A Wee Bit o’ Green…


Hi Friends!

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.


St. Patrick’s Day framed art (All products by Stampin’ Up) sits atop my grandfather’s trunk.

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!


My grandfather, Sam

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!

{via Pinterest}

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.

‘Annabelle’ Hydrangea

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!

{via Pinterest}

Happy Almost Spring!

♡ Dawn

24 thoughts on “A Wee Bit o’ Green…

  1. Spring is definitely in the air on both sides of The Pond! The Green is in evidence everywhere I look today. What wonderful memories you share of your Grandfather. As one who made a modern day passage through immigration in New York, my thoughts often wonder over those who made the journey by boat, often in steerage, bringing only what they could carry on their persons from ‘the Old Country’. What luxury I travelled in, Business Class British Airways, and how simple the process through immigration by comparison.
    I will be looking at pruning in the very near future, as it is time to prepare to prune the camellias! It sounds far more daunting than it actually is, and is something we should not be afraid of as the plants do benefit immensely.
    ~~~Deb in Wales

    • Hi, Deb! Although you traveled in comfort, you also had the exciting experience of making a new home in a strange land. Hope you had time in your garden today. Our warm weather day was short-lived, but I made the most of it in the garden. It was so nice to get a brief taste of Springtime! Pruning my ‘Annabelle’ for the first time was a bit intimidating… but necessary this year! Wishing you happy days in the garden! ♡

  2. Beautiful St. Patrick’s Day entries and very interesting video on trimming hydrangea’s. next warm day…I’ll need to trim too. To cut back that severely, I’ll need to consume some Guinness first!!

    • Hi Jan! I hear you!! It’s a bit scary to prune so drastically… for the first time! I will be watching my ‘Annabelle’ Hydrangea very closely as the season progresses. Hoping for big, beautiful blooms, as in years past. Happy St. Patrick’s Day, sweet friend! ♡

  3. Och… I have enjoyed your bit ‘o green post today. Lovely. And I scampered through a couple of your previous posts and enjoyed them immensely too.

    I planted an hydrangea a couple of summers ago. Last year it did very well and so I’m looking forward to seeing what she does this spring and summer.

    Our Spring is very early this year, but we won’t hold our breath for green nubs too soon, as the air is still quite chilly. Soon, soon.

    Thanks for a lovely visit…

    • So happy to see you, Brenda! Hydrangea are my very favorite flowers. They were a special part of my wedding bouquet, too! Hope your Hydrangea have big, lovely blooms all summer long. Gardeners in Canada must wait a bit longer than us. It’s oh-so worth the wait, though! Thanks so much for visiting today, Brenda! Come visit again soon! ♡

  4. Happy St Patrick’s Day, Dawn! Thank you for sharing your Irish roots. How nice it is for you to have your grandfather’s trunk. What a wonderful treasure! I’ve found that the items that I have from my relatives hold the most heart value.
    This is such a wonderful time of year in the garden! I’ve spent the past two days cleaning up in the yard. It’s so exciting to see the daffodils coming up and hopefully blooming soon. I do not have a Annabelle hydrangea, but I do have several large oak leaf hydrangeas and nikko blue ones that I hope bloom this year. Last year the blue ones did not bloom from the harsh winter. Enjoy this lovely time of year! ♥

    • Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Martha Ellen! ‘Heart value’ is the perfect way to describe family treasures! Although our home is filled with antiques, there are only a few family treasures. So, they are very, very special! My Oak Leaf and Nikko Blue Mophead Hydrangea near the front porch didn’t bloom last summer either. It was so sad. They were full of gorgeous foliage, but the harsh winter last year prevented blooms. That was the first time that has happened in my garden. This year’s blooms will seem even more special! Have a wonderful week! ♡

  5. Dawn,
    I love a good soda bread. I will not be home to prepare our Irish standby of corned beef and cabbage with balsamic reduction sauce, boiled new potatoes and soda bread, but there’s always the weekend. How lucky to have the trunk your grandpa brought with him from Ireland. That is such a treasure.

    The hydrangea I have in our yard do not need the trimming the Annabelle does. When I trim the Oakleaf Hydrangea I have to be careful not to trim it too severely otherwise I don’t get blooms. I happy for you to have had a glimpse of spring.
    Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you and your hubby.

    • Hi, Karen! Your Irish dinner menu sounds so yummy. It will be such fun to share with your weekend guests! I grow Oak Leaf Hydrangea in the front yard. So, I am used to carefully trimming their stems. I think that’s why it was so intimidating to severely prune the ‘Annabelle’ Hydrangea. Our warm day yesterday makes me even more excited for real Springtime days! Wishing you and Mr. B. a great week! ♡

  6. Hi Dawn! (and Deb!) 😉
    Lovely St. Patrick’s Day blog! Love hearing about your Irish grandfather! I always wish I had Irish roots when St. Patrick’s Day rolls around because I have ALWAYS loved Ireland! (We hope to visit there for our 40th anniversary next year….we’ll see!) How wonderful to have your grandfather’s steamer trunk…and covered with Irish treasures today seems a perfect tribute! I love Annabelle hydrangeas! I don’t have any “legitimate” ones of my own but the ones on the property line of our neighbors have sent “babies” over the retaining wall and I have been blessed with a couple of beautiful “gifts” from those! I love how they turn a beautiful “Irish” green when dried! Must get out and cut mine down….I usually am not brave enough to go down to the ground but leave them about 6 inches like you do! Hugs and love this happy St. Patrick’s Day! xoxo

    • Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Karen P! What a wonderful 40th anniversary celebration that would be!! We would love to travel to Ireland one day, too. I’m so happy to hear that you cut back your ‘Annabelle’ Hydrangea to 6 inches. Whew! It was so dramatic for me to prune them so severely for the first time! I just LOVE their blooms, too! Warm hugs, my friend! ♡

  7. Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Dawn, and thank you for this very green post.
    How wonderful it is that you have your grandfather’s steamer trunk and that you keep it for your own hopes and wishes now. I just love that!
    Our corned beef and cabbage dinner is simmering in the Crockpot, two loaves of Irish soda bread are cooling. Well, actually 1 1/2 loaf, as two greedy adults have already sliced into one. 🙂
    Dawn, I had an Annabelle in our old house in town and cut it back every year with no problems. It had the enormous blooms, on the south side of the house, no less. It remains my favorite of the hydrangeas.

    • Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Penny! I can almost smell the aroma of your delicious dinner floating across the miles. Mmmmmm! Irish Soda Bread is dangerously delicious! Thank you so much for reassuring me, Penny! It was scary to cut back my favorite Hydrangea so drastically. We just need to make room this year. Maybe they will even be better than ever this summer!! Just a few more days… ♡

  8. Good evening Dawn! And a happy St. Patrick’s Day to you dear one! I play the Celtic harp…that is my only link to Ireland, but I love the country and the people! HUGS! Anita

    • Oh, Anita! It’s so wonderful that you play the Celtic harp!! I hope you will share the whole story one day. What a lovely connection to the Emerald Isle! I hope to visit Ireland one day. It sounds simply irresistible! You are a true blessing, Anita! ♡

    • Happy St. Paddy’s Day to you, Ginnie! Many thanks… Family stories are the BEST, aren’t they? I thought of you today when I looked at the buds on my Magnolia tree. I wondered if the time was right to cut a few branches to force them to bloom? I should try it! I often force Forsythia branches, but have never tried it with Magnolia. That’s one of the best things about gardening… We never stop learning new things! Happy Almost Spring, Ginnie!♡

  9. Hope you had a wonderful St. Patrick’s Day, Dawn! That’s so great that you have your grandfather’s old steamer trunk and all of those memories. 🙂

    • Thanks so much, Chris! Family memories are the BEST, aren’t they? Are you looking forward to Spring and your second year of gardening? Hope so!! ♡

      • Yes, they truly are. And yes, I definitely am! I cannot wait until the warm weather finally gets here, although now they are predicting a snowstorm for tomorrow! I thought we were done with the snow already! Hope the weather by you is a bit more pleasant ❤

      • Hi, Chris! I think anticipation is something that all gardeners feel at this time of year. Gardening teaches us to be patient and hopeful. Our snow has finally melted and tiny bits o’ green are popping up everywhere in the garden now. We can finally feel that Spring is on the way. Hope warm Springtime weather arrives in New York very soon! It won’t be long now… ♡

  10. Again, Dawn I have enjoyed reading your post. Your memories made me think about my lovely memories of my family coming to America. I hope you enjoyed your St. Patrick’s Day. Did you eat any corn beef and cabbage? That is the one thing I enjoy doing on St. Patrick’s Day.

    • Hi, Anna! You must have the most wonderful memories of coming here from Italy! I’m sure that your family has some wonderful treasures that came along on your journey! Hope you will share your stories one day. We didn’t have corned beef and cabbage, but our Irish Soda Bread was really yummy! I’ll bet everyone is counting the days until Spring Break!! Think Spring! ♡

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