Making Lavender Wands: The Video!

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lavender & lilies

lavender, lilies & hydrangea

I LOVE lavender.  I love the smell of it, how it looks before it is in bloom, how it looks after it blooms,  and how even just brushing past it in the garden will cause it to emit its lovely scent.  I love everything about it!

view of the fields, too

view of the fields, too

There are a few different things you can do with lavender.  I usually dry it and then make sachets.  I have also made lavender wreaths.  You could probably find a vase or two around my house, full of lavender!

dried lavender bouquets, wands & sachets

dried lavender bouquets, wands & sachets

lavender sachets

lavender sachets

lavender wreath

lavender wreath

But I think the most interesting thing to do with it is to make wands.  They are kinda quirky.  I have a bunch of them arranged in a vase.  One daughter has a wand on her dresser.  They are also pretty on a bathroom counter.  I think they also make a nice “little gift” to give someone.

lavender wands

lavender wands

My lavender is at the perfect stage for making lavender wands; the flowers are just starting to open and the stems are not yet stiff. The stems have to be pliable to bend them over the blooms.  You can have a look at my picture instructions of how to make wands here:   https://mominthegarden.wordpress.com/2013/07/22/lavender-wands-my-first-lavender-wreath/

lavender in bloom

lavender in bloom

a mature lavender plant

a mature lavender plant

I have ventured to make an instructional video, prompted by my dear neighbor from NY, Betty.  Since I can’t show her in person how to make them, I thought I’d make a video for her (and share it with all of you!).

wands in a vase

wands in a vase

This is my first attempt at making “a” video.  The outcome was making 4 short videos! As it happens, I prefer having nice short videos when I look up how to make things myself.  Please feel free to let me know what you think!

 

In peace,
Dana

Mom in the Garden (2014)

Mom in the Garden (2014)

The Famine Memorial in Dublin

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famine memorial in Dublin

Rowan Gillespie’s sculptures

This blog post came about while I was walking from an event in Dublin this week.  It was a beautiful evening and since I wasn’t in any hurry and I had my camera with me I was enjoying a lovely stroll. I was walking along the water, and was actually admiring the trees when I came across this memorial.  The statues are amazing.  I thought the flowers which were placed on them brought another dimension to them, too.

Famine memorial Dublin

Dubliner Rowan Gillespie’s sculpture

Here is what I learned about the Memorial on  http://www.ddda.ie

“‘Famine’ (1997) was commissioned by Norma Smurfit and presented to the City of Dublin in 1997. The sculpture is a commemorative work dedicated to those Irish people forced to emigrate during the 19th century Irish Famine. The bronze sculptures were designed and crafted by Dublin sculptor Rowan Gillespie and are located on Custom House Quay in Dublin’s Docklands.

“This location is a particularly appropriate and historic as one of the first voyages of the Famine period was on the ‘Perserverance’ which sailed from Custom House Quay on St. Patrick’s Day 1846.  Captain William Scott, a native of the Shetland Isles, was a veteran of the Atlantic crossing, gave up his office job in New Brunswick to take the ‘Perserverance’ out of Dublin. He was 74 years old. The Steerage fare on the ship was £3 and 210 passengers made the historical journey. They landed in New York on the 18th May 1846. All passengers and crew survived the journey.” (from Docklands)

Famine memorial Dublin

Famine memorial created by Dublin sculptor Rowan Gillespie

The Famine happened in Ireland between 1845 and 1852.  Between starvation and emigration it is estimated that Ireland lost 25% of its population.

Famine memorial Dublin

Dublin sculptor Rowan Gillespie’s Famine memorial Dublin

Maybe you’ve heard it referred to as the Potato Famine.  This is due to the fact that so many Irish people relied mainly on potatoes to feed their families and during the 1840s a potato blight destroyed crops all throughout Europe and Ireland.

Famine memorial Dublin

Rowan Gillespie’s Famine Memorial Dublin

The Famine effected Irish history in so many ways: politically, socially, demographically.

The Famine Memorial statues in Dublin

The Famine Memorial statues in Dublin created by Dublin sculptor Rowan Gillespie

I found this memorial to be a beautiful reminder to “stop and remember”.

In peace,
Dana

Cormac’s Garden: The creating and naming of a flower bed

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in the beginning...

in the beginning…

I love gardening.  What a surprise, huh?  I really look forward to the different seasons and watching as everything changes.  Every year it is all new again, even though of course it is not new at all.  It is even more fun when adding new plants to beds and seeing how they grow, change, and add to the atmosphere of the garden!

further along in spring...

further along in spring…

It is fun to make new flower beds.  Hmmm, I think I have to re-phrase that.  It is fun to plant new plants and shrubs in a new flower bed!  The making of a new bed is actually a good bit of work!  I don’t use chemicals, so the first step involves covering the grass with newspapers, then covering with cardboard and then stones on top to hold down the cardboard.

Raspberry Ice Fusion Hyacinth

Raspberry Ice Fusion Hyacinth adding some color to the bed

I don’t have a picture from the very start of this bed, but I’m sure you probably have a “lovely” picture in your head of what that would look like.  A few months later, after the grass is dead, I (read: me and/or anyone I can get to help with this job) have to fork up the grass and turn it over.  After the soil is left to dry, the dead grassy bits are easy enough to shake free of soil and add to the compost heap.  Then the soil is forked over again to make sure there isn’t any stubborn grass!

spring time

spring time

Have you gathered the gist? It is a lot of work.  But I think it is worth the work to avoid using chemicals. This bed has been named “Cormac’s Garden” because my son Cormac spent quite a lot of time forking over the soil.

further on in spring

The lilacs’ flowers and leaves are adding a bit of life to the bed, and a new hellebore (‘SP Frilly Isabelle’) was planted.

The hyacinth were added this past fall.  I really liked the two different shades of pink which were offset with white.

three colors to start off spring

bright colors for the start of spring (Raspberry Ice Fusion hyacinth)

a deeper color pink (my favorite)

a deeper color pink (my favorite)

My son is 17 and jokes that all of the beds should be called ‘Cormac’s garden’ as he is often roped into helping out.  Let’s just stick with this one for now…

columbine

columbine blooming in May

The bed has: hosta, bearded iris, hellebore, Dutch Iris, columbine, lilac

The bed has: hosta, bearded iris, hellebore, Dutch Iris, columbine, lilac

I added one more lilac shrub this year, to the 3 already there.  Yeah, I went a bit lilac crazy, but I love their scent!

Syringa vulgaris 'Andenken an Ludwig Spath'

Syringa vulgaris ‘Andenken an Ludwig Spath’ (my favorite!)

 

Iris & Lilac

Iris & ‘Charles Joly’ Lilac

I planted some Dutch Iris last year (these have bulbs and not rhizomes).  They apparently are quite happy in this soil because they look spectacular this year (says she quite humbly!).

Dutch iris

Dutch iris

I have those same Dutch iris in another part of the garden and they don’t look half as nice as these here.  Amazing how different the soil composition can be even in the same yard.

a single allium

a single allium of three which were planted…

It has been fun watching the bed fill out.  I liked how it started with shades of pink, and is now filled with different shades of purple.  I’ll have to think about what colors to add for the fall.  Oh, and I am at it again!  I decided that the bed isn’t wide enough!

hosta filling out

Hosta at the front, and a look at what it looks like while I kill the grass to widen the bed.

here we go again!

here we go again!

Having something new to look forward to in the following season is the best part of gardening!  Don’t you think?

Here’s to new beginnings!

In peace,
Dana

Taking a moment to SIT in the garden

Are you like me and constantly on the go?  I mean I am constantly on a schedule.  There is just so much to plan and do and enjoy…

Running out of time, Running late, Running on time, or Running out of time: Which is it for you?

I love this clock which I saw in Glasgow.          “Go! Go! Go!”

But every once in a while, usually dictated by my body shouting that it has had enough, it is necessary to recharge.

View in the garden

Views in the garden today

Today was that day for me.  Life has been pretty full for us lately, all good, but it has me rather run down.  I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to rest today, and really enjoy my garden (after a few chores, of course!).

Hawthorn tree in full bloom

Hawthorn tree in full bloom

What I really wanted today was a nap; but between the sunshine, and the neighbouring farmer working his field, that was just not happening.  So I did a few jobs that have been on my list:

  • Turned over a new flower bed.
new flower bed

new flower bed

  • Turned over the compost.
Compost looking pretty good

Compost looking pretty good

  • Marked with stones the hyacinth before they fade away.
Pink & White Hyacinth from early spring

Pink & White Hyacinth from early spring

Same garden, but the pink hyacinth are replaced by purple flowers.

Same garden, but the pink hyacinth are mostly gone and now it is a purple garden with lilacs, allium, Columbine, and Iris.

After those jobs were done, then I sat in the grass and watched, and listened, and simply enjoyed the garden.

view in the garden toward one of our cherry trees

view in the garden toward one of our cherry trees

view of our "messy" garden that will hopefully be cleaned up this summer...

view of our “messy” garden that will hopefully be cleaned up this summer… You can see some orange California poppies

Christmas tree

allium garden

allium garden (*great* year for allium this year, following last year’s poor show…)

Blue Tit bird feeding babies in the basketball hoop pipe...

Blue Tit bird feeding babies in the basketball hoop pipe…

Wow, what a feeling that was.  It was kinda strange because I really and truly have a hard time sitting and relaxing.  The weather was definitely a huge help. We have had very sunny, warm and simply perfect days.

Monkshood & bee

The bees were busy but hopefully also enjoying the good weather!

I hope that you are able to take some time out to enjoy all that is around you, too.

In peace,
Dana

 

Wordless (& not so) Wildlife Wednesday – Country Cows

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I see you

I see you

I love living in the country with lots of farmland and farm animals all around us.  My sister-in-law and her husband live on a dairy farm not far from us. I took these pictures on a recent visit.  The weather wasn’t great, but no matter as we were in good company.

cow with gorse behind the fence

cow with gorse behind the fence

I really do like seeing the cows.  They seem pretty curious with me, too.  :-)  The orange/yellow shrub behind the fence, and in the distance of the pic below, is gorse.  It is quite striking at this time of year.

what a profile :-)

what a profile:-)

 

a rustic feel to the birdhouse too

a rustic feel to the birdhouse too

raindrops on the flower

raindrops on the flower

In looking at these photos I could almost feel the mist and rain again!

Happy Wednesday!

In peace,
Dana

Wordless Wednesday – Wildlife Wednesday: Butterflies

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the outside is white and orange

the outside is white and orange (Orange-Tip Anthocharis cardamines)

It is Wednesday already!  How time flies!  Speaking of flying … the butterfly in the picture above spent ages flying around my front yard, with me following.  There were so many plants it could have landed on, yet it continued to flitter and flutter about, with me following behind!  Eventually it did land and click away with my camera did I.  It is perched on a dead daffodil, but at least the sunlight was lovely. Pity I couldn’t get a picture of the outside of the wings as they were a pretty white and orange.  That is what caught my eye in the first place. I haven’t seen one of these in my yard before.

Just two butterflies...

Just two butterflies …  (Green-veined White [Pieris napi])

Hmm,  I never saw two butterflies like this before.  Let’s just leave it at that…

 

Peacock butterfly

Peacock butterfly

This lovely peacock butterfly was not in my garden, but in the Bay Garden in Wexford.  I haven’t seen one in my garden just yet this season, but I usually do over the course of the summer.

Just a quick, “wordless” post tonight!  I hope you all are well and enjoying some nice spring weather!

In peace,
Dana

Life is too short – plant those flowers

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Blushing Lady tulip

Blushing Lady tulip

Life is too short so Plant flowers?  Pardon me?  Here is where I’m coming from: I know of way too many cases of terminal illnesses, or extremely serious illnesses, or instances of hardship.  It is heartbreaking, and can really get me down. 

early in the tulip season, right after some rain

early in the tulip season, right after some rain

Are flowers the answer to all of that heartache?  No, they aren’t.  But they can be a peaceful and beautiful diversion.

they are works of art to me

they are works of art to me

fully opened parrot tulip

fully opened parrot tulip

I think it is important to do things that make us happy, bring us joy, or simply make us smile.

burgundy colored tulips (I am getting quite the collection of colors!)

burgundy colored tulips (I am getting quite the collection of colors!)

Why not do something simple that brings such nice returns?   You’d be surprised how just seeing flowers can improve your mood.  Last year I posted on my facebook page some pictures of flowers which my neighbor grows in her “roadside garden”.

Flowers from a roadside garden near my home

Flowers from a roadside garden near my home

They are so lovely to see.  It seems I am always in a hurry and have too much on my mind yet when I see those flowers I just “stop” and enjoy that moment of beauty.

sure if you're gonna stop and take pictures you'd might as well say hello to the animals too! ;-)

sure if you’re gonna stop and take pictures you’d might as well say hello to the animals too!😉

For all of those people who are suffering in any way, I pray for you to find peace. May we all find ways to help those around us who might need that extra bit of kindness.

a little bit of sunshine opens up the flowers

a little bit of sunshine opens up the flowers

I think I’ll do my part in planting more flowers, too, to hopefully bring more beauty in the world.

Flowers from my neighbor's roadside garden

Flowers from my neighbor’s roadside garden

With warm regards,
Dana

 

 

Wordless Wednesday: Asparagus

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Asparagus growing straight up

Asparagus growing straight up

It is “Wordless Wednesday” again!  This first picture got a bunch of likes on my Mom in the Garden facebook page so I thought I’d share it here on the blog.  Despite my neglecting my asparagus bed, the wonderful spears pushed through the weeds and are standing nice and straight.

here's another color

here’s another color

The weed that took over the bed is a pain to dig out.  One or two asparagus might have been lost in the process.  But most of the bed is clear now.

ladybird / ladybug

ladybird / ladybug

These two little critters kept me company while I was weeding. At home we call them ladybugs.  Here in Ireland they call them ladybirds.  :-)   Two things I usually have with me in the garden are also in the picture:  my phone (for the alarm to let me know when I have to come in from the garden) and a water-bottle.

a not so perfect Asparagus bed

a not so perfect Asparagus bed

I’ve left most of the old stalks to let me know where the new plants should be coming up.  We can’t wait to start eating them!

Happy Wordless Wednesday:-)
Dana

Wordless Wednesday: A memory trigger Tulip

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Blushing Lady tulip

Blushing Lady tulip

First I must start with clarifying that “Wordless Wednesday” for me means a blog post with very “light” content!  :-)  Now, on to the topic at hand… Do you know what I mean by “A memory trigger”?  Something that brings back memories:  Scents can often be memory triggers, or a song, or even a flower.

Blushing Lady tulip

Blushing Lady tulip

I started gardening when we moved into our first house, in New York.  I didn’t spend a lot of time in the garden, though, because I had three babies and never enough energy, not to mention time.  One type of flower I did plant, though, was a variety of this Blushing Lady tulip.  The only difference is that the original variety had a lovely scent.

Blushing Lady tulips next to our play house

Blushing Lady tulips next to our play house

I try really hard not to impulse buy with plants, but I saw a bag of these Blushing Lady bulbs in the store last year and that was it.  I just had to have them. For me, they brought me right back to my days of having babies and carefree days playing in the yard with them.  My oldest child is turning 18 this summer!

creating a bed just for them

creating a bed just for them

I’ve been wanting to create some flower beds around our play house and this was a perfect incentive to get the job started. I like the pink & yellow tulips with the playhouse background.  I like the pink & yellow tulips full-stop!   I’m not really sure what is going to be planted with them.  I’m sure something will present itself!

Do you have any plant memory triggers?

In peace,
Dana

Wordless Wednesday: Betty’s quilt

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Betty's quilt

Betty’s quilt

Last week’s Wordless Wednesday featured a picture in my friend Susan’s kitchen. This week I am featuring a picture from my friend Betty’s kitchen.  I wonder if this is going to be a new trend?  :-)

I’m really failing on this “Wordless” part because I must tell you about how wonderful Betty, and her husband Harold, are!  I took this picture in their kitchen last summer when I had the pleasure of visiting them. They were our next door neighbors for ten years when we lived in Central New York.   Their house is filled with so many neat antiques.  They are both 87 years young and still doing the things they love to do, like gardening, quilting and painting!

Simply amazing

Simply amazing

Betty made this quilt and I think it is so beautiful!  Just looking at it makes me smile and think of how much we enjoyed being their neighbors and having an “extra set” of grandparents right next door.

Capture the moment, share the love, and cherish the memories.

In peace,
Dana

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