Bloom Thyme Friday: Spring is Springing

Let’s forget the fact that we woke up to a bit of snow this morning… and move onto spring things.

Daffodil blooms have been spectacular. Some are fading and that is where my relationship with daffodils gets “complicated.” The die back process. Yes I know I know that the die back feeds the bulb for strong beauty next year BUT it makes things messy at a time when my early roses are getting ready to be amazing. I’ve tried everything … braiding them, covering with mulch and getting frustrated and just cutting them back. Some are forgiving of all that and some not so much. This year I seem to be more patient with every thing so maybe I’ll just let them be. Maybe!

Bloomerang Lilacs coming back!

Trillium will be blooming soon!

SOMETHING NEW!

POTATO PATCH

One of my fondest memories of home grown food from my childhood was the potatoes. Nothing you can buy tastes like the potatoes I remember. So, this year I am growing them. I have a little section between two raised beds and the herb garden that has never been planted. Last  year cosmos made their way there and did ok. But I am trying to make “yard” perform as “garden” and around here “yard” is somewhat like concrete. So I have been digging in some good garden soil to up my chances of having some good potatoes.

I had this potato “whim” about the time quarantine was becoming a common word around here so I snatched a bag of Kennebec seed potatoes (the ones my dad grew) and I am so glad I did. #fingerscrossed Any tips?

BIG CHORE!

Removing a patch of euonymus – you know the creepy invasive kind. Been around here for so many years and it is time to go. Can’t wait to see something pretty in it’s place. Wish I would have taken a before picture!

THE ROSES …

All but a few of the large rambling and old garden roses have been pruned and fertilized! YAY!! CELEBRATE! 🍷

Most are looking really good.

Darcey Bussell gave me a scare when I first pruned her but she has bounced back very well.

Two new roses came this week that I am very excited about. Do you grow them?

RHODOS RETURN

Rhododendrons are stealing the show this week and making the swings a very inviting place to be – if the temperatures go back up. It was icy today!

 

THIS WEEKEND

​With all the unusual things going on around us, I am praying that you and your family are safe and have a wonderful time celebrating this special weekend. We will be celebrating the empty tomb and Christ’s resurrection. Matthew writes about it so beautifully and takes us from the horror of Friday to the celebration Sunday!

Sometimes by Step

Today is a Potting Shed Day and I am thinking about all the steps in our lives right now. We are carefully going through steps to avoid COVID-19:

  • Stay Home
  • Wash your hands
  • Don’t touch your face

I am also going through steps to see that my seedlings have the very best chance at making it into the garden to flourish.

All of these steps remind me of one of my all time favorite songs Sometimes by Step by Rich Mullins.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cAhw1Fq1ZLo

Rich Mullins’ music is my go to music and has been since the release of SONGS in 1996. I have it blaring in the Potting Shed today. This is my go to music in good times, bad times and when I need an extra measure of closeness to our Creator. Every song speaks to me. Do you have music that speaks to you at a time like this – when a pandemic rages around us?

My job today is potting up my seedlings. Some have needed this for some time. 🤦‍♀️ 

Let me go back and tell you about my original plan as far as seeds were concerned back in January … Plant a few tomatoes, some zinnias and a few things for FUN!

Practically every day since the pandemic hit our daily life, I have pulled out more seeds. I am so thankful for my hoarding tendencies when it comes to plant containers and seeds. I bought a few things this winter but not what I would have bought if I had known. It is probably good to note that my last trip out before quarantine was not the grocery story – it was Lowes for a few extra seeds and pansies. I WISH I HAD BOUGHT TONS MORE! While on that Lowe’s run, I was caught by my daughter who called and asked where I was. I couldn’t lie. Her reaction was, I WANTED YOU ON QUARANTINE YESTERDAY – now go home! 🙄

Now that I’ve confessed all that, let’s get to the tasks for today. I’ll take you through my process since several have asked but know this – I have never done mass production before. Some of these STEPS are not tried and true because I am using what I have on  hand.  Thanks for going through this experiment with me. I’ll share reports later.

Click on an image to open the gallery…

There are still many steps to go and pitfalls to avoid before we are successful –  like damping-off and too much “outside” too soon. Damping-off is a real issue for me as I tend to over water – which I equate to over loving.

These are scary times friends, but we are learning so much from the experiences too. My son put on social media his thoughts on how we can emerge from this…

As I struggle with all of this – the virus, mandatory closings, the lock down.. I am trying to be hopeful. I am trying to see this as a precipice.

I want to think that we can emerge from this as…

  • people who slow down
  • people who are passionate about our local community
  • people who cook at home more often
  • people who support local restaurants and farmers
  • people who think about where our food and goods come from
  • people who garden
  • people who go on walks
  • people who communicate better with our friends and family
  • people who check in on our neighbors

Changing behaviors and routines is one of the hardest things, but they say it only takes 21 days – we happen to have been given a whole month.

Yes, we can turn the scary into blessings.

BLOOM THYME

There is a lot of Spring springing here. I’ll post pictures tomorrow on Bloom Thyme Friday.

Today I’ll close with another of my favorite Rich Mullins’ songs – While the Nations Rage …

 

Stay Home / Hunker Down / Quarantine

Let me just confess this right up front … I am not a big collector UNLESS it is roses, flowers and books about roses, flowers and gardening. And, I’ll confess to being a book stacker. I have stacks of books everywhere. Everywhere.

Every nook and cranny in the house. Then there’s the Potting Shed where the bulk of the books are. And did I mention we have a little Library Room and a book shelf on my garden porch and it just goes on.

I get so much from these books. I learn of course, but it is so much more than that. The books themselves make me feel attached to those who wrote them – even if they lived in another time period and they attach me to others that read these books too. In this time of social distancing, this is a huge blessing.

You can read how one rose and the book by the hybridizer has weaved its way into my garden experience in a marvelous way … HERE.

With time on my hands I even started counting my garden related books … when I got to more than I had roses, I stopped. I quickly moved to “who cares.”🤦‍♀️   Kind of like when I count roses for so long and then I stop because who cares about numbers anyway. 🤓 Am I right?  If I need to know for some sort of census or the like … I’ll have Mr. G count. He always seems to know how many roses I have. 😏😉 I stopped at 200 or so. 👩‍🌾 Who cares indeed! 🌱👊🏻

So, what am I reading now? Here is my current stack. There’s never just one!

In March when we are so close to gardening time, many of my gardening books I read over and over and over – picking out my favorite parts to encourage me while I wait on true gardening days. Note: We have had so much rain and some snow too – enough that my garden has been flooded in some places and I don’t even want to walk on it. We NEED SUN and some warm days

Both Chasing Vines by Beth Moore (link) and Live in Grace/Walk in Love by Bob Goff (link) are my “dailies” and are invaluable to me during a season that contains words like pandemic and quarantine. These two books teach, inspire, comfort and love me on every page. If you don’t know about the NIV Gardener’s Bible (link), it is a treasury of garden related studies, essays and historical information weaved through scripture.

What books are you reading? Anything you think I need! LO

When you need a break from books, check out what we are talking about on the Rose Chat Podcast … these gardening greats inspire me too. (link)

POTTING SHED PUTTERINGS:

🌱Celebration! 🌱 My Steak Sandwich tomatoes have germinated along with some other things!

HAPPY DAY!

DIRT!!!

I also was able to get my hands in the dirt while potting up some barefoot roses for our societies fundraiser!

Friends, I pray you are surrounded by everything you need.

Please take every precaution and stay safe. We are so blessed that through all of this, we have more time at home and more time in the garden.

Mr. Rogers Does It Again and Again

Today is day 2 of being home for our health and others and I am remembering a sweet song from Mr. Rogers… Let’s Think of Something to Do While We are Waiting…

LISTEN HERE…

 

MY SOMETHING

My SOMETHING to do this week is planting those cold crop veggies and flowers and starting seeds inside.

First, I’m getting seed packets organized (and I have a ton of them)…

A new flower I picked up at Renee’s Garden online that I am VERY excited about is this cutie…

I have white and blue but never this color! If you are interested, check it out here

Look at this stunner! Earl Grey Larkspur from Renee’s too. The name alone!! I soooo want this one to do well but I’ll admit that Larkspur often is tough one for me. There have been years where it self seeded with will abandon and years I can’t get a thing going even with the very best seeds and care.

Another one I am excited about is the Cupcakes Mix I picked up in the UK last summer.

My roses will love all their new garden companions!

… at 4′ high, these will be spectacular!

Seed starting station…

This picture does not tell the entire story. Before I could set up my new grow light… it took quite a while to find homes for all the plants that usually reside here in the winter. But they are happily in their new spots and we can get onto seed starting.

I bought a couple of new grow lights this year and they came with this simple but helpful stand. My old ones where way past their prime and this one was so easy to pick up at Lowes. I’ll let you know what I think.

BLOOM THYME THIS WEEK:

🌱Each day there is more and more green and I am grateful.

 

MY WISH FOR YOU…

Friends, I am wishing you a wonderful spring season that is sprinkled with beauty, love and an extra measure of health and safety while we deal with this horrible virus that has us all on edge.

The garden is a place of comfort and healing for me and I pray it will be for you too.

The National Garden Bureau shared this on Instagram… 

We learned with the release of the Mr. Rogers movie last year that his words have the power to speak to all of us regardless of our age. So, I’ll will say goodbye for today with more good words from Mr. Rogers…

GREEN!

Green — the color of nature. And nature in Indiana is coming back!

Green is my favorite color! I have always known that green restores me and energizes me but it represents so much more. Color Wheel Pro’s See Color Theory in Action article says this …

Green is the color of nature. It symbolizes growth, harmony, freshness, and fertility. Green has strong emotional correspondence with safety. Dark green is also commonly associated with money.

Green has great healing power. It is the most restful color for the human eye; it can improve vision. Green suggests stability and endurance. Sometimes green denotes lack of experience; for example, a ‘greenhorn’ is a novice. In heraldry, green indicates growth and hope. Green, as opposed to red, means safety; it is the color of free passage in road traffic.

Use green to indicate safety when advertising drugs and medical products. Green is directly related to nature, so you can use it to promote ‘green’ products. Dull, darker green is commonly associated with money, the financial world, banking, and Wall Street.

  • Dark green is associated with ambition, greed, and jealousy.
  • Yellow-green can indicate sickness, cowardice, discord, and jealousy.
  • Aqua is associated with emotional healing and protection.

Read about other color meanings here.

Green and gardening are good for you! For more on the health benefits of gardening, read on here.

Our temps are in the 50s this week and green is popping up all over the garden. From the looks of the Tete-a-Tete Daffodils, I will be seeing yellow very soon too.

Green and Pink…

Green and pink … as the Hellebores makes their way back.

“March”ing into garden work…

March is a bit of a tease around here in Zone 5b. Giving us great weather – making us sooooo tempted to jump fully into spring work. However, I know how much winter loves to show up unexpectedly in March demanding I practice patience for outside work. I will be picking up debris, slowly cutting the perennials back … and walking around the garden, planning and plotting and refining all my “big” ideas into manageable goals! Oh, and visiting all the local garden centers constantly! Needless to say we are on a first name basis! 

Most of all, I intend to take time to enjoy the work of the real Master Gardener as he brings it all back — taking note of the “green” showing up every day!

Ahhhh Spring – the most wonderful time of the year! Soon the Bloom Thyme Cottage Garden will be filled with green and bursting with blooms! I can’t wait!

🌱🌷🌱🌸🌱🌼🌱

SIGNS OF THE BIG COMEBACK!

I love green!

GARDEN CENTERS

Garden Centers are starting to fill their shelves and bins with SPRING. This week it was seeds, seed starting supplies, garden decor and containers!

I’m finding Better Home and Gardens has so many new garden products I love!

Look at these pot saucers… They even have little feet on them! Three came home with me today.

And their Citronella game is strong! Candles and tabletop torches. I think I’m going with the white one on the top right.

So many fun things to see this time of year while we wait on plants!

POTTING SHED PUTTERINGS

I still have an over crowding problem in here, but I did manage to tidy the potting bench and make enough room for my computer so I could write this post! It inspires me to be with all the plants and the smell of dirt especially on a sunny day.

And, I bought more seeds from Renee’sGarden . . . 🌸🌸🌸

NEW PROJECT…

A section of our living privacy fence of mixed shrubs became overrun with Japanese Honeysuckle. The upside is that we now have the “opportunity” to redo a section. The removal project started last fall when I “borrowed” Mr. G’s recip saw and got busy. I love this kind of work. Mr. G saw where my excitement over the recip saw was going so he gifted me my own. This year I will no longer have to borrow. Watch out garden — I love power tools. Seriously, I think every gardener need one!

 

“Honeysuckle alters or destroys the native vegetation beneath it, diminishing the populations of birds and other animals that rely on the native plants.”

“Invasive honeysuckle vines grow rapidly and cover large areas. They shade out plants growing underneath them and can girdle or pull down trees.”

“Some bush honeysucklespecies also release chemicals into the soil to inhibit other plant growth, effectively poisoning the soil.”

Invasive Honeysuckle Information HERE.

Indiana Invasive plant guide HERE.

NOW ONTO THE GOOD STUFF!

This area has always included a potting table (made by Mr. G) but now will include a cold frame. Mr. G will make that too – my previous cold frame was taken down to make room for his grill and prep table.

This project is exciting and daunting at the same time as I am working around other existing plantings. Large shrubs and an ancient and huge unidentified locust tree – known better by my kids as the “thorn tree” as it has thorns that will change your life! 😬 The sole of a boot is no match! Of course it would be easy to fill it up with roses … and I just might! I am finding so many I can’t live without.

This week I ordered two more roses from Matt Douglas at High Country Roses. Nymphenburg and Banshee. Our most recent Rose Chat is with Matt as he shared all about Damask roses. As you listen to the podcast be prepared to be charmed and be prepared to add roses to your wish list. GOOD NEWS! If you order, you will get a Rose Chat 15% discount. Website HERE.

LISTEN ….

Be sure to subscribe to the Rose Chat Podcast wherever you listen to podcasts so you don’t miss an episode!

RoseChatPodcast.com will take you to our Podbean home page. There you will find additional info and links to specific information on each episode.

🌹🌹🌹

What big project(s) are you taking on this spring?

Celebrating the Arrival of February

I think it is time for celebration when you survive January. Seriously, isn’t it the longest month. 40 days at least.

February is here and it is the month of love and Mr. G’s birthday. 🥰 Definitely a reason to celebrate!

TODAY I AM LOVING…

My trip to Dammann’s Garden Center (link).

What started from the desperate need for something spring and the desire to walk through greenhouses that smell like dirt and are alive with the hustle / bustle of spring work, turned into a delightful morning. I met and had a wonderful conversation with Kathy who is in charge of the houseplant section and is so knowledgeable. Don’t you love conversations with those who love what you love? Just being there was renewing. Add to that a little sunshine today and I am renewed and energized.

I came away with little 3 beauties I’ll use in the same pot:

  • 2 Haworthias (Aloe family) native to Africa, Arabia and Madagascar
  • 1 cute little waxy trailing Crassula to compliment the spikiness of Haworthias.

POTTING SHED PUTTERINGS…

SPEAKING OF AFRICA … Hudson’s African Violet is going on 5 months of continuous bloom. NO JOKE. Talk about ‘Bang for your Buck’. What started as a tiny leaf 2.5 years ago is a major winter buster. It is in the potting shed where it gets “some” light but not much! Our winters are dark.

First blooming in September (Thank goodness for image time stamps.)

How it looks this week…

Here’s H potting up another beauty he found rooting in water in Grammy’s potting shed. He’s so small. Now he a big boy in school. 🥰

Tomorrow is Mr. G’s birthday so I need to put plants aside and get to baking. He wants a Black Forrest Cake. Hope it’s yummy. I don’t bake that much so wish me luck and wish Mr. G a happy birthday! He’s the best.

He’s the best. … she is too. 🥰

FUN CONTINUES:

This week I had the pleasure of interviewing Natalie Carmolli of Proven Winners on their new releases, some gardening trends and PW plants that will be great as rose companions.

The podcast will drop on Sunday evening. Check out all Rose Chat Podcasts here.   (Easy to remember: rosechatpodcast.com) If you haven’t listened to Michael Marriott’s podcast, it’s fabulous too. Check it out while you are there.

Monday I am speaking to the Johnson County Garden Club. What fun to talk gardening especially this time of year. A room full of people excited for spring… FANTASTIC!

CURRENTLY:

I’m making lists of plants by height to find new plants to add this year! Once that project is done, I’ll probably need a few more seeds. You’ve seen my treasure trove of seeds in previous posts, so I won’t need many, right?

Only a few more weeks and we can begin to start seeds. Ahhhhh …. I don’t want to miss any of the “spring things.”

More Charm for Your Garden

This week I had the pleasure to chat with Michael Marriott, Senior Rosarian at David Austin Roses, on the Rose Chat Podcast. We chatted about the new releases and so much more including rose fragrance. Don’t miss hearing from one of the premier experts on roses, rose fragrance and companion plantings who is also one of the most charming men on the planet. Listen here…

A few months ago Michael and I chatted about companion plants and roses. You can listen in here…

 

THE 2020 ROSES…

Tottering-by-Gently

David Austin’s ‘Tottering-by-Gently’ produces masses of single yellow flowers held in large, open sprays. It blooms freely, with repeat bloom from early summer till frost. The flower is simple, with 5 petals surrounding golden stamens. Each flower is about 2.5 inches across. The soft yellow color pales prettily over time. The fragrance is a light-medium musk with fresh notes of orange peel. If not deadheaded it will produce a fine crop of large, long lasting, orange-red hips. The bush grows to approximately 4 feet tall by 4 feet wide, depending on climate and pruning. The lilac-mauve companion plant is Phlox paniculata, which blooms July through September. Order info here.

Emily Brontë

David Austin’s ‘Emily Brontë’ is an exceptionally beautiful, repeat-flowering rose with distinctive flat blooms. The flowers are a soft pink color with a subtle apricot hue. Sized 3.5-inches across, each flower has approximately 100 petals. The smaller central petals are a deeper rich apricot and surround a button eye, which unfurls to reveal deep-set stamens. It is deliciously fragrant, opening with a Tea scent that, over time, becomes more Old Rose with hints of lemon and grapefruit. The bushy shrub grows to about 4 feet tall by 3.5 feet wide. Here, the white/magenta flowered companion plant is astrantia. Order info here.

Mill on the Floss

David Austin’s ‘The Mill on the Floss’ bears large clusters of deeply cupped blooms which open wide to reveal a small boss of stamens. At first, the flowers are a lovely mid pink, verging on lilac pink. As the flowers open further, the color pales, with individual petals beautifully defined by carmine-red edges. The dense flowers are nearly 3 inches across, with approximately 100 petals each. The flowers are held above the foliage, where they nod gracefully on gently arching growth. The medium-strong fragrance is sweet and fruity. It makes a bushy shrub, growing to about 4.5 feet tall by 4 feet wide in cooler climates and significantly taller in warmer ones. Plant in full sun or partial shade, with a minimum of four to five hours of good sun per day. Named for The Mill on the Floss, a novel by English writer George Elliot (Mary Ann Evans), published in 1860. Order info here.

2020 DAVID AUSTIN CATALOG

So much more than a catalog. A work of art as well as a very helpful tool filled to the brim with tips on growing roses, companion planting and choosing the right roses for your growing zone.

If you would like a copy, you may order one here

Seeds: Tiny Miracles

And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. Genesis 1:11-12

THINGS ARE GOOD AROUND HERE!

I just placed my first seed orders and already simply can’t wait to get them in the ground. But, wait I will — as rushing any type of gardening is most often futile.

Seeds heading my way:

RENEE’S GARDEN

I am always looking for more bokay makers and found a couple to add from Renee’s.

Mulberry Rose Nigella  (link)

I already have two other colors and love them even though you have to keep your eyes on them. #overcheivers

White Bishop Lace (link)

 

Flashback Caledula (link)

Loving the colors and will add these to the yellow ones I usually plant.

 

BURPEE

Steak Sandwich Tomato

I happened on plants of this tomato at Lowe’s last year from the Bonnie Plant collection. Since I had never heard of this variety, I immediately took to my phone to do some research (don’t you love on the spot research!). I found a YouTube video of someone who was testing this tomato and things were looking very good. I took 3 home.

Background: WE LOVE LOVE LOVE TOMATOES. Every year we plant many varieties (mostly in pots). While we get a few good tomatoes per plant, we find that most “slicers” are stingy with their fruit. Our goal is both taste and quantity. This year the goal was met. Tons of delicious tomatoes (medium sized). Not being sure we will find the plants again, buying seeds is our insurance policy.

If you are interested in knowing all things tomatoes, I would recommend Craig LeHoullier’s Epic Tomatoes.

Image courtesy of Bonnie Plants

Senora Zinnia (link)

Look at that color. I can already see this one making beautiful bokays with roses!

SEEDS ALREADY WAITING IN THE POTTING SHED:

Look at this plethora of “special” seed packets that my grandsons helped me pick out while I was in England. I love each one for the memories they evoke. Many will make it to the garden this year. Some of the packets will adorn the Potting Shed.

 

WHAT’S NEXT FOR THE SEEDS.

Seed packet reading will be high on my list especially with so many new seeds from the UK.

Then, I will begin to jump start with indoor planting…

I take a small and simple approach to indoor seed starting based on my limited time, space and light. I use basic seed starting grow pots or starter kits filled with seed starting mix. When: For the seeds I am starting, I need about 5 – 7 weeks before our last frost date (see your seed packet for specific info) to get the seedlings where they need to be at planting time. Planting time is the last frost date and around here (Zone 5) that is Mother’s Day. The potting shed does not receive enough light and few spaces do this time of year, so I will have a grow light over my plants.

For additional details about seed starting, here is a quick but excellent video by Epic Gardening. Take a look

I find the whole seed process fascinating and fun! This is truly a special, miracle filled part of gardening! What a glorious day it will be when I see green! 🌱🌱🌱

LITTLE MIRACLES INDEED:

While not all seeds are tiny, many of our flower seeds are. Hard to believe something so small has everything needed to grow! Size certainly does not determine their effectiveness. Of course for many of them we do have a role to play in providing light and water. However, as I pull over achievers, whether cultivated or wild, out of my garden … I know all too well that seeds do their job very well — often without my help. They are quite proficient at recruiting wind, birds and such. I don’t know about you, but I am blessed with many over achieving seeds. 😉

2 Corinthians 9:6 says… The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.

YESSSS! LET’S GO AND SOW BOUNTIFULLY IN LIFE AND IN THE GARDEN!

PS: I’ve been ordering a few roses too.😱 We’ll talk about that later.