Summer has arrived!

Hi there, and welcome to my blog! Summer has finally arrived to Ireland and I must say, not a minute too soon! We had cold and windy weather with gray skies for part of this week, making every picture that I took look rather ‘blah’. Thankfully, towards the end of the week the weather not only warmed up (we hit 23 degrees C / 74 degrees F), but the sun even came out every now and again. What a treat! Long may it last. 🙂

What’s happening in the garden? The hydrangeas are starting to fill out, poppies continue to bloom everywhere and some lilies have begun their show. The roses had an amazing first flush of blooms and I can’t seem to keep up with deadheading them. New buds are already forming, so more beautiful blooms should be following soon.

There’s news on the squash and pumpkin front, too. The plants are growing! We’ll have to wait and see if they flower and then if they actually form pumpkins. But at least there is a chance that they will. The sunflowers are doing well. They aren’t very tall, but they all have multiple buds on their stems. While it was definitely tough going, with multiple plantings, I’m very happy to see that we will definitely have sunflowers! (You can see them in the feature image above on the far right.)

I will be joining The Propagator’s meme Six on Saturday. Feel free to join in, or have a visit of some of the other gardens!

Enjoy the tour!

dark and light pink lilies and coral poppies
light pink lilies
sunny collage of lilies and hydrangea

1 & 2 – Lilies and Hydrangea. These are the first of my lilies to bloom. The light pink ones are very pretty and delicate looking. The darker pink ones are more, dare I say ‘basic’ looking? The bugs really enjoyed eating them before they bloomed, so they aren’t doing quite as well. The mophead hydrangea is just ‘wow’ this year! I’ve been feeding it, and keeping it watered, which pays off with these guys. I will cut many of those blooms in the fall, to dry for wreaths, so I’m happy to have the multi-colors. I’m afraid I don’t know any of the names of these three plants.

Incrediball hydrangea red poppies and Dutch Iris
collage of Incrediball (strong Annabelle hydrangea), Dutch iris and red poppies.

3 & 4 – Incrediball / Strong Annabelle Hydrangea and Dutch Iris. I started with one Incrediball, but it turned brown mid-season every year. So last year I moved it and it’s baby off-shoot to under the cherry tree where it would get morning sun and filtered afternoon sun. Whereas before I’m sure it was getting too much sun, I’m not sure it is getting enough now! I added a new plant to the mix this spring, so there are three under the tree. It’s the one with the most well developed flowers – possibly because it is getting the most sun in that position. I have been watering and feeding them and they seem to appreciate it. While our weather has been cool, we have not had great amounts of rain.

These are the very last of my iris to bloom. That was a very long season of iris! There were six different iris varieties and these Dutch ones are the finale. I like the red, white and blue of this bed.

collage of pink and coral poppies

5 – Poppies! Again 🙂 The pink one on the left is the ‘hybrid’ which showed up this season. It is in every bed, too, which is kind of fun. I love having the different colors! The hybrid is a mix of the frilly, double coral one on the right, and the single lavender one which you can see in the top of the left picture. I’ve had those two varieties for many years, so it is interesting that the hybrid showed up this year.

teasing Georgia David Austin roses cluster early July

6 – Teasing Georgia, David Austin rose. I wasn’t even a fan of yellow, but thought it would look nice next to our red playhouse. I have since become a huge fan of this lovely yellow rose! The buds are so pretty with their dark orange-red coloring. There are always clusters of flowers, too. I have to say that using Uncle Tom’s Rose Tonic seems to have really given them a boost. (Thanks to The Propagator for that tip!) I hate to mention black spot, but it would normally be rampant at this stage and that is not the case so far this year. The rose tonic isn’t cheap, but if this all natural method works to keep them healthy, I’m in.

And that’s what happened in the garden this week! I hope you are able to enjoy your weather, no matter where in the world you are. Thanks so much for stopping by!

In Peace,
Dana

A look back on the garden, part III

Featured

Hi there! Don’t mind me, in this third part post, I’m just walking down memory lane where I look back on the garden from July and August, and boy was there a lot going on! Some plants, like my sweet pea, took a while to get started, but once they did, they really took off. I grew three different types of sunflowers this year. What was nice about the different varieties was 1. how completely different they looked and 2. how they all bloomed at different times. This meant that I was able to enjoy sunflowers from summer into fall. These two months saw a lot of growth in the pumpkin / squash category, too. And let’s not forget that July is notable for harvesting lavender and garlic. Let’s get started!

Collage of flowers from the garden in July: pumpkin flowers, peony, hosta, poppy, sunflowers, iris and eggs.

This first collage is from the beginning of July, and the yellow Itoh (hybrid) peony ‘Hillary’, on the bottom, just made the cutoff. I only had one delicate flower, and its color was quite lemony, a first for my garden. It was planted two years ago, so it should have more blooms in 2022. The other ‘end of the season’ peony was my Sarah Bernhardt variety. I’ve had this plant quite a few years so I get lots of big, beautiful, and scented, flowers. If you like peony, I’d definitely recommend this variety. Also during this time, the pumpkin and squash plants started to progress up the pumpkin arch. While they never made it all the way up, I did in fact, gets lots of pumpkins and squash – we’re still eating the squash!

To add some ‘interest’ along the hedge in the new garden, this year I added a bunch of planters filled with hosta. Most of the plants I’d had already, either in containers or in the ground. But I did purchase a couple of new ones as well, which are in the smaller pots, and they bloomed in July. The hosta flowers are not as nice as the leaves, if you ask me, as I think the leaves are the real attraction. These iris, as every year, were the very last of my four varieties to bloom.

While some flowers were finishing up for the season, it was at this stage that the first of the sunflowers started to bloom. They were mid-height – they were supposed to be 5 feet (1.5 meters) tall, but were more in the area of 3 feet (.9 meter) tall – and had only one flower per plant. This would be my least favorite sunflower because of the single flower. That doesn’t mean I didn’t like them, though. 🙂 At the top of the collage is a double poppy that thankfully shows up in the garden every year. And finally, I have a picture of three very different eggs, representing the 3 new variety of chickens that joined my hens this spring.

July collage of flowers: coleus, poppies, sweet pea, pumpkin flower, apples, Maple tree

Apple update: the pretty blossoms are now cute little apples! Another picture of the double poppies, because they are absolutely beautiful. I’ve also included a ‘yucky’ picture in here, too: it is my maple tree with a powdery mildew. We haven’t seen this before, and there isn’t really anything you can do for it, except at the end of the season to clear away the leaves (and not add them to the compost). Fingers crossed that it has a better season in 2022. The picture of the sweet pea is the first cutting of the season. I know this because it is such a small posy, and by the end of the season they were big bouquets.

The middle photo is of my ‘rainbow garden’. In the front, the cream colored David Austin Lichfield roses and yellow potentilla shrub are at their peak. I only learned this year that I could prune the potentilla, which I duly did at the end of the season. I can’t wait to see how it looks in 2022. I have helenium ‘Moerheim Beauty’ growing in a couple of places in the garden, as it’s a lovely splash of red and golden color (here it is along side my daisies).

I am all about having splashes of color in the garden, no matter if it’s from flower plants or veggie plants. It’s another reason I love to grow pumpkins and squash, I mean, what’s not to love about those big orange flowers? I picked the last photo for the pretty sunset, as the poppies under the birch trees are not quite at their peak.

July collage of flowers including garlic, freesia, peony, lilies, sunflowers, roses, poppies, and pumpkin arch

We’re in mid July here, and that’s when I harvested my garlic. The timing was perfect as we had some dry weather. There’s nothing worse than getting caught in a wet spell and not being able to harvest the garlic in time. I’ve planted about half of that amount for the 2022 season, which will still be more than enough for us. It keeps all winter, in a cool, dry location. Garlic is one of the easiest things to plant, and I highly recommend growing your own. It is so worth it in taste!

You will see through the different collages that I have a lot of containers. Part of that is me trying new flowers, part of it is that we have a deck that suits containers really well, and part of that is that I don’t have a more suitable place in the garden for those flowers. The pink, yellow and white freesia are a perfect example of looking lovely in a container but wouldn’t suit in the garden. So I’m glad for the containers! Funny enough, I filled both my garden and containers with lilies this year. Best decision ever as they are so easy to grow and are perfectly showy.

The birch tree bed was completely taken over by poppies in July. It was quite remarkable as they were 99% one variety (a single flower, lilac color) and I didn’t plant any of them. They come from my compost which apparently doesn’t get hot enough to kill seeds. So whatever I put in the compost, has the potential to come back!

I threw in another picture of the mid-height sunflowers as a progress report, as well as some roses just to remind me that the roses were still going strong. 🙂

End of July collage of flowers: sunflowers, lavender, daisies

We’re now at the end of July. The second variety of sunflowers have started to bloom – and this Claret F1 lasted well into fall, with so many flowers per stem. The colors were from chocolate to yellow and burnt orange / burnt red, with medium sized flowers, and they grew pretty tall (well over my head!).

I was a bit late in harvesting my lavender this year, but that didn’t stop me from making some fresh wreaths (pictures in the next picture). The clematis, ‘purpurea Plena Elegans’ is a pretty raspberry/wine color, but doesn’t really like the amount of wind that we have. It looks ok, but isn’t ideal in our yard, unfortunately.

The lychnis Coronaria rose campion has really pretty fuchsia pink flowers, although the evening sunlight in the picture doesn’t show that very well. Those flowers will actually spread like wildfire, so unless you want them everywhere, you have to pull them out as soon as they show up in their new spots (they are easy to pull out).

Of course I had to throw in another pumpkin arch update!

July collage of flowers: roses, sweet pea, lavender wreaths, blueberries

We’re finishing up July with blueberries! We had a great ‘little’ harvest this year, of several little bowls of blueberries. This was the first year that we covered the shrubs with netting and that worked great for keeping the birds away. I also spread out our plants that were crowded together previously, and fed them more than I typically would, which paid off. I’m excited for the 2022 season, as we learned a lot last season.

Finally, a picture of the chickens! We added three new varieties in March, but I only took video of them in the beginning, so I had no pictures to share earlier. We have a Bluebell (she’s gray), a Maran (with stripes), and a Daisy Belle (the largest of all of them and quite pretty with green shimmers in her black feathers). The Bluebell is quite friendly and likes to sit on my lap when I’m in the yard with them.

I made these two fresh lavender wreaths (as opposed to dried lavender). The bottom one I made first, and the one above was made second – I think I get better over the course of the season! The Celosia, the top right picture, I grew from seed. They were easy to grow, and dry really well, so I might grow them again.

More roses – of course!

August collage of flowers: helenium, pumpkins, hydrangea, gladiolas, lilies,

I told you it was a lot of flowers! These pictures are from August. This is another another batch of helenium flowers. These are next to my ‘Teasing Georgia’ yellow David Austin roses, as I think the colors go nicely together. The other flowers are: ‘Magic Star’ lilies, gladiolas ‘Pink Parrot’, hydrangea Selma, clematis ‘purpurea Plena Elegans’, and some more poppies. This sunflower is the first of the dwarf sunflowers to bloom. Next to the two small pumpkins is a picture of Liatris spictata Kobold, which is such an unusual flower for my garden – so I love it!

August collage of flowers: incrediball hydrangea, vanilla fraise hydrangea, coleus, lilies, agapanthus, calla lilies, sweet pea, Russian sage, pumpkin arch

So I found myself picking flowers for this collage that we’ve seen before. But it is interesting to me to see how much they grow and fill out and change colors during the season! The Incrediball hydrangea (bottom right) was moved in early spring 2021, but seems to have settled in well. This plant takes a lot of water, and I have still not figured out the perfect balance of getting that right. It doesn’t help that it is just out of reach of our hose, either. I’ll keep at it until we get it right! It’s not too far from the paniculata hydrangea Vanilla Fraise, actually – which is just starting to turn pink in this picture. The paniculata has not had any water issues, thankfully.

The coleus was my pride and joy this summer as I grew it from seed and it just looked so spectacular! Also, it was planted as a reminder of my dear former neighbor and friend Betty, who always grew them.

See the single, purple agapanthus flower? That didn’t do great in a container for me. Turns out the few that I had in the garden weren’t very happy either, but I had them in a somewhat shady area. So I’ve moved all of them into a new – sunny – spot in the garden and I can’t wait to see if that does the trick (along with extra feed).

Look at the Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia ‘little spire’)! I had some growing in partial shade and it wasn’t very happy. This guy, in full sun, is just shouting out with joy! I’m glad the space is large enough for it. These potted pink Calla lilies looked really well and bloomed for weeks.

Of course I’ve included another update on the pumpkin arch!

end of August collage of flowers

We’re wrapping up August with this collage. I rarely mention the wild fennel that I grow, but it is very pretty. The flowers are yellow and dainty. I enjoy watching the birds as they try and balance on the stems while eating the seeds in the winter. The plant isn’t just for birds, as it is edible for our consumption, too. The other plant not mentioned often enough: globe artichokes. I’ve used some in this flower arrangement – they look like purple thistle. The globe artichokes were arranged with roses, sunflowers and helenium.

The paniculata ‘Vanille Fraise’ hydrangea has turned pink by this stage. It’s around this time that you can cut the flowers to easily dry them. The Red Kuri squash look orange at this point in their growth, but as they mature, they will turn a more burnt orange/red. This view of the pumpkin arch shows us two Red Kuri squash, which are still orange, growing up the fencing.

The red apple tree is an eating apple tree, while our second tree is a cooking apple tree. I know I’m biased but, the red apples are incredibly tasty! I enjoyed eating our supply of apples right up until Christmas. I should have cooked and frozen some, to keep them longer. That will be something I’ll try in 2022, if we get a good crop.

The top picture is of some of my lilies – both pink and white. The white ones are in the garden, while these pink ones are in a container. They’re just so easy to grow, why wouldn’t you want that beauty and fabulous scent?

And finally, the sunflowers: the neat line of dwarf sunflowers bloomed in a perfect line. Not only that, they also then continued to bloom multiple flowers on their stems. The burnt red and yellow sunflowers were tall and floppy, grew all over the place, and were absolutely lovely in their uniqueness.

Phew! Are you still reading? You’re amazing! That was a really long post. I’m kind of impressed (and surprised!) with all of the flowers that I grow. Although I of course know all that I grow, it is only looking at them in this monthly review format that I really appreciate all that I have. And I really do appreciate them! I appreciate them so much that I created a new bed, in order to plant more flowers! 🙂

Thanks so much for stopping by. Let me know what you think!
Part IV will finish out the year.

In Peace,
Dana

What’s happening in the garden in August?

Hello there! Is it just me, or is this summer going super fast? Do they say that as you get older, time goes faster? I think it is true! The garden is shifting to ‘end of summer’ mode, with a few plants finishing their season.

We have had some *terrible* weather recently – as in lots of rain and gale force winds. Not a great mix for plants. I have to say that the garden has held up pretty well (I’ve seen worse). Thankfully, I captured some nice pictures of my roses *before* the weather turned. Some roses still look well even after all of the bad weather. They’ve had a lovely season so far! I’m afraid that my sunflowers have definitely seen better days though. They just didn’t shine as bright this year as they usually do.

The lilies have finished off their season with a bang! They were just spectacular this year. I love flowers with fragrance, and they do not disappoint. Their many blooms are pure white atop tall strong stalks.

My project this weekend was to cut some of my mophead hydrangea. I have not (yet!) perfected the exact time to cut them to have the petals dry properly. By “properly” I mean that the petals stay open and keep their color. If I cut them too soon in the season, the petals shrivel up and it really is not pretty. But, if I wait too long before cutting them, they lose their color! I believe it has more to do with the maturity of the flower than the time of the season. I am hopeful that most of the flowers I cut today will be O.K.. Last week I cut some stems off of my Vanille Fraise hydrangea paniculata ‘Renhy’. I had mixed results with some stems drying well, and some shriveling up. But I tried again about 5 days later and they have dried perfectly. I had wanted to cut them before they turned completely pink, which is why I cut them a little early. I think I’ll have a good mix of white and pink. Did you see my Instagram stories where I showed the cuttings? 🙂

Another plant near the end of its season is the globe artichoke. My plant is well established in the garden, and takes up quite a bit of space. It has produced many, many artichokes this summer. This is another plant that I like to dry and use for decoration. Earlier this summer, I tried cutting teeny tiny baby artichokes to use in wreaths, but they just shriveled up and turned brown. I’ve discovered that if you cut them right after they’ve bloomed (after the thin purple spike-like form in the center of the artichoke appears) they keep their purple color. The artichokes themselves don’t keep their lovely green color, but have a molted coloring. I like how they look in a large vase, as they are quite unusual.

I hope you are well and enjoying good weather wherever you are in the world! Are there any flowers that you like to dry and use again?

In Peace,
Dana

two Princess Anne David Austin Roses
From David Austin, this is the Princess Anne shrub rose.

You might notice that the leaves of my roses will usually have black spot. I have some varieties that are more hardy, but at some stage it usually hits all of the roses. If I had a bit more time I’d treat them with a milk and water solution. I’ve done that before and it does work. But I now have a lot more roses and it would take a fair amount of time to treat them. This just goes with the territory when not using chemicals.

Ancient Mariner David Austin Rose close up
Ancient Mariner David Austin Rose
Gertrude Jekyll rose with poppy pods
Another David Austin rose, this is Gertrude Jekyll. This is actually a ‘replacement’ rose, as the first plant completely died on me. There is a three year guarantee with all of the David Austin roses and they very quickly sent me on another plant. It was a pleasure dealing with them and I’m happy to say that this plant is doing very well!
Harlow Carr group
Harlow Carr – of course a David Austin rose!
Eustacia Vye, from David Austin, a new addition to my garden.
Eustacia Vye David Austin Rose cluster
Eustacia Vye, a lovely light pink with apricot coloring.
These light pink roses are called Olivia Rose Austin.
LIght pink david austin roses group
Deadheading is a full time sport when you have lots of roses!
Here’s another light pink variety that I’m not sure of the name of – it is either Olivia Rose or the Ancient Mariner or Scepter’d Isle (all from David Austin). Two problems here: when I take a lot of pictures I don’t always remember where the plant is when I go back to name them. The second problem is that some of my plants no longer have their name tags (and I didn’t note which ones went where when I first planted them – BIG MISTAKE!).
two Lichfield Angel David Austin Roses
These two Lichfield Angel David Austin Roses are not in a rose bed, but mixed with other flowers in the Rainbow garden.
Englands Rose collage
England’s rose, a David Austin rose
Scepter d Isle David Austin Rose collage
Scepter’d Isle, David Austin Rose
two Strawberry Hill Climber David Austin Roses
Two Strawberry Hill Climber David Austin Roses
Teasing Georgia David Austin Rose cluster mid August
A cluster of Teasing Georgia David Austin Roses in mid August
Garden view with roses
Blue skies make everything look beautiful! It helps though, when the roses are all in bloom!
full view sunflowers morning sun
This is a full view of the two sunflower beds. The one flower on down on the ground will appear in a vase later in this post.
Sunflower center
A sunflower closeup
Sunflower bed in mid August
Sunflower bed in mid August
Blue tit eating sunflower
Blue tit bird eating seeds from a sunflower
Blue tit sitting on sunflower
Blue tit bird sitting on a sunflower
Sunflower beds higher view
View of Sunflower beds from an elevated view
Back deck flowers sunflower
The back deck flowers have a late summer look, including the sunflower which I saved after it was knocked over in a storm.
White lilies closeup in morning sun
Fragrant white lilies in morning sun
Full view white lilies
Every possible bloom opened!
Hydrangea Vanille Fraise Paniculata Renhy full plant
A very full Hydrangea Vanille Fraise Paniculata ‘Renhy’
Hydrangea Vanille Fraise Paniculata Renhy close up of group
Hydrangea Vanille Fraise Paniculata ‘Renhy’ closeup. They start off white and turn pink as they mature.
hydrangea vanille fraise paniculata renhy white closeup
Hydrangea Vanille Fraise Paniculata ‘Renhy’ – a bloom that is still white!
hydrangea collage
One mophead hydrangea was so full of blooms!
basket of hydrangea
This is a very special basket, given to me by my nieghbor Betty, when we lived in Manlius, NY. Betty loved gardening and flowers, so I love it when I can use it in the garden.
Globe artichokes in vase closeup
An arrangement of globe artichokes. I wasn’t kidding when I said it was unusual looking!
Globe artichokes in vase room view
The globe artichoke arrangement fits right in to our family room! (on the couch is the ‘poppy blanket’ which I crocheted).

Phew! There were a lot of photos for this post! I hope you enjoyed them all. 🙂

Take care!

From sharing flowers … to growing a Hydrangea from a cutting.

Having friends who like to share their flowers is such a great thing.   A lot of my garden (flowers and fruits) are from friends and family.  My friend Susan has such a beautiful and well loved garden.  After one visit to her last year, I left  with a gorgeous bouquet of blue hydrangea.  I had the arrangement up high in my kitchen, and well,  just left it there.  Some of the blooms actually dried,  which I think is also very pretty.  One bloom had just enough water to grow roots.   Roots!  O.K., for those with Green Thumbs this would be no big deal, but for me it was huge!  I put the cutting in a small pot, out of the sun, in our laundry room.  I watched it die down, and then miraculously start to grow again.  I waited until I had transplanted it into a bigger pot before even telling Susan. I didn’t want to take any chances that it might not make it!  Now it is in a bigger pot, with a big flower and seeming to be very happy.  The color has changed; it’s now pink.  I only have it in a peat/compost mixture though.  I’ll have to wait until I plant it in the soil to see what color it will be in my garden.

Are you sharing your flowers with a friend?  Or if not,  I hope you have a friend who likes to share with you!  🙂

Dana

A beautiful blue hydrangea. from Susan’s garden.

Cut flowers of  hydrangea, sitting up high in my kitchen.

“Susan’s hydrangea” growing bigger.

Side view of more growth.

Buds appearing!

A flower! It’s not blue, but it’s only in a pot of compost/peat. We’ll see what color it turns after it’s eventually planted in my garden.

Still growing and getting more pink in color.

Even more pink!

Just a pretty view.

This is officially known at my house as “Susan’s Hydrangea”!

Some fabulous scents are in the garden now, which is perfect timing since the lavender is finished.

This is my flower of the moment! I love how it smells just walking past the garden!

The lilies are in among my lavender plants. We get so much wind that I have to stake them (ok, it’s not very pretty – I’ll have to seek out a prettier system next year!). You can see in the front I’ve trimmed the lavender plant, and I still have to trim the one in the left background.