Chatting By the Garden Gate ~ July

Hi Friends!

The birds are singing sweetly, the cicadas are even louder,

the mosquitoes are biting,

and late afternoon rainstorms have been blowing across the plains.

It’s July in the Midwest… 

and I’ve been spending lots of time in the garden!

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Most days, this little sign on our front porch lets visitors know where to find me.  🙂

There have been more big changes,

as I work hard toward my goal to ‘right-size’ my cottage perennial gardens,

inspired by this wonderful book by Kerry Ann Mendez.

Throughout this busy month, I’ve also been doing a bit of garden memory-keeping,

bullet-style, in my Garden Journal.

In our area, we have had over seven inches (18 cm.) of rain so far this month.

Northern Illinois has had twice as much rainfall and rivers there are overflowing their banks.

Our thoughts are with everyone experiencing the terrible, widespread flooding.

Unfortunately, heavy thunderstorms are expected again tonight.

 

Fortunately, we have had plenty of dry, sunny days, too…

Last year, I dug out a huge bed of Daylilies to create a special History Garden

along the length of our garage.

It is filled with favorite perennials that were growing in this garden 30 years ago,

when I moved here and learned to garden.

This month, I dug again for several days

to remove another large patch of orange Daylilies. 

Of course, I waited until they were finished blooming!  🙂

After removing and composting this patch of Daylilies,

now we can fully enjoy the blossoms in the History Garden!

I reused the antique bricks that I rescued

when we removed a stone planter in the front yard this spring.

It made sense to use the oldest bricks to create a simple garden path

past the oldest perennials in our garden!

As I pondered what to plant along the path (left side in photo),

it dawned on me that the same principles

that I use in my artwork would be perfect in the garden, too.

So, I transplanted Hostas and Artemisia to create a limited color palette

and pattern repetition from nearby garden beds.

Digging and moving perennials around in the garden feels very much like

‘watercoloring’ with real flowers!

                          Finally, I planted grass seed in the bare soil in the foreground.

Just this week, it felt so wonderful to complete another big gardening goal!

Now I can enjoy a full view of the History Garden

while I spend time in my Herb & Tea Garden,

the true ‘heart of my garden,’

surrounded by the white, picket fence.  🙂

Just wondering… 

What are your favorite and least favorite garden tasks?

My very favorite:

I just love deadheading the spent blossoms,

harvesting herbs, cutting bouquets of flowers,

and brewing a cup of homegrown herbal tea!

My least favorite:

I’m constantly battling with Creeping Charlie (ground ivy),

and Bishop’s Weed as they spread through my garden.

Digging up Daylilies is just exhausting. So glad that task is finished!

 

♥♥♥

Heartfelt thanks for chatting by the garden gate with us today.

Keep blooming and growing each day this summer!

 

Perennially yours,

♡ Dawn

P.S.  We just returned from a wonderful, little adventure! ♥♥ Can’t wait to share it with you very soon!

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Chatting By the Garden Gate

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

Hi Friends!

These glorious, late October days have been busy ones in the garden! Instead of cool, early mornings in the garden, I have been spending the warmer, afternoon hours gardenkeeping. Our ‘Autumn Blaze’ Red Maple is in full color now. What a joy to look skyward and take in her glory! Her leaves are fluttering down and we will be raking very soon.

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I have been harvesting herbs to add the warmth of summer to our winter soups.

On Saturday, we worked together to give the white picket fence around the Herb & Tea Garden a fresh coat of white paint for the snowy months ahead.  This big task was actually enjoyable, as we worked together. My husband painted along the outside, while I painted the inside. Fascinating conversation mingled with the wonderful scent of  herbs. A frisky squirrel entertained us from the branches of a nearby tree, while Maple seeds twirled down around us. Very tired, but happy, I finished cleaning up just as darkness fell.

papergardencollageToday I gathered bunches of Lacecap Hydrangeas to dry.

What fun it was to add color from my perennial gardens to my little ‘Paper Garden’ studio downstairs! Dried flowers and herbs from the past three summers hang from the ceiling rafters over my creative papercrafting space. They truly fill my heart with inspiration as I create! I feel so blessed to be able to enjoy time in the ‘garden’ all year long!

As I reflect back on this year’s gardening season, the word that comes to mind is change. Mindful, intentional changes have kept me busy in the backyard for many weeks.  I’m already planning big changes for the perennial beds in the front yard next year. My gardener’s heart tells me that it is time to ‘right size’ my flower gardens. Although change is never easy, I’m already making plans for a new look in the garden… and I’m excited!

A wonderful book has filled me with both inspiration and practical advice…

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The Right-Size Flower Garden, by Kerry Ann Mendez, caught my eye last year on a ‘New Books’ shelf at the library. Within the first few pages, I knew that this book was speaking to my heart! It definitely passed my ‘spark joy’ test, so it was a valuable addition to my own gardening library.

A garden author and lecturer, Kerry Ann shares her advice with the perfect blend of practical experience and her delightful sense of humor, as she guides us step-by-step to create a garden in balance with our lifestyle. As I read, I often found myself nodding in agreement, as the author shared her own stories of the changes in her garden.

Kerry Ann reminds us, “To reduce work by 50%, then at least half of your garden will require editing.” She shows us how to edit our gardens using her “Three R’s” approach. Kerry Ann’s advice has been so helpful as I decide which garden beds will “Remain, be Revamped, or be Removed.” She assures us that the changes will be exhilarating, as the Refinement of our gardens brings us Relief and Relaxation.

Beginning the process of ‘right-sizing’ my perennial gardens this summer was a huge first step for me. My very favorite, old-fashioned flowers and those with sentimental value found new homes in my Herb & Tea Garden and my History Garden. These plants will continue ‘spark joy’ for me in the garden. My large Cutting Garden bed is now gone and the newly planted grass seeds are already creating a carpet of green in its place. It will be so much friendlier to mow a little more grass, instead of weeding the large Cutting Garden bed.  I am already feeling a sense of relief!

Removing a large patch of orange Daylilies along the garage to create my ‘History Garden’ was a real challenge. Digging up the plants was a test of physical stamina, while it was emotionally difficult to toss away so many beautiful, healthy plants. I just kept repeating Kerry Ann’s mantra ~ “These are not children or pets.” If you crept up behind me as I was digging, I’m sure you heard me!

I felt so grateful for Kerry Ann’s permission, wisdom, and guidance to begin these big changes! The Right-Size Flower Garden has also been a wonderful resource of suggested plants for each part of my garden. I have learned more about the plants that I have grown for years and have many ideas of ways to replace these high-maintenance plants with low-maintenance alternatives. I can’t wait to try her recipe to rid my grass of Creeping Charlie (a perennial weed, also called Ground Ivy) next Spring! I will be sure to report back with the results!

The Right-Size Flower Garden is a delight to read (and reread!) and a valuable resource, as we design gardens that provide color, fragrance, and privacy with drought-tolerant perennials, shrubs, and trees. While the 2016 gardening season is still fresh in our minds, it’s the perfect time to be mindful of what worked well and what could be better in next year’s garden. Over the winter months, I will reread this book leisurely, with a cup of tea, as I plan more garden changes with intention. It holds the seeds of inspiration for “Refinement, Relief, and Relaxation” in my beloved perennial gardens!

Have you been thinking about any changes in your garden?

    Hope you will share your thoughts with us!

Thank you so much for stopping to visit today.

Wishing you a Happy Halloween,

and a wonderful start to November!

Happy Autumn days!

♡ Dawn

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Chatting By the Garden Gate

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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…

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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!

♡Dawn

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

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!

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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!

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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!

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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!)

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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,

or

 play in your garden!

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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!

Chatting by the Garden Gate…

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Are mosquitoes taking a bite out of your summertime fun?

Hi Friends!

Just taking a few moments to stop and chat over the garden gate on a warm, sunny afternoon…

We have had another cool, rainy week here in our Midwest cottage garden. In the afternoon sun, several Red Admiral butterflies have been darting around. It’s such fun to watch their quick, erratic flight patterns while working in the garden!

Red Admiral butterfly  {Photo Credit}

Our perennials have grown taller than ever before during the past rainy weeks. The weeds are thriving, too! Last week, the mosquitoes hatched in great numbers, making my time in the garden oh-so uncomfortable. On our recent walk through the garden, hungry mosquitoes forced me inside, covered with itchy bites. When I appealed to our blog friends, they offered several suggestions to keep the mosquitoes at bay. I am ever-so grateful for all of the wonderful ideas!

Girl Scout badges bring back such happy memories for me!

Today, I bravely tried this suggestion, from my friend, Jo…

Jo in Western Springs, IL said:

“Dawn, your gardens are so very lovely! As regards the mosquitoes, when I had a Girl Scout troop and we would go on hikes, the girls would tie a clothes dryer sheet in a buttonhole and this would deter the pesky little biters (mosquitoes, not girls). Give it a whirl! Happy summer days to you!”

My sweet memories of Girl Scout days encouraged me to try Jo’s idea first! Since we always have clothes dryer sheets in the laundry area, this morning I took out a Bounce dryer sheet, with high hopes. While wearing long sleeves and long pants for added mosquito protection, I quickly rubbed the Bounce dryer sheet over my clothing and then tucked it into my shirt pocket. Off I went to cut the grass and pull weeds. I’m thrilled to report that after four hours in the garden, I had no mosquito bites at all! I could see the mosquitoes flying nearby, but they left me alone today! What a difference from last week!! (Jo, you are such a blessing!! It feels like your idea has given me back the joy of gardening during our terrible mosquito invasion!! ) ♡

I couldn’t wait to share the happy news! I spotted my neighbor, a mother of newborn twin daughters, in her garden and went over to tell her the surprising news. She was so thrilled to have a solution that didn’t involve repellent sprays!! We rubbed her clothing with my Bounce dryer sheet, and then she ran inside to get a dryer sheet for her pocket, too. Tucking the dryer sheet through a button hole would also work great! My neighbor is planning to attach a dryer sheet to each hood of her double stroller every time she takes the twins for a walk. We are both feeling very hopeful that we will be able to enjoy our summer days again!

I wanted to share Jo’s wonderful  suggestion, just in time for your weekend activities!

If you do try the dyer sheet method to repel mosquitoes, be sure to check back and let us know if it works for you.

The Chicago area will have the second highest mosquito population in the U.S. this summer. {WGN news}

Our blog friends offered so many helpful suggestions to repel mosquitoes on last week’s post.

I’m so grateful for all of their ideas…

Jayne told us about purchasing a hat infused with mosquito repellent, trying the natural repellent Swamp Gator,

and using products containing Deet, then showering immediately after gardening work.

Penny has tried B-1/Thiamine, but only found success with a strong repellent.

Martha Ellen shared her husband’s success applying SKIN SO SOFT by Avon to all exposed skin.

In last week’s post, I suggested planting Citronella, Marigolds, Lavender, Catnip,

Basil, and Lemon Balm as natural mosquito repellents.

As always, our kind readers continue to share great ideas!

June shared her wonderful idea in the comments below. Scroll through the comments to see how

she uses white vinegar to prevent mosquitoes from biting! What a great tip!

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Do let us know if you try any of our suggestions with success!

We all want to enjoy our time in the garden

throughout mosquito season!!

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Thanks so much for stopping by! I always enjoy our visits here.

Wishing you a pleasant weekend filled with your favorite summertime activities!

Enjoy today!

♡Dawn

The Heart of My Garden ~ Built with Love!

Our story begins in 1995, when The Summer Book, by Susan Branch was hot off the press. The moment I read it, a new dream began to grow!

Our story begins in 1995, when The Summer Book, by Susan Branch was hot off the press. The moment I read it, a new dream began to grow!

Hi Friends!

It all began with a very special book… and a big dream! Perhaps we should step back a few years to the beginning of the story…

As a young, single homeowner, nothing made me happier than restoring my little 1922 bungalow, adding my own creative touches every step of the way. My dad (my hero!) has always been there with the knowledge, expertise, tools, and his gifts of time to help make my dreams a reality. Together, we would work on big projects, as he patiently taught me how to plan, measure twice, use all kinds of tools, and choose the very best materials.

After my parents retired and moved to Arizona, my dad continued to help me build my dreams! Every Spring, Dad would ask the special question, “What project should we do this Summer?” Then Dad and I would begin to make our plan over the phone. That year, it was different. We wouldn’t be stripping woodwork together, building a pantry, or updating the electricity. I had a special plan… a dream for my garden!

The Summer Book by Susan Branch inspired

Reading The Summer Book* by Susan Branch was my inspiration! I dreamed of creating an Herb Garden, surrounded by a white picket fence, just like Susan’s Kitchen Garden.                                                              *This special book is now out-of-print, but still lovingly sought after by her devoted fans. Keep your eyes open… and you may be lucky enough to find this treasure somewhere!

 

I had just finished reading The Summer Book by Susan Branch. She shared the story of how she wished for a Kitchen Garden, surrounded by a white picket fence. Joe built it for her in their yard on Martha’s Vineyard. I wondered… Could Dad and I build a special Herb Garden in my yard that Summer?

With many phone conversations, our little plan took shape. I chose the location and dug out huge evergreen bushes that filled that corner of my yard. Sawing and digging ~ digging and sawing, day after day. I wanted to have the area cleared by the time that Dad arrived for his Summer visit! Dad shipped the tools we would need all the way from Arizona, so that they would be waiting here upon his arrival. I was so excited that this special dream was coming true!

I will always remember how hard we worked together to level the ground where the huge bushes had been growing. Chopping out the stray roots to make way for two raised beds was a big challenge!  As we worked, we laughed and talked, and dug and sawed. Dad is a wonderful storyteller, so the time passed quickly. We leveled the garden paths and added a white picket fence around the new Herb Garden. Although I expected the project to take a weekend, Dad and I worked together for two weeks to build my new Herb Garden. It was truly a ‘labor of love.’

Working hand-in-hand with Dad made my dream come true!

Working hand-in-hand with Dad made my dream come true!

 

We even had time to assemble a garden arbor before Mom arrived in town. She was so impressed to see the lovely additions to my yard!  Now there would be relaxing family times for the rest of their Summer visit. What wonderful memories and ‘souvenirs’ we have from the Summer of ’95.

Stepping through the garden arbor and garden gate always brings back lovely memories!

Stepping through the garden arbor and garden gate always brings back lovely memories!

 

Today is a perfect, sunny June afternoon to peek inside our Herb & Tea Garden. I’ve been busy adding new organic soil to the raised beds. One bed is filled with culinary herbs: Rosemary, Basil, Thyme, Cilantro, Garlic Chives, Oregano, Sage, Chives, Dill, and Marjoram.

Welcome to the 'Heart of 'our Garden!

Welcome to the ‘Heart of our Garden!’

 

Culinary herbs add a fresh touch to all of our summer meals.

Culinary herbs add a fresh touch to all of our Summer meals. It’s also fun to brush away the Winter snow and gather a few herbs!

 

Rosemary

Rosemary

Basil

Basil

Thyme

Thyme

Cilantro

Cilantro

Garlic Chives

Garlic Chives

Oregano

Oregano

Dill

Dill

 

The “Tea” bed is filled with mints and sages to brew fresh herbal tisanes,  perfect served hot or iced. You might enjoy Candy Cane Mint, Peppermint, Apple Mint, Sweet Mint, Chocolate Mint, Lemon Balm, or Pineapple Sage. It’s fun to create your own personal blends, too!

Our "Tea" Garden

It’s always fun to plan Tea Parties. Guests are welcome to wander down the path to our herbal “Tea” Garden to pick a few leaves for their own unique blends!

Candy Cane Mint

Candy Cane Mint

Apple Mint

Apple Mint

Chocolate Mint

Chocolate Mint

A vintage tea cup (a gift from a student long ago) graces the center of our "Tea" garden. Nestled just below are special rocks collected over the years ~ a cobblestone from Prague, a cobble stone from Bacharach, stones from Red Mountain, and stones from our "secret place'   in the Sonoran Desert.

A vintage tea cup (a gift from a student long ago) graces the center of our “Tea” garden. Nestled just below are special rocks collected over the years ~ a cobblestone from Prague, a stone from Bacharach, stones from Red Mountain, and stones from our ‘secret place’ in the Sonoran Desert.

 

My sweet, talented friend, Kristin, created delightful garden markers from river rocks, collected in New Mexico and Arizona, especially for our Herb Garden.

'Garden Stones by Kristin'  mark the culinary herbs.

‘Garden Stones by Kristin’ mark culinary herbs.

'Garden Stones by Kristin' highlight some of our herbal "Teas."

‘Garden Stones by Kristin’ highlight some of our mints and sages in the “Tea” Garden, too.

Large stepping stones lead the way through the garden arbor and across the yard to our Herb and Tea Garden. Old-fashioned perennials surround the inside and outside of the white picket fence. Gracing the outside of the picket fence are pink and white Peonies, Stella d’Oro Daylilies, Hostas, and Sedum.  (Many years, I  also plant Gladiolas along the picket fence, in honor of  Susan’s wonderful inspiration!)

The magic happens whenever you step through the garden gate and are greeted by the lovely herbal scents. Along the inside of the fence, we enjoy pops of color from Black-eyed Susans, Balloon Flowers, Pincushion Flowers, Daylilies, Cranesbill Geraniums, Daisies, Bee Balm,  Obedient Plant, and Chrysanthemums. A rustic birdhouse stands tall in the center of the Herb Garden and a folk art Garden Angel watches over this special place. Bees buzz in and butterflies flutter about all day long. Now I’m in search of the perfect bee skep to add to our Herb Garden. This quiet, little garden is one of my favorite places on earth!

My parents just returned to Arizona last week, after another lovely visit with us. We had so much fun reminiscing about the Summer when Dad and I built the Herb Garden together.

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Each Summer, the Herb and Tea Garden is the ‘heart of my garden.’  My hours spent weeding, planting, and gathering herbs are such sweet times!  I always think back to that Summer, so long ago, when Dad and I built this special garden together. Every time I step through the garden gate, it feels like a big hug from my dad! ♡ I will always cherish the hours spent in the heart of my garden ~ built with love!

Thanks, Dad!!

♡Dawn

 

P.S.  Which herbs are your favorites?

Chatting by the Garden Gate

So glad you stopped by to chat for a moment!

So glad you stopped by today!

 

Hi Friends!

It’s so nice to chat by the garden gate for a few moments…

We are having glorious weather here today! I spent the whole morning in the garden ~ weeding, trimming the Quince bush, and pulling out some groundcover that was quickly taking over a perennial bed. As I was working, I thought about two easy, helpful garden tips to share! I ‘pinned’ both of these ideas on Pinterest last Spring and couldn’t wait to try them. After a whole year of “testing” these ideas, I think they are worth sharing with gardening friends. They worked great in our garden over the past year!

A natural weed preventer!

A natural weed preventer!

Weeds grow quickly on the flagstone patio, surrounding our old stone grill. Typically, I have to pull the weeds growing between the flagstones every few weeks all summer long. There is an easy solution, using something you probably have in your kitchen right now.

First, pull the weeds from between the flagstones. Then sprinkle the area with baking soda (Sodium Bicarbonate). You can use the old box that has been freshening your fridge! Water the baking soda into the soil between the flagstones. New weeds will not germinate. (Be careful not to sprinkle the baking soda on desirable plants.) Baking soda also prevents weeds from growing in sidewalk or driveway cracks. It was a great solution to a problem area in our backyard!

 

 

We grow Hostas in many parts of our shady garden.

Hostas grow in many parts of our shady garden.

Hostas thrive on our shady front porch!

The same Hostas thrive on our shady front porch!

We have Hostas growing in shady areas throughout our yard. Did you know that Hostas also make great container plants?  Last Spring, I dug up Hostas from the yard and planted them in these containers for the front porch. They thrived on our shady porch throughout the summer. When the weather turned cold, I just moved the pots to our unheated garage for the winter. During our extremely cold winter months, I only watered the pots twice. When the weather warmed up in early Spring, the Hostas were already poking up through the soil in their pots in the garage. So, I moved the pots back to the front porch and watered them well. They are growing quickly again this year! I will fertilize them a bit during this growing season. Instead of just filling containers with annuals, it’s easy to grow perennials in containers, too!

It’s so nice to use what you already have… with wonderful results!

 

Happy gardening!

♡Dawn

P.S.  Do you have a favorite tip to share with our gardening friends?