’ll know that I capture a lot of the garden in my stories. I like to take a walk around the garden first thing in the morning – well, right after I feed the chickens. It is a peaceful time to listen to the birds and see what’s happened in the garden, and of course to note what needs to be done. Before I get into more details about what is happening in the garden, let me just say that I’ll be joining The Propagator again this week for his ‘Six on Saturday’ meme. If you click the link, you can find lots of other bloggers joining in, too! O.K., so here are my six:

Arch update 9 July 2021
Pumpkin arch

1 My pumpkin arch. This is probably my favorite item in the garden. My husband ‘made’ it for me this year (the arches were bought, but he added fencing material over it and staked it all, in order for it to be able to support pumpkins). A lot of work went into it! The pumpkin plants on either side of it are flowering and there are a bunch of fruit, too. I have been weaving the ends through the fencing, working it up towards the top. Just watching its progress is fun! This entire area had a complete makeover this year. Here is what it looked like in July 2018:

Pumpkin beds July 2018
Pumpkin patch July 2018

The pear tree on the right is the same that is on the left in the first picture. You’ll notice that I grew pumpkins and sunflowers then, too! I think the garden looks much nicer now 🙂

Strawberry Hill roses with Iris in background

2 Strawberry Hill rose, a David Austin variety. I have it on my front gate, and to me the color is just so delicate and pretty. Thankfully, blackspot hasn’t taken over this one (yet?). The fuzzy purple in the background is my late blooming iris.

Strawberry Hill rose single flower
Strawberry Hill, a David Austin Rose

3 Blueberries! We love eating blueberries, and I have to say that it is lovely growing them, too. Many years the birds enjoy them before us, but we’ll usually get some, too. I moved these this year as part of the big garden makeover, and they seem to be happier. Fingers crossed we get to eat the blueberries before the birds get them!

Blueberry shrub July 2021
Blueberries upclose July

4 Lavender poppies. This variety came to my garden through a friend. She shared a few with me as she thought I’d like them, which of course I do! That was a bunch of years ago. These current ones, and most of them in my yard now, were not planted, but came via my compost. I always throw the spent poppies into my compost. If there was any doubt as to how the poppies end up all over my yard, I have two brand new beds this year, that I didn’t have any poppies in last year (so no chance for self seeding). But both beds were given a ton of my compost. And now I have a ton of poppies! Good thing I like them!

Lavender Poppies in Birch tree bed

5 Coral poppies. This variety was given to me about 5 years ago. At one point I thought they wouldn’t return, as I had so few one year! But I had nothing to fear. While the lavender ones are predominant this year, the coral were predominant last year. It’s only fair to take turns, right? 🙂

coral poppies in rose bed

6 Floral arrangement. Today I was supposed to weed (haha! every day could be a weeding day!) but I found myself walking around the garden gathering flowers to make an arrangement. It is fun when the mood strikes, to create something from the garden!

Flower arrangement with lady's mantle

I started with poppy seeds, I think that they are so neat! It’s nice to have that unusual shape. Then I added lady’s mantle. I don’t usually like lady’s mantle, and I often pull it out of the garden (it grows and spreads like a weed). But I really liked the color here, and the texture.

Flower arrangement close up peony

I was surprised to see that I still have a few Sarah Bernhardt peony left in the garden. The smaller blooms were perfect. I also used the late blooming iris. Here I’ve used 3 that aren’t open yet.

flower arrangement cream roses and peony

And finally, I used Lichfield angel roses, another David Austin variety. They are a lovely cream color, although they have a peach tint before they bloom. Some of the flowers were quite heavy. The one in the picture above is actually resting on the peony bloom.

Flower arrangement side view

This is more of a side view. The vase is an antique, one of a set, that my mother gave to me a number of years ago. It is one of my favorite gifts from her and I love to fill it with flowers.

And that is my Six for Saturday! I hope you’ve enjoyed them. I know I am enjoying being a part of this meme. See you next week!

In Peace,
Dana