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. 🥶

UP CLOSE & PERSONAL WITH PENELOPE:

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.

 

BLOOM THYME

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…

FRED:

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

GOING STRONG:

Bloomerang lilacs …

Dogwoods…

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

First lettuce picking! Always a great day.

DREAMS…

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!

COVID-19 & GARDENING:

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. 

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY

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

IN THE GARDEN…

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. 

MY MOTHER…

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…

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.

MY DAUGHTER…

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

ME…

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!!

YOU…

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.

Sometimes by Step

Today is a Potting Shed Day and I am thinking about all the steps in our lives right now. We are carefully going through steps to avoid COVID-19:

  • Stay Home
  • Wash your hands
  • Don’t touch your face

I am also going through steps to see that my seedlings have the very best chance at making it into the garden to flourish.

All of these steps remind me of one of my all time favorite songs Sometimes by Step by Rich Mullins.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cAhw1Fq1ZLo

Rich Mullins’ music is my go to music and has been since the release of SONGS in 1996. I have it blaring in the Potting Shed today. This is my go to music in good times, bad times and when I need an extra measure of closeness to our Creator. Every song speaks to me. Do you have music that speaks to you at a time like this – when a pandemic rages around us?

My job today is potting up my seedlings. Some have needed this for some time. 🤦‍♀️ 

Let me go back and tell you about my original plan as far as seeds were concerned back in January … Plant a few tomatoes, some zinnias and a few things for FUN!

Practically every day since the pandemic hit our daily life, I have pulled out more seeds. I am so thankful for my hoarding tendencies when it comes to plant containers and seeds. I bought a few things this winter but not what I would have bought if I had known. It is probably good to note that my last trip out before quarantine was not the grocery story – it was Lowes for a few extra seeds and pansies. I WISH I HAD BOUGHT TONS MORE! While on that Lowe’s run, I was caught by my daughter who called and asked where I was. I couldn’t lie. Her reaction was, I WANTED YOU ON QUARANTINE YESTERDAY – now go home! 🙄

Now that I’ve confessed all that, let’s get to the tasks for today. I’ll take you through my process since several have asked but know this – I have never done mass production before. Some of these STEPS are not tried and true because I am using what I have on  hand.  Thanks for going through this experiment with me. I’ll share reports later.

Click on an image to open the gallery…

There are still many steps to go and pitfalls to avoid before we are successful –  like damping-off and too much “outside” too soon. Damping-off is a real issue for me as I tend to over water – which I equate to over loving.

These are scary times friends, but we are learning so much from the experiences too. My son put on social media his thoughts on how we can emerge from this…

As I struggle with all of this – the virus, mandatory closings, the lock down.. I am trying to be hopeful. I am trying to see this as a precipice.

I want to think that we can emerge from this as…

  • people who slow down
  • people who are passionate about our local community
  • people who cook at home more often
  • people who support local restaurants and farmers
  • people who think about where our food and goods come from
  • people who garden
  • people who go on walks
  • people who communicate better with our friends and family
  • people who check in on our neighbors

Changing behaviors and routines is one of the hardest things, but they say it only takes 21 days – we happen to have been given a whole month.

Yes, we can turn the scary into blessings.

BLOOM THYME

There is a lot of Spring springing here. I’ll post pictures tomorrow on Bloom Thyme Friday.

Today I’ll close with another of my favorite Rich Mullins’ songs – While the Nations Rage …

 

Mr. Rogers Does It Again and Again

Today is day 2 of being home for our health and others and I am remembering a sweet song from Mr. Rogers… Let’s Think of Something to Do While We are Waiting…

LISTEN HERE…

 

MY SOMETHING

My SOMETHING to do this week is planting those cold crop veggies and flowers and starting seeds inside.

First, I’m getting seed packets organized (and I have a ton of them)…

A new flower I picked up at Renee’s Garden online that I am VERY excited about is this cutie…

I have white and blue but never this color! If you are interested, check it out here

Look at this stunner! Earl Grey Larkspur from Renee’s too. The name alone!! I soooo want this one to do well but I’ll admit that Larkspur often is tough one for me. There have been years where it self seeded with will abandon and years I can’t get a thing going even with the very best seeds and care.

Another one I am excited about is the Cupcakes Mix I picked up in the UK last summer.

My roses will love all their new garden companions!

… at 4′ high, these will be spectacular!

Seed starting station…

This picture does not tell the entire story. Before I could set up my new grow light… it took quite a while to find homes for all the plants that usually reside here in the winter. But they are happily in their new spots and we can get onto seed starting.

I bought a couple of new grow lights this year and they came with this simple but helpful stand. My old ones where way past their prime and this one was so easy to pick up at Lowes. I’ll let you know what I think.

BLOOM THYME THIS WEEK:

🌱Each day there is more and more green and I am grateful.

 

MY WISH FOR YOU…

Friends, I am wishing you a wonderful spring season that is sprinkled with beauty, love and an extra measure of health and safety while we deal with this horrible virus that has us all on edge.

The garden is a place of comfort and healing for me and I pray it will be for you too.

The National Garden Bureau shared this on Instagram… 

We learned with the release of the Mr. Rogers movie last year that his words have the power to speak to all of us regardless of our age. So, I’ll will say goodbye for today with more good words from Mr. Rogers…

GREEN!

Green — the color of nature. And nature in Indiana is coming back!

Green is my favorite color! I have always known that green restores me and energizes me but it represents so much more. Color Wheel Pro’s See Color Theory in Action article says this …

Green is the color of nature. It symbolizes growth, harmony, freshness, and fertility. Green has strong emotional correspondence with safety. Dark green is also commonly associated with money.

Green has great healing power. It is the most restful color for the human eye; it can improve vision. Green suggests stability and endurance. Sometimes green denotes lack of experience; for example, a ‘greenhorn’ is a novice. In heraldry, green indicates growth and hope. Green, as opposed to red, means safety; it is the color of free passage in road traffic.

Use green to indicate safety when advertising drugs and medical products. Green is directly related to nature, so you can use it to promote ‘green’ products. Dull, darker green is commonly associated with money, the financial world, banking, and Wall Street.

  • Dark green is associated with ambition, greed, and jealousy.
  • Yellow-green can indicate sickness, cowardice, discord, and jealousy.
  • Aqua is associated with emotional healing and protection.

Read about other color meanings here.

Green and gardening are good for you! For more on the health benefits of gardening, read on here.

Our temps are in the 50s this week and green is popping up all over the garden. From the looks of the Tete-a-Tete Daffodils, I will be seeing yellow very soon too.

Green and Pink…

Green and pink … as the Hellebores makes their way back.

“March”ing into garden work…

March is a bit of a tease around here in Zone 5b. Giving us great weather – making us sooooo tempted to jump fully into spring work. However, I know how much winter loves to show up unexpectedly in March demanding I practice patience for outside work. I will be picking up debris, slowly cutting the perennials back … and walking around the garden, planning and plotting and refining all my “big” ideas into manageable goals! Oh, and visiting all the local garden centers constantly! Needless to say we are on a first name basis! 

Most of all, I intend to take time to enjoy the work of the real Master Gardener as he brings it all back — taking note of the “green” showing up every day!

Ahhhh Spring – the most wonderful time of the year! Soon the Bloom Thyme Cottage Garden will be filled with green and bursting with blooms! I can’t wait!

🌱🌷🌱🌸🌱🌼🌱

SIGNS OF THE BIG COMEBACK!

I love green!

GARDEN CENTERS

Garden Centers are starting to fill their shelves and bins with SPRING. This week it was seeds, seed starting supplies, garden decor and containers!

I’m finding Better Home and Gardens has so many new garden products I love!

Look at these pot saucers… They even have little feet on them! Three came home with me today.

And their Citronella game is strong! Candles and tabletop torches. I think I’m going with the white one on the top right.

So many fun things to see this time of year while we wait on plants!

POTTING SHED PUTTERINGS

I still have an over crowding problem in here, but I did manage to tidy the potting bench and make enough room for my computer so I could write this post! It inspires me to be with all the plants and the smell of dirt especially on a sunny day.

And, I bought more seeds from Renee’sGarden . . . 🌸🌸🌸

NEW PROJECT…

A section of our living privacy fence of mixed shrubs became overrun with Japanese Honeysuckle. The upside is that we now have the “opportunity” to redo a section. The removal project started last fall when I “borrowed” Mr. G’s recip saw and got busy. I love this kind of work. Mr. G saw where my excitement over the recip saw was going so he gifted me my own. This year I will no longer have to borrow. Watch out garden — I love power tools. Seriously, I think every gardener need one!

 

“Honeysuckle alters or destroys the native vegetation beneath it, diminishing the populations of birds and other animals that rely on the native plants.”

“Invasive honeysuckle vines grow rapidly and cover large areas. They shade out plants growing underneath them and can girdle or pull down trees.”

“Some bush honeysucklespecies also release chemicals into the soil to inhibit other plant growth, effectively poisoning the soil.”

Invasive Honeysuckle Information HERE.

Indiana Invasive plant guide HERE.

NOW ONTO THE GOOD STUFF!

This area has always included a potting table (made by Mr. G) but now will include a cold frame. Mr. G will make that too – my previous cold frame was taken down to make room for his grill and prep table.

This project is exciting and daunting at the same time as I am working around other existing plantings. Large shrubs and an ancient and huge unidentified locust tree – known better by my kids as the “thorn tree” as it has thorns that will change your life! 😬 The sole of a boot is no match! Of course it would be easy to fill it up with roses … and I just might! I am finding so many I can’t live without.

This week I ordered two more roses from Matt Douglas at High Country Roses. Nymphenburg and Banshee. Our most recent Rose Chat is with Matt as he shared all about Damask roses. As you listen to the podcast be prepared to be charmed and be prepared to add roses to your wish list. GOOD NEWS! If you order, you will get a Rose Chat 15% discount. Website HERE.

LISTEN ….

Be sure to subscribe to the Rose Chat Podcast wherever you listen to podcasts so you don’t miss an episode!

RoseChatPodcast.com will take you to our Podbean home page. There you will find additional info and links to specific information on each episode.

🌹🌹🌹

What big project(s) are you taking on this spring?

Gardening Season

My gardening season begins today… December 26 when for the last 26 or so years, I start my annual countdown to spring. With the count down comes getting serious about my garden planning. I love every minute of it!

This year December 26 finds me once again in England where it seems everyone is a gardener and at the Toad Hall Garden Center in Henley on Thames things are booming and blooming. Toad Hall has been around for more than 60 years and they are good at what they do. They have everything this gardener could want — Wellies, row covers, trugs in all sizes, seeds, houseplants, tools and ROSES. Have you ever seen a yellow poinsettia? Well, they had those too. I am a “purist” when it come to plant color, but I liked this one better than I thought I would. I’m not even in the “wanting a blue rose” club. Just doesn’t seem right. Anyway, this garden center is truly Mecca for gardeners.

There is a whole line of these Fleece Jackets.

This Cymbidium Orchid in the middle was knocking my eyes out!

If you have been following me on social media, you know that my family is having a wonderful holiday together in England. We love time together anywhere, but England has been especially nice!

Beautiful decorations and wonderful music filled the air in London.
Mr. G found a special friend.
Westminister Abbey … Amazing.
Christmas highlights #1, #2 and #3. JOY JOY JOY
The English do charm – very well.
Time with my son to tour Grey Court garden and plot and plan what we will do in our own gardens. I saw this garden in full bloom this summer and I loved getting to see the “bones” that winter shows off.
Our beautiful hostess! xoxo
Teamwork!

I love the holidays with gusto. Celebrating Jesus’ birth is a highlight of our year. Mr. G and I start listening to Christmas music in late October if the truth be told, but once Christmas is over, it is over. I quickly move to dreams of spring. Seriously, I am very glad for these months of winter at a slower pace giving us time to reflect, rewind and get ready for spring. There is so much “gardening” that needs to start now to prepare for greater success later. Plus, it is just FUN!

  • Read gardening books.
  • Organize tools and supplies.
  • Pour through catalogs.
  • Put plans on paper.
  • Place orders. (We don’t want to find the perfect plant, only to find it is SOLD OUT.)

Up next I will focus on setting some goals for me and the garden.

A New Decade!

2020 is going to be special, I can just feel it. Can’t you?

Let’s get this spring planning party started!

Bloom Thyme Friday: It’s Time!

Yes, it’s time…

…TIME TO PRUNE THE ROSES

My Forsythia is blooming letting us know that the ground temps are now around 50 degrees and it “should” be safe to start pruning the roses.

As I took a quick look over the garden this week, I saw some things that made me very happy and a couple things that are iffy.

The brightest spot was seeing Peggy Martin who you will remember died back to the ground last year (Read the story of Mother Nature’s curve balls here.) but, she has now made it up and over the arbor again and I see buds all the way. Praying we don’t get a late frost or freeze like we did last year.

…TIME TO PLANT BARE ROOTS ROSES

Boxes have been arriving this week: 2 from David Austin and 1 from Palatine Roses. These bare roots look fabulous. Some are going in the ground and some are going in pots.

New Ones: Vanessa Bell, Dame Judi Dench, James L Austin, The Generous Gardener (I already have one and just love it!), Ghislane De Feligonde, Jasmine, and Papi Delbard. I simply cannot wait to see how these beauties grow and bloom! I’ll share!

They are all fabulous, but look at this dreamy Vanessa Bell!! Named for the artist, designer and founder member of the Bloomsbury Group – sister of the writer, Virginia Woolf. (DA)

NOTE: For more tips on spring rose care, read on here.

…TIME TO BUY POTTED ROSES FROM OUR ROSE SOCIETY

The Indianapolis Rose Society had their annual rose sale and the plants were fabulous. I bought 2 David Austins: Queen of Sweden and Wollerton Old Hall. If you are local come and join us, our 2019 Meetings and Events Schedule is posted here.

And, Wollerton Old Hall — Oh my!

Wollerton Old Hall in Shropshire, located not far from the David Austin nursery, has one of the most beautiful private gardens in the country. The gardens are set around a 16th Century hall and feature roses in creative plant combinations, including many of our own English Roses. Wollerton Old Hall is open to the public on selected days throughout the summer. Read more here. http://www.wollertonoldhallgarden.com )

…TIME TO ENJOY BLOOM THYME BLOOMS

Isn’t spring just the best… except for those friends are getting pelted with snow as I write. So sorry! Hoping this will be the last.

…TIME TO GET SOME REST

Today I worked a little too hard and a little too long— if you get my drift. 😉😉 Think I should take a cue from our Southern sister Scarlet who said, “tomorrow is another day!” However, I typically run my life in “no time like the present” mode. 😃

Have a wonderful week. I’m heading for a bit more Advil! My body might be tired/sore but my spirit is soaring!

Fairy Chimneys and Cave Dwellers

Seeing is believing!

On our recent trip to Turkey, we saw something that I had to see to believe… Fairy Chimneys and a region filled with caves. This fairyland is called Cappadocia. 

These unusual rock formations are the product of millions of years of wind and water reshaping lava rock from ancient volcano eruptions. It is a feast for your eyes.
 
 
The story behind the story….
 
The caves in the rocks in the town of Göreme became home to early Christians during the Roman period as they fled persecution.
 
While there we visited the Göreme Open Air Museum and our wonderful guide brought this amazing place alive for us. Inside these caves, we found homes, kitchens, a winery and places of worship. Their churches were complete with wall frescoes as you would see of typical, free-standing churches. Amazing paintings that made scripture come alive for them are still beautiful today. I felt so honored to be there. 
 
Hiking around in the caves and through the region gave us a glimpse of their everyday life and an unbelievable appreciation for all they endured and accomplished. We looked in wonder at all that surrounded us. 
 

Until 1965 some of these caves still served as homes. However, the conditions in the caves were deemed a health risk and everyone was relocated.

We did experience cave dwelling while there thanks to HERA CAVES SUITES. So special…

 
 
What a wonderful feeling to be in a region of the world that actually appears in the Bible and to feel a strong kinship with those who worshipped there.
 
Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontusand Asia. Acts 2:9
 
And, yes … roses.
Even as we hiked through the hills and valleys of this rocky terrain, there were roses. I saw rose bushes (not yet in bloom) in places I NEVER expected to see them and I saw signs in very obscure locations that let me know … I was on the right track.🌹😍
 
 
Each day our refreshment came in the form of wonderful Turkish Tea in my new favorite drinking vessel, Turkish Tea Cups. A new tradition begins…
Thanks for joining me today to share a bit of our adventure.

BLOOM THYME GARDEN UPDATE

The garden is thawing and soon it will be time to prune roses and clean up all the leaves and debris scattered about. I simply can’t wait. I will be following the steps I have lined out in my spring rose care guide here. 

If you have specific questions about spring care in your garden, I’ll be happy to help.