BLOOM THYME FRIDAY: Navigating July

As usual July is pulling out all its tricks…

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

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

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

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

ROSE CHAT PODCAST

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

UPDATE FROM STAR ROSES & PLANTS Rose Chat Podcast

UPDATE FROM STAR ROSES & PLANTS Heidi Mortensen, Rose Program Manager   On this episode, Heidi Mortensen, Rose Program Manager of Star Roses and Plants shares some beautiful new roses, rose trends and an update on how things are going in the rose industry since Covid. We'll also get a sneak peek into what's coming in 2023!     NEW FOR 2023…   TOP CREAM   RASPBERRY CUPCAKE BUTTERCREAM DRIFT   SUNBLAZE LEMON   SUNBLAZE PEACH     ROSE CHAT TEAM:   Executive Producer & On-Air Personality: Chris VanCleave – www.RedneckRosarian.com Creator of the Rose Chat Podcast. Mr. VanCleave is a nationally known rosarian, television personality, speaker and advocate for the rose.   Content Creator & On-Air Personality: Teresa Byington – www.TheGardenDiary.com Co-Host Teresa Byington promotes roses as an integral part of the landscape, as a Consulting Rosarian, Master Gardener, writer, and speaker.   SUBSCRIBE: Subscribe to Rose Chat Podcast Updates: http://bit.ly/subscribeROSE   VISIT OUR SPONSOR: Haven Brand Soil Conditionershttp://www.ManureTea.com/sho
  1. UPDATE FROM STAR ROSES & PLANTS
  2. Roses & RRD … What’s New?
  3. PROFILE OF A GARDENER – Teri Speight
  4. SECRETS TO MY SUCCESS WITH ROSES
  5. LET’S GEEK OUT OVER ROSES

NEW BOOK

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

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

An inspirational guide to choosing and growing the best roses!

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

ROSES IN EVERY SEASON ..

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

COMPANION PLANTING…

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

BLOOM THYME THIS WEEK

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

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

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

Featured Dahlia … Creme de Cognac from Longfield Gardens.

Thanks for stopping by! 💐

BLOOM THYME FRIDAY: Open Garden Dress Code

This has been a year for the record books. Aren’t they all! 😳

Leading up to “Open Garden” day, we had torrential downpours almost every day. Some days it rained all day. So with standing water in areas of the garden two days before “open garden” I was close to canceling. I can tell you my master gardener friends were not big fans of canceling. And yes it was raining the day of the big event but not torrential downpours. My thoughts were… if we were England we would not cancel, we would just dress for the weather. So, I sent out a note saying just that and added – bring your umbrella and wear your Wellies it’s garden tour time.

30 minutes before people were to arrive the rain stopped and the sun came out!!! We had the best time! Did the garden look it’s best…. HEAVEN’S NO! Every bloom had been water damaged. But, that didn’t stop the fun. We had the best time. How can you not have a good time with friends in your garden — it’s just the best. 

ZINNIAS FOR EVERYONE

I just love Zinnias. I tried several “new to me” varities from seed this year plus a few extras to share. A few weeks before open garden day, I had so much fun potting up Zinnia seedlings for visitors to take home. 

ROSEFEST UPDATE

Rosefest was a big success. Loads of people and loads of roses. In the Rose Show I saw some of the most beautiful roses I have ever seen thanks to all those who entered … especially John and Donna Hefner. They are such experts and are so willing to help others. They took home the top honors.

ROSE CHAT

More episodes are being released all the time. Check them out here. When you click the most recent episodes will become linkable. First up you’ll see my chat with Tom Carruth – one of the most successful rose hybridizers in the world. He has brought us classic beauties like Julia Child, Hot Cocoa and the amazing Forth of July climber to name a few. He is currently the currator for one of the most beautiful rose gardens in the world … The Huntington Rose Garden in San Marino, CA.

UPDATE FROM STAR ROSES & PLANTS Rose Chat Podcast

UPDATE FROM STAR ROSES & PLANTS Heidi Mortensen, Rose Program Manager   On this episode, Heidi Mortensen, Rose Program Manager of Star Roses and Plants shares some beautiful new roses, rose trends and an update on how things are going in the rose industry since Covid. We'll also get a sneak peek into what's coming in 2023!     NEW FOR 2023…   TOP CREAM   RASPBERRY CUPCAKE BUTTERCREAM DRIFT   SUNBLAZE LEMON   SUNBLAZE PEACH     ROSE CHAT TEAM:   Executive Producer & On-Air Personality: Chris VanCleave – www.RedneckRosarian.com Creator of the Rose Chat Podcast. Mr. VanCleave is a nationally known rosarian, television personality, speaker and advocate for the rose.   Content Creator & On-Air Personality: Teresa Byington – www.TheGardenDiary.com Co-Host Teresa Byington promotes roses as an integral part of the landscape, as a Consulting Rosarian, Master Gardener, writer, and speaker.   SUBSCRIBE: Subscribe to Rose Chat Podcast Updates: http://bit.ly/subscribeROSE   VISIT OUR SPONSOR: Haven Brand Soil Conditionershttp://www.ManureTea.com/sho
  1. UPDATE FROM STAR ROSES & PLANTS
  2. Roses & RRD … What’s New?
  3. PROFILE OF A GARDENER – Teri Speight
  4. SECRETS TO MY SUCCESS WITH ROSES
  5. LET’S GEEK OUT OVER ROSES

THey’re back

Oh, how I hate to tell you that it’s now Japanese Beetle season again. 😫

You know how much I love my Vanessa Bell roses. Well, the Japanese Beetles chose her to be the first to munch on. So, it begins. 😡  If you’d like to read my article on Japanese Beetles from last year, read on here

PRESSING FLOWERS

I haven’t pressed flowers for many years but I have been craving to do so this year. Mr. G gifted me with an absolutely gorgeous (and large) press from Gardeners Supply. He loves to buy gifts from there as they have such quality! If you are interested in pressing some beauty too, here’s a link

What am I going to do with the flowers I press??? I’m not sure but I do envision a jar filled with beautiful pressed flowers. We’ll see!

ROSE OF THE WEEK… BLISS PARFUMA

What a rose! It has stood up to all the rain like a champ! This rose came to me from Heirloom Roses last year and it is outstanding. A strong, vigorous plant with gorgeous blooms. Like all the Kordes roses in my garden, it is disease resistant. It also has a light fragrance. To read more, here is a link to Heirloom.

COMPANION OF THE WEEK … SELF-SEEDED FOXGLOVE

Look at this beauty. It self-seeded from a Foxglove I bought at Lowes last year. Such a beautiful color. I will be saving seeds and making sure some make their way into the ground again!

BLOOM THYME THIS WEEK

The rain gave way to torrid heat. I think most of you are in the same hot boat! Many plants are “melting” but some are taking the heat in stride. And, I’m trying to do the same.

We will close out the gallery with the boldest of all… one of the newest kids on the block – South Africa.

Whew, she is making a name for herself. She is positioned right beside the prissy pink Pomponella who may be giving her a side-eye. I might have to find a better place for her “boldness.”

Friends, glad you stopped by. Stay cool!! 

Maybe make some lemonade. This is the recipe for lemonade I loved to serve to guests coming to the garden — back when the world was more comfortable with that sort of thing. I sure hope we get back to that soon.

My kids call it, “LEMONADE THE MOM WAY.”

For each can of Minute Maid (or other brands) Frozen Lemonade add…

  • 2 cans water
  • 2 cans Canada Dry Ginger Ale
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 large sprigs of fresh mint
  • 1 – 2 lemons, thinly sliced
  • Add ice and ENJOY!

BLOOM THYME FRIDAY: SLOWLY, SURELY AND WET!

Are you tired of hearing about weather yet? We are getting almost constant rain! The garden is drenched but so green. This reminds me of 2019 when my good friend Connie Hilker came to visit and she spent her time walking in the garden under an umbrella wearing boots – the pathways were flooded. She would find the same thing today…

Here are some beauties BRAVING THE STORMS this week…

KAZANLIK is an amazingly fragrant Damask from the Bulgaria / Turkey region since before 1600s. I just had to have her and many of her cousins after visiting Turkey and learning more about their significance in the rose oil trade. Wonderful to use in potpourris! I purchased her from High Country Roses and you can too … here

ABOVE AND BEYOND is going above and beyond, as usual, to make a big splash in the garden. Rain or shine! Thank you Dr. David Zlesak for such an amazing rose!

CLEMATIS AND LADY ASHE

The clematis is moving in a bit faster but Lady Ashe is primed and ready to take center stage. What a fabulous rose! Lady Ashe is a beautiful, well-behaved, fragrant climber from English rose growers at Peter Beale’s Roses.

OTHERS DOING WELL REGARDLESS OF THE CONDITIONS…

ROSE CHAT

Want company while you’re working in the garden? Access the list of most recent podcasts below…

UPDATE FROM STAR ROSES & PLANTS Rose Chat Podcast

UPDATE FROM STAR ROSES & PLANTS Heidi Mortensen, Rose Program Manager   On this episode, Heidi Mortensen, Rose Program Manager of Star Roses and Plants shares some beautiful new roses, rose trends and an update on how things are going in the rose industry since Covid. We'll also get a sneak peek into what's coming in 2023!     NEW FOR 2023…   TOP CREAM   RASPBERRY CUPCAKE BUTTERCREAM DRIFT   SUNBLAZE LEMON   SUNBLAZE PEACH     ROSE CHAT TEAM:   Executive Producer & On-Air Personality: Chris VanCleave – www.RedneckRosarian.com Creator of the Rose Chat Podcast. Mr. VanCleave is a nationally known rosarian, television personality, speaker and advocate for the rose.   Content Creator & On-Air Personality: Teresa Byington – www.TheGardenDiary.com Co-Host Teresa Byington promotes roses as an integral part of the landscape, as a Consulting Rosarian, Master Gardener, writer, and speaker.   SUBSCRIBE: Subscribe to Rose Chat Podcast Updates: http://bit.ly/subscribeROSE   VISIT OUR SPONSOR: Haven Brand Soil Conditionershttp://www.ManureTea.com/sho
  1. UPDATE FROM STAR ROSES & PLANTS
  2. Roses & RRD … What’s New?
  3. PROFILE OF A GARDENER – Teri Speight
  4. SECRETS TO MY SUCCESS WITH ROSES
  5. LET’S GEEK OUT OVER ROSES

ROSEFEST / SAT, JUNE 11, 9 – 3 pm

If you’re local, the Indianapolis Rose Society and Hamilton Country Master Gardeners have teamed up to bring a beautiful day of roses. Roses for sale, demonstrations, garden tour, great speakers, and free Proven Winner’s beautiful roses to the first 40 guests! For all the details, read on here… 

Grateful

In these tumultuous times, weather as a problem is not even on the scale. More than ever I appreciate the beauty and love around me. 

Luke 12: Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. He’s not just in control of flowers, He’s in control of us. 

Until next week…. may your time in the garden give you comfort and beauty.

BLOOM THYME FRIDAY: May Madness

Well, for the last two weeks I have been “gardening from a fire hose.” For sure. With winter refusing to leave and spring rains turning to spring floods, all the spring chores around here were crammed into the last two weeks. Of course, there is not a real “deadline”, however, I want things to be ready when FIREWORKS and FRAGRANCE season starts and the old roses lead the way in late May.

So with every minute I had, I was planting, pruning, fertilizing and mulching. As of Wednesday of this week, most of those tasks have been crossed off the list. Whew! Just in time to see this beauty take center stage as the first rose to bloom. 

Therese Bugnet (Hybrid Rugosa (Georges Bugnet, Canada, 1941)

If you would like to know more about her or would like to have one in your garden, check out the High Country Roses website HERE.  

So in this flurry of garden activity, I found a place for 24 dahlias.😳 Still a mystery to me how I found enough room. Also found plenty of room to plant cosmos and zinnia seeds. My plan is that they will take up the slack when the roses have to lay low while the Japanese Beetles are on the hunt for them mid-summer. Praying that the JBs do not find Dahlias and Zinnias tasty. Can’t these dreaded creatures just go away! Remember last summer …

ROSE CHAT

If you need some company while you’re weeding, check out the latest podcasts. I’ve been chatting with some great guests. Access list below..

UPDATE FROM STAR ROSES & PLANTS Rose Chat Podcast

UPDATE FROM STAR ROSES & PLANTS Heidi Mortensen, Rose Program Manager   On this episode, Heidi Mortensen, Rose Program Manager of Star Roses and Plants shares some beautiful new roses, rose trends and an update on how things are going in the rose industry since Covid. We'll also get a sneak peek into what's coming in 2023!     NEW FOR 2023…   TOP CREAM   RASPBERRY CUPCAKE BUTTERCREAM DRIFT   SUNBLAZE LEMON   SUNBLAZE PEACH     ROSE CHAT TEAM:   Executive Producer & On-Air Personality: Chris VanCleave – www.RedneckRosarian.com Creator of the Rose Chat Podcast. Mr. VanCleave is a nationally known rosarian, television personality, speaker and advocate for the rose.   Content Creator & On-Air Personality: Teresa Byington – www.TheGardenDiary.com Co-Host Teresa Byington promotes roses as an integral part of the landscape, as a Consulting Rosarian, Master Gardener, writer, and speaker.   SUBSCRIBE: Subscribe to Rose Chat Podcast Updates: http://bit.ly/subscribeROSE   VISIT OUR SPONSOR: Haven Brand Soil Conditionershttp://www.ManureTea.com/sho
  1. UPDATE FROM STAR ROSES & PLANTS
  2. Roses & RRD … What’s New?
  3. PROFILE OF A GARDENER – Teri Speight
  4. SECRETS TO MY SUCCESS WITH ROSES
  5. LET’S GEEK OUT OVER ROSES

Yes, May Madness is upon us! The garden is filled with excitement. So many roses are budded up and will pop soon! FIREWORKS AND FRAGRANCE to be continued. 

In this time of gardening from a fire hose…. the scripture Psalm 46:10, Be still and know that I am God…. is something I need more than ever. He is the creator of all this beauty we see and I am grateful. 

Have a wonderful week in your garden and I hope you have time to just be… 

BLOOM THYME FRIDAY: Blossom by Blossom


Blossom by blossom the Spring begins.
Algernon Charles Swinburne

I don’t know about where you are, but around here Spring is having an identity crisis. We are having such extreme ups and downs and so much rain. But with it all, Spring is still very welcome. I give Spring a lot of grace just because it is NOT WINTER.

The above quote is just perfect I think. Every day as I walk in the garden I see something new. All signs of life. Just a perfect setting to lead us up to Easter and a time when we celebrate the sacrifice Jesus made to bring us eternal life.

DAFFODILS

Daffodils are my favorite spring bulb. They sure make a difference in the spring garden. Even though I love them, I go slowly when it comes to planting them as I don’t want their messy leaves still around when the roses are getting started! I certainly get creative about where to put them. But oh how wonderful it is to see them when they come. 

For containers, I buy the mini starter pots at Lowes and Walmart. Usually, Tete de Tetes are the mini daffodils used. But this year the ones I bought from Walmart were different than the ones I bought from Lowes – and I liked them much better! With a little investigation, I found out that this “new” mini daffodil was a sport of Tete de Tete — Tete Boucle. Boucle is the French word for loop. Ms Boucle was not only gorgeous but she also did very well in a vase. 

On Social Media Paul Zimmerman introduced me to another daffodil that I am on the hunt for — Yosemite Valley. Have you seen this one? Oh my word! GORGEOUS! I have found the perfect spot for more daffodils and I hope these will be the ones! So far, I have not found a supplier. If you see them for sale, let me know!

YEAR OF THE GLADIOLUS

The National Garden Bureau has named 2022 as the year of the Gladiolus. I am thrilled. I love this old-fashioned beauty. I know they fell out of favor except for “funeral” flowers for a time but I am “glad” to report they are coming back!

Some fun facts from the Garden Bureau:

  • The gladiolus bulb is actually a corm.
  • They are part of the iris family.
  • The original varieties existed naturally in South Africa.
  • Gladiolus owe their botanical name to the Latin word gladius, which means sword.

Some growing tips…

  1. Gladiolus should be grown in well-drained soil and full sun.
  2. You can grow them in a cutting garden, add them to your perennial garden, grow them in raised beds or containers, or plant the corms in your vegetable garden.
  3. Before planting, prepare the soil by loosening the planting area to a depth of 6 to 10”. Adding compost and an all-purpose granular fertilizer will help your glads reach their full potential.
  4. You can expect the flowers to begin opening 80-90 days after planting. To extend the bloom time, don’t plant all the corms at once. Plant the first batch in spring after all danger of frost has passed. Plant additional corms every week or two until early summer (about 90 days before the first fall frost).
  5. Plant grandiflora types 6 to 8” deep. Planting deeper helps keep the stems upright. Dwarf glads should be planted 4 to 6” deep. Space the corms 4 to 6” apart on center. Use the closer spacing if you plan to cut most of the stems before they are fully open.
  6. Water regularly and deeply, especially during dry spells. When plants are stressed by heat and drought, they become more susceptible to pests and disease. Applying 2 to 3” of mulch after planting will help retain moisture and control weeds.

To read more from the Garden Bureau on growing these garden beauties … head over to the Garden Bureau site HERE.

There are so many varieties at the garden centers and box stores right now. So far I have purchased 3 different varieties that I plan to work in groupings together…

Rose Chat Spring Fling:

Last week we released the first in the 4-part spring fling series…

ROSE PEST & DISEASE CONTROL … without the “hard” stuff
Jason Croutch of Fraser Valley Rose Farm

On this episode, Jason Croutch, owner of Fraser Valley Rose Farm, shares his rose growing philosophy and gives us tips on managing rose pests and diseases without using “the hard stuff.” Listen in for so many great rose care ideas plus stories behind his very popular YouTube Channel. You might just need a pen and paper for this one! 

LISTEN HERE.

Next in the series…

Potting Shed Putterings

Tomatoes have germinated in record time. Mr. G is very happy. Since I started them later than I usually do, he was getting a bit anxious about it! So far everyone is doing well. Fungus gnats seem to be fewer and more under control – hopefully! Although I am certainly creating their ideal habitat! 

Holy Week

This Sunday starts Holy week for Christians. From Jesus’ triumphant entry, to his death on the cross and resurrection. The images from Mel Gibson’s movie The Passion are forever etched into my mind. We will rewatch on Good Friday. Such love is hard to comprehend. But he calls us to the same… 

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another.” –John 13:34

If you’d like to read more about the events of this special week … read on here

Friends, I wish you a beautiful, love-filled week. 

BLOOM THYME FRIDAY: IT CAME JUST THE SAME

Yes, It Came Just the Same!

In the HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS when all could have been lost, we read, “Without any presents at all! He HADN’T stopped Christmas from coming! IT CAME! Somehow or other, it came just the same!”

Even with freezing temps and crazy amounts of snow in places where it was highly unlikely and highly unwelcome, on March 20 Spring came just the same. Bringing with it wind, rain, and in some places snow! But regardless of the weather, spring brought hope for rebirth that we see more and more each day. 

I don’t know the name, but I think this may be my fav crocus ever.

SPRING SIGNS

On my daily commute to the office (AKA Potting Shed), I am seeing things that bring incredible joy. 

MEMORY LANE

This winter I kept thinking about a rose I grew many years ago and lost to a particularly bad winter – Fragrant Cloud. It was as though I could actually smell the sweet fragrance in my memory.

Guess what I found at Lowes for $10… a bareroot Fragrant Cloud! I’m going to put it in a container, give it lots of love and wait for the blooms. Do you think the fragrance will be as good as my memory? I’m excited to find out. Do you grow this one?

I am trying to keep this rose dormant a bit longer but it is ready to party now!

ONE MORE

I promise this will be the last Dahlia I buy in 2022. 🙄 🤞🏻 I went for a beautiful spring “walk” through one of my very favorite local Garden Centers, COUNTRY HARMONY. Guess what? They had dahlias. And, they had this one! Soooooo different than any of the others! 

Thomas A. Edison

ROSE CHAT SPRING FLING

Each Sunday in April we will release a new podcast I think you will enjoy! It is an outstanding lineup! Check them out HERE. https://rosechat.podbean.com

WHAT A DREAM SPRING TEAM!

Speaking of podcast guests… A recent guest, Dr. A (Allan Armitage) is having a Facebook LIVE WalkAbout in his garden tomorrow (March 26). He’ll be showing us what’s going on in his spring garden “warts and all.” I know we will learn and we WILL laugh. 

POTTING SHED PUTTERINGS

Things are green and growing in the Potting Shed. 

✅ The Dahlias tubers I planted have certainly exceeded my expectations and are going to need more space than I first thought. How will I keep them happy until mid-May??? Probably started these just a few weeks too early. 😉

✅ I potted up the Dahlias I started from seed! (Unwin Bedding Dahlias) Seriously, I NEVER tire of this process. Seeing seeds germinate and watching roots form – I feel allows us to be part of the miraculous. Are you growing anything from seed this year?

✅ The Lisianthus are slowly getting bigger every day. 

Dahlias in front / Lisianthus in back

✅ Strawflowers are beginning to sprout. 

✅ The seeds I “winter sowed” in milk jugs are coming along.

✅ Next week I’ll start Mr. G tomatoes inside and sweet peas plus a few other cool season flowers outside. 

Yes, much is going well in the Potting Shed with one exception…. fungus gnats. I’m treating them with a solution made with Mosquito Bits and using “sticky tape” flowers. But so far they seem to be enjoying it all. 🙄 How do you deal with them?

Yes, spring came just the same! Let’s roll up our sleeves and enjoy regardless of what the weatherman is predicting! And here the outlook is … well let’s just say I’m gonna need a good amount of red lipstick. 💄

Happy Spring Friends!

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: 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. 

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