Bloom Thyme Friday: Taking Note

While most of the world braces for the onslaught of “PUMPKIN SPICE EVERTHING,” I am thinking spring – and taking note of all the things in the garden that need “adjustment.” Lists are being made on things that will be moved, removed or added and a few new designs are being put to paper.  SIDE NOTE: I have used Evernote App (glorified note taker/document maker/to do list) for 7 years now for garden world work. It is a mobile ready app so no matter what device I have, the information has been synced and I pick up where I left off! Another great Evernote feature is it is sharable and works well for group collaboration.

My heart races at the thoughts of spring! I am armed with graph paper, Evernote notes, plant tags and ideas!

On my lists….

Perennials that need moving and maybe even dividing – peonies, phlox, iris, daylilles and ground cover. And then there’s the over achievers: daisies and black-eyed susans… of course they are way out of their bounds and need a bit of thinning.

Things on the list that will wait until early spring: Moving roses and hydrangeas. I have done this in the fall and sometimes it works, but sometimes winter comes early and they don’t have time to get established. This year I am waiting.

Things I need to make room for: 2020 rose releases!

My “taking note” includes going over HITS and MISSES this year. Here is a sampling…

HITS:

Tomatoes: Our luck with slicing tomatoes has been dismal the last couple of years. Whether in the ground or in a pot. We have tried it all. The yield was one or two, here and there.

NOT THIS YEAR… While at Lowes this spring I was slowly going through every tomato plant thinking “nah” on most of them. Then I came across one we had never grown before and I pulled out my handy dandy iPhone and did some research. Found a youtube video from someone who was trying this variety too and the vines looked great and there was plenty of tomatoes so I thought SOLD! Even though he had never gotten to the taste part, I was willing to give it a chance. Fast forward do today and we have had a zillion beautiful and oh so yummy tomatoes. No bugs. No disease. Just yum.

And the tomatoes we grew were Steak Sandwich from Bonnie Plants. Have you grown this plant?

I planted two 5” plants in large pots on the driveway and Mr. G painstakingly watered them and carefully tied them as they grew bigger and bigger and bigger. The storms blew them over a time or two, but they never stopped. Remember this picture from Instagram. This was taken on June 15. They are a wall now!

 

This pic was taken July 5! WO!! Wall of tomatoes. Remember this is 2 tomato plants!

We are still getting the most delicious tomatoes. I can’t tell you how many I’ve eaten! And have savored every one!

We now have a wall of tomatoes. It has been so fun. And so delicious. We’ll definitely plant these again. To be sure we get them, I will order seeds. I saw that Burpee has the seeds. WOO HOO WINNER!

Peggy Martin Rose: The winter of 2017-2018 was very hard on Peggy Martin. She had completely covered a large pergola …until winter hit. During the winter she died all the way back to the ground.

The summer of 2018 she grew and grew. To protect her I made the decision to provide extra winter protection by mounding  bark mulch and leaves to a little over 3 ft. Whether it was the extra mulch love or the winter, we will never know but she greeted 2019 with much enthusiasm – covering a good bit of the pergola again and bloomed like crazy.

This one-time blooming machine started the first of June and still had plenty of blooms the first of July. The rose that survived hurricane Katrina – survived one of the wettest springs on record as well as plenty of wind and storms. She was a crowd pleaser at Open Garden Day. Peggy Martin– WINNER! I saw on Chamblee’s Facebook page that they had a limited number of Peggy Martins for sale. It is such a popular rose, they sell out fast.

This was the first of June.

 

This was early July.

MISSES:

Zinnias: The seeds never had the chance to be spectacular …. too much early rain. My late attempt at starting seeds in pots was better, but still not what I had hoped. Will work on a new plan and maybe a new place for next year. While I was a bit disappointed, the butterflies found them heavenly!

The plan was that they would fill the back row of the Herb Garden…. Note – most of them “moved” to one side. It was probably more like “flowed” in the current of water that was out there!

 

Sweet Peas: First problem, I planted them late (busy schedule and flooding rains got in the way) and by the time they were huge and ready, it was too hot to bloom. Seriously, the vines still look spectacular — best ever. Wouldn’t it be nice if they bloomed when things cool down. It’s never happened before but I would love it. SIDE NOTE: I have never and I mean never seen sweet peas like the sweat peas in England. A feast for the eyes and nose. Couldn’t even capture in a photograph.

Here are a few cut ones at the Bosley Patch farmer’s market in Henley. Can you tell how big and luscious they are?

I bought these seeds in England. Hoping they will be my secret weapon next year! Stay tuned.

I’ll share more hits and misses next time.

FALL / WINTER ROSE CARE TIPS

If you re looking for my fall / winter care tips, read on here. Don’t treat them as gospel — I don’t because things change from year to year. Just as with your children or fur babies, you will know your roses best and will figure out what they need. But, I am happy to share the basics of what has worked for me.

PUMPKIN SPICE EVERYTHING

Everyone I know loves fall and for me it is a tenuous relationship at best. I LOVE SPRING. It is true that each year I am getting better and better at fall. It’s Mr. G’s favorite.

SO, let’s all go out and have some PUMPKIN SPICE fun. God sure does beautiful work in the fall and we don’t want to miss it.

Ecclesiastes 3:1: There is a time for everything … a time to plant and a time to uproot..

Seriously, I have a ton of things to “uproot”! I best get busy.

Here’s to Pumpkin Spice Lattes (and Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Spice cereal)!

From Devastation to Inspiration: Peggy Martin

Today I find myself in the middle of the most perfect weather any August in Indiana has ever had to offer. I am gardening and thinking about my morning. This morning I had the pleasure of interviewing Peggy Martin on Rose Chat Radio and what a delight she was.

Peggy’s family went through the devastation of Hurricane Katrina where she lost her parents, her home, her husband’s commercial fishing boat and her 35-year-old garden filled with many hard-to-find plants and a rose collection that included 450 roses. Many of the roses were rare and unique varieties. Peggy had been very involved in the New Orleans Old Garden Rose Society and worked tirelessly as a volunteer in many garden restoration projects.

Peggy Martin
Peggy Martin

As we talked I could tell that the pain of losing her parents is something she is still going through. I lost my Dad this year … losing a parent is a special kind of loss.

Most of my time with Peggy was spent talking about her garden experiences before and after Katrina.

Can you imagine what it was like for her to go back to the site of her home to see everything devastated. Gone. The entire area had been under salt water for more than 2 weeks. Salt water and plants just do not mix and at first look every living plant seemed to be dead. At closer inspection, two roses were found that had not only survived, one was to beginning to thrive—The Peggy Martin Rose…

This is a picture of the Peggy Martin Rose that now grows in Peggy Martin's new rose garden....
This is a picture of the Peggy Martin Rose that now grows in her new rose garden….

Hardy in Zones 4 – 9, this rose is a vigorous, almost thornless climber that often reaches 15’ high and 6 ‘ wide.

Rose experts from around the world have been brought in to help identify this rose, but no one has any clue as to the actual name or origin. I think that is probably as it should be. Perhaps this rose is now fulfilling it’s purpose in reminding us to never give up even when all seems to be lost.

“This rose has become a symbol among gardeners and rose lovers of a tenacious plant associated with a spirit of renewal and regrowth in the aftermath of a devastating blow of Nature against those living and gardening in the Gulf Coast area.” –William Welch (Prof Texas A & M)

Friends Made the Difference

“I would rather walk with a friend in the dark, than alone in the light.” -Helen Keller

During the very dark days and months after Katrina the last thing on Peggy’s mind was creating a new garden and that’s where her friends came in. One of the ways they helped her heal was through rebuilding her garden. One by one they began to bring roses back into Peggy’s life. Peggy’s lovely new garden is now filled with 240 roses and rose companions of every kind. She is currently involved in many rose organizations, like the Heritage Rose Foundation and she is the Chairman for the Old Garden Rose and Shrub Committee of the American Rose Society.

Below are pictures of Peggy’s current garden…

Peggy Martin Story (Dallas) 001-1
Peggy Martin Story (Dallas) 029-1Peggy Martin Story (Dallas) 002Peggy Martin Story (Dallas) 007-1Beautiful and charming just like Peggy herself.


It’s All About the Soil

In talking with Peggy I learned that she has been a completely organic gardener for 40 years. She is all about healthy soil and integrated plant and pest management — a system she calls “the easiest way to garden.” During the interview, she gave many tips for creating a healthy garden whether you are new to gardening or someone who wants to take your garden to the next level. She also gave us her advice on rose selection.

The Podcast

During our time together we talked about so much more–like her complete step-by-step guide for taking rose cuttings.

Don’t miss hearing this incredible story from Peggy herself … simply click here for the Rosechat podcast.

A Rose A Day: Peggy Martin

Peggy Martin RoseThis year I planted the Peggy Martin rose after hearing the amazing story behind the rose. Many of the  historical roses I love are true survivors, but no rose has a more amazing story than the Peggy Martin Rose.

This rose was one of only two plants surviving 20 feet of salt water over the garden of Mrs. Peggy Martin, Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana, after the destruction of Hurricane Katrina in late August, 2005. Peggy lost her home, her parents, her rose garden of more than 450 antique roses she had collected for 30 years, as well as their commercial fishing boat to the storm!

Peggy Martin
Peggy Martin

MEET PEGGY MARTIN…

Peggy Martin has a new rose garden of more 300 roses and has been a no-spray organic gardener for 40 years!

I will have the pleasure of chatting with Peggy Martin about her experiences on August 3 when she joins us for Rose Chat Radio. You can join us too — more information about that here.

Below is a Peggy Martin Rose that is growing in Peggy’s “new” garden…

This is a picture of the Peggy Martin Rose that now grows in Peggy Martin's new rose garden....
The Peggy Martin Rose that now grows in Peggy Martin’s new rose garden….

Chamblee’s Rose Nursery acquired cuttings from the original rose in New Orleans in January, 2007.  I bought mine from them this spring. They sent a very healthy little plant that has grown to be about 2.5′ high. For info on ordering this rose, read on.

This rose is obviously extremely hardy as well as a vigorous climber. The fact that it is virtually thornless makes it even more desirable for walkways or around children’s play areas! As far as blooms are concerned, the pictures tell the story of what this rose does in early summer! And I’m told this rose often comes back with another bloom cycle in late summer/early fall.

My Peggy Martin rose will be roommates with Francis E Lester on the wonderful new rose arbor Mr G built. (Read more about that here.) I think they will be very happy together! But, just may compete for space! 🙂

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Neighbors…. on their way to great things!
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What a beautiful place to “grow up”! Thanks Mr G!
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You’ll see a BIG difference in me next year!

Hard to believe that June is coming to a close. I have enjoyed spending National Rose Month with you and sharing some of my favorite roses. Thank you for going on this journey with me.

What’s Next?

So far I have not seen my first Japanese Beetle but I know they are on their way, so I will be out there protecting my roses! There may not be many rose blooms to see for the next few weeks, BUT that just gives my perennials an opportunity to take center stage–stay tuned–I love to share about them too!

Here’s one of the perennials making a great show right now as a companion to my Poseidon RosesYarrow!

Poseidon and her companion -- Yarrow...
Poseidon and her companion — Yarrow…