Birds vs. Laundry

Hi there!

Just a quick hello today.  I thought this was rather funny.  It was SUCH a lovely day this morning that I had to hang my laundry outside.  But as I was hanging it, I could see the birds gathering around.  Lots and Lots of birds.  I should have just called it a day and brought the sheets inside…

 

A little bit of purple is just about everywhere!

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I hope I made you smile!  (I rewashed the sheets and hung them inside…)

In peace,
Dana

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A view of the garden (video)

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Abieskoreana (which we call our Christmas tree)

Abieskoreana (which we call our Christmas tree)

Hello!  I am having a bit of fun with making videos.  This one starts with an opening shot of what we call our Christmas tree (Abieskoreana) [sideways, I might add] and me saying “Hi, this is mom in the garden” … I actually laugh after saying that, realizing that it seems like I am the tree.  Please smile with me!  I’m still learning🙂

Flower bed with Japanese anemone

Flower bed with Japanese anemone

In the picture above you can’t even see the new bed as it looks to be all grass!  I managed to get about half of it cleared tonight (after my video).  It was pretty dark when I finished!  But I’m so excited to get the bed ready.  My goal is to get roses in there this winter.

a slightly different view

a slightly different view

I was in the garden the past two nights and both times I was treated to the most amazing sunsets.  The only downside was that the way I was weeding had my back to the sun so I had to keep stopping to enjoy the show!

Another glorious sunset

Another glorious sunset

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I snapped this picture this morning. Still more to do, but huge progress has been made!

The video is just a quick hello and a short visit around the garden.  I hope you like it!

Thanks for stopping by.

In peace,

Dana

 

A Simple Garden Wreath

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Garden Wreath collage updated

everything you need!

I love wreaths.  I love using plants from the garden.  I love making things with my hands. (that’s a whole lotta love!)  What a great start to my day to be able to make this wreath!  I dried all the flowers this season and it was so easy to put it together.

My video is not a “how to” but more of a summary.  I wasn’t sure how the wreath would come out so I didn’t video me making it.  Next time I will!

Super easy to make!

Super easy to make!

We’ve had some much needed rain, but now the sun is out and it is just glorious.

Enjoy the video, and enjoy your weekend!

 

In peace,
Dana

Purpose driven flower beds … Gladiolus: The Dark Knights

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In the beginning...

In the beginning…

I.Love.Flowers. I do. Over the past 6 years I have created quite a few flower beds (10 beds, actually!) because like Claude Monte I need flowers every day.🙂

then came the first bloom

then came the first bloom

I am still learning and deciding which styles I like for beds, and how to display the flowers in the beds; i.e. in groups or dispersed throughout, one color / color theme or a mix of colors. I also like the idea of a ‘cutting flower’ bed, where the flowers are purpose grown specifically for cutting.

every stage of growth shows something new

every stage of growth shows something new

This particular bed (photo at top) was created with the intention of using it for planting squash.   I wanted to grow squash on a trellis. Maybe you’ve seen pictures on Pinterest of how lovely that can look? So I killed the grass with newspapers (that is shorthand for explaining how to kill grass without chemicals: cover with newspapers for minimum 3 months), dug up the soil, added compost, let it sit for a season and then it was all set for planting.  The only problem was that we weren’t set for building a trellis (yet).

gladiolus with supports

gladiolus with supports (calendula in the bottom left photo)

The squash lost out, because I decided that I was going to fill the bed with the 40 Gladiolus which I had bought the previous year. Of all 40 bulbs, not a single one bloomed in the containers I had planted them in.  I was hoping that maybe in some nice compost and enough room they might be happier and I’d get a few flowers.

the blooms are quite large

the blooms are quite large

What a turn-around those bulbs had after I planted them in the bed.  They have been blooming since mid-July and it is now mid-August and they still looking all showy.

growing a bit sideways

growing a bit sideways

About the colors… I like purple in the garden, and the picture on the package is purple and burgundy and nothing at all like the purple and red colors which have bloomed in my garden.  It reminds me too much of Christmas!  But never the less, I love them.

we get a lot of wind!

we get a lot of wind!

Can you guess which way the winds blow at our house?  The poor stems were fighting a loosing battle.  I’m not sure how much help our supports are for them either, since they are still leaning forward! But they continue to bloom and they are simply stunning.

between the bloom size and color and hardiness, I love these guys!

between the bloom size and color and hardiness, I love these guys!

perfect flowers

perfect flowers

cuttings from the garden

cuttings from the garden

I have indeed cut stems and put them in a vase a few different times.  The stems are so long that after the lower flowers die I can cut the stem a second time and continue with all new blooms at the top of the stem.

2nd half of the stems!

2nd half of the stems!

showy from across the garden, too

showy from across the garden, too

I really like how they stand out across the garden.  Unusual colors for my garden, but I can make them work.

Purpose driven gardening, I like that.🙂

In Peace,
Dana

Crochet fish go exploring to Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge & the Giant’s Causeway

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View from the walk near Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge

View from the walk near Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge

What a title, huh?  I could not decide on whether to go the “crochet” route, or the “travel” route, so I combined them! The truth is that I thought it would add a little bit of fun to my post.🙂

two crochet fish

two crochet fish

I’ll start with the story about the fish.  Last year I visited my young nephew while on vacation in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. I scored some major points after giving him a cuddly seal for his birthday. He *loved* it.  He did comment though, that he had no fish to feed “Sealy”, which of course was a very sad situation.  Well, it was even more sad since it took me an entire year to make some fish for him!

easy pattern crochet fish

easy pattern crochet fish

I wanted an EASY and free pattern and of course I found one on Pinterest. I won’t tell you how long I spent on Pinterest even after I found a pattern…  Anyway, the one I used fit the bill perfectly.

http://oombawkadesigncrochet.com/2014/10/little-amigurumi-fish.html

If you follow that link and have a look, you will wonder if I used that pattern at all!  It was an easy pattern, but I made my fish a wee bit differently than the ones by the talented lady who created the pattern.  And that I am going to call ‘creativity’!🙂

This yarn has sequins in it and is lovely and soft.

This yarn has sequins in it and is lovely and soft.

I found the eyes to be rather challenging to make.  I couldn’t decide in my mind what I wanted, which is a recipe for disaster.  Never the less, both fish ended up with eyes.

Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge view

Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge view

The older siblings of the young nephew mentioned above were visiting us this summer. They would be taking the fish back to their brother for me.  I finished the fish during their visit.  They don’t take long to make, it is just that I never managed to find the time to make them during the year. Deadlines seem to do the trick though, as I finished them on their last day while in the car fitting in some last minute sight-seeing!  First stop: Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge.

Views around Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge

Views around Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge

Our family has been to the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge in County Antrim quite a few times.  I am not a fan of heights and have never crossed it before.  But this time the weather was quite mild (read: very little wind) and I crossed with no bother at all.  Not wanting 5 kids to show me up might have something to do with that new found courage…

another view after crossing the rope bridge

another view after crossing the rope bridge

It is well worth the walk to the bridge and crossing the bridge.  The views are lovely. We were there late morning and only had a 10 minute wait to cross.  The kids really enjoyed it too (they are aged 12 through 17).

Rope bridge selfie with my daughter and niece

Rope bridge selfie with my daughter and niece

After our visit to the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, we visited the Giant’s Causeway.  We decided to take the scenic route which involved parking about 2 miles away and following a walking trail to the Giant’s Causeway.  It was a pleasant walk, especially since we had good weather.

on the stones at the Giant's Causeway

on the stones at the Giant’s Causeway

We had a very nice visit to the Giant’s Causeway, too.  The boys enjoyed searching for fish and sea animals in small ponds of water, while the girls enjoyed climbing the rock formations.

Giant's Causeway

Giant’s Causeway

Giant's Causeway

Giant’s Causeway

Our 2 mile walk back to the car was along the water, which was so beautiful.

View from Giant's Causeway

View from Giant’s Causeway

a well traveled fish

a well traveled fish

We had the most wonderful time with my niece and nephew during their visit.  Ireland has so much to offer and is truly beautiful.  Those two fish are now in their new home in Connecticut.

two fish on their travels

two fish on their travels

I hope you enjoyed our quick visits to the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge and the Giant’s Causeway.  If you ever come to Ireland they are well worth seeing in person!

In peace,
Dana

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