Bloom Thyme Friday: Taking Note

While most of the world braces for the onslaught of “PUMPKIN SPICE EVERTHING,” I am thinking spring – and taking note of all the things in the garden that need “adjustment.” Lists are being made on things that will be moved, removed or added and a few new designs are being put to paper.  SIDE NOTE: I have used Evernote App (glorified note taker/document maker/to do list) for 7 years now for garden world work. It is a mobile ready app so no matter what device I have, the information has been synced and I pick up where I left off! Another great Evernote feature is it is sharable and works well for group collaboration.

My heart races at the thoughts of spring! I am armed with graph paper, Evernote notes, plant tags and ideas!

On my lists….

Perennials that need moving and maybe even dividing – peonies, phlox, iris, daylilles and ground cover. And then there’s the over achievers: daisies and black-eyed susans… of course they are way out of their bounds and need a bit of thinning.

Things on the list that will wait until early spring: Moving roses and hydrangeas. I have done this in the fall and sometimes it works, but sometimes winter comes early and they don’t have time to get established. This year I am waiting.

Things I need to make room for: 2020 rose releases!

My “taking note” includes going over HITS and MISSES this year. Here is a sampling…


Tomatoes: Our luck with slicing tomatoes has been dismal the last couple of years. Whether in the ground or in a pot. We have tried it all. The yield was one or two, here and there.

NOT THIS YEAR… While at Lowes this spring I was slowly going through every tomato plant thinking “nah” on most of them. Then I came across one we had never grown before and I pulled out my handy dandy iPhone and did some research. Found a youtube video from someone who was trying this variety too and the vines looked great and there was plenty of tomatoes so I thought SOLD! Even though he had never gotten to the taste part, I was willing to give it a chance. Fast forward do today and we have had a zillion beautiful and oh so yummy tomatoes. No bugs. No disease. Just yum.

And the tomatoes we grew were Steak Sandwich from Bonnie Plants. Have you grown this plant?

I planted two 5” plants in large pots on the driveway and Mr. G painstakingly watered them and carefully tied them as they grew bigger and bigger and bigger. The storms blew them over a time or two, but they never stopped. Remember this picture from Instagram. This was taken on June 15. They are a wall now!

We are still getting the most delicious tomatoes. I can’t tell you how many I’ve eaten! And have savored every one!

We now have a wall of tomatoes. It has been so fun. And so delicious. We’ll definitely plant these again. To be sure we get them, I will order seeds. I saw that Burpee has the seeds. WOO HOO WINNER!

Peggy Martin Rose: The winter of 2017-2018 was very hard on Peggy Martin. She had completely covered a large pergola …until winter hit. During the winter she died all the way back to the ground.

The summer of 2018 she grew and grew. To protect her I made the decision to provide extra winter protection by mounding  bark mulch and leaves to a little over 3 ft. Whether it was the extra mulch love or the winter, we will never know but she greeted 2019 with much enthusiasm – covering a good bit of the pergola again and bloomed like crazy.

This one-time blooming machine started the first of June and still had plenty of blooms the first of July. The rose that survived hurricane Katrina – survived one of the wettest springs on record as well as plenty of wind and storms. She was a crowd pleaser at Open Garden Day. Peggy Martin– WINNER! I saw on Chamblee’s Facebook page that they had a limited number of Peggy Martins for sale. It is such a popular rose, they sell out fast.

This was the first of June.


This was early July.


Zinnias: The seeds never had the chance to be spectacular …. too much early rain. My late attempt at starting seeds in pots was better, but still not what I had hoped. Will work on a new plan and maybe a new place for next year. While I was a bit disappointed, the butterflies found them heavenly!

The plan was that they would fill the back row of the Herb Garden…. Note – most of them “moved” to one side. It was probably more like “flowed” in the current of water that was out there!


Sweet Peas: First problem, I planted them late (busy schedule and flooding rains got in the way) and by the time they were huge and ready, it was too hot to bloom. Seriously, the vines still look spectacular — best ever. Wouldn’t it be nice if they bloomed when things cool down. It’s never happened before but I would love it. SIDE NOTE: I have never and I mean never seen sweet peas like the sweat peas in England. A feast for the eyes and nose. Couldn’t even capture in a photograph.

Here are a few cut ones at the Bosley Patch farmer’s market in Henley. Can you tell how big and luscious they are?

I bought these seeds in England. Hoping they will be my secret weapon next year! Stay tuned.

I’ll share more hits and misses next time.


If you re looking for my fall / winter care tips, read on here. Don’t treat them as gospel — I don’t because things change from year to year. Just as with your children or fur babies, you will know your roses best and will figure out what they need. But, I am happy to share the basics of what has worked for me.


Everyone I know loves fall and for me it is a tenuous relationship at best. I LOVE SPRING. It is true that each year I am getting better and better at fall. It’s Mr. G’s favorite.

SO, let’s all go out and have some PUMPKIN SPICE fun. God sure does beautiful work in the fall and we don’t want to miss it.

Ecclesiastes 3:1: There is a time for everything … a time to plant and a time to uproot..

Seriously, I have a ton of things to “uproot”! I best get busy.

Here’s to Pumpkin Spice Lattes (and Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Spice cereal)!


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.


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! 😡



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.


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


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.


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.



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.


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!



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?