Planting out the seedlings

Hello! Well there certainly was some excitement this week when the rain finally stopped and the sun shone brightly for two days in a row! I celebrated by planting out most of my seedlings, including sweet pea, pumpkins and sunflowers. Now the fun part starts: keeping the slugs away!

I want to back up a tiny bit and talk about the seedlings. I’ve learned the hard way that the stems of pumpkin plants are fragile. One snap and that’s the end of the plant. My typical ‘flip the pot over’ into my hand ended in disaster last year. So I’m happy to report that there were no snapping of stems this year. The main reason is that I no longer flip them. 🙃 That’s just not the best way to get them out of their containers. It also helped to grow them on a couple of weeks longer, so they were definitely stronger.

The sweet pea were also started a tiny bit earlier this year. They grew long and leggy quite quickly, so I kept pinching them back which seemed to strengthen them and encouraged them to grow more stems.

The sunflowers were an interesting bunch. I have several different varieties, but they have not all grown equally well. I have my hunch as to which ones will perform the best – those that from very early on had multiple leaves and a strong stem – but I will give them all an equal shot!

The biggest issue I now face is that of slugs. They can destroy all of my work in a very short period of time. I’ve already removed several from the beds and from some of the plants. They come out in the late evening and early morning, and they camouflage perfectly in the soil. And don’t be fooled by size, even the teeniest of slugs can do serious damage! Hopefully, I can get the plants all settled and growing before the slugs do major damage.

I’m joining Garden Ruminations for the Six on Saturday meme (because it is fun to do so!).

Enjoy the tour of my garden!

In Peace,

image of pumpkin plant, sunflowers and sweetpea

1, 2 & 3 – Pumpkins, Sunflowers & Sweet pea. I’ve placed eggshells around the plants to deter the slugs. Honestly, I don’t think it works, but I feel better having at least tried it. One side of the arch will be covered in sweet pea, while the other side will have pumpkins growing on it. That’s the plan, anyway!

slug on a pumpkin plant

4 – Slug. Yup, I took a picture of a slug. This guy was quite long and easy to spot. I also tend to look harder around the leaves that have damage done to them. I’ve found that ‘hunting’ them down, both morning and night, is the best way to deal with them – and always with gloves.

Full view of the raised beds with the new seedlings in.
full view of garden with narcissus and raspberries

5 – View of the raised beds from both sides (after planting). In the bottom picture you can also see the raspberry plants. The border includes lavender on one side, Rosemary on another, little lime hydrangea on the far size, and beech hedging with containers of hosta on the last. Seeing blue skies is such a treat!

cherry tree at sunset

6 – Cherry tree at sunset. I couldn’t resist taking this picture. I was working on the other side of the garden and the lighting was just so perfect here that I was enticed to come over. I’d like many more days like these, please!

Thanks so much for stopping by! Do you have any (organic) means to get your slugs? 🙂

Finding beauty in the every day

Hello! Life is funny, isn’t it? We go about our days, and the days turn into weeks, and the weeks fold into months. My garden is starting to wrap things up for the season, at least parts of it are, yet it seems like just yesterday when it all began. I am so appreciative and thankful for all of the beauty it has provided me for so much of the year. It certainly deserves a break!

In my morning walkabout yesterday (which is when I took the feature image above, with the pink-hued sky), I marveled at how many plants are still producing flowers. The sunflowers are producing tiny flowers along branches that are barely attached to their main stems. The sweet pea are still flowering, although they are no longer fragrant. The little lime hydrangea are producing lots of new blooms, while the incrediball hydrangea have slowed down (but not stopped).

Looking for color? The alstromeria and dahlias have show stopping colors, and are still going strong. The asters have been blooming since September and are just starting to slow down now.

On the squash side, the Marina Di Chioggia squash seem to be finished growing. They are large! I have two Red Kuri squash that have turned orange from yellow, but have not made their final transition to red just yet. The pumpkins are nearly all orange. Nearly.

We mustn’t forget the roses. They are still producing new buds, and have lots of color from flowers that are currently blooming. There is a distinctively different feel to the garden now from the summer months, but the beauty continues.

Life is full. I try and do little gardening jobs along the way. When I stop doing that, those little jobs become big jobs and doing them, even in my head, becomes a lot harder. I also make a point of going in the garden every day, even if it is just my walkabout. Between my chickens, the birds, flowers, trees, and sky, there is *always* something to admire and be thankful for.

I hope you, too, find beauty in the every day.

In Peace,

little lime hydrangeas (dwarf lime light hydrangea)

I’m so happy with how the little lime border looks – as well as the lavender border! That was a fun project this year.

Marina Di Chioggia squash on half of the arch and sweet pea on the other

This is the ‘backside’ of the flower arch, which has three Marina Di Chioggia squash (two visible here) on one side and sweet pea on the other. There’s just a short opportunity in the morning to capture pictures on the front now, as the seasons change.

flower arrangement with dahlia: tam tam, cafe au lait and maxi, asters, delphinium and alstromeria

I couldn’t resist making another arrangement! The alstromeria were new to work with here, and I’m so glad I added them! This also has dahlias: Maxi, Cafe au Lait, and Tam-Tam, with some bright pink asters and one very curvy and long stem of delphinium.

Teasing Georgia David Austin roses in a bud vase

I have a lot of flowers inside at the moment! These ‘Teasing Georgia’ David Austin roses were hanging very low to the ground where no one could enjoy their beauty. So I saved them and brought them inside 🙂

Garden with Asters Pumpkins and Pumpkin wreath on playhouse

I’ll admit that it is *much* easier to find beauty when the sky is so blue and the sun is shining! May we all have more days like these!

Thanks so much for visiting. I hope you enjoyed the tour. How do you look for beauty in your day?

A sunny day in September

Hi there, and welcome to my blog! There simply is truth to the saying that only when the light fades do you truly appreciate it. Living in a country where gray skies and clouds are not unusual certainly makes me more appreciative of when the sky is blue and the sun is shining bright. This weekend we had an incredibly beautiful day on Saturday. It was the perfect day to enjoy some time in the garden. It was also a great opportunity to take some pictures. I captured the garlic that I harvested back in July, the apples that keep falling from our tree, and some flowers (of course)!

It’s September, which means that it is getting darker much earlier in the evening. There’s a distinct change in the air, despite the weather still being somewhat mild during the day. The pumpkins are turning orange, and we can’t keep up with the apples that are falling from our two apple trees. The red apples are ‘eating’ apples and the green ones are ‘cooking’ apples. While many of the sweet pea plants are going to seed, there are still quite a few that continue to produce flowers. The benefit of planting them so late is that they flower late.

I have dahlia plants in the yard that still haven’t flowered yet. They are *so* close! I think they are more of the Cafe au Lait dahlias. I’ll keep you posted. 😉

Sunflowers are growing in a few different places in my yard, and I have to say that our season is not yet over. Again, because some of the plants were planted out later, they are extending the season even further. I will aim to plant out late again next year, too, as it is nice to still have sunflowers blooming into the fall. The birds are truly doing an amazing job of eating so many seeds! I have put some flowers aside to keep some seeds for me.

The garlic was harvested in July and left to cure in our playhouse. This past weekend I just cut the tops off and tidied them up a bit to make them easier to store and use. I had them in my shed last year and that did not work well (by the end of the season, many of them went moldy). But this year I planted half as much, which is more in line with what I’ll need, plus a little to give away. I’m also hopeful that they’ll store better – and they are definitely not going in the shed.

I have just two Red Kuri squash that are on the vine, slowly changing from yellow to burnt orange. I also have three pumpkins that are still growing on their vine. I’ve cut eight pumpkins off the vine and placed them in the sun at the front of the arch. My ‘mystery’ squash, that turned out to be Marina di Chioggia, have produced another squash, bringing the total to four. I’m happy with that.

So much to take in! And so lovely to capture some of it on such a beautiful day.

I hope you enjoy the tour!

Sunny view of arch with apples & garlic

This picture makes me smile! It was such an inviting day, outside! The sun is almost a bit too bright for pictures. The left side of the arch has sweet pea, the right side has the Marina di Chioggia squash and then sunflowers to the right of that. There are four pumpkins on each side of the arch. I’ve been cutting a little sweet pea posy every few days for the past few weeks! I did plant way too many plants for the amount of space, which is why it is now looking somewhat unruly.

collage of sweet pea posies

Speaking of sweet pea, here are the most recent posies. They do smell so wonderful! I think this year, my favorite color is the white with lilac around the edge. I also like the bright colors, that are just blooming now. Most of the season I had very dark burgundy colors. That is pretty, but I prefer the brighter color sweet pea.

collage of dahlia flowers, red apples and garlic

Just a fun way to capture the ‘fruits from the garden’! I’m just realizing now that the two bowls were both wedding gifts. And they are very special to me!

Sunflower view of arch

Here you can see the other four pumpkins and a great view of these sunflower plants. These plants are *covered* in sunflowers!

apple pie and sun flowers

Which is why I keep bringing some inside. And here is the first apple pie of the season. It was yummy. 🙂

Thank you so much for stopping by! Now which sweet pea colors are your favorite?

In Peace,

Organic Sweet Pea “Tamar Mix” For the Win!

Sweet pea just planted June 11

Sweet pea planted in early June in the Garlic bed.

Hi there! I had to write this post for one main reason: To note which Sweet Pea to buy for next year. 🙂 I’ve grown sweet pea before, and I know that some years are good for certain plants and some aren’t, but these ladies were spectacular!

Sweet pea hand bouquet Aug 9

A hand held bouquet of Sweet pea (beginning of August)

Sweet pea just planted full view June 6

The garden in early June.

I try to buy organic when I can, and The Organic Centre in County Leitrim supplied me with these organic Sweet Pea “Tamar Mix” seeds. I started them in pots in the house (we have a very sunny hallway which I use for starting plants). We planted them out in the garden in early June, on either side of a chicken-wire fence. Chicken-wire fencing is perfect for the plants to ‘grab’ onto – and truth be told, it was what we had in the shed. Sometimes that’s just how it works. 🙂 The fence is 9 feet long (3 meters) and about mid-season we added on to the fence to increase the height to 5 feet (1.5 meters).

Sweet pea half way up fence July 18

The height of the fence is higher here, with the first flowers blooming mid July.

We planted the sweet pea in our ‘winter garlic’ bed about a month before we harvested the garlic. I wasn’t sure how the plants would do together, but I needn’t have worried because the garlic did great and the sweet pea did great!

Sweet pea close up July 22

Some of the first blooms (July 22nd)

I staggered 12 plants on either side of the fence, and over the course of the summer it completely covered the fence and filled with heavily scented flowers.

Sweet pea half way up fence July 26

Sweet pea growing up the fence with flowers in bloom (end of July)

I cut several bouquets during the summer, which helped to keep the plants flowering. The scent in the garden was amazing, too! I also liked how it was a wall of flowers for most of the summer.

Sweet pea side view Aug 8

The sweet pea and sunflowers were ‘my favorites’ this summer!

Sweet pea are easy to grow, with very little maintenance, other than cutting yourself bouquets of flowers! Once you have something for them to grow up, the rest is ‘cake’ (I had a swim coach in college who loved to use that expression!).

Sweet pea + sunflowers + full garden view Aug 31

A full view of the garden at the end of August

Sweet pea up close skyline Aug 23

The Sweet pea climbed up the fence and kept on going…

Sweet pea in a vase

Another bouquet of sweet pea

There are different colors of sweet pea, too, but I am happy with the combination in this mix.

Sweet pea hand bouquet Aug 26

Sweet pea hand held bouquet (end of August)

Sweet pea Aug 7

Sweet pea in evening sunlight (early August)

See what I mean? The blooms were amazing all summer long!

Sweet pea in vase Aug 26

Sweet pea (end of August)

Sweet pea + clear vase Aug 19

A different look in every vase

Did you grow sweet pea this year? Any plans to grow it next year? 🙂

In peace,

Sweet pea + full garden view from above Aug 29

A view from above!

In a Vase on Monday: Sweet Pea, Hosta & Perovskia (Russian Sage)

Without any sun it is quite drab

Without any sun it is somewhat drab

Today is Monday. It is a wet, cold, and miserable day!  What a yucky end to the summer.  The bright aspect of today, though, is the start of my joining in on “In a Vase on Monday”.  Cathy, of Rambling in the Garden, hosts this lovely blogging theme.  Here is my first “go” at joining in.  To see some other lovely vases of flowers, please do visit Cathy’s blog:

Add a touch of sun and Voila! magic.

Add a touch of sun and Voila! magic. The vase is from our Irish pottery collection from when we married 18 years ago (Suzanne May).

I know my crazy schedule, so I cut these flowers on Saturday evening.  My sweet pea are white and different shades of pink and purple. They smell amazing in the wide open garden.  The fragrance in the house when I have a vase of sweet pea inside is heavenly!

Perovskia 'Atriplicifolia' (Russian Sage)

Perovskia ‘Atriplicifolia’ (Russian Sage)

I planted Perovskia ‘Atriplicifolia’ (Russian Sage) last year.  I missed it from my previous garden.  I’m so glad to have it again.  It is such a delicate plant.  I’ve added just a few strands to the arrangement to give it a bit of extended form.

The Russian Sage gives it some reach.

The Russian Sage gives it some reach.

I also used some hosta at the base to kind of keep some form to the arrangement. I tried to not have it look like a collar, but I did like the contrast of the sweet pea on the green at the base.

Up close

Up close

The vase of flowers is sitting in front of me this morning as I am writing this post. It is still smelling fragrant and looking well.  I’m glad I took those pictures on Saturday, though, as the weather is horrendous today! Even on Saturday the weather was changeable.  You can see how it was cloudy and sunny while I was taking photos!  The difference in photos is like night and day.

In a Vase: Sweet Pea, Hosta & Perovskia (Russian Sage)

In a Vase: Sweet Pea, Hosta & Perovskia (Russian Sage)

I love flower arranging, so this was pure pleasure in putting together.  The hardest part for me is cutting the flowers in the garden!  I love seeing them in the yard.  Incentive for me to plant enough to have in the yard, and in a  vase!

I hope your Monday is lovely and bright.


Organic Garlic sitting pretty in a hand carved wooden bowl

Harvest of Winter Planted Garlic

Harvest of Winter Planted Garlic

Growing garlic is easy.  Most things are easy to grow, actually.  It might be a bit harder if you have a cat that likes to dig up the beds, but if you can keep that under control you’ll be laughin’!   I won’t mention any kitty names…

So sweet ...

So sweet …

I posted loads of garlic pictures and a “how to” list in a previous post.  You can see that here:



Still waiting... (beets/beet root are in front bed)

Still waiting… (beets/beet root are in front bed)

After waiting and watching all winter, spring and part of the summer, last week it was finally time to harvest the garlic.  It is now drying out.  I am absolutely delighted with the size of them!

Vallelado garlic

Organic Vallelado garlic up close.  Look at the size of those individual cloves!

We planted a lot of garlic, which is good.  We use a lot, and now I have spare to share.  And share I did, with my friend Catherine.  Look what she did with my garlic!

Chicken pasta salad with roasted peppers served with garlic bread

Chicken pasta salad with garlic, roasted peppers and rocket (arugula) and served with garlic bread

Talk about being spoiled!  She and her ten year old daughter made this for my daughter and I.  What a lovely afternoon we had together.

Lunch is served

Lunch is served! Catherine also enjoys living in the countryside.

The garlic bread was especially yummy!  They used our fresh garlic, Parmesan cheese, and butter on toasted sourdough bread.

fresh garlic bread

fresh garlic bread

Isn’t it fun to share? 😉

Not to change the subject, but did you happen to notice the wooden bowl that my garlic is sitting in?  No?  I’ll show you again:

Garlic in wooden bowl

Garlic sitting pretty in our hand crafted wooden bowl

I love it.  It is pretty special, too, since it was given to us as a wedding gift.  Oh the story gets better!  The wood used is from a tree that was felled from my husband’s grandparent’s home place.  Isn’t that neat?

Spanish Chestnut hand made wooden bowl

Hand crafted Spanish Chestnut wooden bowl

Spanish Chestnut wooden bowl

Spanish Chestnut wooden bowl.  I’m using our Irish woolen blanket to prop it up.  I love Irish handmade items!

It was crafted by Gerard Fox from a Spanish Chestnut tree and is simply beautiful.

Gerard Fox is the craftsman

Gerard Fox is the craftsman

It is nice to be able to use it, even if just for rather dirty garlic! I love having such beautiful things all around…

Sweet Pea

Sweet Pea with a backdrop of end of season lavender

like sweet pea in a vase…

I hope you have lots of beautiful things all around you, too.
Enjoy the moment!


Sweet Peas in the Summer Time

Purple sweet pea.

Purple sweet pea.

They really do live up to their name!  Sweet pea.  They have a lovely sweet fragrance, which matches their very pretty flower.  I mentioned in an earlier post that I planted some at the front of my fruit garden in the hopes that they would help beautify it.  I’m not sure if that is exactly what you’d say they are doing, but I think they are lovely!

One way to add a little splash to the edible garden!

One way to add a little splash of color to the edible garden!

They are a somewhat delicate flower, showing off different shades of pinks and purples with a few white ones thrown in for good measure.

A little sun light goes a long way to showcase the flowers.

A little sun light goes a long way to showcase the flowers.

It is seriously difficult to make the darn chicken wire look attractive. I was going for the “curtain of flowers” look!  I am considering other options for the future though.  I’d love to source some sort of wooden tee-pee type structure.  I’ll let you know if (I mean when) I find them!

A light shade of pink sweet pea.

A light shade of pink sweet pea.

It rained today.  It felt like today was the day we’d make-up for all of the rain we didn’t get this summer! Lashing rain all day.  Yuck.  So I felt the need to post my pictures of sun kissed sweet peas.  Lots of ’em.

Multicolored sweet pea.

Multicolored sweet pea.

There’s no point in wasting perfectly happy pictures, right?  I do realize that the content for sweet peas is quite light, but I think that is O.K. now and again.

Climbing upwards.

Climbing upwards.

One sweet pea  in full bloom and one starting to open.

One sweet pea in full bloom and one starting to open.

Purple. What's not to like?

Purple. What’s not to like?

Sweet pea.

Sweet pea.

A peachy/pinky colored sweet pea (captured when the sun was behind a cloud!)

A peachy/pinky colored sweet pea.

And here's a picture of that cloud!

I love this picture because all I can see is a heart!

Sweet pea.

Sweet pea.

They are such a sweet, simple flower.  And so easy to grow!  I’m glad I planted them this year.  I hope they brightened your day like they did mine! 🙂


End of July Garden Tour featuring Brussels Sprouts and Globe Artichokes

Brussels Sprouts & Pumpkins.

Brussels Sprouts & Pumpkins.

The garden is really looking full!  The Brussels sprouts plants are getting huge! The stalks are just starting to produce itty bitty teeny weeny little sprouts!

Brussels Sprouts (teeny weeny ones!)

Brussels Sprouts (teeny weeny ones!)

Yeah, well, maybe you can’t see them on a compressed picture.  You might just have to take my word that they are actually there!  Every day there seems to be just a bit more growth.

Brussels Sprouts' large purplish colored leaves.

Brussels Sprouts’ large purplish colored leaves.

Brussels Sprouts are a new adventure for us.  We started our garden three seasons ago, and every year we have expanded and tried something new.  I love that!  But I really think we need to add another bed for next year.  My pumpkin plants are squished!  I think I want a nice big bed just for pumpkins. 🙂

The veggie beds.

The veggie beds.

Here is a look at the other side of the garden.  The potatoes are doing well.  We’re still eating “last year’s” potatoes!  The peas are almost ready for picking.





Garlic, carrots, swede (turnip), parsnips, beets, rainbow chard, and more pumpkins.

Garlic, carrots, swede (turnip), parsnips, beets, rainbow chard, and more pumpkins.

Here’s what I’ve learned this season: Swede need their own bed since their leaves will cover up everything around them!  Carrots need to go in the higher beds to avoid carrot fly. We could never plant too much beet root (not enough of them germinated this year).  Planting onions from seed is easy.  That sticking extra pumpkin plants into one half of a tiny little veggie beds was a crazy idea.  I think a big bed right next to those veggie beds is just the thing!  Now to convince my husband 😉

View of garden with Sweet Pea.

A very busy picture! My focus was on the Sweet Pea at the front of the garden.

We planted some sweet pea at the top of our fruit garden (well, it is mostly fruit).  I wanted something fun to brighten it up.  I think they’ve done a good job.  We were quite late in planting them, so they aren’t in all of their glory just yet.

Sweet pea.

Sweet pea change color as they age.

Sweet pea.

Sweet pea.

Different shades of sweet pea.

Different shades of sweet pea.

It rather felt a bit like cheating when I bought a globe artichoke plant this year.  Isn’t that silly?  I have a few packets of seeds, but just never got around to planting them.  But in the end, I’m delighted that I did buy the plant because look what I have now:

Globe Artichoke plant.

Globe Artichoke plant.

This is one rather tall plant!  I have counted 5 baby artichokes on it!

A few of the artichokes.

A few of the artichokes.

Artichoke up close.

Artichoke up close.

When do I confess that I have never had a fresh artichoke???  I love canned ones though! Nothing ventured, nothing gained!  (Guess who will be searching the internet  looking up how to cook a fresh artichoke?)

The front garden with a globe artichoke plant.

The front garden with a globe artichoke plant.

I have the globe artichoke in one of my flower beds.  I’ve seen them in gardens before and I found them to be a showy plant, and here is where I wanted mine to perform.

Flower garden with a globe artichoke plant and a view!

Flower garden with a globe artichoke plant and a view.

What simple pleasures!  How lovely to be able to plant food and flowers and enjoy their beauty and their taste!  Have you planted something new this year?


Some of my Shasta Daisy :-)

Some of my Shasta Daisy 🙂