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 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,

Happy Birthday to me with a Chamaecyparis nootkatensis “Pendula” tree!

Chamaecyparis n. "Pendula".

Chamaecyparis nootkatensis “Pendula”.

The proverb “good things come to those who wait” came to mind as the Yellow Furze nursery delivery truck pulled into our driveway. Ever since taking notice of trees around me; their shapes, colors, sizes, I’ve wanted one of these “droopy” trees.  As it turns out, my neighbor James has a mature Chamaecyparis nootkatensis “Pendula” in his garden. I was able to see what it looks like after 25 years (it is beautiful!).  So for my birthday, which was back in September, I ordered this conical tree.  It just arrived today! I didn’t mind the wait since September, though.  That gave me time to put some newspapers down to kill the grass.  I used our “turtle sandbox” cover on top of the papers to keep them all in place, and to give me the round shape.   My husband kindly dug the hole for the tree.  I love it. I think it fits in perfectly.

Marked area ready to be dug up.

Marked area ready to be dug up.

Another view of my new droopy tree!

My new droopy tree!

My favorite thing about it is the droopy look of the branches.  It has a character all its own!  I don’t mind the small size for now. It will grow in time, and as it does the garden will grow with it.  Such simple pleasures! 🙂



The other saying that keeps popping up in my head these days is “Rome wasn’t built in a day”.  Yeah, maybe you can guess that I’ve been working on pulling down the ivy from my Hawthorn trees?  It really is mentally challenging!  The brambles and ivy are completely entwined with the trees and surrounding front and back areas.  I wasn’t sure if I’d find any more of the ditch wall, but surprisingly a few sections of it have been uncovered!

The new (pink!) gloves my kids gave me for Christmas to protect me from the Hawthorn thorns!

The new (pink!) gloves my kids gave me for Christmas to protect me from the Hawthorn thorns! And a view of the back of our trees where all of the brambles & ivy seem to thrive!

I would love to write about how easy it is to pull up the ivy, and cut the brambles, and that the hawthorn “thorns” weren’t sharp at all.  Yeah, except that would be lying. 🙂   For me it is enough that my husband has taken note of the laborious work entailed in freeing up the Hawthorn trees.   If the rest of the row of trees looks as good as the first tree I cleared last year, we’ll be delighted with the results!

Uncovering part of the ditch wall!

Uncovering part of the ditch wall!

Boy do I wish I had a finished “after” photo to show you though!  (This is where I chant “Rome wasn’t built in a day”…)

Looking for some encouragement here ... Go Dana, Go Dana, Go Dana...

Looking for some encouragement here … Go Dana, Go Dana, Go Dana…

A dark day, but we can see through the trees!

A dark day, but we can see through the trees!

And here is what I still have ahead of me :-)

And here is what I still have ahead of me 🙂

This is what keeps me going - The first Hawthorn and section of the ditch wall which I uncovered from ivy.

This is what keeps me going – The first Hawthorn and section of the ditch wall which I uncovered from ivy.

I found a little bit of color in the garden today.  These primroses weren’t recognizable when I moved them into my little “nursery” garden from the front gate garden this past summer.  The slugs *love* primroses!  I threw them into the nursery to see if they’d survive, and it seems they did.  The slugs still enjoy eating them, but at least they are recognizable for the moment.






Primroses, with a bit of a slug signature.

I’m so happy with my little droopy tree (Chamaecyparis nootkatensis “Pendula”)! Yes, I think it is worth waiting for what you really want.  I hope if you’ve been waiting for something special, that it finds its way to you!