Bloom Thyme Friday: Welcome to My Herb Garden

This week I had some extra time to just “be” in my herb garden. It is a very special place for me. The fence was the first structure that Mr. G built for me after we moved into our “new” home. That was over 30 years ago. Pardon me while I shed a few tears. Looking back, 30 years seems like a blink… have you noticed that — looking back is like a quick vapor and looking ahead seems like forever. Those 30 years are filled to the brim with memories. Mr. G building the fence with 2 littles in tow. My daughter and son planting seeds; picking herbs we would use in cooking; harvesting lavender and other flowers and herbs that we used in crafts — some we sold as the Ladybug Herb Garden.  (My daughter’s “baby” name was Ladybug.)

I wish I had a list of all the herbs, veggies, cutting flowers and roses (they’re herbs too) that have had a home in this happy, fragrant 16’ x 18’ space.

Let me show you around…

Basil that has gone to seed and making the pollinators happy growing in a tangle with chives and a very prominent black eyed susan that I didn’t plant. It is always a big surprise as to where the black eyed susans will show up each year!

Thyme that makes it’s way into egg salad, chicken salad and bean dishes. And is the perfect ground cover for herb gardens.

Zinnias and Cosmos (Mr. G’s Fav) running amuck in that beautiful way they do in the fall.

Nasturiums — because they are so dependably pretty and fun to add to salads.

Lambs Ears because of it’s color, texture and the fact that every child loves it. Behind the Lambs Ears is the lovely ‘Pretty Polly’ Almond scented geranium.

Okra … that should have been picked last week. Note: I don’t have a full on vegetable garden but add favorite veggies here and there around the garden, on the deck and on the driveway!

Banana peppers … that should have been picked last week. Zinnias were hiding them.
Chard … for smoothies and just for pretty.
Rosemary … because it’s beautiful, fragrant, delicious and has been used for years in a family favorite recipe – rosemary baked potatoes!

Plants that are here but have finished for the season…

Peonies, yarrow, sweet peas, sweet william and larkspur had their moment and have come and gone. The world they lived in was much more tame!   Look, no jungle in late May!

Herbs you don’t see in my “Herb” garden…

Mint… the last plant my mother bought for me was apple mint. That was more than 25 years ago. While I’ll never be without mint for the memory of her and for the fact I use it all the time, it is planted safely in a pot where it’s “roaming” tendencies are kept in check! 😳

Oregano… has been taken out to the veriest back of the property where it can run amuck. It’s yummy but it is like mint in that it desires world domination!

Sage… It is one of my two favorite herbs. I love it for so many reasons — I love the flavor and I love the holiday memories attached to that flavor and that smell and I love how it looks. You don’t see sage in the herb garden because it lives and thrives in another area of the garden where conditions are dryer. While it looks so good with the other herbs, it’s happier elsewhere.  And, it does very well beside it’s neighbor that doesn’t like the herb garden all that well either… Lavender – my other favorite. Who doesn’t love lavender!?! Is there a more relaxing fragrance in all the world? Not for me. I do plant both sage and lavender in the herb garden each year and while they mostly survive for a season, they don’t thrive. So, to have plenty, it is best to have “extras” where they are happier!

And, this brings us to Roses… they greet you as you enter. As it should be.

Thanks for stopping by for my herb garden tour. Now you know that my herb garden, like all the other “rooms” in my garden are a combination of plant types. Most of them tasty and many so aromatic — making it a destination I can get lost in!

Let’s all take a deep breath and inhale the earthy fragrance of herbs. I’m wondering what are your favorites? Is it sage or lavender or….

I bet there’s a story behind your favorite and I’d love to hear it! ❣️

Bloom Thyme Friday: Christmas Trees & Things

I love Christmas trees. I love most evergreens. I particularly love boxwoods. I know. I know. There are two kinds of people in the world — those who love boxwood and those who don’t. But, I do. Can’t remember without looking if I shared with you my boxwood horror this year. For about 6 years we have had a boxwood hedge around our patio. They did not make it through the winter. I thought it was “winter kill” but I now suspect from the look of things, it was blight. They had to be taken out — all 15 of them! Mr. G was my hero as he took them out one by one. He put up with my tears and was very sweet about it. What a guy! 

Back to the original subject, Christmas Trees, I love them. Fresh ones. Filled to the brim with ornaments and twinkle lights!

This year due to so much travel, we decided not to have a tree but we have twinkle lights everywhere!

CHRISTMAS TREE TRIVIA

The first recorded Christmas tree can be found on the keystone sculpture of a private home in Alsace in 1576. German Protestants are often credited with the first circulation of the Christmas Tree, using them to decorate their houses. Protestant Christian reformer Martin Luther is said to have added the first lighted candles to an evergreen tree. The inspired decoration came out of admiration of the snow glistening from the trees on his walk home Christmas Eve. From Meg Bucker’s The History and Meaning of the Christmas Tree  

Wooster, a small country town located in north-central Ohio, claims to have hosted the first Christmas Tree in America in 1847. German immigrant August Imgard might be the first to decorate the tree with candy canes; “Imgard cut a blue spruce tree from a woods outside town, had the Wooster village tinsmith construct a star, and placed the tree in his house, decorating it with paper ornaments, gilded nuts and kuchen.” From Meg Bucker’s The History and Meaning of the Christmas Tree  

Artificial Christmas trees have outsold real ones since 1991.

In Poland, spiders or spider webs are common Christmas tree decorations because according to legend, a spider wove a blanket for Baby Jesus. In fact, Polish people consider spiders to be symbols of goodness and prosperity at Christmas. (Almost makes me like them. 😳 Almost. )

 

MY 2018 CHRISTMAS TREE…

Lucky for me I still have many boxwoods around the garden. Plenty for making boxwood trees. Such a fun project. When I was a florist I made so many of them and never tired of the project!

 

PROCESS PICS…

BLOOM THYME

David Austin roses in my garden…

This week we lost one of the giants of the rose world – David Austin Snr. Mr. G says I have had a secret crush on him for 30 years. That might be true. When I was putting my first real rose garden together, I was feverishly researching all types of roses (without the benefit of the internet) and happened on the “something and someone new” in the rose world – Mr. Austin. He was a pioneer that followed his heart and used his gifts to bring us the beautiful Engish roses by blending historical roses (for form and fragrance) with modern roses (for repeat blooming and additional colors). I never had the privilege of meeting him, but he was very well represented by Michael Marriott who worked with him for more than 30 years and shares how special he was. 

Thank you Mr. Austin for all the beauty you shared with our world. Well done, Sir.

Whew, that was a long post. If you made it to the end  — Thank You!

Merry Christmas friends. Wishing you a holiday filled with joy, peace, love and plenty of twinkle lights!

BLOOM THYME FRIDAY: COMFORT AND JOY

I have always loved the Christmas Carol, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen. If you are not familiar, the verse is…

Oh tidings of comfort and joy
Comfort and joy
Oh tidings of comfort and joy

This season I have thought of it so often as our family has been in need of comfort and has been given so much joy.

COMFORT

Our need for comfort came as we walked through finding care for our beloved matriarch this year as she needed extra care and in slowly handing her over to her Heavenly Father. Our comfort came from our family, our friends, and our faith. Faith in the scripture that tells us in John 14,

“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.”

We know she was welcomed into her forever home with open arms. JOY!

 

OH, THE JOY!

Joy in remembering stories and hearing new stories of a life well lived.
Joy in the man that I am privileged to share my life with.
Joy in our grown children who inspire us every day.
Joy in our friendships – we have the best.
Joy in our “littles.” These little boys make our hearts want to sing. Their innocent faces full of wonder and unbridled expressions of love can erase all the murky dust our world sprinkles around us.

Just look at them! JOY!


 

BLOOM THYME

When we left Indiana is was cold and “frosty.”

But here in sunny California, there are roses and their companions in bloom! JOY!

I leave you with wishes for a wonderful Bloom Thyme Friday and Pentatonix singing God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen…. JOY!

 

 

OH, ONE MORE THING!!

The African Violet cuttings the littles worked on in the Potting Shed a couple months back (read about that here) are starting to grow! JOY!

 

 

Yep,  just looking at their pictures, I could just break out in song!!!

Wishing you a week filled with all the things that fill you with Joy!

Bloom Thyme Friday: So Many Things!

It seems like so long since I posted but it hasn’t been. However, I have been traveling and that warps my sense of time! So many fun things to tell you about.

AMERICAN ROSE SOCIETY NATIONAL CONVENTION

I travelled to San Diego for the ARS National Convention as my friend and current president, Pat Shanley passed the gavel to incoming president Bob Martin. They have worked so well together and it was very special to see them honor one another. Diane Sommers was installed as Vice President by her good friend Andy Plasz of the IL-IN District. And, there was my own installation as IL-IN Director.

Then it was time for the Board Meeting … my first board meeting. As I looked around the table of other board members, I found I was in very good company with so much to learn! I am excited for this opportunity to learn from them as we serve our organization. I love people and I love roses and I am always happy to bring the two together.

And by the way, I was honored with an award, a presidential citation for my work as editor of the ARS member newsletter Roses & You. #blush

EDUCATION

There were so many opportunities to learn at this conference.

HYBRIDIZING

We heard from hybridizers, Tom Carruth and Ping Lim. Tom gave us a  lesson on rose breeding — a walk through families of roses that led us to the ever popular and beautiful Julia Child rose.

As many of you know, Ping Lim is the hybridizer of the Easy Elegance Collection that I talk about quite often. Ping now has a NEW ROSE COLLECTION called TRUE BLOOM (details here). I had the pleasure of seeing many of them and can tell you we have so much to look forward too. I can’t wait to try them in my garden!

ROSE PRESERVATION by Connie Hilker of Hartwood Roses — one of my new best rose friends! We were all entranced as she shared her heart, stories and so much information about heirloom roses. So many of them are endangered.

It is no surprise that Incoming ARS President Bob Martin has named Connie the Chairman of the Committee for Rose Preservation. I can think of no one better suited. Yes, roses, especially those “who have been around for a long long time,” are in good hands with Connie. She and I recorded a Rose Chat while there that will include her entire program. Her Rose Chat will be released soon so watch social media.

I was also able to catch up with my good friend Wendy Tilley, owner of TheRoseGardener.com — a place for wonderful products for rose growers and all gardeners. Wendy and her husband Ryan recently moved from the Atlanta Area to Portland. That moved included moving a rose garden. And they don’t just grow a few.

PODCAST: While in San Diego Wendy and I chatted about the move and some tips she had for others. You can listen to our chat HERE.

ROSE SHOW…

Oh my word the roses!!! A National Convention Rose Show is so over the top! Each rose was eye candy!

BLOOM THYME…

We had the pleasure of touring 5 beautiful private gardens. Don’t you just love going on tours of private gardens. All are so unique. Seeing the style and personality of the ones who lovingly tend them makes them special — an honor to be invited behind the gates.

Bob and Dona Martin invited us to a President’s reception “FIESTA”. What a wonderful evening in a truly beautiful place. Take a look….

A beautiful entrance

Our entertainment. They were amazing.

Lavaglut

Didn’t get the name of this beauty!

Julia Child

A rose I had never seen before but totally fell in love with, Garden and Home.

Another shot of Garden and Home…

Side Garden

South Africa

PERFECT ENDING….

At the end of the convention I travelled by train north to visit with the grandboys and their parents. Truly a perfect ending to a big week. We only had a few days but they were filled to the brim with hugs, hand holding and trips to fun places.

Best greeting EVER!!!

He is the best hugger!

Making garden creations with Mr. H.

My grocery shopping partner!

And, that smile!

These guys were over the legal limit for Halloween! SO FUN!!!


WHAT’S NEXT?

With all the travel I am a “bit” behind on putting the garden to bed. I have bulbs to plant and the potting shed is reeking of garlic since I have not gotten that planted yet either. Maybe tomorrow! 😳  I’ll need a warm coat and hat! LOL Did you plant bulbs this year?

 

THANKS FOR STOPPING BY!

HAPPY BLOOM THYME FRIDAY!