Chatting By the Garden Gate


Hi Friends!

Springtime days in the garden just make my heart sing! Warm, sunny days seem extra-special this Spring because they have been so rare. We are experiencing cooler than normal temperatures and twice the normal rainfall here in the Midwest. In fact, 17 of the last 24 days have been rainy days. This week alone, the rain gauge in our garden has collected two and one-half inches of rain! More storms are on the way…


Delicate blossoms of ‘Cranesbill’ Geranium brighten our perennial borders.

Each time the rain stops, a bit of gardenkeeping begins. Everything is growing so quickly! The pollinators have already been very busy doing their important work in the garden.  The bee baths are collecting rainwater and encouraging the bees to stay in our garden, rather than leaving to find fresh drinking water.


I have been dividing clumps of Spring blooming Anemones in our Friendship Garden bed.

Our Friendship Garden bed always beckons me first when gardening season begins. As I work, I try to watch my step, hoping to prevent some soil compaction in the wet, fragile earth. The ‘perennial’ chore of digging up invasive Bishop’s Weed seems endless in our garden. I divided several perennials before adding a fresh layer of mulch to this large backyard bed. Very soon, this special flower bed will be all abloom in the colors of Springtime!


Ferns unfurl in our Woodland bed, beneath the towering pine trees.

The additional moisture this season has encouraged the ferns and hostas to unfurl so quickly! We have an abundance of small ferns this year.  This week, I transplanted a few into pots for the front porch. It’s a bit of ‘trial and error’ research! Have you had success transplanting ferns into containers? A few years ago, I transplanted hostas into containers with great success. They thrive on our shady front porch and overwinter easily in our unheated garage. I’m so curious to see if the potted ferns will be just as happy and content!


Lily of the Valley add their heady fragrance to the Woodland garden bed.

The month of May has always been my favorite time in the garden. It’s truly enchanting to see lush foliage, pops of color, and swelling buds that seem to change daily! May holds the promise of all the months yet to come. I have been mowing the lawn often and digging up dandelions, too. Today as I worked, the first peony opened its petals. A short time later, the first ‘he loves me’ Daisy bloomed. It’s always fun to reward all of my hard work by picking bouquets of blossoms!  It was a treat to fill a stoneware crock with Lilacs for the front porch last week. Yesterday I filled a small, pink vase with Bleeding Hearts and Lily of the Valley to bring a bit of Springtime inside. It’s the little things that make life so sweet!

After mid-May, I look forward to planting some new additions in our Friendship Garden. Hyacinth bean vines will climb a trellis and historic Western Jacob’s Ladder will grow along our white picket fence. There is also a new addition for our Herb Garden. For the very first time, we hope to grow our own Red Kuri pumpkins for our favorite Autumn soup. Next week, it will be time to fill containers with colorful annuals, too. This weekend, our nighttime temperatures will drop into the 30s. So, I’m trying so hard to patiently wait… just a few more days!

I hope that you are enjoying a bit of time in nature, too. Whether you are working in the garden, walking in a park, or hiking through the woods, listen closely to the birdsong… and the song in your heart!


I’m so happy that you stopped to chat by the garden gate today!

Can’t wait to share the most wonderful way to spend a rainy afternoon… next time!  ♡

Sunny wishes!


  P.S.  What flowers are blooming in your garden this week?


35 thoughts on “Chatting By the Garden Gate

    • Hi Ginnie! Wasn’t it amazing? I’m sorry that we weren’t sitting together this time. So many wonderful memories to cherish! I’m working on the blog post… and collecting favorite photos to share! Happy weekend, Ginnie! 💗

  1. Hi Dawn, I smiled as I read this post because I could have written the same thing. 🙂 I have all of the flowers that you showed and the same garden sign. We have had tons of rain and everything is growing so quickly. It is warmer here this week and going to be 83 on Saturday. I’ve got my containers and garden mostly planted. I always seem to pick up a few more things. I’m on my 5th large bag of potting soil.

    • Kindred spirits, Jann! I often catch myself singing while I’m planting containers for the front porch and deck! (I’m always glad that there is no one around to hear me!) I have all of the plants ready to pop into the containers. I’m sure that we both love the same kinds of vintage pieces, repurposed as one-of-kind planters! May 15th is our average frost-free date here in USDA zone 5. Can’t wait! Happy planting, Jann! 💗

    • Good morning, Judy! It was such a treat to fill a little vase with Bleeding Hearts and Lily of the Valley. So sweet and old-fashioned! I don’t usually cut them, but I’m so happy that I did! Can’t wait to wander outside this morning to see what is blooming today! I often wish we were neighbors, Judy! It would be such fun to chat by the gate with a Master Gardener!! Enjoy the wonderful Springtime color! ♡

  2. Just love this time of the year too. Just so much growth and energy. Your garden looks lush and beautiful. I can’t stop myself either from adding and multiplying. I also want my next few posts to all feature the garden, but I think I need to refrain :). Happy gardening Dawn!

    • Good morning, Loretta! I love peeking at your garden, too! For many weeks, I have been enjoying the beautiful gardens of blog friends across the globe. It’s such fun to see what’s blooming everywhere! With all of the rain, our Midwest garden is finally growing and blooming. It’s the perfect time of year to celebrate the energy and happiness that our gardens bring us! Can’t wait to ‘visit’ your garden again soon! Happy weekend, Loretta! ♡

  3. Hi Dawn, love the chat by the garden gate. And your garden is doing lovely. I miss hostas and woodland ferns. I would think the ferns will do fine on the porch. For all the rain we had in March, it has been a little scarce lately. It dances all around us. Praying for some soon, it is so beautiful and green here and I would like to keep it that way a little longer. Mom’s tomatoes are growing like gangbusters, most with little tomatoes coming on. We had one fatality, a pasta tomato, stripped overnight by horn worms. So we are doing battle now. With some nice rain it has a chance of coming back, crossing fingers.
    Love to see Spring back north. Enjoy it! It is a very short season here.

    • Good morning, Chris! So happy that you stopped to chat by the garden gate! 🙂 So many new, little ferns appeared in our Woodland garden in the past two weeks. So, I just had to try potting a few of them. Last summer, a dear friend gave us white, wicker furniture for the front porch. Every time I think of the wicker, I think… ferns!! So, I’m curious to see if the ferns will be happy on our shady porch! One of my gardening joys is using the perennials we already have in new ways!

      Wish we could share some of our rain with you, Chris. Big rains are headed our way again tonight! With your mom’s nurturing and patience, new leaves and blossoms will grow on her pasta tomato plant. Soon it will be thriving again… I just know it! It’s so wonderful that you are sharing the garden and so much wonderful time together! ♥ Sending gentle showers your way, dear Chris! Hugs for your mom! ♡

  4. Dawn, you are describing my very own garden, gardening, frustrations and joy this spring. 17 out of 24 days? Wow. I knew it has been many days of rain, but, that many is very startling. It is what it is and the earth around us is still very green and lush right now. Today, I hope to get out and pull some more creeping Charlie. 🙂

    I have grown fern in a pot, with amazing success. We were dividing them last year (and need to divide more this year) and heard of putting ferns in pots. One went into a large pot at the front steps and was especially brilliant in fall. It died back and a blanket of evergreens and branches of red twig dogwood and wintry items went on top. When all were uncovered last month, the red bud branches were starting to leaf out and now the fern is looking quite proud of herself. Do try them in a pot. The most you have to lose is a fern or two – but lots to gain.

    It was so nice to see you a few weeks ago. I went out and bought borage for one of my garden beds based on that lecture. I’m guessing I know where you will be this weekend. Enjoy the market. I’m so busy with our own garden and with the upcoming Garden Walk, and I see you have had the very special tea from another’s comment. Life is good, Dawn, and you know how to enjoy it. 🙂

    • Good morning, Penny! I think that we have had about 7.5 inches of rain in the past 24 days. More on the way tonight! It has been challenging to find dry times to cut the grass. Perhaps we need a small flock of sheep! They could enjoy nibbling the grass while it is raining! 🙂 Oh, our Creeping Charlie is having a wild party all over the yard, while I am focused on digging up Bishop’s Weed, in one garden bed at a time! Weeds are trending here this Spring! 🙂

      Thank you so much, Penny, for sharing your potted fern success! I don’t know why the thought never occurred to me before. We have so many new, little ferns popping up the past two weeks. So, a few days ago, I put three of them into pots and moved them to the shady front porch. I’ve been checking on them each day!

      It was just delightful to spend time together at the Herb lecture. Our Master Gardener was so wonderful and knowledgeable. I really wanted to listen to her and I really wanted to chat with you! I think our paths will cross often from now on! We enjoy so many of the same favorite places. You are so right! I’m looking forward to the first 3 French Hens Market of the year. I can’t wait to soak up all of the inspiration there! This has truly been a remarkable week filled with inspiration, dear Penny! I haven’t even been able to put it into words just yet. Happy tears! 🙂 I am counting my blessings out loud every single day. Life is very, very busy at the moment ~ with happy things, sad things, and unexpected joys. I’m choosing to focus on the happy things! ♫ ♫ As the song goes, “It’s good to be alive right about now!” ♬♫ Big hugs, my friend! ♡

  5. Dawn, your garden is looking so lush and beautiful. We too have had lots of rain to make our garden happy. We have had rain the last 16 days with more on its way today. I do hope we get some peeks of sunshine as predicted as well. My Pinkie Climbing rose is putting on a show today. We missed its bloom last year while we were in England. This weather is very much like English weather so it brings back lovely memories of our trip. I’m looking forward to hearing all about your time with Susan. I just know it was amazing! ♥

    • Good morning, Martha Ellen! The rain is making both of our gardens happy. I’m sure that we feel the same ~ wishing to be playing in the garden! It’s sunny today, but more big rains are on the way later today. Your Pinkie Climbing rose sounds just gorgeous! It’s amazing that this is the anniversary of your wonderful trip to England! You must be enjoying looking back at your photos and your England blog posts each day, remembering where you were one year ago today! 🙂 I’m so happy for you and Grayden that you made your trip of a lifetime and can now share your memories for years to come!

      It was a truly amazing afternoon, Martha Ellen! So special that it’s hard to find the words yet! I’m collecting photos from several Girlfriends. Hoping that I can help everyone feel as if we were all there together!! Sending big hugs (and scones)! ♡

  6. Oh my, Dawn! You are just that much farther ahead than us to have things blooming. Our lilacs are just beginning to open. Wild violets are in abundance this year. Sometimes they pop up in the middle of the yard and I can’t bear to have hubby mow them over so I transplant them to my woodland garden where they are happy in the dappled shade among the fern and trillium and yellow wild violets and may apples. We had a beautiful plot of tulips but, alas, the sassy deer chomped off almost every bloom! 😦 Soon our pink flowering dogwood shrubs will be in bloom! Never have tried hostas in containers. …hmmm? Maybe I will this year. We bought a new fountain for our patio and I have moved some hostas there along with annuals. Hoping it fills in fully! Happy Spring Gardening! Love visiting here with you and the girlfriends! ♡

    • Good morning, Karen! We must be about two weeks ahead of you in the garden. Our Lilacs and Magnolias are just finishing here. The Peonies are just beginning to open and the Iris will bloom before long. I’m so excited for all of the magic as your northern garden comes into full bloom! I can just imagine you transplanting all of the wild violets, Karen! That sounds like something Tasha Tudor might have done! Your Woodland garden sounds so lovely in the dappled shade! I have been growing Hostas in containers for about four years. It’s so easy! I just dug them from the garden, planted them in lightweight containers, and they do beautifully in a twig planter, on our shady front porch. (Beautiful foliage, but no flowers. I just add red, white, and blue by adding flags to their pots.) When the cold weather returns, I just carry them to our unheated garage. I water them two or three times during the Winter. In the early Spring, the Hostas begin to poke up through the soil, right in the garage. So, that’s when I bring the pots back to the front porch! I’m trying to bring more green foliage onto the front porch. So, this year I am trying ferns, too. Can’t wait to see photos of your fountain garden! What special memories we made this week, Karen! So happy that we could share the day! Enjoy your garden this weekend! ♡

  7. Dawn,
    Your flowers and fern look so beautiful. I’ve had great success transplanting ferns to planters here in So. Cal. Mostly Holly fern and Mother fern, but sword fern seems it would be a good candidate as well.
    I love anemones and wish they weren’t so short lived here.
    Have a wonderful weekend and thank you for sharing your lovely garden.

    • Hi, Karen B! Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful success transplanting ferns. I’m so grateful for all of the expertise of my gardening friends! ♥ I could stand and admire the Anemonies all day! They do a delicate, little dance in the Springtime breeze and make me smile. The Columbine began blooming this morning. There is one little Columbine that has grown through a crack in our driveway. It is blooming, too! It is a good reminder to stay strong and persevere through the challenges that life often brings. Nature teaches us so many lessons!

      The rainy weather and recent travels have kept me out of the garden. It feels just wonderful to dig in the dirt again! 🙂 Although it feels like I am weeks behind in gardenkeeping this Spring, I am just taking it slowly… and enjoying myself! Some of the weeds will just have to wait for me! Your garden must be so colorful, Karen! Wishing we could share our raindrops with our California friends! Happy weekend! ♡

  8. Good morning, Dawn. It sounds as though you are describing the weather in the Mid-Atlantic, except for the overnight temperatures. We are finally out of the 30’s at night here so I’ve planted my Basil and other tender herbs in pots on the deck. I’ve transplanted ferns successfully, but have never thought to put them in pots. I’ve been putting them along the paths in our woods, hoping they’ll spread there.

    I love your photographs! I have a technical Blogging question…..perhaps it is just the difference between Word Press and Blogger (which I use). Blogger gives me the option of small, medium, large, extra-large and original size for my photos. The largest I can go is extra-large because original size is off the page and looks overblown. My extra-large aren’t as large as your photos, though. Yours appear the perfect size. Is your camera set to photograph in a smaller format? Or does WordPress have different sizes for photos?

    • Hi Cathy! Low nighttime temperatures continue to be a gardening challenge here! Saturday night, we will dip down into the upper 30s. Brrr! So, my little Basil plant will be spending a few more nights in the garage. By next week, it looks much warmer. I will be fun to plant the new Basil plant and the large Rosemary that has been overwintering in our sunny dining room. I can’t wait to play in the Herb garden next week! Thank you for sharing your experience transplanting ferns, Cathy. Just the other day, the idea of planting some ferns in pots occurred to me! So, I’m watching how they do and trying to learn their moisture needs in their new home on the front porch. I will let you know how they do!

      I’m so glad that you enjoy the photos, Cathy! I take them at full resolution, using a Nikon Cool Pix camera. When I export the .jpegs from iPhoto, I choose the ‘High’ quality and ‘Large’ size options. (I am trying to stretch the free WordPress storage as much as I can! There is also a ‘Full Size’ photo option.) When I add a photo to the post in WordPress, I choose the ‘Large’ option. Blogger might be very different, though. (Maybe you should ask Martha Ellen. Her large photos are always gorgeous!) I wonder, Cathy, if it is the file size that you are choosing when you export them from your photo program. Try exporting at a smaller size, and perhaps you will be able to add them to your post at a larger size. Just guessing, though… Wishing you happy days in the garden! ♡

      • Thank you, Dawn. I measured Martha Ellen’s–hers are the same width as mine on the screen (6 inches) while yours are 7 ½ inches….so it may be the difference between Blogger and Word Press. However, I’m going to ask one of my sons, who are much more knowledgable about these things to see if I can change the size of my photos before exporting them.

      • I completely understand how you feel, Cathy! Photos are so important, for they help tell stories and hold our dearest memories. Maybe your son will have the answers. Hope so! ♡

  9. We have broken records for continuous days of rain. More today and tomorrow. Even though our house has sold, I must keep the weeds and deer at bay until settlement. That’s on top of everything else that must be done. Irises blooming here now. Always a joy to see them, some with different colors than in previous years.

    • Hi, Marcia! Too much rain for so many, while others need rain desperately. If only we could share this abundance of rain with everyone affected by the terrible wildfires! It sounds like your garden is about two weeks ahead of ours. Our Iris are just beginning to show their buds. I’m so happy that you can enjoy this special Springtime in your garden.

      This chapter in your life is such a busy, exciting one! It must be so hard to maintain your beautiful garden and wooded yard, while downsizing and packing up the treasures that will move with you. It looks like you are making great progress with everything, Marcia! With your moving date on the calendar now, you know that very soon, you will both be able to enjoy more carefree days ahead! So happy for you! ♡

  10. Loved your “chat.” Am taking Mom to celebrate her 95th birthday up to Cambria in central California. She loves to see the wild mustard plant in bloom. It is a blanket of lime/yellow green on the hill sides. Back in a week with an update. Much love.

    • Hi, Anne! What a wonderful way to celebrate together! Hope you will take pictures of the colorful hillsides in Cambria. I would really love to see it! Sending big birthday hugs to your mom from both of us! Safe travels, dear Anne! Thanks so much for visiting today! ♡

  11. Such a lovely “tour” through your garden, Dawn! Perhaps we should plan our very own little garden duet walk! I don’t gather up my bleeding heart and lilies of the valley for inside bouquets, as a rule. But your blog has inspired me to do just that! Brrrrrr! There’s a toasty fire in our fireplace this morning as Jack and I share our morning pot of coffee. Stay warm! XO

    • Welcome, Louise! What fun to meet here on the blog, after our lovely ‘surprise’ meeting on Tuesday! A garden duet walk this summer sounds like a wonderful idea. This was the first time I gathered Bleeding Hearts to add to a little bouquet of Lily of the Valley. It looks so sweet and old fashioned! I think will be a new May tradition for me!

      What a frigid weekend it has been! We have been out of town all weekend ~ our favorite outdoor antique market, a fun family gathering, and a college graduation! So chilly! When the sun comes up in the morning, I’m so curious to see how the flowers survived a frosty night in May. Brrrr! Sipping tea tonight! Hoping to spend a little time in the garden this week. There is so much to do! Thank you so much for visiting! Have a good week, Louise! ♡

  12. It has been raining so much here too, Dawn! But it seems to be doing some good because your garden looks great 🙂 I just planted some herbs and veggies in mine last weekend, so we’ll see how they come along. I also bought a raspberry bush but afterward realized it’s going to take 2 years to sprout!

    • Hi, Chris! Everything is growing so quickly here. The cooler weather has made our Springtime blossoms last longer than usual. It sounds like it will be a good growing season in your garden, Chris! Just think how much you will enjoy your raspberries after waiting so long for them! Gardening certainly teaches us patience. Sending sunny wishes for a great week, Chris! ♡

      • That’s so true, Dawn. I’m sure they will taste extra sweet when they finally grow. Until then I’ll enjoy the blueberries and blackberries we usually get every year. Hope you have a great week too ❤

    • Hi, Kim! I know that you feel the same way about your garden! Are the Black-eyed Susans coming up already? Hope so! Life has been so busy lately that I have only been able to squeeze in a few hours in the garden. It’s my favorite month in the garden. I really wish I could spend time in the garden every day! See you soon, my friend! ♡

    • Hi, Marlene! It’s my favorite time in the garden, too! I just love new beginnings! After all these years, it just dawned on me to try growing some of the ferns in pots. They are doing well on our shady front porch after one week in their containers. It’s always fun to try new things in the garden! Enjoy your garden this week! Thanks so much for visiting today, Marlene! ♡

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