Summer delights for motivation

Hi there! It is February and thankfully the weather has eased up a tiny bit. I was able to get out into the garden more this week and every minute was such a blessing. And while I do have pictures from this past week, instead of sharing those, I’m going to share my pictures of some of the flowers that I am looking forward to seeing in just a few months. I’m using them as motivation! I’ve started with my feature image at the top of the page, which is what the garden looked like in July last year!

I’m joining Garden Ruminations for the Six on Saturday meme. 🙂

I hope you enjoy my motivational trip down memory lane!

In Peace,
Dana

collage of fruit from the garden including strawberries, blueberries, pears and apples

1 – Fruit from the garden. Last year we finally caged up our blueberries. What a harvest we had! Up until then, the birds were the beneficiaries of the delicious blueberries. We had a decent harvest of strawberries, too. The strawberry ice cream we made was quite a treat! It was the best harvest yet for our pears. My husband made a pear and almond torte (twice!) that was absolutely delicious – and well worth the work that went into making it. Finally, our apples: red eating and yellow/green cooking. There is something quite satisfying about eating an apple from your own tree! 🙂

collage of David Austin roses: colors coral, light pink, medium pink and dark pink

2 – David Austin roses. Clockwise from top right: Princess Anne is a beautiful deep pink rose, Boscobel is a pretty salmon color. The next one is either Olivia Rose Austin or Ancient Mariner, I have both, but at this point, I don’t know which is which and they are very similar. The last one is Harlow Carr, and this I know because it is *very* thorny! They all are scented, which is something I look for in flowers. I had a super rose season last year, and I have to give credit to Uncle Tom’s Rose Tonic, which I used for the first time. Per the label: it contains pure potassium phosphite. It’s not cheap, but I did see an improvement in the health of my roses.

collage of iris grown from February through July

3 – Iris from February through July. We can start with Iris reticulata (bottom center) that blooms in February. Mine aren’t blooming just yet this year, but are up from the soil. We then have a bit of a break until May when most of the others start to bloom. We have Dutch Iris (top right), bearded Iris Benton Storrington (middle right), and the Siberian Iris ‘Shirley Pope’. The Siberian iris (top left) also blooms in May/June. And lastly, to finish out the iris season, we have another variety of Dutch iris that blooms at the end of June through the beginning of July. It is planted among the Incrediball hydrangea. I usually use it in a fourth of July arrangement.

Astra White Balloon Flower

4 – White balloon flower. This simple little beauty is happiest in sun and provides sweet white flowers, starting in June. They will continue to flower with deadheading.

collage of allium

5 – Allium. Starting in May and going through June, allium are a treat in the garden! I planted some en masse and I really like how they look. I usually cut some to bring inside as they dry beautifully, too. I’ve even spray painted them! My favorite type is Purple Sensation, but the ones en masse (bottom three photos) are a really neat star-like shape which I find to be as pleasing as the coloring of the Purple Sensation!

collage of poppies colored orange, red, pink, lilac.

6 – Poppies. Of course we have poppies! Each year they seem to find a new spot in the garden. We have had a range of colors, including: orange, red, lavender, pink, and coral! The seed heads are also fun to work with in arrangements.

That was so much fun! I hope you are as inspired as I am. Which is your favorite flower? And of course, thanks for stopping by!

One day at a Time

Hello there! Welcome to my blog. You might have noticed that I have been absent the past few weeks. I hope you know that I really enjoy writing about and photographing my garden. It gives me so much joy! But sometimes I simply get blue and it just isn’t possible for me to joyfully write about the garden. My blues could be weather related, news related, or just life.

This week has been tough because of the war in Ukraine. Really tough. I don’t understand how it could be happening. I’m upset that it is happening. I’m afraid of the outcome. I’m concerned for the future. So given the war in Ukraine, and how I was feeling, I wasn’t really sure about writing a blog post. But I am taking my lead from a dear friend of mine (thank you Lynn-Beth) who said to me “we cannot let evil negate our notice of beauty”. So although my heart is heavy for the innocent people of Ukraine, I share with you my garden, in the hopes that you too, will see beauty. (And I will share today’s post with The Propagator’s meme ‘Six on Saturday’ to spread the beauty even further.)

view of raised garden beds
spreading of compost in raised beds

1 – The raised garden beds. Well, this is what they look like now. They are mostly empty, aside from the winter garlic, strawberry plants and blueberry shrubs. We will be building a new compost storage area in the very near future. So my husband has been clearing out as much compost as is ready, so it won’t have to be moved to the new area. I think it is ok to spread the compost in the beds now, actually. The birds certainly think so! 🙂 I still have to clear the one bed of the dead sunflower plants. It’s definitely time.

new flower bed
Helleborus Aspen High

2 – A new flower bed. Now this is exciting for me! I have created all of the flower beds in the yard. Most of the time I cover the soil for 4 or 5 months, and then dig up the sod. That is a big job. So this time, I tried something different. Here’s what I did this past fall: I laid down some cardboard, covered it with a lot of grass clippings, then I covered that with compost. Then I added more compost. And then I added some more compost again! The birds also love this bed, with all of those worms from the compost. I do hope they’ll leave some for the soil.

It is nearly impossible to see, but there are two very young hazelnut trees, and one dwarf burning bush (Euonymus alatus ‘Compactus’) along with the well established cherry tree on the left. Today we added to the bed, planting the lovely white hellebore in the picture above. It is called Helleborus Aspen High. We also added a peony plant that we moved from another part of the garden. It wasn’t getting enough sun in the old spot, so I’m hoping that once it settles in, it’ll be much happier in this location. I don’t know the name of the peony, but it is a pretty red, and is always the first of all of my peony plants to bloom.

Since the evening was so nice, we continued on and moved two more very small hellebores that weren’t performing well in their homes. Fingers crossed that they will settle in and do well.

rose bushes in various stages of pruning

3 – Pruning roses. I try to get my roses pruned in February. While I made great progress last month, I still have a few more plants to get to – hopefully in the very near future. I want to show you the difference in these three pictures: the one on the left was just pruned. The one on the right on top, was pruned a year ago, and the one on the right on the bottom was not pruned last year.

I have to say that my confidence in pruning has increased over time. Practice makes perfect! One thing that I’ve learned is that when they say to cut off the tiny stems that are less than the thickness of a pencil, it is because if you don’t (which I previously hadn’t), the roses will be too heavy to be supported by such tiny stems. Also, there needs to be air circulation within the plant, and that is why it is best to prune the stems growing towards the center. Do I get it right all of the time? Probably not. But I do my best!

bowl of hellebore flowers
collage of hellebores

4 – Hellebores. How can I resist? They are still going strong! They are so lovely to display in a bowl. If you have them, you should definitely do so. I added a purple Mr. Fokker anemone into my bowl – which looks a little bit out of place. The bottom collage: Left: Helleborus Spring Promise ‘SP Frilly Isabelle’, top right: Helleborus Harvington Double Red, bottom right: Helleborus Anna’s Red (I love those leaves!).

Iris Reticulata

5 – Iris Reticulata. This little tiny plant has just really lifted up my spirits. It is so pretty. When we planted these in the fall, we also added allium to this bed, and they are all coming up, which is so heartening to see. Good things to come!

Frosty March view of playhouse and garden

6 – A frosty garden. We have had a few hard frosts this winter, but honestly, nothing too bad. We had a couple of days of snow flurries, but again, nothing substantial. As I have mentioned, though, we’ve had quite a few bad storms with high winds and rain. Right now I’m thankful that we’ve had blue skies a few times this week. Sun + blue skies = lifted spirits.

And that’s my view of the garden. I hope you enjoyed your visit.

When I sign ‘In Peace’, I truly mean it. May there be peace among all of us and may Ukraine stand strong against this evil war.

In Peace,
Dana

A snow covered February garden

Hello there! I hope you are keeping warm and cozy wherever you are in the world. We have had the craziest weather of late! Thankfully, I was able to get out and work in the garden earlier this month, which I always find helpful for my mental health. It’s too windy and cold for my liking at the moment, though. We even had snow! O.K., it was gone within a few hours, but it sure was pretty to look at while it lasted.

I have to say that I am very happy to have flowers blooming in February. It gives me such hope as I watch their progress. That goes for all flowers, actually. I think it is why a lot of us have gardens in the first place. I am conscious of not wishing time to go faster for more pleasant gardening conditions. I think it is better to make do – and make better – what is on offer during the ‘off’ months. You’ll see that I’ve been building my collection of hellebores. I also added an early variety of iris this year, that is currently in bloom. It is called Iris reticulata and its flowers are so pretty and delicate.

I hope you’ll enjoy the collection of pictures I’ve gathered, showing you my February garden and my chickens.

Take care, and stay safe!

In Peace,
Dana

collage of hellebore flowers

I had to start with these beauties! It is so wonderful having Hellebore flowers in a winter garden. They are very easy to maintain and while their flowers usually point downwards, they are beautiful none the less. There are ‘single’ and ‘double’ varieties, as can be seen in their single layer of petals vs. multiple layers of petals.

This collage’s hellebores:
Right three from the top: Anemone Picotee, Double Ellen Red, Anna’s Red.
Top left: SP Frilly Isabelle.
Bottom from the left: Harvington Double Red, Winter Sunshine.

collage of full hellebore plants

The beauty of hellebores isn’t just in closeups of their flower faces, the plants themselves are lovely in full view.

This collage’s hellebores include:
Right from the top: Double Ellen Red, Harvington Double Red, Anna’s Red.
Center from the top: Anemone Picotee, Winter Sunshine, Unknown variety (pink).
Left: SP Frilly Isabelle.

Iris Reticulata

Look how sweet these Iris Reticulata are! I brought one inside after it was bent over. I’m delighted to be enjoying the pretty coloring from the comforts of my kitchen.

weeding the hoggin!

This is a picture of one of the jobs I was able to (partially) do earlier in the month. I weeded the Hoggin! Hoggin is a mix of gravel, sand and clay that works really well for pathways as it allows water to drain through it. Turns out that it also needs weeding. You can see around the edging that I have a weed blocking sheet underneath the hoggin – and below that I also have cardboard. The truth is that weeds will grow despite your best intentions! These weeds were pretty harmless though, and mostly grass. I used a hoe-like tool and raked them up. It took longer than I thought it would, but I was happy with the results. I still have more to do, whenever the weather settles down!

view of the winter garlic mid Feb 2022

The weather on this day was super! I took this picture of my winter garlic after I finished weeding the hoggin. The temperature was mild and the sun was shining – perfect gardening weather! 🙂

snow garden with snowdrops, hellebore, fennel and garden arch.

Then the weather changed… Thankfully, most of the plants are O.K. with snow. I thought the dried fennel looked quite pretty completely covered in snow (bottom right picture). The Snowdrops, too, looked lovely. But the Anemone Picotee hellebore looks a little bit weighed down!

chickens in the snow

The chickens were not too impressed with the snow. They stayed under their house while it was snowing, and only ventured out after it stopped. Funny enough, they have no issue with wandering about when it is raining out! Here we can see the Bluebell (she is the only one I really call by her name, which is ‘Buckbeak’), Daisybell. and two Rhode Island Red hybrids. They’re still laying eggs, too!

View of the garden with and without snow.

Just like that, everything can change. I’m glad that in this case, the garden went back to ‘green’! Thanks so much for stopping by! I’d love for you to leave a message of where you’re visiting from. 🙂