The blessing of a stretch of good weather in Ireland – Six on Saturday

Hello, and welcome to my blog! It is funny how I have lived in a bunch of places where the weather was often the topic of discussion. In Arizona, it was remarkable when it rained – or if it wasn’t sunny. In Pittsburgh, the weather was typically overcast, and remarkable when sunny. In Syracuse, it was more snowy than sunny – averaging 100 inches per season! Zurich, well, Zurich’s weather was rather unremarkable because it was a reasonable mix of sunny and overcast (overall it was quite pleasant, actually). Now, Ireland’s weather is so often ‘unsettled’ – meaning overcast / windy / rainy – that it is remarkable when it is sunny and calm, and boy does everyone take notice then!

Sunny and calm is exactly what the weather has been over the past nearly three weeks. In fact, at this stage, we really need a good rain! I am thankful to have gotten a lot of gardening jobs done in March: trimmed the boxwood hedge, pruned the Russian sage, (the roses were pruned the end of February/beginning of March), cut the ornamental grasses, moved some plants: some snowdrops, hellebores and a peony (the peony should ideally be moved in September, but I’m hoping that getting it done before it had serious spring growth will be ok), and worked in a ton, figuratively speaking, of aged manure! Of course weeding was done along the way. Weeding is always being done!

A highlight for me, was creating a flower arch for my daughter’s 18th birthday. That was a lot of fun, as I love getting the chance to be creative. It all came together serendipitously!

I’m thankful for the joy that the garden brings to me. The flowers pushing up through the soil bring such a feeling of hope. Be sure to see the beauty that is all around you! I’m joining The Propagator for his Six on Saturday meme. Won’t you join me?

In Peace,
Dana

Playhouse with beautiful clouds

1 – Ornamental grass and daffodils. Here’s a look at the now cubed ornamental grass. The grasses should be cut low every year. I don’t want this one getting big and unruly, and even though it will quickly grow back, I quite like this look! I planted a bunch of primroses in this circle bed, just to give it some color for the spring. The two large containers of daffodils brought such color and cheer to the garden. I’m so glad to have added them this year.

Narcissus Dutch Master
Narcissus Double under the apple tree

Speaking of daffodils! The first picture is a close up of the daffodils from one of the containers, and are quite traditional if you ask me. They are called Narcissus Dutch Master, and their color really grabs your attention. The collage is of Narcissus Double, and they are super pretty and rather delicate looking. Unfortunately, they face the ground, which is a bummer. I have them under one of the apple trees.

Magnolia Stellata

2 – Look at this beauty! Magnolia Stellata is completely covered with fabulous white flowers. The flowers appear to be star-like to me, although I’ve read of them looking similar to water lilies. This variety should be planted where it won’t get morning sunlight (thank God for a tall hedge!) as they tend to bloom when it can still be frosty, and the morning sunlight on the frosted flowers will thoroughly kill that beautiful look. I am absolutely thrilled with this slow growing, mid-sized shrub which was a gift for our 25th wedding anniversary last year. It is in with my chickens, so I have it caged up for protection. Being chickens, they still try and eat the flowers, though. I am hoping to get something nicer to protect it, and that eventually they will not bother it!

View of boxwood cutting, trimmed Russian sage and aubrietia

3 – It was time to trim the boxwood hedge. I had my husband help me with this job, which was tough because he had a different idea of what I wanted. 🙂 But all is good and I think it looks neat and tidy again. This bed is now fully ready for the season as the boxwood is trimmed, the Russian sage and roses have been pruned, the aged horse manure has been worked in, AND it has been weeded! The aubrieta is such a stunner and it seemingly comes to life all of a sudden. It is supposed to grow over and down the wall, but mine prefers to grow into the bed.

Aged manure and lots of worms!

4 – Did someone say horse manure? My neighbors gave me this garden gold. It’s not like me, but I didn’t take a picture of their beautiful horses when we picked up the manure. I’ll have to do that next time. The best part was seeing all of these amazing worms!

hyacinth woodstock, white and pinks

5 – It turns out that I have a ‘thing’ for hyacinth! I have pinks and white under the lilac shrubs (picture bottom left). New this year for me are the burgundy colored ones, called Woodstock from Farmer Gracy, which are under the birch trees. I *really* like their color! Those two beds where these hyacinth are have all been weeded and ‘manured’! Woohoo! 🙂

Mom in the Garden's daughter under the birthday flower arch

6 – The birthday flower arch. Our ‘baby’ is 18! It truly doesn’t seem possible that the past 18 years have flown by that quickly. I’m so excited for what the future holds for her. I’m also so happy she liked the flower arch! My older daughter helped me out and made the ’18’, which I think made it perfect. So, the frame is made of bamboo and dogwood. My neighbor, a different one!, was doing major yard work and offered them to me for the arch. The timing was perfect, as I’d just mentioned to her my idea of making an arch. My husband helped me to tie the branches together and put them in my two pots of bamboo that I’ve had for years. We used two very heavy (and ugly, I might add) cinder blocks to hold the pots in place. The fake flowers were somehow all in my house, already! They’ve been used for different projects over the years, and this will probably finish out their lives. The six white painted allium are the only real flowers from the garden. I added ribbons, too, as I thought it was more festive with them.

And that’s a very full, Six on Saturday! Thank you so much for visiting, and I hope you enjoyed the tour. I leave you with one final picture, of one of the many lovely sunsets we’ve enjoyed of late. 🙂

Evening sunset over the garden

We’ve had some beautiful sunsets, too, with this lovely weather!

The ebb and flow of the garden – Six on Saturday

Hello, and welcome to my blog! I was thinking this week about the ebb and flow of the garden – how the garden takes a time of rest in the winter, and well, is busy producing abundant beauty for most of the rest of the year. And yet, I don’t allow the same rest for myself! As I was struggling this week to get things done in the garden, I thought about my need to take it easy and not go full steam all of the time. So to help me during this ‘down’ time, I have created a list of the jobs I want to get done. I work through it at my slower pace. This helps me to manage the stress of having ‘things to do’ in my head. It also keeps me focused on my jobs in the garden. 🙂

So what jobs have I managed to work on that are on the list? Well, I finally started my seed sowing. But I don’t have everything sown just yet. I’m planning that I’ll get the rest of the seeds planted this coming week. Trimming the box hedge is on the list – we made a great start to that today, I’m happy to say. There’s still a tiny bit more to do, but thankfully the majority of that job is done. All of the flowering summer plants need to get fed and have some extra compost placed around their base. I’ve started this in the order of blooming, beginning with the lilac shrubs. Still lots more to do there. I’ve also started to do a clean up of the garden, getting rid of the spent flowers that were left for the winter and weeding the beds as I do so. This is a pretty big job, and I’m not sure it ever gets completely crossed off of the list! But it is one of the most satisfying jobs in the garden.

I’ve put together a collection of pictures from the past week in the garden as part of The Propagator’s meme Six on Saturday. I hope you will enjoy a walk through the late winter garden.

Take care and be safe!

In Peace,
Dana

Collage of daffodils and ornamental grass that was trimmed

1, 2, & 3 – Ornamental grass, daffodils & cats. I decided to give the ornamental grass a severe trim. I actually had my husband do it as it was a very big job. Even he had a hard time with the electric cutters on it. I like how it has opened up the space, at least for now! Although the cubed shape is unusual for grass, I quite like it. I planted a bunch of primroses in the bed as they just seemed to fit in perfectly.

There are two cats in the bottom right picture. I own the white one. You know her by now, she’s Kitty. The black one comes frequently to visit Kitty. He is quite vocal, and super friendly. I call him Frank. I know better than to feed him, but I do give him attention, which he surprisingly likes.

It’s daffodil season! I am so happy to have filled two large containers with daffodil bulbs this past fall. Very few of my ‘in the ground’ daffodils are up, yet the containers are providing an abundance of cheerful color.

Magnolia Stellata

4 – Magnolia Stellata. This was a gift for our 25th wedding anniversary last summer. I have it in with my chickens, so we placed a fence around it so the girls wouldn’t destroy it before it had a chance to get settled in. There are so many buds on it! The pretty white flowers have started to bloom, and it is just so lovely.

Hellebore Anna's Red

5 – Hellebore Anna’s red. O.K., I’ve had this in quite a few of my blog posts of late. And that’s because it is an absolute star! Today I was thinking that if I had to pick a ‘plant of the year’, I think this one would be it. The coloring really stands out, the flowers are very pretty (and don’t fully face the ground), and it settled into the garden really quickly. A definite keeper.

Frosty view of the garden mid March

6 – A frosty garden. This one is just a reminder that the weather is 100% unpredictable! And look at that blue sky – I LOVE seeing the blue sky! 🙂

Sunset over front garden March 19

This one is a bonus – Sunset over the front garden.

As always, thank you kindly for stopping by. It’s nice to know that others smile at my garden, too! 🙂