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..

THE HERITAGE ROSE FOUNDATION Rose Chat Podcast

THE HERITAGE ROSE FOUNDATION Peggy Martin   On this episode, Peggy Martin, of the Peggy Martin Rose fame, dons her Heritage Rose Foundation hat, to bring us up to date on all the projects that the foundation is working on. She also shares her favorite roses with us and the exciting news about the new children's book about the Peggy Martin Rose – A Rose Without a Name.     Heritage Rose Foundation website here.   A Rose Without a Name Children's book is available on Amazon here.           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/shop
  1. THE HERITAGE ROSE FOUNDATION
  2. 2022 ARTS ROSE TRIAL WINNERS
  3. WHAT’S IN THE BAG? The Dirt on Bagged Potting Media
  4. NEW ROSES AND COMPANION PLANTS
  5. GROWING ROSES IN CONTAINERS

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

SEASONS

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


Take care friends. 😘

Bloom Thyme Friday: Roses for You!

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

GARDEN ROSES

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

FRAGRANT GARDEN ROSES

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

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

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

Savannah

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

Mother of Pearl

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

Quietness

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

Vase of Music Box roses

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

Champagne Wishes

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

At Last

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

The Generous Gardener

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

Earth Angel

POSEIDON: Full blooms in a wonderful lavender color. The petals have beautiful ruffled edges. The fragrance is light to moderate.

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.

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 or have very little fragrance. I don’t let that stand in my way and still consider them very valuable. Fragrance can be added with lavender, lilies, mint, lemon balm, and a bevy of other herbs and flowers. Just like gardeners who grow them, roses grow best with good companions. 

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

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

Petit Pink

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

THE FUTURE IS BRIGHT

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

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

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

EASY ELEGANCE COLLECTION

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

WHERE TO BUY

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


High Country Gardens (Link)

Heirloom Roses (Link)

Roses Unlimited (Link)

Antique Rose Emporium (Link)

Palatine Roses (Link)   

David Austin Roses  (Link)

Chamblee Roses (Link)

Jackson and Perkins (Link)

TRUTH BE TOLD

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

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

BLOOM THYME FRIDAY: Open Garden and a Rose Explosion

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

BOKAY DAY

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

Gardeners, we are in great company. 😘

BLOOM THYME FRIDAY: Hope, Faith and Bulbs

HOPE & FAITH ABOUND

Planting bulbs in the fall shows we have faith in the unseen and hope for the future. Add to that a good splash of hope in advertising!

Regardless of their size or shape, bulbs are not attractive or very impressive. But they are small mighty miracles!!! From such humble beginnings, we are promised immense spring beauty just at the time we will need it most. We read the catalog descriptions and labels on the bags and dream of what will come — making getting out in the cold and often damp weather to dig holes and get them in their new home worth it – as an investment in our late winter mental health! We will start looking out the window for their beautiful metamorphosis and, the beginning of the gardening season! 🌷

FERTILIZERS & PESTS

I never fertilize my bulbs at planting time. The main reason is that most of the critters who are overly fond of my garden love organic fertilizer. I do not need to encourage them.

Even without any fertilizer around they still are attracted to the site where the bulbs reside. Squirrels were a big problem last year with the bulbs. In one area they dug and tossed out the daffodil bulbs 3 times before I decided to top-dress the area with some diatomaceous earth. Party over! This year I’m using cayenne pepper and some fencing to ward off unwanted visitors.

We have had a bumper crop of acorns this year in our neighborhood, maybe the cute little acorns will keep the cute little squirrels busy.

TOOLS OF CHOICE

AUGER

Around here we love power tools and this one is fabulous. The best tool for planting larger bulbs with little disturbance to the surrounding area. I purchased mine through Amazon. Link. We also have a long auger that we purchased at Lowes.

DIBBLER

Just received this as a surprise from Mr. G and already I am questioning how I have lived without this tool! It was perfect for planting the garlic and other small bulbs! Gets in tight places without disturbing other plants. Link.

SHOVEL

Many of my daffodils are planted in big groups and if there is plenty of space, the shovel works great!

WHAT I’M PLANTING THIS YEAR

THALIA  NARCISSUS

Monty Don’s (Gardener’s World UK) ‘Thalia’ daffodils had me drooling through episode after episode this spring. Luckily I was able to find them at Brent and Becky’s Bulbs. Take a look here.

Here’s a screenshot from his social media post this spring… Drooling yet?
ICE KING DAFFODILS (Bag from Lowes)
One of my favorites!
PINK MIX (Bag from Lowes)

I love pink and it is always fun to see what we get!

SNOW DROPS (GALANTHUS):  Mount Everest

Our local woods are filled with snowdrops that we were able to enjoy more than ever this spring because of the lockdown. Add to that the pictures my daughter sent from England of fields of these beauties — both convincing me I needed some just outside my window. These came from Brent and Becky’s too… Info here.

ALLIUM

I planted alliums for the first time last year and just loved them! So of course I need more. This year I am adding Perian Blue (Lowes} and more Purple Sensation (American Meadows).

GARLIC

Just like last year, I am planting only one variety of garlic – Brown Rose (From the Garlic Store). Yes, the first year it was for the name and now that we have enjoyed it, I am planting it for the flavor! The garlic is in the ground with a good layer of cayenne pepper to make it less attractive to varmints…

FAMILY STORY

Each year we plant daffodils in memory of our beloved Uncle Tony — Mr. G’s brother who passed from us much too soon from a long, gallantly fought battle with cancer. He was an artist and a gardener and he loved daffodils. In one of my last conversations with him, he talked about his daffodils and was excited to see them bloom. He did not get to see them bloom in his garden on earth that year, but I know he was greeted with daffodils and so much more that spring. After he passed, I bundled daffodil bulbs in burlap and passed out for people to plant in his honor. I was grateful that so many were excited to do just that. I hope they remember this special man when they bloom.

FALL FOOD

With being home more and cooking so much more, we are constantly adapting recipes to better suit two people. We love acorn squash and usually just eat it plain. However, I have been seeing all kinds of recipes for stuffed acorn squash and they look so delicious. This week we had our own version. It turned out so well I thought you might like to try it.

COOKING SQUASH:

Cut and remove seeds from squash. Brush with oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on roasting pan. I baked my cut side down but you can do either.

Bake at 425 for 20 -25 minutes or until fork-tender.

FILLLING:

1 cup of cooked Trader Joes Harvest Grains Mix
1 teaspoon dried Thyme (a bit more if it is fresh)
1 teaspoon dried Sage
1/3 cup chopped and toasted pistachio nuts
1 T oil or melted butter
Salt and pepper to taste (we used a lot of pepper)
We also sprinkled on some red chili flakes
Mix all ingredients and add the warm filling to baked squash as soon as it comes out of the oven. So simple and delicious. Very filling and good for you too.

If you try it let me know what you think and if you have another simple fall recipe, share that too in the comments below so we can all enjoy!

Whether you’re planting or cooking today… all the very best. 

Bloom Thyme Friday: Rain or Shine, I’m Not Gonna Whine

It’s true, rain or shine, I’m not gonna whine. It’s all good. Because of the rain, we have areas that are more beautiful than ever before at this time of year and areas that have been stunted.

The area hardest hit by the “wet” was the herb garden. I plant a lot of seeds in the herb garden and it was very late when I got them out and they are quite small. I believe that all of them, with the exception of the sweet peas will be fine. It might be too hot for the sweet peas before they get to be their best selves. Last year the zinnias were twice as tall or maybe 3 times as tall as they are this year but no worries there. They will be monsters soon enough.

Speaking of zinnias, I planted several varieties that I had not planted before — Enchantress (they don’t look like double giants yet ), Apricot Blush, and Blue Point. So excited to see how they do. Last year my California Giants did so well that they blocked more than one path through the garden — beautifully, I might add.  🙂 And, the pink ones (I don’t remember the variety.) were so “healthy” that they smashed out several of their neighbors before I got them staked.🙄

STORMY WEATHER

Last night as we were preparing the garden for events this weekend – another storm came, taking many blooms with it. This morning I see that it also brought many fresh new blooms – so “rain or shine, I’m not gonna wine.” Now if it rains on Saturday and our guests can’t tour the garden. I might whine a bit.

BIGGEST UPSIDE OF RAINY WEATHER

Very little, if any, hand watering. While I love the process of hand watering and getting up close and personal with my plants, my garden has grown to the size that it certainly takes some time to get that job accomplished.

BLOOM THYME THIS WEEK

There were so many things blooming this week that I told myself no more than 10 pictures. So, of course I’ll give you 13 plus a video. Sorry, couldn’t help myself.

New Dawn going up and over! Just as she should!

Peggy Martin doing what she does so beautifully. Shout to my beautiful friend Peggy too! xo

Peggy Martin reaching for the sky – beautifully

New Dawn and Etiole des Violette … good companions year after year

Mother of Pearl – I counted 25 blooms on one of the shrubs this morning. I have 3 shrubs of this gorgeous rose.

Freida Kahlo — so much prettier in person

Imogen (DA) my, my she’s pretty. She was in the garden last year but I don’t remember her being a standout. But this year that is a different story. LOVE HER.

Sweet Drift and Darcey Bussell (DA)

Most of the garden action around here happens in the back yard, but Mr. G was busy in the front yard so it wasn’t an embarrassment. I tend to forget we have a front yard. 🙂

First year for Queen of Sweden (DA) and she is stealing my heart!!

Rosa Mundi. What a standout. One-time bloomer but what a bloom.

Rosa Mundi and neighbors

If you need me, I’m in the garden deadheading the roses, so they can be their best selves for our guests tomorrow.🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹

Yes, rain or shine, it’s gonna be fine, but

I AM PRAYING FOR SHINE!

🙏🏻 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻 🙏🏻🙏🏻