BLOOM THYME FRIDAY: The Dog Days of Summer

August is universally the time for vacations and holidays especially in Europe. We joined that group this year and have just returned from a lovely vacation in New England. There is nothing quite like the north eastern seacoast. We were with beautiful people and went to so many beautiful places! Oh and the food! I love seafood and it was out of this world. 🦀🦞🦐

One of the places we visited was the Elizabeth Park/ Helen S Kaman Rose Garden. It was amazing. I thought I knew what it would be like from pictures I’ve seen through the years, but, oh no – it so exceeded my expectations. I’ll tell you more about my time there soon.

We came home relaxed, refreshed and recharged. We can’t wait to go back!

August celebrates sandwiches. in August of 1762 the Earl of Sandwich requested two pieces of bread with meat inside. We’re all about celebrating sandwiches in August too — we had the first BLT with a homegrown tomato. Nothing like it! 🎉🍅

August… the gateway to all things Autumn. I’m sure enjoying autumn more than I used to, partly because I became more focused on plants that have their heyday this time of year … Dahlias, Zinnias, alliums and power blooming roses that can take the heat!


Well, I don’t know that they truly LIKE IT but many roses in my garden are acting like it is a normal summer day… not a day when the heat index is 105 and has been in the 90s for way too long.

Are there roses in your garden that do better in the heat than others?

My “some like it hot” observations…

  • Mother of Pearl isn’t phased – keeps going strong.
  • For Petite Pink and Petite Peach the heat is no big deal.
  • Sweet Drift says “bring it.”
  • Music Box isn’t phased much. 
  • Flamenco Rosita has so many blooms even if they are a bit smaller.
  • Reminiscent Pink is doing very well.

Others are blooming but sparingly and many of the blooms melt so quickly. The roses are pretty much on their own during these extremes. Minimal watering, no fertilizing and no big expectations. I do think we are going to start cooling down next week and more of the roses will have a chance to shine!

Unlike many of you we have had some rain. Not tons but enough to keep things going without too much supplemental watering. We don’t have irrigation so we are extremely grateful for the rain. I am praying that those of you dealing with drought will have rain very soon. Drought is so cruel.

August is also a time when many schools start. Maybe it’s seeing all the back to school items but August has me itching to get new pens and paper and make lists. Mr. G would tell you that every season is a season of lists for me.  The garden lists I am currently working on:

  • What did well…
  • What needs to go…
  • What I need more of / less of…
  • What was outstanding…
  • Seeds to buy…
  • Dahlias…
  • Bulbs…


  • Who was outstanding…
  • Who struggled…
  • Where will I put more roses.. (I’ve found a few spots!)
  • What roses do I “need”… (That list is always in place.)


If you are like me and love dried flowers, I have an Instagram account recommendation for you.
LAYLA ROBINSON DESIGN / Creating happiness with everlasting flowers.
She does such beautiful arrangements and crafts with dried flowers! LINK HERE.


Coming this Sunday (August 27) is a new podcast… don’t miss this one. You’re gonna love Rachel.


I am beginning to work on the 2024 line up for Rose Chat. If you have suggestions of who you’d suggest I have on the podcast or topics you would find interesting, let me know. Email your ideas to me HERE.


The day we returned from vacation the garden greeted us with a light rain falling. It was such a welcome site, I immediately got out my phone and took videos. I posted a video on YouTube for easy access if you would like to see it.

The misty rain was such a blessing!

Yes, August is here and so is Pumpkin Spice Lattes. Did you know PSLs have been around for  20 years! That’s a lot of spice! Mr. G and I enjoy having one to celebrate the season. But we may wait until the temps drop to at least the 80s! 😳🥵😉

There’s no going back on the seasons so let’s hit this season head on and enjoy every minute. Until next time …

Stay cool, stay safe and have fun in your garden … 💐🌸🌱🌼🌹🌺🪷🌻😘☕️

BLOOM THYME FRIDAY: Going back in time…

Many of the plants in my garden have stories attached to them. It’s what makes my garden so completely personal to me. As I walk around my garden I think of those stories and those people. And, when a visitor comes who wants to go on a slow garden walk and hear those stories, well that is the very best.


I have a hedge of Annabelle Hydrangeas which started from one Hydrangea I planted many years ago. My first plant was a passalong gift from my good friend Colletta Kosiba.

Yes, there are newer, less floppy varieties and I love those too and have many of them. But I still love the Annabelle. While I was in England I was surprised to find so many Annabelle’s there too. Here is Annabelle showing off behind a bench in the gardens of Highclere Castle of Downton Abby Fame.

Recently John Chapin of Tree Frog Nursery and Gardens (link) wrote an article about the history of this beautiful hydrangea. Now that I know her story, I love her even more.


The story of the wildly popular ‘Annabelle’ hydrangea, which blooms throughout Central Indiana in early summer, is one of a pass-along plant shared by generations of gardeners before it was “discovered” and made available to the gardening world at large. In 1910, Harriet Kirkpatrick was riding her horse through the woods outside of the southern Illinois town of Anna (link) when she noticed a beautiful native hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens) with abnormally large, snowball-like blooms. Together with her sister-in-law, Amy Kirkpatrick, she went back to dig up the native shrub and transplanted it into her yard in town. 

Over the years, neighbors and friends admired the showy plant and the Kirkpatrick family shared divisions of the easily transplantable shrub, spreading its progeny throughout the area. Given its wide popularity and easy culture, Mrs. Kirkpatrick contacted the Burpee Seed Company to see if they were interested in developing the new variety commercially. However, a different wild specimen of the native hydrangea had been found near Yellow Springs, Ohio with similar abnormally large, snowball-like flowers, but an earlier bloom time. It was named ‘Snowhill’ and released by Burpee in 1906, so they weren’t interested.

For the next 50 years, ‘Annabelle’ would be an unnamed but locally popular cultivar that was distributed by word of mouth throughout the southern Illinois region, finally reaching Urbana around 1935. J.C. McDaniel, a renowned plant breeder and professor of horticulture at the University of Illinois saw the plant in an Urbana garden in 1960 and somehow traced it back to the southern Illinois farming community of Anna where gardeners grew it all over town. He was able to collect cuttings for propagation, named the cultivar for the two belles from Anna, and released it for commercial production in 1962. In a paper submitted at a horticultural conference that same year, McDaniel recounts the story of ‘Annabelle’, noting it as “the best form of its species yet found.”  

From this variety, many new cultivars have been developed, in an assortment of sizes and even with flowers in shades of pink, with stronger stems to avoid flopping.  All are very hardy, reliably bloom on new growth, and easy to grow in mostly shade to mostly sun. There is a variety for every garden.


Have you seen Season 2 of Growing Floret ? It is over the top for rose lovers and/or plant historians. The show is on the Magnolia Network. I have access to the Magnolia through a Discovery+ subscription. But there are other ways to find it too.

On the show Erin Benzakein, the owner of Floret, takes you on her journey to the world of old garden roses. Erin had the pleasure of getting to know one of our rose icons Anne Belovich whose story in itself is over the top fascinating. She also takes us on a tour with Gregg Lowery to see his massive collection and hear about his is passions for the old roses and the work he does with FRIENDS OF VINTAGE ROSES.

More about Gregg Lowery and the Friends of Vintage Roses (Link). 
Erin also released several articles about her rose experience on the Floret Flower blog (Link).

Leon  Ginenthal and I chatted about Anne and Erin on Rose Chat when we did the podcast on ROSES THAT RAMBLE. Podcast.


Big smiles here — The American Rose Society had a beautiful article on the Award of Excellence that my Petite Peach won. I wrote a post all about the history of the award and the details of the rose a few weeks ago. Here’s that article

If you are a member of the American Rose Society you know that the magazine is outstanding and comes in paper form as well digitally for members. If you are not a member, you can read all about the organization at


Some of the flowers in the garden are beginning to take on a “ready for a break” time so this week I picked a few buckets of flowers before I let them take a rest!

The annuals that I planted to go strong during those lulls of course have been eaten by the varmint who found them very tasty. Luckily there are flowers they either don’t like or haven’t found! (Varmint post)

Time to gather flowers… (I made several bokays but forgot to take pictures.)

Maybe the tallest Monarda on record – at least here! Obviously I didn’t expect this size of plant for my small herb garden boxes. But the pollinators are over the top happy and I love it too. I do think I will find a more suitable place for it next year. Extra bonus: it works so well in a vase! 🐝 🦋



Sometimes gardening isn’t for the faint of heart … especially late summer – with all the heat and varmints. I always say that few decide to be gardeners in the month of August and August is just around the corner.

BUT… so many amazing things are still to come. Today on my morning walk I went over the moon about the lisianthus and lilies that are coming on strong and tomatoes!! 🍅 🍅 🍅 🍅 🍅 🍅

Until next time… What’s your favorite tomato? And, your favorite way to enjoy fresh tomatoes? For me it’s yummy BLTs!

BLOOM THYME FRIDAY: It Was The Best of TImeS and …


Yes, for the past few weeks I have been absent from the blog but very present in my world. I have been in the company of four of the most amazing little men! #grandboys They continue to amaze me on all counts.


Well, not the worst of times really BUT during those same three weeks, we have been invaded and parts of the garden show signs of a massacre! The critter cam tells us the culprits are raccoons, possums, ground squirrels, rabbits, and at least two of the most destructive horrible creatures on the planet – groundhogs.

What have we done about it?

To date we have captured 12 raccoons, put up 3′ bunny fence, used tons of cayenne pepper powder and animal repellent pellets.

Has it helped? Not much.

The raised bed filled with my handpicked from pouring over catalogs, pre-sprouted for earlier bloom, gorgeous dahlias – many 2.5-3′ tall living in the beautiful raised bed Mr. G built … was invaded. Pictures do not do the damage justice. The day after we installed the 3′ bunny fence and lavishly poured on the cayenne powder, we caught the groundhog inside the fence and the damage was even worse. I think he was mad.

I understand they hate garlic so this week when I trimmed off my garlic scapes I placed them all around the dahlias that are trying to come back. #timewilltell


Nothing like this has happened before. Oh, we have had the annual visits from raccoons and ground squirrels. While destructive, they were mostly deterred by cayenne pepper. I am beginning to think most of the damage is groundhog damage. We have not been able to trap them but see them out and about. They are very comfortable here! Right up by the patio while I am sitting there!!!! 😳


Here is a list of plants that have been most damaged…

  • Yarrow – I have several varieties – all nibbled to the ground except a couple of patches I rescued early – before they found them!
  • Parsley – all leaves enjoyed by varmints
  • Coreopsis (4 varieties) – to the ground
  • Orlaya – all blooms gone / plants mangled
  • Cosmos – devoured
  • Daisies – new Variety Banana Cream devoured / old variety still standing
  • Lantana – to the ground
  • Supertunias – to the ground
  • Zucchini – struggling
  • Lupines – mangled & broken
  • Zinnias – mangled & broken
  • Dahlias – None of my 20 dahlias have been left untouched but so far some of the damage is minimal. Others… well it’s doubtful they will recover.

My garden looks like a war zone in many areas. And I’m sure you understand, seeing your plants behind fencing is no way to garden!! But while we use every trick we hear about, we are spending our time in prettier parts of the summer garden. Even the Japanese Beetle damage seems like no big deal compared to the massive varmint damage. #perspective

I am so grateful for every plant they have not touched (so far) and am taking note!


  • Lilies
  • Lavender
  • Glads
  • Hollyhocks
  • Phlox
  • Salvias
  • Scabiosa
  • Larkspur
  • Clematis
  • Sweet William
  • Lisianthus
  • Foxgloves
  • Snapdragons – I’m telling you if they touch my snaps, you will hear me scream. I have soooooooo many gorgeous ones this year!!!



Bokay Day this year was a dream. Those four little men and I had the very best time. Everyone was so into all aspects of the process. Taking wagons of buckets around to gather flowers (much fewer options this year but they didn’t mind) and filling the jars. Ohhh and they were such a charming delivery crew as they pulled the wagon filled with bokays and handed them to our neighbors. All of you who grandparent from a distance know just what a dream come true this was for me!! #preciousmemories

We were gloriously busy in “Thyme Out”

Read about past Bokay Days here AND here.

Back before the internet and blogs, we had bokay days too. Here’s my son all ready for delivery…

Precious Memories indeed!


If you see a copy of the current Midwest Living or Birds and Bloom, you just might find me there.


I have been chatting away with so many rose friends. The last one was with Kimberley Dean, AKA The Rose Geek. We had the best time talking about her trip to England and how it changed her garden and her as a gardener! Listen here…


GARDENS OF THE NORTHEAST Stephen Scanniello Stephen is a world-renowned gardener, historian, author, lecturer, designer, and consultant for gardens public and private. He currently serves as the curator of the internationally acclaimed Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden at the New York Botanical Garden and as the consultant for the Elizabeth Park Conservancy in West Hartford, CT. Today Stephen will share updates from the beautiful gardens and garden projects in the Northeast.   It is said that every rose has a story and Stephen just may know most of them. I'm sure today we will be educated, enlightened, and entertained as we chat with a master storyteller about his favorite subject – roses. ROSE GARDEN IMAGES… DOWNLOAD HERE INFORMATION ON THE HERITAGE ROSE FOUNDATION… ROSE CHAT TEAM: Executive Producer & On-Air Personality: Chris VanCleave – Creator of the Rose Chat Podcast. Mr. VanCleave is a nationally known rosarian, television personality, speaker and advocate for the rose. Content Creator & On-Air Personality: Teresa Byington – Co-Host Teresa Byington promotes roses as an integral part of the landscape, as a Consulting Rosarian, Master Gardener, writer, and speaker. SUBSCRIBE: Subscribe to Rose Chat Podcast Updates:    


Friends, even with the varmint invasion, the heat, and the bugs that come and make things so ugly, I still just can’t wait to get out there! How about you? 💐


This is a different year for the “first flush.” Except for the Old Garden roses, the roses are having their first flush at different times due to the severity of the die back!

Here are the ones that are having their “first flush” now and commanding our attention…


If you follow me on Instagram, you know I have been obsessively posting pictures of this one! I have 8 of these roses and have them planted close together in our patio area where we enjoy them up close. This peachy/pink grandiflora is a power bloomer from late spring to fall. Plus she is disease resistant, has a light fragrance and holds on to her clusters of blooms for a very long time! She’s great in a vase whenever I can bring myself to remove her from the garden! Even though she is zoned for 6 and I’m 5b, I have never had much winter die back.

Zones: 6 – 9
Size: 3 -4′ H X – 2′ W


I had the privilege of growing this rose as a test rose and she has totally exceeded my expectations. First year she came as a very small insignificant plant.But look at her now!  She sustained no winter die back and the deer left her alone! She is so much prettier in person with her full rich English style blooms.  A modern rose with an old fashioned bloom that is fragrant and very disease resistant – perfection! Great winner for the garden from Proven Winners.

Zones: 4a-9a
Size 3 -4′ H X 2.5 – 3′ W


An old favorite in my garden that’s still wowing me! I have three Quietness roses and one of them is in a very undesirable spot in the garden – terrible soil and I forget to care for her. This year she is laughing at the thought that her spot in the garden is less than ideal as she is covered in those yummy shell pink blooms! Dr. Buck bred his roses for winter hardiness and easy care and he was sure successful with this one.

Zones: 4-10
Size: 3 – 4′ H – 3.5′ W


This rose is new to me but it is all that my friends have told me it would be. The color of these gorgeous blooms catch your eye and the closer you get the better it is. This is a lovely floribunda from Kordes and historically Kordes roses do so well in my garden. Plum Perfect is part of the Star Roses Bloomables collection and bloom she does. These beauties are born in sprays with a nice fragrance.

Zones: 5-10
Size: 2′ X 2′


Petite Peach is my new rose. She didn’t suffer any winter set backs so received little to no spring trim this year! This beauty came to me as a sport on the Petite Pink – another favorite rose four years ago. Last month Petite Peach was awarded the American Rose Society’s 2024 Award of Excellence in the no spray division. This tells us the rose has been trialed all over the country for 2 years and has emerged the winner! Yes, it is a winter hardy shrub with excellent disease resistant and she blooms all summer long! It is for sale at High Country Roses.

Zones: 4-9
Size:  3′ H X  3′ W


Of course, always check your local nurseries but if you can’t find them, there are some excellent online sources that I use every year.

Heirloom Roses

I highly recommend the roses from Heirloom. They are committed to doing the research to assure the health of the rose. I recently did a podcast with from Robin from Heirloom about these processes and you can find that podcast on or after June 11.


Matt Douglas and his team are committed to bringing us old garden roses, harder to find modern roses, as well as the very newest releases. His own root roses are sent out in quart containers that are perfect for tucking into your garden and watching them grow. Many of my largest roses started in those quart containers from High Country Roses. Matt was a recent guest on Rose Chat talking about the less known but very charming, easy care Hybrid Musk Roses as well as some of his favorite newly released roses. LISTEN HERE.


They have an extensive collection but do not take orders online. Just call them to place your order.


Proven Winners sells their plants in a variety of sizes via mail order. 


Several of you have asked about the garden devotional I am doing this year. I love it! There is a link on the image below…




On this episode, the delightful Danielle Hahn of Rose Story Farm chats about the family rose farm, growing 40,000 roses, her new book, and helping Martha Stewart with her new rose garden. Since childhood, Danielle has loved roses and wants you to love them too. Join us for this fun chat as Danielle shares so many tips, tricks and behind-the-scenes stories. LISTEN HERE.

The next release will be an update from Robin Jennings of Heirloom Roses you won’t want to miss.



Savannah is a healthy, fragrant Kordes rose that will stop you in your tracks when she’s blooming.

Not quite up to previous glory (before the deer found her so desirable) but she’s coming along…



BLOOM THYME FRIDAY: And, The Award Goes To…

For the past four years I have been keeping a secret. Something new from my garden … a beautiful sport!

sport in the botany world means a ‘genetic mutation;’ one that has no explanation and no specific rhyme or reason for its occurrence. This process gave me a beautiful gift … a peach sport of the lovely Petite Pink. One of my very favorite roses hybridized by my good friend Dr. David Zlesak. As many of you know I have several Petite Pinks in my garden (9 at this time) and I have given it away as gifts! I love it so. 

So, I have been on a journey to have my beautiful sport tested in trials to watch what it can do. I am happy to report it has done very well in a national, multi-site rose trial managed by the American Rose Society. 

Last week I attended the American Rose Society’s National Convention at the home of America’s Rose Garden in Shreveport, LA. There were many highlights from the convention, but the most special part was when my name was called to come up and receive a certificate that states that Petite Peach™️ (‘BYIbloomthyme’) was awarded the Award of Excellence from the AOE testing program – in the no-spray category. 


In 1973 the American Rose Society Board of Directors established the Award of Excellence to recognize new miniature and miniflora rose varieties of superior quality and marked distinction. Since the inception of the Award, there have been 141 AOE winners. Miniature and miniflora roses which have been in commerce for less than one year, as well as unnamed seedlings or sports, are eligible for evaluation for two to three years in seven AOE public test gardens and two private gardens, spaced geographically across the United States. Since 2013 roses may be entered in a “no spray“ division, a “preventive spray” division or both. Each public garden has an AOE supervisor and five evaluators who score the entries on 11 criteria four times during each growing season. At the end of the trial period, Awards of Excellence are given to deserving entries, with a maximum of five per year. The public test gardens are: American Rose Center, Shreveport, Louisiana; Edisto Memorial Gardens, Orangeburg, South Carolina; Farmers Branch Public Rose Garden, Farmers Branch, Texas; International Rose Test Garden, Portland, Oregon; Mesa Community College Garden, Mesa, Arizona; Toledo Botanical Gardens, Toledo, Ohio; and Virginia Clemens Rose Garden, St. Cloud, Minnesota. 

The official public announcement of the Award of Excellence winner(s) is made each year in American Rose and at the awards banquet of the ARS National Rose Show and Conference. After two years of evaluation (three for climbers) four Award of Excellence winners are selected.


Isn’t she lovely! These sweet apricot/peach colored blooms keep going all summer long on a small bush that fits into any garden as well as containers. It is great as a cut flower too!

Height: 2-3′

Width: 2-3′

Bloom Type: Double / Sweetheart Size (1″)

Bloom Repeat: All season

Disease Resistance: Extremely Resistant

Hardiness Zones: 4 and up


For many years I have been ordering roses from High Country Roses and find them to be outstanding performers. They come to you small but mighty and catch up quickly. Some of my favorites from High Country: Earth Angel, Ghislane de Feligonde, Veilchenblau, Dalow’s Enigma, Ispahan, Kazanlik, and Banshee High Country. 

I am so happy to partner with Matt at High Country Roses for the release of Petite Peach™️.

Additional details on the rose and how to purchase are HERE… 


I am thrilled that this beautiful sport came to me through David’s work. His friendship, mentorship and help through this process have been invaluable. Petite Peach™️ and I are so very grateful. 

David’s rose work has given us so many beautiful roses for our gardens…

  • Petite Pink
  • Above and Beyond
  • The Pretty Polly Series
  • OSO Easy Peasy
  • Smoothie
  • Candy Oh
  • Gaye Hammond


The ARS put on a fabulous convention in the newly renovated AMERICA”S ROSE GARDEN. The garden is amazing, the speakers were outstanding, the tours were over the top! Here’s a mini slideshow…

my Partner’s in crime for the week

THe Award celebration

It was fun to go, but it’s so good to be home. The garden is changing every day!

Until next time… have fun in your garden! 🌹🌼🌸

BLOOM THYME FRIDAY: The Weather App / My Constant Companion

The last few weeks the weather app has been my constant companion. Helping me out by alerting me to frost warnings. While I’m grateful to know, I’m really ready for that relationship to dwindle and those warnings to stop! Whew! With each warning fewer things are getting covered!! I know many of you are dealing with the same thing. Many of you have told me you are dealing with up to 3 weeks late on the growing season.

So far, it looks like there’s little frost damage to the roses but the jury is still out on the peonies! 😏 The Sargent Crabapple didn’t even make it through the first one!  Next week is finally going to warm up. To say I’m excited just isn’t enough!


Because of the frosty nights I have kept some of the jugs closed longer than was best for them. Some of the babies where screaming to get out!


I have a new area that I am dedicating to dahlias so I needed a few more! The bulk of my dahlia tubers came from Longfield Gardens but I did find a few other places too. To give them a head start for earlier blooming, I am potting them up to live in the potting shed while the weather warms.

I potted them up on April 22 and most of them are showing signs of life. Is there anything that looks less promising that a dahlia tuber???? Well, maybe … a bare root rose! Our gardens are rife with miracles!!

  • Cornel Bronze
  • Milena Fleur (FAV!)
  • Cafe au Lait
  • Labyrinth
  • Bitsy
  • Pacific Ocean
  • Karma




Here is my list of roses I am adding to the garden this year. Some of these are duplicates of roses I already have but love so much!

This is the first time I am seeing this full list all together. #whatwasithinking Finding places for these beauties may get a bit tricky. Well, there’s always a big container in a sunny spot. Maybe Mr. G wouldn’t mind a few roses on the driveway to keep his tomatoes company. 🌹🍅


The latest release of Rose Chat is ROSES THAT RAMBLE with great rose friend Leon Ginenthal from Der Rosenmeister Nursery. His stories are so fascinating! His roses are so amazing. I just wish he shipped from his nursery in Ithaca, NY. Maybe a road trip is in order!


GARDENS OF THE NORTHEAST Stephen Scanniello Stephen is a world-renowned gardener, historian, author, lecturer, designer, and consultant for gardens public and private. He currently serves as the curator of the internationally acclaimed Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden at the New York Botanical Garden and as the consultant for the Elizabeth Park Conservancy in West Hartford, CT. Today Stephen will share updates from the beautiful gardens and garden projects in the Northeast.   It is said that every rose has a story and Stephen just may know most of them. I'm sure today we will be educated, enlightened, and entertained as we chat with a master storyteller about his favorite subject – roses. ROSE GARDEN IMAGES… DOWNLOAD HERE INFORMATION ON THE HERITAGE ROSE FOUNDATION… ROSE CHAT TEAM: Executive Producer & On-Air Personality: Chris VanCleave – Creator of the Rose Chat Podcast. Mr. VanCleave is a nationally known rosarian, television personality, speaker and advocate for the rose. Content Creator & On-Air Personality: Teresa Byington – Co-Host Teresa Byington promotes roses as an integral part of the landscape, as a Consulting Rosarian, Master Gardener, writer, and speaker. SUBSCRIBE: Subscribe to Rose Chat Podcast Updates:    

You might also enjoy seeing a tour of his garden…

Coming up next on Rose Chat is MINIATURE AND MINI FLORA ROSES with Dr. Gary Rankin and Dr. Monica Valentovic. Few people know more than these two on this class of roses!
Release date: Sunday, May 14.


Making the biggest statement is the creeping phlox. Standing up to the cold nights like a champ! The Leatherleaf Viburnums have been glorious and we have several of them!

While not blooming, the self-seeded larkspur game is very strong. Only a few weeks and we will see the spectacular blooms!

Hopefully we are saying goodbye to those cool nights and hello to more of what we love — blooms! Serious Bloom Thyme is coming … SOON! 🌸🌹🌱🌼💐

Happy gardening friends!

Lately I have been thinking about those wonderful days at the Biltmore Rose Trials. What a special time it was!

’til next time… 💐

Bloom Thyme Friday: Roses in Protective Custody

We have just returned from 3 weeks away. We are all tanked up on hugs and kisses from the grands that will last us a little while!

While we were away the weather was erratic to say the least — both high and low. The temperatures were high enough for the garden to start springing back. Especially the roses. But what I saw when I returned was shocking! This year I am seeing the biggest changes to the garden as a result of the increasing deer pressure. I could not believe the level of damage that had occurred from deer munching. Many of the shrub roses (that most often need very little pruning) looked as though they had been burnt. Throughout the plants were black canes. My Honeymoon climbing roses were damaged to the ground. Ghislaine Feligonde was damaged low. I don’t see as much damage on the old garden roses and Rugosas. Deer typically don’t like Rugosas. Time will tell if they nibbled enough to steal the blooms.

To add to that problem, I am seeing winter damaged (both erratic temps and wind) on 2 of my huge Peggy Martins. There will be a heavy amount of pruning on those.

For some reason I forgot to take pictures of the worse ones. Here is Petite Pink who in year’s past has only needed a bit of pruning (same with her 8 sisters) and the picture on the right shows that when tips are nibbled, the cane dies back to the ground. (Sorry so blurry.)


This week I started officially pruning and many of the roses required cutting to the ground. But I have to say that the new growth looks very healthy! Mr. G has decided to take advantage of the “new room” on the large arbors to do some maintenance and that is a very good thing.

Mr. G and I are also thinking through what we can do to help deter the deer even more than ever before! We now know it will require some sort of temporary fencing. If you have tips that have worked for you please leave a comment! Having this level of deer pressure is a relatively new problem for us.


My beautiful Honeymoon climber is on a main deer thoroughfare so it sustained extreme nibble damage. It had to be cut to the ground. While it is not pretty, I put it in protective custody with a extra piece of fencing we had and some bamboo poles – just in case the deer come to call. Not pretty but “desperate times/desperate measures. Others on the “thoroughfare”are going to get the same type of protection. 😔 How long will we leave this there??? Well, the critter cams will help us know when the deer have moved on – if they do. 😱 They usually do! 🙏🏻


I spray my pruners with Lysol after each bush (to keep from spreading diseases that might be present whether I can see them or not) and this new found friend has made that so easy. Small enough to fit into a pocket; yet large enough to make it through several rose bushes. (Amazon Link)


This week I added several more “winter jugs” filled with warm season flowers / veggies.

  • Tomatoes
  • Zinnias
  • Cosmos

Other than tomatoes, I have never planted this late in the season. I am so excited to see how they do!


Of all the containers, only a couple haven’t germinated!


My two trays of Lisianthus are coming along nicely. I will plant them out in another week.


Of the 8 tubers I tried to winter over, 3 of them survived! BEST RESULTS EVER! Here is one I potted up mid February just to get it started before traveling. I knew it was a bit early but I was so excited that the tubers had made it that far with a bit of plumpness, I decided not to wait!

So here she is a dahlia that I think is almost perfect in every way… Milena Fleur…

–Medium size (3 – 4′)
–Beautiful color (peachy, pink with a yellow center)
–Prolific bloomer

Any guesses on when she will bloom?? She is certainly ahead of the game! The dahlias I ordered from Longfields were delivered today. Those tubers will get potted up soon.


Since we are talking so much about pruning, if you haven’t listened to the podcast I did with Gaye Hammond, don’t miss it.

PRUNING: Making Order out of Chaos (LINK)

Most recent podcast…

Connie Hilker

I had so much fun talking with Connie about her favorite rose class — the historical and beautiful Noisettes.


The garden is coming back to life… more each glorious day! #grateful


I know winter was hard on gardens in many zones. My good friend, Ron Daniels in Nashville, TN who has a magnificent garden that has appeared on TV many times had an uncharacteristic freeze in December than damaged some of his roses. The biggest damage was his climbers. Many having to be cut to the ground. Speaking of Ron, did you know he has a book coming out – ROSE THERAPY. He will join me on Rose Chat in June to tell us all about it. I am so excited for him. Here’s the cover…


I bought a few more roses … we’ll talk about them next time.


Once I got past the shock of the condition of my roses, I began to think of how this could be a rejuvenation for them; making them stronger and more productive.

John 15 reminds us that God prunes us as well “I am the vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.”

Good to know that our rejuvenation is in the capable hands of the true Master Gardener.

Until next time, Happy Gardening!


A couple of months ago I asked Mr. G if he would build a serving table for the deck. He looked at me and said something like, “what size do you want this potting bench to be.” I said oh no… just a serving table for food and drinks when we are eating outside. Fast forward to last week when he showed me what he was thinking of building and I immediately started thinking just how lovely his table would look with plants in containers all around and on it. And how convenient it would be for a quick potting project if needed. #busted #heknowsme   Regardless, I know it will be beautiful, sturdy, “multi-purpose” and a great addition to the deck! 😄💐🪴 Now for the big decisions — which roses and companions to plant around this new table!

Even though I have a large garden, I do love growing in containers. I read somewhere that Tasha Tudor always had the most beautiful container at the time moved to beside “her” chair on the porch. That’s what we all want… the most beautiful plants up close to us.  I always have a few roses and favorite plants in pots for just that reason — to have them close to where we enjoy sitting. One of our very favs is Lantana — brings the butterflies and hummingbirds so close.

Many people ask whether or not a certain rose can be grown in a container and I say almost any rose can — if the pot is large enough! Well, maybe not Paul’s Himalayan Musk but …. maybe.


Some of the best tips on growing roses in containers I have ever heard were when I chatted with Rebecca Koreytem of David Austin Roses last spring on Rose Chat. You can listen here…


A sought-after speaker and educator, Rebecca Koraytem is the U. S. Sales Executive for David Austin Roses Ltd., providing technical and retail support to customers in the United States and Canada.  Prior to joining David Austin Roses, Rebecca served as garden editor for Southern Living magazine for 15 years. Rebecca holds an MS and BS in Horticulture from Clemson University.

Another great Rose Chat with Rebecca … The Fragrance of Roses (Link)


If you are looking to make decisions about which roses to buy this year, here are some of the roses in my garden and a list of suppliers.


I can’t talk about container gardening without talking about Mr. G’s driveway tomato garden. Each year I start seeds of his favorite tomato, STEAK SANDWICH. Then he has the big decisions of what other ones to add that can be found locally. He usually plants 3 or 4 of his Steak Sandwiches then 3 or 4 others. What is your favorite tomato to grow? I always vote for at least one Mr. Stripey.

These pictures tell it all. Mr. G is very successful with his tomatoes and a few other veggies too. I just can’t wait for all the fresh veg! ⭐️⭐️⭐️

After seeing that, doesn’t a BLT with fresh tomatoes sound so good! Or some fresh bruschetta!


Last year I grew this little beauty from the Proven Winners Rise Up series of mini climbers on an obelisk on my Potting Shed porch and LOVED it.


Here is a link to other mini-climbing roses in the RISE UP series. LINK


Speaking of containers in the garden whether we want to put them in prime spots to show off or to get them closer or farther away from the sun – moving them can be an issue.  Last year we decided on these to help. There are not super heavy duty but worked for most of our containers. LINK


Spring is coming soon! Gardeners have so many decisions to make in the next few weeks/months and these are the most fun decisions! 🌸🌹🌻🌷🪴


Bloom Thyme Friday: More Winter Sowing

Yes, the winter experiment continues …

Here are the additional seeds I have added to the winter family tucked away in their mini greenhouses. The original list was on my last post… here.

  • Tall White Alyssum / grows to about 12″ / Baker Creek
  • Blue Star Columbine /grows to 24″ / Burpee
  • Kilimanjaro White Marigold / grows to 18″ / Botanical Interest
  • Nicotiana Lime Green (Last year’s seed)

Next sowing will be in April when I will start warm season seeds like tomatoes, zinnias, cosmos and such.


This is my third year doing the winter sowing method. There have been many successes and some failures but it is still such a fun project! Below is an assessment of the previous years…

  • ✔️ Some germination
  • Ⅹ No Germination
  • ⭐️ Outstanding Germination


  • Larkspur (French Alouette) ✔️
  • Delphinium (Magic Fountain) ✔️ (took an extra long time)
  • Lavender (Munstead) ✔️ (took an extra long time)
  • Ammi ⭐️
  • Sweet William (Double Blend) ⭐️


  • Munstead Lavender ✔️
  • Bachelor Buttons (Cyanus Double) ⭐️
  • Strawflower (Tall Double Mix) ⭐️
  • Candytuft (Old Seed) Ⅹ
  • Delphinium (Magic Mountain) ✔️
  • Verbena Bonariensis ⭐️
  • Orlaya (White Lace) ✔️
  • Phacelia (Lacy) ✔️
  • Larkspur (White) Ⅹ
  • Poppies (Buttercream) Ⅹ
  • Foxgloves (Carousel Mix) ⭐️
  • Celosia Pink Champagne ⭐️
  • Scabiosa (Fama White) Ⅹ


I have always loved snapdragons, my kids loved snapdragons and they’re not only beautiful in the garden but also a completely fabulous cut flower.

For several years I’ve found flats of little snapdragon seedlings for sale at Menards. Each year I was on pins and needles to see if that would have them again. Bonus: They were the tall “Rocket” variety I love in solid colors – both pink and white! PERFECT! It was risky to wait but I didn’t have to start from seed.

This year I have gone snapdragon crazy. Have you seen how many gorgeous ones are available from seed??? If they do well in the jugs, my cutting garden will be very happy. If they don’t — well I’ll be scampering back to Menards! Seriously, who am I kidding, I’ll head to Menards anyway for the basic white and pink ones! If you want some, you better get their early and often! They show up without warning.

Snapdragons I’ve been seduced by this year through seed catalogs and online sources:


The lastest podcast to be released was my chat with Gaye Hammond on up-to-the-minute information on Rose Rosette Disease. Next will be Dr. David Byrne on The Research Journey of Sustainable Roses.

Coming in March there will be several released over the next few weeks as part of the SPRING FLING…

Here is a podcast player where they can be found…


GARDENS OF THE NORTHEAST Stephen Scanniello Stephen is a world-renowned gardener, historian, author, lecturer, designer, and consultant for gardens public and private. He currently serves as the curator of the internationally acclaimed Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden at the New York Botanical Garden and as the consultant for the Elizabeth Park Conservancy in West Hartford, CT. Today Stephen will share updates from the beautiful gardens and garden projects in the Northeast.   It is said that every rose has a story and Stephen just may know most of them. I'm sure today we will be educated, enlightened, and entertained as we chat with a master storyteller about his favorite subject – roses. ROSE GARDEN IMAGES… DOWNLOAD HERE INFORMATION ON THE HERITAGE ROSE FOUNDATION… ROSE CHAT TEAM: Executive Producer & On-Air Personality: Chris VanCleave – Creator of the Rose Chat Podcast. Mr. VanCleave is a nationally known rosarian, television personality, speaker and advocate for the rose. Content Creator & On-Air Personality: Teresa Byington – Co-Host Teresa Byington promotes roses as an integral part of the landscape, as a Consulting Rosarian, Master Gardener, writer, and speaker. SUBSCRIBE: Subscribe to Rose Chat Podcast Updates:    


Local friends, on Tuesday, March 14 at 6:30 pm the Indianapolis Rose Society will have it’s first in-person meeting of 2023. Your’s truly will be giving a program on English Cottage Gardens. Click here for details.


There is only one bloom in my garden and it has come much earlier than previous years. Actually 3 weeks earlier than last year. The beautiful crocus. Welcome back!



With the warmer temps and tons of rain, I am seeing more green than usual! Someone told me this week that we are on course for spring to arrive 3 weeks early. That is exactly how early my crocus are.

Even the evergreens are beginning to lose a bit of their bronze winter hue. Green is certainly welcome here. Yes, green is not only welcome as it speaks to the coming season — it is so peaceful and soothing. Reminds me of a favorite scripture…

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.He restoreth my soul: 

Psalm 23

Yes, green is very soothing and such a welcome sight but we won’t forget about winter. We know just how fickle it can be.

Friends, I would love to hear about seeds you are growing this year regardless of the method. And, what about snapdragons – thumbs up or down?

Until next time…