BLOOM THYME FRIDAY: Dirty Work, Surprises and My Real Garden

Garden cleanup is dirty work. Snatching leaves and debris from the base of roses has its price! That is one of the reasons why rose growers always push regular tetanus shots! I have unearthed so much… leaves from trees we don’t grow and trash from items we don’t use. Oh, those windy days! I also found damage from the marauding deer.  Some things I can fix with an easy prune – and all will be forgiven — if they don’t return! We keep spraying with Liquid Fence and it seems to be working. But, I did see hoof prints in the veriest back where many of the old roses are. Please don’t munch there!!! I want blooms! 

Loving these cleanup bags!

Yes, the work is dirty but I love it. As I weave in and out of the “needy” garden beds, like every spring, I am overcome with gratitude that I have the pleasure to tend this garden… a garden that started as a blank slate more than 30 years ago.

Spring cleanup gives me the opportunity to be up close and personal with each plant, checking them out and getting them ready for their 2021 debut. I also had a couple of big surprises…


Sweet Peas that wintered over! That is a first for me! Those were the sweet peas that bloomed right up to frost last year! They are conveniently growing right where I decided to put my teepee this year.


It is March and some of my roses have leaves. Very early. This time of year we usually spray a dormant oil — we better hurry! Praying Mother Nature is kind. Remember the horrible freeze we had on May 7, 2020, and we were out covering everything we could! My lilies and peonies never recovered! And the Sargent Crab’s blooms were stopped in their tracks. Most of the roses were covered and did fine.



Sweet peas are soaking today and will be planted tomorrow when the rain stops. So many pretty varieties! EXCITING.


Just when I was pining for my family in England and the world’s connection was slipping through our fingers, up pops Ann-Marie Powell, a spunky, people-loving, UK garden designer and author into my garden world. 

On March 28, 2020 at 12:30 pm UK (7:30 am for me 😳). Ann-Marie made the decision to do something new – start lunchtime daily IG live feeds from her REAL GARDEN. A garden that her busy lifestyle before COVID lockdown left little time for and had become somewhat of a construction site due to a recent home reno. So, as she plotted and planned to refresh her REAL GARDEN, she invited others on the journey to a real garden experience. She even invited others to share their REAL GARDENS and go live with her and they did! The MY REAL GARDEN account grew to nearly 20K in 2020.

On April 1, I started going on the journey too. I tuned in enough to feel like I know Ann-Marie’s garden almost as well as I know my own! I have been on REAL GARDEN garden tours via IG live all over the world. Going behind the gate and seeing the good, the bad, and the “I need help areas.” As we all know, there is nothing like REAL moments to connect people! And for gardeners … sharing those experiences with other gardeners is mecca! It was a wonderful way to connect during COVID.

Midway through the year, Ann-Marie had the idea to do a book about the MY REAL GARDEN PROJECT and asked us to submit pictures, tips, stories, and info about our garden – all of us! 

This week the MY REAL GARDEN book launched and yes I am in there. I haven’t received my copy but am so excited to see it. The book is a representation of everyone in some way. The proceeds from the book are going to Greenfingers, a charity close to Ann-Marie’s heart — an amazing UK charity dedicated to supporting children who spend time in hospices around the UK, along with their families, by creating inspiring gardens for them to relax in and benefit from. Don’t you absolutely love that!!! More here

This experience was unique and special in so many ways. Often I got on the maps app to see where people sharing their gardens were located in conjunction to where my family lives and I felt the world shrink. 

You can join too on Instagram. I think the book will be for sale on the website …  visit here.  

BIG CHEERS AND THANK YOUS to Ann-Marie for her ingenuity, creativity, and being the architect for this community where we encouraged each other to bloom right where we were planted – during a most difficult year.


On the first day of spring, we shopped for shrubs and a few spring flowers and headed home with a full SUV! Happy days are here again! Robin Williams is quoted as having said, Spring is nature’s way of saying let’s party!  I couldn’t agree more!!   🌷πŸ₯‚πŸŒ·

Friends, party on! πŸŒ±πŸŽ‰πŸŒ±πŸŽ‰πŸŒ±

4 thoughts on “BLOOM THYME FRIDAY: Dirty Work, Surprises and My Real Garden

  1. For us, sweet peas should get started in October, then overwinter to bloom the following spring. If we try to start them in spring, they bloom splendidly, but only briefly before their season finishes. They do not like the aridity of late spring here. If your winter weather is too cool for overwintering, ‘Midnight Blues’ may have survived because it is a hybrid with another species. The foliage resembles that of ‘Electric Blue’, which seems to be another species that is more closely related to perennial pea. Although less fragrant, it is more vigorous. I do not know, but it might be more tolerant of frost. ‘Midnight Blues’ might be as well.

  2. Teresa,
    I enjoyed your blog, I am going to try to buy the book. Looking at your photo with you and your SUV filled with plats, are those shrubs Emerald Colonnade Hollies? We just planted some in our garden1

  3. I was at Lowe’s again today, Monday, 3-29-2021, and there was hardly a parking space available, and it is Monday! People were standing in line to purchase flowers, plants, shrubs, etc.. I purchased another tomato plant and a couple of cucumber plants. Most of the roses I had seen earlier were gone like the John F. Kennedy white rose. I once had one, and, after recently reading about Melania Trump’s new design for the White House Rose Garden when she was First Lady, I learned that most of the newly planted roses were white and the John F. Kennedy. You can google and see the new rose garden (diamond shapes with boxwoods, a few pink roses, but mostly all white roses). I was somewhat sorry that I didn’t buy it as there was only one left, and it is gone. But my hubby bought me two new ones from Walmart (Chicago Peace and Tiffany) when he was shopping there. He has already planted them. I have never had those two, and there was only one of each of those also.I have a lavender tulip magnolia tree in bloom with about a thousand blossoms on it, and this spring we got to enjoy its beauty and take pictures of the beautiful flowers before the rain and wind got to it. In past years, the buds come out, and the frost damages the flowers before they are fully opened. It is an old tree with a lot of branches, and it is tall. Now, my cherry tree is in bloom, and my daffodils and camellias are still blooming. It is really Paradise. As always, I enjoy reading your blog and seeing your photos. I learn a lot and get inspired by you. Thank you!

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