BLOOM THYME FRIDAY: I can see clearly now…

I can see clearly now that the rain has gone! 


Sounds like a song! HA! But, it’s true. ☀️ The sun is out and the garden is drying – although we still have some soggy areas. It is great to be in the garden every day again. And I’m seeing so clearly that I am launching into a new project. Since most of the garden “rooms” are doing well, I am ready to tackle something that is in need of some help – total revamp of the herb garden. 


The rain damage and the horrible deer damage of that area has me totally rethinking that space. When I I was ready to start getting my ideas on paper, I went to find a book that I bought when I first designed the herb garden in 1989. I bought this little book on a date with Mr. G. He knew how much I loved Smith and Hawkins (anyone remember Smith and Hawkins?). S & H was an upscale garden center in our area that had a profound effect on my garden life! You saw the best of everything there — plants, tools, garden shed supplies, and books. When I opened HERB by Jane Courtier it brought back so many memories. I even found a note I had left there. Once again I was inspired! FUN STUFF.


I enjoy the herb garden so very much. It was my first real garden “room.” Truly one of my happy places. Herb gardens smell so very good and are packed with memories. There are the thanksgiving smells (sage and thyme), Italian feast smells (oregano, basil, and chives), fragrant drink makers (lemon verbena, mint, chamomile), along with lavender and roses (yes roses are herbs too). So, so many. Through the years I have packed that space with bits of everything. As I work through this process, I am doing things so differently. I don’t need as much as I once did, I now have a flower cutting garden so I don’t need to pack it with flowers (although it will be hard not to). 


I am literally gutting the space. Most of the roses have been moved. Flowers moved, some tired, leggy perennial herbs have been removed and new fresh plants purchased. Mr. G says he’s in to make short raised beds. So I am off to the races!


While I lose planting space, having small raised beds gives me options I don’t have now – like easier winter protection. Hopefully, easier protection from deer too. And, new spaces to plan and plot! YES!!


As of now, there will be 4) 4’X4′ raised beds with walking paths around each. Two roses that are staying in place are (Moje Hammarberg on one front corner and Celsiana on the other). I am keeping the birdbath where it is now (in the middle). For now, I will use mulch for the paths around the boxes. I am undecided as to what the entrance path will be. What do you think? In the past, I have used flagstones and most recently round stone pavers. 


The emotional side… This is an exceptionally great picture of the herb garden from a few years ago on a perfect day when everything looked… well just about perfect. I think I won’t look at this picture much for a while! 😳😢 Instead I will think about how it looked with water and deer damage. Onward I go to this new thing! Wish me luck!

BLOOM THYME

The ugly side of things is that when the rain stopped the Japanese Beetles came from miles around. 

Luckily, there are still pretty summer blooms that we are enjoying. 

Wishing you blue skies and bright, bright sunshiny days! 🎶 🎶 

Bloom Thyme Friday: It’s a Jungle Out There 🐒

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!! ☀️

One of my two little lavender topiaries I started from cuttings.
A new one to add to the collection.
There are a few others peppered around the garden.

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)

 REGISTER HERE 

ABOUT THE WEBINAR…

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
  • Marketing Challenges
  • Competition
  • Diseases (and perception of diseases)
  • Breeding Priorities
  • IPM (Integrated Pest Management)

BLOOM THYME 

Not everything has been beaten down by the rain and storms! Some plants are letting their light shine and making me smile.

 

Stargazers
Daisies don’t tell and they don’t let the storms bother them.
Trust me … it looks better from a distance. 😳

BETTER WEATHER AHEAD

Well, it looks like better weather is coming soon – after a bit more stormy weather. Fingers crossed.

Thanks for stopping by.

BLOOM THYME FRIDAY: SUMMERTIME

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!

  • Deadhead Roses
  • 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. 
  • Trim Topiaries
  • Trim Boxwoods  
  • Weed
  • Start foxglove seeds
  • Start lavender cuttings 
  • Add to “Plotting and Planning” Inspiration Book
  • MAKE BOKAYS
  • Have fun!

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.

GARDEN REPORT

WEEDS!

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.  

Oh DEER!

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! 🙏🏻🙏🏻

JAPANESE BEETLES

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.

BLOOM THYME

Here’s are the standouts for this week…

Hollyhocks
Pink Pearl Sweet Pea … Beautiful, very floriferous but unfortunately no fragrance.
Annabelle Borders
Bright Eyes and her daisy friends.
Mother of Pearl Rose and her neighborhood.
Etoile Violette around the gate.

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.

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
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

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!

Petit Pink

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…


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: NEW FOR 2021

A busy week pushed Bloom Thyme Friday to Saturday! Even during a pandemic, there are many wonderful opportunities!

This week temps were up – near 80 (Daffodils popped up!) and temps were down – 27.
Rain came (thankfully) and so did frosty mornings!

GO BACK TO SLEEP!

NEW ROSES FOR 2021

One of the fun things I did this week was to attend the Indianapolis Rose Society meeting. During the meeting, I gave a program on 2021 rose introductions.

Wow! Next year we have a great selection of new roses to look forward to. Truly something for everyone from gorgeous high centered Hybrid Teas to colorful, blooming machine shrub roses. Many of them are fragrant too! Whether you are just getting started or have been growing roses for years, take a look at what’s coming our way!

Here is a link to the NEW ROSE PRESENTATION.  Let me know if you have trouble opening the link. 

To whet your appetite, here are a  few of my favorites. I gotta say it was very hard to choose just one for each category.

WEEKS ROSES:

FUN IN THE SUN GRANDIFLORA

  • Medium Size Shrub
  • Flower 3-4″
  • Very Good Disease Resistance
  • Strong Fruity/Spice Fragrance

Find additional information here.

STAR ROSES & PLANTS

SITTING PRETTY GRANDIFLORA

  • Damask Fragrance
  • Disease Resistant
  • Ideal for Containers
  • Zones 4-11

Find additional information here.

JACKSON & PERKINS

Jackson and Perkins have some exclusive releases this year!

CUP OF GOLD CLIMBING ROSE

  • English Rose Look
  • Quick to Establish & Fast Growing
  • Reaches 10-12′
  • Repeats Bloom All Summer

I liked this one so much that I ordered it on the spot while working on the presentation. If you have been following me for a while, you have heard me say repeatedly that I do NOT need any more climbing roses. And I don’t, BUT, do you see how beautiful this one is.
(Here is a list of my other climbers.)

Find additional J & P information here.

PROVEN WINNERS

This is PW new release and it looks like an impact maker!

RINGO ALL-STAR

  • 2-3′ Tall
  • Extremely Low Maintenance
  • No Need to deadhead
  • Continuous Bloomer

Find additional information here.

TRUE BLOOM ROSES

Ping Lim, who brought us the Easy Elegance collection, has a new line of roses — TRUE BLOOM. They had limited distribution last year but did not make it to my area – the midwest.

There are so many beautiful roses in this collection, so be on the lookout for them in your area in 2021.

SPEAKING OF PING…

Ping Lim is a very special person who is dedicated to bringing beauty to our lives! I had the pleasure of chatting with him on the Rose Chat Podcast a few months back. It was wonderful to hear his story of how he fell in love with roses and what he has coming soon!

You can listen here.

This gray, frosty day and all this talk about new roses has me very excited for next June …so let’s go back to June for just a couple of seconds…

Mother of Pearl

The Faun

 

NOW IT’S BACK TO REALITY AND JOY FOR TODAY…

To kick off the season, the Thanksgiving cacti are blooming right on cue!

The red beauty is perched on the rocking horse that Mr. G made for our children when they were wee ones. I love having it in our family room for every season!

Love this color…

Care tips from Good Housekeeping:

HOW TO CARE FOR CHRISTMAS CACTI…

A lack of water and dramatic temperature swings can cause flower buds to drop more rapidly. Maximize your specimen’s blooming period by paying attention to these six key factors:

– Soil: Use a quality soil rich in humus and other nutrients.

– Temperature: Maintain an optimal climate of 65 degrees.

– Watering: Keep the soil evenly moist while your plant is blooming, misting it frequently.

– Light: Place the cactus in an east-facing window for moderate light and some direct sun.

– Fertilization: Apply a high-potassium fertilizer every two weeks once buds form.

– Transplantation: Repot your cactus each year after flowering.

I was in Lowe’s yesterday and they were putting out tons of these cacti. You know where this is going… I bought another one. It is a tiny plant just covered in light pink buds. There is no picture of the open bloom, but I suspect it will be like my ivory colored one. The small plants at Lowes are $3.98 and very healthy!

The care tips above ARE an excellent goal, but I’ll admit I don’t provide all of that for my cacti and they are very forgiving! But, don’t overwater!

If you grow these, here is an illustration to identify the one you have.

MORE JOY FOR THE DAY…

Our very favorite Classic Beef Stew, Rhodes rolls fresh from the oven, and Mr. G’s handsome face.

 

UNTIL NEXT TIME … wishing you JOY!

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: Climbing Roses and Fall Treats


We’ve had some beautiful weather — just perfect to work on the climbing roses and I have several! If you are interested, here they are….

  • Peggy Martin (3)
  • New Dawn (3)
  • Jasmina 
  • Francis E. Lester (more rambler than climber)
  • Ghislaine de Feligonde 
  • Bathsheba
  • The Generous Gardener (2)
  • Veilchenblau 
  • Papi Delbard
  • Honeymoon Arborose
  • Lady Ashe

Mercy, I sort of forgot I had so many until I wrote the list! I told Mr. G this week I really do not need any more climbers. 🙄  I hope he forgets I said that. 

I love them! Nothing adds charm and beauty to a cottage garden like climbing roses (or clematis for that matter but that’s a story for another day). 

DO CLIMBING ROSES REALLY CLIMB?

So, do climbing roses actually climb? NO, they send out long arching canes that we shape and secure. 
In the last few weeks, my climbers have been sending long, long canes. Some are 10’ – 15’.


So, I am doing “ladder time.” Even though I am not the most comfortable on a ladder and even though I do get the occasional prick. (Ever tried to tie up New Dawn??? OUCH.) .. I consider it a wonderful job. While up there I am looking over the garden – making plans as I gaze. And while I am shaping up the climbers, I almost get giddy as I visualize how gorgeous they will be in the spring as a result of my love touch. 

MOST COMMON QUESTION ON CLIMBING ROSES  

A question I hear often is “why do my climbing roses only bloom on the tips?” The answer to that question is they bloom on laterals. So to produce more lateral canes, you need to secure the long main canes horizontally – this forces lateral growth all down the cane and those laterals will bear flowers.  Note: Work with your canes to gently shape – not a harsh angle that might damage the cane. Ask me how I know this…. Yes, experience. 🤦‍♀️ 

This is my 1st year Peggy Martin secured this way…
Fifth-year Peggy Martin – secure and happy…

Another common question is what do I use to tie my roses. 

As you can imagine through the years I have used just about everything — including pantyhose – and they work. #truth  However, my tie of choice is the green stretchy tape. Check it out on Amazon here


PRUNING CLIMBING ROSES

My rule of thumb is don’t do an overall prune of climbers — especially for the first three years while they are getting established. Pruning climbing roses is very different from pruning shrub roses or hybrid teas. Your task from the start and ongoing will be to trim out dead, diseased, or any cane that does not contribute to the overall health and beauty of the rose. As you watch your climbing rose grow you will begin to see what I mean. #trustme 

ROSE TERROR 😱

Just in time for Halloween, I have a scary video for you to watch. Be sure you watch all the way to the end! In this video, Ben Hanna, owner of Heirloom Roses, is pruning his very established climbing roses. Even I panic when I watch this video. In 15 minutes he will terrorize and teach you!

REMEMBER, STAY UNTIL THE END and see the rewards!


Another pruning video that is very helpful and not quite so scary is this video by Paul Zimmerman. Paul will entertain you and educate you on the many facets of training roses! 


Favorite line from this video… “sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind to the rose.” #truth 


As with all plant care, visit your plants regularly and they will help guide you to what they need. 


BLOOM THYME

We started the week with one night dipping down to 32 and some of the roses didn’t like it. Some of them didn’t mind at all. 

 

If you are like me and your garden season is ending, start following Michele Endersby on Facebook or Instagram. Her season is just getting started. Her artist’s eye and love of roses might just get us through the winter. 

FALL TREAT

One of our family’s favorite fall treats is CARAMEL DIP for apples. (You can dip anything you want but yummy fall apples are ooh la la!)

I have been making this simple recipe for more than 30 years. I first put it on my blog in 2012 and it continues to be one of the most downloaded pages. If you want to see the original post, read on here.


RECIPE

1 Package of Kraft Caramels  Note: I buy Kraft Caramels in 11oz packages (40 caramels)
1 Stick of Butter
1 Can of Sweetened Condensed Milk

That’s it! Stir over low heat until everything is melted and blended. This takes about 20 minutes.

Do stir constantly … this mixture BURNS VERY EASILY!! 

I love packaging the dip in little jelly jars … 15 – 30 seconds in the microwave and it is perfect. If they last long enough, store in the refrigerator!

What are your favorite fall treats?

NEXT TIME

Next time we might have to talk about bulbs. Little boxes keep being delivered. Kinda like Christmas!


Until then, be happy and safe my friends. 😘

BLOOM THYME FRIDAY: Lazy, Hazy Days of Summer

The lazy, hazy days of summer are certainly here!

It is too darn hot to be in the garden much this week and my to-do list is growing by the minute. Things like…

  • Pick leaves on those roses that have decided that August is a good time to say yes to more blackspot.
  • Divide and move perennials.
  • Deadhead spent blooms
  • Look for sales at garden centers (easy one!)
  • Water, water, water
  • Sketch out new areas and sketch tweaks to existing areas.

I bought this graph composition book for $1 a couple of weeks ago in the “back to school” aisle and it has been perfect to make these kinds of notes and sketches. Don’t you love a new composition book of any kind this time of year? And, new pencils and binders and all the school things!!

“Back to School” is difficult this year and that is heartbreaking to me as I have the very best memories of back to school times for myself and my children. Let’s all stop right now and take a minute to pray for the children, parents, and teachers and all that they are dealing with during this most difficult season.

 

BOKAY DAYS

Bokay Days go to a whole new level! Last week when Mr. G saw me packing up various vessels for bokay transport, he went out in his shop and made me this beautiful carrier. He looked at the sizes of vases (spaghetti sauce and jam jars 😉) I usually use and made this beautiful carrier to fit them. It worked perfectly! I have already used my new carrier several times! Mr. G is the very best!

THE VERY BAD AND THE HELPFUL

This week I found something in my garden that no rose lover wants to see … RRD (Rose Rosette Disease). I had noticed this rose was beginning to struggle. Then boom, there it was!

I have been growing roses for more than 30 years and have seen plenty of Rose Rosette other places, I have been fortunate to see very little of this in my garden. RRD is caused by a virus (yes another virus you have to hear about) and a tiny mite that carries it to the roses. I am in my garden every day and spotted it at a very very early stage. I dug the rose out and destroyed it.

At the present time, RRD has no cure but there is fabulous research going on and new ways of managing the problem while we search for a cure (sound familiar??). On August 22 at 2 pm there is a premiere of a new project Paul Zimmerman is working on with a team of RRD experts from around the country. You can go HERE to sign up to receive a reminder for the video. The premiere will include live chat with the panel of experts so you can get your questions answered.

Today I chatted with Paul Zimmerman about the project on Rose Chat and that podcast conversation will be released Sunday evening HERE. While you are waiting for that episode to be released you can catch up on the other recent episodes!

I never want to lose a plant to pests or disease, however, I have a long list of other beautiful roses I want to try in my garden and I am on to picking one of those!

Japanese Beetles are still attacking my Quietness roses and a few of my Zinnias but they are few and far between. I will be glad to see them go. If you are new here and want to know more about my experience with Japanese Beetles, read on HERE.

BLOOM THYME

James Austin DA just making this bokay sing!

Sweet Drift

The phlox blooms are beginning to fade but they are still very attractive to the pollinators!

Dahlias in the cutting garden are going to find their way into bokays today!

Flamenco Rosita (Ivor’s Rose)

Fred and family are keeping cool in the pond. Wish it will big enough so that Mr. G and I could join them!

I hear cooler weather is coming next week and I am surely looking forward to it!

Friends, thanks for stopping by. I hope you are doing well and do take care! Let’s embrace the season and maybe have some ice cream…