The special people in your life

My sister with her son and my son in the summer of 1999

My sister with her son and my son in the summer of 1999

Everyone in your life is put there for you.  Just for you.  It is amazing when you think about it.  So many lessons to learn, and so many people to help you learn them.  Life isn’t just about learning lessons, though.  There is so much more!  Those special people in your life have so much to give you.  They are in your life to bring you joy, happiness, and love.  Maybe Patience too. Well, at least I need help with that one!  Nothing is by chance.  I have had, and continue to have, the most amazing people in my life.  I feel so blessed.  I’m still learning (some of us are slower than others!).  And God continues to put people in my life to help me, and bring me joy, happiness, and love.

My sister;  I have a hard time with this one because I’ve had to say “was” since September 21, 2001.  I have no doubt that God hand picked her to be in my life.  Joy, Happiness, Love (and a bit of Patience, too!) would describe Kelly perfectly.  Nothing is by chance, Kelly was in my life for so many reasons and I continue to learn from her life which was filled with genuine love.

I’m thinking about the amazing people who are in, or used to be, in my life because today is Kelly’s birthday.  I am so thankful to have had her in my life.  I miss her and I wish she was still here with all of us…

In honor of Kelly, my daughter made chocolate peanut butter pie.  Chocolate and Kelly went hand in hand.  I know my sister is smiling with us, as we laugh over her mild obsession with chocolate.  :-)

 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

Everyone is there for a reason…  Thank you for being in my life :-)

Dana

Heart wreath of baby's breath

Heart wreath of baby’s breath

Lavender Season – a delight to behold!

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Lavender up close

Lavender up close

We moved into our home four years ago. My husband and I really like living in the country, and our home suits us just right. The yard was more or less a blank canvas for us, except for the established lavender garden. What a treat! Lavender! So pretty to look at, and a scent to match that beauty!

One view of the lavender garden

One view of the lavender garden.  (As a side note, the fields in the background are planted with potatoes and the plants have bloomed with white flowers!)

Our first summer here, one of my sisters-in-law suggested I dry the lavender. I’ve been drying it and finding different things to do with it ever since. I have really grown to love it.   It is so fragrant that I don’t even need to brush past it to enjoy the scent; it is already wafting in the air.  It truly is a relaxing fragrance too.

Lavender garden with an old milk container squished in

Lavender garden with an old milk container squished in

Full lavender garden view with milk container

Full lavender garden view with milk container

Someone with so much lavender in their yard surely has to do something creative with it!  I surprised myself last year with the number of lavender wands I made.  The colors of the ribbons I used to weave the lavender were so pretty to work with.

Lavender Wands

Lavender Wands

I shouldn’t forget the wreath, either.  I was really delighted with how it came out.  This year I just haven’t had the time to spend on crafts, unfortunately.  That is a huge unfortunately, because I really enjoy making things with my hands.

Lavender wreath with dried roses

Lavender wreath with dried roses

There is still a bit of time left to work with the lavender, so I just might get something made.  This past week I have been cutting some of it to dry for bouquets.  (All is definitely not lost!)

If you would like to try your hand at making lavender wands, you can have a look at my post from last year:   http://mominthegarden.wordpress.com/2013/07/22/lavender-wands-my-first-lavender-wreath/

Lavandula angustifolia Lavender in our fruit and vegetable garden

Lavandula angustifolia Lavender in our fruit and vegetable garden

Even after working long days, it has been so wonderful to go into the garden and cut lavender. The lavender I just planted last year was the first in need of cutting. I can’t believe how much it grew!  Lavandula angustifolia Lavender.  It was just a bit bluer than my established lavender, and the blooms were a bit thinner, too.  But still beautiful.

Nature also enjoy the lavender

Nature also enjoying the lavender

I bet you didn’t think I could pose this many pictures of lavender, now did you?  Even the different times of day give it a different appearance!

Lavender in evening sunlight

Lavender in evening sunlight – this looks almost pink (but is definitely purple)

Clematis Bagatelle 'Dorothy Walton' and lavender

Clematis Bagatelle ‘Dorothy Walton’ and lavender

Lavender and play house

Lavender and play house

A sunny evening with dark clouds in the background

A sunny evening with a dark sky in the background

I loved how the lavender gave some pretty color to our fruit and vegetable garden.  I was sad to cut the color away…

Lavender close up

Lavender close up

One last view of the lavender garden

One last view of the lavender garden

And that is the story of my lavender this season!  I hope you have enjoyed seeing all of my pictures.  I wish I could share the beautiful scent with you too! Maybe one day we’ll have the technology to do that. :-)

Dana

 

 

 

 

 

A stone tower in the garden (of course. Don’t you have one?)

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Tower in the garden

Tower in the garden

And you probably thought I was kidding, didn’t you?  … So this is the story of friends getting together to enjoy each other’s company, share gardening stories, and have a walk about our gardens.  “Tour” is such a formal word.  We were among friends and there was laughter,  a relaxed atmosphere, and it was a very enjoyable day!  Oh, and yes, that tower is in a fabulous garden.

Susan and her egg painting

Susan and her egg painting

The organizer of everything wonderful is my dear friend Susan.  She has such a wealth of knowledge, and knows tons about plants too!  I couldn’t ask for a better friend.  We laughed when I took this picture because I love the painting above her head.  It was a very sly way of me capturing both. :-)

I love Irish pottery

Beautiful Irish pottery

I love pottery.  Isn’t this purple design lovely? We enjoyed coffee (or tea) and homemade scones at the start of our visit.

Cup of tea to start our morning

Cup of tea to start our morning

Susan’s garden is amazing.  There is a great deal of beautiful stone work in addition to the tower!  It has a very welcoming feel all around. I found it difficult to capture it in pictures, try as I may.  Even though you might not get the entire feel of the garden, I think you will enjoy seeing bits and pieces as captured through my lens.

Stone entryway to an open garden (perfect for gatherings)

Stone entryway to an open garden (perfect for gatherings)

Stone hideaway that is very much like Newgrange in County Meath!

Stone hideaway that is very much like Newgrange in County Meath!

View of the lake  from lower garden

View of the lake from lower garden

Not so much a gardening picture as a picture to remind us to sit and enjoy the view...

Not so much a gardening picture as a picture to remind us to sit and enjoy the view…

The sound of the water on the shore is so relaxing

The sound of the water on the shore is so relaxing

Leaving the lower gardens through the stones

Leaving the lower gardens through the large stone entryway

Blue hydrangea

Blue hydrangea

I especially love the boxwood lining the path/garden.

I especially love the boxwood lining the path/garden.

I don't think I was completely successful in capturing all of the front garden. There was was too much for my lens!

I don’t think I was completely successful in capturing all of the front garden. There was was too much for my lens!

lacecap hydrangea

lacecap hydrangea

hydrangea which is supposed to be green (but is quite pretty the color it is)

hydrangea which is supposed to be green (but is quite pretty the color it is)

Flowering dogwood tree (definitely not the official name...)

Flowering dogwood tree (definitely not the official name…)

lambs ear flower (yes, I really must work on learning the proper names...)

Stachys byzantina (lamb’s ear flower)

One of my favorite flowers! Lychnis Coronaria (dusty miller)

One of my favorite flowers. Lychnis Coronaria (dusty miller)

Filipendula purpurea (Japanese Meadowsweet)

Filipendula purpurea (Japanese Meadowsweet)

Debbie loved the color contrast here, and I have to agree it is so pretty!

Debbie loved the color contrast here, and I have to agree it is so pretty!

Annabelle hydrangea underneath a cherry tree

Annabelle hydrangea underneath a cherry tree with boxwood lining the front

I've called this picture "Susan's Lamp" as I need to come back and fill in the names of plant/shrub/tree. Stay tuned...

I’ve called this picture “Susan’s Lamp” as I need to come back and fill in the names of plant/shrub/tree. Stay tuned…

View of lake from main garden area

Wouldn’t it be nice to enjoy your morning coffee here?

These wonderful ladies are mentoring me in my gardening adventures!

These wonderful ladies are mentoring me in my gardening adventures!

It was a full morning just at Susan’s house!  I will save the pictures from Debbie’s and Gio’s garden for another post.   I’m grateful for my friends, and that they share their love of gardening with me.

Happy gardening (even better with a friend)!

Dana

 

 

 

 

Wordless Wednesday: Hydrangea Selma

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In the beginning...

In the beginning…

Now that is a horrible picture to start a blog post with!  And actually, that is not even (exactly) “in the beginning”.  That picture is the year after I bought my hydrangea Selma.  I had to dig it up and help the soil a bit.  The poor hydrangea was not happy.  Even with digging it up and helping the soil, it took last year for it to really settle in!  Last year the plant looked nice and healthy, but didn’t have any blooms.  Thankfully, this year is going much, much better!

Earlier in the season

Earlier in the season

A cherry color if you ask me

A cherry color if you ask me

The foliage is a lovely almost  burgundy color

The foliage is a lovely almost burgundy color

The white centers are becoming more prominent

The white centers are becoming more prominent

(the green leaves are from another plant)

(the green leaves are from my leycesteria formosa plant)

Still filling in with blooms

Still filling in with blooms

And here are two pictures of the plant when I bought it in August 2010.  I prefer what it looks like today :-)

 

It looked lovely when I bought it!

It looked lovely when I bought it!

This is what it looked like when I bought it in August 2010

This is what it looked like when I bought it in August 2010

 

Another “Dana version” of Wordless Wednesday!  Here is a link to what we did to the soil to help the health of the hydrangea, if you’d like to read about that:  http://mominthegarden.wordpress.com/2012/10/18/hydrangea-selmas-new-life/  

I’m so glad I had the chance to share all of my hydrangea pictures!
I should really challenge myself to actually post with no words…  But what fun is that? :-)

Dana

A perfect day for roasted veggies (and the beets in the garden are looking well)

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Roasted onions, chic peas & beets

Roasted onions, chic peas & beets

Blog posts:  I never know what is going to inspire me.  For a while there I was getting all up-tight about blogging and who was reading, commenting, or “liking” my posts.  But that was really taking all of the fun out of it for me.  So I’m going to go back to what originally enticed me to blog: sharing what I love.  And tonight, that means sharing what I made for dinner!

Roasted beets (beet root), onions, and chick peas with rice

Roasted beets (beet root), onions, and chickpeas (garbanzo beans) with rice

The weather has turned quite dark, wet, and cold, which is perfect for roasting veggies in the oven.  I have never roasted chickpeas (garbanzo beans) before.  It was one of those ‘throwing dinner together from whatever I could find in the fridge and cabinet’ kind of nights!  I was really pleased with how it came together.   The chickpeas are quite tasty and after I roasted them with olive oil they were somewhat crunchy on the outside but still soft on the inside (and still tasty).

My daughter thinks she set her plate up nicer than mine...

My daughter thinks she set her plate up nicer than mine…

I used a high heat: 450 degrees Fahrenheit/ 230 degrees Celsius.  The beets and onions I peeled, cut, and covered in olive oil and Herbes de Provence spices.  The chickpeas were covered in olive oil and a bit of Cajun spice mix.  They were cooked in about 30 minutes, after turning them half-way through.  SO EASY.  and delicious.

Organic Robuschka Beetroot

Organic Robuschka Beetroot

My beets in the garden are a little late this year.  I planted 3 beds of them “on time” in early spring.  But none of those seeds came up. None.  Not one.  I think my kitty had something to do with it…  So my husband planted another bed for me in May.  His plants fared much better, and have even survived being thinned out and replanted.  I’m O.K. with that.  At least we’ll have beets!

Our bed of Robuschka Organic beetroot

Our bed of Robuschka Organic beetroot

I think our favorite way to eat beets is to roast them.  But hopefully we’ll have enough to pickle some as we like them that way, too!

There, now that is a blog post I can be happy with.  :-)

Happy roasting veggies if your summer is chilly!

Dana

Keeping the purple color scheme from the beets... Purple hydrangea :-)

Sticking with the purple color theme from the beets, here are some purple hydrangea :-)

 

Sharing from the garden…

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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

A garden no matter how small…

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Floribunda Rose Queen Elizabeth

Floribunda Rose Queen Elizabeth

I was away from my country living today, and was in and around Dublin for the day. Being one to always be on the lookout for flowers and gardens, it struck me how many home gardens I saw. Gardens in very, very small spaces and with beautiful flowers!  It was clear that no matter the size or location, the gardens were well tended and cared for; all throughout the Dublin area.  The predominant flower was definitely roses.  There wasn’t one color in particular that stood out, but rather, every color was represented.  It was such a treat to see!  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to take any pictures (and you know I would have if I could have!).

Floribunda Rose Burgundy Ice

Floribunda Rose Burgundy Ice

This evening my son had a Gaelic football match in a nearby village.  I think it would be safe to say that it was “in the country”.  I was no less impressed on our drive there with the fantastic gardens in the front yards of houses.  It is lovely how attentive people are to their gardens.  I really like getting glimpses into different gardens, ideas, and flowers, especially when I’m not driving! :-)

Hybrid Tea Rose Pink Peace

Hybrid Tea Rose Pink Peace

What a lovely day I’ve had. It was nice to really appreciate all that was around me.  I still get moments of “wow, I live in Ireland”!

Rosa Jacques Cartier (1868)

Rosa Jacques Cartier (1868)

ground cover flowers in my rose garden

ground cover flowers in my rose garden

But mostly, I get feelings of “wow, I really like my garden”…

A view of the rose garden

A view of the rose garden

It is a work in progress. But it is all a labor of love.

 

A glimpse of the roses at our front gate

A glimpse of the roses at our front gate

I hope there is a beautiful garden near you to make you smile!  Or at least, I hope a glimpse into my garden will make you smile :-)

Happy Summer!

Dana

 

 

Roses, and blackspot, and milk, oh my!

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Rosa Jacques Cartier (1868) My favorite rose in the garden.

Rosa Jacques Cartier (1868) My favorite rose in the garden.

The dreaded blackspot has returned to my roses this year.  Oh how my heart sank when I first saw it on those pretty rose leaves that seemed to be so healthy!   But treating blackspot with milk? Really? Are you sure???  Well, here is my story so far!  I love roses.  So much so that they were the first flowers that I planted into my first flowerbed.  That was way before I knew anything about blackspot. or roses.   The next rose plant I buy will definitely be blackspot resistant.  But for now I must deal with what I have, and that is rose plants with blackspot…

Blackspot damaged leaves

Blackspot damaged leaves

I gave Fruit Hill Farms in Cork a call last year (https://www.fruithillfarm.com/). They are an organic center and they suggested that I try and build up the health of the plant to prevent blackspot.  I wasn’t too surprised to find that what they suggested, Mucofol, was quite smelly to use!

Rose plant in the beginning

Rose plant early in the season

Rose plant

Rose plant (still healthy looking)

For those who wish the details of the Mucofol, here you go:

Mucofol (L) is absorbed by the leaves and the soil. Thanks to its root stimulant and crop care ingredients the  roots, leaves and soil are increased with endogenic capacity and develop its own immune system.  The ingredients in the product are working as soil conditioner, plant strengthener and have an indirect effect on pests and diseases.  It consists of a highly concentrated composition of specific herbs based on water. The product is natural and of vegetable origin, non-toxic and not persistent. The product will be degraded in the soil and leaves no residues in nature.

Keeping track of rose plants...

Keeping track of rose plants…

The Mucofol is in liquid form which you then dilute with water.  We sprayed the roses a few times early this spring.  They initially seemed to be doing well.  But unfortunately, the blackspot has appeared.

One of my climbing roses still looking good.

One of my climbing roses still looking good.

The same week that I noticed the blackspot, one of the blogs that I follow had a post about treating blackspot with milk. Kevin Lee Jacob, blogging from the Hudson Valley in New York (which is where I grew up),  has a  wonderful blog called A garden for the house.  You can click on his  post about treating blackspot here:    http://www.agardenforthehouse.com/2012/05/got-black-spot-get-milk/   It seems easy enough: add one part milk to two parts water, and spray once a week.  The feedback on Kevin’s blog is quite good.  I have my fingers crossed that it will keep the blackspot from spreading.

Rosa Jacques Cartier (1868) late May early June

Rosa Jacques Cartier (1868) late May early June (getting enough air circulation???)

I do know, as I am sure all of you do too,  to clear away all of the bad leaves (and never put them in the compost).  I pruned the roses this past winter to help with air circulation.  I might have to revisit that, though, as my old fashioned rose plants (the Rosa Jacques Cartier)  seem quite crowded despite my pruning.

Rosa Jacques Cartier (1868) on June 14th (after two milk & water treatments)

Rosa Jacques Cartier (1868) on June 14th (after two milk & water treatments)

Speaking of pruning, I am filing this other blog post away for next winter as I think there are quite a few good points to it.  Have a look and let me know what you think: http://www.hometalk.com/3816372/the-10-biggest-mistakes-people-make-when-pruning-roses

Quick, take some pictures while still looking good!

Quick, take some pictures while still looking good!

For now, I have cut off as much of the blackspot affected leaves as possible, and I will continue to spray once a week with my water and milk spray.  Oh, and I’ll be taking as many pictures as possible while they still look pretty!

Climbing rose in June

Climbing rose in June

Climbing rose in June (evening sunlight)

Climbing rose in June (evening sunlight)

It is amazing how different things look with different lighting!  Our evenings can be so beautiful, with sunlight right up until 10 P.M.

Rosa Jacques Cartier (1868) and bee

Rosa Jacques Cartier (1868) and bee

My garden has been buzzing for a few weeks now, with the busy sound of bees.  Early this spring we had millions (really!) of lady birds (or called lady bugs, depending on where you are from).  It was neat to see them all as they were everywhere!  And unlike last year, I didn’t have any issue with aphids. At all.  Just blackspot…

Rosa Jacques Cartier (1868)

Rosa Jacques Cartier (1868)

I hope if you have roses, they are nice and healthy!  If you happen to get blackspot and try the milk/water solution, please let me know how that goes for you.

Dana

Peony in a very special Vase

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In the beginning...

In the beginning…

I started this post as a “Wordless Wednesday” idea.  But I just have a really hard time not adding text!  So I am going to forget about the wordless Wednesday part, and I’m just going to tell you about my peony.   My father-in-law divided his peony plant for me a couple of years ago.  Peony are fussy, so the first year nothing happened with my plant.  The second year we had (maybe) a couple of flowers. Finally, this year we have a full shrub of flowers.  Good things come to those who wait! :-)

Peony in vase

Peony flowers

I had enough blooms on the shrub that I didn’t mind cutting some.  I actually waited a bit to cut them, so they were nearing the end of their lives anyway.

Peony in vase

Peony in a water jug

My parents live in New York, so while Skyping with my mom I showed her my peony arrangement.   Maybe you heard her gasp???  You see she gave me that beautiful vase. Well,  I think it is a water jug but I used it as a vase. There are two to the set.  But never would she imagine that I’d actually *use* it!  They are quite special to her (and now to me), and beautiful, and more than 100 years old.   Honestly, they’ve sat up high on my bookshelves for way too long.  It was time to bring some of that beauty into our living space.  I love it.  And I think the peony flowers look lovely in it.

My special vase

My special (water jug?) vase

I promised my mom I’d be careful with it.  The peony flowers have since faded and the vase is back up high in its safe place again…

Peony in the garden at the front gate

Peony in the garden at the front gate

I still have a few peony just barely hanging on to life in the garden.  Even now they are providing a lovely splash of color.

Peony with rain

Peony with rain in mid May

I tend to take lots and lots of pictures of individual flowers and close-ups.  I like to be able to really focus in on one thing!  But I actually have a picture of the area around our front gates as I had been working on one of the beds this past weekend.  I hate taking pictures when weeds get in the way! (that explains why so few full bed pictures…)  So this is a current picture of the peony flowers.  Very, very, very near the end of their lives.  But oh so beautiful even still.

Peony at the gate

Peony at the gate

I wonder what flowers I will put in the special vase next?

Thanks for visiting!
Dana

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