Not exactly ‘business as usual’

single anemone on ground

anemone ‘Mr. Fokker’

Hi there. I’ve been quiet here on the blog front. Honestly, I’m not sure what to say. In some cases, it is ‘business as usual’ and life is more or less ticking along. But in so many other cases, it is not ‘business as usual’ and lives are completely disrupted. There is a lot of stress, uncertainty and tremendous loss as a result of Covid-19. So I feel funny jumping on here and talking about my garden. But I also know that there are many good things that have happened during this situation and even because of this situation, which I hope you’ve also witnessed and experienced. And while life can be quite serious at the moment, I hope that a little deviation from that, with some pictures of flowers, can alleviate the situation, even if for a short time. Welcome to my sanctuary! 🙂

early spring ditch wall garden

signs of spring with daffodils and tulips coming into bloom

Narcissus Ice King Double Daffodil

Narcissus ‘Ice King’ (Double Daffodil)

ice king daffodils and red tulips

always searching for the perfect angle

There is always weeding to do in the garden. I’m not sure that anyone really likes weeding, but the place sure looks better after its done! Given that we can’t go anywhere, I’ve been able to spend more time on that task than I would usually. I’m slowly getting around the garden to each bed. It is a lot of work, and sometimes I really have to talk myself into it. But it is always worth doing, even if just a little bit at a time. It helps for me to see the next set of plants pushing up through the soil. The continuity of the garden with its flowers and trees is something very special to me. It brings hope for tomorrow.

lilac buds

the new buds on our lilac shrubs

Lilies in April

Lilies, which won’t bloom until July, have already pushed through the soil.

This next picture caught my attention. The tulip leaves, especially, are quite ragged looking, and I would have described them as having wind-burn (as we live in a very windy area). But I did a quick google search as I was putting this post together, only to discover that these tulips have something called ‘tulip fire’. So this is the last picture I have of them in the ground because I immediately went out and had them dug up (thank you, husband!). Tulip fire is a fungal disease of tulips caused by Botrytis tulipae, and the only treatment is removing the tulips – and not replanting with tulips in that bed for 3 years. A sad day for my Viburnum plant, as it will now look quite bare without the tulips. I’ve posted a few pictures below, about the tulip fire, just so you know what it looks like and to be aware.

Viburnum and tulips

Viburnum opulus ‘Roseum’ and Mystic van Eijk tulips with beech hedge still in winter mode

leaves with tulip fire fungus

Infected tulip leaves (tulip fire fungus)

Tulip fire cut tulips

a bouquet of ‘tulip fire’ infected Mystic van Eijk tulips 😦

Mystic van Eijk tulips

Mystic van Eijk tulips with ‘tulip fire’

Moving on to more healthy plants…

narcissus actea pheasants eye

narcissus actea ‘pheasants eye’

narcissus actea pheasants eye

narcissus actea ‘pheasants eye’

daffodil side profile

daffodil season

daffodils

Purple hyacinth

hyacinth and anemone

single mr fokker anemone

Mr. Fokker anemone

The daffodils are blooming, as are the hyacinth and anemone. The bright pink of the aubrieta can be seen from afar! While the hellebores are just finishing up their season, there are so many other plants now coming to life. I’m so thankful that I do get to spend time in the garden.

aubrieta April full bed

Aubrieta in full bloom

white hyacinth

white hyacinth and a white (spotted) hellebore

Spring show hyacinth hellebore lilacs with buds

A spring showing with lilacs coming into bud and hyacinth in bloom while hellebores are at the end of their season

Single white flower Winter Sunshine hellebore

a single white flower of the Winter Sunshine hellebore, at the very end of its season

Bleeding Heart - Dicentra spectabilis

Bleeding Heart – Dicentra spectabilis with baby blooms!

I am mindful of all of those people who are suffering due to Covid-19. I keep those thoughts close to my heart, to keep everything in perspective. I also focus on the many blessings in our lives, right now. And I pray. I pray for everyone’s safety and well being, especially during these uncertain times.

Let me know how you are doing! I would love to hear from you!

In Peace,
Dana

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 🙂

 

When things don’t go as planned…

beds of garlic in the garden

Visual status update on our Vallelado Garlic (image from Jan 22nd)

Well hello there! I confess that I had not expected to take this long to write my next blog post. I don’t strictly follow a schedule, but I usually work as much as possible in the garden, in my free time during the week, and then I write about what I did.

gardening beds weeded and covered in compost

“Winterizing” the beds: completely weeding the bed and then working compost into the soil

But for the past number of weeks, I have not worked in the garden … at all. This is very unusual for me, as the garden is my happy place! Thankfully, though, I’ve recently started to get back into the swing of things, and I’ve managed to spend some time in the garden.

Most of the beds have been cleared, weeded, and had compost added (most but not all!)

What’s going on in the garden?  I’ve tidied up some beds (read: massive amounts of weeding done!) and covered them with compost. I’ve also started weeding one of my main flower beds so that the winter flowering plants have some breathing room (poppy plants are covering every square inch of free soil!).  And the biggest project is to clean up one corner of the yard for my new adventure which I will start this spring!

a "before" picture of a messy part of the garden

This is the official “before” picture of the corner which we are re-working!

O.K., so the big adventure is that we are going to get chickens! I’m planning to get them in April, but I want to make sure this area is ready for them. Look at that mess in the picture above! The stone path, as well as the two beds, are all covered in an invasive weed (which I have not been able to identify).  The only way to clean this up was to clear it all out.

garden beds covered in weeds with cleared path

Progress???

First to go were the weeds on the stones, and then the stones.  The stones in the back section of this corner will probably stay – I’m undecided on this point actually.  I’d like to get rid of them, but not sure where to put them! Oh, did I mention that my son and my husband have been helping, too?  Admittedly, this job is anything but fun. So we’ve been doing it in small sections.

garden beds of soil

definite progress!

Those invasive weeds really worried me.  But we are managing to clear them and their massive roots.  It still needs a lot of work, but we’re getting there!

Hellebore Winter Sunshine

Hellebore Winter Sunshine

What else is on the agenda for this week? Pruning my rose plants.  I’m following my father-in-law’s lead, as his roses are simply beautiful every year (and he pruned his plants last week).  He asked me about mine the other day, and when I started to panic that I hadn’t pruned them yet, he reassured me that I’d have at least another week or two to get it done! 🙂

helleborus orientalis double ellen red

Helleborus orientalis double ellen red

I would like to get a better handle on the weeding, too, or my entire yard is going to have about a million poppies.  I’m not even kidding!

Helleborus frilly Isabelle

Helleborus frilly Isabelle

I’m thankful for the pretty flowers that my hellebore plants are showing off now.  They are really looking lovely, and the 3 different varieties are quite different from one another!  I have made a note to get some more!

snow drops covered in rain water

Snowdrop flowers covered in rain water

I’m so very glad to be back in the garden, and back to blogging! I hope that you have managed to keep doing what you like to do, even if time is scarce!

In Peace,
Dana

 

Fabulous Flower Friday: Hellebores

Hellebore

Hellebore

The star of this Fabulous Flower Friday: Hellebores!
Botanical name: Helleborus sps.

Hellebore

Hellebore

I’ve written about Hellebores before, but I thought it would be nice to have some detailed information about them. I even learned why mine aren’t flourishing …  😉

Hellebore

Hellebore

Hellebores are perennial plants which flower in late winter, being mostly frost resistant, and early spring.  They have been referred to as Christmas or Lenten Roses due to their flowering period.  Their appeal is not only for their lovely delicate flowers but their foliage as well.

hellebore deep purple

hellebore deep purple

Spring time is the ideal time to plant.  They like rich, well drained soil (bingo! that’s one of my issues …).  They are hardy plants and do especially well in shade.  My second problem is that they don’t like strong winds.

 

Hellebore Winter Sunshine

Hellebore Winter Sunshine (with most of the leaves cut away)

I usually add our organic compost to the plants in the fall.  I think I’ll be taking the advice of the Royal Horticultural Society though, and I’ll also add some general-purpose fertiliser this spring at 50-70g per square metre (1½-2 oz per square yard).

Hellebore

Hellebore: the flowers usually hang down

When to prune: late winter or early spring.  For me, it was obvious because my plants suffer from hellebore leaf spot.  For this fungus based disease, simply cut away the affected leaves and ensure that all diseased leaves are removed from around the plant. This is the best defence to keeping the plant healthy. Cutting away the leaves will also help to open up the plant and make the flowers more visible and also more available for insects.  This eases the pollination process, which is good for future seeds.

Hellebore

Hellebore (a deep purple)

The weather has been quite gray the past few weeks. I’d still go out into the garden, though, in search of something nice and it was delightful to see all of these beauties.

hellebore side view

hellebore Frilly Isabelle

Interesting fact from Wikipedia: The scientific name Helleborus derives from the Greek name for H. orientalis, ἑλλέβορος helléboros, from elein “to injure” and βορά borá “food”.[2] Many species are poisonous.

Hellebore Frilly Isabelle

Hellebore Frilly Isabelle

I bought the Frilly Isabelle last year while on a garden tour with my ‘gardening girlfriends’.   What a lovely day that was, and now I’m reminded of that day every time I see this beautiful flower!

Hellebore

Hellebore

There are so many varieties to choose from.  I have hellebores gracing 4 different flower beds, and I’m still collecting…

Susan's Hellebore

Hellebore from Susan’s garden

I hope you’ve learned something new about Hellebores today!  Maybe you’ll give them a try in your garden, too.

In peace,
Dana

February brings Spring to Ireland … sorta

signs of spring

signs of spring

Hmmm, I am wondering how I somehow sneak back into blogland after not posting anything for three months?  Do I just jump back in and pretend I’ve been here all along???  Or maybe I list the five million reasons why I haven’t been able to blog??? No, I think I’ll start with:

I have REALLY missed taking pictures and blogging!!!

O.K., now to my list of excuses 🙂   Suffice it to say that working, coaching, parenting kids who swim and Irish dance, and traveling 700 miles a week has kept me out of the garden. But it has been during this time when I couldn’t be on my blog that I discovered how much I truly enjoy working on my blog, and I really miss it.  So once again, I will do my best to stay on top of my garden and reporting all things beautiful to you (while hopefully maintaining a level of sanity)!

Daffodil bulbs - more signs of spring

Daffodil bulbs – more signs of spring

What could be more beautiful than the greens from bulbs pushing their way out of the soil?  I see this as new signs of life and hope for all things beautiful to come!  I can even ignore all of the weeds and ONLY see the new greens from the bulbs … because why spoil something so exciting?

Tulips pushing through

Tulips pushing through in the Rose Garden

Look at the stones in my soil!  I clear them away all the time, and new ones appear.   Ha!  The same thing happens with the weeds!

Winter Sunshine Helleborus

Winter Sunshine Helleborus

I bought this lovely “Winter Sunshine” Hellebore last year.  The flowers are really pretty!

Helleborus Winter Sunshine

Helleborus Winter Sunshine – look at all of those flowers!

Have I mentioned our weather to you? I titled today’s blog “February brings spring to Ireland … sorta” because the weather we have been having is more  “winter storm-like” than spring-like. We haven’t gone more than a day without rain, and I mean a lot of rain. The bad weather has been relentless since November. November!  We’ve had major (rain & wind) storm after storm after storm.  The funny thing about Ireland is, though, that the sun will peek out for a short amount of time every now and then… just enough to keep us from going completely crazy. Good thing!

Helleborus Winter Sunshine

Helleborus Winter Sunshine

O.K.,  now I have a picture that could win a prize for “Worst Garden Ever” due to the bed being completely taken over by grass.  This is why you should never have a wild flower garden where you really want a proper flower bed.  Lesson learned!

Grass is everywhere!

Grass is everywhere!

I definitely know that anything can be achieved by starting small. Just look at any of my gardening projects and you’ll know I have patience and perseverance. But this bed has me running for any other job in the garden!   I’m hoping one of these days I’ll just dive in and dig up that grass (again)!!!

Weeping Cypress Nootka

Weeping Cypress Nootka

Elsewhere in the garden… My weeping Cypress Nootka is well settled in now. I simply love it.

Abies Koreana

Abies Koreana

Almost directly across from my Weeping Cypress Nootka is my newest tree, an Abies Koreana.  It shouldn’t grow too big, and has a lovely “Christmas tree” shape.  We grow our garden one tree/plant at a time!

Ditch Wall Garden

Ditch Wall Garden

The color in my ditch wall garden is really striking at the moment, don’t you think?

Favorite Winter Flower - Anemone

Favorite Winter Flower – Anemone

I probably have too many pictures of my anemone, but I love the color they provide in the winter and very early spring months!

It was so lovely sharing my garden with you.  I hope you enjoyed it, too!

I hope that no matter what the weather is where you are that you are able to enjoy it! … and I also hope that the rain in Ireland eases up a bit so we can enjoy more time in the garden!

Happy Winter/Spring! 🙂

In peace,
Dana

My showy Hellebores, an Obelisk, and a Chocolate Pudding Recipe.

Hellebore in March.

Hellebore in March.

The saying goes “March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb” but the first few days of March were quite wonderful for us!  We’ve had mild days, with more sun than we’ve seen all of January & February combined.  The nights are still cold, but the evenings are ever brighter.  With the nicer weather, the Hellebore plants really started to come to life with lots of blooms.  The flower faces down to the ground, so I was happy to get the above picture, even if it meant that I was nearly on the ground myself!

Hellebore.

Hellebore.

They are a lovely flower to have in the garden since it blooms during that time when there really isn’t too much going on.  There are many different varieties, too.  I’m told that the flowers of the new varieties don’t face down, but face up!

Hellebore.

Hellebore.

I’m happy with my pink variety.  It seems happy with me, too, as it was big enough for me to divide last year, and now I have two plants.

Hellebore.

Hellebore on a sunny day.

There are some other signs of life in the garden, too.  My Clematis “Bagatella” Dorothy Walton  (photo taken in August 2012)

won’t bloom until August, but it has a bunch of new shoots.  I had been looking at getting something pretty for it to climb.  There were some lovely obelisk structures in one of my gardening magazines, but they were quite pricey.  So I was delighted to find something very similar in TK Maxx (TJ Maxx in the U.S.) at a very reasonable price!

My bargain obelisk.

My bargain obelisk.

Clematis 'Bagatella' (Dorothy Walton).

Clematis ‘Bagatella’ (Dorothy Walton).

Pleased as punch, so I was! I think it is just lovely, and fits the bill perfectly!  Now I can’t wait for the Clematis to bloom.  The Clematis has a story of its own.  It is one of the first plants that I bought when we moved into this house.  My neighbor from the States (that’s you Sally L.!) had the most beautiful Clematis in her yard.  So it was with thoughts of Sally’s plant that I made my purchase.  The problem was that I didn’t know where to put it, so I just stuck it by the fence.  My thinking was that it would climb the fence and be lovely.  Except it nearly died there.  It was terribly unhappy.  So I moved it and it limped along.  Although it did have one lovely flower last year, it  then seemed to have “wilt” from too much rain.  We dug it up, gave it lots of compost, aerated the soil, added some food and hoped for the best.  It seems the best is coming, as it really has taken off with lots of healthy shoots.  I am hopeful!

Now on to an unrelated topic.  I had to share this with you:  A chocolate pudding recipe that uses avocado!  I tried it just out of curiosity; that and the fact that I happened to have an avocado on hand when I came across the recipe.   It really tasted good!

Chocolate Avocado Pudding from Joyous Health.

Chocolate Avocado Pudding from Joyous Health.

You could definitely taste the avocado.  It is rather strange, and my kids were divided.  I liked it, and would consider this for a healthy snack.

Chocolate Avocado Pudding from Joyous Health.

Chocolate Avocado Pudding from Joyous Health.

What do you think??? Would you give it a try?

Happy & Healthy Gardening to you!

Dana

http://889yoga.com/blog/uncategorized/chocolate-avocado-pudding-recipe/

Chocolate Avocado Pudding recipe from Joyous Health

  • 1 ripe avocado, peel and seed removed
  • 1/3 cup raw cacao (Use the best quality you can find. I used Navitas — it has a beautiful rich aroma and taste)
  • 1/4 cup raw honey (I used local buckwheat Nude Bee honey)

Place all ingredients into a food processor or high power blend and blend until nice and smooth. If you want a thinner consistency, add 2-3 tbsp of almond milk. Sprinkle some raw cacao nibs on top! Blend and enjoy! Serves 2 generously. EnJOY!