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