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: 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: ProGressive Beauty

Hello friends!

This time of year we are all a twitter about the weather. Temps go up and temps fall down making us a wee bit crazy. No matter, Spring is coming and maybe even a bit early this year. We’ve been away for a few days and were greeted with so much beauty.

  • The geranium cuttings that have been growing slowly but surely this winter, bloomed!
  • The most unusual amaryllis I have ever grown, Nymph Double Bloom, was showing off!
  • So many pretty Snowdrops.
  • Tete de Tete daffodils are showing color.
  • Other daffodills are ready to go – just a few more warm days.



Winter sowing containers have life! Those showing some green are:

  • Salvia Violet Queen
  • Yarrow
  • Sweet Alyssum
  • Bachelor Buttons
  • Strawflowers
  • Phacelia
  • Scabiosa


Although still tiny, I potted up the Lisianthus that had been sown via broadcast in small containers. Now they are in larger, self watering trays — making them much easier to take care of. The plants are tiny but the roots are quite impressive!

Heirloom Roses

Thanks to Heirloom Roses for this helpful image and for sending such a lovely catalog for me to drool over!



Last week I chatted with Dr. David Byrne from Texas A & M. He and his team are working to find the keys to help us eliminate black spot and RRD. I learned a lot and loved knowing the project is in such good hands. I think you will too. You can listen here…

Hybrid Musk Roses – Matt Douglas Rose Chat Podcast

Hybrid Musk Roses Matt Douglas, High Country Roses In this episode, we'll be exploring the fascinating world of Hybrid Musk roses with our special guest, Matt Douglas, the owner of High Country Roses. Matt is an expert on all things roses and has been cultivating these beautiful flowers for over 30 years. He'll be sharing his knowledge and insights on Hybrid Musk roses, a group of roses that have been gaining popularity in recent years due to their hardiness, disease resistance, and lovely blooms. So sit back, relax, and join us for an engaging conversation on Hybrid Musk roses with Matt Douglas on the Rose Chat Podcast. 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:
  1. Hybrid Musk Roses – Matt Douglas
  2. Miniature and Miniflora Roses
  4. Noisettes … The Southern Belle of Roses
  5. NEW PLANTS FOR 2023


Thank you for your gracious welcome. It was wonderful to be with you! All the best with your spring projects!


Christie Purifoy has done it again; created another beautiful garden book for us. No one speaks the language of a garden and home quite like Christie. In A HOME IN BLOOM Christie takes us on a jouney through the seasons leading us through creative ways to fill our homes with beauty from the garden. Helping us to blur the lines between inside and out. If you’ve read her previous books, you know that you can simply sink into the words she writes. And be inspired by the images she uses. Quote from A HOME IN BLOOM… Brought together, house and garden tell a better story than either one alone. Take a look at the book on Amazon here. Follow her on Instagram here.


As I look at the long range forecast, it appears much cooler temps are coming. I’m sure more garden surprises both good and bad are coming too. We will not despair, spring will come and the bloom thyme will be glorious.

Thanks for stopping by, until next time … happy gardening or happy garden planning.

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…

Hybrid Musk Roses – Matt Douglas Rose Chat Podcast

Hybrid Musk Roses Matt Douglas, High Country Roses In this episode, we'll be exploring the fascinating world of Hybrid Musk roses with our special guest, Matt Douglas, the owner of High Country Roses. Matt is an expert on all things roses and has been cultivating these beautiful flowers for over 30 years. He'll be sharing his knowledge and insights on Hybrid Musk roses, a group of roses that have been gaining popularity in recent years due to their hardiness, disease resistance, and lovely blooms. So sit back, relax, and join us for an engaging conversation on Hybrid Musk roses with Matt Douglas on the Rose Chat Podcast. 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:
  1. Hybrid Musk Roses – Matt Douglas
  2. Miniature and Miniflora Roses
  4. Noisettes … The Southern Belle of Roses
  5. NEW PLANTS FOR 2023


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…


This is my third year using the Winter Sowing method and I am a huge fan. It is so simple, cheap and requires sooo little time. One of the big advantages is that there is no “hardening” off process. Those tiny miracles know when to germinate and they get tough during their time in the those “jug microclimates”.

Even though not all of the seeds I’ve sown have done well (most have), it’s incredibly fun to see what happens! I’ve found it to be a great return on a small investment.


For the first time last year I planted tomato seeds using the winter sowing method.

I put them outside in a jug on April 2, left them alone and had amazing plants in mid May ready to take their place in Mr. G’s driveway garden. The 3 varieties I planted were Gardener’s Delight, Steak Sandwich and Beefsteak.

I also planted the same seeds in the potting shed and put them under lights. The shed may be small but I have a great set up for seed starting. When it was time to plant the tomatoes outside I would have to say that the indoor plants had the advantage on uniformity and look but the tomatoes in the jugs where very hardy and ready to go and initially were out performing the ones shed grown. In the picture below, the tall ones were winter sown. In the end they all caught up with each other and performed very well giving Mr. G a bumper crop of tomatoes! All’s well that ends well!


  • Milkweed
  • Foxglove
  • Larkspur
  • Phacelia
  • Sweet Pea
  • Bachelor Buttons
  • Snapdragons
  • Strawflower
  • Orlaya
  • Yarrow
  • Scabiosa
  • Lavender (Munstead)
  • Poppies

These babies are already out in the elements… more to join them soon.

If you look closely you’ll see some wire fencing I have around them to protect from night marauders.


In late March or early April, I plan to start several warm season flowers and veggies – especially tomatoes. I may even try Zinnias with this method even though direct seeding works very well.

For those who asked, these are the Zinnias I’m growing this year:

  • Queen Lime Red ⭐️ (Fav from last year!)
  • Queen Lime with Blush
  • Queen Lime Orange ⭐️ (Fav from last year!)
  • Giant Purple
  • Isabellina
  • Double Violet Queen


I buy seeds from everywhere … the Dollar Store, Rural King, Amazon, Esty, Big Box Stores, garden centers and all the usual online sources. Amazon is great to save a bit on delivery especially if you only want a couple of packets,

Fabulous online options…

LOCAL NOTE: FREE SEEDS will be one of the booths at the Hendricks Co. Master Gardeners annual spring event — Gardening for All Ages / April 29. Come join us for a day of garden fun! Event details here.


If you are new to this process, below are the steps I take. There are numerous videos on YouTube where you can see this in action. Always note the growing zone of those doing the video to adjust for your zone growing needs. (I’m Zone 5b.)


  • Clear water or milk jugs cut around the middle preserving 2-3” by handle for hinge  (discard lids you won’t need them)
    • I’ve seen people use rotisserie chicken container, take-out containers and all kinds of drink containers. As long as there is room for them to grow, they drain well and light can penetrate – most any container would work. I love the jugs because they are not only sturdy, they have that built in hinge. The jugs are large so I often plant more than one variety per jug.
  • Potting Soil (Not seed starting mix.)
  • Duck Tape
  • Labels / Garden Marker
  • Seeds


  • Cut container and add 4-5 drain holes in bottom
  • Fill container to about 1″ below rim with pre-moistened potting soil.
  • Lightly tamp soil.
  • Plant seeds according to the direction on the packet. DO READ THE SEED PACKET! Some seeds need light to germinate (Snapdragons, poppies etc) so you do not want to cover those. Some need darkness (Larkspur, & Calendula  etc. ) and you will want to cover them well.
  • Once seeds are planted, mist the container well.
  • Add label inside the container! Use garden marker not a sharpie as they don’t last very well and if you are like me – you will not remember. Frankly many seedlings look the same! I tried using wooden popsicle sticks but they fade quickly or grow mold so I use plastic labels.
  • Secure the container with duck tape. I like to put the name on the duck tape and the date.
  • They are ready to go outside. I have them next to the potting shed where they are protected from wind and I can keep an eye on them. They also get plenty of sun but not full sun.

The fun really begins when you see this…

Friends, if you are doing the winter sowing method, what has been your experience and what are you sowing this year? Have you done Zinnias or Cosmos?

For my cold weather friends, remember summer?

Until next time … happy gardening or happy garden planning!


Gardeners are a great combination of dreamers and planners as well as the get it done crew! January is when we take a look at that blank slate and start filling up!


Supply and demand being what it has been the last couple of years has taught us the true value of buying early. The only problem with that is that I buy early online but as roses/seeds/tubers become available locally, I get equally excited about those. I’ll be calling on my self restraint a lot in the coming weeks. Someone please keep reminding me that my garden has a limited amount of space.

So far here is where I am with orders for roses and dahlias…



Recently I posted about these two roses on Facebook (on my page, Rose Chat Group page and on the Rose Geeks page) asking for comments and pictures of Plum Perfect growing in their gardens. I didn’t have to ask about the Generous Gardener because it is already a favorite in my garden! Regarding Plum Perfect, so far there has been a ton of comments and all very, very positive. Many raved about this rose saying they were adding another this year. They gave high marks for the health of the rose too. Take a look…

Hello Beautiful!


Intense, Plum Color • Performs Well In Heat and Humidity

Sunbelt® Plum Perfect™ has numerous, very intensely plum-colored, double flowers. The foliage is a healthy and shiny, medium green, and the variety performs well in heat and humidity.


Fortunate for me Plum Perfect is part of the Indianapolis Rose Society Rose Sale. If you are local, this is a great sale with many beautiful roses for a great price. The sale is NOT just for members although members do get a very nice discount on the roses. Don’t delay. I have my eye on a few more! 😱 Transparency Note: I bought 3 PPs. Requiring me to get creative in where to plant them! 💜

If you are local, take a look at the list of roses here.


If you want specific Dahlias you truly must order early. But, oh my goodness there are so many beautiful ones out there. Last year I bought dahlias from Longfield Gardens, Swan Island Dahlias, Home Depot, Lowes and Country Harmony (local garden center).

Three years ago I randomly bought from Lowes what has become my very favorite Dahlia – Milena Fleur. A medium sized peachy/pink bloom and plant that stays around 4′. Great for arrangements! Lowes sold Milena Fleur again last year, To ensure I have her this year, I ordered again even though I have her hiding out from the winter in the garage.

2023 Dahlia Order from Longfield Gardens

  • Melina Fleur
  • Karma Lagoon
  • Labyrinth
  • Cornel Bronze
  • I will also have 3 Cafe Au Laits coming from Longfields as replacements for the ones I received in 2022 that turned out not to be Cafes!
Milena Fleur in my garden.


I am trying again to over winter my dahlias from last year but I checked them two weeks ago and they certainly don’t look like the plump tubers I packed away. 🤔 Time will tell. Last year one of the three I packed away made it. I packed them in pet bedding chips but they seem awfully dry – I do spritz them occasionally but that is so tricky for a novice. If they don’t turn out well, I plan to try a new method next year. How do you store Dahlias?


I saw this image on IG from @wildwestgardeneringeorgia and it spoke to me. Actually, I can’t express how much I love seeds. Everything about them. I image that during creation seeds must have been a favorite of God’s too. Even the tiniest seed contains everything needed to create the plant AND the ability to actually die and leave us with new life in the form of more seeds.

One of the tiniest seeds is the mustard seed (1 to 2 millimetres) that grows to a tree up to 20′. Jesus told us we only needed the faith of a mustard seed to move mountains. 😱 Yes, seeds give us much to think about and look forward to.

Oh Happy Day: The start of seed organization

Seriously I have bought so many I won’t bore you with the list. Not just online but there was that day I walked into Armstrong Garden Center in CA in December to find their wall of Botanical Interest seeds staring down at me. You know how that ended. I really found so many I was looking for and some I didn’t even know I needed! 😱🌱 🎉 🌱 Have you ever noticed just how pretty those seed packets are!

Making a list and checking it twice.


I am sooooo excited that it is time to start winter sowing. So far, I’ve gotten as far as making a list. More about winter sowing next week.


On Sun, January 22 the 2023 Rose Chat season begins. First up is Jason Croutch of Fraser Valley Rose Farm — Roses in Stories and Culture.

In this episode we take a look at some of the stories and legends behind the roses and how roses have weaved their way into Western culture throughout the ages. Some of them are fun and some of them are shocking!

You can follow Jason on his very popular YouTube Channel HERE.


We are having warm temps for January and I’m ready to get out and clean things up. I know I need to wait — horrible cold and snow could be just around the corner. Yep, I better stick to winter sowing.

Are you adding roses or dahlias to your garden this year? I’d love to know varieties you decide on!

Have fun planning and plotting! 🌹🌸🪴🌼🌱💐

BLOOM THYME FRIDAY: A season of Ups and Downs

2022 had its ups and downs around here for sure. 

Our garden season started out extremely wet. We had so much rain right up to my open garden on June 12. I almost cancelled because it was pouring rain and the garden had standing water! I started hearing from people early morning to see if the garden would still be open. So I sent out a message that if we were in England we would not stop the show for rain, so grab your umbrella and  don your wellies — the garden is open. And so many did – it was such a fun day.  (More about open garden here.)

30 minutes before the open garden was to begin, the rain stopped, the sun came out, the clouds moved away  and did not return for weeks and weeks and weeks.. We had very little measurable rainfall all summer. We do not have a drip system. Hand watering is what happens here but hand watering was complicated by those hot hot hot days. 🔥 The gardener was hot!

Regardless of the weather scenario, we had beautiful flowers! Many plants just didn’t care about the conditions. Many roses bloomed and bloomed. Zinnias were fabulous. With less moisture, there was less mildew pressure for them. Also fabulous were snapdragons, lisianthus, phlox, foxglove, alliums and all the herbs – they like it hot!



For the first time  I planted tomato seeds using the winter sowing method. (More about winter sowing here.)

I put them outside in a jug on April 2, left them alone and had amazing plants in mid May ready to take their place in Mr. G’s driveway garden. The 3 varieties I planted in this jug were Gardener’s Delight, Steak Sandwich and Beefsteak.


One thing I’m glad I did but won’t do again was starting dahlias from seed. My germination rate was fabulous and I had many plants to put in my garden and share with others but none of them turned out to be varieties that I really wanted in my garden. I’ll admit to being a bit picky about what goes in my garden, so there’s no need to plant something that will be that much of a surprise. 😳


During the distracting heat of summer, stealthily, Ms Midge crept into the garden.  When the final flush or should I say “big finish” should be happening, I found this…

What looks like burnt match sticks where beautiful blooms should be. Luckily it was not all over the garden but without treatment it soon could be.

The mosquito looking Midge has been  stealing rose blooms for a long time.  I’ve read that the earliest recorded information is from 1884 when midge was wreaking havoc in greenhouses growing roses in New Jersey.

My first encounter with Midge was about 10 years ago. At an ARS IL IN District meeting I had the chance to talk about this problem with Dr. Andy Plasz. Andy is not only a rose expert and wonderful teacher, but before retirement Andy was Director and Global Head of Analytical Chemistry Research for Abbott Laboratories. He had a lot to say about my midge problem as he was dealing with the same problem in  his garden.

His counsel was so needed as I do not spray for bugs and had no knowledge of what to do.

His recommendation was a product called Cyonara – spraying in early spring as roses are coming back to life and then again 3 weeks later. I hate to bring out the insectide but I do want blooms on my roses so…. Cyonara helped me then and I’m sure it will help me now.

More information: If you would like to read a comprehensive article on Rose Midge, my good friend and rose expert John Hefner wrote an excellent article for the Indianapolis Rose Society. You can read the article HERE

SIDE NOTE: We had far fewer Japanese Beetles this year. I guess they don’t like it so hot.


While I am not crazy about fall, I am completely crazy about the holiday season that starts around here on November 1. We don’t skip over Thanksgiving – in fact it is one of our very favorite holidays but we are known to start listening to a bit of subtle Christmas music and start adding twinkle lights on November 1. 🎄 Well, to be honest we are not so subtle about it… we are rocking out to everything from Bing Crosby to Mannheim Steamroller and beyond!

Yes, November and December give us so much to look forward too. Extra time with family and friends. Amazing food. And, a more focused season of gratitude.

Friends, I am so grateful to you for sharing my garden world. While we are talking about sharing, what’s your favorite Thanksgiving food? Mine is dressing (stuffing) and a cranberry dish we affectionately call Christmas Cran. (Recipe here.)  

SIDE NOTE: If you are an ARS member you will soon be receiving their beautiful magazine AMERICAN ROSE soon. This is their special annual edition. When you open you magazine, you might just see a familiar garden – Bloom Thyme. 😁 If you are not a member of the American Rose Society … take the plunge today and jump into the world of roses! Read more about that here…

Until next time ….

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!! ☔️ 💃 ⛈ 🥳


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.


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! ⭐️⭐️⭐️


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.