Bloom Thyme Friday: Patience is a Virtue

Yes, patience is a virtue… they say.

And this season as gardeners we have needed all the patience we can get as we deal with weather conditions. Weather dictates most everything we do.

As I write a gentle rain is falling, it looks and sounds beautiful. The birds are loving it but I’m practicing patience as I wait on sunshine. Much of the garden is sitting in water and rain predicted for all day tomorrow too. 😏 We gardeners surely do hate to complain about rain. However…  GULP! GULP!

We are coming out of a very cold, dreary period … it has actually set records for lack of sunshine and for lowest temps. Funny thing about that, England is having their sunniest spring on record. I think I have their answer … my daughter is there. She always brings sunshine to my life.

We NEED a bit of sunshine. Our spirits need it. Our plants need it. Work on my new outdoor potting space needs it. My Sweet Bay Magnolias especially need it.

SWEET BAY MAGNOLIAS

We have three SB Magnolias and love them. Last year at this time they were leafing out so beautifully and getting ready to bloom. The freeze we experienced a couple of weeks ago nipped them good. All baby leaves turned black. We feared the worst. But, this week with the warming temps, we now see leaves! Whew, that was close. Can’t imagine losing them.

BLOOM THYME…

The warm temps are sure paying off… blooms (and veggies) are popping all over the garden!

Caution: Excessive images coming. Hope you like pink and purple.😳

Pretty little purple pincushions holding their own amoung all the green. (Scabiosa)

Oh, Sweet William how sweet you are![/caption
Baptisia getting started. Easy, Breezy, Beautiful.
May Night Salvia can’t be stopped. Power bloomer.
Not sure of the variety, but these alliums brought their “A” game this spring!
The President clematis has been bringing joy to my garden for years and years. It is usually the first of my clematis to bloom.

PEONIES…

Click on any picture to open the gallery feature.

VEGGIES…

Click on individual pics for additional information on varieties, etc.

ROSES…

So many roses are loaded with bud and just ready to burst!

Petit Pink is covered in buds!
Peggy Martin is ready to be glorious.

And some ROSES are reaching their peak…

Midnight in Paris growing in a container on my deck.

Below is Ghislaine de Feligonde reaching for the sky over the Potting Shed.

She looks like she’s enjoying today’s gentle rain.

Ghislaine de Feligonde… this old-fashioned rambler forms a large shrub with few thorns. Fragrant bloom clusters open apricot, aging to pale yellow. Occasional repeat bloom. Canes can reach 6 to 10 feet. (Taken from High Country Roses website where I bought her 3 years ago.)

RAIN OR SHINE

If you need a rainy or sunny day activity … I think you will enjoy my recent interview with Mike Shoup of the Antique Rose Emporium. His talks should come with a warning, he makes it hard not to fall in love (or deeper in love) with roses — plants he calls THE ULTIMATE GARDEN PLANT. And, he uses them so beautifully. You can listen HERE.

 

Friends, spring is happening! Until next time be well, be safe, and be happy in the garden.

If you are local keep an umbrella handy too. 😉 ☔️

Seeds: Tiny Miracles

And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. Genesis 1:11-12

THINGS ARE GOOD AROUND HERE!

I just placed my first seed orders and already simply can’t wait to get them in the ground. But, wait I will — as rushing any type of gardening is most often futile.

Seeds heading my way:

RENEE’S GARDEN

I am always looking for more bokay makers and found a couple to add from Renee’s.

Mulberry Rose Nigella  (link)

I already have two other colors and love them even though you have to keep your eyes on them. #overcheivers

White Bishop Lace (link)

 

Flashback Caledula (link)

Loving the colors and will add these to the yellow ones I usually plant.

 

BURPEE

Steak Sandwich Tomato

I happened on plants of this tomato at Lowe’s last year from the Bonnie Plant collection. Since I had never heard of this variety, I immediately took to my phone to do some research (don’t you love on the spot research!). I found a YouTube video of someone who was testing this tomato and things were looking very good. I took 3 home.

Background: WE LOVE LOVE LOVE TOMATOES. Every year we plant many varieties (mostly in pots). While we get a few good tomatoes per plant, we find that most “slicers” are stingy with their fruit. Our goal is both taste and quantity. This year the goal was met. Tons of delicious tomatoes (medium sized). Not being sure we will find the plants again, buying seeds is our insurance policy.

If you are interested in knowing all things tomatoes, I would recommend Craig LeHoullier’s Epic Tomatoes.

Image courtesy of Bonnie Plants

Senora Zinnia (link)

Look at that color. I can already see this one making beautiful bokays with roses!

SEEDS ALREADY WAITING IN THE POTTING SHED:

Look at this plethora of “special” seed packets that my grandsons helped me pick out while I was in England. I love each one for the memories they evoke. Many will make it to the garden this year. Some of the packets will adorn the Potting Shed.

 

WHAT’S NEXT FOR THE SEEDS.

Seed packet reading will be high on my list especially with so many new seeds from the UK.

Then, I will begin to jump start with indoor planting…

I take a small and simple approach to indoor seed starting based on my limited time, space and light. I use basic seed starting grow pots or starter kits filled with seed starting mix. When: For the seeds I am starting, I need about 5 – 7 weeks before our last frost date (see your seed packet for specific info) to get the seedlings where they need to be at planting time. Planting time is the last frost date and around here (Zone 5) that is Mother’s Day. The potting shed does not receive enough light and few spaces do this time of year, so I will have a grow light over my plants.

For additional details about seed starting, here is a quick but excellent video by Epic Gardening. Take a look

I find the whole seed process fascinating and fun! This is truly a special, miracle filled part of gardening! What a glorious day it will be when I see green! 🌱🌱🌱

LITTLE MIRACLES INDEED:

While not all seeds are tiny, many of our flower seeds are. Hard to believe something so small has everything needed to grow! Size certainly does not determine their effectiveness. Of course for many of them we do have a role to play in providing light and water. However, as I pull over achievers, whether cultivated or wild, out of my garden … I know all too well that seeds do their job very well — often without my help. They are quite proficient at recruiting wind, birds and such. I don’t know about you, but I am blessed with many over achieving seeds. 😉

2 Corinthians 9:6 says… The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.

YESSSS! LET’S GO AND SOW BOUNTIFULLY IN LIFE AND IN THE GARDEN!

PS: I’ve been ordering a few roses too.😱 We’ll talk about that later.

Bloom Thyme Friday: Oops!

Oops! Where did those tomatoes go! They were just here a minute ago.

If you have been reading my blog for a while, you know that several years ago Mr. G built gorgeous little raised beds for “his” tomatoes and other veggies. I say “his” even though, I have to plant them and water them but they ARE his. We have several things in our relationship like that.

Me and my roses have trellises. He built them. But I “control” them.

You get the picture. It works!

Back to the tomato and veggie beds…

He is very territorial about his raised beds. He even made a sign in the early days reminding me of something #noroses! WHAT! His point is well made and “usually” I am very respectful of his space.

Like I said I am ‘usually” very respectful. Well, this year I had extra nasturtiums and I hated to toss them so I asked Mr. G if it would be okay if I added a couple to his raised bed. He said fine! There appeared to be plenty of space as the tomatoes were tiny at the time. #whatwashethinking

Then I had a weak moment at Lowe’s where I bought a tiny little cucumber plant and thought it would do very well in Mr. G’s raised bed. I love cucumbers so much. He hates them. HATES them. But, when I asked, much to my surprise, he said yes. #whatwashethinking

It had been a while since I’ve planted cucumbers. OH MY WORD, they are everywhere. In a heartbeat they took over the raised bed. Well, at least what was left of it after the nasturtiums had their way #OVERACHIEVERS. There were a few days there where I was actively looking for the tomatoes. 😳

The cucumbers climbed over the tomatoes, jumped out of the raised bed, covered the daisies and ran through Celsiana who had finished blooming and is making a great trellis. I don’t see them slowing down anytime soon!

The tomatoes have emerged from the depths and are beginning to see daylight and make up for loss time. Now we have tiny cucumbers and tiny tomatoes growing happily together. #harmony

 

Mr. G has been giving me looks when he passes the raised beds but, I just keep watering and smiling!

Hope you are smiling too and …

Happy Bloom Thyme Friday!

Can you say BLT?

I love BLTs. Don’t you? I think I may have to try this Monster BLT from The Pioneer Woman…. click here. If you take a look at that sandwich she prepared, your mouth will water for sure!

Nothing is better on a BLT than your very own homegrown tomato! And, yes, we are starting our 9th week of drought. Last week we had our first rain (1/2″) and as grateful as we are, we sure would love some more. (I recorded the rain… click here to hear that wonderful sound and see how fresh it makes everything look!)

Regardless of the lack of rain, Mr. G and I are committed to watering our tomatoes and to feeding them Annie’s Moo Poo Tea. When all the water your plants get comes from your efforts, well that is a lot of work and with so many days in the 90s and 100s, we have had to be vigilant.

A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS

Last February I surveyed my garden friends who also love tomatoes and got a ton of suggestions on what tomatoes to plant this year. (You can read about it here.)

Based on the their suggestions, I am growing Rutgers, Mortgage Lifter, Brandywine, Lemon Boy, Beefsteak, San Marzanos, Cherokee Purple and a few others that “grabbed” my attention at the local garden centers and Lowes.

OUR EFFORTS ARE PAYING OFF…

What is your favorite variety of tomato? Do you have a unique BLT recipe you’d like to share? I’d love your recommendations!

Bloom Thyme Friday: The Good. The Bad. The Ugly. Part 2.

The gorgeous Flamenco rose has required very little water / from the Biltmore Collection

Today we start 9 weeks of drought… as you know my garden is very large and I have had to limit watering to my roses and tomatoes and alternating trees and shrubs that are closest to our living area.

As I write this I am in the garden looking up at a simply gorgeous summer sky… not a cloud in site! Even in times of drought, God does amazing things… with people and with plants.

There is always an up side, I read that it looks like the US will set a record in the month of July for the fewest tornadoes on record. After the horrible storms of last summer (remember Joplin, MO), that is sure welcome.

And, as far as the roses are concerned, they are usually covered in Japanese Beetles at this time of year and so far we have seen very few. In their place are beautiful blooms without bug bites! That is sure welcome!

Zinnias can take the heat…
Roses get watered once a week and still keep going!
Tomatoes get water a couple times each week….
Hydrangeas in the side yard…
Sunny Knockouts and wave petunias can definitely take the heat!
Black-eyed Susans can take the heat.
More Zinnias with Phlox that is also beating the heat very well.
First bloom of Tropicana … rescued from sale table.
Gold Medal Grandiflora….
Picture worth a thousand words…

Container Gardening: From Ordinary to Extraordinary

I love growing in containers. I grow everything from tomatoes and herbs to exotic flowers and shrubs. Each year it is fun to decide what containers to use and what plants to try.

Through the years I have turned just about everything into a container for plants. Sometimes I find something unusual and the container is more important than the plant. But, most of the time my containers are ordinary and it’s the plants that make them special.

However, there is one container that I use every year that is very special to me, this little metal water pitcher that is filled with lemon mint…

Mammy's Pitcher
Mammy’s Pitcher

This pitcher belonged to my grandmother … the same grandmother who went to see her doctor when she was in her 80s and asked the doctor to give her a pill that would make her feel strong enough to hoe in the garden. This little pitcher was a part of her everyday, ordinary life. To me it is completely extraordinary in the memories that it holds!

I am told she had the greenest of thumbs and could grow anything. And, you can be sure that I love it when other family members say, “You remind me of your grandmother, Mammy!”

Here are some containers in my garden and even a picture of me taken a few years ago dressed in one of Mammy’s dresses, holding her water pitcher…

My favorite plants to use in containers…

  • Tomatoes (Because I am obsessed)
  • Chile Peppers
  • Roses
  • Mint (…Because I love it and use a lot of it BUT it will take over if you plant in ground!)
  • Most used cooking herbs
  • Nasturtiums (Planted around my tomatoes)
  • Dorotheanthus Mezoo (Big name but excellent trailing plant)
  • Lantana (Hummingbirds & butterflies love)
  • Wave Petunias (’cause they can take the heat)
  • Geraniums
  • Coleus
  • Ferns
  • Gardenias
  • Succulents

For more on container gardening, click here.

What do you grow in containers?

You might also enjoy these family stories…

Memories of My Mom…

My Dad the Sailor…

Bloom Thyme Friday: Frosty News

Here’s the frosty news report… Last night I got home in time to assess the damage. Yes, there is some. When you have a garden as large as mine, it is difficult to cover. As much as I have enjoyed the early spring, it sure is hard to see burnt leaves and buds bending down that I know won’t get to bloom. 😦   I guess you would call me greedy when it comes to blooms.

All in all, the damage is very minimal. The 10-day forecast looks good and includes some much needed rain.

More Roses

Last night I also planted Red Drift Meigalpio Roses as a border for my new bed. (Mr. G actually hung a huge flashlight thingy for me! He is the BEST!) I think the little Red Drift blooms look so cute and will be great to use in arrangements.

Red Drift…
Here’s how they will look when they grow up…

Red Drift® has the most petite flowers of all of the Drift® Roses. It is perfect for use in front of border plantings. Red Drift® makes a beautiful statement when it drapes naturally over a rock wall or edge. Mature height is less than 1½’ with a wider spread. Great flower power and disease resistance.

Frost-free Zone

Things in the frost-free Potting Shed are doing very well! Take a look at the Mortgage Lifter tomatoes (seeds from The Art of Seed)… Actually there are a few peppers in this picture too!

Baby Mortgage Lifters!

Nasturtiums are doing great too…

Nasturtiums to put around my potted tomato plants…

Coming Soon!

Soon the roses will be blooming and I’ll be planting tomatoes. Around here we take roses and tomatoes seriously!

From the look of the Harrison Yellow  buds, that rose may bloom in the next few days … and that will be 6 weeks early! 🙂

Frost or no frost, I still love an early spring!

Have you been having frosty mornings in your neck of the woods?

Moo Poo … Who Knew?

From the first night I participated in #gardenchat I began to hear amazing stories about a product called Moo Poo and the magical effect it had on plants. What gardener doesn’t want a miracle product for their plants?

If you are not familiar with Moo Poo here are a few details…

  • Company: Authentic Haven Brand
  • What: Totally organic soil conditioner teas
  • Who: Annie the expert!
  • How: Easy to brew … click here or see video below.
  • Bonus: Very cute packaging
Don't they look great!

For the last few years my tomatoes have been very disappointing … wimpy plants with wimpy fruit. So, I decided that my first Moo Poo experiment would be with my tomatoes. I may be new to Moo Poo but I can honestly say I feel great about using something that comes so highly recommended by so many amazing #gardenchat gardeners. And, believe it or not, my tomatoes already look impressive. The plants are huge and there are blooms everywhere! I can almost taste the homemade marinara, homemade salsa, BLTs … you get the picture.

Along with the tomatoes, my roses and potted flowers are also getting “the poo!” I’ll keep you posted.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

TOMATO UPDATE: AUGUST 25, 2011

This is by far the best tomato crop ever! And I LOVE tomatoes. My patio tomatoes produced and produced and produced.

See what I mean. They are tall ... hubby is over 6'!

The tomatoes in my herb garden are still producing yummy tomatoes even in this very hot and very dry season!

However, my favorite tomato/Moo Poo story is this… Some friend’s told me before their 2-week vacation that they had this pitiful tomato in a pot that was probably going to die while they were gone if not before. I told them to bring it over and I would see what I could do. Sorry to say I did not take a before picture. It WAS pitiful!

The first thing I did was repot the poor baby and give it a stiff drink of Moo Poo. I continued to give it stiff drinks each of the two weeks they were gone. When they returned, they did not recognize their plant– it was huge … green leafy and had several tomatoes. Trust me, it really was miraculous. And, even surprised me! I was very proud.

The plant was truly over 5′ and much too large to move, so I kept it! To date we have picked about 10 yummies and today there are 25, yes 25, tomatoes on the plant.

I say all that to say this … I am a believer in Moo Poo. Contact Annie  asap and place your order. Stock up for next year! If you need more info, her website has all the details you need.

So, join me in raising a glass of tea or whatever to Annie at Haven Authentic Brand … she has something all gardens need!

This was taken about 4 weeks after they brought to me.
Cute little sachets!
The "Brewery"