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! πŸ™‚

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! πŸ™‚

October in the Garden

Hi there! Just when you thought it was time to put away those old gardening clothes, I’m here to tell you ‘Not just yet’! October is a great time to do some garden clean up. We don’t clear away everything – because we like to leave some things for the birds, but there’s lots we can do. The main jobs for us are: cut down the Peony stems and remove the Hosta leaves, continue to deadhead the roses, weed the beds, plant garlic and spring flowering bulbs, and mix in compost throughout the beds.

I love this time of year. I love every time of year! But I especially love cleaning up the beds and spreading rich, worm filled compost on them. It brings a sense of order. I have 4 sections of compost with one section ready for use. I absolutely have to empty out that section in order to be able to rotate the others. But I don’t want to fill a bed with compost until I’ve weeded the bed. So it takes a big effort to get everything done! We have been so lucky with the weather. It’s funny to say that, because we have seen quite a bit of rain, but as long as there are enough opportunities for me to get out in the garden when it is dry, all is fine by me!

We were supposed to have some work done in the garden this past year, but that fell through. We’ll possibly get our veggie beds dug up this winter (maybe?) so in the meantime, we’ve planted our garlic in a different section. No matter, I think the garlic will be fine there until it needs to be harvested in July. I didn’t plant garlic last year (because of aforementioned scheduled work!) and I really missed having it. It is so easy to plant, is very low maintenance, and yields super high rewards! You can check out my posts here and here on how to grow it.

I’ve tackled a few of our larger beds, and some smaller ones. My husband helped me plant some new bulbs, too. I love adding something new to the garden! It is the first time I’ve had white allium, so I’m looking forward to seeing those.

All in all it has been a productive month in the garden. The leaves have not all fallen yet, so there are still some very pretty colors to enjoy. How is your garden coming along? I hope it is everything you want it to be!

In Peace,
Dana

full view of the Rainbow garden
Our Rainbow garden has every color of the rainbow throughout the spring and summer

This bed is called our Rainbow garden. Right now it is showing off some light purple with the Erysimum ‘Super Bowl’ Mauve, and some fiery red with the changing leaves of the Cornus Florida (flowering dogwood). All the way on the left there are spring flowering white Bergenia – some of those leaves are also turning red. The big mess in the center is a Philadelphus Mock Orange, which blooms in the summer with white flowers. The yellow blooming potentilla is mostly brown at the moment, sitting between the Begenia and the Mock Orange. This month we planted some white Honeymoon Tulips and some purple giganteum Allium in this bed. The giganteum is new for me, so I’m really looking forward to seeing that! I also cut down the dead artichoke stems. The plant is quite large and was blocking the view of the pretty dogwood tree. The stems from the peony plant were also cut and removed. My husband and son did a great job of edging this bed. It was a lot of work! We worked in a bunch of compost, too, so this bed is all set for winter.

Rainbow garden close up
A closer view of the Rainbow garden. On the right is a young mophead hydrangea and a Deutzia scabra. Aren’t those red leaves of the Cornus Florida pretty?
Lilac Garden
This flower bed is referred to as Cormac’s garden as my son did a lot of digging for me! There are Lilacs, hosta, lilies, and asters.
Asters and a Hazelnut tree
This is a view of Cormac’s garden further down the bed. These are Asters, with a pretty Hazel nut tree to the right, whose leaves have turned yellow.
Compost full view October
This is what our compost heap looks like now. There are four sections, although only one section (section number 3 from the left!) will be used over the next few weeks.
compost area
Ha! I had to post this, despite it being the most unkempt compost heap ever! No food in here, only garden plant materials, grass, leaves, and woody stems. This view is from June.
Rose bed full tidy October

This is my main rose bed after the cleanup! It was filled with poppies and weeds, in equal proportion. If you follow me on Instagram you might have caught some of my stories about the clean up. I might have been procrastinating a little bit – with all of those stories about the clean up! πŸ™‚ It was so worth it though. We worked in more compost here, too.

Englands Rose October
A beautiful David Austin Rose (England’s Rose).
Pink roses at gate with asters
It is always nice to see roses in bloom. I like how pretty the purple asters look behind these pink roses.
Teasing Georgia October
This David Austin Rose (Teasing Georgia) has become one of my unlikely favorites! My go to color is PINK, but this beauty gets me every time. I just love it (especially how the tips of the buds are an orange-redish color!)
Front hedge view October
I just loved this shot for the fall-feel to it. These Bergenias in front have beautiful leaves that go from green to burgundy to red. The Pittosporum Tom Thumb on the right is a beautiful dark burgundy color, with lots of texture! The beech hedge along the fence, which will keep its leaves all winter, is changing color from green to brown. The process is very pretty, although the finished brown leaves are not so pretty.
Garlic bed post planting
You’ll have to take my word for it because you certainly can’t tell from the picture, but this bed is filled with garlic! We planted Organic Vallelado garlic, which is perfect for Irish weather.
Garlic and bed
The only proof! A few cloves of the Organic Vallelado garlic which were leftover from our planting!
Nootka Cypress
Another one of my favorite fall views. This tree, Nootka Cypress, we call my droopy tree. So glad we planted this all those years ago!
purple poppy October
This pretty purple poppy will be one of the last to bloom this year.

I hope you have enjoyed my little tour of the garden, as I chatted about what we did this month!

As always, I hope you are well and staying safe. Thank you for visiting! πŸ™‚

Expectations vs. Reality

Bergenia White

Bergenia (Bressingham white, possibly)

Hello there! Welcome to another blog post written during the Covid-19 ‘stay-at-home’ time. Confession: I’m afraid that I am not one of those people who have completely organized their home, weeded the entire garden, finished countless craft projects, learned a new skill, and managed to not loose my cool while living and working with 4 other adults (full time!) during these uncertain times. There have been good days, and there have been gloomy days. I’m learning to take them as they come. I think that everyone’s energy levels are a bit down. There feels to be a weight on my (everyone’s?) shoulders, which I’ve named ‘Everything Covid-19’. Thankfully, there are more good days than gloomy, and I wouldn’t trade this time with my family for anything. There is definitely good to be found in every situation. But I have to be realistic with myself, and not beat myself up if this slower pace means, well, that the bar needs to be lowered a bit! πŸ™‚

The plus side: there is lots of beauty in the garden, even with minimal work on my side. Also, I just finished crocheting a blanket which was a new pattern for me (more on that in a later post). We even had a BBQ outside, something that due to schedules and weather, we have rarely done in the past. Finally, we acquired two new chickens (I purchased chicken feed from a local farmer and picked up two cuties while I was at it). Integrating them with my 1.5 year old hens was/is challenging!

So life has been ticking on for us, amid the Covid-19 situation around the entire world. I am grateful that we are able to stay home and stay safe. I’m more aware of my gratitude these days, as there is so much that I am grateful for. I’m also grateful for my blog, and for connecting with people from around the world. I hope you find it to be a sanctuary, like my garden is to me.

Enjoy the pictures, which give a sampling of what has been happening here over the past few weeks.Β  And please do stay safe!

In Peace,
Dana

Bergenia White full view

Bergenia ‘Bressingham White’ in full bloom

This white blooming bergenia (Bressingham white, I believe), is in full bloom and has never looked as pretty! It is rather difficult to see from this angle, as the grass is so long!

front garden

Oops! only half of this bed has been fully weeded! You can just see the Bergenia on the left.

Sunny days really do make a difference! The tulips are beautiful right now. I fear that tulip fire is making its way around the garden, though.

Tulips with bergenia and erysimum

Tulips with Bergenia and Erysimum in the background

I just love evergreen trees. The one right behind the tulips is Abies Koreana, and the one below in the far background is a Nootka Cypress.

Tulips with Abies Koreana + Chamaecyparis nootkatensis 'Pendula'

Tulips with Abies Koreana + Chamaecyparis nootkatensis ‘Pendula’

The Aubrieta continues to provide beautiful color, along with the anemone ‘Mr. Fokker’. It is now also joined by tulips Merlot (and some stray tulip Ballerina).

Aubrieta April 11 tulips anemone view of gates

Aubrieta and tulips on April 11

Full view of aubrieta and garden

Aubrieta in two of the rose beds and a theme of very pink flowers!

Tulip Merlot + aubrieta

A backdrop of Aubrieta for the Tulips Merlot

Tulip Merlot + Tulip Ballerina

Tulip Merlot + Tulip Ballerina

tulip leaves with fire?

I’m not sure, but this looks like tulip fire

Tulip Ballerina in vase

This vase was a perfect match for the Ballerina tulips.

I added some vases of flowers to my kitchen this week. I brought in Ballerina tulips and some grape hyacinth.Β  It was interesting to see how they changed as they ‘matured’.

Grape hyacinth in a vase inside

Grape hyacinth and Ballerina tulips

So, we ran out of gas for our grill, but that didn’t stop us from having one heck of a BBQ outside! Some wood, some charcoal, some determined people, we made it happen. You’ll notice that I am dressed for winter, while my kids are quite comfortable in much less clothing! I feel the cold much more than they do πŸ™‚

BBQ outside with the family

The First BBQ of the season!

Moving on from the BBQ – I’ll add that we did not eat chicken – let’s talk about our pet chickens!

chickens in crate

The first introduction to the older hens

One thing that we have learned is that you can’t just add ‘new’ chickens to ‘old’ chickens. They need to be integrated over a period of time. We didn’t realize how trying this was going to be! The older girls (they are 1 and a half years old now) were not nice to the ‘babies’ who are 5 months old. The first night, we actually kept the babies in our back-room (in the crate). But not before we snuggled with them to make them feel welcome!

chicken sitting on my lap

Just a chicken resting on my lap!

The next step was to have the new girls in a section of the run that was separated from the old girls. Everyone needed to be able to see each other, but not peck each other.

chickens in their run

Our sectioned off area for the babies.

We maybe could have waited a few more days before mixed them all together, but they are now all together. Night time is tricky. I still supervise everyone going to bed, to make sure the babies aren’t getting a ‘peck’ before bed.

Sweet Pea + Iris under hedge

We now have two teams of two… Here is Sweet Pea and Iris under the hedge

two chickens together

Team Daisy + Rose resting together

Kitty on top of ladder

This is the ladder we used to get in and out of the run to take care of the babies (yep, we need to build a gate!)

The chickens are getting along better in their run. The older girls still chase the babies, but they aren’t pecking them, which is a relief. The babies sure are fast!

Narcissus Sir Winston Churchill

Narcissus Sir Winston Churchill

Mom in the Garden

Mom in the Garden – anything is possible when the weather is good! Take care!

Who’s got your heart?

two chickens in front of beech hedge

Rose and Daisy in their run

I always think of February as the month of ‘red hearts’.Β  πŸ™‚ O.K., maybe it has become somewhat commercialized, but I still see it as ‘the month of love’ for giving Valentine’s cards, maybe a small gift, but definitely showing appreciation for those we love.

January was a really busy month in our household. Holy Cow it has been crazy! Honestly, the schedule isn’t really slowing down much this month either. Thankfully, my husband and I are still able to manage a teeny, tiny bit of ‘down time’ to recharge, every once in a while. I’d be lost without that. We all would be! It is so much better for everyone, when we can recharge. I’m especially thankful because my husband makes it a priority that we both get the time we need to keep the work/life/family balance.

My kids are growing up – 21, 19, and 15 years old – so I really appreciate whenever I get to spend time with them. They are so different from each other! It is a joy to watch them grow into the wonderful people that they are. Those everyday moments can be quite special.

It seems we are too frequently reminded of how fleeting life can be. There are, sadly, no guarantees. It really is important to make the most of every day and to be the best version of ourselves. (That’s not always easy, but it is always worth it.)

I hope you are surrounded by the people you love, and who love you right back.

In Peace,
Dana

Winter sunshine hellebore

Winter sunshine hellebore (in January)

My three top performing hellebore plants are shown in this post: Winter Sunshine, Frilly Isabelle, and Double Ellen Red.

Winter Sunshine hellebore

Winter Sunshine hellebore in full bloom

We have just a couple of rose flowers in the garden – at the very end of their lives.

Ancient Mariner David Austin Rose

Ancient Mariner David Austin Rose

James Austin (David Austin)Rose

James Austin rose (from David Austin)

Double Ellen Red Hellebore

Double Ellen Red Hellebore

Hellebore Double Ellen Red up close

Hellebore Double Ellen Red

I enjoy taking pictures in the fog…

Nootka Cypress tree in fog

Nootka Cypress tree on a foggy morning

Frilly Isabelle Hellebore

Frilly Isabelle Hellebore

Frilly Isabelle Hellebore

Frilly Isabelle Hellebore

Frilly Isabelle Hellebore

Frilly Isabelle Hellebore

Ornamental Grass sunny

The ornamental grass, in the beautiful sunshine, is laden with raindrops