Jan’s Garden

Summer Moon Brew

Book launching and beer brewing–that’s what’s happening in my neck of the woods. Summer Moon (the book not the brew) is available  on  September 30, 2014! This is the second book in my Celtic Wolves Series, and I’m so excited for you to meet Luc and Rosa. I will be visiting several awesome book blogs over the next few weeks with giveaways, interviews, and all sorts of fun stuff, so be sure to check out my Happenings page.

Harvested Hops

Harvested Hops

Summer Moon Cover

Available September 2014

As for the beer brewing, I planted the hops vine a year ago and already it’s taking over my eastern arbor, as you can see in the photo below; the hops are on the left, and morning glory vines are on the right.

Hops and Morning Glories

Hops and morning glory vines.

This is my first attempt with fresh hops, and I will let you all know how it turns out. I chose an IPA recipe and it has been happily bubbling all week.

beer brewing

Adding hops to the brew.

It's perking...

It’s perking…

My Autumn 2014 newsletter will be sent soon. You can subscribe here. Elen’s double chocolate hazelnut cookie recipe will be included. (Yes, I’m teasing you with beer and chocolate. Shameless, I know.)

Garden Tea

Elen’s double chocolate cookies

Wherever you are, I hope you’re having a beautiful September!

All my best,
Jan

{post transferred from original blog}

The Nesting Arbor

I saw my first robin yesterday, a happy sign of spring after a long winter, and it inspired me to clean out the bird houses around the yard and hang a basket of goodies for birds to build their nests. The cardinals, chickadees, finches and winter wrens stay throughout the year, but it is always a welcome sign to see the summer birds arrive once again. For my bird goodies, I just use a feeder basket that can be purchased at most grocery stores and bird feed suppliers, and fill it with strings of cut yarn no longer than five inches. I keep it as natural as possible, using wool yarn not overly treated with chemicals or dye. The birds have already pulled some of the strings and will weave them into their nests.

Birds seem to love my garden, especially the central arbor, even though it arches over a well-traveled gateway to the vegetable garden beyond. I have begun to call this the nesting arbor. Five nests were built last year within the wisteria vines that cover it, and throughout winter I keep the bird feeder well stocked.

Here are a few pictures I took of the nesting arbor in my cottage garden this morning. It may seem colorless–but if you look closely you’ll see the wisteria has begun to bud…

Nesting Basket

Bird basket full of nest building goodies.
Notice the nest above from last summer that I haven’t had the heart to remove.

Bird House

Cleaning out the old nests before spring birds arrive to build new ones.
The mama bird who stayed here last summer loved morning glory seeds.
And I wondered why I didn’t have many seedlings last year. Now I know. 🙂

Swinging Squirrel

As you can see, I don’t chase my squirrels away from the feeders.

Cardinal and Finches

Cardinal and finches taking their turn on the feeder.

I never see the nests that are built on the nesting arbor until fall when the leaves shed from the vines, but I do enjoy watching the birds jumping in and out of the arbor with treats in their beaks for their eager young ones. Their high-pitched tweets echo throughout the garden when Mama arrives back in the nest.

Nesting Arbor

Nesting arbor in summer.

Wherever you are in the world, may signs of spring be in your midst!
Best wishes,
Jan

Take a photo stroll around my cottage garden

I have been tucked away in my office writing, so I haven’t done much this year to my little cottage garden. However, my garden didn’t seem to mind, because summer has arrived in full bloom without me. I have more hummingbirds this year, butterflies, birds, and bumblebees than ever before. In the mornings, when I walk around with my first cup of coffee, it is like listening to a symphony of nature. It is so beautiful. One day I’ll have to post a video on my blog or directly on my Instagram story so you all can enjoy the birds with me. I suppose I’ll need to look at getting some free followers before I start posting online, I’m not much of an Instagrammer!

My garden is only small but I love it just the way it is. At the minute, it’s manageable. However, when I get older, I may not be able to keep on top of all of the jobs that need to be done to ensure the garden looks lovely. In that case, I’ll probably need to find someone who can sort my garden for me. Perhaps a company like https://www.lawncare.net/ could maintain the garden, it’s worth keeping a business like that in mind for when we all get older!

Although my garden is smaller than others, I was speaking to one of my friends from Australia the other day though and she told me that she is currently in the process of having a granny flat built her in a large garden. Her parents are not as mobile as they used to be so she wants them to live as close to her as possible. It turns out there are plenty of granny flat builders in the Sydney area who can create the granny flat of your dreams provided you have enough space. I thought it was such a lovely idea as caring for your loved ones is so important.

Back to my garden now though and I love perennials, and I tend to choose hardy ones that come back each year without fuss. Peonies, poppies, Dutchman’s pipe, climbing roses, wisteria, clematis, honeysuckle, and allium are all in bloom. Everyone always asks how much time this takes to maintain, and truly, it isn’t much. I do one round of weekend weeding and mulching each year in the spring, and then let it go for the rest of the season, except for an occasional offender I might see while walking about in the evenings when my husband is grilling. Of course, there’s the odd job in the garden we’re not able to do ourselves unless we want to put ourselves in harm’s way, trying to tend to or remove a tree being the one that pops into my mind. If we ever have a need to do these tasks, we’ll likely use the arborist services (like those found here – www.treeserviceremoval.com) for assistance.

Although, for whatever reason, clover abounds in my flower beds this year. I’m just going to take that as a sign of good luck. Here are a few pictures I took yesterday. There will be another round of photos come mid-summer, when my daisies, coneflowers, dahlias, sunflowers and morning glories arrive.

Until then, here’s a little photo stroll through my garden in June…

Pinks and Poppies

Pinks and poppies spill over the walkway.

Lantern through the garden gate

Open the garden gate to where the lanterns have been hung.

Peony Bouquet

Pick a bouquet of peonies for the table, and don’t mind the ants because they are working hard to pollinate them for next year.

Grape buds

Grapes have begun to grow. They were a gift from a library patron and are over five years old now. Maybe this year we’ll try to make wine. Or drink someone else’s attempt and eat the grapes.

Sugar water over hanging plants

Boil some sugar water and fill the feeders.

Hummingbird

For the hummingbirds to enjoy.

Hostas and Clematis

Hostas keep the clematis’ roots cool.

Gate Keeper

The gate keeper assesses the situation…

Willow

And then snuggles into her favorite shaded spot.

Climbing Roses

The climbing roses have begun to open. They get one uninterrupted bloom before the Japanese beetles hatch and much away.

Dutchman's Pipe Vine

The Dutchman’s pipe vines its way around the garden bell. Look closely and you’ll see it’s in bloom. Maybe this year we’ll get Dutchman Pipe butterflies.

Hope you all have a wonderful summer!

Best wishes,
Jan

(post transferred from original blog)