Peony delights for ‘Six on Saturday’

Hi there, and welcome to my blog! This week I’m highlighting four of my peony plants as part of the ‘Six on Saturday’ meme, while the other two slots are being filled with pumpkin flowers and our cat Kitty. I find this to be a great way to recap what is going on in the garden (with of course a bit of chat!). I’m joining The Propagator as this is his meme, and if you stop by his blog you’ll see lots of other beautiful contributors, too!

1 – Paeonia Sarah Bernhardt
I love peony! I especially love if they are scented. Normally, I enjoy them in the garden for as long as possible, and then I will cut a bouquet if there are enough flowers. My usual trusty plant which typically produces at least a dozen flowers was lack luster this year. But my ‘standby’ plant (a bit younger) went all out this year, and completely made up for the lack of flowers from my main plant. Lucky me! I’ve cut them after they were completely open, so I’ll only get a couple of days of enjoyment from their bouquet, but I still think it is worth it.

Peony Sarah Bernhard in garden

This Sarah Bernhardt Peony plant is squished in next to some pretty pink roses. I think that because I gave the rose bush a really hard prune this year, that this peony plant really enjoyed soaking up more sun because of it.

Sarah Bernhardt Peony bouquet in vase portrait

I was able to completely fill an ice bucket with peony flowers!

2 – Paeonia Kansas
This peony came from the National Trust Hidcote in 2017 when I traveled with some gardening girlfriends to visit a few gardens in the UK. We had such a wonderful time, I’m so glad to have this peony as a memento! It is a beautiful, bright fuchsia color. I would like to move it from where it currently lives, as this ‘ditch wall’ garden is slowly going to the wayside. It’s an area that needs more attention than I can give it, and I’m thinking of letting it grow over. That’s not an idea situation, but I’d rather focus on beds that I can actually keep neat and tidy. I have to say that I think this peony looks quite nice in among the foxgloves and monkshood. (Monkshood, as a point of interest, is highly poisonous and should never be eaten or even dug up without wearing gloves. It is so toxic, that having an open wound touch the roots could be fatal. It sure is pretty, though!)

Peony Kansas end of June

This peony, Kansas, is a beautiful bright fuchsia color. I must say that I’ve never had an issue with the stems bending over, as I do with the Sarah Bernhardt peony.

Peony Kansas with Monkshood

The color of peony Kansas is spectacular and can be spotted from across the yard. It pairs well with the blue (purple) Monkshood and the pink foxglove.

3 – Paeonia Bowl of Beauty
I find this to be such a pretty peony. It always reminds me of a bowl of ice cream when it is fully opened! This plant was divided and moved early this spring and yet still produced a bunch of flowers. Peony do not like to be moved, and so I didn’t expect much from the plant this season. It now blends right into its current bed which is filled with lots of pink!

Bowl of Beauty single

Peony Bowl of Beauty with a bee. The many white petals are so interesting looking!

Bowl of Beauty open Peony with roses and lupines

Here you can see the Bowl of Beauty peony in the foreground, pink lupines to the right, and pink roses in the background. They really fit right in!

4 – Paeonia Bartzella
Let’s talk about the color yellow. In one gardening article that I read a few years ago, the author completely trashed having yellow in the garden. I thought it was such a sad article of one person’s opinion that would probably influence many people to not grow yellow flowers. It made me think about the fact that even gardening has ‘influencers’, deciding what is in fashion for the moment, and what isn’t. Shouldn’t it be that we grow the flowers that we want to grow, in the colors of our own choosing? I’m afraid that it is unavoidable that some things will flow in and out of fashion, including in our gardens. Good thing that I don’t pay any attention to that! This gorgous Itoh peony (a cross between a tree peony and a regular peony) is quite a vibrant shade of yellow that I would describe as lemony (not the soft yellow that I thought it was going to be). It is currently in a bed that is all pink, so I’m afraid it just doesn’t fit in. But I think it will fit in perfectly in the ‘Rainbow’ garden, which is the bed right behind it.

Itoh Paeonia Bartzella Yellow peony

The petals of the peony Bartzella are so delicate and pretty. The color looks a soft yellow in this picture, but it is not!

Peony Bartzella Yellow side view with roses

See what I mean about the yellow not fitting in with all of the pink? 🙂

Peony Bartzella Yellow open

There is no doubt that this flower is stunning! I purchased it during lockdown from Leamore Nursery as part of some ‘retail therapy’. I’m so glad I did, but I just need to find the right place for it!

Peony Bartzella yellow with California poppies

You can see the ‘Rainbow’ garden in the background in the above picture, and I think that is where we’ll move this yellow peony!

5 – Pumpkin flowers
Oh how I love pumpkin flowers! They are so bright and cheerful, and the bonus is that they are (sometimes) followed by pumpkins! Male flowers won’t produce pumpkins, but they help to!

Young pumpkin plant in sun

This is a pumpkin flower early in the season (the plant is still small).

Pumpkin single flower open

This flower is on a more developed plant.

Pumpkin arch view end of June

This is the arch that my husband built for me. I say he built it because although we bought the four arches that comprise it, he added the extra fencing support and it was quite a big deal to erect it – which I really appreciate! The idea is that the pumpkin plants will grow up and over the arch and the pumpkins will hang down on either side. We’ll see if it happens that way!

6 – Our cat, Kitty
Kitty is almost always with me in the garden (unless it is her naptime). Funny enough, she is sitting on my desk, next to me, while I type this post! There are many times when I really wish she didn’t think that I create all of the garden beds just for her use. But usually I just enjoy her company in the garden. We’ve had her for 6 years, which is the longest we’ve had a cat.

Kitty watching chickens from driveway

Kitty likes to keep an eye on the girls. She learned early on not to mess with the chickens as they will put her in her place! So she keeps her distance.

Kitty on Rose bed wall in sun

Doesn’t she look to be the boss that she is?

I hope you’ve enjoyed my ‘Six on Saturday’! I’ve really enjoyed breaking things down this way. Be sure to check out the others on The Propagator’s page!

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you are keeping well.

In Peace,

Peony splendor

Hello! This week I found myself sorting through pictures that I’ve taken over the past couple of months. I take a lot of pictures, and I don’t usually sit down and go through them right away. So it is really nice when I am able to see the different aspects of the garden, and the different phases of the flowers through the memory of my lens.

When we first moved into our home ten years ago the yard was full of gardening possibilities – a blank slate, really. We had some lavender plants at the back of the house and that was it. Slowly, ever so slowly, I created bed after bed, all organically (I have this thing about chemicals). Were they all thought out and planned meticulously? The short answer is ‘no’! I confess that there were plants that I wanted to have and I threw them in beds as soon as I could, and Peonies were top of the list! Over time, I’ll get everything in the right place. In the meantime, I’ll keep on enjoying things where they are. 🙂

I have several Peony plants. The blooming starts around the second week of May for my early bloomers and will go well into June for the last of my plants. Not a bad season when you can stretch it that long! The first to bloom is an old fashioned redish colored plant which my Father-in-law gave me years ago (name unknown).

Peony red
The first Peony to bloom at the beginning of May
red peony and bluebells closeup
Red Peony with Bluebells

The red Peonies went into the only bed I had at the time, at our front gate. I’ve since divided them and they are now on both sides of our front gate.

Paeonia 'Hillary'
Paeonia ‘Hillary’

The next Peony to bloom was the Paeonia ‘Hillary’ which is an ‘Itoh’. Itohs are hybrids between garden and tree peonies. I bought this last year and it was full of blooms early on this season, but between gale force winds and other mishaps, only two buds were left when it was time to bloom. The weather was not cooperating at this stage, either, so I don’t think we’ve seen its best year yet. You can see how dry the soil is in some of the pictures.

Peony Hillary
Paeonia ‘Hillary’

I’m happy with this location for my ‘Hillary’ and I think it should do well here – apart from when we have gale force winds. The soil conditions are really good, and it is in full sun. The plant is an unusual color, a very soft redish-pink, and I think it suits this bed.

Peony Hillary + allium
Paeonia ‘Hillary’ blooming with the Allium
Peony Hillary
Paeonia ‘Hillary’
Peony Hillary side view
Paeonia ‘Hillary’

As the ‘Hillary’ faded, the next two plants started to bloom. These two are planted at the back of our house and get morning sun and some afternoon sun. The soil where they are growing is not good! But it has good drainage and I’ve started to give it more attention with compost. Again with these plants, it was the case of wanting to put them somewhere! They aren’t doing too poorly, thankfully.

The first bloom is a full week ahead of the rest of the plant. White and pink Peony.
Peony white and pink + fennel
The white and pink Peony is planted next to a Fennel plant.
Peony white and chicken house
The Peony plant is on one side of our driveway while our chickens are on the other side.
Hosta and Peony view
Here’s a view from our back door. On the other side of the wall (and the Hostas) is the white and pink Peony.
Peony White and Pink pink flower
White and pink Peony.

I have this white and pink Peony supported. I like this support because I can put it in place any time (a lot of supports should be put in place before the plant is fully grown). Most Peony flowers are large and heavy and tend to droop if not supported.

Peony white and pink outside bouquet
This display is like having a bouquet of Peony in the yard!

Just two Fennel plants down from the white and pink Peony, and flowering at the same time, is Paeonia ‘Bowl of Beauty’. The color reminds me of bubble gum. 🙂 On the other side of the Paeonia is lavender, while on the deck there are geraniums and my rain catcher / water butt.

Paeonia Bowl of Beauty lavender view
Paeonia ‘Bowl of Beauty’ next to lavender
Paeonia Bowl of Beauty closed
Paeonia ‘Bowl of Beauty’
Paeonia Bowl of Beauty upclose
Paeonia ‘Bowl of Beauty’
Paeonia 'Bowl of Beauty'
Paeonia ‘Bowl of Beauty’
Paeonia 'Bowl of Beauty'
Paeonia ‘Bowl of Beauty’

There is a bit of an overlap with the next two Peony plants. The white and pink Peony and the ‘Bowl of Beauty’ are not yet finished, as the next two are starting to bloom. I’ll start with Paeonia ‘Kansas’ as it has two flowers in bloom. The location is at my ditch wall garden, which I’ve decided should be more wild flowers – so I don’t think it is ideal for this pretty Peony. The color is amazing – a beautiful deep magenta.

Paeonia 'Kansas'
Paeonia ‘Kansas’ among Foxgloves
Paeonia 'Kansas'
Paeonia ‘Kansas’
Paeonia 'Kansas'
Paeonia ‘Kansas’
Paeonia 'Kansas' with Small Tortoiseshell butterfly
Paeonia ‘Kansas’ with Small Tortoiseshell butterfly
Paeonia 'Kansas'
Paeonia ‘Kansas’

The last of my Peony plants to bloom are my ‘Sarah Bernhardt’ plants. I have two, and one is still only buds, while the other has one fully open flower with a few others starting to open. The one in flower is in my Rainbow garden and is happy – and I am happy where it is. The ‘Sarah Bernhardt’ Peony is pink – as in cotton candy pink! I love the stand out color.

Peony Sarah Bernhardt
Peony ‘Sarah Bernhardt’
Sarah Bernhardt Peony
Paeonia ‘Sarah Bernhardt’

We had very little rain this spring. Thankfully, the rains have returned, somewhat, this past week, which has been a welcome relief to my garden.

I hope you enjoyed the tour! I’ve planted a few more Peony plants this year, so we’ll all have those to look forward to next year!

In Peace,

In my tasty June Garden

allium purple sensation is now “finished” in the garden

When it comes to the garden there are changes going on all of the time.  Just like in life, time moves forward whether we are ready or not!  The garden has moved from showing off spring flowers on to growing our fruit and veggies and showing off some early summer flowers. We live in County Louth, and although other parts of the country have had rain, it has missed us for the good part of 4 weeks.  I can really see and feel the dryness in the garden.

A very dry veggie and fruit garden

Look at that grass! Granted, we don’t pay any attention to the grass other than mowing it (probably too short, I might add), but it is usually *green* and not yellow.  Anyway, this is an early June look at our pumpkin and zucchini (courgette) plants, along with our blueberry and strawberry plants, and our pear tree.

organic zucchini (courgette)

The organic zucchini plant was given to me in May.  Actually, I did a little bit of a swap, and traded sunflowers for zucchini.  It is great to find someone who grows organically and likes to share! We mixed in a good amount of our compost when we planted them.

organic pumpkin plant

The picture above is of one of my pumpkin plants.  Pumpkins LOVE compost.  We worked in as much compost as we could into this bed.  The seed for this plant is actually from the pumpkins I grew in 2016.  While I did try to grow from last year’s seeds, they didn’t produce anything.  So I then tried the seeds from the previous year, and “Bob’s your Uncle” – they grew! 🙂


The blueberry plants are overladen with berries this year and the berries are growing to a nice size!  I am still trying to figure out if my soil has enough acidity for blueberries, as some years they do well and some they don’t. I’ve given them lots of my compost early on in the season, and I’ve kept them watered during this dry spell.  We’ll see how it ends up!

green strawberries

The strawberries are still *very* green, and not very big.  They, too, were lucky recipients of our compost (there is never enough compost, so I have to pick and choose which plants get it!).  I’ve also made sure to water them, so again, I’m hopeful that over the next week or two we’ll get some nice color in them (and a little bit more growth!).

baby pears in early June (strawberry beds in the background)

Our pear tree is doing well again this year.  It is only in the past few years that it has produced fruit, but boy was it worth the wait!  These guys are teeny tiny right now, and only the width of a small finger.

This picture is of our pears in September 2017 (they were delicious!)

another look back at our fall garden of September 2017 with sunflowers, pumpkins, pears, and blueberry plants which have pretty red leaves

a full bed of sunflowers early June 2018

I have tried a new location for sunflowers this year.  I’ve alternated garlic and potatoes in this bed over the past few years, so it was time for a change.  We apparently didn’t dig up all of the spuds last year, as there are some growing up between the sunflowers…  These lovely plants are all grown from my sunflower seeds from last year. My father-in-law kindly started them for me in his greenhouse.  They have really shot up over the past number of weeks, and look to be quite happy!

You have to be sure not to wait too long to collect the sunflower seeds as the birds LOVE them and will clean out the entire flower heads before you know it! (sunflower from our garden Fall 2017)

I really should write a post just on compost, because it is so beneficial!  I’ll put that on my to-do list.  Here’s a look at our “summer” compost heap:

Compost heap (top layer is all new season grass) with a fab overhang of Elder trees!

Underneath all of the new grass is aged compost from last season

It is worth digging the good stuff out from underneath the grass!

I have a separate tumbler for food compost, but I think I will leave that picture for another post!  Thankfully, no one can really see our compost heap, and the sight of it certainly doesn’t bother me given how good it is for the garden!  But I really don’t want to end with pictures of my compost.  I’m going to first show you a picture of tulips and our Hawthorn trees when they were beautifully in bloom with white flowers.  This year I really think the flowers came and went too quickly!  And then I’m going to end with a picture of an early summer plant (peony).

Queen of the Night tulips with a backdrop of Hawthorn trees in flower

Paeonia Bowl of Beauty – all four pictures are different flowers but from the same plant

I hope you have enjoyed this little tour of my June garden. Anything tasty or pretty growing in yours?

In peace,