Bloom Thyme Friday: Penelope’s Story

Between winter, these cold snaps and “shelter in place”, I have had too much time on my hands. Keep looking at online catalogs etc. I have added – let’s just say SEVERAL roses to the family.

Just when I told myself I was officially DONE and truly had all the roses I need at this time, this happened… I was chatting with Mike Shoup of Antique Rose Emporium about his upcoming Rose Chat Podcast. (Release date May 24. Don’t miss it — Mike is amazing and you will be inspired. When he speaks about roses it is though he is reciting poetry!

As we talked I noted one of his favorite roses is Penelope and he told me all the great things about it (and there are many). I was doing okay and still good with my decision for NO MORE ROSES THIS YEAR… until I saw their Facebook post of a picture of an entire shrub line of Penelope roses in full bloom at the Antique Rose Emporium. 😳

I tried to get my good friend Linda Kimmel to talk me out of it – but alas she was no help. At the mere mention of Penelope, she launched into a story of how her Penelope was so beautiful and such a good rebloomer than it won an award in a rose show and beat out some very prestigious contenders and on and on she went. No. Help. At. All. 🙄

I caved. 🤦‍♀️ Wouldn’t you? Do you grow this rose? Do you ever “cave” when it comes to plants? If so, please leave me a comment. Safety in numbers. 👊🏻

Penelope now lives in Brownsburg in a prime spot where I will see her constantly. I keep apologizing to her for all the cold. It must be a shock coming from Texas to Indiana where it is even colder than usual for this time of year. 🥶


Image of Penelope courtesy of Antique Rose Emporium Website.

Penelope is a fragrant Hybrid Musk Shrub Rose bred by a historical favorite, Rev. Joseph Hardwich Pemberton in 1924.

David Austin’s website says it is deliciously fragrant and ideal for hips. Link.

High Country Roses website says it is known for its healthy vigor and shade tolerance!  Link

Note: HELP ME FIND says resist the urge to prune this rose too heavily – it doesn’t like it. Hopefully, winters won’t do that either. More info here.



Early this week we had record low temperatures. For the first time I can remember we had a FREEZE (not frost) WARNING in May (26 degrees). I turned my garden into a POT AND TENT CITY. Was so very thankful for all the pots I have kept on hand. Almost got rid of them last fall!!!

My garden is way too large to cover everything. So I went with the veggies, peonies and as many roses as I could.

  • The sergeant crabapple suffered greatly.
  • The hostas and lilies suffered greatly.
  • Tips of roses not covered suffered too.

Time will tell how much other damage we had. Each day I am seeing more signs. I’ll keep you posted on how the recovery goes. A big surprise was how well the clematis did. I have a ton of clematis and many of them are covered in buds.

Yes, time will tell.

So, while the temps prevented outside fun, we went in to enjoy hot soup and homemade bread…


Handsome Fred (the frog) is back out and conversing with the goldfish so all is well for spring!


Bloomerang lilacs …


Pansies and violas are still bright spots. They like cool weather.

First lettuce picking! Always a great day.


And, then there’s this guy — the dream maker. Mr. G is busy making furniture for my new and improved potting area! More pics to come!! It is soooo fun. I can’t wait to show you. He is the very best. #swoon

The weather app is giving out better news for the days to come – if our tender plants can survive the downpours of rain. Happy Days!


On the Rose Chat podcast, we are featuring stories from those in our garden community on what it is like WHEN GARDENERS SHELTER IN PLACE. Listen in to these short, insightful stories told by the gardeners themselves… LINK

Friends, wishing you safety, health, and fun in the garden. 


Mother’s Day means so many different things to me.


Mother’s Day is typically the last frost date in my neck of the woods. Once that date arrives, we can plant tomatoes … and other warm weather plants. 

This week has been a weather tease. Warm. Cool. Cold. (29 degrees predicted) All the seedlings started and the plants I’ve purchased are waiting and waiting for their turn to do their thing. But we must wait a bit more. For a few more days I will be taking them inside the garage and potting shed at night. So, this year Mother’s Day is not going to be the “garden date” that I wanted it to be. 


We lost my mother more than 30 years ago. She was one of a kind. She is so missed. Life was never easy for her, but she adapted and made the best of it. In a nutshell she was Resourceful, Sassy, Hard Working, Loyal, and a real Servant – did I mention Sassy!?!. I wrote an article about her several years ago and it rings true every time I read it and makes me smile! If you would like to read it, read on here.  


My mother-in-law was born of a Greek immigrant and lived a quiet, simple, beautiful, old world life. She loved her family, her neighbors, her community, bracelets and Jesus. She raised three of the most wonderful men I know. She had to bare losing her beloved husband and youngest son way too soon, but she did so with a dignity that honored them and inspired those around her. I am forever grateful for her life and for the gift of her eldest son.


I cannot even imagine a better mother than my daughter. She has a heart of gold and loves to the depths. Her creativity is unmatched. She has given me three of life’s greatest blessings – my grandboys. The love, wisdom and creativity she pours into them is heart-warming, inspiring, and impressive. Happy Mother’s Day sweet girl! xo


My children are two of my greatest blessings. I don’t know what I did to deserve them, but I am forever grateful that God chose me to be their mother. I have been mommy, mom, and momma and I have loved every stage. They love me, encourage me, inspire me and bring joy to my life. I would simply not be who I am without them. PS: They are both very impressive gardeners! And, you know I love that!!


Friends, whether you were blessed with your own children, fur babies or you bless those around you, I wish you a wonderful Mother’s Day weekend.

Spring Ephemerals by Colletta Kosiba

I do believe that the wildflowers know we are having a hard time and they have been putting on their most spectacular display ever.  I asked my great friend and the very knowledgeable Colletta Kosiba, a Master Naturalist, to do a post on what we are seeing! Six years ago Colletta wrote an article for me based on what the then “baby” Hudson and I saw as we took a walk. Read that one here.


If you have been lucky enough to take walks in the woods this spring, I am sure you were amazed by all the small flowers blooming on the forest floor. Those are native flowers and are called spring ephemerals. Spring ephemerals have been growing on the forest floor long before man entered on the scene.

The ephemerals come up, flower and set seed before the tree canopy forms (which blocks out the needed sun light,) then the plants go dormant; only to repeat the show next spring.

Nature works in harmony; the seeds of the spring ephemerals bear fatty appendages called eliaosomes. Insects, (mainly ants) are attracted to the eliaosomes carrying the free meal back to their nests.  The lipid-rich food is consumed by their young. The unharmed seeds are then thrown into their dung pile where the seeds germinate the next year. A single ant colony may collect a thousand seeds over a season.  

Bloodroot  / Sanguinaria Canadensis                       

Indians stained faces to frighten enemies, males applied stain to palms before shaking hands with a maiden as magic inducement to attract her! Dye – reddish orange mixed with alum as mordant for cloth.  Sanguinaria in bloodroot was used to whiten teeth in modern toothpaste.

Bluebells / Mertensia Virginica                       

An old fashion garden plant. Roots will die in hot summer sun; so it is best to plant something like day lilies to shade the ground around them. They look like purple cabbage as they emerge.  

Common Violets  / Viola Sororia

Violets have 5x more vitamin C than oranges. Add flowers to salads and gelatin for color & flavor. (Leaves are a tad bitter in salad.)  Make jelly with blooms.  Crystalizes as toppings on cake.  May also be used as a soup thickener.

Geranium Wild / Cranesbill / Geranium Maculatum      

You can make a brown dye from the flowers – used for tanning hides.  The Cherokee mixed with grapes for mouth wash.

Claytonia Virginica / Spring Beauty

Have small potato shaped tubers  called “fairy potatoes”. They taste like potatoes when baked or boiled but raw they taste like radishes.

Wood Poppies / Stylophorum Diphyllum

Native Americans used the yellow sap from all parts of the plant for dye and paint.  Flowers are followed by nodding green hairy pods. The pods split open along four valves, explodes scattering seeds.

Thank you Colletta for the beautiful tour. For those of you who know Colletta, you know that her own garden is a haven for all the plants above and so, SO many more. If we weren’t “sheltering” in place, I would be going for a lunch and learn – and perhaps a few “starts” too!

Here is my own trillium that is having a fantastic spring too.

This little beauty has brought me great pleasure for many, many years due in part to its origin. I was part of a group that had the pleasure of rescuing wildflowers in a wooded area that was to be cleared for “progress.” 😐 I brought home several things that day but only the trillium survives.

Trillium has a long history of use by Native Americans and in herbal remedies especially Native American women. I understand that they are a wonderful morsel for deer which may contribute to their being on the plant protection list in many areas. As with all wildflowers, practice extreme caution when considering removing them from their natural setting unless you are invited to do so or you know for sure they are not protected.  I know. I know. It is temping. Many wildflowers are available for purchase.







Bloom Thyme Friday: Beautiful, Invasive or Both

When you garden in one place for as long as I have (30+ years) you go through seasons where we need the 3 R’s — REFRESH, REMOVE, REPLACE. Trees grow, sunny areas become shady areas, trees die and shady areas become sunny areas and beautiful vines become invasive nightmares.

For the last few years, we have taken on at least one or two of these large projects.

Going on now in our garden…


A HUGE 30 year old maple that my son planted as a seedling after we took part in a maple tree tapping. He never tapped his maple, but it served him well as it gave him and his “fort” shade for many years. As you can image, it is a sentimental favorite and one that gives us beautiful shade too. Now 1/4 of the beautiful maple is dead (lightning strike we think). We are trying to cut back the dead and keep the rest. Time will tell if this is a good decision – especially with the wind we are getting today.


Invasive vines. Some we planted and some we did not.

Japanese Honeysuckle: I won’t go into that here as I wrote about it a few posts back. If you want to read that post, go HERE.

Yellow Trumpet Vine: We planted this beautiful vine back in 2011 to replace another beautiful vine that we had purchased only to find it was being moved to the plant watch list – The Porcelain Berry. (You can read about that experience HERE.) 😳

Both of these vines were purchased at garden centers and did not come with a warning.

Both did exactly what I wanted them to do – to a point – they covered and drapped around our pergola that holds our facing swings in a most enchanting way. The Trumpet Vine had an added bonus. Hummingbirds flocked to it. However, the last 3 years we find it is popping up everywhere. And, I mean everywhere. Last year as far as 40 feet away from the mother plant.

I am not good with before and after project pictures – I jump into the project before I remember to take the before shot.  I do have pictures from last year to show you the beautiful parts and some of this weeks process pictures.

First the branches were removed – some 3” in diameter. Next was to drill holes in the branches and fill with a plant killer. I love power tools but I hate to use plant killers but there seems no other option to getting rid of this beautiful invasive garden destroyer. Finally, Mr. G will start the repair work on the pergola caused by the pretty invasive.

Three years ago I planted two other vines in the same vicinity so that when we moved the trumpet vine the area would not be left completely stark. Major Wheeler Honeysuckle – who has a much better reputation for the present time at least – and a vigorous clematis, Etoile Violette.

Etoile Violette and New Dawn Rose in another area of the garden

I have both of these climbers in other areas of the garden and so far no “invasions.” At some point I may even give the Peggy Martin rose a try in this area. I have a small one that we started from a cutting at last year’s IRS Rosefest. Once it reaches the “robust” stage, I’ll decide. For now it will be Etoile  Voilette and Major Wheeler vying for “pole” position.

Just looking at this beautiful “drapey” picture gets to my emotions but here’s to celebrating a better “drapey” solution – SOON. 🥂


Next I will be filling the space where the Japanese Honeysuckle was removed … adding shrubs, roses and a new potting area.


The delicate looking Bleeding Heart is beginning to bloom in spite of the dropping temps and bits of snow.

Sand Cherry is lovely.

New Plant I am very excited about…

Scentsation Honeysuckle

If are you getting the idea that I have a “thing” for honeysuckle, you would be right! I LOVE vining and drapey things!


Moved mixed shrubs from this raised bed to make way for more cutting flowers. I have drawn up the plan and will be planting (mostly seeds) in a few weeks.


Another beautiful rose was delivered this week – ‘Moonlight in Paris.’ This rose is also known as ‘Garden and Home’. I saw ‘Garden and Home’ in full bloom in Bob and Dona Martin’s California garden 2 years ago and have never forgotten it. Indiana is many miles from California and possibly light years away from California growing conditions. The Help Me Find website says it is zoned for 7b – 9b, so I will grow this beauty in a container and see how it goes!

Here’s the picture I took in  the Martin’s Garden


If you would like to listen to some basic tips on helping your roses have a great year, listen to my conversation with my good friend and extremely successful rose gardener, Ron Daniels on Rose Chat HERE.


The tomatoes are now over 7” tall. Next week when the weather improves I will start the hardening off process of giving all the seedlings exposure to the outside. Most of them will then go into the garden or in large pots in mid May. Our last frost date is usually Mother’s Day. Hard to believe it will be warm enough by then but all we need are consistent night temps 55 degrees or greater.

Whether flowers or veggies, I am looking forward to having them successfully outside to be their “best self”!


This has been a hard week locally with so many new cases. Reports are we will now start the decline. I pray it is so.

Even though the weeks are dragging on, stay in and stay safe!

If you need garden inspiration, Grandboy#3 might just help…