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: Rain or Shine, I’m Not Gonna Whine

It’s true, rain or shine, I’m not gonna whine. It’s all good. Because of the rain, we have areas that are more beautiful than ever before at this time of year and areas that have been stunted.

The area hardest hit by the “wet” was the herb garden. I plant a lot of seeds in the herb garden and it was very late when I got them out and they are quite small. I believe that all of them, with the exception of the sweet peas will be fine. It might be too hot for the sweet peas before they get to be their best selves. Last year the zinnias were twice as tall or maybe 3 times as tall as they are this year but no worries there. They will be monsters soon enough.

Speaking of zinnias, I planted several varieties that I had not planted before — Enchantress (they don’t look like double giants yet ), Apricot Blush, and Blue Point. So excited to see how they do. Last year my California Giants did so well that they blocked more than one path through the garden — beautifully, I might add.  🙂 And, the pink ones (I don’t remember the variety.) were so “healthy” that they smashed out several of their neighbors before I got them staked.🙄

STORMY WEATHER

Last night as we were preparing the garden for events this weekend – another storm came, taking many blooms with it. This morning I see that it also brought many fresh new blooms – so “rain or shine, I’m not gonna wine.” Now if it rains on Saturday and our guests can’t tour the garden. I might whine a bit.

BIGGEST UPSIDE OF RAINY WEATHER

Very little, if any, hand watering. While I love the process of hand watering and getting up close and personal with my plants, my garden has grown to the size that it certainly takes some time to get that job accomplished.

BLOOM THYME THIS WEEK

There were so many things blooming this week that I told myself no more than 10 pictures. So, of course I’ll give you 13 plus a video. Sorry, couldn’t help myself.

New Dawn going up and over! Just as she should!
Peggy Martin doing what she does so beautifully. Shout to my beautiful friend Peggy too! xo
Peggy Martin reaching for the sky – beautifully
New Dawn and Etiole des Violette … good companions year after year
Mother of Pearl – I counted 25 blooms on one of the shrubs this morning. I have 3 shrubs of this gorgeous rose.
Freida Kahlo — so much prettier in person

 

Imogen (DA) my, my she’s pretty. She was in the garden last year but I don’t remember her being a standout. But this year that is a different story. LOVE HER.
Sweet Drift and Darcey Bussell (DA)
Most of the garden action around here happens in the back yard, but Mr. G was busy in the front yard so it wasn’t an embarrassment. I tend to forget we have a front yard. 🙂

 

First year for Queen of Sweden (DA) and she is stealing my heart!!

 

Rosa Mundi. What a standout. One-time bloomer but what a bloom.

 

Rosa Mundi and neighbors

If you need me, I’m in the garden deadheading the roses, so they can be their best selves for our guests tomorrow.🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹

 

 

Yes, rain or shine, it’s gonna be fine, but

I AM PRAYING FOR SHINE!

🙏🏻 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻 🙏🏻🙏🏻

Bloom Thyme Friday: Singing in the Rain

In the movie Singing in the Rain… they looked so happy dancing and singing in the rain! As happy as those scenes looked, I will confess I am not all that happy with all the rain we are getting and getting rained on again and again. While gardening in the rain poses some challenges, the horrible weather that some of my gardening friends around the country are having is much worse with tornadoes and even snow storms.

When I heard the rain was coming again this morning I went out to take some pictures (and got soaked yet again) and was struck by how good the garden smelled. I do love the smell of rain! Did you know that the smell of rain has a name — Petrichor. I read a Reader’s Digest fact that tells us the “why” surrounding the smell of rain.”Water doesn’t smell like anything, so why does rain produce a pleasant aroma after it falls? Well, it’s because of a molecule, called geosmin, created by soil-dwelling bacteria. When rain falls, it creates air pockets, which contain small amounts of geosmin. The rain traps and then releases these air pockets, dispersing geosmin into the air, where it’s free to travel to human sniffers.”

As much as I want to be working in the garden and can’t… I am learning how little my plants need me. Many are thriving from all the bounty from above. And, we are quickly moving to the jungle stage as the roses and peonies begin to open.

So here is BLOOM THYME for this week…

 

Rugosas and Peonies… oh the fragrance in this spot!!!

I forgot I had this beauty! Fun surprise as I absolutely love it!

Therese Bugnet has been amazing. If you follow me on Instagram, you are probably tired of seeing her picture! 🙂

I live in midwest farm country and would ask that you say a prayer for our farming families. They have not been able to get in the fields to do their spring work. Since it is now so late, they run the risk of having no crop this season. The forecast for the next week is for rain each day.

Friends, stay safe and dry and enjoy all the beauty around you . . . AND carry an umbrella! ☔️😉

BLOOM THYME FRIDAY: FIREWORKS BEGIN

I always refer to my spring bloom cycle as “fireworks and fragrance,” primarily because the rugosas and the old garden roses go crazy! I love it so much. And right now it is beginning. My first rugosa gave me the much anticipated first blooms and the other shrubs are loaded and just about ready to go.

Belle Poitevine…

Would you look at that center!


Soapwort… Has a short but beautiful bloom cycle. I love it that she’s early and holds her own even in the crazy spring weather.

Bloomerang Lilac still going strong… and filling the garden with fragrance! 

Rugosa buds…

Peonies…

Three beautiful roses came today from Roses Unlimited and they look fantastic. One Papi Delbard and 2 Mother of Pearls. EXCITING!!

MR. G HITS PAY DIRT!

Mr. G is over the moon excited with his new wheelbarrow. IT’S A CRAFTSMAN. Guys his age will understand his excitement with finding CRAFTSMAN anything these days – especially at Lowes as it was a Sears feature for so many years, but that’s another story. When he called me from Lowes to tell me of his good fortune, he failed to mention the wheelbarrow was RED — CRAFTSMAN RED.  🚒🔥🚨  All I could think was the numerous times in my youth when I was told not to wear pink and red together — they would clash. 💞❤️ 💞  You and I both know that my garden is filled to the brim with pink roses. So what am I to do. Of course I can try to photograph the garden around this “great wheelbarrow with a lifetime guarantee,” 🙄 or… you and I can play a game of WHERE’S WALDO / RED WHEELBARROW. When you see it in a picture, let me know and I’ll feature you in a post! 🤷‍♀️

Well, we wont’ lose it! 🙂 Plus, it holds a ton of mulch!✔️✔️✔️

HAPPY BLOOM THYME FRIDAY!

Bloom Thyme Friday: SPRING HAS SPRUNG

To say that I am excited that spring is here would be a grand understatement!

Today we have beautiful sunshine to celebrate even though the temps are cold. I’ll take it. I know we are on the right track.

Today I have pansies and violas to plant! These little beauties can take the cold and keep smiling.

As soon as I see the forsythia blooming, I will be pruning and starting garden clean up! To read my top tips for spring care for roses, read on here. Until then, I’m making lists and checking them twice — and running to garden centers any chance I get!

BLOOM THYME…

Let’s look back to Spring 2018 and remember the kind of things we have to look forward to…

ROSE CONFERENCE…

As the ARS District Director of Illinois and Indiana ( https://illinoisindianadistrict.org ), I cordially invite you to attend a one-day conference to learn and grow.

Sat, March 30 in Logansport, IN

SPEAKERS

Dr. Mark Windham, Plant Pathology / University of Tennessee, will present three programs on diseases, insects and pesticide safety.

Curtis Aumiller, ARS Chairman of Photography, will share tips and tricks of rose photography and help us better prepare for entering photography in rose shows.

For additional information on this event, including a registration form… read on.

These programs are approved for Master Gardener Education hours and Consulting Rosarian credit.

Wishing you a wonderful week blooming wherever you are planted!😘

Bloom Thyme Friday: When the temps drop

The temps are dropping quicker that I had hoped for — at least more drastically than I had hoped for October. Seems the number 70 has been forgotten… 80 and 90 were very commonly heard from May until Tuesday. Now today we are hearing 50s, 40s, and 30s. I really should not be complaining about the weather as we watch our southern friends crawl out from under the horror that was Michael. Our thoughts and prayers are with you!

No, fall is not my favorite. I get so much more excited (many might say tooooo excited) about spring and the rebirth. 😂  By the way, as of today, I believe it is 158 days until spring. But, who’s counting!?!?!

Next for me is to don my coat and do a bit of fall cleanup. I confess to being one of those who doesn’t do much in the way of fall clean up. If you want to read more about what I do, read on here.  I do have bulbs to plant and that’s real exciting. More daffodils, crocus, tulips and garlic! It will be fabulous to see them in the spring! 🌷🌱🌷

 

BLOOM THYME THIS WEEK

Some of the roses are ready for a break, but some have been blooming like crazy. While I should be leaving the blooms on the shrub to calmly, quietly make hips and go to sleep … I find it hard to do that and have been cutting enough for a few bokays!

Even some of the perennials are showing off! Here are some going out with a bang…

Stokes Aster . One of the best rose companions.
Champagne Wishes / Easy Elegance Collection
Fun in the potting shed…

Head Over Heels / Easy Elegance Collection
View this week from my Potting Shed porch

While we are on the topic of weather… I have to confess that I do love the snow. More each year. The days that I spend “cooped up” with Mr. G when the snow is falling are some of the very best. Those of you who know him, know that he doesn’t stay cooped up long. He has to go out and blaze trails in the snow and that is fun too.

Whatever the weather, wherever you are … BLOOM!

BLOOM THYME FRIDAY: UNEARTHING TREASURES

If you are familiar with the movie A GOOD YEAR you might remember this quote… “all she needs is a fresh coat of paint and a good scrub.” This a family favorite movie so I have enjoyed that quote many, many times.

This summer marks 20 years that my dream of a potting shed/office became reality. Mr. G out of love for me and the secret desire to reclaim some of our home from all the garden stuff, built this tiny bit of heaven for me.

A couple of weeks ago, I thought of the movie quote while standing in my potting shed. Summers are a time of gathering things in the potting shed and little time to tidy things up. So, as I stood in the middle of all the stuff, I thought YIKES I think she “needs a fresh coat of paint and a good shrub.” So it began … moving stuff —lots and lots of stuff.

While moving things around I unearthed so many memories!

Catalogs from the 80s and 90s…

Then and now, I love pouring over catalogs!

Receipts from Jackson and Perkins test panel roses (Anyone remember those?) I had high hopes that one of my test panel roses would “take off” and I would be able to officially name one for my daughter.

Picture from the early 90s… (Sorry for the blurry picture of a picture.)

So many fragrant petals. In those days I dried roses, herbs and flowers to make wreaths and other garden crafts to sell at a local garden center. SO MUCH FUN.

And, while digging in the garden last week I also unearthed a plant tag from Jackson and Perkins, Medford Oregon…. Not sure of the date, but I haven’t grown roses in the place I found this tag since the late early 90s. Note the AARS trademark.

It was  a lot of fun to see old things again and walk down memory lane. Many of the roses in the pictures I no longer have.

Tastes change.

Garden conditions change.

Little trees grew.

Large trees were hit by lightening.

A few pests showed up.

Sustainable growing practices became more important.

Some things hold true. I was over the moon about roses and all their companions then and I continue to be today. The garden has always been a balm for my soul; the place where my creativity soars; a place where I have the closest connection to the Creator. 

 

BLOOM THYME THIS WEEK:

Mother of Pearl and neighbors
Mother of Pearl bud

 

Yes, a fresh coat of paint and a good shrub was just what was needed….
… plus a new lamp, a super cute spool of jute (thanks Lacey) and a cute baby boy pic!
Zinnias out growing their space and bringing in the butterflies and hummingbirds.
Come on in and get a drink!
A very welcome visitor
Trek to the Herb Garden
Popcorn Drift …. verrrry pretty.
Mother of Pearl again … I can’t get enough.
Evening view from the potting shed porch.

WISHING YOU A PLACE TO CALL YOUR OWN AND

A VERY HAPPY BLOOM THYME FRIDAY!

Bloom Thyme Friday: Hydrangeas stealing the show!

Before we get to the blooms, let’s talk about my current little obsession … bottle brushes. I will never know why it has taken me this long to buy a set of bottle brushes but it did. Since I have a thing about glass, and glass comes to me from a variety of places, I am always removing labels and cleaning bottles and jars. These new brushes have simply changed my life — for the better. #happydance #iloveglass You can find more about my obsession with glass here.

BLOOM THYME…

There’s plenty blooming in the garden although not too many roses as I trimmed them back to discourage the Japanese Beetles. It has worked, they are fewer in number at this time. Perhaps there is another reason for fewer of them in the garden since Mr. G found and hung the Japanese Beetle Traps — one of his obsessions. Once the beetles were here, the traps few off the shelves. Note to: Tell Santa about Mr. G’s obsession with Japanese Beetle traps. #stockingstuffer  I know there are conflicting reports and thoughts on the beetle traps BUT, I live with and love Mr. G and we go with his thoughts on this one — he has done plenty of research. And puts them way out to the edge of our property!

Now for the hydrangeas! (Maybe another obsession, but we are NOT going there.)

One hydrangea is threatening to block my way into the potting shed. I don’t mind at all, it is a beautiful welcome!

Little Limes framing our entrance.
A very healthy Bobo. I have 6 of these. #favorite
Hedge of Annabelles
Limelight starting to bloom

OTHER BLOOMERS…

Sally Holmes and her neighbors.
I never tire of the lovely blooms on Ping Lim’s Music Box from the Easy Elegance Collection.
Comte de Chambord and neighbors – over the top pink! LOVE!
Oh I love this rose — Flamingo Rosita!!

Not sure what this Zinnia is reaching for but I love this color.
The Fawn is staying under the radar and the Japanese Beetles aren’t finding her.
Common Phlox   An over achiever — beautiful but I have to keep my eyes on this one.
Dare I say it … when I see these, I think fall. 😦

COMING SOON … A GARDEN SYMPOSIUM

 

The Indianapolis Rose Society is hosting the ARS Illinois Indiana District Conference and Rose Show Sat, Sept 8, 10 am – 4 pm — at the 4H Fairgrounds in Lebanon! (FYI: I will be installed as the new District Director in October!)

Cost for the public to attend the educational sessions is $10. We have some of the best of the best speakers coming from around the country and these sessions have been approved for Master Gardener Educational Credit. Click here to see the list of speakers! We would love to see you there! I guarantee you will have fun, learn a ton and see some of the prettiest roses on the planet!! There is even a lunch option too! ALL THE DETAILS HERE! 

HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE! Send me any questions you might have!

Bloom Thyme Friday: Bokay Day

The rain held off this morning and I was able to do some work in the garden. What started out as Japanese Beetle “bubble bath” day and garden “clean up” day, soon moved to BOKAY DAY. I just couldn’t help myself. With a garden the size of my garden there is always something to pick and the JB are SOOOOO attracted to the roses that they leave many of the other beauties alone. I became mesmerized by the bloom explosion that was happening today and decided that today was to become BOKAY DAY. So I’ll make bokays and share them. #favoritedays

Since I can’t share a bokay with each of you today, I thought I would share my favorite bokay makers and a few tips and tricks for your fresh cut bokays.

PERENNIALS (Bloom year after year)
Roses
Oriental Lilies
Yarrow
Coreopsis (Favs Moonbeam & Creme Brûlée)
Phlox
Dianthus
Bellflowers
Daisies
Stokes Asters
Ferns
Herbs (Lavender / Sage / Thyme / Mint)

 

ANNUALS (Bloom for one season)

Zinnias
Larkspur (reseeds)
Nigella: Love in a Mist (reseeds)
Superbenas  (Proven Winners)
(Favs Violet Ice / Whitecap / Royal Chambray
Senorita Rosalita Cleome (Proven Winners)
Herbs (Rosemary / Parsley)
Euphorbia Diamond Frost (Proven Winners)

Superbenas!


SHRUBS

Hydrangea (Favs Bobo / Pinky Winky)
Boxwood
Lilacs
Viburnums
Evergreens

 

MY MORNING HARVEST…

 

 

TIPS AND TRICKS

  • Morning is the best time to cut flowers.
  • Choose the freshest flowers — best to pick those not yet fully open.
  • Take bucket to garden with you.
  • Place in water immediately after cutting.
  • Let “condition” before arranging … even as little as one hour can be very helpful in their recovery and being ready for arranging. I go for at least 4 hours.
  • Cut under water if possible before adding to bokay.
  • Use preservative in water.
  • No greenery underwater… begins to decay quickly and that takes away from the life of the arrangement.
  • Every 3-4 days, recut stems, add fresh water (with preservative) to your vase.

P. Allen Smith’s Floral Preservative Recipe

Equal parts lukewarm water and lemon lime soda
One aspirin
Half a teaspoon of bleach

 

BLOOM THYME THIS WEEK…

Here’s a video of one of my evening garden walks this week after work. In the video you will see many of the annuals and perennials I mentioned above. Most of them are very hardy and have done fine in all the heat we have had this year. We do water occasionally, but not extensively.

 

Well, it is time for me to get back in the garden and continue with my original plan … Send more Japanese Beetles to a soapy “bubble bath” ☠️ and garden “clean up.”

 

HAPPY BLOOM THYME FRIDAY