BLOOM THYME FRIDAY: Navigating July

As usual July is pulling out all its tricks…

  • Throwing out the welcome mat for Japanese Beetles.
  • Putting us on the heat index map.
  • And, this year being ever so skimpy with rain.

It’s hard to complain as the drought seems to keep the JBs from overtaking as quickly as they sometimes do. It’s a bit harder to “emerge” out of parched ground.

Today we are getting our first real rain in 4 weeks. I actually walked outside to see the plants celebrate. Guess who else was celebrating… you guessed it, the Japanese Beetles. Their entrance into their best life has been made much easier and they were everywhere. I picked a bunch of flowers while it was raining as I wasn’t sure there would be any good ones left when the rain stopped. You know with the JB celebration and all.

Another upside of this glorious rain, I have more time. This morning Mr. G asked me what I was going to do with all the time that I usually spend each day watering! It’s a large garden and we do not have a watering system. I do love to hand water but this weather has put that to the test. I have become one with my Dramm. By the way I think the Dramm rain wand is the best watering device EVER. Gentle deluge for the plants and one that is very calming for me too! I love it so much that I gave Mr. G one for Father’s Day to use on his tomatoes. He loves it!

ROSE CHAT PODCAST

Set to release this Sunday (July 10) is an interview I did with Kimberley, the Rose Geek. Be on the look out. It was great to hear her rose story.

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

NEW BOOK

Look what just came in the mail. One of my favorite rosarians of all time, Michael Marriott has written a book. If you aren’t familiar with Michael, he spent the last 25 years as the head garden designer and rose expert for David Austin Roses. He is also well known for his expertise in rose fragrance!

At first look it is beautiful and starts off with a bang … the first chapter is “The Romance of the Rose” and moves quickly to the subject of rose fragrance with the “The Magic of Scent”. I can’t wait to fully dive in!  If you’d like a copy, you can find it on Amazon here.

An inspirational guide to choosing and growing the best roses!

Below are links to two of the most recent podcasts I did with Michael. In both, he shares amazing information!

ROSES IN EVERY SEASON ..

https://rosechat.podbean.com/e/roses-in-every-season/

COMPANION PLANTING…

https://rosechat.podbean.com/e/companion-planting-for-roses-michael-marriott/

BLOOM THYME THIS WEEK

Even with all the horrible heat and drought so many plants just keep going! I do water but only a small percentage gets any regular watering. Most just have to make it on their own.

There is a question I ask myself every July… Why didn’t I plant sunflowers? I love them but just don’t seem to have a place for them. I’m not big on bright yellow but who can resist sunflowers. Maybe next year. 🌻🌻🌻

July does give us ups and downs, but it also gives us enough heat to get the dahlias going… big plus!

Featured Dahlia … Creme de Cognac from Longfield Gardens.

Thanks for stopping by! 💐

BLOOM THYME FRIDAY: I can see clearly now…

I can see clearly now that the rain has gone! 


Sounds like a song! HA! But, it’s true. ☀️ The sun is out and the garden is drying – although we still have some soggy areas. It is great to be in the garden every day again. And I’m seeing so clearly that I am launching into a new project. Since most of the garden “rooms” are doing well, I am ready to tackle something that is in need of some help – total revamp of the herb garden. 


The rain damage and the horrible deer damage of that area has me totally rethinking that space. When I I was ready to start getting my ideas on paper, I went to find a book that I bought when I first designed the herb garden in 1989. I bought this little book on a date with Mr. G. He knew how much I loved Smith and Hawkins (anyone remember Smith and Hawkins?). S & H was an upscale garden center in our area that had a profound effect on my garden life! You saw the best of everything there — plants, tools, garden shed supplies, and books. When I opened HERB by Jane Courtier it brought back so many memories. I even found a note I had left there. Once again I was inspired! FUN STUFF.


I enjoy the herb garden so very much. It was my first real garden “room.” Truly one of my happy places. Herb gardens smell so very good and are packed with memories. There are the thanksgiving smells (sage and thyme), Italian feast smells (oregano, basil, and chives), fragrant drink makers (lemon verbena, mint, chamomile), along with lavender and roses (yes roses are herbs too). So, so many. Through the years I have packed that space with bits of everything. As I work through this process, I am doing things so differently. I don’t need as much as I once did, I now have a flower cutting garden so I don’t need to pack it with flowers (although it will be hard not to). 


I am literally gutting the space. Most of the roses have been moved. Flowers moved, some tired, leggy perennial herbs have been removed and new fresh plants purchased. Mr. G says he’s in to make short raised beds. So I am off to the races!


While I lose planting space, having small raised beds gives me options I don’t have now – like easier winter protection. Hopefully, easier protection from deer too. And, new spaces to plan and plot! YES!!


As of now, there will be 4) 4’X4′ raised beds with walking paths around each. Two roses that are staying in place are (Moje Hammarberg on one front corner and Celsiana on the other). I am keeping the birdbath where it is now (in the middle). For now, I will use mulch for the paths around the boxes. I am undecided as to what the entrance path will be. What do you think? In the past, I have used flagstones and most recently round stone pavers. 


The emotional side… This is an exceptionally great picture of the herb garden from a few years ago on a perfect day when everything looked… well just about perfect. I think I won’t look at this picture much for a while! 😳😢 Instead I will think about how it looked with water and deer damage. Onward I go to this new thing! Wish me luck!

BLOOM THYME

The ugly side of things is that when the rain stopped the Japanese Beetles came from miles around. 

Luckily, there are still pretty summer blooms that we are enjoying. 

Wishing you blue skies and bright, bright sunshiny days! 🎶 🎶 

BLOOM THYME FRIDAY: Dirty Work, Surprises and My Real Garden

Garden cleanup is dirty work. Snatching leaves and debris from the base of roses has its price! That is one of the reasons why rose growers always push regular tetanus shots! I have unearthed so much… leaves from trees we don’t grow and trash from items we don’t use. Oh, those windy days! I also found damage from the marauding deer.  Some things I can fix with an easy prune – and all will be forgiven — if they don’t return! We keep spraying with Liquid Fence and it seems to be working. But, I did see hoof prints in the veriest back where many of the old roses are. Please don’t munch there!!! I want blooms! 

Loving these cleanup bags!

Yes, the work is dirty but I love it. As I weave in and out of the “needy” garden beds, like every spring, I am overcome with gratitude that I have the pleasure to tend this garden… a garden that started as a blank slate more than 30 years ago.

Spring cleanup gives me the opportunity to be up close and personal with each plant, checking them out and getting them ready for their 2021 debut. I also had a couple of big surprises…

BIG SURPRISE #1:

Sweet Peas that wintered over! That is a first for me! Those were the sweet peas that bloomed right up to frost last year! They are conveniently growing right where I decided to put my teepee this year.

BIG SURPRISE #2:

It is March and some of my roses have leaves. Very early. This time of year we usually spray a dormant oil — we better hurry! Praying Mother Nature is kind. Remember the horrible freeze we had on May 7, 2020, and we were out covering everything we could! My lilies and peonies never recovered! And the Sargent Crab’s blooms were stopped in their tracks. Most of the roses were covered and did fine.

SPRING PRETTIES

SWEET PEAS

Sweet peas are soaking today and will be planted tomorrow when the rain stops. So many pretty varieties! EXCITING.

MY REAL GARDEN

Just when I was pining for my family in England and the world’s connection was slipping through our fingers, up pops Ann-Marie Powell, a spunky, people-loving, UK garden designer and author into my garden world. 

On March 28, 2020 at 12:30 pm UK (7:30 am for me 😳). Ann-Marie made the decision to do something new – start lunchtime daily IG live feeds from her REAL GARDEN. A garden that her busy lifestyle before COVID lockdown left little time for and had become somewhat of a construction site due to a recent home reno. So, as she plotted and planned to refresh her REAL GARDEN, she invited others on the journey to a real garden experience. She even invited others to share their REAL GARDENS and go live with her and they did! The MY REAL GARDEN account grew to nearly 20K in 2020.

On April 1, I started going on the journey too. I tuned in enough to feel like I know Ann-Marie’s garden almost as well as I know my own! I have been on REAL GARDEN garden tours via IG live all over the world. Going behind the gate and seeing the good, the bad, and the “I need help areas.” As we all know, there is nothing like REAL moments to connect people! And for gardeners … sharing those experiences with other gardeners is mecca! It was a wonderful way to connect during COVID.

Midway through the year, Ann-Marie had the idea to do a book about the MY REAL GARDEN PROJECT and asked us to submit pictures, tips, stories, and info about our garden – all of us! 

This week the MY REAL GARDEN book launched and yes I am in there. I haven’t received my copy but am so excited to see it. The book is a representation of everyone in some way. The proceeds from the book are going to Greenfingers, a charity close to Ann-Marie’s heart — an amazing UK charity dedicated to supporting children who spend time in hospices around the UK, along with their families, by creating inspiring gardens for them to relax in and benefit from. Don’t you absolutely love that!!! More here

This experience was unique and special in so many ways. Often I got on the maps app to see where people sharing their gardens were located in conjunction to where my family lives and I felt the world shrink. 

You can join too on Instagram. I think the book will be for sale on the website …  visit here.  

BIG CHEERS AND THANK YOUS to Ann-Marie for her ingenuity, creativity, and being the architect for this community where we encouraged each other to bloom right where we were planted – during a most difficult year.
🥂🎉🥂🎉🥂🎉🥂

FIRST DAY OF SPRING

On the first day of spring, we shopped for shrubs and a few spring flowers and headed home with a full SUV! Happy days are here again! Robin Williams is quoted as having said, Spring is nature’s way of saying let’s party!  I couldn’t agree more!!   🌷🥂🌷


Friends, party on! 🌱🎉🌱🎉🌱

BLOOM THYME FRIDAY: PLANS & PROJECTS

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The deep snow is melting and there are signs of spring everywhere. One of my favorite things to watch for are violas I planted in years past that pop up and show color even in winter! Took this picture yesterday … icy but still showing color! #lovethespirit 

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We have survived the long, lonely winter with home projects, cleaning out drawers and closets, going through “collections” and doing a bit of sprucing up. This week a simple reorganizing of the guest room closet (which is very small) turned into a full blown project of painting and moving shelving. 

Now it is time to get “full blown” into garden readiness. So more time in the potting shed it is. Time in the potting shed is good for the plants but it is OH SO good for the gardener. That tiny space and those projects bring immense joy.  I think most, if not all of that joyful feeling comes from dirt… touching it and smelling it. Yes, dirt is quite magical! Are you with me? 

First thing was to “pot up” the scented geranium cuttings I took last July. They have gotten huge. Last year I had several different varieties but decided to only winter over two since I have winter space issues — Attar of Rose and Rober’s Lemon Rose.

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WINTER SOWING

Next was to try my hand at winter sowing in milk jugs that we talked about a few weeks ago. Read about that here. 
In the cartons are ….. 

  • Larkspur
  • Sweet Willian
  • Ammi: Dara
  • Lavender
  • Delphinium

Starting slow… if this works for me, I can see doing a ton of them next year!

Mr. G is more than ready to start his outdoor projects which include removing a sick crabapple tree and “pruning” two 25+ year old honey locust trees. We still can’t believe how small they were when we planted them – they are huge now. So while he waits, he is being a rock star on “honey do” projects, building birdhouses, and coming up with ways we can discourage the deer who are becoming way tooooooo comfortable in our garden. We are using DEER NO NO from Gardener’s Supply and spraying with Liquid Fence. We are hoping that now that the snow is clearing maybe our repellents will be more effective! If you have ideas on “discouraging” deer, please let us know. They really MUST move on if we are to have a garden this year! These pictures are taken right out our back door and they are here most every night. 😩

GREAT READ… 

An article from New York Times column, In the Garden with Margaret Roach – The Smart Way to Grow Roses.

In this article Margaret shares many tips on rose selection and quotes from noted rosarian, former curator of the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden in NYC, and gifted author Peter Kukeilski. Peter is a lovely person and the author of one of my favorite books to recommend, Roses Without Chemicals. He has a new book out, Rosa, that is on my list.

LATEST PODCAST…

I had the pleasure of chatting with Rebecca Koraytum of David Austin Roses last week. On the show, Rebecca brings us up to date on how things are going at David Austin Roses since the pandemic and talks about their new roses. She also shares her insights on emerging rose trends and gives us a verbal peek inside her personal rose garden! Listen Here.

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More and more people are getting their vaccines giving us more and more hope of a world that will begin to open! First on our list of course will be getting to England! 

I hope signs of spring are all around you and that you are knee deep in plans and projects! 🌱🌱🌱🌱🌱