An escape to the Garden

Iris Benton Storrington petals out

Iris Benton Storrington looking ready for a flower show with the petals out

Hi there! I don’t know about you, but the weeks now seem to be flying by, compared to when ‘Work From Home’ first began three months ago! Today’s post is a bit of a walk around the garden and seeing what is blooming. There was even some weeding done, so the boxwood (box) plant lining three of my beds is looking much more neat and tidy. We’ve had very little rain of substance for the past three months, so the garden is very dry. We’ll see how things hold up. The roses are looking amazing, but I think my next post will be dedicated just to them, so only a couple pictures of them today.

I hope you have been able to get out and enjoy some fresh air. That’s my main goal when I’m out. Of course I like getting things done in the garden, but I’m starting to spend more time just enjoying being in the garden – and not necessarily ‘working’ – which is a big change for this “type A” personality!

Enjoy the tour! Let me know which are your favorite flowers 🙂

In Peace,
Dana

Iris Benton Storrington

The colors of this Iris Benton Storrington are a very pretty pinkish purple

O.K., so one of the super stars in the garden at the moment is Iris Benton Storrington. This is one flower that has done well in every corner of my yard, which is quite a feat! It likes full sun, or partial shade. As a bearded Iris, the rhizomes should be planted just above the soil, so they can have exposure to the sun. The tough thing it has to contend with in my yard is wind. It really takes a battering – which accounts for some of the weird shapes!

Iris Benton Storrington in the rainbow garden

Iris Benton Storrington in my rainbow garden

This Iris is doing really well in my yard. Too well, infact! I’ve had to divide it a few times, which is why it is now all over the place. It works well in some of the places I’ve planted it, but I have to confess that in one particular bed it kind of clashes with its neighbor!

Iris and Lupin

Iris and lupin

If only those lupin were some shade of purple, they could work together. But I really don’t like the pink and purple here. I’m planning on making a dedicated bed just for the Iris. I just have to figure out where to put it!

Iris Benton Storrington side garden

Iris Benton Storrington in our side garden

Another star in the garden, the Allium have looked very pretty this season. It is nice to have different shapes in the beds and these globe shaped blooms are perfectly different!

allium and David Austin roses

Purple Sensation allium among my David Austin roses

allium and Siberian Iris

allium and Siberian Iris

The above allium (with the Siberian Iris) are another variety {sorry, I don’t have the name of this one} with more tiny blooms packed in tight to make up the globe shape. They are the last of my allium to bloom. The Siberian iris behind them had a very short life this year, due to lack of rainfall.

Allium + Siberian Iris + perennial geranium

Allium, Siberian Iris and perennial pink geranium in the background

 

allium closeup

Allium made up of tightly packed teeny tiny flowers!

 

Siberian Iris group

The Siberian Iris bloomed quickly and unfortunately also withered quickly

 

Siberian Iris stack with bee

The bees also love Siberian Iris (can you spot it in the middle?)

Last year I chopped/trimmed this Viburnum Opulus Roseum. I was trying to give it some shape – I’m just not sure which shape I was going for! Thankfully, this is a forgiving shrub and should fill in again.  It is low maintenance, which is perfect for me  🙂

Viburnum opulus Roseum full view

Viburnum Opulus Roseum

The flowers on this shrub are so pretty up close! They remind me of hydrangea blooms. It really is a lovely shrub.

Viburnum opulus Roseum closeup

Viburnum Opulus Roseum

Viburnum opulus Roseum half view

Viburnum Opulus Roseum with lots of white flowers

I’m just showing off all of my hard work in the next two pictures because I spent a lot of time weeding the boxwood hedging on these two beds. Shameless…

Boxwood check

Flower bed lined with Boxwood

 

Rose bed box hedge

Rose bed lined with boxwood hedge

The Rose bed is filled with scented David Austin roses. My favorite color is pink, and I’ve filled the bed with shades from pale pink through to deep pink. On the far end I also have a peachy-pinky color, which doesn’t match perfectly. But they are incredibly pretty with a delectable scent with just enough pink for me to keep them right where they are.

Rose bed full view

A full view of the Rose bed with deep pink Princess Anne roses in the front

Boscobel - David Austin Rose

Boscobel – David Austin Rose (a salmon colored, sweet scented rose)

 

Pink David Austin roses in black vase

This is my favorite vase for my heavy headed David Austin roses

Strawberry Hill climber David Austin rose

We have this sweet scented Strawberry Hill climber David Austin rose at our front gate

I could go on forever, because I really take too many pictures in the garden! But I will leave you with this last picture of two bees enjoying this foxglove. Do take care!

Foxglove + 2 bees

Foxglove and 2 bees

Probably my most favorite time of the year!

Peony bouquet on table July 9

Peony ‘Sarah Bernhardt’ bouquet July 9th

Well hello, and welcome to my blog! There is something about summer that creates a feeling of being carefree, don’t you think? The bright evenings and, when we get it, the warmth of the sun energizes me. The all too busy family schedule takes a bit of a breather, which is a welcome reprieve. Best of all, we get to spend more time with family and friends. The garden, on the other hand, is full steam ahead!

Peony bouquet up close Sarah Bernhardt July 9

Peony ‘Sarah Bernhardt’ bouquet July 9th

The peony season was fantastic this year! The very last of my peony (two ‘Sarah Bernhardt’ plants) finished blooming just this week.  Oh they were so pretty!

Peony Sarah Bernhardt July 9

Peony ‘Sarah Bernhardt’ July 9th

Also coming to an end this week were the poppies growing in my rose bed. There were hundreds of flowers! I was surprised how strong some of their roots were, which I discovered as I pulled them up. One ‘two handed pull’ had me landing on my backside when it finally came free! 🙂 They were pretty, but the downside was that they didn’t allow any air circulation around my roses, which I think was quite unfortunate.  I will have to thin them out next year, and not allow them to take over the bed!

Purple Poppies Full Bloom Rose Bed

Purple Poppies in full bloom in the Rose bed – Where are the roses?

Purple Poppies ONE bloom Rose Bed

Just a couple of blooms of the Purple Poppies left in the Rose bed

Poppy heads

the Poppies I pulled from the Rose bed

Rose bed

A look at the Rose bed just after pulling the purple Poppies (and after a bit of weeding)

I did manage to get some pictures of some very pretty roses (ones that weren’t hidden by poppies!).  Over the past few years I have planted quite a few David Austin roses. All of them are scented, some more so than others. Sometimes their blooms can be so heavy that they face down, and therefore are harder to photograph (if you see me crouching on the ground, this is why!). But other than that, I think they are absolutely wonderful!

Light Pink David Austin 'Olivia Rose Austin' Rose July 13

David Austin ‘Olivia Rose Austin’ Rose

David Austin 'Teasing Georgia' Rose July

David Austin ‘Teasing Georgia’ Rose

Boscobel David Austin Rose

David Austin ‘Boscobel’ Rose

The hosta are in bloom with tall lilac colored flowers. Hosta would prefer shade, which I have very little of in my yard. For now, they seem to be doing OK.

Hydrangea, Lilies, Hosta

Hydrangea, Lilies, and Hosta in bloom

Lilies + Hosta

Lilies in a pot, Hosta flowers in bloom

The area in the background of the above picture was originally all brambles and weeds. Over the past two years, after clearing the area, I’ve added some really hardy perennials to see if they will overtake the weeds. This year looks pretty good! The perennial geranium, bergenia, and Lychnis coronaria (rose campion) came back and are doing well!

Lychnis coronaria rose campion

Lychnis coronaria (also known as rose campion) is a real eye-catcher in the garden!

There are different varieties of hydrangea in the garden, and the Incrediball is just now coming into ‘color’ bloom (creamy white), which you can see in the picture below. The pink lupin (or lupine) to the right of it is just about finished, and there is some Lychnis coronaria (also known as rose campion) in there, too. The hydrangea paniculata is still forming its blooms, with no color just yet, while the lavender is perfect for harvesting (to dry) right now!

Front Gate Garden July 18

Our Front Gate Garden July 18

Front Gate garden hydrangea lavender lupin

The same Front Gate Garden the week before: with pink lupin (or lupine), hydrangea ‘incrediball’ and lavender

Early morning view of lavender

Lavandula angustifolia – Lavender July 18th and ready for harvesting (for drying)

Phew! There is so much going on in the garden! And the lavender is just calling me to do something creative with it. 🙂

I hope you are enjoying your summer, too!

In peace,
Dana

Peony 'Sarah Bernhardt' fully open July 9

Peony ‘Sarah Bernhardt’ fully open July 9

The story of a special floral frog

floral frog front view

front view of the floral frog

Hi there! I hope the weather is pleasant where you are, and that you are able to do what you enjoy. For me, I enjoy flower arranging, and I have planted several rose shrubs just to be able to bring flowers into the house to enjoy their beauty and fragrance. David Austin roses are so showy and can be incredibly fragrant, so I have several. The only problem I have found with these roses is that their stems are quite short! Putting them in a vase can be problematic, that is, unless you have a floral frog. 🙂

side view of floral frog

side view of floral frog

“A what?” you ask. A floral frog! It is a heavy metal object that is filled with what appears to be short nails, which are placed closely to one another. They are so handy to have!

David Austin 'Boscobel' roses

David Austin ‘Boscobel’ roses

Now, if you happen to have one of these in your carry-on bag going through the airport security, I can attest that you will be stopped and checked. I bought one on our last trip to the States and inadvertently packed it in my carry-on – these things happen, right? The thing is, the timing was everything in this story. Let me back up to when I first learned about floral frogs. My neighbor in Manlius, New York, was a dear friend and also a master gardener and floral arranger. She, and her husband, had a huge, positive influence on me (and my family) over the course of the 10 years we were neighbors. A while back I wrote a “Wordless Wednesday” post (that was quite full of words, actually) about Betty. Sadly, Betty just passed away during my trip to the States. I can’t accurately convey in words how this affected me. I was heartbroken. She will be sorely missed by her friends and family.  She was a very special woman, as was her husband Harold who sadly passed away 2 years prior.

Betty is the one who introduced me to floral frogs. I have not seen one in many years (I moved away from Betty & Harold almost 11 years ago) and I don’t have one. Well, I came across one at a gift shop on our trip shortly after Betty passed. Absolutely no coincidence. It didn’t even belong in this shop, in my opinion. But I scooped it up, bought it and couldn’t wait to use it when we arrived back home. Except that at the airport I was convinced it would be taken from me… Somehow, I was allowed to wrap it back up, put it back in my bag and resume with our travels. Betty was definitely looking over me 🙂

David Austin 'Boscobel' roses

David Austin ‘Boscobel’ roses

Those small stemmed roses can now be displayed in just about any container I want to place them in. I chose a small pottery bowl that would fit 4 open roses. The flowers fit in perfectly and stood upright. Whereas tiny vases won’t fit multiple stems due to how wide the blooms are with such short stems, the floral frog can fit at least 4 open blooms, which is a perfect small bouquet. Just a note that even though the floral frog is small, it can be used for tall stemmed flowers as well.

Boscobel Rose single

David Austin ‘Boscobel’ Rose single

So many wonderful things already remind me of Betty, and my new floral frog is one more special reminder.

Dana, Betty & Harold

Dana, Betty & Harold

Thank you Betty and Harold for being the special neighbors you were, especially encouraging my love of gardening. You will forever be in my heart.

In peace,
Dana