One of the things this season of our world has taught me is don’t wait.
Last year I experienced… “Sold Out” on seeds and other garden supplies and shortages of ingredients for holiday favorites. From the look of the aisles in the grocery stores, I’m thinking waiting could be risky business. This week the grocery aisles were very skimpy. 😳
One ingredient that is absolutely necessary for our holiday meals is Pepperidge Farm Herb Classic Stuffing Mix. Following in the tradition of Mr. G’s mother … Our family “dressing” is a mixture of the Pepperidge Farm mix, dried bread, butter, broth, eggs, herbs, celery, and onion. This speaks “holiday” in our family like no other!
Sometimes this mix is hard to find! During the original COVID lockdown, I looked and looked and finally was able to order online! You can imagine my delight when last week our local Kroger had all I needed! Let’s say I bought plenty!!! Some will soon be on its way to England.
What food says “holiday” to you?
DAHLIAS / SEEDS
In the spirit of not waiting, I have placed orders for Dahlias and seeds. #priorities 🙄 I didn’t want to see the “sold out” banner again. I am happy to report seeds are already here safe and sound and waiting their time to shine. Dahlias will come in the spring. ☑️ ☑️
DAHLIA ORDER … FROM SWAN ISLAND
Swan Island was recommended to me by John Hefner. If you know John, you know that he and Donna have the most amazing garden filled with hundreds of roses and yes beautiful dahlias! There are so many beautiful ones to choose from. My greatest challenge is to NOT buy pink ones because I have so many pink roses. 💞 Here’s a link for Swan Island Don’t wait!
The dahlias below are on order and there are “only” a couple more I am still trying to find. ☑️
THE ROSE WITHOUT A NAME
The Rose Without a Name is a children’s book that shares the story of the Peggy Martin Rose. The book beautifully and thoughtfully weaves a story of hope from hurricane and devastation to rebirth and beauty. I can’t wait to read this book to my grandchildren.
Speaking of books, a good friend, Teresa Mosher, has written her second book, How Roses Touch our Lives. You can listen to her story of the book and of being a gardener of 40 years. (Pssst: She currently cares for and maintains 42 flower beds, around 200 roses, 1500 perennials, shrubs, and trees.😱) LISTEN HERE
BLOOM THYME THIS WEEK
November is almost here. And, don’t judge us but that will usher in Christmas music season around here. Mr. G makes sure all our favorites fill the airwaves around here! And I bet if we listen closely, we will hear the sounds coming from a home in England that houses 4 little boys. We may be a house divided on how we feel about fall, but this family is a big fan of Christmas. Maybe not the commercial parts but definitely in the celebrating Christ’s birth with loads of family, friends, food, twinkle lights and watching “White Christmas”. Never too many twinkle lights or Bing!
Yes, these days, if you need something it is best not to wait. Supplies for our everyday lives are important but this unpredictable season beckons us not to wait on other more important things too… to say what’s on our hearts … whether it’s You are special, I love you, I’m sorry or something in between. Don’t wait. 😘
If you remember a few weeks ago I mentioned wanting to totally redo my overflowing herb garden that had been damaged by some flooding in that area earlier this year and the frequent visits from deer!
The “herb” garden had become oh so much more! A place I put extras. A place for experiments. And, a place where many plants had run amuck. I needed some order. I needed more options.
So, on one of the hottest days of the year, I got busy. A huge job to dig up everything, decide what to do with the extras, and get the new raised beds down, leveled, and filled. Armed with shovels, my hori hori knife, snips, my trusty wagon, and one of Mr. G’s levels, I got started. It went faster than I thought but still took about 3 days. Plants are still in recovery mode and things look sparse, but the garden is taking shape. I am really going to like it and the opportunities the new design brings.
I still don’t know what to do with the entrance. For now, I have flagstones laying on top of the mulch. Maybe I will like them better when they are better placed and have groundcover around them. We’ll see.
We are continuing to discourage deer. Most recently I have covered some of the most popular items on their menu with bird netting. Mr. G has purchased a new spray — DEER OUT. Read about it here. Tonight will be the first night to use it. 🤞🏻🙏🏻
RECENT ROSE CHAT PODCAST
On the most recent podcast, I chat with good friend Ron Daniels about the amazing growth the Nashville Rose Society has had over the last few years, and he offers tips to others on how they too can grow.
Can you have too many white hydrangeas? I just love them and think they cool things down in the summer heat!
Since confession is good for the soul, here goes…
16) Bo Bos
7) Pinky Winkys
2) Little Limes
1) Limelight Tree
2)Twist and Shout
As I type this, it doesn’t seem like I have that many… hummmm. 🙄
Pinky Winky is probably my favorite in the garden, with Bo Bo coming in a close second. My favorite hydrangea to dry is Little Lime. My least favorite is Limelight. It is just too big for my space – I thought they were Little Limes when I bought them. And, their stems are more floppy than I’d like.
Proven Winners has done something about those floppy stems and improved a few other things in an updated Limelight … Limelight Prime. Read more HERE.
Many of the roses are taking a break as I have trimmed off buds to “protect” them from the Japanese Beetle invasion. They will have their time to shine later. More about that next week.
A few roses are being snubbed by the JBs and that is okay with me. JBs seem to avoid Sweet Drift, Popcorn Drift, Petit Pink and The Faun. I am very good with that. But, I can assure you that they will travel miles to devour a Rugosa. They do seem to love the fragrant ones. Oh well, their days are numbered.
Our weather has been quite pleasant this week and we are getting a break from the intense heat. A quick peek at the weather app revealed that the heat will be back on soon … but those hot days are numbered too.
The COVID news is getting a bit “complicated” again too. Be well and be safe my friends… 😘
I was a gardener from a very early age. Our family grew most of what we ate and everyone had to “participate” in making that happen – if you know what I mean. 😳 My dad said I was one of the few kids he ever knew who didn’t mind working in the garden. I knew I would always grow things!
As many of you know my love of roses started when I was around 16 and a friend shared a rose bokay with me. It brought me so much pleasure at a time when I really needed it! I thought then that I hoped to someday do the same for others.
Through the years, my rose collection and my rose world have grown and grown and along with beautiful plants, I have met some beautiful people who have become dear friends.
One of those rose world friends is the lovely and charming Peggy Martin. Peggy is THE Peggy Martin of the Peggy Martin rose fame — the rose that survived hurricane Katrina. (Hurricane Katrina was a Category 5 Atlantic hurricane that caused over 1,800 deaths and $125 billion in damage in August 2005.)
Peggy and I “met” online when I interviewed her about her experience on Rose Chat. She invited me to come to her home and speak to her rose society several years back and our friendship and friendships with many of the members of the New Orleans Old Garden Rose Society was solidified by our time together. 💄
For those who aren’t familiar with the story… Peggy had a massive collection of roses before Katrina, as well as other plant collections. All of that was lost in the storm, but she lost so much more … her parents, her home and their family business.
After two weeks of being covered in 20′ of seawater, all vegetation was destroyed on their property – except one rose – the rose that would become The Peggy Martin Rose.
After such life changing devastation, Peggy thought she would never grow roses again. But slowly her friends began to share roses with her and a new collection grew and grew. Peggy began to heal and spend time sharing her love of roses and the Peggy Martin Rose story by speaking to groups and serving in many leadership positions with New Orleans Old Garden Rose Society, the Heritage Rose Foundation, the American Rose Society and others. You can read more about this story from a Southern Living magazine article HERE.
PEGGY’S GARDEN TODAY
This week Peggy shared a video of her beautiful 2021 garden with me. I would love to share it with you…
Chamblee’s Rose Nursery acquired cuttings from the original PM rose in New Orleans in January, 2007. I bought my first one from them in 2013. It is also available from the Antique Rose Emporium. I now have five in my garden and have shared many with others. These are pictures of Peggy Martin in my garden through the years. She only blooms once for me but what a bloom thyme it is!
IT’S MORE THAN A ROSE
When I look at this rose I think about my friend, her grace, her spirit, her story of hope and survival and how much beauty she has shared with the world. Thank you Peggy! 😘
There is a children’s book about the Peggy Martin Rose — Rose Without a Name by Carol Stubbs and Nancy Rust to be released in September 2021.
The Rose Without a Name is a “once upon a time” kind of story that will thrill the children it was written for, but also their parents or older brothers or sisters who will read it with them. It is the poignant story of the rose that survived the monster storm, Hurricane Katrina. It is a story of the strength and resilience of the rose, but also of the rose lady who grew it, Peggy Rose Martin.
Marilyn Wellan American Rose Society President 2003-2006
“An unusual rose becomes a delightful character in this lovely picture book by Nancy Rust & Carol Stubbs. ARose Without a Name is a story of strength, resilience, and beauty, illustrated with vibrant colors and charming details. Earthworms, frogs, bees, and dragonflies engage readers as they discover how an unrenowned rose earned its name.
The story is ideal for reinforcing early learning science concepts of how plants grow and the effects of weather on the natural world and human communities. The back material offers intriguing information for older learners, parents, and teachers.
With its message of triumph over adversity, lovely art, and interesting back material, readers of all ages will enjoyA Rose Without a Name.”
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!! ☀️
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)
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
Diseases (and perception of diseases)
IPM (Integrated Pest Management)
Not everything has been beaten down by the rain and storms! Some plants are letting their light shine and making me smile.
BETTER WEATHER AHEAD
Well, it looks like better weather is coming soon – after a bit more stormy weather. Fingers crossed.
Summertime and the living is easy! WHAT? Not for gardeners! It’s our time to roll up our sleeves and get busy.
But when Ella sings it … you feel it!
CURRENT JOB LIST:
With all the storms and rain the jobs are endless, so I have made a list to keep me on track!
Plant 3 new roses (Bliss Parfuma (2) and Perfume Factory)
Move roses that are competing for space. I believe several of these will be potted up and gifted.
Divide the spring blooming Sweet William and share.
Start foxglove seeds
Start lavender cuttings
Add to “Plotting and Planning” Inspiration Book
PLOTTING AND PLANNING
Summertime is the second best time for plotting and planning. In my opinion, winter is the best time as you have more time and the sky’s the limit on what you can do. You are far removed from garden’s reality and your creative juices can go wild. 👩🎨🪴🌸🌹🎨👒🌻🌺
Summer plotting and planning is reality time … being in your garden to see what IS working and what IS NOT working leads to tweaks. Most likely you are visiting other gardens too and getting new ideas and plants! So very thankful that gardens are being opened again. I have two to visit next week and I am thrilled.
This week PLOTTING & PLANNING is moving to DIGGING. I have been digging up plants, moving plants, trimming plants and making lists of things to add and things to change. So F U N!! Don’t you just love this part!
You are probably thinking, “Is this the best time to divide and transplant?” That answer mostly likely should be “no”, but I garden with the theory that when you have time and tools – it’s the right time. But, don’t forget to keep the newbies and transplants watered.
As I mentioned in a previous post this is the year of the weed! They threw a party while we were away and invited all their friends and family. We have had a huge amount of rain this week, so weeds are extra happy but the rain sure makes them easier to pull!! Don’t tell anyone, but I’m kinda getting attached to the wild strawberry.
Yes, DEER. We have never had deer in the summer before! It’s not just what they eat, to get to the objects of their desire, they are trampling other plants – a lot of them. 😫 The deer have ravished the herb garden and the hummingbird garden and peppered their presence throughout the garden. 😫 My delicate, beautiful Dreamland geraniums – smashed to smithereens.
Here are some things I now know about the deer diet that I never knew before…
They love poppies – ate the tops of all of them all.
They love yarrow – sheared all the blooms and I have a lot of yarrow. (Almost a Chelsea Chop – hope they do rally and flower.)
They love parsley and are very good at eating just the tiny leaves and leaving the stems.
They love roses but haven’t eaten as many as I thought they would. 😫🙏🏻 Maybe they are grossed out by the Japanese Beetles too.
They love asters – strategically nipping all the little buds.
They love tomato plants but so far have only eaten one. You know what that means, Mr. G is on the warpath and armed with DEER AWAY spray. Not good to come between Mr. G and his tomatoes. Hopefully they will move along soon! 🙏🏻🙏🏻
Yes, they are back and the spa treatment has begun. A nice soapy bath to send them to beetle heaven. So far I am seeing fewer than before. Hopefully, my drowning them before they make it to the ground is paying off. Or they are just going to come a bit later. Time will tell. To read my “comprehensive” article on Japanese Beetles … read on here.
Here’s are the standouts for this week…
LONG WEEKEND AHEAD
This week we have had heat, storms and torrential rain but the weather outlook for our long weekend is perfect. Sunny and 75ish! We plan to soak it up. 😎 All meals and all activities are outside!
Wishing you a wonderful and safe holiday weekend and may God Bless you and our wonderful country.
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
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!
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.
QUIETNESS: Such a pretty soft pink bloom with medium rose fragrance. Delicate looking blooms on a sturdy shrub.
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)
CHAMPAGNE WISHES: Rich creamy white blooms with an ivory center on a medium-sized shrub. Sweet fragrance. (Easy Elegance Collection)
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!
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.
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!
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!
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…
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…
We have had more rain than my liking but the roses have loved it and many have responded with record-breaking blooms (well for my garden). It is wonderful to see them and to share them!
I was contacted by a garden club I had spoken to a couple years ago (before COVID) and they wanted to come see my garden. After so long of saying “no”, it was good to say “yes”. They even had me saying ‘yes’ to the next time I would come to do another program! Great to be planning again.
I also invited my master gardener group as it had been so long since I had seen so many of them!
In a week of rain, it was a wonderful morning – hot but with a great breeze. It was a balm to my soul to see so many people enjoying the garden.
UP AND OVER
As though they knew that people were coming, my climbers chose to be their very best selves on Open Garden day. I love most anything that vines or climbs in the garden and probably have way too many climbers in the garden! And, I have on more than one occasion invited a climber that ended up being a nightmare … yes I had a porcelain berry vine that was bent on world domination. And, I still see bits of yellow trumpet vine lurking about.
If you have been following for a while you may remember the tears when Peggy Martin died back to the ground and didn’t cover her arbor for almost two seasons. And the time New Dawn did the same thing. It doesn’t all go according to plan, but this year the arbors are doing what I dreamed they would do… cover the arbors with beautiful flowers and all do it at the same time. Seeing them looking so good sure made the time on the ladder in dubious fall weather so worth it!
Front Arbor: New Dawn and Peggy Martin and Etoile Violette Clematis
Back Arbor: Peggy Martin, Francis E. Lester and Etoile Violette Clematis
THE MOST GROWN FLOWER IN EVERY STATE
Did you see this article by Spring Hill Nursery? To find out, what was the most grown flower in every state, they shared a list of 20 flowers with Americans in every state and the District of Columbia and asked them to choose the flower they plant in their gardens most often. Read on to see what gardeners in your state are most likely to grow! (Link)
GOD BLESS THE QUEEN
I can’t imagine what it has been like for Queen Elizabeth to say goodbye to her devoted prince after nearly 74 years of marriage. But it was good to see her smile as she accepted a new rose that was given in honor of what would have been his 100th birthday. The ‘Duke of Edinburgh’ rose will be planted in a mixed rose border of Windsor Castle – and there’s so much more to the story! You can read the entire Town and Country article by Annie Goldsmith here…
IAN GAVAN / GETTY IMAGES
With the flowers at peak this week it was time for a BOKAY DAY. I packed up trugs, buckets and tools in my trusty wagon and got busy. What a pleasure it is to be close up and personal with all the blooms. Seriously, it was quiet, peaceful and the fragrance of roses filled the garden – it was as though for a few hours I was in another world.
Once the bokays were made, we were off to make deliveries.
Here’s a few pics of how the morning went…
TIPS TO EXTEND THE LIFE OF YOUR CUT FLOWERS
Morning is the best time to cut flowers.
Use sharp snips or pruners.
Choose blooms not yet fully open.
Place in water immediately. (Take bucket to garden!)
Re-cut stems under water before adding to arrangement.
Remove leaves that will be under water.
Use flower preservative in water.
Change out water and recut stems every day or two!
WHAT A WEEK!
It has been a busy but wonderful week in the garden. So much beauty to be a part of – both people and flowers. May I never take it for granted and may I never forget who the real master gardener is.
God Almighty first planted a garden. And indeed, it is the purest of human pleasures. Sir Francis Bacon
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!
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! I believe these are the Midnight Blues sweet peas from Sarah Ravens that I bought in England! 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. These were seeds I bought when shopping with my grandson, making them even more precious!
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.
Sweet peas are soaking today and will be planted tomorrow when the rain stops. So many pretty varieties! EXCITING. And should the Midnight Blues really do their thing, it will be a very special sweet pea year. I hope to be in England when sweet peas are blooming this year. Fingers crossed!
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!! 🌷🥂🌷
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.
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.
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….
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…
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! 😂