A look back on the garden, part III

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Hi there! Don’t mind me, in this third part post, I’m just walking down memory lane where I look back on the garden from July and August, and boy was there a lot going on! Some plants, like my sweet pea, took a while to get started, but once they did, they really took off. I grew three different types of sunflowers this year. What was nice about the different varieties was 1. how completely different they looked and 2. how they all bloomed at different times. This meant that I was able to enjoy sunflowers from summer into fall. These two months saw a lot of growth in the pumpkin / squash category, too. And let’s not forget that July is notable for harvesting lavender and garlic. Let’s get started!

Collage of flowers from the garden in July: pumpkin flowers, peony, hosta, poppy, sunflowers, iris and eggs.

This first collage is from the beginning of July, and the yellow Itoh (hybrid) peony ‘Hillary’, on the bottom, just made the cutoff. I only had one delicate flower, and its color was quite lemony, a first for my garden. It was planted two years ago, so it should have more blooms in 2022. The other ‘end of the season’ peony was my Sarah Bernhardt variety. I’ve had this plant quite a few years so I get lots of big, beautiful, and scented, flowers. If you like peony, I’d definitely recommend this variety. Also during this time, the pumpkin and squash plants started to progress up the pumpkin arch. While they never made it all the way up, I did in fact, gets lots of pumpkins and squash – we’re still eating the squash!

To add some ‘interest’ along the hedge in the new garden, this year I added a bunch of planters filled with hosta. Most of the plants I’d had already, either in containers or in the ground. But I did purchase a couple of new ones as well, which are in the smaller pots, and they bloomed in July. The hosta flowers are not as nice as the leaves, if you ask me, as I think the leaves are the real attraction. These iris, as every year, were the very last of my four varieties to bloom.

While some flowers were finishing up for the season, it was at this stage that the first of the sunflowers started to bloom. They were mid-height – they were supposed to be 5 feet (1.5 meters) tall, but were more in the area of 3 feet (.9 meter) tall – and had only one flower per plant. This would be my least favorite sunflower because of the single flower. That doesn’t mean I didn’t like them, though. 🙂 At the top of the collage is a double poppy that thankfully shows up in the garden every year. And finally, I have a picture of three very different eggs, representing the 3 new variety of chickens that joined my hens this spring.

July collage of flowers: coleus, poppies, sweet pea, pumpkin flower, apples, Maple tree

Apple update: the pretty blossoms are now cute little apples! Another picture of the double poppies, because they are absolutely beautiful. I’ve also included a ‘yucky’ picture in here, too: it is my maple tree with a powdery mildew. We haven’t seen this before, and there isn’t really anything you can do for it, except at the end of the season to clear away the leaves (and not add them to the compost). Fingers crossed that it has a better season in 2022. The picture of the sweet pea is the first cutting of the season. I know this because it is such a small posy, and by the end of the season they were big bouquets.

The middle photo is of my ‘rainbow garden’. In the front, the cream colored David Austin Lichfield roses and yellow potentilla shrub are at their peak. I only learned this year that I could prune the potentilla, which I duly did at the end of the season. I can’t wait to see how it looks in 2022. I have helenium ‘Moerheim Beauty’ growing in a couple of places in the garden, as it’s a lovely splash of red and golden color (here it is along side my daisies).

I am all about having splashes of color in the garden, no matter if it’s from flower plants or veggie plants. It’s another reason I love to grow pumpkins and squash, I mean, what’s not to love about those big orange flowers? I picked the last photo for the pretty sunset, as the poppies under the birch trees are not quite at their peak.

July collage of flowers including garlic, freesia, peony, lilies, sunflowers, roses, poppies, and pumpkin arch

We’re in mid July here, and that’s when I harvested my garlic. The timing was perfect as we had some dry weather. There’s nothing worse than getting caught in a wet spell and not being able to harvest the garlic in time. I’ve planted about half of that amount for the 2022 season, which will still be more than enough for us. It keeps all winter, in a cool, dry location. Garlic is one of the easiest things to plant, and I highly recommend growing your own. It is so worth it in taste!

You will see through the different collages that I have a lot of containers. Part of that is me trying new flowers, part of it is that we have a deck that suits containers really well, and part of that is that I don’t have a more suitable place in the garden for those flowers. The pink, yellow and white freesia are a perfect example of looking lovely in a container but wouldn’t suit in the garden. So I’m glad for the containers! Funny enough, I filled both my garden and containers with lilies this year. Best decision ever as they are so easy to grow and are perfectly showy.

The birch tree bed was completely taken over by poppies in July. It was quite remarkable as they were 99% one variety (a single flower, lilac color) and I didn’t plant any of them. They come from my compost which apparently doesn’t get hot enough to kill seeds. So whatever I put in the compost, has the potential to come back!

I threw in another picture of the mid-height sunflowers as a progress report, as well as some roses just to remind me that the roses were still going strong. 🙂

End of July collage of flowers: sunflowers, lavender, daisies

We’re now at the end of July. The second variety of sunflowers have started to bloom – and this Claret F1 lasted well into fall, with so many flowers per stem. The colors were from chocolate to yellow and burnt orange / burnt red, with medium sized flowers, and they grew pretty tall (well over my head!).

I was a bit late in harvesting my lavender this year, but that didn’t stop me from making some fresh wreaths (pictures in the next picture). The clematis, ‘purpurea Plena Elegans’ is a pretty raspberry/wine color, but doesn’t really like the amount of wind that we have. It looks ok, but isn’t ideal in our yard, unfortunately.

The lychnis Coronaria rose campion has really pretty fuchsia pink flowers, although the evening sunlight in the picture doesn’t show that very well. Those flowers will actually spread like wildfire, so unless you want them everywhere, you have to pull them out as soon as they show up in their new spots (they are easy to pull out).

Of course I had to throw in another pumpkin arch update!

July collage of flowers: roses, sweet pea, lavender wreaths, blueberries

We’re finishing up July with blueberries! We had a great ‘little’ harvest this year, of several little bowls of blueberries. This was the first year that we covered the shrubs with netting and that worked great for keeping the birds away. I also spread out our plants that were crowded together previously, and fed them more than I typically would, which paid off. I’m excited for the 2022 season, as we learned a lot last season.

Finally, a picture of the chickens! We added three new varieties in March, but I only took video of them in the beginning, so I had no pictures to share earlier. We have a Bluebell (she’s gray), a Maran (with stripes), and a Daisy Belle (the largest of all of them and quite pretty with green shimmers in her black feathers). The Bluebell is quite friendly and likes to sit on my lap when I’m in the yard with them.

I made these two fresh lavender wreaths (as opposed to dried lavender). The bottom one I made first, and the one above was made second – I think I get better over the course of the season! The Celosia, the top right picture, I grew from seed. They were easy to grow, and dry really well, so I might grow them again.

More roses – of course!

August collage of flowers: helenium, pumpkins, hydrangea, gladiolas, lilies,

I told you it was a lot of flowers! These pictures are from August. This is another another batch of helenium flowers. These are next to my ‘Teasing Georgia’ yellow David Austin roses, as I think the colors go nicely together. The other flowers are: ‘Magic Star’ lilies, gladiolas ‘Pink Parrot’, hydrangea Selma, clematis ‘purpurea Plena Elegans’, and some more poppies. This sunflower is the first of the dwarf sunflowers to bloom. Next to the two small pumpkins is a picture of Liatris spictata Kobold, which is such an unusual flower for my garden – so I love it!

August collage of flowers: incrediball hydrangea, vanilla fraise hydrangea, coleus, lilies, agapanthus, calla lilies, sweet pea, Russian sage, pumpkin arch

So I found myself picking flowers for this collage that we’ve seen before. But it is interesting to me to see how much they grow and fill out and change colors during the season! The Incrediball hydrangea (bottom right) was moved in early spring 2021, but seems to have settled in well. This plant takes a lot of water, and I have still not figured out the perfect balance of getting that right. It doesn’t help that it is just out of reach of our hose, either. I’ll keep at it until we get it right! It’s not too far from the paniculata hydrangea Vanilla Fraise, actually – which is just starting to turn pink in this picture. The paniculata has not had any water issues, thankfully.

The coleus was my pride and joy this summer as I grew it from seed and it just looked so spectacular! Also, it was planted as a reminder of my dear former neighbor and friend Betty, who always grew them.

See the single, purple agapanthus flower? That didn’t do great in a container for me. Turns out the few that I had in the garden weren’t very happy either, but I had them in a somewhat shady area. So I’ve moved all of them into a new – sunny – spot in the garden and I can’t wait to see if that does the trick (along with extra feed).

Look at the Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia ‘little spire’)! I had some growing in partial shade and it wasn’t very happy. This guy, in full sun, is just shouting out with joy! I’m glad the space is large enough for it. These potted pink Calla lilies looked really well and bloomed for weeks.

Of course I’ve included another update on the pumpkin arch!

end of August collage of flowers

We’re wrapping up August with this collage. I rarely mention the wild fennel that I grow, but it is very pretty. The flowers are yellow and dainty. I enjoy watching the birds as they try and balance on the stems while eating the seeds in the winter. The plant isn’t just for birds, as it is edible for our consumption, too. The other plant not mentioned often enough: globe artichokes. I’ve used some in this flower arrangement – they look like purple thistle. The globe artichokes were arranged with roses, sunflowers and helenium.

The paniculata ‘Vanille Fraise’ hydrangea has turned pink by this stage. It’s around this time that you can cut the flowers to easily dry them. The Red Kuri squash look orange at this point in their growth, but as they mature, they will turn a more burnt orange/red. This view of the pumpkin arch shows us two Red Kuri squash, which are still orange, growing up the fencing.

The red apple tree is an eating apple tree, while our second tree is a cooking apple tree. I know I’m biased but, the red apples are incredibly tasty! I enjoyed eating our supply of apples right up until Christmas. I should have cooked and frozen some, to keep them longer. That will be something I’ll try in 2022, if we get a good crop.

The top picture is of some of my lilies – both pink and white. The white ones are in the garden, while these pink ones are in a container. They’re just so easy to grow, why wouldn’t you want that beauty and fabulous scent?

And finally, the sunflowers: the neat line of dwarf sunflowers bloomed in a perfect line. Not only that, they also then continued to bloom multiple flowers on their stems. The burnt red and yellow sunflowers were tall and floppy, grew all over the place, and were absolutely lovely in their uniqueness.

Phew! Are you still reading? You’re amazing! That was a really long post. I’m kind of impressed (and surprised!) with all of the flowers that I grow. Although I of course know all that I grow, it is only looking at them in this monthly review format that I really appreciate all that I have. And I really do appreciate them! I appreciate them so much that I created a new bed, in order to plant more flowers! 🙂

Thanks so much for stopping by. Let me know what you think!
Part IV will finish out the year.

In Peace,
Dana

What’s happening in the garden in August?

Hello there! Is it just me, or is this summer going super fast? Do they say that as you get older, time goes faster? I think it is true! The garden is shifting to ‘end of summer’ mode, with a few plants finishing their season.

We have had some *terrible* weather recently – as in lots of rain and gale force winds. Not a great mix for plants. I have to say that the garden has held up pretty well (I’ve seen worse). Thankfully, I captured some nice pictures of my roses *before* the weather turned. Some roses still look well even after all of the bad weather. They’ve had a lovely season so far! I’m afraid that my sunflowers have definitely seen better days though. They just didn’t shine as bright this year as they usually do.

The lilies have finished off their season with a bang! They were just spectacular this year. I love flowers with fragrance, and they do not disappoint. Their many blooms are pure white atop tall strong stalks.

My project this weekend was to cut some of my mophead hydrangea. I have not (yet!) perfected the exact time to cut them to have the petals dry properly. By “properly” I mean that the petals stay open and keep their color. If I cut them too soon in the season, the petals shrivel up and it really is not pretty. But, if I wait too long before cutting them, they lose their color! I believe it has more to do with the maturity of the flower than the time of the season. I am hopeful that most of the flowers I cut today will be O.K.. Last week I cut some stems off of my Vanille Fraise hydrangea paniculata ‘Renhy’. I had mixed results with some stems drying well, and some shriveling up. But I tried again about 5 days later and they have dried perfectly. I had wanted to cut them before they turned completely pink, which is why I cut them a little early. I think I’ll have a good mix of white and pink. Did you see my Instagram stories where I showed the cuttings? 🙂

Another plant near the end of its season is the globe artichoke. My plant is well established in the garden, and takes up quite a bit of space. It has produced many, many artichokes this summer. This is another plant that I like to dry and use for decoration. Earlier this summer, I tried cutting teeny tiny baby artichokes to use in wreaths, but they just shriveled up and turned brown. I’ve discovered that if you cut them right after they’ve bloomed (after the thin purple spike-like form in the center of the artichoke appears) they keep their purple color. The artichokes themselves don’t keep their lovely green color, but have a molted coloring. I like how they look in a large vase, as they are quite unusual.

I hope you are well and enjoying good weather wherever you are in the world! Are there any flowers that you like to dry and use again?

In Peace,
Dana

two Princess Anne David Austin Roses
From David Austin, this is the Princess Anne shrub rose.

You might notice that the leaves of my roses will usually have black spot. I have some varieties that are more hardy, but at some stage it usually hits all of the roses. If I had a bit more time I’d treat them with a milk and water solution. I’ve done that before and it does work. But I now have a lot more roses and it would take a fair amount of time to treat them. This just goes with the territory when not using chemicals.

Ancient Mariner David Austin Rose close up
Ancient Mariner David Austin Rose
Gertrude Jekyll rose with poppy pods
Another David Austin rose, this is Gertrude Jekyll. This is actually a ‘replacement’ rose, as the first plant completely died on me. There is a three year guarantee with all of the David Austin roses and they very quickly sent me on another plant. It was a pleasure dealing with them and I’m happy to say that this plant is doing very well!
Harlow Carr group
Harlow Carr – of course a David Austin rose!
Eustacia Vye, from David Austin, a new addition to my garden.
Eustacia Vye David Austin Rose cluster
Eustacia Vye, a lovely light pink with apricot coloring.
These light pink roses are called Olivia Rose Austin.
LIght pink david austin roses group
Deadheading is a full time sport when you have lots of roses!
Here’s another light pink variety that I’m not sure of the name of – it is either Olivia Rose or the Ancient Mariner or Scepter’d Isle (all from David Austin). Two problems here: when I take a lot of pictures I don’t always remember where the plant is when I go back to name them. The second problem is that some of my plants no longer have their name tags (and I didn’t note which ones went where when I first planted them – BIG MISTAKE!).
two Lichfield Angel David Austin Roses
These two Lichfield Angel David Austin Roses are not in a rose bed, but mixed with other flowers in the Rainbow garden.
Englands Rose collage
England’s rose, a David Austin rose
Scepter d Isle David Austin Rose collage
Scepter’d Isle, David Austin Rose
two Strawberry Hill Climber David Austin Roses
Two Strawberry Hill Climber David Austin Roses
Teasing Georgia David Austin Rose cluster mid August
A cluster of Teasing Georgia David Austin Roses in mid August
Garden view with roses
Blue skies make everything look beautiful! It helps though, when the roses are all in bloom!
full view sunflowers morning sun
This is a full view of the two sunflower beds. The one flower on down on the ground will appear in a vase later in this post.
Sunflower center
A sunflower closeup
Sunflower bed in mid August
Sunflower bed in mid August
Blue tit eating sunflower
Blue tit bird eating seeds from a sunflower
Blue tit sitting on sunflower
Blue tit bird sitting on a sunflower
Sunflower beds higher view
View of Sunflower beds from an elevated view
Back deck flowers sunflower
The back deck flowers have a late summer look, including the sunflower which I saved after it was knocked over in a storm.
White lilies closeup in morning sun
Fragrant white lilies in morning sun
Full view white lilies
Every possible bloom opened!
Hydrangea Vanille Fraise Paniculata Renhy full plant
A very full Hydrangea Vanille Fraise Paniculata ‘Renhy’
Hydrangea Vanille Fraise Paniculata Renhy close up of group
Hydrangea Vanille Fraise Paniculata ‘Renhy’ closeup. They start off white and turn pink as they mature.
hydrangea vanille fraise paniculata renhy white closeup
Hydrangea Vanille Fraise Paniculata ‘Renhy’ – a bloom that is still white!
hydrangea collage
One mophead hydrangea was so full of blooms!
basket of hydrangea
This is a very special basket, given to me by my nieghbor Betty, when we lived in Manlius, NY. Betty loved gardening and flowers, so I love it when I can use it in the garden.
Globe artichokes in vase closeup
An arrangement of globe artichokes. I wasn’t kidding when I said it was unusual looking!
Globe artichokes in vase room view
The globe artichoke arrangement fits right in to our family room! (on the couch is the ‘poppy blanket’ which I crocheted).

Phew! There were a lot of photos for this post! I hope you enjoyed them all. 🙂

Take care!

Fall (re)view of the garden

Ladder view of sunflowers + sweet pea + apples Sept 10

A view of the garden while standing on a ladder

Recently, while walking in the garden, I had a thought of ‘Now this is exactly what I was working towards’. I’m going to temper that ‘perfect feeling’ with a disclaimer that my garden is very far from perfect. But, it brings me peace, and joy, and I simply love my time in the garden. I have sunflowers, sweet pea, apple trees, a pear tree, and the rose bed is filled with roses and buds about to bloom. I walk around the garden, with chickens nearby, and simply enjoy everything around me and honestly, I’m learning to ignore the weeds. 🙂

Apple tree + bowl of apples + sunflowers Sept 10

A beautiful day in September means a fun photo shoot in the garden

miniature sunflower vase + apple

A very tiny sunflower in a very tiny vase

We have two apple trees: one is an eating apple tree (variety unknown), and one is a cooking apple tree (Arthur Turner). Some of the apples have grown to quite a large size this year. The first few years we had ‘baby’ apples, really. So it is nice to have these ‘full size’ ones. Both of our trees lean to one side and as they are maturing it is getting worse. We started to straighten up one of the trees this past winter, and it worked, straightening it up a bit. We’ll be doing the same again this winter for the 2nd tree, and a bit more on the first tree to get it fully upright. I’m just glad we are still able to rectify this leaning issue!

Sunflower closed Aug 31

Even before sunflowers bloom they are so pretty!

sunflowers in a vase Aug 19

It’s nice to be able to cut flowers and enjoy them in a vase, too.

The sunflowers have been so easy to grow. They haven’t needed any special attention. I have short and tall plants, and almost all of them have several flowers per stem, and best of all, the birds love them! I’ve taken a few flower heads to save the seeds to plant for next year and the birds get to eat the rest. Not a bad deal for the birds!

Sunflower head with missing seeds Sep 7

A sunflower head with only half of its seeds, thanks to the birds.

Sunflower full bloom blue sky Aug 24

The bees enjoy all of the different sunflower varieties I have

Sunflower cluster Sep 10

Large or small, the sunflowers are bright and cheerful and always make me smile!

I am going to boast that the Tamar mix organic sweet peas are STILL going strong! I have had cut flowers in the house for the past 5 weeks. They are so sweet! Now, they really only last for about 3 (maybe 4) days inside, but their scent is amazing during that time. I’ll be looking to save those seeds, too.

Sweet pea + sunflowers Sept 10

The Tamar mix organic sweet pea is still going strong!

Roses. Doesn’t everyone love roses? I think I have always wanted a rose bed, and it was the first bed I created when we started this garden. I try to get roses that are fragrant as well as beautiful and hardy (tough standards here!). This year the roses are doing so well. I don’t use chemicals, which means I don’t spray them for blackspot. Some of the plants do well, some suffer a bit during the season. But they all seem to be doing well now and the bed looks and smells beautiful!

A cluster of light pink David Austin roses (Scepter'd Isle)

A cluster of light pink David Austin roses (Scepter’d Isle)

A light pink David Austin roses (Scepter'd Isle)

A light pink David Austin roses (Scepter’d Isle)

Lichfield Angel David Austin Rose

A creamy white David Austin Rose (Lichfield Angel)

David Austin Teasing Georgia yellow rose Sept 18

A yellow David Austin rose (Teasing Georgia)

A medium pink David Austin Rose (Harlow Carr)

Look at all of the buds on this medium pink colored David Austin Rose (Harlow Carr)!

Gertrude Jekyll - David Austin Rose

A deep pink David Austin Rose (Gertrude Jekyll)

I usually have a picture in my head of what I’m working towards in the garden. Sometimes it’s clear, sometimes not so much. Thankfully, one idea plays into the next and they all tend to work together. It is a process that requires a lot of patience! There is still planning going on in my head, and loads more to do in the garden, but I love this process.

Sunflower heads + heart Sep 7

The seeds from these two sunflower heads have been harvested for next year’s planting

I hope you’ve enjoyed the walk through my garden! Make sure to say ‘hello’ to the chickens on your way out! 🙂

In peace,
Dana

 

four chickens in the garden

‘The girls’ roaming the garden

Good Enough

My veggie / fruit section of the garden

I haven’t written about the garden in a while. I’ve been beating myself up that it isn’t good enough to photograph, or talk about, or inspire.  Not.Good.Enough.  What??? Over the past eight years I’ve created a garden that brings me right to my happy place. How can that not be good enough? Admittedly, five years ago, this same patch of garden looked somewhat different, and perhaps more inspiring:

Purple Brussels sprouts, pumpkins, and squash in my 2013 garden

In fact, when I visited that blog post recently, the garden blew me away! Seriously, have a look. That did NOT help my feelings of inadequacy for my current garden! But so much has changed since then. The biggest change was that four years ago I went back to work after being a stay-at-home mom for 16 years. 16 years! Wow! I was lucky. I loved it. And now I am glad to be back working (outside the home) too… except that means a lot less time for taking care of the garden. It means that my view of what is Good Enough has had to change. And today I am stopping myself from saying it isn’t good enough, to saying it most certainly is Good Enough!

a cluster of our pears – almost ready for picking

our pear tree with a few handfuls of pears

I will focus on the good stuff: Our fruit trees.  We have one pear tree, one “eating apple” tree, and one “cooking apple” tree (Arthur Turner), and they are all filled with fruit this year! I must give credit to my husband for tidying up the base of our trees.  Ideally, the clearing should match the width of the branches, so every year as the tree grows, the clearing should be widened. It had been a few years since this task was done, so it was a big job this year. After all of his digging, he then worked a lot of our compost into the soil.  I think the trees look neat and tidy, and rather pretty if I do say so myself! (although perhaps slightly tilted?!)

funny, my husband doesn’t think this tree is leaning ever so slightly …

Fabulous combination of pretty and delicious!

I don’t have a variety name for the eating apples. They are sweet, and delicious tasting.  The cooking apple variety, Arthur Turner, are not sweet, and definitely need sugar when used. They are usually a greenish yellow color, but this year they have a pink hue.

do you also see the slight tilt on this tree too???

a pink hue to our Arthur Turner cooking apples

This year I planted pumpkins, squash, and sunflowers. As surprising as it is to hear, Ireland experienced a drought this summer. So some things in the garden didn’t quite thrive.  My sunflowers bloomed very early and died very quickly!  I cut off a few large heads, and have dried them to use the seeds next year. The rest are still in the garden for the birds to enjoy.

My daughter was helping me take pictures of my lavender wreath (which is in her hand) when I took this picture of the sunflowers. Kitty also enjoys being in pictures, just not posing for them… Off to the right you can see my leaning gladiolus The Dark Knights. I sense a leaning theme.

A bird eating the seeds from a sunflower

It is worth leaving the dying flowers for the birds to feast on the seeds, even though the plants look unsightly!  I love seeing the birds in the garden. It is worth having the dead plants there just for them 🙂

a common Blue tit sitting on one of my sunflowers

this is what the flower head looks like when you leave it in the garden for the birds to eat – lots of seeds missing!

The pumpkins also had an unusual growing situation this summer. Similar to the sunflowers, they ripened much quicker than usual.  Honestly, it is usually around Thanksgiving time (November) when mine finally turn orange!  This year they turned orange in August…

Four pumpkins completely orange in August…

They have provided a lovely splash of color in the garden, along with the summer squash.  (I stopped picking the squash many weeks ago, but they still provide beautiful color!)

nearly ripe pumpkin … in August!

There are two more pumpkins in the garden, but they have chosen to grow and ripen at the normal rate for us albeit in an unusual place:

this pumpkin is growing in ornamental grass (this was not planted by me!) and will hopefully turn orange right around Halloween 🙂

I tend to be rather hard on myself. When I stop and pay attention, I do of course appreciate that I have worked quite hard to create my happy space of a garden.  “Good Enough” was never an expression I would have accepted years ago.  But now I know that it is much more important to appreciate what is in front of me.  I might need reminders of that every now and again, but I do now accept that Good Enough is Perfect!

I hope you have enjoyed the views in my Good Enough garden!

In peace,
Dana

There were only a few gladiolus stems this year (due to the drought) but they were still pretty!

 

 

 

 

 

Fabulous Flower Friday: Sunflowers

in the beginning

It is Fabulous Flower Friday!  Our focus today is on Sunflowers.

perfect for bees

I have to say that I am a huge fan of perennials, but sunflowers are one of the few flowers which I love to plant every year.

They love full sun, and in our windy area I have to have supports for them.  I’ve just done some reading on them, and honestly everything I read doesn’t hold for me so that leads me to believe that sunflowers will grow anywhere and in any condition!

support for the short ones, too

We usually start seeds in late spring in medium sized pots inside where I have a sunny hallway.  Then we plant them in the garden after all chance of frost has passed.

these teepee-like supports worked really well (from 2015)

fall view 2016

fall view pears and sunflowers 2016

There really is very little extra work involved in care, other than supporting them.  This year the stems on the large plants were more than two inches thick!  Their roots were substantial, too, which left me fighting with them when it was time to pull them out!

Beautiful throughout the fall

LOADS of seeds

I did save the seeds this year, but I might have waited a bit too long before I gathered them.  We’ll see!

so many varieties!  This is a single dwarf plant

so many blooms

squished blooms!

Sunflowers provide beauty in the garden through the entire fall and well into the winter, too if you leave them be!

sunflowers to the right

And that’s a wrap.  What variety will you grow this year?

In peace,
Dana

A Sunflower Garden For Me…

a view before the full bloom is as beautiful as the full bloom

a view before the full bloom is as beautiful as the full bloom

I am not sure if a love of gardening is something that is inherently inside of you.  Or maybe the interest starts with a teeny tiny seed of curiosity and then with tending, time, and trial & error that curiosity grows into a full fledge love of gardening.

a different perspective

a different perspective

My first memory of noticing flowers was when I was in college.  Is that late? Even at that I was just thinking “hmm, those are pretty”…  It was not until years later that  I had the chance to grow my own flowers.  I was pretty busy with young kids, so it was a very small garden.  My next door neighbour, a Master Gardener herself, assured me that one day I’d have plenty of time to have a garden, and that a small garden was a great start.  A very kind and wise woman!

My first garden (spring time)

A look at my first garden in the spring

My first garden later in the summer

My first garden later in the summer

It was a good start! It was also a great learning experience. What I love about our garden now is that we mix it up every year and try something new.  This year, our new addition is the sunflower.  Oh wow!  I am in love!

the bees are also enjoying the sun flowers

the bees are also enjoying the sunflowers

These guys are only about two to three feet high but boy are they lovely!  My father-in-law started them from seed in his glass house for me. He could grow *anything* from seed!  That is a whole other story as he is simply a gifted gardener!

teepee structure

teepee structure

I know these guys are rather short for sunflowers, but our area is incredibly windy.  One afternoon I was watching the bigger plants sway back and forth and I just couldn’t sit there and do nothing.  My daughter and I  tied up some sticks in a teepee formation around the bigger plants.  They just seemed that bit more secure to me!

more and more blooms

more and more blooms

They are all coming into bloom now and it is a lovely sight to see.

Sunflowers with a full apple tree behind them

Sunflowers with an apple laden apple tree behind them

Some of the flowers have multiple blooms

Some of the flowers have multiple blooms

The group of them together  makes me think of a group of gals hanging together and chatting! ;-)

Sunflower view in the evening

Sunflower view in the evening (a week or so ago)

A look at the garden now

A look at the garden now

Our garden is definitely a work in progress! We have strawberries on the far left, peas front right, with blueberries behind them. On the left in front of the strawberries we have garlic and squash.  Way in the back on the right are the asparagus fronds.  I think the sunflowers frame the garden nicely!

Sunflowers later in July

Sunflowers in mid July

The most important aspect of gardening though, is having fun with it.  I now have my growing love of photography also spurring on my working in the garden.  That makes all of the required weeding worth while!

I hope I have encouraged you to try growing something new in the garden! What do you think, will you give it a try? 🙂

With flowers,
Dana