A garden to be thankful for

Hello there! Welcome to my blog, where today I’m all about gratitude. Don’t get me wrong, I practice being grateful on a regular basis. But today, I went out to the garden not too hopeful that I’d find much to make an arrangement with. Boy was I mistaken! It just made me appreciate all of the weird and quirky stuff that I have – that might not look all that neat and tidy in the garden – but is lovely to have all the same.

My family and I moved to Ireland 12 years ago, and we usually celebrate Thanksgiving on either the weekend before or after the actual American Thanksgiving. This year, with my daughter having exams the week of Thanksgiving, we celebrated this weekend. I’m lucky as my husband is a very good cook, and enjoys cooking special dinners like this. So that leaves cleaning to me (with help from the kids). It’s not a bad deal. 🙂 It’s even better still, when I start my ‘cleaning’ by making a flower arrangement!

I can critically say that this is not my best arrangement. There was too much going on. But I really wanted to use everything I’d gathered, so I decided to leave it. Here’s my critique: The ornamental grass has neat curls at the ends, which I love, but I’m not sure if it comes across well. The striking, black stemmed bamboo is somewhat lost in the middle, and perhaps too tall. The Rosemary is a bit too ‘out-there’, while the lovely red dogwood branches can’t fully be seen (but they do tie in nicely with the hesperanthus, when you can see them). Lot’s of ‘imperfection’!

Now for the positives: The amount of red hesperanthus (also known as schizostylis, or kaffir lily) is fantastic! I never would have imagined that I had that much in the garden, when I’d taken cuttings a few times already. The purple Mr. Fokker anemone were completely closed up when I cut them in the garden – the perfect time to use them. It was lucky to have so many that are at just the right stage. I have lots and lots of invasive ivy, but it sure is pretty! I find it to be an excellent filler plant. There were 3 daisies in the garden, so I figured why not bring them in, too? The back of the arrangement has two small stems of golden yarrow. Lastly, there are pink David Austin roses, which thankfully had long stems.

Despite my strong critique, I do really like it! It’s very visible in our hallway, where everyone can enjoy it. Mostly, I’m thankful to be able to go out into the yard and gather up something that can be arranged for decoration! I find it really relaxing and enjoyable. After this, I had no problem with getting all of my cleaning done!

We had a lovely, and delicious, Thanksgiving. We have so much to be thankful for! And on that list is most definitely my garden, and those who like to read my blog about it! Thank you!!!

In Peace,
Dana

finished arrangement November 29 inside pic
The finished arrangement.
Flower arrangement
The finished arrangement, outside (in sunlight).
Mr Fokker anemone, Hesperanthus and David Austin Roses
A close up of the Hesperanthus (Schizostylis), Mr. Fokker Anemone, David Austin roses and ivy.
The back of the arrangement
This is the back of the arrangement. I believe this is Achillea filipendulina ‘Cloth of Gold’, with Daisies and Hesperanthus.

Tapping the top of container for flower arranging
It isn’t very pretty, how I tape up the container, but it does work to help to hold stems in place. I also had some marbles in the bottom of the container.
bunches of flowers before beginning arrangement
This is what I started with!
Irish Robin
This little Robin followed me around the garden as I cut flowers!
Anemone Nov 29th arrangement
I love the little details of the ivy and the anemone.
November flower arrangement
This is the best picture for seeing the red branches of the dogwood.
Flower arrangement
The ivy on the left, in front, had a natural curve in it that I think is wonderful!
flower arrangement
This is my favorite part of the arrangement – this burst of color.
flower arrangement outside
Outside view
inside flower arrangement
Home.

What do you think? A bit too wild? It’s fun to play and learn! Take care, and stay safe! 🙂

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! 🙂

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! 🙂

In a Vase on Monday: Pink, Purple, Red & Coral … in November!

Pink Hesperanthus (schizostylis)

Pink Hesperanthus (schizostylis)

Hello there!  I am so looking forward to this week’s ‘In a Vase on Monday’ meme!  My weekend included one whole entire day that had no scheduled activities.  woohoo!  That meant garden time for me.  To top off that great schedule, the weather was incredible on Saturday; very mild and beautifully sunny!

Geranium

Geranium

I worked until I was physically exhausted and could do no more.  There is always so much to do in a garden!  I would not call it work though because I enjoy all of it.  But it certainly does take time and effort.  Lots of effort.

Knautia macedonica "Red Knight"

Knautia macedonica “Red Knight”

After my hard working day, I was so happy to take some time and gather flowers.  At that stage though, I had to move quickly to catch the setting sun in my pictures.  My collection includes Hesperantha, Erysimum Bowles’ Mauve, Geranium, and  Knautia Macedonica ‘Red Knight’.

Erysimum Bowles' mauve

Erysimum Bowles’ mauve

I grouped the erysimum bowles’ Mauve all together.  The individual flowers were rather   wimpy looking on their own.  The group of them look almost substantial!

Geranium

Geranium

The geranium are two lovely shades.  We were scheduled to have a very hard frost on Saturday night (which we did have), so there days are seriously numbered.  They are from last year, though, so they have had a great long life.

Evening sunlight

Evening sunlight

I just love the evening sunlight…

In a Vase on Monday...

In a Vase on Monday…

This cute little arrangement fits nicely on our kitchen table.  I don’t have any pictures of that to show you, ’cause my kitchen is a bit of a disaster at the moment 😉

November in the garden...

November in the garden…

The vase I bought at a charity shop in Switzerland 18 years ago.  It is a very simple piece of pottery.  I last used it to hold an arrangement of barley, with the raffia tied in front.  It was for a special friend who really appreciated it.  But when she was done with it, she gave me back the little vase. So now I have it with memories of my friend too.

A different view

A different view

Remember, you can see other “In a Vase on Monday” posts at: Cathy’s blog http://ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com .

Thanks for stopping by!

Have a good week!
Dana

In a Vase on Monday: A Summer look (Still)

Didn't expect this

Didn’t expect this summer look at the very end of October!

It is Monday!  Just barely so, but you are getting used to me by now, aren’t you?  I know some people would have had their “In a Vase on Monday” meme done and dusted by now, but sometimes I just need a little bit more time.  Good things come to those who wait, right?   🙂

dahlias, roses, wild yarrow, lavender

dahlias, roses, wild yarrow, lavender, campanula & hesperantha (schizostylis)

I had been making my arrangements on the weekends (the only way I could possibly get them posted on the blog at a decent hour on a Monday!).  But alas, this week it was left until today.  Today was an unsettled weather day, looking rather dull with a very light mist of a rain most of the day. That is, until I went outside to cut some flowers.  Then down came the rain! Ha!  That’ll teach me to not put things off! Maybe.

Some pink Schizostylis/Hesperantha that is the same colour as the roses

Some pink Schizostylis/Hesperantha that is the same colour as the roses

I have to say that I didn’t really have anything in mind when I went outside to cut flowers.  I went outside just to see what was on offer. The roses I was originally going to use were blown away completely just this weekend.  These roses seem to be a little bit more hardy.  The stems had six or more blooms all clustered together.  They are fabulous at our front gate.  Coming from New York, it took a while for me to adjust to the “fall colours” here.  At home you would see so much burgundy, yellow, orange, and red in gardens.  But certainly not pink!  Here you can still see so many summer colours even at the end of October.  The only “fall” look comes from foliage, really.

I had to clear our hutch!

I had to clear our hutch

No sun in sight for my picture taking. Plus, I left it a bit late.  So I had to clear our kitchen hutch. I love it when it is all cleared, but it is so hard to keep it that way!  I’m sure my husband won’t recognise it…

The flowers that didn't make the cut...

The flowers that didn’t make the cut…

The Salsa Red Echinacea and red Schizostylis (Hesperantha) didn’t seem to fit in with the other colours.  They look quite nice on their own, though.

A pink, purple, and yellow look

A pink, purple, white, and yellow look

Up close

Up close

I still find it surprising when I can manage to make an arrangement just from items from my garden.  That.Is.Neat.

Stickley kitchen hutch as a backdrop for my flowers :-)

Stickley kitchen hutch as a backdrop for my flowers 🙂

Do you see the hydrangea sitting on top of the hutch?  I should have taken a better picture of it, as it is a very pretty blue and burgundy mix.  I see a wreath creation in its future.  But more immediate, I think my next project will be to make a festive tea cosy to replace the roses cosy.  Since the cosy is on display where it lives on my hutch, I think it might be nice to change things up a bit.

I just need a few more hours in each day!

I’m joining Rambling in the Garden for Cathy’s In a Vase on Monday meme if you’d like to stop by and see some other vases! You can click here: http://ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com/2014/10/27/in-a-vase-on-monday-collection-of-compositae/

Happy Monday!
Dana

In a Vase on Monday: Roses & Ivy with a helping of Blackberries

In a Vase on Monday; Roses & Ivy & other lovely stuff

In a Vase on Monday; Roses & Ivy & other lovely stuff

Honestly, I never would have thought I could produce so many varied arrangements from materials gathered in my own garden!  I am so glad to have been challenged to look at everything in the garden as potential “In a Vase on Monday” material.

Hydrangea just barely visible

A single pink Hydrangea flower is just barely visible in the centre

I do have to say that I make my arrangements on the weekend. My life is way too crazy to do it on a Monday (do you know that feeling???).   I’ve been lucky so far, always having some form of sun to photograph with.  Can I just say that I love the sun?  I’ve lived in some cities where the sun didn’t always come out as often as I would like.  Let’s just say that those cities aren’t known as sunny locations: Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Dublin, Zurich, even Poughkeepsie where I’m originally from.  All are great places to live and probably the reasons why I so appreciate seeing the sun when I do!

Ivy. Isn't it lovely?

Ivy. Isn’t it lovely?

I digress.  Back to flowers.  I had it in my head that I wanted to use my ivy.  This is the same ivy that I have spent countless hours removing from my hawthorne trees and ditch wall!  It is completely invasive!  I do remember that when I lived in Zurich I noted the greens used by florists were so lovely. It was indeed this very same type of ivy that was used to make the most amazing arrangements.  So I might just keep a little bit of it.  I’m sure the ivy itself will have more say about it staying than my actually doing something about it. 🙂

Ivy, roses, snapdragon, schizostylis (or rather: Hesperantha), Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage)

Ivy, roses, snapdragon, schizostylis (or rather: Hesperantha), Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage)

What to add to the greens?  The snapdragons have had a good run. Those in the arrangement are a lovely fuchsia colour, although they are very near the end of their lives.  I’m still a little shy of cutting fully beautiful flowers when they can be enjoyed outside. I feel less guilty if they are nearly done anyway.

Snapdragon  in the evening sunlight

Snapdragon in the late afternoon sunlight

an awkward view of the roses

an awkward view of the roses

The roses are my climbing roses. I don’t have the variety, since I was sent the wrong type when I originally ordererd them.  It was a dead giveaway since these guys have thorns and I ordered thornless…  Nevertheless, their blooms are lovely from June through until late fall.

Schizostylis (new name Hesperantha)

Schizostylis (new name Hesperantha) members of the Iris family

O.K., so I posted a picture of these guys, see pink flowers above and below,  on my Facebook page (have you clicked on my Facebook “LIKE” button yet? 🙂  ) and someone commented that this plant has just had their name changed. What? Really? Seems there was some confusion about Hesperantha having corms versus Schizostylis having a short rhizome. Honestly, I read the article and I still think mine are Schizostylis.  I might just use both names to cover all of the bases.

Schizostylis (new name Hesperantha)

Schizostylis (new name Hesperantha)

It is a banner year for wild blackberries in our yard! They are everywhere. Those brambles live in the same area as the ivy, and I have also spent countless hours trying to get rid of them! They are unruly, have terrible thorns, and are invasive. Ah well, but while they are still here we at least get to enjoy their fruit. I do like having some fruit in the arrangement. Just something different.

blackberries galore..

blackberries galore..

What I really liked about this arrangement was all the different items, just a few of each, that worked together.  Well, they do in my eyes!  It is a rather messy, maybe I’ll say free flowing (?),  arrangement.

a little messy looking

a little messy looking

I’m sure I mentioned in an earlier post that my father-in-law grew my snapdragon from seed for me.  This one variety, which has a really nice multi-tone colour,  has variegated leaves.  It didn’t make the main vase, but is sitting nicely in its own Irish pottery vase.

snapdragon with variegated leaves

snapdragon with variegated leaves

Snapdragon

Snapdragon

One last view

One last view

Thank you, Cathy, of Rambling in the Garden, for hosting “In a Vase on Monday”!  You can visit her vase, and many links to others by visiting her page here: http://ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/in-a-vase-on-monday-stars-from-another-galaxy/   (that one isn’t working, so please try here: http://ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com)

Have you thought about making a vase yet? 🙂
Dana

 

Sharing from the garden…

Daffodil Double Poet White

Daffodil Double Poet White given to me by a dear friend

Time. It is something that I always want more of.  With a recent change in my schedule, my time in the garden has been cutback dramatically. I’ve been enjoying late evenings in the garden watering the more needy flowers during a bit of a dry spell. A common expression here is “when the weather is good, there is nowhere in the world as nice as Ireland”! I have to say that feels so true these days of sunny and warm, but not hot, weather!

View of our fruit garden from the deck

The garden doing well with the good weather

I had the chance to catch-up with my dear friend Susan this week. We hadn’t seen each other in ages and it was so nice to have some time together. After catching up on how our families are doing, we spent a lot of time talking about plants! We are planning a mini garden tour among a few of our friends. Last year when we did something similar our hostess shared a bunch of different plants with us. I made out very well!

Schizostylis

Schizostylis (given to me by that same dear friend)

Schizostylis

Schizostylis

My ditch wall garden was pretty much filled with gifted plants!  I have a few pictures from early spring and now.  It is amazing how everything fills in and really comes to life.

Ditch wall garden in March

Ditch wall garden in March

Ditch wall garden at the end of June

Ditch wall garden at the end of June

That is some difference, isn’t it?!  Here are a few pictures of some of the gifted plants, too. The first is of Monkshood.  It is very pretty, and (very) poisonous.  I didn’t know what it was when I got it, otherwise I’m not sure I would have planted it.  Thankfully, my kids, and my cat, aren’t interested in eating plants.

Monkshood (poisonous plant)

Monkshood (poisonous plant)

Monkshood

Monkshood

Monkshood closeup

Monkshood closeup

I’m not sure how I managed it, but I ended up with 4 different plants from our last “tour”!

Dogwood

Dogwood and primrose

The red stems on this dogwood really stood out this past winter.  The primrose is just starting to wake up in the above picture.  I have a better picture here:

primrose

primrose

Seriously, aren’t they fabulous?  They really brightened up the garden in late winter/early spring!

I think we should be doing some plant sharing this time, too. Some of the plants that Susan has shared with me over the past few years have grown and thrived. This year we have so many babies!!!

Dusty Miller babies

Dusty Miller babies … lots of ’em!

Dusty Miller Lychnis Coronaria

Dusty Miller Lychnis Coronaria

Dusty Miller Lychnis Coronaria

Dusty Miller Lychnis Coronaria

Dusty Miller Lychnis Coronaria

Dusty Miller Lychnis Coronaria

When I lived in New York, every year just before our kids were finished school in June we would get together with a bunch of friends for lunch and a plant swap.  It was always something to look forward to!  (Thank you Ellen A. for always hosting and having lots of plants to share!)

Now it is my turn to share the bounty. It is lovely to think of friends as you see the plants they have given you come into bloom. Have you shared any plants lately?

To all of my American friends and family I wish you a Happy 4th of July!

Share the love of gardening!
Dana