The changeable month of March

Hi there, and welcome to my blog! What a month it has been. We’ve seen some beautiful sunny and mild days as well as some very cold and dreary days. My mood has been influenced by this changeable weather: high spirits when the sun was out and low spirits when the howling winds and dark clouds took over. I’m thankful that I was able to get some work done in the garden and able to enjoy that time. This year I am also attempting to grow some flowers from seed. Fingers crossed that they all take! Oh! And I am excited about a garden clean-up project we are doing, too!

So, the garden clean-up project is the area to the side of our playhouse. When we first moved here, we built a bunch of raised beds and planted some fruit trees in this area. It was fabulous! I made an attempt to create stone pathways, but they never quite came together right. Then we moved the apple trees because they were too close together. A few years after that, and the Beech hedges grew to their full height and added too much shade for strawberries and vegetables to grow. And finally, the weeds just plain took over. I’ve learned a lot over that time, and we are now going to re-do that area. We decided to completely clear the area due to the terrible state it was in. That is the point where we are now! I’ll let you know as we progress. I cannot wait to get the new beds set-up!

As for the rest of the garden, I think it is ready for the season ahead! I’ve planted some summer bulbs (and still have some more to plant!). Most of those are going in pots this year. I simply had that in mind when I ordered them. We still haven’t mowed the lawn yet, and usually this would bother me. But I’m changing my mind on this, and I’m not in a hurry to have it done. I used to feel like it was a terrible reflection on the garden when we had long grass. How silly! Something else I realized recently. Three of my hellebores didn’t bloom this year. Two of them didn’t even show their leaves until very late in the season, never mind flower! The funny thing is, I felt that this was somehow due to my poor gardening skills. What?! I hadn’t done anything differently – they just didn’t come up until very late in the season. But I had internalized their not blooming, that somehow it was my fault. I was glad to recognize that, so I could correct my mindset. I’m not a terrible gardener. Sometimes, things just don’t grow. ūüôā

Life is funny, and I’m still learning. Thank God! I hope you are keeping safe and well and are also still learning!

In Peace,
Dana

Let’s try this again! This will have beds for vegetables, annual flowers and strawberries. This time, we’ll put ground cover material down to help to prevent weeds (I think I might add cardboard, too, since we have a bunch of it).

Nothing says ‘It’s March’ in Ireland better than daffodils and shamrock!

Springtime flowers are blooming! This is a Pulmonaria with purple and pink flowers and spotted leaves. It looks lovely with daffodils, which are growing next to them.

This area with the tulips was one of my clean-up jobs this month! I didn’t tidy it up very well last year and it was not in good shape. I cleared it just in time for this beautiful day!

I like these Mr. Fokker anemone and purple hyacinth together.

This pink hyacinth is probably my favorite flower at the moment, and beautifully fragrant!

Here’s a great contrast in weather! The picture above, on the left was taken on quite a dull gray day, while the picture on the right was taken on a lovely and sunny day! The Aubrieta is not in full bloom just yet, but it is getting there.

Here are some of the seeds that I’m growing. These are Coleus. Fingers crossed that I continue to take care of them properly!

The two flower pots in front of the hen house are still looking really well. Those tete a tete daffodils have been blooming for a few weeks now. It was so worth getting them to add a bit of cheer!

It certainly feels like anything is possible when the sky is blue! We did some more planting in this birch tree bed.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the spring update! Take care! ūüôā

A lifting of spirit as spring nears

Hi there! It has been a while since I’ve written here. I was still posting pictures on my instagram and Facebook accounts, but I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind for writing here. I recently realized, as the weather improved and the days “lengthened” (being brighter for longer), that my overall mental health hadn’t been great. As the sun was shining more, I could feel the weight being lifted from my shoulders. I’d say that since November, I have had a feeling of being run-down. It is funny to notice that now that the weather is improving, I can feel a “lift” in myself.

Daffodils in an Irish made Belleek vase

early blooming Daffodils in a Belleek vase

There is always something to do in the garden, and as is my way, I do a little at a time, and by golly it eventually adds up to a job well done! Or, at least, it is “good enough”! ūüôā

Who needs straight lines when you can have wonky?

This very odd shaped bed is my favorite at the moment. The odd shape is due to the location – it is right in front of our shed. The choice is to either have the odd shape or have a straight line and anything that I plant in that space will be run over by the mower when it is put in/out of the shed. I’ve opted for the odd shape! There is a hellebore plant (frilly Isabelle) in this bed that has just been beautiful all winter. The hyacinth are just popping up now. The lilac shrubs are full of little buds, as is the hydrangea plant. The iris and hosta are still sleeping, but they have plenty of time yet. And last to bloom, at the end of summer, will be the asters. It is still a work in progress, but I love this strip of garden!

lots of pink!

Hellebore Frilly Isabelle

There are two beds of garlic which I’ve also made sure to keep neat and tidy. I really like having something growing over the winter. They should be ready to harvest in July. I’m going to try and grow some flowers down the middle of the beds this year.¬† We’ll see how that goes!

Our two garlic beds are looking good

garlic up close

garlic up close

The rose bushes were also pruned. I discovered that I am somewhat wimpy at this job, as I probably should have taken off much more than I did from each of the plants. Part of the problem was that I left it rather late, so the plants had loads of buds and growth on them and I just didn’t want to take them off! Note to self: prune earlier next year.

lots of growth on some of the rose plants

There are signs of spring all around the garden. My tree peony has had a rough time in my garden over the past few years. I moved it to a location which I think it prefers to its former home. I’m hopeful that we’ll have more pretty flowers this year!

tree peony showing signs of life

tree peony showing signs of life

open snowdrops

open snowdrops

We must not have had an insect/slug issue this year, as my snowdrops were in top form. They are so tiny and sweet looking!

tree in fog

I took this picture on an early morning walk

I have to admit, the past few months were hard. There were many times when I would have normally gone into the garden, but I just couldn’t (energy, desire, time, …). Even when I did get back into the garden, I’ve had to keep it at a “small job” level. That’s life, I suppose. I’m thankfully feeling better now, although still taking it easy on myself. Things will get done when they get done. ūüôā

compost "heap" March 1

Compost “heap” March 1

And some things, like my compost, can work on their own! Although it certainly helps to turn and rotate it, the breakdown of the garden materials takes place even when you “just leave it”. The birds love it for all of the worms. Kitty loves it … to get close to the birds.

Hellebore plant Frilly Isabelle

Hellebore plant Frilly Isabelle

I’m so glad to be feeling better, and getting back into the garden (and writing again!).

Happy first of March!

In peace,
Dana

Wordless Wednesday: Seeing the little things

eye catching

eye catching

Wordless Wednesday, but let me just give a quick explanation. ¬†We were in Glasgow, Scotland for the All Scotland Irish Dancing championships. ¬†I love where Irish dancing takes us! This plant was in our hotel. ¬†It intrigued me. ūüôā

the little things

the little things

No soil, just growing in the wood.

hotel plants with pizazz

hotel plants with pizazz

This one even has a pink plant.

flowers in the hotel lobby

flowers in the hotel lobby

Having real flowers in a hotel, to me, makes a huge difference.  These lovelies were so cheerful and bright. DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel gets a two thumbs up from us!
http://doubletree3.hilton.com/en/hotels/united-kingdom/doubletree-by-hilton-hotel-glasgow-central-GLAGWDI/index.html

flowers in the airport restroom

flowers in the airport restroom

How about that? ¬†Have you ever seen real flowers in an airport bathroom? I certainly hadn’t. ¬†Hats off to Glasgow airport! ¬†These made me smile!

Happy Wordless Wednesday and seeing those little things all around us!

In peace,
Dana

P.S. I am on Instagram (mominthegarden) if you’d like to see more photos and more often. ¬†I love the ease of Instagram and it tells a story of who I am more holistically. Come and join me!

Doing what makes you happy

bouquet of daffodils (no flash)

bouquet of daffodils (no flash)

Oh my goodness gracious me!  I am in need of slowing down and taking some nice deep breaths!  Phew! Life is going way too fast for me. Anyone else feel that way?

Narcissi Blazing Starlet

Narcissi Blazing Starlet

I returned to the outside workforce about 18 months ago after being a stay-at-home mom for 16 years.  I absolutely love working, but boy it can be tough trying to do it all!

Ice King (carnation like daffodils)

Ice King (carnation like daffodils). You can see the raindrops on the flowers!

There are times I find myself completely out of breath just *thinking* about all that my husband and I do for our family. ¬†Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t change a thing! ¬†It sure does make time all the more precious though.

six different varieties

six different varieties

My garden is my place of peace and where I “catch my breath”. ¬†I love working in the garden and seeing how it changes from season to season and year to year. ¬† Mostly, though, I love flowers. ¬†ūüôā

nameless daffodil

nameless daffodil (read: I can’t find the name of it!) with tiny white specs on the tips of each petal.

There was a lot of rain today. It takes more than just rain to stop me from gardening, so¬†out into the garden I went to weed … ¬† until my fingers were too wet and too cold to do anymore. ¬†THEN I cut some flowers to bring inside, cause that just makes me smile.

a rather gray day...

a rather gray day…

I went around the yard and cut five stems here, five there, and a few stragglers more there.  That is all it takes.

using the flash

using the flash

It’s the first time I have used my new pottery vase. Dunbeacon Pottery is made in West Cork, and I bought this vase at the RDS in Dublin this past December at a Craft fair. You can checkout ¬†Dunbeacon Pottery¬†here: ¬†http://irishdesignshop.com/collections/dunbeacon-pottery ¬†I love supporting crafters! ¬†I really like the colors that this¬†artist used. ¬†I have a much larger vase and a wee vase that match this one. (’cause why buy one when you can get three?)

full view

full view (no flash)

I was really trying to use natural light which was hard to do with it being so gray outside.  So I put the flowers on a step stool near a window.  This intrigued my cat to come and investigate what I was doing.

Kitty smells the flowers

Kitty smells the flowers

I have to say that most of these daffodils are fragrant, but it was funny to see the cat go over to them to have a smell!

I think I'll sit here in front of these pretty flowers that mom is taking pictures of...

I think I’ll sit here in front of these pretty flowers that mom is taking pictures of…

She is a very good cat and a well loved member of our family. ¬†She, I think, also enjoys being in the garden with me while I work! ¬†Here’s a look at some of the daffodils out in the yard.

Ice King daffodils in April sunset

Ice King daffodils in April sunset

Narcissi blazing starlet in the ditch-wall garden

Narcissi blazing starlet in the ditch-wall garden

But sometimes, I’d just prefer to have them inside with me.

just another angle

just another angle

I hope that you are able to slow down, breathe deeply, and enjoy what makes you smile in life… ¬†at least for a little bit, every now and again.

In peace,
Dana

Wordless Wednesday: Pulmonaria

Pulmonaria

Pulmonaria

It has been a busy week. ¬†Hence, another Wordless Wednesday post instead of a meaty post. ¬†Ah well, I’ll keep at it! ¬† I have, thankfully, at least been able to do bits and pieces in the garden so all is not lost. ¬†But for now, just some pretty pictures of the Pulmonaria which is just coming into bloom. ¬†They will look even nicer when the daffodils around them bloom!

In Peace,
Dana

Pulmonaria with daffodils in the background

Pulmonaria with daffodils in the background

a lone daffodil

daffodil with pulmonaria in the background

Pulmonaria

Pulmonaria

In a Vase on Monday: Confessions from Mom (and One final week of Daffodils)

Daffodils in my new watering can

4 different varieties of Daffodils in my new watering can

Well, it is Monday, it must be time for my weekly blogging confessions! ¬†I arrived home from work tonight to find our kitchen counters completely covered and in a very un-pretty state. ¬†This is not unusual at our house since the kids don’t really care about having tidy counters. ¬†So before I can do anything I have to clear off the counters. ¬†Here’s the confession part: then, instead of making dinner, I took pictures. Phew, that wasn’t so bad!

clear (and clean) counters

clear (and clean) counters

What is it with my kids that it doesn’t bother them if empty containers are left on the counter? ¬†or the compost container overfloweth? or someone left the counter covered in crumbs??? ¬†arg ūüėČ ¬†Lucky for me that is all I have to worry about!

lots of leftover flowers

lots of leftover flowers

I actually have quite a few containers of flowers in the kitchen at the moment!  Some are usually on the table, but that was just too much work to clear for a picture (especially when I was getting hungry for dinner).

Hellebores from the garden

Hellebores from the garden

I thought I’d be able to work the hellebores into my daffodil arrangement, but they really did not go together.

my new watering can

my new watering can

Above my watering can arrangement is my favourite quilted pot-holder.  It was made for me by my dear friend Betty who was 80 when she made it. She is now 86 and still making beautiful quilts!

Watering Can Vase

Watering Can Vase

I bought the watering can this weekend out of necessity. I have finally planted some (read: LOTS and LOTS) ¬†squash seeds and when I went to water them with my regular watering can I nearly drowned them! ¬†So when I was at¬†the store I opted for the much prettier metal can rather than the (cheaper) plastic one.¬†It is cream and I think it¬†matches our kitchen nicely. ūüôā

another different variety

another variety of daffodils from the garden

second round of life for a bouquet that was "spent"

second round of life for a bouquet that was “spent”

This picture is of flowers which were in a bouquet last week. ¬†There were other flowers in the original bouquet but they are now good and dead. ¬†I cut these guys nice and short and put them in a much smaller container and they look really happy! Don’t you think so?

daffodils on the deck

daffodils on the deck

And finally, I show you my back deck containers of daffodils (and bright pink anemone). ¬†There are two pictures, and look how different they are by just kneeling down, or standing up! ¬†I couldn’t decide if I liked seeing the grass and no sky, or the hedges and fields beyond so I combined them both into one collaged picture. ¬†Which do you prefer???

I will be joining Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for this fun meme “In a Vase on Monday”. ¬†Won’t you join us?¬†https://ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com/2015/04/13/in-a-vase-in-monday-more-rug-than-carpet/

Happy Spring!
Dana

In a Vase on Monday: Easter Monday Daffodils & Anemone

up close

up close

Hello there! I would first like to start with an apology. ¬†I have not had a chance to reply to the lovely folks who commented on my post last week. I know, I feel terrible. As well as that, I haven’t had a chance to visit the blogs that I so enjoy seeing and reading. ¬†It¬†is only because of lack of time, and I’m planning on catching up this week. I hope you’ll forgive me!

a splash of purple from  anemone and muscari

a splash of purple from anemone and muscari

The task at hand is posting for “In a Vase on Monday”, a fun meme hosted by Cathy of Rambling in the Garden (https://ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com/2015/04/06/in-a-vase-on-monday-having-my-cake-and-eating-it/ ) ¬†. After reading her lovely post about her Vase, you can then follow the links to others who always have something interesting to see!

How many varieties do I have?

How many varieties do I have?

Today I feature two different varieties of daffodils. I wasn’t able to find their names, unfortunately. ¬†The white variety came from my father-in-law. ¬†He gave me a bunch of¬†bulbs¬†a few years ago. ¬†The flowers are quite delicate looking. ¬†He is an amazing gardener! ¬†Here is a little peek at his daffodils:

Patsy's Garden

Patsy’s Garden

They completely cover the back garden!  It is lovely to see.

all yellow, with so many layers

all yellow, with so many layers

The yellow narcissi are a dwarf variety. I have them planted out by our fence.  They are new to us this year, so I know I have their name written down somewhere!

Highland Stoneware from Scotland

Highland Stoneware from Scotland

My vase this week is a Highland Stoneware jug which I picked up a few years ago on a “get-away” weekend with my husband. ¬†We went to Edinburgh to watch Ireland play rugby. Nice romantic weekend away just me, hubby, and 50,000 supporters ūüėČ ¬†It really was a lovely weekend (and thankfully, Ireland won!).

loads and loads of daffodils

The rooster side of the jug

the other side of the jug

the hen side of the jug

Perfectly glorious weather

Perfectly glorious weather

I actually put this arrangement together today (Monday), as opposed to the usual Saturday before.  Being Easter Monday, everyone had off of work, and the weather was simply perfect.

beautiful blue skies

beautiful blue skies

We worked in the garden most of the¬†weekend. ¬†I’m pretty sure every muscle in my body was used! The garden needed so much work. I am so, so happy with all that we were able to get done. ¬†I just might get an actual gardening post in this week (fingers crossed!).

my jug floweth over with daffodils

my jug floweth over with daffodils

Too pretty not to photograph

Too pretty not to photograph

I did manage a number of breaks during the day as I simply felt compelled to take pictures.  Everything in spring time is so pretty.

Thanks so much for stopping by.  I hope you are enjoying lovely spring weather, too!

Peace,
Dana

 

In a Vase on Monday: Daffodil beauties

Narcissi Blazing Starlet

Narcissi Blazing Starlet

In all of Ireland, it feels like the flowers in our yard are the very last to bloom! ¬†I still have plenty of daffodils that haven’t even thought about blooming yet. ¬†But for today’s post of “In a Vase on Monday” I do have enough daffodils¬†for a lovely bouquet of several different varieties (small prayer answered!).

A rather triangle of a shape, don't you think?

Not quite opened … A rather triangle of a shape, don’t you think?

We’ve lived in our house for almost five years, and it has taken me all of that time to plant enough daffodils to be able to have a substantial bouquet! ¬†I was a bit finicky about where to plant them, what kind to plant, and how many to plant. ¬†I should have just gone with “everywhere, all kinds, and lots of ’em”!

Side views of Ice King and Blazing Starlet

Side views of Ice King and Blazing Starlet

I’m happy with the few different varieties that I have now. ¬†The Ice King is by far my favourite.

the Ice King variety looks like a carnation

the Ice King variety looks like a carnation

 

up close

a very simple yellow and white variety up close

 

bouquet

bouquet of yellows and creams

I caught the very tail end of the sun on the day that I cut the flowers. ¬†I hadn’t paid close enough attention to the weather (read: I was deep¬†cleaning the house because Easter is nearly here and God forbid anyone saw the state of what our house usually¬†looks like!). ¬†So I desperately tried to find rays of sunshine through the window the following day. ¬†Unfortunately not only was the sun in short supply, the wind was too strong to photograph flowers in.

a hue more on the white side

a hue more on the white side

But alas, eventually I found an opportunity to give it a lash.  I kept the flowers low to the ground in a protected spot.  The last thing I wanted was to have my vase fall over and break!

A hue more on the yellow side

a hue more on the yellow side

The sun sure does make a difference!

Daffodil bouquet in the garden

Daffodil bouquet in the garden

 

prop!

prop!

See that poor little ugly duckling candle? ¬†That is my only Easter decoration out so far! I came across him while I was cleaning … which prompted me to ask my son to bring the boxes of our actual decorations out of the attic for me.

could win an award for ugliest candle...

could win an award for ugliest candle…

He was kind enough to oblige me.  Now I just need to get my act together and get those lovely spring items out (and quick!).

on the kitchen table

on the kitchen table

But for now we just have our cheerful daffodils (and the ugly duckling candle).

 

on the kitchen counter

on the kitchen counter

Have you grown any different varieties of daffodils that you especially like? Please do share!

I hope you’ve enjoyed my “In a Vase on Monday” post. ¬†You will find other lovely arrangements linked to Cathy’s Rambling in the Garden blog¬†https://ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com/2015/03/30/in-a-vase-on-monday-bluenwhite/¬† as she hosts this fun meme to see what everyone has in their gardens all throughout the year. ¬†Maybe you’d like to join in? ¬†Please do!

Happy Spring!
Dana

In a Vase on Monday: In like a Lion and out like a Lamb

Lion Lamb Spring Bouquet

A Lion & a Lamb & a Spring Bouquet

Are you smiling? ¬†I hope so! ¬†I had a little fun with this “In a Vase on Monday” post. ¬†I came across these cute puppets last week when I was deep cleaning our playroom (read: went through all of the toys to get rid of what wasn’t played with anymore). ¬†I’m hopeless though, and only a few¬†things were actually taken away. ¬†Items like these cute puppets were just squished into higher-up cabinets to have on hand for little visitors. (Did ya like that pun?) ¬†Somehow, thankfully, the room did end up tidied and I found some props for my post!

full view

full view

I really can’t believe it is¬†nearing the end of March. ¬†The weather was true to the expression: it was crazy at the beginning of the month and it has thankfully calmed down (enough to garden at least!).

Daffodil season in full swing

Daffodil season in full swing (Ice King & Tresamble). These large daffodils have since turned a creamy white. the Ice King variety resembles a carnation.

We have collected quite a few different varieties of daffodils over the past few years and I am really liking all of them!

different varieties of daffodils

The small daffodils (Velocity) I bought from Mr. Middleton’s Garden Shop in Dublin. The ¬†catalogue describes them perfectly: early dwarf daffodil with deep yellow strongly reflexed petals and an orange red corona. ¬†So true!

pink anemone

pink anemone: Anemone coronaria ‘Sylphide’

I have only one pink anemone, but I thought it was stunning so I had to add it. It is my favourite colour of pink! ¬†Just one little bloom for the vase. This little guy is planted in a container. He did really well last year, and I’m delighted to see flowers again this year. ¬†I’ve read that the anemone will do better after several years. Lovely news!

Paperwhites were forced inside (and the family don't enjoy their scent!)

Paperwhites (Narcissus papyraceus) were forced inside (and my family do not enjoy their scent!)

stacking the flowers on top of each other

stacking the flowers on top of each other

We have been so lucky to have good weather on the weekends.  I have so enjoyed working in the garden!  The sunny days help to inspire creating an arrangement.

Anemones blooming all winter long

Anemones blooming all winter long

I was rather¬†surprised to have enough for an arrangement. ¬†If you looked at the yard you’d wonder where the flowers came from, they are spread all around, not really making an impact just yet (except for the purple anemones as they have been making an impact all winter.)

Anemone clump

Anemone clump

Anemone beauty on a frosty morning

Anemone beauty on a frosty morning

The Mr Fokker Anemone fade to a light purple as they age.  They start a lovely deep, dark purple.

Belleek vase seemed fitting for March (think St. Patrick's Day)

Belleek vase seemed fitting for March (think St. Patrick’s Day)

I missed quite a few ‘In a Vase on Monday’ postings this winter. ¬†I have to say it is nice to be back at it again. ¬†I hope you will also join us! ¬†Cathy at Rambling in the Garden¬†https://ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com/2015/03/23/in-a-vase-on-monday-between-sweet-williams-two-lips/¬† hosts this fun (read: addictive) meme. You will see some lovely arrangements when you stop by!

Happy Spring!
Dana

my favourite picture of the group

my favourite picture of the group