Now about those Rugosas…


As you probably know I post a lot of pictures of my rugosas and talk about them quite a bit. More than once I have blown up your feed to share blooms! 😉

I just love them. They are the main event in the spring when I’m looking for fireworks and fragrance. (More on that here.)

That first flush of spring bloom is simply amazing. However, in years past the repeat bloom has been sketchy around here. Oh, I always get a few blooms all summer long but nothing like what has been happening this year. The second flush of bloom has been amazing. While it certainly doesn’t rival the spring bloom, it has been impressive and very welcome. Tucking even one of these amazingly fragrant blooms into a bokay is a game changer and crowd pleaser.

Why all the extra blooms this year? I’m not sure. This has been a wetter season that usual–maybe they liked that.

Take a look at the repeaters.



The pollinators are totally in love with rugosas! They are everywhere. One even got a little territorial with me and gave me a bite. Owie!!! 😁🐝I forgave him and all is good. 🐝


Rugosa roses are species roses native to eastern Asia. These profuse spring bloomers are hardy in Zones 3 – 9 and in a variety of conditions: heat, cold, wind, even salty, sandy seaside conditions. Rugosas prefer full sun (6-8 hours per day) and average well-drained soil. So, with very minimal care, almost anyone, anywhere can enjoy these dependable workhorses in the garden.  As for the size of those growing in my garden, Hansa, Roseraie de la Hay, Theresa Bugnet and Blanc de double Corbert  are 5′ X 5′ . Moje Hammerly is 4′ X 4′ and Belle Poitevine is 4′ X 4′ too. There are other rugosas that are smaller in general … do some investigating to find the ones most suited for your location.

These rugged plants are excellent choices for the organic gardener. Their distinct wrinkled (regose) foliage is very disease resistant. I have found that the rugosas with the most wrinkled leaves are the most disease resistant. Those with smoother leaves tend to get some black spot and occasional mildew.

In my cottage garden, rugosas are the back drop and anchor for many of my flower beds. They are not fans of pruning and do best when allowed to grow and seek their own shape, so you need to give them some space.

Here are pictures from the spring bloom!





If  you want to read more about rugosas,  go to the American Rose Society’s website HERE.

Too darn hot!

Just checked the weather and the heat wave we are experincing this week will be gone next week. YES. I felt like Indiana was moving closer to the Equator by the minute. Whew! It has been hot!

Keep blooming where you are planted!
Thanks for stopping by!



It was one of those days…

Today has been one of those perfect days … the kind of summer day that memories are made of.
Blue skies.
Big fluffy clouds.
Plenty of garden blooms.
Extra time with my honey.
No plans.
No agenda.
Just summer fun.
I am grateful.
We did a little gardening, a few household chores, made a quick trip to Lowes and a local garden center to look at hydrangeas. You’d think I have enough. But no. There is always room for another rose and another hydrangea! And, Country Harmony had just the hydrangea I was looking for – Little Lime. He joins the other 5 Little Limes in my garden. I know. I know. But, I just love them! I am also crazy about Bobo and Pinky Winky and Annabelle and … well you get the picture!:)
 Rose:  Aloha
 Rose: Flamenco Rosita
 Rose: Olivia Rose Austin
 Rose in front: Campfire
 Rose in front: Beverly
 Rose: The Generous Gardener (DA)
 Rose: Black Forrest
I hope you had a wonderful day that was filled with the things you love best.

Hey, Mr. G is working on a new project for me! I think it will be ready soon for the big reveal.  Maybe even tomorrow. I am so excited about this I am practically jumping up and down. Actually I am jumping up and down.

Bloom Thyme: What’s Bloomin’ Around Here

While we are not fully into the second flush of rose blooms and the Japanese Beetles are munching away but there’s some bloomin’ going on around here.

CAUTION … Abundance of Pinkness Ahead. 💞


All My Loving

All My Loving

Cherry Parfait

Cherry Parfait


Beverly HT

Beverly Hybrid Tea


Gemini Hybrid Tea

These roses are hiding out from the Japanese Beetles

These roses are hiding out from the Japanese Beetles

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Julia Child




Falling in Love

Falling in Love


Music Box

Companions that are showing off…









Hopefully we will be saying goodbye to these ugly bugs soon.

Until then… I’ll keep drowning them in soapy water!

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If these guys are “bugging” you and you want to know more, you can read an article that Dr. Mark Windham, a name I trust, recommended here.

Well … enough about bugs!


Fireworks and Fragrance

In life and in gardens the right companions can make the difference. They can make us stronger, cover up our short comings and enhance our beauty.

My garden style is cottage gardening …. I grow everything from trees and shrubs to herbs and roses. These garden companions work beautifully together to give me just what I want—continuous beauty. In fact, once we get through one of the midwest’s hard, cold winters, I am looking for fireworks and fragrance. Nothing adds the fireworks and fragrance like roses.

In April, lilacs give me beauty and fragrance that garden dreams are made of however, in a few weeks they are finished — for a year. Forsythia make a huge showing too— bringing all that yellow sunshine into our world—for a few weeks. Just as I am saying goodbye to those lovely shrubs, along comes the Rugosa Roses and Old Garden Roses with an explosion of blooms that fill the garden and many vases to the brim with beauty, fragrance and over the top charm. While most of the old garden roses only have one bloom per season (about 4 weeks), many of the rugosas don’t stop with just one bloom cycle and will give you at least a few fragrant blooms throughout the growing season.

Just as the rugosas are taking a break and the one-time blooming old garden roses are finished for the season, here come the easy care roses I call garden roses (sometimes referred to as shrub roses).  These power bloomers go to work and believe me their bloom season will continue all the way to fall. There is no shrub or perennial that gives me season-long bloom like the garden roses and paired together, they work their cottage charm.

Rugosas putting on a show in my garden!



Roseraie de la Hay putting on her show this week!

Whether you are like me and have have lots of space, or you have a few nooks and crannies you would like to brighten or have containers on a balcony that need some punch, there is a garden rose for you. Garden roses come in all sizes and colors and will take no more care than any other plant or shrub in your garden. Give them sunshine, water, a bit of fertilizer, a quick trim of the spent blooms, then just stand back and enjoy. (And have your vases ready to fill and share.)

When deciding on companions for your roses, the first thing to consider is compatible growing conditions and here are two companions that have their relationship all worked out and have become a match made in heaven… roses and clematis!

Etoile de Violette and New Dawn Climber


Here are some easy care, power blooming shrub roses that fill my garden with beauty and work well with all of the other plants that catch my fancy.

Petit Pink… This small shrub from the Proven Winners OSO Happy series is constantly happy in my garden covered in these dainty pink flowers. We can thank David Zlesak for this amazing shrub!


Music Box and her companions… This is a lovely blooming machine from the Ping Lim’s Easy Elegance Collection. Starts out creamy yellow and adds more pink as it matures.


Sunrise Sunset… also from the Easy Elegance Collection paired with Double Red Knockout


The Generous Gardener… One of the best and most disease resistant David Austin roses I have ever had!


Peach, Apricot and Red Drift Roses… These beauties from Star Roses and Plants grow low and spreading fitting nicely in the front of a border but they also do equally as well in a container. These are super blooming garden roses.


Quietness… This lovely Buck Rose is a part of the Earth Kind series and is one of the most beautiful bloomers in my garden. If it can make it through the rigors of the Earth Kind testing program and is considered hardy for your zone… take a chance! Did I mention it is very fragrant!!


Quietness with her lily companions…


Beverly HT from Kordes... Beautiful, sustainable and fragrant. Big winner at the Biltmore International Rose Trails. Love it!

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Belinda’s Dream and her companions… This is another rose from the Earth-Kind series. This rose grows big and strong in a container on my deck and is rarely without beautiful and fragrant blooms.


Cherry Pie… The amazing bloomer below is from the Proven Winner’s OSO Easy collection. This picture is of a three-year-old rose in my herb garden. What started out as a tiny test rose, is now a show stopper.  She has more than proven herself to me!


The rose is our national floral emblem and
the most popular
and beloved flower!

So, if you have shied away from roses in the past, thinking they are divas that take more time and energy than you have … Think again!

It’s not just hair styles that have changed since the 80s… The new Millennium brought us new classes of easy care, sustainable garden roses and we are getting more and more every year.

Maybe it’s time to dress up your shrub borders and add more blooms to your flower beds with the new rose kids on the block–they will bring the fireworks!

Rose Buzz: Tropical Lightning

One of the roses I was sent this year for testing was Tropical Lightning. I have two and put them in large (approx 10 gal) pots on my sunny deck.
They started growing strong right from the start. Today was bloom day and I was shocked to see how truly beautiful this unique bloom is. I wasn’t sure I would like a rose with a great deal of orange. You’ve seen my garden … there is a ton of pinkness out there. This color actually has a lot of pink in it!
I have to tell you that I actually gasped when I saw the blooms. (#rosenerd) It is so pretty!! I took a ton of pictures, so see what you think….
Weeks says this… “The tropical warmth comes in the form of rich sunset-like orange while the dazzling lightning is generated by bright cream stipes. The effect is accentuated by a layer of purple smoke creating a burnt orange combo, perfect for a stormy sky! If you are still in doubt that such colors exist, don’t wait to be struck by lightning to plant this amazing Climber! “

I agree!

More Details…

  • Class: Climber
  • Fragrance: Moderate / fruity
  • Flower Form: Double and formal
  • Flower Size: Medium (3-4″ diameter, in small clusters)
  • Petal Count: 20 – 30
  • Stem Length: Medium
  • Growth Habit Climbing and Spreading
  • Disease Resistance: Good
This rose was a limited release for this year and will be more readily available next year. This is one you just might want to add to your list for 2017.
I did see that Edmunds and Brecks had this rose earlier in the season. So, if you are still adding roses to your garden this season, give them a try.

Confession: Is there a time when you gasped when you saw a rose bloom?

Come on you can tell me!




Bloom Thyme: A heart and a garden that is overflowing…

Last night I left California on the red eye with red eyes and a full heart…

  • A heart so full of gratitude for the 3 weeks I had with my loves there.
  • A heavy heart that was so sad to leave them.
  • A heart so excited to see the ones I have missed. My family. My friends. My Garden. My home. My church. My work.
  • A heart filled with gratitude for all the blessings God has given to me.

Yes, a full heart filled with the good, the great and the sad. For those of you with family and friends far apart, I’m sure you know what I mean.

Bright and early this morning Mr. G was there to bring me home. The look on his face told me I was missed!

The garden had missed me too. It will be a few days before I will have it back in ship shape. All of the rain made the care while I was gone much easier but boy did everything grow and many things exceeded their allotted space. We call this stage the jungle stage! Yes, it will take a little while to get things trimmed up. We will be moving slow this weekend as the temps soar to low 90s with the humidity totally out of control.

The garden welcomed me with many blooms still yet to enjoy while I do the big task of deadheading the ones past their prime.

The rose in front is Dr. Zlesak’s Petit Pink from the OSO Happy Collection from Proven Winners. The white rose behind Petit Pink is Champagne Wishes from Ping Lim’s Easy Elegance Collection. Both are excellent in my garden.


Pink Carpet Rose
Pink Carpet Rose
Champagne Wishes from Ping Lim's Easy Elegance Collection.
Champagne Wishes from Ping Lim’s Easy Elegance Collection.
All My Loving ... A new rose from Weeks. Lovely HT with soft but nice fragrance.
All My Loving … A new rose from Weeks. Lovely HT with soft but nice fragrance. Read more here.

We have had 3 rainstorms and a bit of hail in the last week, so it is amazing that any of these blooms hung on! I think it was for my homecoming, don’t you?

These and several others were vased and delivered to the bank for those who helped me through a long distance banking issue.
These and several others were vased and delivered to the bank for those who helped me through a long distance banking issue.

I have some new visitors too…

Japanese Beetles.

So far I am only seeing a few. Seeing any is way more than I ever want to see. I’ll be dumping them into a bucket of soapy water (peppermint Dr. Bronners) for a sweet smelling demise. My friend, Jack Falker, had a lot to say about Japanese Beetles on his blog this week. You can read his thoughts here.

Here’s a simple recipe for the Dr. Bronner’s soapy magic: Add 2 T of Dr. Bronner’s soap to one gallon of water. Stir … don’t shake!  Add to spray bottle. You can buy this soap on Amazon here!


Disgusting, right?


Yes, aphids are coming to munch on the new buds. Dr. Bronner’s soap solution in a spray bottle to the rescue for this critter too.

If you look closely, you'll see aphids munching. 😁
If you look closely, you’ll see aphids munching. 😁

More new.

I now have blooms on some roses that Proven Winners sent me right before I left. They are doing great! Believe me, the video or pictures do not do them justice!

Take a look…

It is good to be home.

Garden work is a great balm for a heart that is filled with an abundance of love and joy and just a tinge of sadness.

Little Garden Helper

In California everyday is perfect for gardening! And, in my world there is a bonus… a grandboy who is my favorite little garden helper. He may be small but he is enthusiastic, energetic and has all the right tools for the job!


Smooth hand with the water wand.

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A gentle touch with the baby plants.


Leaf gathering … made easier using his shopping cart and “garden pouch” as he calls it.

(Actually this pouch is Bob Blomberg’s Gardener’s Hollow Leg, Jr.)

Heading to the green compost bin.

Heading to the green compost bin.

Find the ripe tomatoes.

Finding the ripe tomatoes.

Eating right off the vine is the yummiest.

Eating right off the vine is the yummiest.

Yes, the future of gardening in California is in good, no great, hands!


Bloom Thyme: Bokay Days

Last week there was a flower explosion in my garden … a perfect time to make bokays and have BOKAY DAY!

During the growing season I designate Fridays as a day to make bokays to deliver, but last weekend I had extra time and plenty of flowers and decided to text out random invitations for people to come and get them–first come, first serve.

BOKAY DAY  starts with “the gathering.” Gathering containers and getting out my little black wagon for running around the garden gathering the pretties. This BOKAY DAY ended with friends coming by to pick up flowers! Some brought their children! I loved watching everyone look over all the flowers and decided which one(s) to take home. I heard about their favorite colors and shapes–and I heard some family gardening stories I had never heard before.

Bonus: Having people come to the garden opened up so many questions about roses and gardening in general and I loved that too!


Cute visitors!

Some of my visitors!


Since it was so hot out outside, I chose the table under the patio umbrella for my work space. It was a different climate under there!

More bokays…








The last bucket of flowers for the week…


Flowers + Friends = FUN!

Bloom Thyme: 3 Garden Stories

This picture is filled with stories.


The story of an arbor my husband and son built for me.


This space had once been home to my son’s fort. A place where fun and adventure were paramount while he was growing up. I treasure those days and will never forget them. I also resisted all the talk about taking down the fort–even when it was past it’s prime! One day I looked out my kitchen window to see “my baby boy” using a chain saw to alter the fort so he could grow grapes on it. Hmmmmmm … if the baby can use a chain saw, the fort can come down—even I couldn’t argue with that. A few years later the entire fort structure was removed and the new arbor was built. I had my treasured memories and the gardener in me had plans! Plans that included two roses I thought would be just perfect on this structure—The Francis E. Lester Rose and the Peggy Martin Rose. With these roses came two stories I wanted to include in my garden of stories.

The story of Francis E. Lester.

Mr. Lester is attributed with collecting and keeping available many old roses and writing about the subject in his book My Friend, The Rose published by J. Horace McFarland Co. in 1942. I have this book and it drips with information and charm. His collection of roses was the beginning of what we now know as Roses of Yesterday—a nursery where  you can find a vast collection of roses including the Francis E. Lester rose. Read more here.

The story of the Peggy Martin Rose.

Three years ago I had the pleasure of “meeting” Peggy Martin during our first Rose Chat interview with her. Peggy is an incredible expert on old garden roses and currently serves as Vice President of the Heritage Rose Foundation. Peggy’s family went through the horror of Hurricane Katrina and lost so much. The short story of the rose that bears her name, is that this plant was the only thing to survive 2 weeks under 10′ of seawater. I wrote more about her story here.

You can hear Peggy’s story in her own words on the Rose Chat Podcast here.

Fast forward 3 years.

The first year not much happened.


Last year I had some growth and a few blooms.


But, baby look at them now!

I had to get on a ladder to get the top of the trellis. Francis E. Lester has completely covered the top! That is a okay with me. There is a tree near by that I would like to see him snuggle up to!



The arbor in the back is the one with Francis and Peggy and gives a better idea of all the Francis blooms!




I can’t tell you the pleasure these two roses and their stories bring me. Fits just perfectly with the stories and memories that surround my trellis.

Here’s a short video I took this week.

I love it when a plan comes together.