BLOOM THYME FRIDAY: Warp Speed

Spring is full-on around here and things are moving at warp speed. We went from winter to having some very warm days … so there’s been rapid growth on many of the roses and most of the perennials. It’s not just the weather that has me moving so fast, it’s the grandbaby coming and an upcoming trip. As I write those words…. upcoming trip … I can’t believe it’s true. Like so many of you, the separation from our family and all the uncertainty has been one of life’s most painful curveballs. But the flight is booked and soon we will be covered up in grands! 💙💙💙

GARDEN CENTERS

We have visited a few garden centers and I cannot believe how well-stocked they are and how early! They have surely heard all the statistics and trends that gardening is on the rise. I keep hearing that in 2020 there were anywhere from 16,000  – 20,000 people saying they are first-time gardeners. So 2020 was NOT just the year of the pandemic, it was also the YEAR OF THE GARDENER. A silver lining for sure!

I read another article on garden trends from the Farmers’ Almanac:

  1. Balcony Gardens Will Be Big
  2. Houseplants, Indoor Gardens and Windowsill Gardens
  3. Bringing the Inside Outside (I love this one!)
  4. Tiny Gardens Galore
  5. Permaculture Practices
  6. The “Cottage Core” Aesthetic (Curious and want to know more… read on here.) 
  7. Online Gardening
  8. Gardening by the Moon

Read more here on the Farmer’ Almanac website. They have so many great articles! 

Cottage Core

BROOD X 

Have you heard about Brood X …. I recently read a headline that BILLIONS OF BROOD X CICADAS ARE SET TO EMERGE IN SPRING 2021. Guess what? Indiana is a hot spot for them. Oh Joy! 😳 When I hear this my mind immediately goes to Biblical Plagues but I guess they aren’t THAT bad. BUT, they are kinda creepy looking (especially in mass) and loud. I think we are to start seeing them in mid May… so much for quiet happy hours in the garden. Groups can be up to 100 decibels. 📢 Seriously, I can do without those. If they had come in 2020, they would have fit right in. 

NEED TO KNOW MORE? There’s actually a website called Cicadamania. Everything you could ever want to know and more, including where they are expected to be and when!  Link here.  

NEW SHRUBS FOR THE GARDEN

ICEBERG ALLEY SAGELEAF WILLOW

When I saw a picture of this shrub, I thought it would be so so so good in my garden with the silver foliage!


Once I saw this VIDEO (link) from First Editions, I knew I had to have it. So I now have two.

SPICE BABY VIBURNUM


This Proven Winners plant tag caught my eye with the pretty blooms and the words petite and fragrant. We have many many viburnums of all types and we love them (so do the birds), however, they are NOT petite! This one is said to reach 3.5 – 5′ high and 3.5 – 6′ wide. Not tiny but will work very nicely. Looking forward to watching them grow! More info here.

UPDATE ON MILK JUG WINTER SOWING

Three of the five containers did VERY well. Ammi (I’ll have to keep my eye on her), Sweet William, and French Alouette Larkspur. So far nothing from Magic Fountain Delphinium and Munstead Lavender.

I will totally do more of this next year. For a simple, inexpensive pack of seeds, SO MANY PLANTS and it was so easy. (See the beginning of the project here.)  

POTTING SHED PUTTERINGS

My baby Peggy Martins are recovering from an attack from spider mites. TIme will tell how they continue to do.😞


I potted up the baby Formosa lilies from seeds given to me from my good friend David. This was the first time to use my new transplant tools (Amazon). All I’ve had in the past were my handy dandy 20 something-year-old tiny trowels from Smith and Hawkins. They are great for most small work, but I was going for something even smaller and sharper. I found this set and compared to the heavy-duty S&H tool, they seemed very flimsy to me at first. But they were perfect for this delicate work. 

Munstead Lavender is doing great! Munstead is the only lavender I have tried (and I’ve tried sooooooo many) that comes back reliably. (I’m in 5b.)

My topiaries and geraniums are coming in and out as they get used to living outdoors!

BLOOM THYME THIS WEEK

BACK TO WORK

Time to get back to work. That mountain of mulch won’t move itself. Yes, time to get back to WARP SPEED SPRING GARDENING. Babies don’t wait. 🇬🇧 Halleluia! 💙 💙 💙 💙 ✈️

Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy your time in the garden — and if you are on the BroodX map, enjoy the peace and quiet while you can! 

Bloom Thyme Friday: Hellebores, Bangs and Saying Goodbye

Hellebores . . .

The garden centers and even Trader Joe’s have the most beautiful Hellebores right now! While I have several, I was very tempted to buy a deep red one I saw this week. 

Hellebores —  also called Christmas rose or Lenten rose  aren’t in the rose family. Actually they are closely related to buttercups and anemones! These shade loving, low-maintenance and deer-resistant elegant beauties add so much to the spring garden.  

This week my hellebores were a mess. Last year’s scraggly foliage was everywhere, hiding all the beautiful buds.

While grooming the hellebores I kept thinking of conversations with my mom…. back in the day when I thought long bangs were very fashionable. Many times I heard, “Your bangs are too long, I can’t see your face.” 😂 I rarely liked the trim my bangs would then get!!  I hope the hellebores like their new “do”. 💇🏼‍♀️ It was severe but I think they look very fashionable and the blooms will soon steal the show! They are on course to bloom right on time for Easter.  For more on Hellebores, hop over to the Missouri Botanical Garden site here. NOTE: All parts of Hellebores are poisonous so be careful in handling! I wear gloves.

SAYING GOODBYE . . .

Big stuff in the garden this week…. saying goodbye to 25 year old sickly crabapple. 🥺 This day has been coming for some time as it became more sickly with apple scab the last few years. The last few springs we had a couple of weeks of pretty blooms and when the blooms came down, the leaves starting peppering down with them and continued to fall. For 90% of the season it looked sickly. We have friends who treated their crab apple tree for scab several times but saw no improvement so we decided to just remove the tree. We have other crab apple trees that are doing well. 


It was impressive the way Mr. G wrangled that tree! He was on his own for the cutting but I jumped in for the cleanup. Needless to say, we both slept well that night!

I know the roses planted in that area are celebrating as they will now get more light and water — and some pretty new neighbors. I had a moment of sadness but quickly said my goodbye and was lost in the possibilities!! More space! More sun! More plants! Today I’m out with pencil, paper and measuring tape. #newplan  

Happy News . . .

Snowdrops are blooming making me very happy. Until recently I was happy to watch for the snowdrops to bloom in the woods near us and enjoy them there. However, you can’t visit England, watch Monty Don on Gardener’s World for two years,  and not fall completely in love with snow drops. So sweet and simple and beautiful. A perfect spring flower. The Victorian flower dictionaries list the Snow Drop meaning as “hope”. I can see why. It blooms so early — sometimes pushing the snow out of the way to make it’s entrance at the end of winter giving us just what we need the most — Hope!

I bought my snow drops at Brent and Becky’s. The variety is Galanthus elwesii Mount Everest. They are sooooo cute. 

My first little babies
Snowdrops in the woods this week.

No one celebrates the arrival of snow drops like those in the UK. It is easy to be drawn into the excitement with all the  “snow drop sighting reports” from UK friends and family.  

That smile … he’s enjoying the snowdrops too.

Crocus are popping up all over the place and the bees are thrilled.

NEW BOOK I’M LOVING . . .

A Year at Brandywine Cottage by David L. Culp

I was first introduced to Brandywine Cottage in David Culp’s book The Layered Garden so I couldn’t wait to have A Year in Brandywine Cottage.


Whether you have read the first book or not, this book is one to sink into. Every page takes you on a walk through David’s amazing garden and gives you something beautiful to take away … a tip, an idea, a plant or a recipe. Seriously a dandelion salad never looked so good as the one featured on Page 54. Each step of the way you are encouraged to “look closer.” Every page celebrates the garden and the gardener and as you go on a journey through all seasons, you not only feel privileged to have this inside look at David’s garden life but you are also inspired to “look closer” at the world around you and live your best gardening life too. 

LOOKING BACK TO GO FORWARD…

Our phone holds so much information and one of the best parts of that is the photographs we take. Part of my plans for the current spring are based on looking back at pictures of seasons past. When did it bloom? How did it look? What do I want to change?


I also go through the blog and read articles I’ve written as well as the journal I’ve kept of bloom times, varieties, etc.


With the dawn of a new decade – 2020 – I decided to keep a running list of daily happenings that included life and garden highlights and “lowlights” too. Little did I know just what I would be writing about.

I am now reading what I wrote in March and as I read, I can’t help but be stunned by the use of words that before 2020 were practically foreign to me. Words like….

  • Pandemic
  • Covid19
  • Self Quarantine
  • Cabin Fever
  • Travel Ban
  • Mask Mandates
  • 6′ apart
  • Uncertain Times / Unprecedented Times
  • 15 Days to Flatten the Curve
  • Toilet Paper Shortage

I don’t want to forget where we have been, but am so glad that now we are hearing much more positive and hopeful words… 

  • Vaccines
  • Herd immunity
  • And, a favorite new trend – more people gardening than ever before!

Yes, so many had more time to work in their gardens than ever before and many, many people found their way to making a garden for the first time! 


Now we are ALL gonna be heading to the garden centers — together! It’s a first come/first serve world — but no pushing or shoving  please. 😁  I’ve already heard from more than one source that we should expect shortages and no special orders! 

Friends, our wait is over … spring is officially upon us. Garden Centers and big box stores are gearing up for what looks to be a big gardening year!! Stay safe and have fun getting out there to find your prizes! And, love your neighbor as yourself even if they get the best tomato plants before you get there! 😂

Bloom Thyme Friday: Singing in the Rain

In the movie Singing in the Rain… they looked so happy dancing and singing in the rain! As happy as those scenes looked, I will confess I am not all that happy with all the rain we are getting and getting rained on again and again. While gardening in the rain poses some challenges, the horrible weather that some of my gardening friends around the country are having is much worse with tornadoes and even snow storms.

When I heard the rain was coming again this morning I went out to take some pictures (and got soaked yet again) and was struck by how good the garden smelled. I do love the smell of rain! Did you know that the smell of rain has a name — Petrichor. I read a Reader’s Digest fact that tells us the “why” surrounding the smell of rain.”Water doesn’t smell like anything, so why does rain produce a pleasant aroma after it falls? Well, it’s because of a molecule, called geosmin, created by soil-dwelling bacteria. When rain falls, it creates air pockets, which contain small amounts of geosmin. The rain traps and then releases these air pockets, dispersing geosmin into the air, where it’s free to travel to human sniffers.”

As much as I want to be working in the garden and can’t… I am learning how little my plants need me. Many are thriving from all the bounty from above. And, we are quickly moving to the jungle stage as the roses and peonies begin to open.

So here is BLOOM THYME for this week…

 

Rugosas and Peonies… oh the fragrance in this spot!!!

I forgot I had this beauty! Fun surprise as I absolutely love it!

Therese Bugnet has been amazing. If you follow me on Instagram, you are probably tired of seeing her picture! 🙂

I live in midwest farm country and would ask that you say a prayer for our farming families. They have not been able to get in the fields to do their spring work. Since it is now so late, they run the risk of having no crop this season. The forecast for the next week is for rain each day.

Friends, stay safe and dry and enjoy all the beauty around you . . . AND carry an umbrella! ☔️😉

Bloom Thyme Friday: Happiness

Wednesday was that rare spring day in December and  I was home all afternoon!! I could not wait to grab my sassy Bog rose boots and get busy. My boots were all clean and ready for service! (They are not clean now.)

There was so much to do as this fall was extremely busy for us and I was not able to put the garden to bed as I usually do. But, I had this glorious day! I suppose the tasks at hand would be daunting to some, but I just couldn’t wait. Just being outside in the garden sent my happiness meter over the top. I could have conquered the world! Sort of. 🙂

There were roses to trim.

I only had time for a few. Giving them the tender care of cleaning up the world around them, trimming the long floppy canes and mounding up some extra soil and leaves around them was a labor of love.

Sticks to pick up (We have loads and loads of sticks!)

Leaves to rake and stack around some tender roses. More long canes to secure.

This is one of my most favorites, Peggy Martin. The rose and her namesake bring me much happiness too. Look at all this growth – she is still going strong, but I know that when the real winter gets here, she’s a bit tender and needs some help. Last year I did not get to see very many of her gorgeous blooms as there was so much winter dieback due to the late cold spells we had. But when she shines, she shines. Remember this image from two years ago…

I saw a post on Facebook that Chamblee Roses has a new crop of Peggy Martin Roses. If you want one, go to Chamblee’s website here. Better hurry, they go fast!

What, other than your family, sends your happiness meter over the top! Do that soon!

And, by the way, did you realize it is only 82 days until spring? I have a stack of garden catalogs just waiting!! There goes my happiness meter again.

Thanks for dropping by and have a wonderful Bloom Thyme Friday!

Making progress…

Making progress…

We are definitely making progress! It has been a week of greening and flowering. The birds are loving it and have entertained me all day as I did my own brand of “flittering around the garden” … planting, pruning and even started fertilizing!

Here’s what’s going on.

One of Mr. G’s favorites —  Creeping Phlox is blooming. Listen in, the birds are loving this morning too  …

Roses that were cut back to the ground are coming right along! Whew! Thank goodness!

Still nothing miraculous happening over the arbor. Super. Sad. Face.  😕

Nasturtiums are soaking before getting planted.

Oh, here comes one of my spring favorites … Rhododendrons. 😍

Color me grateful, happy and blessed. And… tired — that good kind of tired that comes from time in the garden. Isn’t that the best tired!

Now, I’m going to go check on those Dogwoods. I hope they have been saying “no” to frost! Temps are still dipping way down at night!

UNTIL NEXT WEEK, HAPPY BLOOM THYME FRIDAY!

Light at the end of the tunnel?

From the look of the weekend weather report, there is light at the end of the tunnel. While I still am hearing from friends farther north that have snow, I am hoping our snow and plunging temps are behind us. Here in Zone 5b, our projected last frost date is May 10, so we will most likely get more “frosty” days but I sure hope not.

There has been a great deal of winter damage around here. Most of the roses (except the old garden roses and rugosas) will be pruned down to about 2-5″ from the ground. There are 3 or 4 that look as though they will not be back. We have been here before — although not recently! While the start will be slower and the bloom cycle will be later, history tells me most of them will be okay — in fact many might enjoy the severe haircut.

The biggest loss is the climbers. A shocking loss. One of which has been beautiful for so many years-New Dawn. You cried with me about that one last week. This week we are lamenting over another beloved rose… my Peggy Martin rose. Last year was the 3rd year in my garden and it was wonderful! I still see life, but it is at the ground and there is nothing above. 🙁

Last year by the end of May she was up and over the trellis. Not gonna happen this year. But, it will be interesting to see how the recovery goes.

When I contacted my good friend, Peggy Martin, who the rose is named for, she said Oh, Honey don’t worry, I’ll “strike” you some cuttings. WOO HOO. These will be cuttings from the original Peggy Martin Rose in her garden. Can I just say, Peggy Martin is the best! If you ever get the chance to meet her as she travels around talking about old garden roses and her Peggy Martin rose, GO. She is a delight and a fountain of knowledge—dripping in southern charm. #nottobemissed  So just as I said last week, when God closes a door, he opens a window. 🙂

Me and Peggy… standing outside a lovely open door!

Regardless of all that “climber” sadness, there are many things bringing me garden joy today…

The Trillium are back!

My baby snapdragons — started from seeds I saved from last year’s beauties — had some time outside today. Behind them is my grandmother’s pitcher filled with mint that has been living in my potting shed all winter. I love this pitcher! My grandmother was a great gardener. The pitcher is a simple item she used in a very ordinary life but knowing that it was her’s, makes it extraordinary to me.

 

The rugosas were little affected by the horrible winter. They are champs!

Here is Therese Bugnet Rugosa today….

Rugosas from last June…

Too bad this picture isn’t scratch and sniff. Oh the fragrance! If you have a bit of room in your garden or want a living fence — grow rugosas! Bonus: they are very disease resistant — require no spray, in fact, those thick, wrinkled (rugose) leaves can be harmed by spray! Some varieties that I grow are …

  • Moje Hammarberg
  • Rosearie de La Hay
  • Hansa
  • Theresa Bugnet

All of these I would recommend.

It was a wonderful day in the garden. Spring is finally springing and there’s so much more to come!

I CAN’T WAIT!

What are some highlights of your garden this week?

I hope you enjoy every minute!

 

 

SPRING ROSE CARE

When spring comes it’s time for gardeners to roll up their sleeves and  get busy and I can’t wait!

Here are some tips that I follow for getting my roses off to a good start in my Zone 5b garden.

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1. PLANTING

For early April planting, I buy bare root roses from online vendors (my preferred list here). When they arrive they are “bare roots” wrapped in wet newspaper. Very humble beginnings for a plant that will be so lovely later!

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A good moo poo start...
Bare roots soaking in Moo Poo Tea…

I immediately unpack them and soak them in a bucket of Moo Poo tea for 24 hours before planting.

Planting decisions are dependent on the type of rose…

Grafted Roses: Many hybrid teas, floribunda and grandifloras are grafted roses.

This means that a rose is created by being grafted onto strong, hardy rootstock, creating a “bud union.” Plant the bud union (knobby part just above the roots) 3” below the soil line to protect it from harsh winters we often have.

Own Root Roses: These roses were started from cuttings and are on their own root, so there is no bud union to protect. I plant them as I would any other shrub.

Soil: We ask roses to bloom for us all summer, year after year, so it is best to give them a good start by planting them in good, rich soil. Our neck of the woods has horrible gray clay soil so we dig BIG holes–holes much deeper and wider than the root system to allow for soil amendments and deep enough to protect the bud union. (At least 18″ by 18″.) To the soil removed, we add compost and a quality grade of top soil. Your roses will appreciate your gifts of more nutrients and better drainage and will reward you handsomely! You will never regret giving your roses a good foundation.

Roses Already in Leaf and Bloom…

If you purchased something from a garden center that is already leafed out and perhaps has buds or blooms, wait until the frost date has passed to plant them in the garden. In my zone that date is May 10. I will confess to occassionally planting a little earlier than May 10, but you have to be prepared to cover them if frosty nights come!! #notpatient


2. PRUNING

First tip: DON’T BE AFRAID TO PRUNE. I’ve made countless “mistakes” through the years and the roses always forgive and come back!

Here in the midwest, it is  difficult to know when winter is really over and it is time to prune. For many years, I have let the forsythia tell me. When the forsythia is blooming, I start pruning. This year the temps have been up and down and there has been a lot of pressure on the forsythia. So use your best judgement! 😬

MOST of the time, the forsythia plan works.

Tools of the trade…

You will need protective gloves and a sharp pair of pruners. My choices are Bionic Gloves and Barnel Pruners from Wendy Tilley, owner of The Rose Gardener Garden Shop and Harlane Garden Labels.

Different types of roses have different pruning needs. Read more about pruning here.

The Ingenious Mr. Fairchild from last summer. Amazing David Austin!


3. FERTILIZE

Once our roses are starting to grow, it’s time for fertilizer. Most any fertilizer will do—but do read labels carefully–too much of a good thing can be harmful! I use a combination of Moo Poo Tea, Mills Magic Mix and inorganic fertilizer on my roses. Fertilizer applications are about 6 weeks apart for most of my roses. Old Garden Roses and Rugosas are fertilized in the spring. Shrubs and Knockouts are only fertilized twice a season–spring and summer.


4. WATERING

Once the fertilizer has been applied, you will want to give your roses a deep watering to get those nutrients down to where they can do some good.

A good rule of thumb is to water at the base of the plant especially if you are watering in the evening, as wet rose leaves are more susceptible to fungal diseases (e.g. Black Spot & Powdery Mildew). Although, if I am watering in the morning I give them a good all-over shower. This is great way to remove dirt and any insects that have shown up for the tasty and tender buds! I think roses appreciate a refreshing shower just as we do, just don’t put them to bed wet.


5. MULCHING

This is one of my favorite parts. Mulch is so good for your roses … retains moisture, helps to keep down weeds and gives the garden that fresh, finished look!

One thing to remember when applying mulch … when mulch breaks down, it uses nitrogen in the process, so add a layer of compost on top of the soil before you add the mulch layer then the nitrogen in the soil can be used by the rose. If you are working in an established bed and last year’s mulch is still there, leave it… it becomes a “compost layer.” Win. Win.

I can’t wait to see these early bloomers!


MY FAVORITE TIP…

My favorite tip is to visit your roses daily or as often as you can to enjoy their beauty and to get to know them. Getting to know them can be key in early detection of any pest or disease.

And, when you have beautiful roses outside, who can stay in!

Let’s grab our wagons and go gather some blooms!

 

Bloom Thyme Friday

Today it is sunny and cold. I love the sun, BUT it allowed that Groundhog to see his shadow and I was not fond of that. His prediction is that there is 6 more weeks of winter. I am pleading with spring to defy the groundhog and come up with a better plan.

With all that said, Groundhog Day is kinda fun. Here’s what Wikipedia has to say:

This weather lore was brought from German-speaking areas where the badger (German: dachs) is the forecasting animal. This appears to be an enhanced version of the lore that clear weather on Candlemas forebodes a prolonged winter.

The Groundhog Day ceremony held at Punxsutawney in central Pennsylvania, centering around a semi-mythical groundhog named Punxsutawney Phil, has become the most attended.

Yea, it’s fun to hear all about it and see them get dressed up and all … I just hope winter doesn’t go on and on and on until we begin to feel like Bill Murray. #groundhogdaythemovie  😳😳😳

GOOD NEWS: I heard today on Instagram from my friends @maplehurstgardens, located in NJ, that The Groundhog predictions are mostly wrong. #thatswhatimtalkingabout

LET’S SPRING AHEAD

While we are thinking about spring, I am wondering what are your favorite spring blooms. Here are two of mine:

Daffodils

 

 

Dogwood Trees (we have 5)

 

At just the right time spring will come and we will have the pleasure of watching our garden being reborn. And…. 

 

HAPPY BLOOM THYME FRIDAY!

Bloom Thyme: Spring Chores Today

The garden chores this week have been to continue PRUNING and to start FERTILIZING the roses, to continue to pick up leaves and debris and tour the garden centers looking for treasures to add to the garden! These tasks are made all the more fun when I’m surrounded by so many pretty early spring bloomers…

Dee-Lish Roses

I bought two of the award winning (and fragrant) Dee-Lish roses from Star Roses and Plants at Dammann’s Garden Center a couple of weeks ago and they started blooming in the potting shed while I was away. Remember when I left for Cali it was SUPER cold. Today it is 74 and sunny!
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Dogwood Trees

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Bloomerang Lilac

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Sargent Crabapple Trees

…a feast for the pollinators!
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Creeping Phlox and purple mini iris.

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UPDATE ON CONTAINER ROSES

 Last year I grew more roses in containers than ever before. They overwintered in the dark, only lightly warmed garage. They have been out of the garage for almost a month now and they are looking great! They were fertilized yesterday and I expect I will see great things soon. They are still located near the door of the garage — just in case we get bad weather. Our last frost date doesn’t come until May 10 so I am going to keep them close by for a couple more weeks. When we get past the frost date, they will go back to the deck and spend their summer wowing us!
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Rose Bed in Front of Potting Shed

… they’re coming back!

Well, break time is over… Mr. G is power washing the front porch. I better go check on him and see if he needs a drink!

Hope you are having a wonderful day!