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.
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.
Two peas in a pod
90th Birthday Party
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.
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 asoup 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.
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.
REMOVE & REPLACE
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.
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…
If are you getting the idea that I have a “thing” for honeysuckle, you would be right! I LOVE vining and drapey things!
MORE CUTTING FLOWERS
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
ROSE GARDEN BASICS
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.
POTTING SHED PUTTERINGS
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…
Let’s forget the fact that we woke up to a bit of snow this morning… and move onto spring things.
Daffodil blooms have been spectacular. Some are fading and that is where my relationship with daffodils gets “complicated.” The die back process. Yes I know I know that the die back feeds the bulb for strong beauty next year BUT it makes things messy at a time when my early roses are getting ready to be amazing. I’ve tried everything … braiding them, covering with mulch and getting frustrated and just cutting them back. Some are forgiving of all that and some not so much. This year I seem to be more patient with every thing so maybe I’ll just let them be. Maybe!
Bloomerang Lilacs coming back!
Trillium will be blooming soon!
One of my fondest memories of home grown food from my childhood was the potatoes. Nothing you can buy tastes like the potatoes I remember. So, this year I am growing them. I have a little section between two raised beds and the herb garden that has never been planted. Last year cosmos made their way there and did ok. But I am trying to make “yard” perform as “garden” and around here “yard” is somewhat like concrete. So I have been digging in some good garden soil to up my chances of having some good potatoes.
I had this potato “whim” about the time quarantine was becoming a common word around here so I snatched a bag of Kennebec seed potatoes (the ones my dad grew) and I am so glad I did. #fingerscrossed Any tips?
Removing a patch of euonymus – you know the creepy invasive kind. Been around here for so many years and it is time to go. Can’t wait to see something pretty in it’s place. Wish I would have taken a before picture!
THE ROSES …
All but a few of the large rambling and old garden roses have been pruned and fertilized! YAY!! CELEBRATE! 🍷
Most are looking really good.
Darcey Bussell gave me a scare when I first pruned her but she has bounced back very well.
Two new roses came this week that I am very excited about. Do you grow them?
Rhododendrons are stealing the show this week and making the swings a very inviting place to be – if the temperatures go back up. It was icy today!
With all the unusual things going on around us, I am praying that you and your family are safe and have a wonderful time celebrating this special weekend. We will be celebrating the empty tomb and Christ’s resurrection. Matthew writes about it so beautifully and takes us from the horror of Friday to the celebration Sunday!
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…
My dirt drawer is the place!
So delicate… but ready for more space
So far so good…
Tools I use … Little trowel is just the best. It is at least 20 years old. Snips are for pruning out extras.
Another type of container is working well for the Nigella.
They are joined to the masses.
Seeds planted and prayed over!
Tomato seed germination – OH HAPPY DAY
Tomatoes today! Oh my….
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.
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 …
Let me just confess this right up front … I am not a big collector UNLESS it is roses, flowers and books about roses, flowers and gardening. And, I’ll confess to being a book stacker. I have stacks of books everywhere. Everywhere.
Every nook and cranny in the house. Then there’s the Potting Shed where the bulk of the books are. And did I mention we have a little Library Room and a book shelf on my garden porch and it just goes on.
I get so much from these books. I learn of course, but it is so much more than that. The books themselves make me feel attached to those who wrote them – even if they lived in another time period and they attach me to others that read these books too. In this time of social distancing, this is a huge blessing.
You can read how one rose and the book by the hybridizer has weaved its way into my garden experience in a marvelous way … HERE.
With time on my hands I even started counting my garden related books … when I got to more than I had roses, I stopped. I quickly moved to “who cares.”🤦♀️ Kind of like when I count roses for so long and then I stop because who cares about numbers anyway. 🤓 Am I right? If I need to know for some sort of census or the like … I’ll have Mr. G count. He always seems to know how many roses I have. 😏😉 I stopped at 200 or so. 👩🌾 Who cares indeed! 🌱👊🏻
So, what am I reading now? Here is my current stack. There’s never just one!
In March when we are so close to gardening time, many of my gardening books I read over and over and over – picking out my favorite parts to encourage me while I wait on true gardening days. Note: We have had so much rain and some snow too – enough that my garden has been flooded in some places and I don’t even want to walk on it. We NEED SUN and some warm days!
Both Chasing Vines by Beth Moore (link) and Live in Grace/Walk in Love by Bob Goff (link) are my “dailies” and are invaluable to me during a season that contains words like pandemic and quarantine. These two books teach, inspire, comfort and love me on every page. If you don’t know about the NIV Gardener’s Bible (link), it is a treasury of garden related studies, essays and historical information weaved through scripture.
What books are you reading? Anything you think I need! LO
When you need a break from books, check out what we are talking about on the Rose Chat Podcast … these gardening greats inspire me too. (link)
POTTING SHED PUTTERINGS:
🌱Celebration! 🌱 My Steak Sandwich tomatoes have germinated along with some other things!
I also was able to get my hands in the dirt while potting up some barefoot roses for our societies fundraiser!
Friends, I pray you are surrounded by everything you need.
Please take every precaution and stay safe. We are so blessed that through all of this, we have more time at home and more time in the garden.
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…
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…
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!
Seed starting station…
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.
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 — 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.
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…
“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!
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.
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.”
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.