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

Carrie did a previous Rose Chat podcast, “My Favorite Pink Ladies” where she shares about her favorite old garden roses. Listen HERE

BEST PART OF FALL

It is almost time for the best part of fall … Thanksgiving! A time to count our blessings and enjoy special moments and yummy food with those we love. We’ve learned that holidays can look very different but I’m so impressed with how we have learned to find new ways to celebrate and share. Wishing you a very special week.

Friends, when I count my blessings, I certainly count you. It is wonderful to have a community of like-minded friends who share my love of gardening and roses. Thank you.

BLOOM THYME FRIDAY: October Glory

The rains have moved in and the temps are still warm so things are looking lush in the garden again and frost seems to be at least a few weeks out! The roses are at that “messy” stage that comes when you stop deadheading but hips are forming and I do love to see those. Other roses are still giving some beautiful blooms and I’m mixing them with snapdragons and dahlias… 

DAHLIAS

Let me tell you it is hard to go to England or watch Monty Don and crew on Gardener’s World and not fall in love with Dahlias.


This was my second year growing them and I am hooked. And, am spending a good bit of time looking for more. These beauties take late summer bloom thyme to the next level! Some of my dahlias struggled this year as they were in places without adequate sun. Seriously, I don’t know exactly where I am going to plant the new ones — but I’ll think of something – preferably a spot with more sun and there’s always containers!!


Here are my “gateway” dahlias. Most were bought in mixed packages at Lowe’s so I’m not sure of their names. I did plant the beloved Cafe Au Lait but it didn’t do very well for me — again sun was a factor I’m sure.

Click on an image to open the “gallery” feature for a better view.

Cafe au Lait

WINNERS

One of the regional rose trial programs in the US is the American Garden Rose Selections.  They recently released their 2022 winners. As we are planning for what we will grow next year, it is the perfect time to read about these beauties and where they grow best… HERE.

Congratulations to the winners!

Celestial Night
  • Celestial Night by Christian Bedard / Weeks
  • Easy on the Eyes by Tom Carruth / Weeks
  • Pink Freedom by Christian Bedard / Weeks
  • Pretty Polly Pink by David Zlesak / Star

LATEST ROSECHAT PODCAST

GROWING ROSES SUSTAINABLY with Pat Shanley, Past President of the American Rose Society. Pat has an amazing chemical-free garden and wonderful advice for growing roses sustainably! LISTEN HERE.

ME AND ETTA

I just learned that a photo that I took of Proven Winner’s beautiful rose ‘At Last’ (Song by Etta James) will be on the October page of the American Rose Society 2022 Calendar. I feel like with paper I am going full circle. I switched to online calendars a few years ago but I’m now back to paper! If you like paper calendars, this is a beautiful one. You can order them here

At Last

BLOOM THYME

Like it or not, fall is fully upon us. Things look different these days but if we look, we always find beauty – in life and in the garden…

The Generous Gardener

Friends, I hope your fall is going well. Mr. G and I already have a coffee bet on when the first snowfall will be. What do you think? ☕️🍂❄️

BLOOM THYME FRIDAY: That One Thing!

There is a post on social media these days that asks a question that it appears the whole world is answering…

WHAT IS ONE THING THAT MOST PEOPLE LIKE BUT YOU DON’T?

Here it comes. 

Fall. 

I don’t like fall. 

Before you judge me, know this… in the midwest, fall is beautiful but only about 4 minutes long and it ushers in winter. While I love a beautiful blanket of snow as well as the next person, beautiful snows are few and the cold, dark days of winter are plentiful. Another thing about winter here is that it does not know when to leave. It hangs on and on and on. #badform 🙄 

Note: Mr. G and I will be in line to get one of the first Pumpkin Spice Lattes! So cheers to that part of fall… 😉

July DOUBT

The “season” of JULY has some issues too.

Japanese Beetles come around the 3rd week of June. Add to that some intense heat and drought robbing us of many of our summer roses. Not the garden’s finest hour. As I wander in the garden in July, I ask myself deep questions 🙄 like … Why are you are a gardener? Do you really want to be a gardener? You know, the usual horrible weather conversations gardeners have with themselves. 

ATTITUDE

A few years ago someone sent me a card with the quote, AUTUMN IS THE SECOND SPRING. YESSSSSS. I loved that and it gave me the late summer attitude adjustment I needed.  While I don’t do things much differently than I did before, just thinking that I am getting my garden ready for the 2nd spring makes all the difference.


So what does summer care look like for me?  


In mid to late July, I start trimming back my reblooming roses (shrubs and hybrids – not old garden roses), give them their last dose of fertilizer (I most often use Mills Mix Easy Feed – a great tonic of organic and inorganic plant yumminess) AND last … (this is the best!) … clean up the fallen leaves around them and give them a fresh coat of mulch. Nothing says spring or beautiful garden like a fresh coat of mulch. It is just the best. I appreciate all the health benefits of mulch, but the pretty side of mulch is my favorite!   

NOTE: The 2nd Spring trim is not as low or “severe” as the 1st Spring! Remember that the lower you trim, the longer it takes for the blooms to return. When it comes to climbing roses, they are handled differently as well.

⬆️ Fresh mulch around one of the bulletproof roses in my garden – Petit Pink. No need to do the late pruning, it just keeps on going!


Yes, we are on our way – if the “spring” rains would start, all would be good as we wait on those amazing 2nd Spring rose blooms. 

FIRST FROST DATE

The predicted FIRST FROST DATE dictates much of our late summer/fall care. That date has been established as October 10 until recently I have seen that the USDA Hardiness Zone lists dates as somewhere between October 13 and 21. Good to checks things out for your Zone.


In Zone 5b we don’t fertilize beyond August and we stop deadheading roses in September as the roses need this time to go dormant before winter arrives. Pruning and deadheading our roses signal it’s time to bloom again and will leave them vulnerable to the cold.

ROSE COMPANIONS

Our roses don’t want to be alone! It’s good to have some pretty fall-blooming perennials, annuals, and shrubs that will complement the roses. 

In my late summer/fall garden… 


Shrubs that are beautiful this time of year are the Carpinteria (Bluebeard) that are just coming into their beautiful blue blooms and hydrangeas continue to be beautiful in the fall. 


Annuals that hold their own during this season are…  

  • Dusty Miller
  • Zinnias
  • Victoria
  • Blue salvia
  • Cleome
  • Diamond Frost euphorbia 
  • Cosmos 
  • Snapdragons (that were give a mid summer chop) 
  • Nasturtiums
  • Lantana
Tall Phlox and Snapdragons

Perennials that make a huge difference this time of year in my garden are…

  • Asters
  • Hyssop
  • Sage
  • Tall veronica
  • Sedums (both the ground cover sedums and the tall sedums)
  • A few Black eyed Susans make it this far


Sedums getting ready!

POTTING SHED PUTTERINGS

Finding foxgloves locally especially in the color I want is difficult to impossible. So last year I put some seeds in the ground and a few plants came up! This spring they grew so strong! They were the best foxgloves I had ever had – strong stems that bloomed for a very long time. 


So this year I decided to do everything possible to ensure we have foxgloves next year. I’ve tossed seeds in the garden. I’ve started seeds inside to get little plants. They are hardening off now. I even put a few of the little seedlings directly in the ground a few weeks ago without hardening them off and so far they are doing great. Also hoping some of this year’s foxgloves will self-seed, but so far I don’t see any evidence of that. 


Last year’s variety was Faerie Queen from Renee’s Garden and this year I am planting seeds I purchased in England – Mr. Fothergills’s Alba. 


Regardless of what happens, I love the process…

ROSE CHAT PODCAST

THE DIRT ON SOIL with GAYE HAMMOND


In the most recent episode, I chat with a great friend, Gaye Hammond, to get all the dirt on soil! Grab your pencil and paper because we’re going to class.  


Gaye takes us on a deep dive into the importance of good soil, moves into soil testing and pH, gives us up-to-the-minute research-based info on fertilizers, and ends with the importance of mulch – and it’s not just for “pretty!”


Gaye is an outstanding resource for all gardeners, especially those who grow roses. LISTEN HERE.

NOTE: On the podcast, the products to use for raising and lowering pH were reversed… Use Limestone to raise pH and use sulfur to lower. Personally, my pH is a bit high and I have bags of sulfur to use this fall.

BLOOM THYME THIS WEEK

SEASONS

Regardless of the season outside, our world is in a difficult season. Once again gardening has become more therapeutic than ever and my garden has become my prayer closet.


Take care friends. 😘

Bloom Thyme Friday: It’s a Jungle Out There 🐒

Yes, the garden has become a soggy jungle. 🐒 My apologies to those of you who are experiencing drought, I do pray rain is coming soon for you. But my garden is drenched. With almost daily rain and a healthy bunch of storms, pathways have flooded, large tree limbs are broken and much of the garden has standing water. Mr. G’s grassy areas are a mess.😞  Today we are getting sunshine (and steam) so I ventured out for a look-see. Sad. Broken plants, mulch has moved on to the neighbors garden, everything is just icky and in need of a good cleanup. I hate wet and icky. Good for us we almost always have a few bags of what I call “emergency mulch.” 

THYME OUT FUN

It’s not all gloomy! One dry afternoon I spent some time in THYME OUT (my outside potting area) and had a blast trimming up some of my small topiaries. It is great therapy! This outside girl is going to need more than “topiary therapy” if we don’t get some regular sunshine. There has been way to much inside time. I learned years ago, I am solar powered!! ☀️

One of my two little lavender topiaries I started from cuttings.
A new one to add to the collection.
There are a few others peppered around the garden.

LATEST ROSE CHAT PODCAST 

Recently I had the pleasure of chatting with Dr. Malcolm Manners about his work with Rose Mosaic Virus, work in the rose district in Harlem and so much more! Once you listen to this podcast you’ll know why he was named Great Rosarian of the World in 2013.  Listen here.

COMING SOON: We are currently working on a new series called ASK THE EXPERTS.

Subjects we are tackling are:

  • GROWING ROSES SUSTAINABLY: Pat Shanley
  • DESIGNING A ROSE GARDEN: Carolyn Parker
  • GROWING YOUR ROSE SOCIETY: Ron Daniels
  • ALL ABOUT SOIL: Gaye Hammond

If you have questions for any of our experts, please send them to me via email HERE.

ARS GREEN THUMB WEBINAR

The American Rose Society has been doing a series of Green Thumb webinars. All of them have been great but I am particularly excited about this one!

TOPIC: Going the Distance

PRESENTER: Will Radler (Father of the Knock Out rose)

DATE: Sat, July 24, 1:00 – 3:00 pm (Central Time)

$10 (Non aRS Members)

FREE For ars members (use THE MEMBER CODE in email FROM ARS)

 REGISTER HERE 

ABOUT THE WEBINAR…

Take a ringside seat and enjoy the inspirational tale of The Knock Out Rose® as told by its creator, Will Radler.  One might expect that the world’s best-selling rose was conceived in a laboratory under the direction of a seasoned rose breeder holding many horticultural degrees. Instead, a nine-year-old with two quarters in his pocket changed the rose industry forever. Radler shares a blow-by-blow account of his journey from fringe contender to international champ. The behind-the-scenes details will both amaze and inspire you. Making it to the main event is one thing. Sustaining is another. Radler, with his unconventional methods, is certainly doing something right with 50 plant patents to his name. Fast forward to 2021. Modern day rose breeding has evolved dramatically. Going toe-to-toe in today’s industry presents both opportunities and challenges. Learn an insider’s perspective of the state of the revitalized industry.

Webinar Topics Include: 

  • The Rose Industry Today
  • Marketing Challenges
  • Competition
  • Diseases (and perception of diseases)
  • Breeding Priorities
  • IPM (Integrated Pest Management)

BLOOM THYME 

Not everything has been beaten down by the rain and storms! Some plants are letting their light shine and making me smile.

 

Stargazers
Daisies don’t tell and they don’t let the storms bother them.
Trust me … it looks better from a distance. 😳

BETTER WEATHER AHEAD

Well, it looks like better weather is coming soon – after a bit more stormy weather. Fingers crossed.

Thanks for stopping by.

Bloom Thyme Friday: Roses for You!

If you read the Springhill article in last week’s Bloom Thyme Friday, you know that roses are planted more than any other plant. It was fun to read the favorites for each state. LINK  

GARDEN ROSES

You hear a lot about types of roses and there are many: hybrid teas, grandifloras, noisettes, polyanthas, old garden roses – just to name a few! I believe all of them are beautiful and have their place. I especially love old garden roses and will even give some room to a diva or two. However, most of the roses in my garden are ones I simply call “garden” or shrub roses. Even though my garden is large, it is a cottage garden and is home to all kinds of shrubs, perennials, herbs, veggies, annuals, and roses! So I want roses that work well with the other plants, aren’t difficult to care for and are great for cutting and sharing! Note: I have about 175 roses tucked around all those other plants!

FRAGRANT GARDEN ROSES

Contrary to what you might have heard, there are easy care shrub roses with fragrance.

Here are a few of the fragrant ones in my garden…

SAVANNAH: Large vigorous shrub with large full blooms filled with deep rose fragrance. A standout in the garden!

Savannah

MOTHER OF PEARL: A fabulous bloomer with gorgeous peachy pink blooms. Light sweet fragrance. I keep adding more! I think I’m up to eight of these! They pair very well with white lilies in the garden.

Mother of Pearl

QUIETNESS: Such a pretty soft pink bloom with medium rose fragrance. Delicate looking blooms on a sturdy shrub.

Quietness

MUSIC BOX: Small hybrid tea type blooms on a large, blooming machine. Light rose fragrance. Confession time: I have 9 of these roses. They look so pretty in the garden and last well in a vase! (Easy Elegance Collection)

Vase of Music Box roses

CHAMPAGNE WISHES: Rich creamy white blooms with an ivory center on a medium-sized shrub. Sweet fragrance.  (Easy Elegance Collection)

Champagne Wishes
Champagne Wishes

AT LAST: Great bloomer, lovely petals, with ruffled edging and the orange/peachy color is divine and right on point with today’s color preferences. This one has a wonderful medium to strong fragrance. Proven Winners has a real winner in this rose!

At Last

THE GENEROUS GARDENER (David Austin Climber): A well-behaved climber – about 8′ – 9′ in my garden. The blooms are large and open beautifully. A lovely old rose/myrrh fragrance.

The Generous Gardener

EARTH ANGEL: This one is relatively new in my garden and has taken a while to become her best self. Now in her 3rd year, I can say that I need at least one more! Beautiful, fragrant and few roses match her in beauty and charm!

Earth Angel

SPEAKING OF FRAGRANCE

We know that fragrance is very subjective and this is truly a subject where there is much more than meets the eye… errr nose. 


Recently I had the chance to have the delightful Rebecca Koraytum of David Austin Roses as a guest on the Rose Chat Podcast. She gave a lot of insight on “THE FRAGRANCE OF ROSES.” You can listen here

GARDEN ROSES WITHOUT FRAGRANCE

This list of roses is beautiful in the garden and wonderful in a bokay – however in most cases, these don’t have fragrance. I don’t let that stand in my way and still consider them very valuable. Fragrance can be added with lavender, lilies, mint, lemon balm, and a bevy of other herbs and flowers. Just like gardeners who grow them, roses grow best with good companions. 

THE FAUN: A blooming machine with gorgeous blooms all summer long. Sometimes I get a hint of fragrance with this one. The cupped blooms on this one look very old fashioned but this one was released in Denmark in 1983.

PETIT PINK: Covered all summer with the sweetest sweetheart blooms. Lasts and lasts in a vase and dries very well for dried arrangements!

Petit Pink

POMPONELLA: Large shrub with arching canes of beautiful clusters of blooms. Just so pretty and a mild fragrance.

POSEIDON: Full blooms in a wonderful lavender color. The petals have beautiful ruffled edges.

Pomponella, Posiedon, and Earth Angel are Kordes roses. I find that Kordes roses do very well in my garden (Zone 5b) and there are many on the market. Note: More than 30 years ago the Kordes Company (Germany) made the unpopular business decision to stop spraying their rose fields. The result was that they were way ahead in the sustainable rose department.

THE FUTURE IS BRIGHT

Friends, these lists are just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many great garden roses today and more on the way! Yes, we’ve come a long way from when that first Kock Out rose was released. Letting the world know that roses truly could be grown without chemicals and realizing that is exactly what many gardeners are looking for! Today many dedicated hybridizers are committed to bringing beautiful and sustainable roses to our gardens. I have the pleasure of testing the new roses from time to time and I can tell you, the future is bright.

There are rose trials going on constantly and awards being given to outstanding garden performers each year. Much of this is done regionally and that takes “finding the right rose for the right place” to the next level!

My good friend Dr. David Zlesak works closely with the ARTS trials (American Rose Trials for Sustainability). Each year they release more regional winners. Take a look at their website here.  Dr. David joined me to chat about the ARTS program on Rose Chat a few months back. You can listen here.

EASY ELEGANCE COLLECTION

Most of the roses in the Easy Elegance (Link) collection I would recommend. Another line to be looking for is the True Bloom (Link) collection. Easy Elegance roses are available at most Lowes and as the True Bloom plant inventory is built, they will be sold at Lowes and Home Depot. Currently, they are mostly found on the west and east coasts.

WHERE TO BUY

I have also been getting a lot of questions about where I buy my roses. While I buy local when I can, these roses can be tricky to find in my neck of the woods, so I look to online sources. Here’s a list of suppliers with a link to their websites. Take a look around, these websites have loads of information…


High Country Gardens (Link)

Heirloom Roses (Link)

Roses Unlimited (Link)

Antique Rose Emporium (Link)

Palatine Roses (Link)   

David Austin Roses  (Link)

Chamblee Roses (Link)

Jackson and Perkins (Link)

TRUTH BE TOLD

Truth be told — no plant is NO CARE. Even the Garden of Eden has its “issues.” Each garden has its own variation of soils, climates, and disease/pest pressure. There are many bugs and diseases that can “love” your plants too. Fortunately, by regularly spending time with our plants to not only enjoy them but also to see what’s going on, we can keep them from being loved to death by pests. 😉

Until next time, here are The Generous Gardener, Quietness and Music Box working together…

Bloom Thyme Friday: Hellebores, Bangs and Saying Goodbye

Hellebores . . .

The garden centers and even Trader Joe’s have the most beautiful Hellebores right now! While I have several, I was very tempted to buy a deep red one I saw this week. 

Hellebores —  also called Christmas rose or Lenten rose  aren’t in the rose family. Actually they are closely related to buttercups and anemones! These shade loving, low-maintenance and deer-resistant elegant beauties add so much to the spring garden.  

This week my hellebores were a mess. Last year’s scraggly foliage was everywhere, hiding all the beautiful buds.

While grooming the hellebores I kept thinking of conversations with my mom…. back in the day when I thought long bangs were very fashionable. Many times I heard, “Your bangs are too long, I can’t see your face.” 😂 I rarely liked the trim my bangs would then get!!  I hope the hellebores like their new “do”. 💇🏼‍♀️ It was severe but I think they look very fashionable and the blooms will soon steal the show! They are on course to bloom right on time for Easter.  For more on Hellebores, hop over to the Missouri Botanical Garden site here. NOTE: All parts of Hellebores are poisonous so be careful in handling! I wear gloves.

SAYING GOODBYE . . .

Big stuff in the garden this week…. saying goodbye to 25 year old sickly crabapple. 🥺 This day has been coming for some time as it became more sickly with apple scab the last few years. The last few springs we had a couple of weeks of pretty blooms and when the blooms came down, the leaves starting peppering down with them and continued to fall. For 90% of the season it looked sickly. We have friends who treated their crab apple tree for scab several times but saw no improvement so we decided to just remove the tree. We have other crab apple trees that are doing well. 


It was impressive the way Mr. G wrangled that tree! He was on his own for the cutting but I jumped in for the cleanup. Needless to say, we both slept well that night!

I know the roses planted in that area are celebrating as they will now get more light and water — and some pretty new neighbors. I had a moment of sadness but quickly said my goodbye and was lost in the possibilities!! More space! More sun! More plants! Today I’m out with pencil, paper and measuring tape. #newplan  

Happy News . . .

Snowdrops are blooming making me very happy. Until recently I was happy to watch for the snowdrops to bloom in the woods near us and enjoy them there. However, you can’t visit England, watch Monty Don on Gardener’s World for two years,  and not fall completely in love with snow drops. So sweet and simple and beautiful. A perfect spring flower. The Victorian flower dictionaries list the Snow Drop meaning as “hope”. I can see why. It blooms so early — sometimes pushing the snow out of the way to make it’s entrance at the end of winter giving us just what we need the most — Hope!

I bought my snow drops at Brent and Becky’s. The variety is Galanthus elwesii Mount Everest. They are sooooo cute. 

My first little babies
Snowdrops in the woods this week.

No one celebrates the arrival of snow drops like those in the UK. It is easy to be drawn into the excitement with all the  “snow drop sighting reports” from UK friends and family.  

That smile … he’s enjoying the snowdrops too.

Crocus are popping up all over the place and the bees are thrilled.

NEW BOOK I’M LOVING . . .

A Year at Brandywine Cottage by David L. Culp

I was first introduced to Brandywine Cottage in David Culp’s book The Layered Garden so I couldn’t wait to have A Year in Brandywine Cottage.


Whether you have read the first book or not, this book is one to sink into. Every page takes you on a walk through David’s amazing garden and gives you something beautiful to take away … a tip, an idea, a plant or a recipe. Seriously a dandelion salad never looked so good as the one featured on Page 54. Each step of the way you are encouraged to “look closer.” Every page celebrates the garden and the gardener and as you go on a journey through all seasons, you not only feel privileged to have this inside look at David’s garden life but you are also inspired to “look closer” at the world around you and live your best gardening life too. 

LOOKING BACK TO GO FORWARD…

Our phone holds so much information and one of the best parts of that is the photographs we take. Part of my plans for the current spring are based on looking back at pictures of seasons past. When did it bloom? How did it look? What do I want to change?


I also go through the blog and read articles I’ve written as well as the journal I’ve kept of bloom times, varieties, etc.


With the dawn of a new decade – 2020 – I decided to keep a running list of daily happenings that included life and garden highlights and “lowlights” too. Little did I know just what I would be writing about.

I am now reading what I wrote in March and as I read, I can’t help but be stunned by the use of words that before 2020 were practically foreign to me. Words like….

  • Pandemic
  • Covid19
  • Self Quarantine
  • Cabin Fever
  • Travel Ban
  • Mask Mandates
  • 6′ apart
  • Uncertain Times / Unprecedented Times
  • 15 Days to Flatten the Curve
  • Toilet Paper Shortage

I don’t want to forget where we have been, but am so glad that now we are hearing much more positive and hopeful words… 

  • Vaccines
  • Herd immunity
  • And, a favorite new trend – more people gardening than ever before!

Yes, so many had more time to work in their gardens than ever before and many, many people found their way to making a garden for the first time! 


Now we are ALL gonna be heading to the garden centers — together! It’s a first come/first serve world — but no pushing or shoving  please. 😁  I’ve already heard from more than one source that we should expect shortages and no special orders! 

Friends, our wait is over … spring is officially upon us. Garden Centers and big box stores are gearing up for what looks to be a big gardening year!! Stay safe and have fun getting out there to find your prizes! And, love your neighbor as yourself even if they get the best tomato plants before you get there! 😂

BLOOM THYME FRIDAY: SUMMER VIBES

Wow. July has been so summery!☀️🔥☀️The sun is so bright and hot. The humidity is so high making it even hotter but I am not complaining. Really I’m not. I remember winter – those long, dark days that last forever and then some! 🥶 Yes, I want all the summer vibes summer has to give.
🌺☀️🍅🥤🌱🌹🍦🌼🍉🌻

BREAK IN THE WEATHER

We are getting a break in the weather. The weather app tells us that we are going from nearly 100 each day to mid-70s each day for a week or so. I can’t wait.

TREATING THE GARDENER

Recently, I made myself a “pretty” lunch to have in the garden. I know that sounds like really – you don’t do that regularly. Typically,  “pretty” lunches are reserved for when I have guests in the garden while I regularly eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on the run until it is time for my afternoon coffee at 3 pm. These days that coffee is ICED! The whole “pretty” lunch thing was made easier when I decided that I was making lunch for the “gardener.” And, I was. 😉😉

What a treat this very simple “pretty” meal that I prepared for “the gardener” was and it fueled my body and my senses for more creative work that afternoon. I know as gardeners we usually push through and “get more done.” I can tell you there will be more “pretty” lunches around here.

A few weeks ago I took a small bistro table from the deck to my new area THYME OUT in hopes of special dinners with Mr. G there. Since we aren’t going out to restaurants right now, I wanted to create a new “restaurant” space. I even bought a new table cloth! So far, it has been too hot outside to actually enjoy dinner there.  I’m hoping our break in the weather this week will give us that time. We still have other outdoor spaces to use but isn’t it nice to have someplace new to go! Especially since we are home so much! Now I am looking through the cabinets for just the right candles for the table!

BLOOM THYME

If you have been following along with me for a while you know I am growing dahlias for the first time and we have been waiting and watching to see what that “bag of mixed dahlias” would do.

While they are not in full bloom, they are coming along nicely. Making me know I want to grow them again and I want to be more selective in what tubers I buy for next year! Having a daughter in England makes you long for such flowers that seem to grow effortlessly there. In my zone dahlias are often NOT spectacular and have the added chore of being lifted and stored for the winter or you can grow them as annuals. If you want to see some spectacular dahlias for sale, hop over to Eden Brothers website here.

The JBs are still eating a few flowers but we have turned the corner and I am getting much more from the garden than they are! Leaving me plenty of bokay makers.

Dahlia

Dahlias

Dahlias

TOMATOES

We have so many tomatoes – but they are all still green! It’s even too hot for tomatoes! They will respond much better when the temps drop.

I am dreaming of our first BLT. I have pre-cooked bacon ready in the freezer and fresh mayo just waiting on fresh bread and ripe tomatoes. I have jars washed and am going through recipes for what I will do with the “more than we can eat” — if that happens.
(13 plants for 2 people😳🍅😱)

Thankfully, we had rain this week but as I look at the garden this morning, you wouldn’t know it. It literally seems to vanish into “thin air” …  most likely accounting for the extremely high humidity. Yes, we are looking forward to a “break” in that this weekend too.

TIME GOES BY SO FAST – even during a pandemic.

Hot or not with only 55 or so days until fall, I am going to squeeze out all the summer I can every day! While we are on the subject of time — it’s only 147 days until Christmas and then the start of a new year. We could have never predicted what 2020 would hold for us. 2021, what will you bring? Well, that’s a subject of much prayer.

Thanks for stopping by. Hope you have great weather this weekend as we head into August – and garden harvest time. Did someone say Zucchini Bread!?!

Summer vibes.

BLOOM THYME FRIDAY: NOTES, LISTS & BUCKETS

Tis’ the season to” take note”. I love notes and lists. Like Santa, I’ll be making lists and checking them twice. My lists will include plant winners, losers, and new ideas!

REDESIGN

One of the things that becomes so obvious this time of year is who has outgrown their space and needs dividing or who needs to be replaced. As well as, where the garden design may need a tweak. This is one of my favorite parts. I really have to hold myself back from letting my creative juices go too crazy and start tearing out too much. But, it’s hard as there are so many new plants and so many new ideas! Right?! Mr. G and “his look” will help keep me in check. 😉

I can tell you now that my tall Bright Eyes phlox have suffered this year with powdery mildew. It’s been so hot and so humid that it is no surprise! White Bright Eyes not only suffered she was engulfed to the point I cut her all the way back. So I need to rethink her prominence in one of my garden beds.

LABEL PROBS

You have heard me talk about my love for oriental lilies and how I went the extra effort to save them from the late freeze. Well, most of my effort was in vain — as I feared it would be. So, when I did leave the house for the first time … I headed to Lowes and quickly grabbed several things including several bags of lilies. Remember those weird, scary first times to be out this spring – masked, gloved with heads down. Regardless of the shopping trauma, I was thrilled to see my fav Casa Blanca lily bulbs and bought two bags. To date, ALL of them have bloomed deep pink. BUMMER. 

I have already placed an order for Casa Blanca lilies at Brent and Becky’s Bulbs – a much safer bet on getting what’s on the label I think. I have never had this happen before but this is a very different year!  

From last July…

Today … whoever she is, she’s pretty but kinda clashy with my apricot roses. 😏

BUCKETS

I don’t know about you but I love buckets, especially metal buckets! And, if you visit my garden you will see buckets strewn around in almost every garden bed. Sometimes visible and sometimes tucked away almost hidden. They are there for those times I go to the garden just to walk about and things need a trim. I ALWAYS take snips with me. LOL And, most ALWAYS need them. 

This time of year you will also see little buckets with soapy water dotting the area and dead JBs. But, you don’t need to see that again this week. My post a few weeks back was surely enough to hold you on that one. 🙄 If there is anything you want to see or know about Japanese Beetles, you can “experience” that on the previous post HERE.

BUCKET CHALLENGE FROM TWO WOMEN AND A HOE

There are so many wonderful people in my garden world but Jan Bills is one of the most wonderful of all. In her book, LATE BLOOMER, a book of tips and tricks around gardening in the second half of life, she includes a Pink Bucket Challenge

QUOTE FROM HER BOOK: THE PINK BUCKET CHALLENGE

“Each day after work (NOTE: she designs and installs gardens for others), I challenge myself to get in my garden accompanied by a $5 pink bucket purchased at a local garage sale. My objective is two-fold: visit and weed my gardens daily without feeling inundated while serving two important facets of life: my health and my gardens. Once my bucket is full, I retreat or not, the choice is mine. This stress-free and trouble free practice gives me permission to do only what is reasonably required and expected. I set the parameter and expectation. This simple little ritual leaves me guilt-free and weed-free. Perhaps you’ll grab a bucket, fill it once or twice and then retreat to your favorite garden chair. I believe it is just as important to be present in our gardens as it is to work in them.” Jan Coppola Bills.

Thanks Jan!

I truly believe that gardeners of every age and stage need reminders and permission to just “be” in their gardens. 

MY FAVORITE BUCKET 

This sweet bucket comes from Mr. G’s dad’s family. They were farmers. This was a simple tool used in their everyday life. No matter what’s inside this bucket, it is always filled with memories. When beloved family members are no longer with us, the simple things from their everyday life go straight to our hearts and keep us connected. Don’t you think?

I especially love this bucket when it is filled to the brim with delicious bokay makers!

BLOOM THYME

We are moving to that stage where colors are getting intense making me so glad to see all my white hydrangeas who calm things down. While I was taking pics this week of my hydrangeas, I had to come to terms with just how many I have. So I made a list! 😲

  • 7 Annabelles
  • 13 BoBos
  • 3 Little Limes
  • 4 Pinky Winkys
  • 2 Limelights
  • 3 Twist and Shouts

HEALTH CARE

Just had to share…. I am one of those people who go to bed excited about the first cup of coffee I will have the next day. So, imagine how happy I was to see this bit of health care wisdom on social media this week. HAHA

 

Friends, so glad you stopped by.

It’s still crazy out there in the world. I am praying that you are well and have plenty of time this week to grab your favorite “health care” drink and just “be” in your garden and enjoy all that God has provided. 😘

BLOOM THYME FRIDAY: SUMMER EXPLOSION

It was as though when the calendar said “first day of summer,” there was an explosion of color. Summer bloomers joined the spring perennials and early roses held on longer than usual. Peggy Martin still looks fabulous from afar. I love how her blooms dry in place – giving her the look of a painting that just lasts and lasts.

COMPANIONS…

Loving the Etoile Violette clematis surrounding the gate.
Niobi Clematis and Petit Pink Rose
Bright Eyes Phlox
Cerise Pink Yarrow
Coreopsis
Down the path to the herb garden…

ROSES…

‘Imogene’ (David Austin) This is the 3rd year for this rose and it is just stunning. Right now it is just covered with blooms.
‘Quietness’ (Buck Rose) This is such a pretty, easy care rose with a sweet fragrance.
‘Bathsheba’ (David Austin) Poor Bathsheba was left out in her container all winter and I was sure she was dead but here she is in that same container. I do need to find her a place in the garden. She has definitely outgrown her container.
‘Champagne Wishes’ (Easy Elegance Series) This color is so rich and so is the fragrance.
‘Little Mischief’ (Easy Elegance) A tough and pretty ground cover rose.
‘Golden Fairy Tale’ (Kordes) Power bloomer and since she is yellow, the Japanese Beetles find her first. 😩
‘Music Box’ (Easy Elegance) Fragrant and pretty at every stage.

INSTAGRAM…

Many have asked me to do online tours. My answer to that was to start posting longer videos to an Instagram IGTV channel — complete with bird song and neighborhood activities like mowing lawns and motorcycles, etc. 😳 You can find those HERE.

LATEST PODCAST…

Last week on Rose Chat I chatted with Ping Lim the creator of the Easy Elegance Rose Series and a New Series called True Bloom. Ping is a great rose friend and it was great to hear his heart for people and roses and his way of bringing them together. You can listen to the chat here.

GOOD NEWS / BAD NEWS…

The temperatures this week have been perfect. It has been so nice to spend time in the garden. The roses and their companions are going strong but the Japanese Beetles have decided to join the party. Only a few so far but we’ll talk more on that next week.

Until next time…

I’ll leave you with the bokay I made this week entirely from my favorite Easy Elegance Rose, Music Box.