Top o’ the Morn! Hope your day today is brightened by a wee bit o’ green, wherever you go! So many wee bits o’ green are sprinkled throughout our home and garden in March. We always enjoy celebrating our Irish family roots in small, meaningful ways as St. Patrick’s Day nears.
When my grandfather, Samuel, set sail from Londonderry, Ireland, at age 28, he carried his hopes and dreams in a beautiful, old steamer trunk. Packed with a few family mementos and his most precious belongings, this trunk accompanied him on his trip to America, aboard the ship Columbia. I often think about how brave he was setting out to make a new home in a strange, new place. I wonder how he felt as his ship docked in the Port of New York, on that summer day in 1913. How hard it must have been to search for work in New York, and later in Chicago. Although my grandfather passed away when I was very, very young, I can still hear the lilt of his laughter, his Irish brogue, and his wonderful stories!
It’s such a wonderful blessing to have my grandfather’s steamer trunk here in our house today. It is one of our most important family treasures. It was passed down to me, as a gift, many years ago when I bought my own home. For a while, his trunk was used as a coffee table in our living room. Years later, it displayed my travel books in the family room. Now my grandfather’s trunk sits in the corner of my papercrafting studio downstairs, displaying handmade St. Patrick’s Day artwork and a basket of dried flowers and herbs from our garden. I have always left his trunk empty inside ~ so there is always plenty of room to hold our hopes and dreams!
Of course, we need shamrocks! There are pots of Oxalis in bloom on our sunny dining room table. Some have bright, green leaflets with tiny white blossoms. Others have dark, burgundy leaflets with small, purple flowers. This week, our shamrocks are decked out with tiny flags, too!
It’s also the perfect time to celebrate sweet family memories in the kitchen. Baking my dear mother-in-law’s recipe for Monsignor’s Irish Soda Bread has mouthwatering scents wafting through the whole house today. It’s the wee blessings that make our days so heartwarming!
Yesterday, we had a wonderful one-day heat wave here in the Midwest. What a treatl! Sunny skies and afternoon temperatures of 73 degrees F were a true delight! It made my heart sing to spend a few hours in the garden.
There are wee bits o’ green poking up through the soil in all of the garden beds. What a joy to see perennials popping up everywhere after our long, snowy Winter! I was so happy to spy wee bits o’ green Daylilles, Irises, Tulips, Daffodils, and Grape Hyacinths. The buds on the Rhododendron and the Magnolia tree are swelling in anticipation of Springtime.
I took advantage of the warm day to prune my ‘Annabelle’ Hydrangea (H. arborescence) bushes. They are about eight years old and their huge, white blooms fill vases, pitchers, and crocks all summer long. Their dried flowers also fill many baskets, bringing the garden inside all winter long. To prepare the area around our deck for a construction project, I knew that this was the year my ‘Annabelle’ Hydrangea would need severe pruning. I have read so many different ideas about pruning ‘Annabelle’ Hydrangea. This variety blooms each year on new wood. ‘Garden Gate’ magazine, my trusted source over the years, suggested cutting back this variety of Hydrangea to 6 inches tall in early Spring for fresh new growth. So, I bravely cut all of the four foot long stems down to the recommended height.
Master Gardener, Mary Costello, in this video, shows how she prunes her ‘Annabelle’ Hydrangea all the way down to the ground. I’m wondering which way is the very best for producing strong stems to support the large flowers of ‘Annabelle.’
Hope you will share your experience with pruning ‘Annabelle’ Hydrangea, in the Midwest.
Erin Go Bragh!
Wishing you a wee bit o’ green today… and every day!
Happy Almost Spring!