Chatting by the Garden Gate…

Welcome! The garden gate is open!

Hi Friends!

Hope you are enjoying these late summer days in the garden!  Here in the Midwest, the first week of September brought us a real heatwave. Yet it still feels like summer is coming to an end much too soon. Although the garden is filled with bright color, the light is different now, the foliage is looking a bit tired, and the ground is very dry. We are hoping for a little rain to help the garden thrive in the weeks to come.

This morning, I danced into the garden very early hoping to avoid the afternoon heat. What a treat for the senses! I was mindful as the birds sang sweetly and the cicadas buzzed louder and louder. Butterflies fluttered from bloom to bloom in the gentle breeze. Oh-so many bees buzzed about doing their important work. The sweet fragrance of the blossoms drew me closer. The morning sun felt warm, rather than hot and sticky. Although there was much work to do, I spent a few moments just ‘being in the garden. So often, we are too busy ‘doing’ in the garden. In these precious moments, under the wide, shady brim of my straw hat, my eyes were smiling and my heart was singing!

Blue Mist Bluebeard shrub in bloom

Soon, gardenkeeping called and I set to work transplanting a small Blue Mist Bluebeard shrub. The mother plant has been a lovely part of our front yard for many years. It was a gift of friendship from Candy’s garden and has survived our harsh, snowy winters here in USDA Zone 5. Every year, in late summer, this shrub rewards us with beautiful blue flowers and a heavenly fragrance. Best of all, it is just filled with bees! Each time I pass, I notice an abundance of bees landing on almost every stem. They are practically waiting in line for their turn!


Two years ago, we discovered five baby Blue Mist Bluebeard shrubs growing in a raised bed about eight feet away from the mother plant. Oh the joy!! They are now about 15 inches tall, filled with beautiful blue blossoms, and attracting many bees of their own. So this morning, I began transplanting the small shrubs to the backyard, along the white picket fence of my Herb Garden. They are such an attractive shrub all year long with their aromatic, gray-green foliage. Their woody stems will add interest to the picket fence border garden through the winter months.

Most important of all, I hope these shrubs will attract even more bees to my Herb Garden! There is a Bee Bath just inside the picket fence, where the bees can rest upon flat river rocks to sip fresh water. Having a nearby water source will keep the bees happily working in and around my Herb Garden even longer. They won’t have to travel to seek out water. Moving these beautiful shrubs to their new location near the white picket fence should keep the herbs, the bees, and the gardener happy!


If you would like to add a pollinator ‘magnet’ to your garden this Autumn,

I would certainly recommend…

Blue Mist Bluebeard shrub

(Caryopteris x clandonensis ‘Blue Mist’)

(Also called Blue Spiraea)

USDA Hardiness Zones 5-9

Deciduous shrub, with gray-green foliage

Plant in full sun

Grows moderately fast, to 3 feet tall and 3 feet wide

Water regularly for the first year, then it needs only occasional watering

Very heat tolerant

Deer resistant

Long blooming, fragrant blue blossoms, late summer until hard frost

Clipping spent blossoms will encourage rebloom

Prune when leaves first appear in the springtime to promote strong, dense growth in the summer

Blooms on new growth

Attracts butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees, bees, bees!


Every year, the Blue Mist Bluebeard shrub brings us such pleasure in our cottage garden. I love to use its cuttings in flower arrangements. We often stand near this lovely shrub just to watch the busy pollinators at work. The bees seem to stay on the blossoms and haven’t bothered us at all. Don’t plant it too close to your door though. (You don’t want unexpected guests to follow you inside!)


Transplanting the Blue Mist Bluebeard shrubs to the backyard and digging up Rudbeckia plants to share with neighbors this morning created a large, open space in one of our front garden beds.

Perfect timing …

Celosia 'Intenz

Showy Celosia ‘Intenz’ (also known as Cockscomb) adds bright color and pizzazz!

Just yesterday, at the fruit market, a beautiful new plant jumped into our shopping cart.  Celosia ‘Intenz,’ with its spiky blooms of brilliant color instantly made me smile! As we walked around in the market, so many other shoppers were smiling at the very same plant in their carts. It felt like we were all part of a secret garden club on wheels! Celosia ‘Intenz‘ is a new, annual plant for this year. It will be fun to enjoy its wonderful blooms in the garden for the remainder of the season. Then I plan to dig it up and bring it inside for the winter. By taking cuttings, I’m hoping to have more new plants for the garden next Spring!

Hope you have a great week ahead!

Wishing all of our American friends a very happy Labor Day!

Enjoy an extra day

to relax,

plan a cookout,

go to a baseball game,

take a long walk or bike ride,


 play in your garden!


Thank you so much for stopping to chat by the garden gate today.

I always enjoy our visits!

Scatter smiles!

♡ Dawn

             P.S.   Which plants in your garden attract the most pollinators?  Let us know!

27 thoughts on “Chatting by the Garden Gate…

    • So happy to see you today, Liz! It was easy to take these photos because there were so many bees on this shrub! It would have been even better to make a video, with the bees buzzing and the cicadas singing. I know your garden is beautiful as September begins! Have a great Labor Day, my friend! Sending big hugs! ♡

  1. Dearest Dawn, you have been enjoying yourself in your beautiful garden. I love the bluemist bluebeard shrub! Oh how I wish I had full sun in which to plant such a lovely plant. The cockscomb looks interesting also but I can almost bet that’s a sun lover also. Oh well, I do enjoy my shade in this oppressive heat we have in summer. I just love it when the garden gives gifts such as your bluemist! I’m waiting for it to be a little cooler before I move some garden gifts–I have three acuba plants to transplant this fall. Enjoy your beautiful bit of heaven you have created my friend! ♥

    • Hi, Martha Ellen! We also have more shady areas in our garden than full sun areas. There are only a few patches of full sun, so I try to make the most of them. I do love the shady parts of the garden, and try to follow the shade as I work. It’s so much nicer to be in the shade! We have some cooler weather expected by mid-week. We will try to send some cool breezes eastward to your garden, too! I just love chatting with you by the garden gate, Martha Ellen! Enjoy the holiday! ♡

  2. Dearest Dawn! HELLO! Well my neighbor, I hear ya; out here we’ve got the State Fair going on until today, and there was NO WAY we were going in this heat wave! Too humid, too hot, so we stayed inside. Today is my day off from work, and school started last week. I can’t believe this magical summer has come to a close. BUT! The gardens are still extremely lush from all the rain we’ve had and many of us here agree this has to be the most beautiful summer our gardens has displayed. We have this blue plant here as well and we love it.

    Wishing you a spectacular day! Anita

    • Good morning, Anita! Just think of all of the wonderful, creative things you did this summer! It was one of your best in so many ways! Your lush, lovely gardens must be just gorgeous. I loved the French video of your garden in the rain.:) Minneapolis has always been one of my favorite cities. Have a delightful holiday, my friend! ♡

  3. Now I will be on the hunt for Blue Mist Bluebird, Dawn! I am thinking of several places, both in the front islands AND in the way back where we have more sun and could use some color in fall. This sounds like a fabulous plant and you have tempted me, especially since it is deer resistant. I have a fringe plant back there, which was shared by a friend, and it has done fabulously well. I’m thinking Blue Mist would be an interesting companion. See? I’m easily drawn in by a good pollinating friend. 🙂
    You have captured both the plant and her visitors splendidly, Dawn. It has been encouraging to see the upswing in the bee and pollinator population this summer. I know we have a long way to go, but, with thoughtful gardeners such as you all things are possible.
    The Joe Pye weed has been a particularly good host to pollinators this year. Even the spent blooms, all scraggly and sad, are still drawing them in. I love to go out mid-afternoon and just stand and look, for there are not only bees, but, smaller pollinators all agog on the blooms. What I’ve most enjoyed this season, however, are the hummingbirds that have visited the bee balm.
    Another fabulous post, Dawn. Enjoy this Labor Day, and thank you.

    • Hi, Penny! Thank you so much for your kind words, as always! I’m so happy to share great pollinator plants. I think you would really enjoy the Blue Mist Bluebeard shrub. I’ve never seen a plant that attracts so many bees! Luckily, they are so busy working that they never bother me while I stand and observe. Oh, hummingbirds! I would love to have them as garden visitors! We have a big patch of Bee Balm, but I haven’t seen a hummingbird in such a long time. I must encourage them to visit with more red, tubular blossoms. Do you have a hummingbird feeder, Penny? We’ve never had one, but really enjoy watching my mom’s feeder in her desert garden. I’m looking forward to cooler days this week and the 3 French Hens Country French Market in Morris next Saturday! It looks like it will be a great day in the country. Happy Labor Day, Penny! ♡

      • Oh, Penny! I just had to pop back in to share the happy news! While I was cutting pale, pink mums and stems of Blue Mist Bluebeard this morning, I hummingbird flew right to the garden bed!! I’m so delighted to know that these wonderful, little hummers are still around! It made my day! ♡

      • We don’t have any hummingbird feeders here, Dawn. I tried on when we knew there were hummers around, but, they never, ever came to the feeder, preferring what we have planted. Tom always gives me a fuchsia to hang each Mother’s Day. It is hanging right outside our living room window and hummingbirds come to it all the time and start looking for it before Mother’s Day. They also come to the deck where I have potted purple salvia (annuals). I’m hoping to get to the French Hens Market next Saturday, and the last of the Open Days for the area on Sunday. We will see. Stay cool and hydrated. Really hot and humid today.

      • Penny, I love the idea of hummingbirds coming to your hanging Fuchsia and potted Salvia. It brings the hummingbirds up close to you! I’m taking notes…

        Too hot! I didn’t last very long in the garden this morning! Hope our paths will cross at 3 French Hens. Wouldn’t that be fun? We always get there for the 8:00 am start, before it gets too crowded. ♡

    • Oh, thank you, Jodi! You are such a sweetheart! I’m so glad we connected. Meeting kindred spirits is the very best part of blogging! Have a great holiday! ♡

  4. The pollinators move around here depending upon what’s blooming. Right now the lavender is reblooming so there are bees out there. Butterfly bushes are a constant draw too. Your blue bush sounds very interesting. I can’t start anymore beds because I have enough to take care of now. I do like to transplant the volunteers though and I have some free trees from Arbor Day that need transplanting from their first “nursery” spots. Must do that this fall, but where’s the question.

    • Hi, Marcia! Your garden is always so lovely. I completely understand wanting to add new plants, but not wanting to start new garden beds! This summer, I have really been thinking about ways to make our garden beds more manageable. I want to be able to enjoy them for many years to come! We are both so blessed to have the gift of time for gardening during retirement. I must find ways to simplify a bit, too! Your Lavender and Butterfly bush, abuzz with bees, must be so pretty! I have grown them in past years, but they are both absent from the garden this year. Wishing you a nice week in the garden, Marcia! Happy Labor Day! ♡

  5. Dawn,
    Blue in the garden is one of my favorite colors. I have written down the Latin name for the Blue Spiraea and will look for this plant for next spring. Your photographs are wonderful.
    Have a relaxing Labor Day weekend.

    • Hi, Karen! I thought of you as I was writing, when I read that Blue Mist Bluebeard is waterwise! It could be a wonderful addition to your California garden. I love blue flowers in the garden, too. It’s great fun to add stems from this shrub to flower arrangements, too. Today I will combine them with pale, pink mums to fill a stoneware pitcher and an antique Ball jar for tables on the front porch. Do let me know if you find this plant in the Spring, Karen! Ours was a gift from a friend’s garden. I had never heard of it before, but it has become a true highlight in the garden! Sending hugs! Happy Labor Day! ♡

  6. Dawn, I just now saw your exciting news that you had hummingbirds in your garden today. WOW! I’ll bet they have been around for awhile. You just didn’t see them yet as they are so fast. I wonder if they were attracted to the Blue Mist Bluebird. If the bee was happily sipping in those blooms, a hummingbird could be as well. I think they are beginning migration, so, be on the lookout – and thank you, Dawn, for sharing your good news. 🙂

    • Penny, it was such a thrill to see the little hummingbird! 🙂 The Blue Mist Bluebeard shares a bed with bright pink Obedient Plant. My mom also said the hummingbirds are beginning migration. So, I will definitely keep watch! ♡

  7. Dawn, I love this shrub and have thought about buying one but haven’t yet. On my list of ‘want to’s’ for next year. I love my morning strolls in the garden. It really is such an enjoyable ritual! I planted garlic chives along the iron fence by my rose garden. The blossoms are loaded with bees every day. They need to be cut back soon or I’ll have babies coming up everywhere. Hope I don’t get stung. 🙂

    • Good morning, Jann! I know you would really enjoy the addition of Blue Mist Bluebeard to your beautiful garden. When I walk through the garden in August and September, I linger the longest watching the pollinators at work in this lovely shrub! I just snipped the blossoms from the garlic chives in my Herb Garden last week. Otherwise the garden path will be filled with babies! 🙂 Enjoy your morning strolls through the garden, Jann! Such a lovely way to begin each day with joy! Thanks for stopping to chat over the garden gate today! ♡

  8. It is always good when a plant freely seeds itself, and an indicator that plant will do well in your particular garden. If you want to encourage more pollinating insects, a good tip is to make sure you use mostly single blooming flowers and not the fancy, over bred doubles which can completely prevent insects getting in to the pollen. The closer to the original plant from which they were bred the better.

    • Hi, Deb! So true! We have had lots of reseeding here during our cooler, wetter summer. It’s always a delight to share the abundance of new plants with gardening friends and neighbors. The past week, I have been digging up and sharing lots of Rudbeckia. What a fun way to spread sunshine around town! Thank you for sharing such an important tip about choosing the best plants for pollinators, Deb. So happy that you stopped by to chat over the garden gate this morning! 🙂 Sending hugs Across The Pond! ♡

  9. Oh, that we had the water to nourish more plants. Rather than being out in our oppressive heat, I’ve been following the Magic of Being Tidy. The people at the Goodwill know me by name! Love seeing your wonderful garden and living vicariously amongst your blue and violet flowers.

    • Hi, Anne! I truly wish that we could send gentle rains and cool breezes to our California friends! Hope that relief will come very soon. I’m so happy to hear that you are following The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, too! Isn’t it gratifying to know that we can live with only those things that ‘spark joy’ in our homes? I started Tidying Up last week. I’ve been following the KonMari method through clothing and books. I feel so happy each time I fill my little car with bags of clothing for Goodwill. I always tell them, “I’ll be back again soon!” Now I am shredding lots of paper files. It’s so wonderful to know that we are both Tidying Up at the same time, Anne! It truly feels like a celebration! Sending big hugs, dear one! ♡

  10. Bees are SO important! I love when I see those industrious workers busy in my yard. I will definitely have to pick up some of those Bluebeard shrubs for our garden. Yesterday I noticed several butterflies on our Butterfly Bush. I’ve noticed fewer and fewer butterflies out and about over the last few years, so it was reassuring to see them visiting us this time.

    • Hi Ericka! I’m just fascinated by the number and variety of bees that visit our Blue Mist Bluebeard shrub! The stems also make a great addition to flower bouquets. I think you would love it in your garden, too. The large shrub is growing in our front yard. Last week, I transplanted some of the ‘baby’ Blue Mist shrubs along the outside of our picket fence Herb Garden in the backyard. There is a bee bath nearby, so I think the bees will be very happy there! I love the blue flowers along the white picket fence. We’ve been on a weather roller coaster here ~ heatwave, big cool down, and now warm and mild. Wishing you some quiet hours in your garden on the weekends! Thank you for taking the time to visit and comment today! ♡

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