2019 was full of Flowers, Fowl, and Fun

Snowdrops in January

Snowdrops in January

Hellebore Frilly Isabelle

Hellebore Frilly Isabelle in February

Happy (almost) New Year! What a joy it has been looking through pictures of this past year while putting together this blog post! I love taking pictures and capturing what is happening in the garden, and it is nice to then go back and see what changes there were in the garden throughout the course of the year. The garden is always in a state of flux and growth. The biggest change to the garden this year, though, was the addition of chickens. I adore having them as pets. The Long Island Red (hybrid) chickens joined our family in March, at 23 weeks. They each started laying one egg a day a couple of weeks later and have continued ever since. Their house and run now take up a large part of our back garden, where I can watch them from our kitchen.

There have been other changes in the garden, too. In one of my lavender beds, I removed a large plant that I have never been a fan of (name unknown). What a great feeling it was to get rid of it! In its place, I added a fig tree. My love of evergreen trees continues, with the addition of a small one, Picea pungens ‘Super Blue’,  to the garden this year.

Plants and shrubs were added to a few of the beds around the yard. I like making these small changes, which of course add up over time.

My two rose beds have also had more David Austin roses added to the collection. The boxwood (box) hedge in the newest rose bed is doing really well and slowly filling in. This is exciting to see because we grew all of these plants from cuttings. “Yay!” for successful ways to save money in the garden!

We had quite a fruitful crop of apples and pears this year! Lucky enough, we didn’t have any major storms to knock down the fruit prematurely from the trees, as has happened in the past. (And they tasted delicious!)

I’m thankful for our harvest of garlic, too. There is nothing nicer than homegrown garlic!

My crop of sweet pea smelled simply amazing this year. I was able to cut bouquet after bouquet of pretty, sweet smelling flowers for weeks.

Like Sweet pea, Sunflowers have been a staple in the garden for the past number of years, and I plan to continue with that tradition.

Not all was pretty in the garden this year though. My Incrediball Hydrangea started the season off well, but finished with a burnt look from, apparently, too much sun. I will move it to a shady spot this year.

Another section of the back garden has become quite overrun by weeds – in a very bad way! And therein lies my challenge for 2020!

I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in the garden, photographing it and writing about it. I hope you have also enjoyed it.

I’m very excited to see what the garden brings in 2020!

Thank you so much for being a part of my gardening and blogging experience! I have had visitors to my blog from all over the world, and I’m so glad you’ve stopped by. Please do feel free to write a note, especially from where you are from. I’d love to e-meet you! 🙂

I wish you all best wishes for a wonderful and healthy New Year! May 2020 be everything you hope it to be!

In Peace,
Dana

 

Garlic in Feb 2019

Garlic in February

Cleared out lavender + hydrangea bed March 1

Lavender bed cleared of unwanted plants while Lavender, Hydrangea & Lilies remain – March 1

pink hyacinth in a jug with chicken house in the background

A bouquet of Hyacinth and the hen house

Hellebore Winter Sunshine March GREEN

Hellebore Winter Sunshine in March

Freshly dug up bed - Lavender + hydrangea - fresh compost

Lavender bed cleared of unwanted plants while Lavender, Hydrangea & Lilies remain. Here it has been freshly turned with compost added.

Abies Koreana + pine cones March 31st

Abies Koreana covered in pine cones March 31st

Surrounding fields in April

Surrounding fields in April

Aubrietia in April

Aubrietia in April (can you see my boots?)

Front Garden View April 26

Front Garden View at the end of April

Japanese Maple garden view end of April

Japanese Maple garden view end of April

Dug-up bed mature Lavender + hydrangea + hosta + lilies

Lavender bed cleared of unwanted plants while Lavender, Hydrangea & Lilies remain.

Merlot tulips + aubrietia

Merlot tulips and aubrietia

Dana in compost with chickens and cat

Dana in compost with chickens and Kitty

Strawberry Plants May 2

Strawberry Plants at the beginning of May

Chamaecyparis nootkatensis 'Pendula' (Nootka Cypress)

Chamaecyparis nootkatensis ‘Pendula’ (Nootka Cypress) in May

 

Lily of the Valley + cypress Nootka

Lily of the Valley planted with our cypress Nootka

view of garden around playhouse in May

View of the garden around the playhouse in May

Hawthorn trees in May

Hawthorn trees in May

 

Lilacs + Hawthorn May

Lilacs and Hawthorn in May

Mature lavender + mystery plant

Here is a picture of the mystery plant (at the back of the bed) last year. The mature lavender plant at the front is the source of many of my lavender wands!

Newly dug up bed mature lavender + hydrangea + new fig tree

Lavender bed cleared of unwanted plants while Lavender, Hydrangea & Lilies remain, and a fig tree has been added.

Chicken house + 1 chicken in May June

Chicken house and 1 free range chicken in June

Viburnum June

Viburnum in June

Full rose plant in June

Full rose plant in June

Poppy garden June

Poppy garden in June

4 chickens in Japanese Maple garden

4 chickens in Japanese Maple garden

Primula capitata subsp mooreana

Primula capitata subsp mooreana

June view of the veggie garden

June view of the veggie garden

Playhouse flowers lupin iris bleeding heart

Flowers at the playhouse – lupin, iris and bleeding heart

June Rainbow garden

June Rainbow garden

Lavender colored poppies

Lavender colored poppies

Chickens following Emer

Chickens following my daughter

Chicken at ditch wall garden July 11

Chicken at ditch wall garden July 11

July front garden

Front garden in July

July harvest of garlic

July harvest of garlic

Newest evergreen - Picea pungens 'Super Blue

Newest evergreen – Picea pungens ‘Super Blue’

July cleaned up lavender bed

July cleaned up lavender bed

Vase of Daisies in July

Vase of Daisies in July

Pears in July

Pears in July

Lavender wands in July

Lavender wands in July

August View of Garden Sunflowers + hydrangea

August View of Garden Sunflowers and hydrangea

Sweet pea + Kitty

Sweet pea + Kitty

August Lily + chickens

August Lily and chickens

August Sunflowers

August Sunflowers

 

Lilies in August

Lilies in August

Fig plant in August

Fig tree in August

Chicken in driveway in August

Chicken in driveway in August

Sunflower + Apple tree in August

Sunflower and Apple tree in August

Black ornamental Grass in August

Black ornamental Grass in August

Light Pink David Austin Roses in August

Light Pink David Austin Roses in August

Buttercup squash August

Buttercup squash in August

 

Chickens + pink hydrangea

Chickens  and pink hydrangea

Chickens outside run in September

Chickens outside their run in September

Pears in September

Pears in September

apples in bowl + tree

apples in bowl and apple tree

Deep pink David Austin Roses in September

Deep pink David Austin Roses in September

Yellow David Austin Roses in September

Yellow David Austin Roses in September

October apple pie and sunflowers

Apple pie and sunflowers in October

October Playhouse garden with chickens

Playhouse garden with chickens in October

October Hydrangea

Hydrangea blooms in October

The first evergreen tree which we planted: Chamaecyparis nootkatensis 'Pendula' (Nootka Cypress)

The first evergreen tree which we planted: Chamaecyparis nootkatensis ‘Pendula’ (Nootka Cypress)

October Garden Hazelnut tree

Hazelnut tree in October

Nov Lavender wreath

Lavender wreath made in November

November Chicken house in Sunrise

November Chicken house in Sunrise

December Chickens and Cat

December Chickens and Cat

Blue Blanket with poppies + Dana in Family room

Me with my poppy blanket which I crocheted 🙂

 

Garlic wins as Easiest, most Rewarding item to plant in the garden!

playhouse with geraniums

In 2014 I had geraniums around the playhouse. Today, I have lavender, roses and bleeding hearts because I find perennials easier than annuals.

Hi there! This post is about conveying that gardening doesn’t have to be an “all or nothing” past-time. We started out spending quite a bit of time in the garden (read: Every.Spare.Minute.). But as our family is growing-up, and our interests are growing (can you say that?), we are spending less time in the garden. Given how precious time is, it is important that we only grow what we have time to care for. That means that we grow what is easy!  And the top of that “easy to grow” list is garlic.

freshly harvested (Cristo) garlic

Freshly harvested organic Cristo garlic (from last summer)

I am still a stickler about not using chemicals in the garden, and I source organic seeds/plants. Fruit Hill Farm, based in Cork, has been a great resource for organic growing, and I’ve been quite happy with the garlic which they have provided. I’ve only used two varieties: Cristo and Vallelado. I like garlic that is planted in the fall and harvested in the summer. It is nice to have some growth in the garden over the winter, and it requires very little maintenance. The rewards are huge, as the taste of home grown garlic is far superior to store-bought garlic, if I do say so myself. 🙂

organic Vallelado Garlic label

Fruit Hill Farm, based in Cork, is where I buy my organic seeds and plants.

“Winter garlic” can be planted any time in the fall. The rule of thumb is to get your cloves in the ground before Christmas, to ensure (in Ireland) that they get enough time in soil that is cold enough. My husband enlisted the help of our youngest daughter to assist with planting. We’re using different beds for the garlic this year,  and since I had cleared the two beds of weeds following our pumpkin harvest a while back, they could set to work straight away.

bowl of garlic cloves on cleared planting bed

a bowl of organic garlic cloves and a prepared bed

My husband made the holes in the soil and my daughter placed in the cloves (pointy side up). It is nice to get the kids involved. (I hope they think so too!)

soil with holes for planting

not too difficult… although I hope they turned that clove pointy side up!

If you’d like more step-by-step instructions, you can click here to my earlier post about how easy it is to grow garlic. We planted Vallelado this year.  It is good for storing, which I can attest to. After harvesting and drying out in the summer, I keep mine in a paper bag in a closet in our (somewhat cold) utility room. It will last all winter long, and you will have plenty to give away to friends, too.

freshly planted garlic beds

Two freshly planted garlic beds.

garlic and geranium sitting on wall

a throwback to 2013 🙂

Sometimes, I can get all caught up in life in a too serious kind of way. This is never a good idea! There is something to be said about getting older and wiser, though. Thankfully, I do find myself recognizing when I’m getting a bit too serious, and I can work on changing gears. A lot of this has to do with balance, or being out of balance. You know: work/family/house/garden/…me! 🙂 And that is why we only plant the easy stuff in the garden!

wreath made with garlic, dried artichokes and dried roses

Garlic wreath with artichokes and roses

And if I find myself getting too serious, I go and make a wreath with anything and everything I can gather from the garden!!! Because inevitably, that puts a smile on my face.

Will you join me in planting garlic this fall? There are still a few more weeks left to do so!

In peace,
Dana

Wordless Wednesday: Grow Your Own Organic Garlic

Home grown garlic and Polish Pottery

Home grown organic garlic at the beginning of February.  Showing off in the garlic bed is one of my Polish Pottery mugs – sittin’ pretty and being all artsy 😉

Hello Wordless Wednesday fans!  Just three pictures today as they say it all.  Grow your own garlic because it is just too easy!  We plant it in November or even as late as December and it starts to pop up after the hard frosts pass.  I like watching the progress through the months.  To me, that is called enjoying the little things!

Organic ‘Vallelado’ Garlic at the beginning of March

I do all of my organic ordering on-line.  I like getting my potatoes and garlic from Fruit Hill Farm, down in Cork (they have very good customer service).  Here’s their link:  https://www.fruithillfarm.com/

Garlic wreath with artichokes and roses from the garden

A couple of years ago we had so much garlic that I made a wreath with some of them! (I also ended up using that garlic throughout the following winter…)

Maybe you’ll make a note to plant some organic garlic next winter?

In peace,
Dana

Harvesting Garlic & a Clematis’ improved health

Freshly dug garlic.

Freshly dug garlic (Cristo).

Some things in the garden seem to grow fairly easily.  Garlic is one of those things!  We’ve grown garlic the past two years and have been very happy to have done so.

Garlic in June.

Garlic (Cristo) in June.

They don’t require special attention, really, and like well drained, fertile soil.  I watered them when we had quite dry weather so the soil wouldn’t dry out, but that was it.  They are ready for harvest when the greens die back.  Then I hang them in our back room to dry out completely.  This year I am planning on planting some in the winter, too.  I think it is more typical to grow it then.  That will be my first attempt at winter gardening!

Freshly dug garlic.

Freshly dug garlic.

I was pretty happy with the quality of the soil as I was digging up the garlic.  We’ll be adding our compost to the beds as we continue to harvest the different vegetables, and fruit. It really does help the soil!  As for quality of soil, I have another story to tell.

Garlic & Geraniums

Garlic & Geraniums

Cristo garlic.

Cristo garlic.

My obelisk a few months ago.

My clematis starting to climb the obelisk a few months ago.

Back in March I posted about an obelisk which I set up for my clematis.  (You can read about it here: https://mominthegarden.wordpress.com/2013/03/06/my-showy-hellebores-an-obelisk-and-a-chocolate-pudding-recipe/ ) My clematis, ‘Bagatelle’ (Dorothy Walton), had one single flower last year!  We had moved it the year before as it was in a terrible position.  Fearing wilt after all of the rain we had last year, we needed to do something.  The soil in which it was planted really needed some extra attention. We dug it up and added compost, aerated the soil, fed it, and hoped for the best.  The difference in the plant this year is amazing.

Late blooming clematis early in the season.

My clematis early in the season.

This was the first flower this season. It has really thin petals (they get bigger as it develops).

Clematis after some rain.

Clematis (‘Bagatelle’ Dorothy Walton) after some rain.

Clematis in full glory!

Clematis in full glory!

There are a few different types of clematis. Mine is a late season variety.  So in February I will be pruning it back to about 12 inches from the ground, just above an old leaf joint.  That way I will continue to have flowers all along the plant, and not just at the top.

The obelisk is getting covered!

The obelisk is getting covered!

The plant climbed up the obelisk, and then right back down again! I’ve seen plenty of clematis that would have taken over this little obelisk!  But for now, this one will work for us.

'Bagatelle' Dorothy Walton Clematis

The flowers of the ‘Bagatelle’ Dorothy Walton Clematis face the morning sun.

I took this picture yesterday. There are still new blooms!

I took this picture yesterday. There are still new blooms!

Now that the clematis is doing so well, I’m thinking of getting another one. 🙂

Which is your favorite variety of clematis?
Dana