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 🙂

 

Good things come to those who wait … for Chickens!

The chickens can be seen out our kitchen window

The chicken(s) can be seen out our kitchen window

I can just hear you say “Welcome back, Dana!” as you read this post. Yes, I find as I get older that time seems to go much, much faster than it used to, and I just don’t get as much done as I’d like to! But alas, here I am writing a post (finally).

Chicken in the coop

Chicken in the coop

“So, what’s new?” you ask? Well, after waiting nearly 11 years, I am now the proud owner of chickens! It is kind of a funny thing to want, and to wait for, but before we moved to Ireland I had it in my head that I wanted to get chickens. There have been many good reasons why we didn’t get them over the years. But thankfully, there were no excuses this year and we now have 4 chickens and a cute little hen house.

Two chickens in the coop

Yep, we went in their tiny run to get some pictures!

Their current run is small. We intend to build a nice size run for them in the coming weeks. Although we’ve done some reading on the subject, we just wanted to get them and see how it went! Ideally, they’ll get out to roam in the garden, but our schedules are so crazy that I’d rather they have a nice, secure and safe (read: fully enclosed) “back yard” to play in whenever they want.

chicken coop outside view

The girls spend their day alternating between staying inside their coop and going outside.

I live in the country, so to source chickens I simply asked my neighbor, who is a farmer. I quickly had the name and number of a breeder in the next town. Easy peasy. Our chickens are a Rhode Island Red hybrid. They are 23 weeks old, and should start laying eggs in the next week or so, hopefully.

view of chickens from kitchen window

another view from the kitchen window

The girls are quite friendly! Unfortunately, I haven’t spent enough time with them to know who is who. They are all called “the girls” for now, although we do have names picked out for them when we can figure out their personalities!

Hyacinth

Hyacinth

Getting chickens has always been my thing. My kids were never interested in this idea, and wondered why I was so intent on getting them. But all three of them have spent their free time “playing” with the girls. O.K., chickens don’t really “do” anything, so playing with them means watching them, taking pictures of them, laughing at them, and of course, speaking chicken to them! I love it. I think everyone should have chickens!

Viburnum opulus 'Roseum' tulips Don Quichotte and Mystic van Eijk

Viburnum opulus ‘Roseum’ surrounded by tulips Don Quichotte and Mystic van Eijk

I suppose I knew it already, but this is just another example of the idea that if you really want something, it will be worth the wait, and not to give up hope on getting it!

pink hyacinth in a jug with chicken house in the background

Hyacinth and chickens 🙂

Flowers and chickens, yes, that is what makes me smile! It is the simple pleasures in life that make it all the sweeter!

I hope you have sweetness in your life, too!

In peace,
Dana