Rejuvenating the soul with a weekend in the garden

Hello, and welcome to my blog! It is no secret that I have been struggling with this latest lockdown here in Ireland. I understand why we need it, I’ve just found it much harder to adjust this time. I am very happy to say that this weekend I felt an actual lifting of my spirits as I worked away in the garden over two beautiful days. My pace is slow and steady, which is good enough for me. I’ve also been practicing my mantra of ‘every little bit helps’. So over the past week I’ve managed to get a bunch of little things done around the garden, all from spending just a short amount of time doing small jobs. Of course it all adds up!

So what’s happening in the garden? I think the biggest job I’ve completed is pruning the roses. I struggle with this job only because I need to be ruthless and just get the job done, and I tend to over think it. I haven’t appreciated how many rose plants I’ve collected, until pruning them all this year! I have to say that I was more ruthless than ever before, so hopefully they’ll appreciate that. According to the gardening program I’ve been watching on Instagram, called Gardening Conversations, (I think I’ve mentioned it previously), you can do a hard prune every three to five years. Their advice was to get your worst enemy to prune your roses – to get the ‘hard prune’ that you hate to do! ๐Ÿ™‚

Another big job we’ve been working on is creating a new flower bed. I had some sod removed back in November when we had our birch trees planted, and then my husband finished removing the rest of the sod last week. The bed looks really good because we (read: my husband) then added a very thick layer of our compost on top. There’s a good 4 inches of compost along with lots of worms. I can’t wait to get some plants in there! It will be a partly sunny garden, as I wanted a bed with some shade. Stay tuned to see what plants we pick!

Speaking of adding new plants: there are a couple of new Hellebore plants which I’ve welcomed into my garden recently. They are from Altamont Gardens, in Carlow. I’ve been meaning to visit Altamont for years! Sadly, I’ll have to wait a bit longer due to the lockdown. They were selling some of their plants via Instagram, though, and I’m delighted with the two I now have.

The other little jobs I’ve been doing have been part of my winter clean up. I’ve cut down dead fennel, aster, and sedum stems. I’ve also started to do some weeding. I want to spread more compost in the beds and I’d prefer to have most of the weeds gone before I do that. I want to feed the soil, not the weeds!

I’m so thankful that the days are brighter, well into the evening. It makes such a difference to my mood, and allows me some garden time after work!

I hope you are doing well and that you are enjoying the extended daylight, too!

In Peace,
Dana

collage of 2 hellebore plants
collage of 2 hellebore plants

I’m starting with the pictures with my two new hellebores, which I think are very pretty. They are Harvington Double Apricots and Harvington Double Reds. The Apricot flower can look a pale yellow as well as the apricot hue. The Double Reds seem more of a burgundy/pink color than red to me. I think they fit in perfectly! They are planted in the new ‘birch trees bed’ among the iris.

collage of hellebore flowers

Here are some of my other hellebore plants. The newest one is the Helleborus ‘Anemone Picotee’ which has purple veins on the petals (the three corner pictures). The Center picture is Winter Sunshine, and the top left corner is the SP Frilly Isabelle. The other pictures are from plants that were given to me, and I don’t have their names. They all add some lovely color to the garden at this time of year.

pruned roses
hard prune of roses

There was a progression with the roses. It took me a few days to completely prune one plant as each time I’d take off a bit more, and a bit more, and a bit more! I am happy with the hard prune that I eventually ended up with. I hope the plants are happy, too! ๐Ÿ™‚

Pruned roses and pink anemone

Here’s another look at the roses, but I took the picture because of this single, bright pink anemone. Isn’t that color something?

collage of compost and freshly dug bed

Here’s a look at our compost and the newly dug up bed. The pallets which are the walls for our compost structure, have seen better days. This summer I’ll have to decide on a new place to have our compost, so the plan is to fix the structure then. The compost we’re using now is a year old (the pile on the far right).

view of garden at front gate

I cleaned this bed up over the weekend. The Pittosporum, Tom Thumb, in the right corner, adds wonderful texture. The lavender next to it looks much nicer when it is in bloom! The burgundy colored plant that lines both sides of the bed is Bergenia. The flowers of this variety of Bergenia are very bright pink. Otherwise there isn’t a lot going on in this bed at the moment!

Full rainbow garden view

This bed is ready for some more compost. I have a few new plants in here, which I can’t wait to see!

henhouse with flowers

I’ve added some flowers to the front of the girls’ house. I can look out onto their house and run while in our kitchen and this way I can see the flowers more often than I could when they were on the back porch. I always enjoy seeing flowers, so this is a win/win for me!

close up picture of hen

The chickens are so curious and will get very close to my phone when I’m taking pictures. It isn’t so easy to get good shots because they never stay still! I like this one, though. I can’t remember which hen this is, and I tell them apart by looking at their back feathers, so we’ll just have to guess! (My guess is Iris.)

Thank you so much for visiting! I hope you are keeping well, and safe. Take care! ๐Ÿ™‚

Seizing the moment this Valentine’s weekend

Hi there! Welcome to my blog. Life is still pretty crazy, and the news isn’t really getting much better, but something wonderful happened this weekend. I just let every worry go and went outside and had some silly fun with my girls! It was freezing, it was wet, it was snowy, but most of all it was just what I needed.

When I mention ‘my girls’, I’m usually referring to my chickens, but this time I actually mean my daughters. They are 16 and 20 and they are really a delight. This lock down can’t be easy for any of us, and they are holding up so well. I’m glad we had the opportunity to get out and have a bit of fun.

Our area is not really known for snow. Admittedly, we’ve had a few dustings this winter, and it has definitely been colder than usual. But for whatever reason, the snow this weekend had all three of us going outside and having a bit of fun. We were out long enough to make a snowman and take some pictures, which was the perfect amount of time! Our snowman was the laying down variety, since the snow was too heavy for us to lift the body (it was really, really wet!). By the time we rolled the three parts, most of the snow had been rolled up!

I’m so glad we did it. I was tempted to stay inside and just watch them from the window (I don’t like the cold!). It was so worth being with them and a part of their silliness. I probably need to do that a little more often!

I hope you’ve had the chance to be silly, too! I think it is good for all of us.

Take care!

In Peace,
Dana

Mom in the garden and her daughters playing in the snow

I’m so glad the girls aren’t ‘too old’ for having fun in the snow! (You can see the grass showing after we rolled the snowman!) Everything was green again the next day – washed away with the rain.

Playhouse in snow February

We’ve had more snowfall this year than usual. We’ve had a long stretch of rainy, cold, or snowy weather!

collage anemone, hellebores, snowdrops

The sun managed to visit us just today! It was lovely to get some pictures of the flowers currently blooming! (clockwise from top left: Hellebore (unknown variety), anemone, snowdrops, Winter Sunshine hellebore)

Hellebore Winter Sunshine February 14 closeup
hellebore Winter Sunshine

The Winter Sunshine hellebore is really starting to come into full bloom. There are so many flowers! It never disappoints.

Hellebore dark pink
Hellebore full plant dark pink

This dark pink hellebore plant is also starting to come along. I have hellebores at different stages, and this one is not as far along as the Winter Sunshine. You can actually see the Winter Sunshine hellebore in the top right hand corner of the above picture.

Snowdrops February 14 full sun and open
snowdrops collage

These snowdrops have never looked as ‘happy’ as they do this year! I especially like the green markings. They are so dainty, and when they are fully open they look like miniature lampshades. These were a gift from a friend’s garden, years ago, and have been divided at least once. But this group here is the showiest.

Anemone purple February 14

Last but not least, we have this anemone, which isn’t a Mr. Fokker, like the rest in my garden. So I’m unsure what it is. I found the color to be quite pretty, though.

blue sky snow fall playhouse

We did have one blue sky day this week, and it was just beautiful. I’m so thankful for days like this, which really lift my spirits!

chocolate heart cookie

I hope you’ve had a wonderful Valentine’s weekend, and have been made to feel special! Thank you for visiting, and do take care! ๐Ÿ™‚

Life is still beautiful

Columbine

This flower is known as Columbine, Aquilegia or Granny’s bonnet

Hi there! This Covid-19 has me up and down, and spinning all around. Honestly I find myself relishing being home all the time and at the same time feeling guilty because, well, I like being home all the time. I go out once a week to do our grocery shopping, and that’s it. I think I feel the most stress when I am out shopping, because it is during this time that I think about the fact that this is a pandemic. We are living through a pandemic. And while so many people will recover after getting Covid-19, many people will not. I try not to have that thought hang around in my head for too long, but I do acknowledge it.

Hawthorn flowers

Some of the Hawthorn trees are in bloom with these lovely white flowers that are lightly scented

Since the stay at home order was initiated, we have started a new family routine of everyone meeting in the tv room, every night, for the evening news. This was something that we just never did before. I’m glad we do it now. We listen, we discuss, we think about what is happening, and best of all, we are together. We also enjoy family dinners together – every night! With our crazy schedules, that was quite a feat before the stay at home orders. The kids are old enough to help out, too. And by ‘help out’ I mean they make dinner start to finish and then clean up (we are so appreciative!). I’m proud to say that their meals are top notch, too. So for me, there have been many benefits, which I am quick to balance with the knowledge that for so many, there are terrible hardships.

Rosemary flowers

My Rosemary plant is in full bloom with tiny blueish flowers

There is one thing that is constant, though, and that is that there is beauty all around us – pandemic or not. Look and you shall find … Beauty: in nature, in the trees, in the flowers, in the weather, in family and friends, in smiles (that perhaps we can’t see behind the face masks, but are there nonetheless). There are people doing “good deeds” all around the world, and I challenge you to share those good news stories. Better still, be the one doing those good deeds. Now, more than ever, we need to be supporting one another and lifting each other up.

Strawberry Hill Climber David Austin Rose

My roses have just begun to bloom. This one is called Strawberry Hill, and is a David Austin climber

I hope you are keeping well, in every sense of the word. As always, I find my garden to be my sanctuary. I hope you’ll enjoy a bit of a tour around the garden to see what is blooming now and what is coming shortly. It seems to change every day. Take care!

In Peace,
Dana

Syringa vulgaris Sensation

Syringa vulgaris ‘Sensation’

This lilac with variegated flowers is full of blooms this year. I’ve been waiting patiently for this to happen, as it usually only produces a few blooms. Whether it is full of flowers, or has just a few, it is still a lovely shrub to have!

Lilac shrubs

On the left: Syringa v Sensation and next to it: Syringa v Ludwig Spaeth

Syringa Ludwig Spaeth

Syringa v Ludwig Spaeth has deep redish-purple flowers

Ludwig Spaeth lilac

A little evening sunlight on our Ludwig Spaeth lilac

The allium are also blooming now. I have some that I planted many years ago, which are a light purple color. They have spread, and this year there are quite a few of them, although their blooms are somewhat small. We also have some newer ‘Purple Sensation’ allium, that are not in full bloom yet. Their color is ‘WOW’ purple! ๐Ÿ™‚

allium group

Allium (not ‘Purple Sensation’)

Allium Purple Sensation

Allium ‘Purple Sensation’

Allium closeup

Allium ‘Purple Sensation’ not quite in full bloom

Allium from above

Allium ‘Purple Sensation’ from above

Allium + bamboo

Allium with our bamboo in the foreground

OK, the bamboo needs to be addressed. I was given a small pot of bamboo quite a few years ago. It is a black variety, I believe. But I haven’t found the right spot for it in the yard (yet), so I’ve kept it in a pot, and then divided it, and then divided it, and then divided it, and here we are! I think it has been too dry for it this spring, but otherwise it is usually happy.

Queen of the Night + Allium

Queen of the Night tulips with ‘Purple Sensation’ Allium

The beautiful Queen of the Night tulips are still looking lovely. We’ve had a mild spring, both related to rain and wind, so it is nice to enjoy them this length of time.

single Queen of the Night tulip

A single Queen of the Night tulip

Rose bed pre bloom

The rose bed with Queen of the Night tulips, ‘Purple Sensation’ allium and roses

This next plant doesn’t usually get any ‘blog time’ at this stage of the season. But I believe the dry spring has helped with us not having the dreaded black spot. I usually cut the leaves off of this hellebore for most of the season, due to black spot. The flowers may be finished, but I’m really enjoying the beautiful blue tinge leaves of my Winter Sunshine hellebore!

Helleborus Winter Sunshine

Helleborus Winter Sunshine

I also have a white lilac. It is actually light pink, until it opens white. I think the closed pink flowers are as pretty as the open ones!

Lilac Syringa v Beauty of Moscow

Syringa v Beauty of Moscow

Syringa v Beauty of Moscow closeup

Lilac Beauty of Moscow

Orange poppies + erysimum

California Poppies and Erysimum ‘Super Bowl’ Mauve

What a combination of colors with the California Poppies and the Erysimum ‘Super Bowl’ mauve! I love the boldness of the orange and purple! What do you think?

California Poppy with purple background

California Poppy with Erysimum ‘Super Bowl’ Mauve

Globe artichoke from above

Globe artichoke from above

We don’t eat the Globe artichokes. I love their beauty in the garden!

Globe artichoke

Globe artichoke

artichoke plant

The full globe artichoke plant – can you see the very tiny artichoke (center right)?

What’s up next?ย  These two beauties!

Iris pre bloom

Iris โ€˜Benton Storringtonโ€™

Peony pre bloom

Peony

Take care, and stay tuned to see what blooms next in the garden! ๐Ÿ™‚