Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Did it rain last night?

Some raindrops on the alchemilla this morning. I love how the drops line the edge of the leaves, like little sparkling pearl necklaces.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Two years later

I thought I would put up a pic of before and after. My "garden" 2 years ago in July was a big patch of dirt, and very poor soil at that. Two years later, a lot of grass and clover, and many small shrubs, vines and trees are spotted around the garden. I've been composting, and spreading that around to try inriching the soil. Not a lot of money to spend, you can see I have not finished painting the fence! But I'm happy with it so far. You can't see my veggie garden which is around the corner, and my 2 apple trees, just off to the left.

Here is my little vegetable garden before and after, taken from 2 opposite directions, as I didn't have a matching "before" photo. Well, the garden still needs a lot of work, but it's coming along slowly. And I'm enjoying watching it grow. That's Tas, our cat, posing by the parsley gone to seed.

Friendly Flowers

Our constant wind has caused a sunflower to lean into my Graham Thomas Rose. Graham seems to be looking up at it, hoping Sunny is comfortable enough leaning against him. This rosebush is starting to flower again the second time this year. It's one of my favorite roses, as I love the color yellow.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

The Wild Ones

At my old house, my honeysuckle vine was huge. This one is a cutting from that, and I do remember it takes a few years to settle in. Only a small sprinkling of flower yet.. oh I can't wait for it to get bigger! The scent is wonderful, I've been taking one flower inside in a vase every now and then.

The wild fuchsia at the old house was also huge, and here is a cutting of that. And again, I just can't wait for it to become that size again! I want to take a few more cuttings from this one to put by the front wall.

The wild rose, Moyesii, is also meant to grow huge. This was the rose affected worst by those tiny sawfly caterpillars, which I think I finally got rid of by hand picking them off. I can see new leaves emerging, odd time of year for that.. but we will see. Next year, I will keep a close eye on the roses, because this year, I didn't even see the little beasties till it was almost too late. The rosehips are turning out lovely though, hopeing for a bigger crop next year.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Whimsical Garden Face

I've been tagged to do a chain-blog-thingy. I'm really not into sending out more of these, but thought I would post one of the questions. Check Señor Tronosco's Blog for the other questions if anyone is interested. The pic above is from a garden in Cornwall, Heligan Gardens. A scupture by Alan Thomas. Someday I would love to visit it, and many more all over the world.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Chicken Soirée

I found a recepie on Christa's blog yesterday, that sounded yummy. But when I went to make dinner, I decided to defrag my hard drive, and couldn't go and look up the recepie again. So I made my own version, trying to remember what I had read. Then, it didn't look like enough for my 20 year old kids appetites, I had to beef it up with red peppers and corn. I called it "Chicken Soirée" , because it's like a party of flavors. For the greens, I used whatever was looking good in the garden.
Here's the recepie, and thanks to Christa for the inspiration. I forgot about the olives, would have gone wonderfully with this!
olive oil
chicken pieces
3-4 garlic cloves, chopped
small onion, chopped
red pepper, chopped
6-8 leaves sage
6-8 sprigs thyme (I used lemon thyme)
black pepper
1/4 lemon, chopped
can of chopped tomatoes, or fresh chopped tomatoes
swiss chard
beet leaves
nasturtium leaves
1. heat the oil, and fry garlic, onion, chicken, and red pepper for a few minutes till chicken seems almost done.
2. add chopped herbs and black pepper.
3. add chopped lemon, including peel.
4 . add can of tomatoes, and maybe a bit of water to make it soupy looking
5. add corn (I used frozen)
6. cook about 15 minutes.
7. Add a handfull of fresh leaves of swiss chard, beet leaves, and nasturtium leaves, chopped. (but any green will do nicely)
8. cook another minute or two.
Serve over pasta! My family loved it!

Cephalaphora dried

For Black Swamp Girl I tried drying a few Cephalaphora flowers, and it worked very well! I think the dried flowers look cute, they are a little smaller than 1 centimeter (less then 1/2 inch). I do hope to grow lots more of these next year, I just love them.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Smiling Violas

The violas keep on blooming, hot or cold, rain or shine. All year long..
These flowers bring me so much joy, I just love to look at them, study the watercolor designs, smile back at thier happy faces.

Some yellow ones appeared behind the pinks that have finished blooming. I think I like the whiskered violas best. Little stripes dashing out from the center, that gives them those cute little faces.

These dark purple ones look almost black! They have the smallest flowers of all my violas. They look like they are made of velvet.

Rudbeckia blooms

Thankfully there are flowers that wait till end of summer to bloom, Rudbeckia is one of these. When the flower garden begins to look ragged and bare, these start to slowly unfurl its happy yellow petals. The nasturtiums behind them are all self seeded, and I welcome them as well, they bring color to the garden again.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Mom and Baby

The mushrooms have returned. I alsmost stepped on these, they were growing in my brick path. But what an odd thing I saw, one of the mushrooms has a baby on its head! Baby couldn't see from down below, so Mom had to hold it up. Cute..

Cephalaphora aromatica

Cephalaphora, it smells heavenly! I just discovered this plant in the thompson morgan seed catalogue early this spring. It's hard to make out in the pic, so next year I will try to set it in front of a darker plant for contrast. It's a sweet little plant, with little bumpy-ball flowers. Only one came up from the seeds.. hopefully it will seed itself.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Red Dragons and Nasturtiums

My asarina "Red Dragon" is blooming again. I have had these plants in a pot for many years, started from seeds. I bought the seed because I liked the name, I'm a fantasy fan, love dragons and faeries.

Salad fixings for noodle salad. From the garden is rocket, chives, nasturtium flowers, borage flowers, and an onion from the "alien" plants. The onion was surprisingly mild.

My striped nasturtiums turned out to have orangey-red flowers. And not as floriforous as other nasturtiums. The ones growing (more like taking over!) in my lettuce patch have so many flowers, it's obscuring the leaves!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Fuzzy leaves and a wagtail.

A rudbeckia bud begins to unfurl above its fuzzy leaves. One of my favorite late summer flowers.

an evening primrose, still open in the morning light.

Three types of beans. The large green ones are "White Lady", the nicest runner bean I have grown so far.
The purple bush beans are "Purple Teepee". They taste nice, but the plants are not doing too well. I have new plants growing now, so hopefully I get more soon.
There is one green bush bean in the middle, called "Delinel", also the plants are not well, and waiting for new plants to produce.

An out-of-focus shot of a Wagtail. I had never seen these birds before we moved out to the middle of Ireland. They visit my garden regularly. I think they are so pretty, with thier little white faces and a tail that continually wags up and down.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Flowers and Faeries

Early morning, my orangy-red roses wake up to a lovely new day, despite thier chewed-up leaves.

Love-in-a-Mist appeared in my raspberry plot, along with some borage. But these Loves are blue and white, rather than just blue. I will definately save the seed from these, they look like the morning sky!

Feverfew grows all over, but I love them. I like the scent, and thier cheerful flowers.

Some citrus colored Calendula and Ophiopogon planiscapus. Looks like black grass, and very easy to grow. I bought one plant many years ago in a Japanese Garden, and it has divided itself to form a huge clump.

This pic was taken as a test shot to see if the flash was on, but I liked the resulting pic. This little faerie sits next to my computer on the windowsil.


My roses are all being severely damaged by the rose-sawfly larvae. I have tried spraying with dishwash soap and water, but it doesn't work that well. So I have been going out daily and removing them by hand. The larvae only attack the leaves, but the bushes look very ragged now. The wild roses are faring the worst.

The sheep field has been turned into a construction site. The tractors have stirred up dirt and dust and weed seeds, and it's all flying into mine and my neighbor's gardens.
So I am thinking of planting a small stand of trees in the meadow, and making a new meadow in front of the trees. I am sad the sheep are gone, I loved hearing the "baaaaa" in many different voices every day.

My cabbages and turnips have all been attacked by aphids. I have sprayed a strong stream of water at them, removing a lot. But in one particular patch I removed all the plants, as the leaves were twisted and deformed.
Well.. it can only get better, can't it?

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


My sunflowers are starting to bloom! This is my 3rd year growing them, and I just love them, such giant happy flowers. I love the color yellow a lot, and wish I had more of it around.