Gardening thanks for ‘Six on Saturday’

Hello, and welcome to my blog! This week I’d like to take a moment to reflect on what I’m thankful for in relation to my garden. This seems appropriate now, as Thursday is Thanksgiving in America. I’m so glad that our family still celebrates Thanksgiving here in Ireland, although it has shifted to the weekend to accommodate everyone’s schedules. It is such a wonderful opportunity to be with family and give thanks for our blessings. For today’s post, I’ll be joining The Propagator’s meme ‘Six on Saturday’ as I show you what I’m thankful for in the garden.

Dana & PΓ‘raic in the garden

1 – My husband. πŸ™‚ I have to say that my husband has always supported me, and the garden is no exception. There was basically nothing in the yard when we moved here and he has helped me to create what we have today. All of the heavy lifting in the garden is done by him, as is a lot of the planting – and replanting, and without complaint! He also built the arch (above his head in the picture) for me this year, based solely on my request for an arch to hold pumpkins. I am very thankful for him!

Pumpkins and squash growing on arch

2 – Pumpkin arch. This was such a joy to work with this year! We really weren’t sure if it would hold the pumpkins, or if the pumpkins would hold up, but it sure did and they sure did. They grew about 2/3 the way up the arch, so I’m hoping to get them all the way up next year (of course!). The Red Kuri squash are a fabulous color to have in among the green Hokkaido squash and of course the orange pumpkins, although they are green for most of the growing season. The arch is actually four arches, along with fencing and stakes to secure everything. It was quite a job to create, but as I mentioned above, my husband did a great job.

New vegetable beds
The new beds filled with sunflowers, sweet peas and squash

3 – The new vegetable and flower bed area. This was another project that started as an idea in my head and came about with my husband’s hard work. I had learned a tremendous amount from the similar raised bed set-up which we previously had in this same spot. We decided to make a clean go of it and had the area totally dug out. Ah, a clean slate! We mapped things out based on what I like to grow. One of my favorite new things that we did this time around was to have thicker (eco-friendly) sleepers. They just look nicer. Also, the Hoggin, a compactable ground cover, has worked out great around the beds and I really like the way it looks. We’re not completely finished with this project, but hopefully we’ll get the last bits done over the coming year. I’m delighted with how well the sunflowers, sweet pea, and squash did here!

apple tree flowers
Apples, pears and blueberries

4 – Our fruit trees and shrubs. Is there anything nicer than home grown fruit? We have eating and cooking apples, pears and blueberries. We have a fig tree, too, but I’ll save judgement on that until we actually get to eat a fig. This year we managed to figure out a decent way to cover the blueberries, keeping the birds out for most of the season. I’m sure the birds were disappointed as they’ve enjoyed the blueberries over quite a few years! There are a few different varieties and I can say that the small blueberries are just as tasty as the great big ones. As for the pears, we had two delicious – and huge – pears this season. That is down from the start of the season when we had more than a dozen of them. I’ve had a tough time with this pear tree, unfortunately, but we’ll keep trying. Thankfully, the apples are very low maintenance and provide plenty of delicious apples for us to enjoy.

birch trees in different seasons

5 – Birch trees. This was a big decision on my part last year. In the past, I’ve done things in small, incremental ways. So the decision to have five tall trees planted here was challenging to me. But I am so thankful that I did it! The bark of the Birch trees is such a pretty color, and their tall structure is something the garden needed. This also gave me the opportunity to create another flower bed (you can never have enough flowers!). I have managed to have flowers blooming here throughout the entire year, from hellebores, to iris, poppies, rudbeckia and persicaria.

Chickens and eggs

6 – Chickens. Having chickens as pets is such a treat for me. It is something that I waited to do but it was definitely worth it. I’m glad that they have a large run and that they can hang out under the hedge, too (there is fencing in the hedge which should keep them safe). They are chatty and friendly and generally easy to manage. Oh, and of course they lay eggs!

There’s so much more to be thankful for! But I’ll stick to the ‘six’ for the meme. πŸ™‚ I hope that you have a wonderful Thanksgiving, if you celebrate it. As the Covid cases go up, and life gets a bit crazy again, I especially hope that you are doing well, and staying safe and healthy.

In Peace,
Dana

Pumpkin arch finale for ‘Six on Saturday’

Hello and welcome to my blog! It’s the start of a new month, and a great time to take a quick look back at what’s been happening in the garden. I have finally cut down my pumpkins from the ‘pumpkin arch’. They’re all lined in front of it now, posing for the many pictures I’ve managed to take, and will probably continue to take! It was a lot of fun watching the pumpkins and squash grow and make their way up the arch. Hopefully, it’ll be as fun next year, too! I’m joining the Propagator’s meme of ‘Six on Saturday’ today. I think it’s a super and succinct way to cover what’s going on in the garden. Here we go!

Persicaria backfield with Rudbeckia goldstrum

1 – Persicaria backfield with Rudbeckia goldstrum. Persicaria is a new plant to me. This past spring I was buying the black-eyed Susan’s specifically for under my birch trees, when the Persicaria was recommended to me (thanks Darren at Nature Works!). There are many different varieties. But this one, with red spires, fits in perfectly with the Rudbeckia and birch trees. I like the different shape of the spires compared to the other flowers in the garden.

Coleus full grown with flowers
Coleus plants up close

2 – Coleus plants. I planted these guys from seed this year and I’m so please with them. There are so many different looks to them and they are all fabulous: solid burgundy leaves with a very fine trim of chartreuse around the edges, to a mix of fuchsia, burgundy and white leaves with chartreuse trim, as well as a thick edging of chartreuse and designs of burgundy within! They also bloom tall spires of tiny lilac flowers. I will try and overwinter them this year, but I think I’d also like to try growing some more. πŸ™‚

Red Astilbe

3 – Red Astilbe. This single flower is all that grew this year from the single plant that I planted at the end of last season. It is lovely, so I hope it eventually settles in, makes itself at home and spreads!

Compost in a tumbler

4 – Compost! The compost in my tumbler is *perfect* at the moment! It is full of worms, is somewhat crumbly (it is moist, though) and doesn’t smell. I’m so pleased with it and have been working it into different flower beds. It is somewhat awkward getting the compost out of the tumbler, but otherwise the tumbler works well. I have two tumblers for food waste, the rest of my garden waste goes on open compost ‘heaps’. The system works for us, and I get a lot of compost from it all.

Dana with Pumpkin arch and squash
Pumpkin arch October 1st

5 – Pumpkin arch. Ta-da! I think we’re at the end of the pumpkin arch now. I have cut off all of the pumpkins and there are just 3 Red Kuri squash hanging on. I’m quite pleased with what we’ve grown (all of it from seed). I’m already planning for next year, of course. I’m hoping to start earlier to get them over the top of the arch! πŸ™‚

Full view of garden from above

6 – Full view of the vegetable garden from above. It’s nice to get a bird’s eye view now and again! The asters and pumpkins really ‘pop’ in this picture, along with the Rowan tree! It was a really good season with the sunflowers, sweet pea, squash, pumpkins, coleus, blueberries, (and two pears!). I’m grateful to be able to do what I love to do – spend time in the garden!

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you have enjoyed some quality time doing what you love to do, too!

In Peace,
Dana

September Splendor in Sunshine for Six on Saturday

Hello! Welcome to my blog! “What’s been happening in the garden?” you ask? Well that is a great question! πŸ™‚ I’m delighted to report that the garden is looking really well, if I do say so myself. I’m going to sum it up with picking six items to tell you about as I join the Propagator’s meme ‘Six on Saturday’. Feel free to have a look and see what others have picked for their six!

Two pears in tree

1 – We’re going to start with pears. My pear tree has good years and bad years. This year we have two pears. I’m looking at it that at least we have two!

Eustacia Vye rose in September

2 – While I love roses and have quite a few, this one is my favorite at the moment. It is a David Austin rose called Eustacia Vye and while it is pink, it has soft peach undertones. Of course it also has a lovely scent. There is a cluster of roses, which is what I’ve tried to capture here.

Delphinium collage

3 – Delphinium. This delphinium is something I’m quite proud of as I grew it from seed. Of all the plants that I grew from seed this year, I had the least success with the delphinium. I did get two seeds to germinate, though, and had two flowering plants. This is the second one and the biggest by quite a long shot. They are both just in pots, as I wasn’t sure they were going to really make it the whole season! But since they have, in the next couple of weeks I will find a sheltered spot to plant them in, since it is quite windy where we live. I think their color is a lovely addition to the garden.

Vase with black calla lilies

4 – Black calla lilies. I’m currently a bit obsessed with black (or dark purple) flowers. These calla lilies are so pretty. The arrangement in the vase is actually what is left from what was a much bigger arrangement. These guys, bar the roses, lasted quite a while! This arrangement has Himalayan honeysuckle, black calla lilies, cream and pink roses, and Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia).

Asters and view of pumpkins

5 – Asters! I think the pink asters are a perfect contrast to the typical fall colors you’ll find in the garden. If you look closely at the ornamental grass, you will see that I have French braided the grass to keep it from hiding the asters. I think it came out quite well!

The front and back view of the pumpkin arch with squash and pumpkins

6 – The pumpkin arch! Wow, we’re just about there with almost all of the pumpkins turning orange! I’ve taken a picture of the front and back view, lining up a lot of the squash and a few of the pumpkins up front. I am really happy with how it turned out. Aiming to get those pumpkins higher next year! πŸ™‚

Pumpkin arch with apples and flowers

We’ve had some beautiful weather in September. It is so invigorating to have sunny days with a blue sky! It is also nice to have everything in the garden come together. It’s been such a pleasure to work in the garden, as there has always been something in bloom or coming into bloom. Lucky me!

I hope September has been good to you, too.

In Peace,
Dana

An unsettled start to August

Hello and welcome to my blog! Here in Ireland, we have enjoyed some glorious weather this summer. Near the end of July we had two full weeks of sun, heat and stillness with no rain. It was amazing (and unusual)! The garden is now appreciating the long drinks of water it has been getting the past week. There is a distinct change in the air, though, that fall is not too far off. The garden is in a constant state of flux, and it is fun to note it with a simple meme of ‘Six on Saturday’, hosted by The Propagator. Let’s see what’s in store this week!

Blueberries in hand in July
Bowl of Blueberries 5 August

1 – Blueberries! I planted blueberry shrubs in my garden quite a few years ago. From the beginning, it seemed they didn’t really enjoy our garden. They always seemed to drop their berries before turning blue! But it turns out, the birds had more to do with this than I realized. I didn’t mind too much, since to me the plants were spectacular in the fall with their leaves turning from green to crimson. This year, though, with the garden revamp, we decided to spend some extra time to see if we could get some blueberries for us to eat! We first spread out the older shrubs as they were getting quite cramped. Also this season, we added Sulphate of Iron to the soil. I believe it was Laura, from Garden Answer, who suggested it in one of her videos. The third thing we did differently this year was we added netting. Although it wasn’t the pretties of setups, it did the job, and the blueberries stayed on the shrubs until they were blue! I picked two small bowls of blueberries, and a few times I just went out and ate a handful. They were delicious! We will hopefully figure out a ‘prettier’ way to cover them next year.

Garlic in June
Garlic harvest July 11

2 – Garlic! Last October we planted our over wintering organic garlic Vallelado. It is very easy to plant garlic! They should be planted between the end of October and the end of November, ideally. Plant at a depth of three to five inches (7.6 cm) and six inches apart. I harvested mine the beginning of July and they have been drying out in our shed since. The only other thing I did was weed the bed a few times. We also had a relatively dry spring, so I kept it watered. So easy, and so tasty!

lavender and shaved plant
The lavender plant looks like it got a shave!
Dana with lavender harvest
There’s some lavender left on the plant beside me.

3 – Lavender! I’m a bit late on writing about this one, too. Lavender is usually harvested in July. I managed to still cut some in August this year as our growing season was a bit off due to a strange spring. I love working with lavender! I made a few fresh lavender wreaths this year (as opposed to dried lavender wreaths). I didn’t make any Lavender Wands this year, though. (You can check out how I make them here.) There just wasn’t any time. If you do dry lavender, it is worth noting that the flowers keep their scent for years!

Double lilies in rose bed
Lotus Dream Mix
double lilies on deck
Magic Star lilies in a container on my deck.
Double lilies
Double Surprise lilies blooming before the plain white variety of lilies bloom.

4 – Double lilies! New to my garden this season are two groups of lilies: I purchased a Lotus Dream Mix of double oriental lilies and planted them in my rose bed. I also added a Magic Star lily to my container garden, on my back deck. These join my ‘double surprise’ lilies, which live next to my largest lavender plant off of the back deck and are neighbors to a plain white variety of lilies that are always last to bloom later in August. I love scented flowers, and these beauties have a wonderful scent that can be noted without having to bend down to specifically smell them!

Perovskia Russian Sage
Perovskia atriplicifolia Little Spire or Russian Sage

5 – Perovskia atriplicifolia Little Spire! I have to confess that when my friend Susan exclaimed how fabulous my Perovskia looked, it took me a minute to realize she meant the Russian Sage. I’m just not very good at proper names. Hopefully now I’ll remember this one! This plant was purchased as a small plant in 2017 and seems to be quite happy. If you like to dry flowers, this one keeps its purple stems for quite a long time before fading.

Pumpkin arch update 7 Aug 2021 with rainbow
The rainbow is quite faint, but can bee seen right over the pumpkin arch in the above picture!
Back of pumpkin arch 7 Aug 2021
A view of the back of the arch.
Pumpkin arch update 7 Aug with sun
The blue sky backdrop is harder to come by these days. I captured this in a very short window between heavy rain showers! We’ll see if the vines climb any higher.

6 – Pumpkin Arch update! The arch has two different types of squash growing on it: Jack O’Lantern pumpkins and Red Kuri squash. The pumpkins are growing quite large. I usually grow baking pumpkins which are medium to small size. These guys are getting huge. I’m not exactly worried, but I think it would be better if they didn’t get so big! The Red Kuri squash start out yellow and then change from orange to a reddish color. They are medium sized. Some have started to change color already. You can’t really see any of that just yet since all of the leaves are still in the way! I will have to try and get some close up pictures so you can see the squash and pumpkins. I’m wondering if it won’t grow any higher, either. It doesn’t seem to have grown ‘up’ this past week, although the outside vines of some of the plants are still growing out. We’ll see. It certainly is getting plenty of rain this week.

That’s my garden update! I hope you are enjoying your summer, no matter what the weather is like. πŸ™‚

In Peace,
Dana