A New ‘Garden’ Season!

Our 'Autumn' Blaze Red Maple reflects the beauty of each Autumn day!

Our ‘Autumn Blaze’ Red Maple reflects the beauty of each October day!

Hi Friends!

Change is in the air in our Midwest garden! Our chilly nighttime temperatures, shorter daylight hours, and brilliant Autumn colors are poignant reminders that a new ‘garden’ season is just around the corner. Now the precious hours spent gardening in the warmth of an Autumn afternoon seem ever so fleeting!

Although the garden colors are fading quickly now, there are still some lovely reminders of our colorful Summer days. Bright pink Cosmos blossoms still dance in the breeze in our old-fashioned Cutting Garden.

These Cosmos grew from special seeds from Rheinstetten, Germany. A gift of friendship from a faraway friend!

These Cosmos grew from seeds sent from Rheinstetten, Germany. What a lovely gift of friendship from a faraway friend!

There was a surprise discovery this week in our Autumn garden! Finding a blossom from an early Spring Anemone, blooming beside a fallen Autumn leaf, made my heart leap! Oh, the small thrills that make a gardener’s heart dance with delight. Surely, you can understand…

A brave Anenome, that typically blooms in May and June, is blooming in our garden this October!

A brave Anemone, that typically blooms in May and June, is blooming in our garden this October!


Brilliant leaves twirl down creating a colorful in a colorful dance on a Autumn breeze.

Brilliant leaves twirl down creating a colorful dance on an Autumn breeze.

After gazing upward, again and again, to enjoy the glorious colors overhead, it was time to begin a few gardenkeeping tasks today. With my favorite herb snips in hand, I headed through the garden gate to begin harvesting bundles of herbs to dry for our kitchen this winter.

Oh, the delights that greet us as we step through the gate of our Herb and Tea Garden!

Oh, the delights that greet us as we step through the gate of our Herb and Tea Garden!

It’s such fun to snip sprigs of Rosemary, Sage, Marjoram, Oregano, and Thyme gathering each bundle tightly with a small rubber band. Thoughts of winter soups and Thanksgiving stuffing come to mind at harvest time. Our dried herbs will flavor so many meals in the coming months.


The small bundles of herbs will hang to dry in our cool, dark basement until they are ready to use in the kitchen.

Harvesting Hydrangeas is always one of my special joys. In October, we usually have so many lovely, mauve-colored Hydrangeas to dry ~ enough to fill many baskets, crocks, and stoneware pitchers for a gorgeous ‘winter garden’ inside. Sadly, last winter’s long, severe cold and snow cover in the Midwest meant no flowers at all on most of our mophead Hydrangeas! It was the first time that there were no buds, only large, healthy leaves on the Hydrangeas growing near our front porch. Garden bloggers in many areas reported the same disappointment in their gardens this summer.

Just one small basket of Hydrangeas, mostly of the lacecap variety, was harvested with great care. Each blossom seemed more precious than ever before! I will truly miss having dried bouquets of my favorite, old-fashioned flowers nearby while sipping tea, reading, and watching the snowflakes fall outside the window all winter long! Nature has taught me that nothing is certain in the garden. Over the years, I have learned a great deal about the importance of patience… and hope!

There were only a few blooms on our Hydrangeas this season.

There were very few blooms on our Hydrangeas this season.

Harvest time has just begun! Herbs and Hydrangeas are hanging to dry in the basement.

Harvest time has just begun! Some herbs and Hydrangeas are already hanging in the basement to dry.

This week, we had our first frost and the garden is preparing to rest. My favorite Rosemary plant has already been brought in from the Herb Garden and is happily growing in a large pot in our sunny dining room. Its heavenly scent will remind me of summer days in the garden through the coldest of winter days. A gorgeous Mandevilla plant that bloomed all summer on our deck is now blooming in the dining room, adjusting to the sunny, southern exposure. It will be so nice to enjoy this colorful souvenir of summertime in the weeks to come!

This is always the time when a gardener reflects on the past season and looks ahead to next year’s garden. As a garden blogger, there will be new gardening hopes, dreams, and plans to share. Travels to the sunny Southwest will bring some lovely desert gardens to our blog. I look forward to sharing some favorite gardens I’ve visited on past European adventures, too. What fun to remember beautiful castle gardens while our Midwest cottage garden rests!

Yes, the garden is changing…

Colorful Maple leaves grace the birdbath on a sunny Autumn day.

Colorful Maple leaves grace the birdbath on a sunny Autumn day.

… and a new garden season is just beginning here!!

I’m looking forward to sharing another favorite passion of mine in the coming months! A long-time dream of mine has just come true. I have set up a Studio space in our basement where I can create (and be messy!). It’s a wonderful place to spread out and enjoy making cards, scrapbooking, watercoloring, and to begin experimenting with new techniques in a mixed media art journal.

It will be such fun to sow new seeds of inspiration, water them with passion, and encourage new skills to grow and blossom!

Hope you will enjoy visits to my ‘Paper Garden,’ too…

DSCN3334 - Version 2

Now I can spend my days in the ‘garden’ all winter long! ♡

Banners and bunting celebrate my passion for paper!

Colors, patterns, and texture make my heart sing.


It was such fun to create a banner for my new Studio space!

For my papercrafting friends:  First I die cut banners using SU ‘Banners’ Framelits and embossed the Bazzill ‘Forget Me Not’ cardstock with the Embossalicious ‘Flowers’ EF. I layered K&Company Floral Tags, embossed with the Cuttlebug ‘Birds and Swirls’ EF. Next I die cut Spellbinders ‘Scalloped Ovals’ on SU ‘Very Vanilla’ cardstock and embossed them with the SU Sizzix ‘Flowers’ EF. Then I added letters die cut with SU ‘Little Letters’ Thinlets on The Paper Company ‘Chocolate Truffle’ cardstock. Finally, I used SU dimensionals to add the sentiment and strung the banner with natural polished hemp.

It’s such a treat to spend time in my ‘Paper Garden’…  now that my perennial and herb gardens are slowing down.

I’m ever so grateful that YOU are here visiting! I truly appreciate the time you spend here at Petals.Paper.Simple Thymes!

For me, spending time with Kindred Spirits is always such a joy!

Come visit again soon…

Autumn blessings, sweet friends!


P.S.  Are there special hobbies that you enjoy during the winter months? Or do you continue the same passions year round?

23 thoughts on “A New ‘Garden’ Season!

  1. Yes, Dearest Friend, our gardens are winding down and we make the most of what is left. Soon it will be left to the birds to pick over the remaining seed heads ~~~ I do so love that your craft studio is called Paper Garden ~~~ that you can continue your love of gardening in a different way!
    I have a promise of an hydrangea ~ all I need do is go with my trolley to collect it ~ then find some suitable space. What a treat to find your wood anemone! Such a delicate thing and promise of Spring in a few months too.
    My crafting? I just continue more or less with the same things all year, simply changing the colours and themes to suit the season.
    ~~~waving~~~ Debs in Wales

    • Bore da, Deb! I’m feeling so blessed that there is another place to learn and grow now, as the outdoor gardens are slowing down. It’s such an exciting time for me! I’m so happy that you will add a Hydrangea to the Garden in the Shire, Deb! Look for the perfect place in part shade. Wouldn’t it look lovely beside one of your stone walls? Wish we could have some crafty time together. Wishing you a fantastic day, my friend! ♡

  2. Good morning sweet Dawn! WOWSERS…..well we here in the midwest are experiencing a most spectacular fall, aren’t we! The Twin Cities is blessed with the most brilliant colors this year and mild temps, so each weekend has been playtime for us to go out and walk around the lakes, play in the leaves and yes, find little surprises still blooming! Life finds a way to bloom no matter what the calender says!

    Dawn, I love your garden. That sweet picket fence around your little plot just makes my heart leap. Enjoy your day! Anita

    • Bonjour, Anita! It truly has been a lovely Autumn this year! Hope you have been capturing the magic in your beautiful photographs! My Herb and Tea Garden surrounded by the picket fence always feels like a ‘secret’ garden to me. I treasure the time that my dad and I worked together to build the raised beds and put up the fence and garden gate! Simple, old-fashioned, and sweet ~ my favorite part of the garden! Wishing you another wonderful Autumn weekend in the Twin Cities, Anita! ♡

  3. Wonderful post, Dawn! It made me wish I could be outside in the crisp Autumn air right now. I especially enjoyed those photos of your maple tree; I love the orange and red hues of leaves in the fall months. Hope you have a great rest of the week ❤

    • Hi Chris! The colors are at their peak this week. Next week will be raking time! Have a fun, safe run through the Autumn colors in New York. Do the runners wear Halloween costumes? ♡

  4. What a lovely post. I was surprised that your hydrangea didn’t bloom due to a very cold winter, since mine didn’t perform as usual and I live in Southern California. Your paper space in the basement will undoubtedly be so much fun, especially on the days that are best spent indoors.

    • Heartfelt thanks, Karen! Our Hydrangeas suffered under lengthy snow cover (90 inches last winter!) and brutally frigid temperatures for long stretches of time. They were well watered with all of the melting snow and above average rains during the spring and summer months. They just never produced buds. In our drought a few years ago, my Hydrangeas had lots of miniature blossoms. California gardeners have has such strong watering restrictions this year! What a huge challenge for the gardeners and their plants! Hope the weather will be more moderate everywhere in the year ahead. It’s so true, Karen! I’m looking forward to ‘growing’ in new ways in my Studio space!! Happy Autumn days! ♡

  5. How beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing the beauty of your garden as it changes with the season. Have fun in your Paper Garden, too!
    Cathy W.

    • Hi Cathy! I’m just delighted that you stopped to visit today! You were the very first friend to visit our blog six months ago! This weekend, I will harvest more herbs. It’s one of my very favorite ways to celebrate the change of season. Sending hugs! ♡

    • Hi Jayne! Unexpected surprises in the garden are some of the sweetest ‘small moments’ of the day. You can’t help but smile when you discover a camellia blossom in October! I’m very excited to have a special ‘place’ dedicated to my passion for paper! Have a lovely weekend, Jayne! ♡

  6. Dawn, what a nice post. Love all your beautiful colors and flowers. We had a terrible cold winter here in Iowa too, and it killed so many trees and bushes. (sad) You will really enjoy your room. Especially this winter!


    • Hi Gert! It’s so nice to hear from you today! We are all hoping for a much easier Winter this year. I’m so happy to have a little Studio space for papercrafting! The hours fly by when I’m happily playing with paper and ink. I’m counting my blessings out loud! Sending you and Tom wishes for a lovely Autumn weekend in Iowa! ♡

  7. Dawn! I’ve missed keeping up with all your sweetness! Life must slow down soon! I love your pictures and hearing about your Autumn herb and hydrangeas harvesting. They are just too pretty to let go and be covered by the snow! So excited to see your Paper Garden coming to life! Will be watching for future news! Hugs! Karen.

    • Happy Friday, Karen! Hope all is well at your house. Our mild Autumn weather this week has been perfect for getting the garden ready for winter and doing a few outdoor projects. We have LOTS of leaf raking to do this weekend! Make the most of our great weekend weather, my friend! ♡

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