Bloom Thyme Friday: Winding Down and Gearing Up

After a wonderful trip to Southern California, I returned to a dry, dry, dry fall Indiana garden that was ready for a gardener to get her fall self in gear. The to-do list was long but little-by-little the list is disappearing and the chores are winding down.

☑️ Zinnias and other annuals pulled

☑️ Empty annual containers

☑️ Gather Seeds

☑️ Peonies (Dig, Divide, Move)

☑️ Plant Garlic

☑️ Plant Roses (Another Earth Angel, Carefree Beauty, and Rise Up Amberness)

☑️ Plant bulbs

Dig Dahlias

Tie up climbers

Trim back shrub roses to waist high (will wait until is it much colder)

So as you can see, I am making progress but still have a way to go. The weather is so good that it is such a pleasure to be out.

SPECIAL NOTE: We had rain… deep, soaking rain. It had been so long. The garden and I are rejoicing! I think more is in the forecast for next week!! ☔️ 💃 ⛈ 🥳

A SPECIAL FALL MOMENT

I have made my caramel dip for more than 30 years, but it was taken to the next level when Grandboy #1 wanted to be a part of the process. For more fall fun and the recipe… read on here.

DAFFODILS

I know I’m a bit late in this but I’m looking for more white daffodils, do you have ones you would recommend? Even if I can’t find them this year, I can add to list for next year. My favorite white so far is Thalia. Monty Don talked me into that one a few years ago. 🙄 It is exquisite! ⭐️⭐️⭐️

GEARING UP

I simply can’t put one year’s garden to bed without gearing up for another year. As I work in the garden my head is racing with ideas, making new plans, and wish lists. And, there are seeds to buy (before they sell out) and catalogs to pour over. It is such an exciting time. Am I alone?

My first BIG seed decision has been made… which lisianthus seeds to order from Johnnys Seeds! Last year I grew Voyage 2 Blue and from January to today I have loved them. They are still blooming in the garden as I type.

For not year I choose two colors:

Voyage 2 Champagne
Voyage 2 Lavender

Aren’t these gorgeous!!! There are several colors to choose from. Take a look here.

BLOOM THYME

ROSE CHAT

The latest series was WINTER ROSE TALES where we featured the gardener, their garden and how they care for roses in winter. I love each of them and am so grateful to those who submitted their winter rose tales.

WINTER ROSE TALE: PART 1 (LINK)

WINTER ROSE TALE: PART 2 (LINK)

I am busy working on the 2023 schedule and there are some great ones coming!

Friends, until next time, whether you are gardening or dreaming… ENJOY

The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not only the body, but the soul.

Alfred Austin

BLOOM THYME FRIDAY: Lisi and Me

Prior to January 2022, all I knew about Lisianthus was that it was wonderful in arrangements, it was a favorite of my daughter who would be coming for a visit near the time of the first blooms and that I wanted to grow it. 

Many flower farmers advise not trying Lisianthus from seeds as it takes so very long and germination of seeds is sometimes tricky.

But, in the dark of January, I was up for the challenge. The long timeline didn’t bother me as I had plenty of time this winter to “baby” Lisi along.

  • Last September I bought Voyage Blue FI pelleted seeds from Johnny seeds. 
  • Jan 20: Scattered seeds in shallow trays (re-used carry out containers) on a bitter cold day! It was toasty warm in the Potting Shed.
  • Feb 3: Seeing a bit of green!
  • Feb 21: Some real growth happening.  I think every seed germinated!  
  • Mar 11: Potted up to Gardener’s Supply self watering trays. These are the best!
  • Apr 4:  Taking on some size now! Finally!
  • Apr 17: Time to start hardening off
  • May 7: Outside they went! Some to the cutting garden, some to the herb garden and a few scattered through the borders. The roots were unbelievable!

This plant is a true miracle to me in color alone — all of the white buds had me convinced the seeds had been mismarked and these were going to be white instead of purple. Truly they are white until they open to the glorious purple – with a tinge of white here and there! 

WILL I DO IT AGAIN?

Yes, if I have time!  However, we will most likely be doing more traveling next winter so I am looking for suppliers who have lisianthus plugs that non-professional growers can purchase. I  sure don’t want to be without these beautiful bokay game changers! Burpee had them this year and I have found a few sources on Etsy that had them too. As this season ends, we will know more what will be available next year. I won’t wait long to order though! And, I’ll have some seeds just in case!

ONE MORE THING: I will stake them next time! I did get a few staked and it helped so much to keep their long stems from flopping!

Here’s a bit more about Lisi: 

Eustoma, commonly known as lisianthus or prairie gentian, is a small genus of plants in the gentian family. They are native to warm regions of the southern United States, Mexico, Caribbean and northern South America.

From Better Homes and Gardens: Lisianthus, often favored by floral designers when an elegant flower is needed for an arrangement, it is the epitome of a classy, versatile flower. The ruffled petals and elegant buds come in many colors. The delicate-looking blooms are known for not only their beauty, but also their ability to hold up as a cut flower in a vase for up to two weeks or longer. (I AGREE!) Link to more info.

JAPANESE BEETLES UPDATE

Seeing fewer Japanese Beetles than last year for sure! There are enough of them to make a mess of the roses but not the “billions” I often see. Maybe the extreme weather conditions aggravated them. (Too wet followed by too dry.)  I sure hope they were aggravated as they sure “aggravate” me!!!

SOMETHING NEW: BLOOM THYME MINUTE

I have reprised my YOUTUBE Channel to share short videos of my garden that I am calling Bloom Thyme Minute where I take you on a virtual walk through my garden and we stop for “just a minute” so I can tell you about what we’re seeing. I think that as of today, there are 7 videos and more will be coming.

Here is the BLOOM THYME MINUTE for Vanessa Bell…

BLOOM THYME

The garden was so refreshed by the rain we had this week and the gardener is surely enjoying the cooler temps the rain brought with it. We won’t talk about the heat that’s coming back!


Formosa Lily reaching for the sky


Friends, I hope you are having a wonderful week in the garden. Mr. G’s tomatoes are starting to come on and we can’t wait. There is simply nothing like that first BLT when we have homegrown tomatoes! G’s favorite is Steak Sandwich. I grow them from seeds as we never see them for sale. (Link) What are your favorite home grown tomatoes?

Until next time, I’ll leave you with this greatness…

BLOOM THYME FRIDAY: MORNINGS

Most of you are probably like me and in the midst of a heat wave making mornings so very important to us! To spend time in the garden we have to beat the heat! 

My favorite way to start the day is with coffee in the garden doing my devotions. My devotions this time of year are centered around the garden. Time began in a garden. Jesus went to a garden before the cross. Jesus said I am the vine you are the branches. There’s a flood. There’s drought. There’s rocky soil.  There’s the mustard seed. You can’t go very far in the Bible without bumping into a garden or garden illustration.  It’s very gardeny.

I was recently asked for recommendations for gardeny devotional books, so here is a list of the ones I have, they’re all a bit different. Several I bought many years ago but they may still be available through Amazon or other online outlets.

  • Garden Mercies by Laurie Ostby Kehler
  • Devotions from the Garden from Thomas Nelson Books
  • A Gardener’s Little Devotional Book by Worthy Publishing
  • Meditations on a Rose Garden by Carolyn Huffman
  • Down a Garden Path by Karla Dornacher
  • A Well-Watered Garden by Harriet Crosby
  • NIV Gardeners Bible  

POTTING SHED PUTTERINGS

In the potting shed, I have Foxglove seeds started for next year’s garden. As biennials, in my garden, they make leaves the first year and winter over and bloom the second year. They also are known to be prolific self-seeders and that has worked for me lately but there were many years when we’ve had colder winters that did not happen.  Last year I bought a lovely pot of peach foxgloves. This year in that same area I have 4 peach foxgloves! Self-seeding at its best. Always good to note about this plant ALL PARTS ARE POISONOUS.

My beautiful self-seeders
Little miracles

The seeds I planted are Carousel Mix from Renee’s Garden. They will be a mix of pastel shades.

BLOOM THYME THIS WEEK

Many of the roses are laying low, hiding from the heat and the Japanese Beetles. Since my open garden on June 12, we’ve had NO rain! NONE. The only upside to the lack of rain is that the barrage of Japanese Beetles has been stymied due to the hard ground. Only a few brave souls have emerged. We are looking forward to a drenching rain but so far none is in the forecast.

This time of year it is great to take note of those things that are doing very well. There are some roses and many perennials and annuals that don’t seem to mind the hot dry condition. Here are my BFFs right now – coreopsis, daylilies, coneflowers, daisies, veronica, and phlox. So far my dahlias are doing okay too. I’d not say they are thriving but growing and I’m still hopeful they will be spectacular. The big exception there is Creme de Cognac… I started the tuber inside and it did well and now it is blooming like crazy – way ahead of the others.

YOU ARE IN GOOD COMPANY IN THE GARDEN

Never forget you are in good company in the garden.

And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; there he put the man whom he had formed. Genesis 2:8   He is the Master Gardener.

Happy Gardening Friends!

BLOOM THYME FRIDAY: Open Garden Dress Code

This has been a year for the record books. Aren’t they all! 😳

Leading up to “Open Garden” day, we had torrential downpours almost every day. Some days it rained all day. So with standing water in areas of the garden two days before “open garden” I was close to canceling. I can tell you my master gardener friends were not big fans of canceling. And yes it was raining the day of the big event but not torrential downpours. My thoughts were… if we were England we would not cancel, we would just dress for the weather. So, I sent out a note saying just that and added – bring your umbrella and wear your Wellies it’s garden tour time.

30 minutes before people were to arrive the rain stopped and the sun came out!!! We had the best time! Did the garden look it’s best…. HEAVEN’S NO! Every bloom had been water damaged. But, that didn’t stop the fun. We had the best time. How can you not have a good time with friends in your garden — it’s just the best. 

ZINNIAS FOR EVERYONE

I just love Zinnias. I tried several “new to me” varities from seed this year plus a few extras to share. A few weeks before open garden day, I had so much fun potting up Zinnia seedlings for visitors to take home. 

ROSEFEST UPDATE

Rosefest was a big success. Loads of people and loads of roses. In the Rose Show I saw some of the most beautiful roses I have ever seen thanks to all those who entered … especially John and Donna Hefner. They are such experts and are so willing to help others. They took home the top honors.

ROSE CHAT

More episodes are being released all the time. Check them out here. When you click the most recent episodes will become linkable. First up you’ll see my chat with Tom Carruth – one of the most successful rose hybridizers in the world. He has brought us classic beauties like Julia Child, Hot Cocoa and the amazing Forth of July climber to name a few. He is currently the currator for one of the most beautiful rose gardens in the world … The Huntington Rose Garden in San Marino, CA.

WINTER ROSE TALES PART 2 Rose Chat Podcast

WINTER ROSES TALES: PART 2   On this podcast we have Part 2 of our Winter Rose Tales. These tales feature the gardeners, their garden, and what they do to care for their roses in winter. Regardless of where you grow roses, I am sure you will enjoy each of these rose stories.   NATE FISHER Consulting Rosarian and current president of Lehigh Rose Society and the most recent recipient of the ARS Rising Star award. (LINK)    MATT DOUGLAS Owner of High Country Roses (LINK)   JULIE ASHMAN Consulting Rosarian and past president of the RIchmond Rose Society (LINK)   DONNA MILAZZO Donna is a consulting rosarian and past president of Saddleback Rose Society (LINK) 2023 PODCAST IDEAS… We are currently scheduling 2023 podcasts. Is there a subject you'd like for us to cover or someone you would like for us to interview? If so, please send us an email at RoseChatPodcast@gmail.com.    ROSE CHAT TEAM:   Executive Producer & On-Air Personality: Chris VanCleave – www.RedneckRosarian.com 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 – www.TheGardenDiary.com 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: http://bit.ly/subscribeROSE   VISIT OUR SPONSOR: Haven Brand Soil Conditionershttp://www.ManureTea.com/sho  
  1. WINTER ROSE TALES PART 2
  2. WINTER ROSE TALES: Part 1
  3. UPDATE FROM STAR ROSES & PLANTS
  4. Roses & RRD … What’s New?
  5. PROFILE OF A GARDENER – Teri Speight

THey’re back

Oh, how I hate to tell you that it’s now Japanese Beetle season again. 😫

You know how much I love my Vanessa Bell roses. Well, the Japanese Beetles chose her to be the first to munch on. So, it begins. 😡  If you’d like to read my article on Japanese Beetles from last year, read on here

PRESSING FLOWERS

I haven’t pressed flowers for many years but I have been craving to do so this year. Mr. G gifted me with an absolutely gorgeous (and large) press from Gardeners Supply. He loves to buy gifts from there as they have such quality! If you are interested in pressing some beauty too, here’s a link

What am I going to do with the flowers I press??? I’m not sure but I do envision a jar filled with beautiful pressed flowers. We’ll see!

ROSE OF THE WEEK… BLISS PARFUMA

What a rose! It has stood up to all the rain like a champ! This rose came to me from Heirloom Roses last year and it is outstanding. A strong, vigorous plant with gorgeous blooms. Like all the Kordes roses in my garden, it is disease resistant. It also has a light fragrance. To read more, here is a link to Heirloom.

COMPANION OF THE WEEK … SELF-SEEDED FOXGLOVE

Look at this beauty. It self-seeded from a Foxglove I bought at Lowes last year. Such a beautiful color. I will be saving seeds and making sure some make their way into the ground again!

BLOOM THYME THIS WEEK

The rain gave way to torrid heat. I think most of you are in the same hot boat! Many plants are “melting” but some are taking the heat in stride. And, I’m trying to do the same.

We will close out the gallery with the boldest of all… one of the newest kids on the block – South Africa.

Whew, she is making a name for herself. She is positioned right beside the prissy pink Pomponella who may be giving her a side-eye. I might have to find a better place for her “boldness.”

Friends, glad you stopped by. Stay cool!! 

Maybe make some lemonade. This is the recipe for lemonade I loved to serve to guests coming to the garden — back when the world was more comfortable with that sort of thing. I sure hope we get back to that soon.

My kids call it, “LEMONADE THE MOM WAY.”

For each can of Minute Maid (or other brands) Frozen Lemonade add…

  • 2 cans water
  • 2 cans Canada Dry Ginger Ale
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 large sprigs of fresh mint
  • 1 – 2 lemons, thinly sliced
  • Add ice and ENJOY!

BLOOM THYME FRIDAY: SLOWLY, SURELY AND WET!

Are you tired of hearing about weather yet? We are getting almost constant rain! The garden is drenched but so green. This reminds me of 2019 when my good friend Connie Hilker came to visit and she spent her time walking in the garden under an umbrella wearing boots – the pathways were flooded. She would find the same thing today…

Here are some beauties BRAVING THE STORMS this week…

KAZANLIK is an amazingly fragrant Damask from the Bulgaria / Turkey region since before 1600s. I just had to have her and many of her cousins after visiting Turkey and learning more about their significance in the rose oil trade. Wonderful to use in potpourris! I purchased her from High Country Roses and you can too … here

ABOVE AND BEYOND is going above and beyond, as usual, to make a big splash in the garden. Rain or shine! Thank you Dr. David Zlesak for such an amazing rose!

CLEMATIS AND LADY ASHE

The clematis is moving in a bit faster but Lady Ashe is primed and ready to take center stage. What a fabulous rose! Lady Ashe is a beautiful, well-behaved, fragrant climber from English rose growers at Peter Beale’s Roses.

OTHERS DOING WELL REGARDLESS OF THE CONDITIONS…

ROSE CHAT

Want company while you’re working in the garden? Access the list of most recent podcasts below…

WINTER ROSE TALES PART 2 Rose Chat Podcast

WINTER ROSES TALES: PART 2   On this podcast we have Part 2 of our Winter Rose Tales. These tales feature the gardeners, their garden, and what they do to care for their roses in winter. Regardless of where you grow roses, I am sure you will enjoy each of these rose stories.   NATE FISHER Consulting Rosarian and current president of Lehigh Rose Society and the most recent recipient of the ARS Rising Star award. (LINK)    MATT DOUGLAS Owner of High Country Roses (LINK)   JULIE ASHMAN Consulting Rosarian and past president of the RIchmond Rose Society (LINK)   DONNA MILAZZO Donna is a consulting rosarian and past president of Saddleback Rose Society (LINK) 2023 PODCAST IDEAS… We are currently scheduling 2023 podcasts. Is there a subject you'd like for us to cover or someone you would like for us to interview? If so, please send us an email at RoseChatPodcast@gmail.com.    ROSE CHAT TEAM:   Executive Producer & On-Air Personality: Chris VanCleave – www.RedneckRosarian.com 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 – www.TheGardenDiary.com 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: http://bit.ly/subscribeROSE   VISIT OUR SPONSOR: Haven Brand Soil Conditionershttp://www.ManureTea.com/sho  
  1. WINTER ROSE TALES PART 2
  2. WINTER ROSE TALES: Part 1
  3. UPDATE FROM STAR ROSES & PLANTS
  4. Roses & RRD … What’s New?
  5. PROFILE OF A GARDENER – Teri Speight

ROSEFEST / SAT, JUNE 11, 9 – 3 pm

If you’re local, the Indianapolis Rose Society and Hamilton Country Master Gardeners have teamed up to bring a beautiful day of roses. Roses for sale, demonstrations, garden tour, great speakers, and free Proven Winner’s beautiful roses to the first 40 guests! For all the details, read on here… 

Grateful

In these tumultuous times, weather as a problem is not even on the scale. More than ever I appreciate the beauty and love around me. 

Luke 12: Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. He’s not just in control of flowers, He’s in control of us. 

Until next week…. may your time in the garden give you comfort and beauty.

BLOOM THYME FRIDAY: May Madness

Well, for the last two weeks I have been “gardening from a fire hose.” For sure. With winter refusing to leave and spring rains turning to spring floods, all the spring chores around here were crammed into the last two weeks. Of course, there is not a real “deadline”, however, I want things to be ready when FIREWORKS and FRAGRANCE season starts and the old roses lead the way in late May.

So with every minute I had, I was planting, pruning, fertilizing and mulching. As of Wednesday of this week, most of those tasks have been crossed off the list. Whew! Just in time to see this beauty take center stage as the first rose to bloom. 

Therese Bugnet (Hybrid Rugosa (Georges Bugnet, Canada, 1941)

If you would like to know more about her or would like to have one in your garden, check out the High Country Roses website HERE.  

So in this flurry of garden activity, I found a place for 24 dahlias.😳 Still a mystery to me how I found enough room. Also found plenty of room to plant cosmos and zinnia seeds. My plan is that they will take up the slack when the roses have to lay low while the Japanese Beetles are on the hunt for them mid-summer. Praying that the JBs do not find Dahlias and Zinnias tasty. Can’t these dreaded creatures just go away! Remember last summer …

ROSE CHAT

If you need some company while you’re weeding, check out the latest podcasts. I’ve been chatting with some great guests. Access list below..

WINTER ROSE TALES PART 2 Rose Chat Podcast

WINTER ROSES TALES: PART 2   On this podcast we have Part 2 of our Winter Rose Tales. These tales feature the gardeners, their garden, and what they do to care for their roses in winter. Regardless of where you grow roses, I am sure you will enjoy each of these rose stories.   NATE FISHER Consulting Rosarian and current president of Lehigh Rose Society and the most recent recipient of the ARS Rising Star award. (LINK)    MATT DOUGLAS Owner of High Country Roses (LINK)   JULIE ASHMAN Consulting Rosarian and past president of the RIchmond Rose Society (LINK)   DONNA MILAZZO Donna is a consulting rosarian and past president of Saddleback Rose Society (LINK) 2023 PODCAST IDEAS… We are currently scheduling 2023 podcasts. Is there a subject you'd like for us to cover or someone you would like for us to interview? If so, please send us an email at RoseChatPodcast@gmail.com.    ROSE CHAT TEAM:   Executive Producer & On-Air Personality: Chris VanCleave – www.RedneckRosarian.com 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 – www.TheGardenDiary.com 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: http://bit.ly/subscribeROSE   VISIT OUR SPONSOR: Haven Brand Soil Conditionershttp://www.ManureTea.com/sho  
  1. WINTER ROSE TALES PART 2
  2. WINTER ROSE TALES: Part 1
  3. UPDATE FROM STAR ROSES & PLANTS
  4. Roses & RRD … What’s New?
  5. PROFILE OF A GARDENER – Teri Speight

Yes, May Madness is upon us! The garden is filled with excitement. So many roses are budded up and will pop soon! FIREWORKS AND FRAGRANCE to be continued. 

In this time of gardening from a fire hose…. the scripture Psalm 46:10, Be still and know that I am God…. is something I need more than ever. He is the creator of all this beauty we see and I am grateful. 

Have a wonderful week in your garden and I hope you have time to just be… 

BLOOM THYME FRIDAY: SOWING, BOOKS, AND A GIVEAWAY

Winter sowing has finally begun. Probably, like you, February is a month where my plans for the garden and the reality of summertime and energy clash.

Starting seeds inside under grow lights is extremely fun for me but, there is a lot of time between start to finish on that process and the end of that process gets a little tricky and requires the gardener to be very engaged.

So, in comes winter sowing! Seriously, it is a very easy and economical way to get a ton of seedlings up and ready for planting with minimal work for the gardener. Last year was the first time I tried it although so many of my fellow master gardeners raved about the process! At first, I was concerned that my garden would look “unsightly” with all those water jugs strewn about. But this year I am embracing the milk jug garden art even more than last year. Every time I see them I am giddy with anticipation of what is to come. If you’d like to know more about the Winter Sowing Method and what I did last year, read on here.

My cutting garden is the main focus of winter sowing. The cutting garden is a raised bed directly behind the herb garden that will be home to the dahlias I chatted about last week. In my “winter gardener’s dream state,” I see hundreds and hundreds of blooms to pick! Oh, did I forget to mention the zinnias? Well, I think they are getting a new space so there’s more room for them to be their best selves. 

IN THE WATER JUGS ARE…

  • Lavender
  • Bachelor Buttons
  • Candytuft
  • Delphinium
  • Daucus
  • Scabiosa
  • Verbena
  • Orlaya 
  • Nicotiana
  • Larkspur
  • Phacelia
  • Poppies
  • Foxgloves

If these all do well, I’ll have enough for the cutting garden and to add to the borders! A bit later in the season, I am going to try sowing tomatoes using this method. 

Potting day process looks like this…

In other potting shed news, the basil and Lisianthus seeds are up and looking sooo sooo cute. 

REALITY CHECK: CRITTERS (or varmints as my dad would say)

We’ve talked about how all the critters from miles around showed up to have lunch – regularly. I have Mr. G working on some sort of easy to move around fencing so that my babies will have a better chance of survival against the cats, groundhogs, raccoons, o’possums, rabbits and deer. Yes, our critter cam caught all of them munching on my babies last year or in the case of the cats … having way too much fun scratching around – if you know what I mean. 😏

I also purchased several mesh wire wastebaskets (Link) to use as cloches for protecting small plants. I know my parsley will need extra help and the Daucus. Everyone loves anything in the carrot family!

BOOKS AND GARDENING

This quote says, “if you have a garden and library you have everything you need”. Well, that is isn’t quite true for me, however, books are a huge part of my gardening experience. 

In January I pull out some of my favorite books where the author takes a month-by-month approach. The best one is Rosemary Verey’s, A Country Woman’s Year. When I read her words, I am transformed to her time and place. And want to be where she is and meet who she meets and see what she sees.

Rosesmary’s words from “FEBRUARY”…

Philip Miller, gardener to the Worshipful Company of Apothecaries at the Botanic Garden at Chelsea, wrote in 1732 that December was the darkest month of the whole year. Adding up the hours of darkness I am sure he must be right but for me February is the most dreary month. We are almost at the end of the tunnel and perhaps it is the accumulation of dark days that do their best to get me down. Luckily they do not succeed as there are wonderful promises to come. Yesterday as I drove down Welch Way, a 200 year old lane near our village, I got out of my car to examine the nut trees. They grow on each side of the lane making a wonderful canopy, joining hands in the middle. At night, headlights full on, you feel as though you are driving through a magic tunnel.


Okay, who wants to join me for a trip to see the nut trees? 


Another author who has the ability to transform me with her words is Christie Purifoy

GARDEN MAKER … Growing a Life of Beauty & Wonder with Flowers

I liken her new book to walking at daybreak in the morning fog, coffee in hand to take in all the nuances of the quiet garden. Few things are more enchanting to me than foggy mornings. Christie’s book is filled with all the feels of an enchanting morning stroll with a friend where there’s endless time for garden talk.

BOOK GIVEAWAY

Garden friends, I would love to give one of you a copy of Christie’s book. Actually, I’d like to give all of you a copy but of course, I can’t do that. All you have to do to be added to the drawing is leave a comment below and share a favorite garden book. Deadline March 1. (US addresses only.)

A SNEAK PEEK INSIDE…

Friends, have a wonderful week, and don’t forget to leave a comment about your favorite book! Happy Valentine’s Day.

BLOOM THYME FRIDAY: FALLING INTO FALL

I am always late to the fall party … spend too much time pouting about the end of the growing season. But, I do eventually get there! And usually, it is just in time for the first snow which we had this week. Fresh snowfall refreshes the soul and makes everything look enchanting.

FALL WORK

When the sun is shining and I’m in the garden I forget what’s to come and just enjoy being there. There’s much to do. I am now on day three of trimming roses. It takes a while because I can never stay on one task. I am a garden project hopper.

I am also adding sulfur to the beds. A soil test revealed my pH was high and it was recommended I add sulfur. The lab I used for the soil test was A & L Great Lakes Labs. LINK HERE

The final fall task will be to rake up debris from some of the beds and add a layer of shredded leaves which we have in abundance this year thanks to our neighbor who is treating all the neighbors on our street by “mowing” and shredding the leaves from their yards! So, they are literally being shredded and bagged for me! So grateful as typically we have to buy mulch!

BULB PLANTING

I love bulbs and have quite a few but I try to resist planting too many as the foliage they leave behind for such a long, long, long time tends to get in the way of the beauty of my spring “fireworks and fragrance” stage when the old garden roses start doing their thing! They take center stage and the bulbs get a nip in their life cycle if you know what I mean.

This year it was harder than ever to resist buying hundreds of bulbs I can tell you! I am following several people on Instagram that are naturalizing bulbs and they made it so tempting.

But I stayed fairly strong and only planted a few additional bulbs. It was great to get them in the ground and dream of when they will emerge doing their very popular jobs — adding beauty to the end of winter and shouting to the world that spring is coming! For the first time, I also planted a few bulbs in a container on the patio to see how well they will do. 

FALL FOOD

One of the very best things about fall is fall food. It is synonymous with comfort food. So far we have had several favorites… Zuppa Toscana, Chicken Pot Pie, and Chicken Noodle Soup! What food says fall to you?

I also made several batches of caramel dip to share. It is way too good to keep around too long so it must be shared! If you are interested, you can find the recipe HERE.  The next treat to share will be Grandma B’s Fruit Cake Cookies. I know. I know. You’re thinking you wouldn’t like them but I’m telling you, they are not only traditional, they are good! Especially if you add extra coconut! Go ahead, give them a try. Recipe HERE

BLOOM THYME

Let’s talk about my orchid!

I have tried orchids several times in the past and while I enjoy them so much, I could never get a robust rebloom. That story has now changed. At the Awards Banquet for the Indianapolis Rose Society in December  2019, I was given a lovely orchid as a gift for serving as President. 

This year the beautiful orchid came back to life in January sending up 2 strong bloom “spikes.” By February it was blooming and it finished blooming in August! It was glorious! Now it is going again!

In this picture taken yesterday, you can see that the Amaryllis is clearly saying “this is my time to shine” and the Orchid is clearly saying “hold my beer.”  😳😆 They both will be bringing me immense pleasure very soon!

February
July

Want to know my orchid secret? I have a good friend who is a master at growing orchids. The most amazing orchids I have ever seen. He gave me some simple advice and that is what I do. Water every week with soluble orchid fertilizer. Amount? One jigger full of the fertilized water. It works.


BACK TO THE BANQUET

Here are a few pictures from that Indianapolis Rose Society Banquet. Such a beautiful evening together with rose friends. Little did we know how different things would be in a few short months and it would be the last of such events for a good long while.  I so look forward to having them again.

LATEST PODCAST

Last week I chatted with Carrie and Joe Bergs about winter rose care where it gets very cold but we talked about so much MORE than just winter rose care. We talked about roses they love, their hobby of exhibiting roses, mentoring others in their area, and the work they are doing for local societies and the American Rose Society. Joe and Carrie enjoy every aspect of growing roses – a lovely rose power couple. LISTEN HERE