Our Rainbow Garden

Deutzia Scabra looking rather pretty in June

Do you name your garden beds?  I do.  But as the beds change and evolve so do their names.  This bed was formerly known as “messy garden”. 😉  It still is messy, actually, but it has become quite colorful so I think our new name of “Rainbow Garden” is much nicer.

The “messy garden bed” in June (plus Kitty)

The above picture is a “neat” view of our messy bed.  It was early in the summer, and the Deutzia (the white flowering shrub) was in full bloom. We have spent about five years trying different plants (with lots of fails along the way!) to get it to where it is today.  Part of the bed gets quite wet, while part is on the dry side (go figure), we get a lot of wind, and the soil wasn’t in great shape when we started. But now, the bed is really filling in and the plants are doing well.

the Rainbow Garden in early spring featuring erysimum bowles mauve in full bloom

I love to see bees in the garden! (Erysimum Bowles Mauve)

The bed now has two hellebores, a peony, Erysimum ‘Bowles’ Mauve’, globe artichokes, Mock Orange, Cornus florida ‘Cherokee Chief’, a yellow potentilla shrub and some white flowering bergenia.  In the spring there are some tulips, and in summer there are quite a few poppies. And brand new this year we’ve added Zantedeschia aethiopica Crowborough (these are large white calla-like lilies).

Spring flowering white bergenia (the not-yet flowering potentilla is behind the tulips)

the tiny white Bergenia flowers in spring time

Boy do we have some color now!  The poppies really give a POP of color.  🙂 The California poppies are short with a light orange color and *everywhere*.  There are also several different varieties of annual poppies in varying shades of red and orange.

Rainbow Garden at the end of July

poppies

We have enjoyed flowers blooming in this bed all year, starting with our ‘winter sunshine’ Hellebore in January/February. The mild weather here in Ireland has the benefit of early blooming spring flowers, too. Now the bed is almost in full bloom with lots of color!  I’m still waiting on the globe artichokes to bloom.

the Potentilla in full bloom with yellow flowers

Buddleja Buzz (dwarf butterfly bush) + Red Admiral butterfly

Buddleja Buzz (dwarf butterfly bush) on a sunny day

The garden is “peppered” with wild flowers, which provide a few different colors.  I’m still not sure if that was a good idea or not, scattering wild flower seed throughout the bed a number of years ago. I actually thought I’d dug out all of the poppies this year! But I’m glad for their color, and they are easy enough to pull once they are done blooming.

Rainbow Garden on a cloudy day

this view is rather messy, but shows the pretty blue/green leaves from the hellebore

‘winter sunshine’ Hellebore in full bloom in February minus the leaves which I cut off due to blackspot

I could certainly look at the bed and think of all of the work which still needs to be done (how about some edging?!). But I choose to only see the pretty, albeit messy, side. Just a few years ago there was nothing there but grass. I like it much better now!

Rainbow Garden

I love living in the country. I find it so peaceful to spend time in the garden. Being able to create different beds with all different flowers is just icing on the cake!

I hope you are able to find some peace in what you do, too.

In peace,
Dana

Gardening Goals: Got this one

"before"

“before”

Well isn’t it nice of me to pop in to blog-land for a visit?  I was beginning to wonder what was going on … But here we are now, ready to share some pictures and a gardening story.

I made a gardening goal for myself as part of my New Year resolutions.  It was to finally clean up this bed.  REALLY clean it up.  I figured without making it a top priority then it just wasn’t going to happen.

This is my “messy garden bed”.  The above picture is from late summer when the poppies were in full bloom.  I love the color that poppies provide, but I’m weary of the mess of them.

Part of the problem is that the border around the bed hasn’t worked.  I originally had a small stone wall around the bed but we couldn’t keep it neat.  I have two flower beds which have boxwood for a border.  There is a third bed (between the first two) which will also have boxwood.  I love the shape and neatness that the boxwood gives.

boxwood around the first rose bed

boxwood around the first rose bed

a small stone wall at the front of the ditch wall garden

we’ve managed to keep this low stone wall at the front of the ditch wall garden looking somewhat neat

So I’ve removed the stones and we will eventually plant boxwood.  I’m going to make sure to have enough space on the outside of the boxwood to allow the mower’s wheels to fit!  We just don’t have time to ‘strim’ around the garden.  I’d like to have more time enjoying the garden, and not all of my time spent working in the garden. That balance needs a little tweaking for me.

in full bloom in July with Philadelphus (Mock Orange), Globe Artichokes, Deutzia (scabra), peony, bergenia, potentilla, and various wild flowers

in full bloom in July with Philadelphus (Mock Orange) on the left, Globe Artichokes in the middle, Deutzia (scabra) on the right, peony on the right, bergenia, potentilla, and various wild flowers

We’ve had quite a time figuring out this center garden bed.  It can get *really* wet and the soil was anything but well-drained.  It has taken time and lots of compost to get the soil in a fairly decent state.  We’ve lost many a plant in this bed (nick-named the plant graveyard)!  Some plants I have managed to save just by moving them to a different part of the yard.

what a mess

what a mess

So with the help of my son and husband we’ve been working on giving this bed a proper shape and getting rid of the grass, weeds and wildflowers.  I just have to clear away this mess! It simply bothers me.

mostly cleared

(mostly cleared) on the left is a Buddleia BUZZ (butterfly bush) and on the right is a potentilla

It has been a lot of work.  I go out for an hour at a time to turn the soil, pull out the grass, pull out the weeds, turn the soil again…  arduous! But I think it is so worth it.  I want to be able to really enjoy the plants that are in the garden, which this year I think I will be able to.  These guys are tough, and have proved to me that they can survive this soil!

digging out a shape

digging out a shape.  The newest addition to the garden is a Cornus (florida) what I would call a Dogwood tree which is near the middle of the bed.

If I can manage it, I’ll pull the oval out just a tiny bit more.  I’d like to get it right before planting the border.  But I’m really happy with how it has evolved.  I like the different shapes within the bed, and the different heights.  I’m looking forward to seeing how the colors look this summer.

Hellebore

Hellebore

And that is what has been keeping me busy this last while!  I hope you’ve managed to keep some of your resolutions!

In peace,
Dana

a frosty view of the garden in February

a frosty and foggy view of the garden in February

In a Vase on Monday: Pink, Purple, Red & Coral … in November!

Pink Hesperanthus (schizostylis)

Pink Hesperanthus (schizostylis)

Hello there!  I am so looking forward to this week’s ‘In a Vase on Monday’ meme!  My weekend included one whole entire day that had no scheduled activities.  woohoo!  That meant garden time for me.  To top off that great schedule, the weather was incredible on Saturday; very mild and beautifully sunny!

Geranium

Geranium

I worked until I was physically exhausted and could do no more.  There is always so much to do in a garden!  I would not call it work though because I enjoy all of it.  But it certainly does take time and effort.  Lots of effort.

Knautia macedonica "Red Knight"

Knautia macedonica “Red Knight”

After my hard working day, I was so happy to take some time and gather flowers.  At that stage though, I had to move quickly to catch the setting sun in my pictures.  My collection includes Hesperantha, Erysimum Bowles’ Mauve, Geranium, and  Knautia Macedonica ‘Red Knight’.

Erysimum Bowles' mauve

Erysimum Bowles’ mauve

I grouped the erysimum bowles’ Mauve all together.  The individual flowers were rather   wimpy looking on their own.  The group of them look almost substantial!

Geranium

Geranium

The geranium are two lovely shades.  We were scheduled to have a very hard frost on Saturday night (which we did have), so there days are seriously numbered.  They are from last year, though, so they have had a great long life.

Evening sunlight

Evening sunlight

I just love the evening sunlight…

In a Vase on Monday...

In a Vase on Monday…

This cute little arrangement fits nicely on our kitchen table.  I don’t have any pictures of that to show you, ’cause my kitchen is a bit of a disaster at the moment 😉

November in the garden...

November in the garden…

The vase I bought at a charity shop in Switzerland 18 years ago.  It is a very simple piece of pottery.  I last used it to hold an arrangement of barley, with the raffia tied in front.  It was for a special friend who really appreciated it.  But when she was done with it, she gave me back the little vase. So now I have it with memories of my friend too.

A different view

A different view

Remember, you can see other “In a Vase on Monday” posts at: Cathy’s blog http://ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com .

Thanks for stopping by!

Have a good week!
Dana

Fall flowers from a pink & purple palette!

Artichokes, Mr. Fokker anemone, erysimum (bowles' mauve), and pink roses

Artichokes, Mr. Fokker anemone, Erysimum (bowles’ mauve), and pink roses.

These pictures of the flowers in the vase were taken on November 9th, 2013.  I had to write that as it seems crazy to have such pretty flowers in November!  Granted, only the roses look nice on their own in the garden now, but when I put them all together they really did look nice!

My roses at the front gate.

My roses at the front gate in November.

My roses are doing O.K., despite having had black spot this summer.

My favorite color: pink.

My favorite color: pink.

The artichokes and anemone don’t look quite as pretty today.

Globe artichoke flowers in November.

Globe artichoke flowers in November.

Mr. Fokker anemone in November.

Mr. Fokker anemone in November. These guys get beaten by the wind in our yard!

But just a few weeks ago in October, they were stunning!

Globe artichoke in October.

Globe artichoke in October.

Globe artichoke with erysimum in October.

Globe artichoke with Erysimum bowles’ mauve in the background  in October.

A globe artichoke plant in full bloom.

A globe artichoke plant in full bloom in October.

Erysimum bowles' mauve in October.

Erysimum bowles’ mauve in October.

Pink Japanese anemone with dahlia and Erysimum bowles' mauve in background.

Pink Japanese anemone with dahlia and Erysimum bowles’ mauve in background. These anemone have been terribly beaten by the wind at this stage! So they didn’t make it into my bouquet.

It seems that I had lots of pretty pictures of these lovely plants and I just had to share them with you!  But back to November:

A vase of flowers in November.

A vase of flowers in November (before I added roses). Our beech hedging is changing color.

We had company this weekend, and I wanted to have something pretty on the table.  I went into the garden to see what I could put together and was delighted with my little bouquet!

Fall bouquet albeit pink & purples...

Fall bouquet albeit pink & purples…

Taking pictures of flowers works best outside.  I was really pushing my luck as it was very late in the afternoon when I finally got around to my fun “work” of getting flowers!  I had the very last bit of sunlight to take the pictures!

Artichokes, Mr. Fokker anemone, Erysimum (bowles' mauve), and pink roses

Artichokes, Mr. Fokker anemone, Erysimum (bowles’ mauve), and pink roses.

The bouquet indoors.

The bouquet indoors.

But maybe it doesn’t look that much different inside.

The table is set for company.

The table is set for company.

A little bit of the garden brought inside.

A little bit of the garden brought inside.

It was nice having friends over to visit.  I made Guinness stew, per request.  I was able to use our own onions, and potatoes.   My 13 year old daughter was very kind and made brown bread (which was delicious) to go with dinner.  While the bread was baking, she also made us flour-less chocolate cake!  It, too, was fabulous!  I should really do a post about the brown bread. It is an easy recipe, and authentic as it is my mother-in-law’s recipe!  I will post about it the next time we make it.

And that, my dear people, is my 100th Mom in the Garden post!  I’ve also hit the big “10,000 views” for my wee little blog!  I am chuffed to have had so many visitors, likes, and wonderful comments to my blog!  Thank you!  I realize this pace isn’t going to break any records, but blogging is something I truly enjoy and I do it for that enjoyment.

Thank you for joining me on my blogging journey!

Happy fall!
Dana

June is for Allium, Peony, Iris and Hawthorn! And the last Cherry bloom.

Cherry Tree the beginning of June.

Cherry Tree the beginning of June.

The nice thing about going away … is coming home.  Missing two weeks of garden growth at the end of May and beginning of June is like missing a marathon!  So much is happening.

Cherry tree in early June.

Cherry tree in early June.

I quickly snapped away with my camera to capture the very last blooms from our cherry trees.  I was lucky to have a pretty sky too!

Cherry tree in early June.

Cherry tree in early June.

Pink is my favorite color, and I love to see it in the garden.  Our Hawthorn trees had a bit of pink in them this year.  They were lovely all in white bloom, with sprays of pink.

Hawthorn in full bloom.

Hawthorn in full bloom.

Sprays of pink in the Hawthorn blooms.

Sprays of pink in the Hawthorn blooms.

It’s funny how everything looks better in sunshine, but with too much sunshine everything looks bleached!  I won’t be complaining (ever!) about the sun, but I’ll have to work a bit harder trying to get the pictures right.

Allium posing in front of the Hawthorn trees.

Allium posing in front of the Hawthorn trees.

We were quite lucky with our Allium this year.  The wind has held off for the most part, and I’ve enjoyed their long showy splendor for a few weeks now.  Last year they were knocked completely over in their first week of blooming.  This one garden is transforming into a purple garden!  I think the Allium and Erysimum go really well together.

Erysimum Bowles' Mauve

Erysimum Bowles’ Mauve

My Erysimum (Bowles’ Mauve) plant is really showing off now.  It has a great spread, and is simply beautiful. It seems quite happy.

Another view of the purple garden.

Another view of the purple garden.

On the right of the purple garden I have a globe artichoke plant (Cynara Scolymus). You can just see the wire support.  I’m not sure how this is going to go, but I’m always hopeful!

Blue Geranium.

Blue Geranium.  This plant is in my “wait until I have a space” garden.  I will be moving it to my new purple garden as I love the color.  I might just  switch it with the pink Geranium I currently have there.  Or I might put  both there!

Tree Paeonia Renkaku.

Tree Paeonia Renkaku.

My tree peony had one flower this year.  It was truly a lovely flower, though!  It arrived last year as an eight inch tall stem. As in one stem!  It must be quite hardy, as it survived the winter, grew, and produced such a lovely flower.   It was worth the wait.

Tree Paeonia Renkaku

Tree Paeonia Renkaku.

It is rather delicate looking, but I think it is quite hardy!

Tree Paeonia Renkaku.

Tree Paeonia Renkaku.

My regular peony plants didn’t do too badly either!

Peony.

Peony.

Peony.

Peony.

Peony.

Peony.

Dutch Iris Blue Magic.

Dutch Iris Blue Magic.  I was trying to capture the Iris without having to go over the fence.  So I tried looking down on it.  I like the different look it gave!

Dutch Iris Blue Magic.

Dutch Iris Blue Magic.

As for fruits and vegetables, I’m pleased with the progress so far.  I know for some people growing vegetables and fruit comes so easily.  But it has been quite a learning process for me!  We planted too many strawberry plants last year, and they were too close to one another.  The netting was cumbersome to remove, which was problematic.  This year, I am hopeful (always!) that we’ll get to enjoy the fruit.  It looks beautiful now!

Strawberry plants.

Strawberry plants.

Strawberry plants.

Strawberry plants.

We added in some stepping stones into the strawberry beds, and a wee bunny.  I’m sure he’ll definitely scare any birds away…

The fruit orchard view in June.

The fruit orchard view in June.

Vegetable beds in June.

Vegetable beds in June.

Our vegetable beds are filling in!  We have newly planted main crop potatoes on the right. On the left we have fencing for our pea plants.  In between the pea plants, some potatoes have decided to grow from last year’s crop. I’m really not sure what to do with them!  I’ll probably earth them up when we do the main crop of potatoes, and see how they turn out.

Sarpo Mira Main Crop potatoes.

Sarpo Mira Main Crop potatoes.

We love beets!  But this is the second year now that only a few beet plants have come up.  I’ve tried a second planting, so maybe we’ll still get some more. (will I mention that hopeful word again???)

Organic Golden Detroit  Beetroot (beets).

Organic Golden Detroit Beetroot (beets).

My family thought we had too much chard last year, so I’ve scaled back on it this year.  I’m hoping to still keep it in our summer menu, but not too much that the family go running when they see it!

Rainbow chard.

Rainbow chard.

Swede (turnips).

Swede (turnips).

Now here is a vegetable that loves to grow in my garden – Swede!  Every single seed that I have planted has germinated.  I’ve thinned them out and passed the extras on to my neighbor James.  Thankfully, my family like swede. Good thing, too, as we’ll be having it a lot this winter!

Organic Yellowstone carrots.

Organic Yellowstone carrots.

My carrots are making themselves seen.

Cristo garlic.

Cristo garlic.

It turns out that most gardeners plant their garlic in the fall/winter and harvest in the summer.  I seem to have it a bit off.  This fall I’ll see if I can manage to get some in the ground.  It might be nice to have something growing in the winter.

A view of the back field.

A view of the back field.

This last picture was taken just a couple of weeks before the veggie pictures above.  So much growth in so little time!  You can just see the white from the Hawthorn trees lining the field.  It’s such a lovely sight (and site!).

I hope your garden is full of growth and beauty!

Dana

Erysimum Bowles’ Mauve – My flower of the Moment.

Erysimum Bowles' Mauve late in the day.

Erysimum Bowles’ Mauve late on a  November day.

I had to write about this plant, Erysimum Bowles’ Mauve, as it has been flowering all summer. Even now in November it is still showing off.  Apparently, it likes to do that!  It is an evergreen perennial. I think that it just brings a lovely bit of color to the garden.  I’d have a hard time picking a favorite flower, but this one is really up at the top.

Erysimum Bowles' Mauve.

Erysimum Bowles’ Mauve.

I was in the yard today with my littlest one.  She was in such a happy and playful mood, just wanting to be with me in the garden. I had to capture that!

Our littlest one.

Our littlest one.

While we were outside (taking pictures of the Erysimum), a flock of birds flew overhead.  With camera in hand, I snapped away.

There they go!

There they go!

Just a few of the flock that were flying overhead!

Just a few of the flock that were flying overhead!

I thought it was a little funny to get to photograph them this afternoon.  You see, this morning was a gorgeous sunny morning.  So I headed outside with my camera completely intent on capturing birds!  That is just what was in my head, so I was going with it.  I waited. And waited. And waited.  And then I saw that Lucy was waiting with me…

Lucy waiting with me ... for birds!

Lucy waiting with me … for birds!

O.K., that explained a lot.  Although I am thankful to say she is a much better mouser than a bird catcher.  Here is a picture of the only bird I captured:

Yellowhammer bird, found mainly in the east and south of Ireland.

Yellowhammer bird, found mainly in the east and south of Ireland.

It is beautiful!  But this leads me to confessing that I had no idea what this bird was.  I know about 5 Irish birds and this one didn’t look like any of them!  It is mainly yellow with some brown markings.  So I turned to an Irish gardening forum which I had just joined, called Garden.ie.  First off, the warm welcome I received upon joining last week was wonderful! What a great group of gardening enthusiasts. So today I put up this picture and asked for help identifying it, and within minutes I had my answer of a Yellowhammer.  How cool is that?  And what a pretty bird! I wish I didn’t have to compress the pictures to upload them, because it was much easier to see before … (note to self: add better zoom lens to wish list.)

Erysimum Bowles' Mauve (with my pumpkins in the background!).

Erysimum Bowles’ Mauve (with my pumpkins in the background!).

As the sun was setting I took some more pictures to compare to the morning ones from today.  I love seeing how the light changes.  I’m still seeking that perfect angle in the yard, too.

Cherry trees in the morning.Cherry trees in the morning.

Cherry tree in the evening.

Cherry tree in the evening.

Lucy keeping me company in the yard.

Lucy keeping me company in the yard.

What a lovely day it was.  I even managed some time trimming the hedges. :-).

For my American friends and family, I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving.  Enjoy this very special holiday. We are looking forward to celebrating on Sunday with another American family living in Ireland!

For my non-American friends and family, Thank you for visiting!
Dana