A Gardening Gals Getaway Weekend to the U.K.

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This is supposed to be a post about gardens, but I have a feeling it isn’t going to turn out that way…

The Gardening Gals on the ferry (minus one gal who couldn’t travel this time)

It can probably be said of all of us that people are in our lives for a reason.  For me, I am pretty sure that every single person in my life has been hand picked just for me: and I laugh as I say “mostly to teach me things” as I think my motto in life is that “I am still learning”! 🙂

This lovely group of ladies in the photo above, which we nick-named “the gardening gals”, started out teaching me about gardening.  They know an incredible amount about flowers! I am amazed at how they remember all of the flower names, both common and scientific. And of course they know what conditions the flowers need to flourish, and the types of soil required, and so on. They are so patient with me, as I learn from them. Not only do they share their knowledge with me, they also share their flowers!  My garden has benefited season after season.

Happy Birthday Susan!

I digress a tiny bit.  Let me come back to this particular post:

Our gardening group gets together every so often to visit each other’s gardens, visit other gardens, or just to visit with each other.  We are all connected through one core “member” and her name is Susan.

Susan is an organizer.  She can organize anything and everything and she does so with flair!  She decided that for her birthday we would take our garden tour on an international level. And so the planning began and she did, in fact, organize every aspect of our trip!ferry time: Rosslare, Ireland to Fishguard, Wales

To start things off, we all met at in incredibly early hour of the morning to drive down to Rosslare where we would then take the ferry to Wales. I think Susan’s plan was that we’d be quiet and maybe even sleep on the drive down.  But the craic* was mighty in the back seat that morning!  The three of us in the back of the car jumped from topic to topic laughing all the while.  The fact we hadn’t seen each other recently and we all have so much going on in our lives helped to feed our conversations … non-stop.

*craic: term used in Ireland to describe what is going on

I managed to crochet on our trip (in the car, on the ferry, in the evenings…)

We planned to make a quick stop at a petrol station (or as I would say “gas station”) before arriving at the ferry.  I’d say our timing was perfect, at least for the young driver who was not making any progress with his attempt to push his car up the service station ramp.  A quick note here of what I observed: most motorists arriving that (early) morning were alone in their cars, so the fact that four of us could jump out of the car and help to push a stalled car out of the roadway and to a safe place is rather noteworthy.  He thanked us, and we were on our way, feeling all the better.

The grounds at Miskin Manor, Cardiff

We arrived for our ferry in plenty of time, and thankfully had a calm journey across the sea.  Funny enough, once we started our journey in Wales, the car started making an odd noise!  We ignored it for a while, but then decided to find someplace to pull over and investigate further.  How lucky for us that we decided to do this, because we happened upon the most lovely manor in Cardiff.

on the grounds at Miskin Manor, Cardiff

Miskin Manor is a former Abbey now converted into a hotel Manor.  The grounds were so lovely, we were delighted to have made this tiny detour.

http://www.miskin-manor.co.uk/

The grounds at Miskin Manor, Cardiff (those seats are carved crabs!)

The weather was sunny and warm and perfect for stretching our legs with an enjoyable tour around the beautiful grounds.  I can see why so many couples choose here for their wedding celebration!

The grounds at Miskin Manor, Cardiff

a woody and natural setting highlighted with daffodils and primroses

More good news: the car was fine.  So on we went with our journey.

flowers from the grounds of Miskin Manor, Cardiff

Our next stop was to Chipping Campden, in the Cotswolds.  It was a long drive to there, but it was so worth it!  The little town is picturesque, with lovely old buildings all of a golden hue, cobbled streets and everything within walking distance in the main part of the town.  We ate out, we ‘cafe’d’, we shopped (some more than others and I would be the most guilty here!), we meandered: We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

http://www.chippingcampden.co.uk/contentok.php

We stayed in an old converted Inn. The terraced house, named the Rose & Crown House, was absolutely charming, and perfect for the five of us.

What is your house named?

yep, I even liked the front door

We loved the beautiful, old converted Inn we stayed in

Our terraced house in Chipping Campden in the Cotswolds, U.K. (what lovely staddle stones!)

We, of course, loved the garden.  It was April and we were quite lucky with the weather.  The days were sunny and warm, while the evenings were cool, but not too cold.

the back garden of our converted Inn

my bedroom on the third floor (watch your step and your head!)

the family portraits in the dining room were interesting (although this one was rather intense)

Our time in the dining room stands out in my mind.  Here is where we delved into some deeper conversations, but also some very funny conversations (thank you Debbie!).  But in actuality, it was over the course of the entire weekend that we enjoyed true fellowship with one another.

out and about in Chipping Campden in the Cotswolds, U.K.

I had an overwhelming sense that these very special women were placed in my life to help guide and support me right now. What a wonderful feeling that is!

boots outside a shop – now this is my kind of town 🙂

I loved this door handle

the town was inviting

There is a special something in the air which you can only experience really early in the morning (other parents of swimmers can maybe relate to this!).  For those who venture out at that time, it is really an experience. We decided to go for a walk early on Sunday morning and the views with the sun were worth getting up early for!

early morning walk in Chipping Campden in the Cotswolds, U.K.

the only ones we saw on our early morning walk in Chipping Campden were these sheep!

I had to run to keep up because I was constantly stopping to take pictures 🙂

great spirits for such an early hour in the morning!

some of the beautiful buildings in Chipping Campden

something you don’t see everyday

and here it is! The Cart Wash!

We did, indeed, visit two incredible gardens (Hidcote and Kiftsgate) but I will save those pictures for another post.  I would certainly encourage you, should you be so inclined, to venture out and go see some gardens near and afar!  Before we had even finished our time away, we were talking of plans for “next time”!

just enough time…

I was so lucky timing wise, that I could make this trip. Maybe you know the feeling of having an incredibly busy schedule? Everything fell into place perfectly for me to take this trip.  Kinda like destiny 🙂

This little get-away was so special for me.  The ‘gals’ once again helped me to see that we should cherish the people in our lives, enjoy each other’s company, and whatever time you have you should spend it with those who love and support you.

In peace,
Dana

p.s. I have hundreds more pictures, and it was so hard to pick which ones to post.  I hope you enjoyed these! The garden ones WILL come, but it might take some time 🙂

Wordless Wednesday: Flowers, Irish Pottery and a Cup Cake

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cup cake and campanula

I love this picture.  There is just something about the campanula surrounding the pottery plate, and of course the cup cake, that captures my eye and intrigues me to keep looking.   I’m not sure what the subject of the picture is: Is it the cupcake or the Irish pottery design?  I really love both of them!

The cup cake, with somewhat of a flower designed icing,  was made by my daughter. I can honestly say that it was delicious!  (The cake recipe was from Martha Stewart, and the icing recipe was from I am baker, so how could she go wrong?)

I’m thankful to have lovely flowers in the garden, pretty pottery in the cabinets, and scrumptious food to eat.  🙂

In peace,
Dana

Wordless Wednesday: David Austin Roses

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Olivia Rose Austin in evening sunlight

These roses need no introduction.  I decided to treat myself to the best, and ordered some David Austin roses this past winter.  These two pictures are of just one of the plants, called the Olivia Rose Austin.  The fragrance is beautiful. I try, when possible, to get plants that also smell lovely!  These were so worth it, and I am very pleased with them.

Olivia Rose Austin

I hope you have some lovely scented flowers in your garden, too! 🙂

In peace,
Dana

Wordless Wednesday: Two Goldfinch in a pear tree

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Goldfinch (times two) in a pear tree

This picture is thanks to my happening to notice these two lovely Goldfinch birds in our pear tree as we were driving into our driveway after work.  I opened the car door, took two steps out of the car and captured the picture on my phone.  Then off they flew! Talk about perfect timing 🙂

I hope you have some “perfect timing” going on in your life, too!

In peace,
Dana

 

Wordless Wednesday: A foggy evening

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a foggy evening in May

Life feels like it is moving at breakneck speed for me.  I find myself having a difficult time keeping up, and keeping my sanity.  My time in the garden is precious to me, as it helps me to keep calm.  The other day the fog was spectacular.

allium on a foggy evening

I hope you are able to find quiet time in your life.

In peace,
Dana

Wordless Wednesday: Parrot Tulips

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Parrot Tulips

Truly a Wordless Wednesday post.  Just two pictures:

  • One picture of my favorite tulips at the moment and
  • One picture of the bed where those favorite tulips are showing off

Parrot Tulips in the “Pink” bed

The bed is filling out.  It has:

Parrot Tulips
bergenia (dark pink blooms with burgundy colored leaves)

Still to bloom:
lavender
lupins
lilac
peony
poppies
hydrangea
a single iris

Stay tuned!

In peace,
Dana

Wordless Wednesday: Dundalk’s town square gets Yarnbombed

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Happy Wordless Wednesday! A day when I just share a bit of chat with you and a  few pictures to brighten things up.

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I don’t get into town (Dundalk) to walk around very much. I happened to last week though, and came across this yarnbombing project. The Irish Countrywomen’s Association (ICA) organized it for International Women’s day. I know, I’m a bit late on that one.  Life’s been busy. 😊

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200 members of the Louth chapter of the ICA helped in this fun project.

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I confess that i didn’t know what the ICA was.  According to their website, the Irish Countrywoman’s Association is the largest women’s membership organization in Ireland with 10,000 members. They cook, travel,  craft, and socialize.

I think the yarnbombing was fun to see. It’s nice to have something different to look at in the town square.

Have you seen any fun yarnbombings near you?

In peace,

Dana

 

 

Fabulous Flower Friday: Sunflowers

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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

Wordless Wednesday: Grow Your Own Organic Garlic

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Home grown garlic and Polish Pottery

Home grown organic garlic at the beginning of February.  Showing off in the garlic bed is one of my Polish Pottery mugs – sittin’ pretty and being all artsy 😉

Hello Wordless Wednesday fans!  Just three pictures today as they say it all.  Grow your own garlic because it is just too easy!  We plant it in November or even as late as December and it starts to pop up after the hard frosts pass.  I like watching the progress through the months.  To me, that is called enjoying the little things!

Organic ‘Vallelado’ Garlic at the beginning of March

I do all of my organic ordering on-line.  I like getting my potatoes and garlic from Fruit Hill Farm, down in Cork (they have very good customer service).  Here’s their link:  https://www.fruithillfarm.com/

Garlic wreath with artichokes and roses from the garden

A couple of years ago we had so much garlic that I made a wreath with some of them! (I also ended up using that garlic throughout the following winter…)

Maybe you’ll make a note to plant some organic garlic next winter?

In peace,
Dana

Wordless Wednesday: Gladiolas & a flower arranging trick

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This is how we start

This is how we start: Gladiolus ‘Dark Knights’

Hello Wordless Wednesday friends! A quick little post (with very few words) about using plant material to help keep flowers in place when arranging them.

neat little thing

neat little thing

Materials: strong plant stems, rubber bands, scissors, some patience.

so easy and so helpful

so easy and so helpful

The “guard” sits right on top of the vase and helps to keep the tall stems upright.

Gladiolas

Gladiolas

Perfect!

Gladiolus 'dark knights'

Gladiolus ‘dark knights’ in the garden

The end! 🙂

In peace,
Dana