A garden to be thankful for

Hello there! Welcome to my blog, where today I’m all about gratitude. Don’t get me wrong, I practice being grateful on a regular basis. But today, I went out to the garden not too hopeful that I’d find much to make an arrangement with. Boy was I mistaken! It just made me appreciate all of the weird and quirky stuff that I have – that might not look all that neat and tidy in the garden – but is lovely to have all the same.

My family and I moved to Ireland 12 years ago, and we usually celebrate Thanksgiving on either the weekend before or after the actual American Thanksgiving. This year, with my daughter having exams the week of Thanksgiving, we celebrated this weekend. I’m lucky as my husband is a very good cook, and enjoys cooking special dinners like this. So that leaves cleaning to me (with help from the kids). It’s not a bad deal. ūüôā It’s even better still, when I start my ‘cleaning’ by making a flower arrangement!

I can critically say that this is not my best arrangement. There was too much going on. But I really wanted to use everything I’d gathered, so I decided to leave it. Here’s my critique: The ornamental grass has neat curls at the ends, which I love, but I’m not sure if it comes across well. The striking, black stemmed bamboo is somewhat lost in the middle, and perhaps too tall. The Rosemary is a bit too ‘out-there’, while the lovely red dogwood branches can’t fully be seen (but they do tie in nicely with the hesperanthus, when you can see them). Lot’s of ‘imperfection’!

Now for the positives: The amount of red hesperanthus (also known as schizostylis, or kaffir lily) is fantastic! I never would have imagined that I had that much in the garden, when I’d taken cuttings a few times already. The purple Mr. Fokker anemone were completely closed up when I cut them in the garden – the perfect time to use them. It was lucky to have so many that are at just the right stage. I have lots and lots of invasive ivy, but it sure is pretty! I find it to be an excellent filler plant. There were 3 daisies in the garden, so I figured why not bring them in, too? The back of the arrangement has two small stems of golden yarrow. Lastly, there are pink David Austin roses, which thankfully had long stems.

Despite my strong critique, I do really like it! It’s very visible in our hallway, where everyone can enjoy it. Mostly, I’m thankful to be able to go out into the yard and gather up something that can be arranged for decoration! I find it really relaxing and enjoyable. After this, I had no problem with getting all of my cleaning done!

We had a lovely, and delicious, Thanksgiving. We have so much to be thankful for! And on that list is most definitely my garden, and those who like to read my blog about it! Thank you!!!

In Peace,
Dana

finished arrangement November 29 inside pic
The finished arrangement.
Flower arrangement
The finished arrangement, outside (in sunlight).
Mr Fokker anemone, Hesperanthus and David Austin Roses
A close up of the Hesperanthus (Schizostylis), Mr. Fokker Anemone, David Austin roses and ivy.
The back of the arrangement
This is the back of the arrangement. I believe this is Achillea filipendulina ‘Cloth of Gold’, with Daisies and Hesperanthus.

Tapping the top of container for flower arranging
It isn’t very pretty, how I tape up the container, but it does work to help to hold stems in place. I also had some marbles in the bottom of the container.
bunches of flowers before beginning arrangement
This is what I started with!
Irish Robin
This little Robin followed me around the garden as I cut flowers!
Anemone Nov 29th arrangement
I love the little details of the ivy and the anemone.
November flower arrangement
This is the best picture for seeing the red branches of the dogwood.
Flower arrangement
The ivy on the left, in front, had a natural curve in it that I think is wonderful!
flower arrangement
This is my favorite part of the arrangement – this burst of color.
flower arrangement outside
Outside view
inside flower arrangement
Home.

What do you think? A bit too wild? It’s fun to play and learn! Take care, and stay safe! ūüôā

Birch trees – Part of the plan all along

Hello! You are very welcome to my blog. A wonderful thing took place this week. Something that I’ve wanted and planed for a very long time, finally happened. The truth is, in the past I have struggled with decisions. It could be paralyzing, actually, not being able to decide on one thing over the other. Turns out, it was a sign of a lack of self belief. Once I discovered this, I began to focus – a lot more – on trusting myself. While I have improved, I sometimes still grapple a bit. This had even spilled over to the garden. Picking items to plant, and where to plant them sometimes was a real struggle. I have been wanting to get some trees for a very long time, but could not get everything right in my head to make it happen. But a couple of weeks ago I finally nailed down exactly what I wanted and where I wanted them. And this week, it all came to pass when five Birch trees and one Magnolia tree were planted.

I would be telling an untruth if I said I wasn’t a little stressed about where exactly to put the trees. But we had them placed in exactly the spot I had envisioned for them, and I could not be happier. Although I have not created a formal layout of our garden, I have always had ideas in my head of what I wanted each section to look like. I would probably recommend creating a formal layout, though! As we change up and expand different sections of the garden going forward, I’ll be drawing up my plans. This is especially helpful as my husband needs a clearer picture than my vague descriptions if he is going to help! ūüôā

The trees really are something to see. We are so happy with how they look. The staggering of the five trees also creates a small bed underneath, which I already have plans for. The variety of the Magnolia tree is called Heaven Scent. There were rave reviews online, so I’m really looking forward to seeing if the scent is as lovely as they say!

We were so lucky with the weather, too. After a week of ‘unsettled weather’ (that means bucket loads of rain along with gusty winds) we had a beautiful, blue-sky day for the trees to be planted. The next day the ‘unsettled weather’ returned.

And that is the story of how my Birch and Magnolia trees came to be!

Now, if I could just figure out how to work with that great big rock in our front yard…

Take care!

In Peace,
Dana

birch trees view of fields
A view of the five birch trees in our front garden. We worked with a local nursery, Nature Works. We were delighted to have the heavy duty work done so easily!
birch trees close up
A close up view of the Birch trees.
front yard view before trees
A view of the yard before the trees arrived. That is the large rock I referred to. Any suggestions???
birch trees end of day
A little blue sky and sun brighten the landscape up tremendously!
birch trees full front view
A full view of the front garden.
Magnolia tree
The Heaven Scent Magnolia is between the Nootka Cypress and the cherry tree.
Cornus Florida end of Oct
I couldn’t resist this picture of our flowering dogwood tree (Cornus Florida ‘Cherokee Chief’). Isn’t it beautiful?
Erysimum 'Super Bowl' Mauve
Erysimum ‘Super Bowl’ Mauve is a must have in the garden. This plant is just so easy, and brightens up the garden, where ever it is planted.
schizostylis RED end of Oct
I showed you pink last week, but I also have red Schizostylis (Hesperanthus or Kaffir Lily). That is a dogwood shrub with burnt orange/yellow leaves in the background, which will show off its red stems in the winter.
Rainbow in garden end of Oct

We had a pretty rainbow in between the rain, although it was still very windy. It is hard to believe we could have such lovely weather and then such horrible weather, back to back! I hope the weather by you has been good! As always, stay safe and healthy and thanks for visiting! ūüôā

Thankful for the Birdsong

Mrs Hop's Scarecrow

My friend Betty made this scarecrow for me many years ago.

I’m going to be honest; I haven’t worked in my garden in weeks, other than deadheading some of my roses. But every single day I am thankful to be able to look out into my garden and enjoy what is there. The garden will always attract me, but I also love watching the birds in and around the garden. It seems to be the perfect time of year for starlings to put on their shows – or murmurations. It is so neat to watch! Our garden is filled with birds, as there is still a lot for them to eat.

June 2013 Monsignor McCloskey in the garden

Monsignor McCloskey in the church garden in 2013, in Fayetteville, NY

Three very dear friends of mine, all of whom sadly have now passed away, also had a love of birds. Monsignor McCloskey used to have several bird feeders outside his living room window so that he could watch them during the day in his retirement. He also had a wrist watch that had several different bird whistles that it could play on command. He loved showing this to the children before or after mass on a Sunday!

Betty & Harold at the 4th of July parade in 2006 in Manlius, NY

Betty (far left in blue top) & Harold with my very young children at the 4th of July parade in 2006 in Manlius, NY

My other friends, and former neighbors, Betty and Harold, had their bird feeders right outside their kitchen window. I loved my visits with Monsignor and my visits with Betty and Harold, and it was such a bonus to get to enjoy the bird shows, too!

Aug 2015 bird at Betty's feeder

At a visit to ‘Betty’s kitchen’ in 2015

Aug 2015 hummingbird drinking at Betty's window

This was a a treat for me while visiting Betty and Harold in 2015 as I rarely see hummingbirds!

Aug 2015 chipmunk at Betty's feeder

O.K., so not always birds at Betty’s bird feeders!

I think of Monsignor, Betty, and Harold now as I marvel at the starling’s formations, or as I enjoy the birdsong that is constant in my yard, despite not having a ‘bird feeder’. I miss them, and am so thankful for the many years we enjoyed each other’s friendship. I still can’t believe how blessed I am to have had such special people in my life.

Tree full of birds Nov 16

This tree, as seen from my yard, is always filled with either starlings or crows, depending on the day!

They have had such a huge impact on me, simply by being themselves. I can still hear their voices, and their words of wisdom and comfort, and their laughs. They might not be here in person, but they are always with me in my heart.

Dead sunflowers with Goldfinch Oct 2019

These sunflowers will be left for most of the winter. In the middle of this picture (although not in focus) is a lovely male Goldfinch, noted by his red face and black and white head.

I’m thankful for the pure beauty of the birdsong, and the chance to not only hear it but to see the birds in all of their singing glory. I’m also thankful for those who share in this love of birdsong, especially Monsignor, Betty and Harold. May we each find our own ‘birdsong’.

I wish all of my American family and friends a Happy Thanksgiving!

In Peace,
Dana

Dried fall flowers Thanksgiving 2019

Dried fall flower arrangement.

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 ūüėČ

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