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. 🙂 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! 🙂

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? 🙂

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. 🙂

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. 🙂

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! 🙂 Take care!

Roses – adding to life’s beauty

Hello, and welcome! Today’s post is about roses. I certainly have quite a few pictures of roses to show you, but I also want to share how I came to have roses in our garden. I love working with my hands. That covers a lot of areas (!) including gardening, flower arranging, and crafting to name but a few of my hobbies. So when we moved into our home all of those years ago, and the garden was like a blank slate, I was in my glory! Top of the list was to add plants which I could use for flower arranging.

Having cut flowers from the garden is something I’ve always wanted. This goes back to the days in the late 1990s when my sister and I would read Martha Stewart’s Living magazine from cover to cover. Of course the magazine would feature Martha’s home(s) which would always be filled with beautiful cut flowers from her garden(s). My sister’s garden was well ahead of mine in those days. Whenever I’d visit her, my bedroom and guest bathroom would be adorned with flowers. It was always such a lovely touch!

Today, many years later, I still love having cut flowers in our home. It has taken time to build up enough plants that I don’t mind cutting some to bring inside – since there will still be enough to enjoy outside. I hesitate to say I have a favorite flower, because I love all of them. Roses, though, they would have to be at the top of the list. I have two requirements when I buy them for my garden now: they have to be scented and they have to be disease resistant. For this reason, my collection includes many David Austin roses.

I’m still learning. Every year I work on my pruning skills (still not there yet!). I also never used to feed my roses, although their beds are always covered in my compost a couple of times a year. So they haven’t been totally neglected! They should be fed twice a year – once in spring (late March / early April) before the leaves are fully open, and right about now – after the first flush of flowers. Deadheading is something I do on a regular basis, as it promotes new growth.

I’ve lost my focus! Back to why my garden is filled with roses. There are many reasons why I grow roses. They have a very long flowering season – from early June all the way through November in some years! Some colors are excellent for drying, too, often being added to my lavender wreaths. I love their scents which you can enjoy throughout the garden. They also keep their scent even after they dry (did you know that?). And they are a perfect cut flower. Whether your arrangement is all roses, or they are combined with other flowers, they are simply beautiful to bring indoors.

Here are some pictures of my roses from the past number of weeks. I think they benefited from our dry spring. Although most are disease resistant, black spot tends to hit when the rain comes (and at this stage, the rains are with us).

I hope you are well and keeping safe. Thanks for stopping by!

In Peace,
Dana

Full view of rose bed
A view of the main rose bed June 7, 2020. The bed is lined with Boxwood plants which we grew from cuttings from other plants from the garden. They are growing really well! The grass on the other hand, was still desperate for water here.
Harlow Carr
Harlow Carr – David Austin Rose
Teasing Georgia open and orange red  buds
I love the dark orange/red color of the buds on this Teasing Georgia – David Austin Rose, which is pure yellow when completely open.
COLLAGE Teasing Georgia David Austin Roses
Our Teasing Georgia – David Austin rose shrub is next to our ‘Playhouse’, with lavender not yet in bloom in front.
small vase yellow rose
A small vase of David Austin roses, featuring Teasing Georgia.
Princess Anne white roses COLLAGE
Our Princess Anne – David Austin tree rose, which has deep pink flowers, sprouted a stem with white roses! Although they are beautiful, I cut it off as I’d prefer the original color.
Princess Anne Tree rose WHITE offshoot single
Princess Anne – David Austin tree rose – a white off-shoot.
Princess Anne open with buds
Princess Anne – David Austin shrub rose
Boscobel COLLAGE
Boscobel – David Austin roses looking different depending on the light. A salmon colored, sweet smelling rose.
Princess Anne shrub rose flower fully open
Princess Anne – David Austin shrub rose
Princess Anne closed flower
The coloring of the Princess Anne – David Austin shrub rose is simply striking!
James Austin full bloom
Very similar in color to Princess Anne is this James Austin shrub rose.
Olivia Rose David Austin roses full plant
This Olivia Rose – David Austin shrub rose is one of the more established shrubs in the bed.
Olivia Rose Austin roses
Olivia Rose Austin roses
Roses and Poppies in sunlight
Poppies have joined the roses
Vase of Peony flowers, roses and Dutch iris
A vase of Sarah Bernhardt peony, Teasing Georgia – David Austin roses, Dutch Iris and ornamental grass, all from my garden.
Vase of peony flowers roses and iris
Vase of Sarah Bernhardt peony, Teasing Georgia – David Austin roses, Dutch Iris and ornamental grass – all from my garden.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the flower show! Take care! 🙂

Fall (re)view of the garden

Ladder view of sunflowers + sweet pea + apples Sept 10

A view of the garden while standing on a ladder

Recently, while walking in the garden, I had a thought of ‘Now this is exactly what I was working towards’. I’m going to temper that ‘perfect feeling’ with a disclaimer that my garden is very far from perfect. But, it brings me peace, and joy, and I simply love my time in the garden. I have sunflowers, sweet pea, apple trees, a pear tree, and the rose bed is filled with roses and buds about to bloom. I walk around the garden, with chickens nearby, and simply enjoy everything around me and honestly, I’m learning to ignore the weeds. 🙂

Apple tree + bowl of apples + sunflowers Sept 10

A beautiful day in September means a fun photo shoot in the garden

miniature sunflower vase + apple

A very tiny sunflower in a very tiny vase

We have two apple trees: one is an eating apple tree (variety unknown), and one is a cooking apple tree (Arthur Turner). Some of the apples have grown to quite a large size this year. The first few years we had ‘baby’ apples, really. So it is nice to have these ‘full size’ ones. Both of our trees lean to one side and as they are maturing it is getting worse. We started to straighten up one of the trees this past winter, and it worked, straightening it up a bit. We’ll be doing the same again this winter for the 2nd tree, and a bit more on the first tree to get it fully upright. I’m just glad we are still able to rectify this leaning issue!

Sunflower closed Aug 31

Even before sunflowers bloom they are so pretty!

sunflowers in a vase Aug 19

It’s nice to be able to cut flowers and enjoy them in a vase, too.

The sunflowers have been so easy to grow. They haven’t needed any special attention. I have short and tall plants, and almost all of them have several flowers per stem, and best of all, the birds love them! I’ve taken a few flower heads to save the seeds to plant for next year and the birds get to eat the rest. Not a bad deal for the birds!

Sunflower head with missing seeds Sep 7

A sunflower head with only half of its seeds, thanks to the birds.

Sunflower full bloom blue sky Aug 24

The bees enjoy all of the different sunflower varieties I have

Sunflower cluster Sep 10

Large or small, the sunflowers are bright and cheerful and always make me smile!

I am going to boast that the Tamar mix organic sweet peas are STILL going strong! I have had cut flowers in the house for the past 5 weeks. They are so sweet! Now, they really only last for about 3 (maybe 4) days inside, but their scent is amazing during that time. I’ll be looking to save those seeds, too.

Sweet pea + sunflowers Sept 10

The Tamar mix organic sweet pea is still going strong!

Roses. Doesn’t everyone love roses? I think I have always wanted a rose bed, and it was the first bed I created when we started this garden. I try to get roses that are fragrant as well as beautiful and hardy (tough standards here!). This year the roses are doing so well. I don’t use chemicals, which means I don’t spray them for blackspot. Some of the plants do well, some suffer a bit during the season. But they all seem to be doing well now and the bed looks and smells beautiful!

A cluster of light pink David Austin roses (Scepter'd Isle)

A cluster of light pink David Austin roses (Scepter’d Isle)

A light pink David Austin roses (Scepter'd Isle)

A light pink David Austin roses (Scepter’d Isle)

Lichfield Angel David Austin Rose

A creamy white David Austin Rose (Lichfield Angel)

David Austin Teasing Georgia yellow rose Sept 18

A yellow David Austin rose (Teasing Georgia)

A medium pink David Austin Rose (Harlow Carr)

Look at all of the buds on this medium pink colored David Austin Rose (Harlow Carr)!

Gertrude Jekyll - David Austin Rose

A deep pink David Austin Rose (Gertrude Jekyll)

I usually have a picture in my head of what I’m working towards in the garden. Sometimes it’s clear, sometimes not so much. Thankfully, one idea plays into the next and they all tend to work together. It is a process that requires a lot of patience! There is still planning going on in my head, and loads more to do in the garden, but I love this process.

Sunflower heads + heart Sep 7

The seeds from these two sunflower heads have been harvested for next year’s planting

I hope you’ve enjoyed the walk through my garden! Make sure to say ‘hello’ to the chickens on your way out! 🙂

In peace,
Dana

 

four chickens in the garden

‘The girls’ roaming the garden

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

Gardening – it’s worth the effort!

Viburnum opulus ‘Roseum’

Hello there! It is a rather funny name for the post today, but as I was working in the garden most of the weekend, it seemed apt. Maintaining and growing a garden *is* a lot of work, and I think even more so when you do it organically. This is worth it to me, though, as I absolutely love being in the garden and seeing how it is transformed and how it brings such beauty into our lives. And when things start to not balance out, it’s time to change things up and find easier plants to maintain!

Playhouse garden

Playhouse garden with yellow lupine, Iris ‘Benton Storrington’, and bleeding hearts

The weather hasn’t been great recently, so I haven’t been keeping up with the weeding. It reached the point this weekend, though, that my husband even pointed out to me that “those flowers would look much nicer if there weren’t so many weeds! How sweet of him to notice  🙂

early stage pears

early stage pears

You’ve heard me say it before, and it remains true, that we like to grow what is easy (to grow and maintain)! Our fruit trees are a prime example. We’ve been very fortunate with an abundance of pears and apples the past few years. We’ll see how it goes the rest of the season, but as of right now we have a bumper crop of pears! All of this with just composting on a regular basis and light annual pruning.

Iris ‘Benton Storrington’

Iris ‘Benton Storrington’

I try to add some new flowers every year. This Iris was added in 2016 and has done really well in my yard. I started with just two rhizomes, and last year we divided what had developed into a huge clump. I was actually trying to find spaces around the yard to fit in the divided plants! We planted several rhizomes around the yard, all of which are now ready to bloom.

Purple Sensation allium

Purple Sensation allium

The Purple Sensation allium is a new addition which we added into two beds last fall.  Actually, I bought “Purple Sensation” allium years ago, but it most definitely was not Purple Sensation as the color is quite light, which you can notice in the picture below.

Purple sensation allium

Purple Sensation allium and NOT Purple Sensation allium

a view of the main rose bed

a view of the main rose bed to the right of Abies Koreana (Remember when I planted those boxwood plants? Spring 2018)

The longest blooming flower in our garden is the rose, so we created a second rose bed a few years ago, and filled it with David Austin roses. The empty space between the roses was filled in no time with poppies (I didn’t plant them here, they “moved” from different beds in the garden, and possibly from my compost!).

Rose bed filled with Poppies

Rose bed filled with Poppies (with a few allium “popping” up!)

Poppies love my yard.  I’m not sure if I’m going to be 100% happy with them in this rose bed. They’ve grown incredibly tall, but thankfully they are also sheltering my rose plants from the harsh wind we’ve had recently. Pity you can’t really see the rose plants here though!

David Austin roses light pink

David Austin roses (the far side of the poppy invasion)

David Austin Standard Tree Rose Princess Anne

David Austin Standard Tree Rose Princess Anne

My first Standard Tree rose went into the garden last fall. It is rather tall and the roses are bright pink and very much visible!

Poppies

Poppies in the Rainbow garden

The Rainbow garden is filling out even more with the addition of two varieties of Iris last year. Poppies are definitely hogging the stage at the moment, though.

Iris + Poppies

Iris among the poppies

Rainbow garden with one chicken

A full view of the Rainbow garden (with one chicken)

2 chickens in Japanese Maple tree bed

the chickens love to roam the garden!

Hawthorn trees + Japanese maple

Hawthorn trees in bloom (Weigela florida ‘Alexandra’ is the bright flowered shrub) + chicken about to jump!

flower bed of iris, hosta, sedum

this flower bed at our front gate is filled with Hosta, Sedum, Iris, Roses, Asters, Lavender, Bergenia, and the White Lilac is visible from the other side of the fence. We added the Bergenia (at the very front) last year.

Front gate garden

front gate garden today

This little ‘Front gate garden’ has Aster, Sedum, Foxglove, a new Climbing Rose, and two new Primula capitat subsp mooreana, Woodlander (thank goodness for plant tags!). They are right on time for blooming now and should go until July (we’ll see!). My one variety of peony has just finished blooming – the blooms usually fall through from the other side of the fence and give a splash of color here (you can just see the spent redish flowers on the other side of the fence).

Primula capitata subsp mooreana Woodlander

Primula capitata subsp mooreana, Woodlander

I’ve already made many “new flower/plant/tree” purchases for this season! Hopefully, everyone will settle in and adjust to our garden (and not be eaten/dug up by the chickens). There is just so much going on in the garden! The next flowers to bloom should be the rest of my peony plants.

Garlic beds + sweet pea plants

Garlic beds with sweet pea planted in the middle.

Oh! and I almost forgot that we’ll be harvesting our garlic in July!  I’ve planted some sweet pea down the middle of one bed, and sunflowers down the middle of the other.  I’ll find out soon enough if that was a good or a bad idea!

So the main point I make to myself, on a regular basis, is to keep a balance. I can’t spend all of my time in the garden. I’ve learned to be O.K. with weeds – I’ll get to them eventually. The garden is a long term project for me anyway, no point in rushing!  🙂

I hope you get to spend the perfect amount of time in a garden and enjoy every minute of it!

In peace,
Dana

Wordless Wednesday: David Austin Roses

Olivia Rose Austin in evening sunlight

These roses need no introduction.  I decided to treat myself to the best, and ordered some David Austin roses this past winter.  These two pictures are of just one of the plants, called the Olivia Rose Austin.  The fragrance is beautiful. I try, when possible, to get plants that also smell lovely!  These were so worth it, and I am very pleased with them.

Olivia Rose Austin

I hope you have some lovely scented flowers in your garden, too! 🙂

In peace,
Dana