KINGDOMS, KIDS and KASTLES

I am starting this post from high in the sky as I make my way home from having the most wonderful time with my precious grandsons and their parents in the beautiful town of Henley on Thames. It is as picturesque and wonderful as it sounds.
For those of you who have been to England, you know what I mean. I have been steeped in picturesque countryside, charming streets, wonderful people, a slower pace of life, amazing gardens, roses and family.
My daughter and I are two peas in a pod. What a blessing she has always been. I could extol her virtues for days – a beautiful, kind, creative who infuses beauty wherever she goes. I can’t even put into words what it was like to share some of the most charming towns, and gardens with her. As I was planting roses in my daughter’s new garden, I was struck by the fact that for the past 30 years I have worked on creating my version of an English Cottage Garden (heavy on roses) in the midwest and now I find myself planting roses in a my daughters garden in England. Head Shake.😱 This reminds me of a favorite scripture… To Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine… Ephesians 3:20  Yes, I didn’t know to ask for this and I couldn’t imagine it but I am incredibly grateful.

To top it off… our days of little boys, tours and gardening ended with a glass of wine, watching gardening shows and making garden plans. Bliss. We just never know the twists and turns our lives will take. God’s blessings are poured out at every stage and age. I am grateful for every stage I have been through and am simply delighting in this new one — seeing her and her little tribe bloom in this new place.

OH THE GARDENS ….

Here are a few of the gardens we visited…

GREYS COURT…. dates back to the early 12th Century as the home of the Grey Family. When you are there you truly feel you have stepped back in time. The house is so beautiful, the great tower is a historical work of art, but it was the series of gates and gardens that I fell in love with.

HIGHCLERE CASTLE (Where Downton Abbey was filmed.)

Highclere Castle is the home of the 8th Earl and Countess of Carnarvon. It is said to be the finest occupied Victorian mansion in England. While the outside looked familiar to me as a fan of the show, once we started through the front door and into the amazing gardens, I forgot about the show and just fell in love with Highclere.

The gardens were more than I ever expected: A secret garden of white flowers, lush borders, stones walls and picturesque gates, a wildflower meadow – beautiful, serene and filled to the brim with busy pollinators, and so many roses! The roses were not at peak, but there were still plentiful and beautiful.


STONOR PARK & GARDENS … a historic country house that has been home to the Stonor family for 850 years.

We made several other garden stops — all just whetting our appetite for more!

I struggled to leave my loves, but was eager to see Mr. G’s handsome face and try out some new things in the garden. 😱 Yes, I came home with more than a few ideas! Garden hats off to Mr. G for having a garden to come home to. I so appreciate his diligence in watering and battling the Japanese Beetles. He’s the best! xoxox

I have always believed that life is best if you can “bloom where you are planted.” Even if you are somewhere for a short time, there can be infinite rewards. This week I have been planted in my garden attacking all those weeds that also loved Mr. G’s watering. But, what a couple of weeks I have had.

Regardless of where I am, these three sweet boys are never far from my mind.

Bloom Thyme Friday: Blooms, Bugs and Heat

Can we just talk about the weather?!? It is #toodarnhot ! Heat index today of 110! I just about melted when I went out to the garden for 20 minutes just to save a few more roses from the Japanese Beetles (who love the heat). I had some friends I wanted to give bokays too this week and I wasn’t sure there were enough that the beetles had left alone … but there were.

And, even in the heat, they smelled so good!

There were plenty of ones that didn’t make my cut because they made the beetle’s cut.  I made some of them pay!

Japanese Beetles have taught me a thing (or two) about myself. If you had asked me before I met the aforementioned beetles, if I was sadistic — I would have said I didn’t have a sadistic bone in my body. But, I dooooooo.😫  I drown those little puppies with relish… Not really, it is hard, but I do let them down easy into a potpourri laden bubble bath. The bubbles come from Dr. Bronner’s Lavender soap. It smells good. It looks good.

Now I don’t know where beetles go after death, but I sure hope it isn’t heaven. I never want to see them again. Creepy, nasty things.

Mr. G asked me last night when I thought the beetles would be gone. I just don’t know. They usually hang around about 2 months, but last year they stayed a bit longer. Right now they are increasing in number each week! 😡

BLOOM THYME BEAUTIES BEATING THE HEAT

Lilies…

I was a bit disappointed to see only white Stargazers blooming in this area. I planted a mixed bag of lily bulbs that showed a picture of various colors of peach and white to go with my peach roses. However, now that I see the pristine white with the peach roses and Bobo Hydrangea, I think it is perfect. Sometimes is just works out better than you can plan.

Only 3 in a package of 6 came up but you get what you pay for and I didn’t pay much at all.

Stokes Aster…

The cool blue of Stokes Aster works so well in the hot summer garden I think.

Phlox…

My fav Flame White Eye Phlox Paniculata. I love the white ones too!

Daisies…

I put a picture of daisies on my Instagram story this week and titled it “Secret Keepers.” That totally confused Mr. G. I told him all about the “daisies don’t tell” thing that I had heard since I was a little girl and the “He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not” thing. But, I guess little boys don’t play that game with daisies.

The Faun Rose…

No fragrance. Just beauty. This floribunda is a great ground cover rose that can take some shade and will give you loads and loads of blooms. So far the JB’s don’t like her.

Bobo Hydrangeas… (Oh how I love them!)

These surround the patio … they replaced the boxwood hedge last year. And are filling in nicely!  (The hedge succumbed to blight. #sadday)

Beautiful Creepers…

I fall more and more in love with these verbenas every year. First ones I had were 3 years ago and they were the Royale Chambray. Loved them! Then I couldn’t find them the next year so I tried the white ones. Loved them. This year I couldn’t find enough Royale Chambray or White, so I just went crazy bought several colors – all the ones that looked healthy at the garden center. Love them. They don’t let the heat bother them one bit. I am wondering just how many I will “have to have” next year and what colors I will “have to have.”

Here are two of the many I have.

NEXT WEEK:

There may or may not be a Bloom Thyme Friday. I am heading out for a couple of weeks to a special place to see some special little people and their parents too. Did I hear someone say … #ohtobeinEngland”? I can’t wait. If you follow me on Instagram (TeresaByington), you might just see a picture or two.

 

Whether you are going far, far away or staying close to home, I hope you are surrounded by God’s beauty and love.

Cheerio!

🇬🇧🇬🇧🇬🇧🇬🇧🇬🇧🇬🇧🇬🇧

Bloom Thyme Friday: Cute Critters and Varmints

Can we just talk about raccoons for a minute? Yes, they are cute, but boy are they evil in my garden. We have always had them. Tons of them. Each year they play havoc. Last week they were over the top in their regardening and ungardening efforts.. Actually threw plants out of the ground.

A bit about raccoons …

In the animal kingdom raccoons are the leading carrier of rabies. So don’t get too close. They are not cute, cuddly pets. As my dad would say, they are varmints. Indeed.

I know they hate cayenne pepper, but how much would I have to spread to make them “uncomfortable”.
🌶🔥🌶🔥🌶

 I may need to find out.

As I walk the garden in the mornings assessing their damage, I hear the voice of Mark Windham ringing in my ear… “Raccoons: Cute but evil / Possoms: Ugly but helpful. Did you know that possums consume a ton of ticks. YUK! And, THANK YOU.

How do I know raccoons are the culprits? My handy Bushnell Critter Cam (thanks Connie for the tip) catches them red handed. And those little hands of theirs are rototillers! Sigh.

Varmint. Other pictures have shown that he has a big “community.”

This could be in their future … bon appetit varmints.

OTHER VARMINTS I’M DEALING WITH…

With the high temps (mostly in the high 80s & 90s) many roses are taking a nap and I am encouraging that since the Japanese Beetles are still about. The Japanese Beetles came in slowly this year, but as of this morning, they are at a fever pitch.

Many blooms are just covered like poor “Lady Ashe” … they just love her. 

However, Lady Ashe’s neighbor ‘At Last,’ did not have one JB on any blooms. #notetoself

If you are local, Frazee Gardens has an absolute wonderful collection of David Austin roses right now and they have several ‘At Last’ roses that are blooming like crazyl! I took a video while I was there last night. Aren’t they fabulous!?! Go grab them up!

 

BLOOM THYME THIS WEEK…

If I had to pick my favorite bloomer this week, it would be the lilies.

The temperatures today are so pleasant — topping out at 82 and I see little wrens playing in the bird bath. All’s good here. I pray all is good in your world too.

Happy BLOOM THYME FRIDAY, friends!

What’s your favorite bloomer this week?

Bloom Thyme Friday: An Unexpected Treasure

As you must already know my life’s greatest garden treasure is Mr. G. who is the very best at supporting my garden obsession. One of the reasons he is so good at this — his grandmother was a gardener who loved the same style and many of the same plants as me — Our garden reminds him of the special times he had walking in his grandmothers garden, hearing her talk about the plants she loved and helping her when needed.

I so wish I could have seen her garden – more specifically, her in her garden and hear the garden stories. I did meet her and she was lovely, but not gardening at that time. well, not outside, but she did have a vast collection of house plants — something I am well on my way to having too. 🙄

I also had hoped to see pictures of her garden, but through the years none surfaced.

Until last weekend.

Greg’s mother passed away last November, she was lovely too and enjoyed flowers but she was an inside girl.

This past weekend we were doing that task that all of us hate, going through our loved ones possessions. But, like most of you know too, you so often uncover treasures. Unexpected treasures.

Here was mine.

Though the picture is black and while and faded – I can SEE a good portion of her garden and HER in the garden. And, YES, she did garden in dresses and stacked high heels Mr. G tells me. Much different than my cargo pants, bogs, t shirt and often a very handy garden apron. Thank you Mamaw Levis for preparing him well to love our garden too. I still wish we could have strolled in our gardens together in the mornings with our coffee in hand. She loved her coffee too!

And then there is this iris…

A treasure I have in my garden is a fragrant iris that she had in her garden and my mother-in-law had too. I actually see iris foliage in the garden picture above. Could it be the same one…

Treasures INDEED.

 

BLOOM THYME…

For now the torrential downpours have subsided and the HEAT is soaring. We are hoping the sky hasn’t forgotten how to rain. … it was VERY good at it for a few weeks.

Glad we have long garden hoses!

Here’s some of this week’s bloomers…

I suspect we have the spring rains to thank for our fluffy Annabelle border.

 

Many of the Clematis still going strong…

First blooms of Papi Delbard rose. My good friend Paul Zimmerman did not over sell this rose! Thanks Paul.

Bokay for my kitchen…

 

Another bokay to share…

OTHER THINGS CATCHING MY EYE THIS WEEK…

 

What’s blooming in your neck of the woods?

I hope you are surrounded by treasures.