Garden ‘Surprise’ Party!

Hi Friends!

It feels just like a garden ‘party’ here in the Midwest ~ a bit of a ‘surprise’ party! These party plans seem to have been underway since February, when we had a stretch of unseasonably warm days. Shortly thereafter, gardeners began to notice foliage emerging from our sleepy, leaf-covered garden beds. I remember taking walks through my garden in late February and early March whispering, “Slow down. It’s much too early.”

Our garden party guests might be feeling confused, as well. Migratory birds and other wildlife have been caught by surprise. This week, I noticed a robin finishing her nest under the eaves, with a southern exposure. The University of Illinois Extension reports that plant growth is 15-20 days ahead of schedule in our area. By tracking growing degree days (GDD), researchers confirm that we are well ahead of normal. Insect populations are making an early appearance. Dandelions have already been in bloom for two weeks. Our usual gardenkeeping tasks seem completely off-schedule this Spring.

My Garden Joys 2017  journal has been capturing the memories of our early garden ‘surprise’ party!

Throughout April, I’ve been extra busy making changes to our front yard as I continue to ‘right-size’ our perennial gardens. A few weeks ago, I decided to eliminate an old stone planter that was a part of this garden long before I moved here. Over the past thirty years, I have enjoyed creating many different plant combinations in the old stone planter. Now it was time to carefully move many of the perennials to other garden beds and compost the rest. (It’s never easy to say goodbye, so I had to keep repeating the mantra ~ “These are not children or pets.’ ) In my heart, I knew that I was doing the right thing… and I always listen to my heart!

Fortunately, I saved many of the loose bricks to use in the backyard. I think they should have a place of honor in our ‘History Garden,’ near our 1922 garage. Using all of my strength, I just couldn’t budge the remaining bricks. So, we called our favorite Handyman, who came with his sledge hammer. What a job! He discovered three layers of stone and slate in the foundation beneath the soil. A very talented Mason had done an excellent job of building the stone planter so long ago!

Next, we hired three strong landscapers to carry the stones to their heavy duty truck and haul them to a business for recycling. We planted grass seed in its place. Now there will be a bit more to mow, but a lot less to weed. 🙂 It felt so great to cross this garden project off my l-o-n-g ‘To Do’ list early in the season!

Some of my most treasured memories are the years that our stone planter was filled with old-fashioned Hollyhocks, in the loveliest colors. They often grew taller than me! I’ll always remember collecting the Hollyhock seeds to make little packets of ‘Seeds of Friendship’ as small tokens of gratitude for our wedding shower. It was such a small way to share the abundance of my garden with special friends.  One summer, the hungry neighborhood groundhogs kept munching on the tops of each Hollyhock stem. That year, we had ‘miniature’ Hollyhocks, only 12 inches tall, in full bloom! Passersby would often stop to comment on our tiny Hollyhocks and I would always share our groundhog tales with them. Ahhh… the garden memories that filled our stone planter over the years!

This week, it was so surprising to see what was blooming in my garden each day! ⇧ We truly are weeks ahead of our typical bloom times. So, I’m scurrying to keep up with our garden ‘surprise’ party this Spring!  The Herb & Tea Garden beds no longer have their warm blanket of leaves. Along the insides of the white picket fence, my favorite, old-fashioned perennials are thriving in this Spring garden party.  The Bleeding Hearts, Cranesbill Geranium, and Anemones are in full bloom and the Coral Bells and Peonies already have buds.

I spent a recent afternoon tidying up the potting bench in the garage.  The garden tools and flower pots are ready and waiting. After I washed the window curtains above the potting bench, I made a simple bunting with flower seed packets. Doesn’t bunting make every surprise party more festive?  🙂

The past two weekends we enjoyed surprising summer-like temperatures just right for some nice, long walks. Last Saturday, we took a late afternoon walk through lovely Lilacia Park. This treasure has over 700 Lilacs and 25,000 Tulips ~ all blooming several weeks early. Instead of a quiet walk amongst the fragrant blossoms, we were surprised to find several wedding parties and crowds of Senior prom dates and their families enjoying the colorful garden party. So festive!

This weekend, however, we are staying cozy and warm inside. Mother Nature has surprised us again! This afternoon our temperatures are in the upper 30s. April showers, along with high winds, thunderstorms, and excessive rainfall totals all weekend are ending the month with more surprises

We wonder what the merry, merry month of May will bring…

What’s blooming in your garden or nearby park this week?

Have you noticed any garden surprises this month?

Enjoy the small wonders in each day!

♡ Dawn

P.S.  Thank you so much for taking the time to visit today. Hope you will join in the conversation…

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Garden Memory-Keeping

Hi Friends!

My favorite days are those with quiet moments of reflection. Beginning my days by writing Morning Pages encourages me to nourish my creative soul. Ending my evenings with quiet time to write in my Gratitude Journal comforts even the busiest of days. As a new gardening season dawns upon us here in the Midwest, I’ve been thinking a great deal about the different ways I have preserved my garden memories over the years…

Thirty years ago this Spring, I bought my cozy, little bungalow with its large, mature garden. Oh, my! There was so much to learn (and remember) ~ both inside and outside!!  My dear, sweet parents would come visit every weekend to help with house restoration projects. My mom offered her sage wisdom as she taught me all about gardening. (Heartfelt thanks, Mom, for sharing your passion for gardening with me!) I definitely needed a place to hold all of this new learning!

That Spring, so long ago, my garden memory-keeping began…

My earliest garden journal was a simple, spiral sketchbook, filled with pencil-drawn maps of each flower bed. As I learned the names of my plants, I would happily add them to the little maps.  Plant tags and empty seed packets were taped into my journal as my garden grew. I took careful notes of how many flats of each annual I bought to add instant color on planting day, every year in mid-May.

Over the years, my gardening style evolved into cottage gardens filled with old-fashioned perennials… and my garden journal grew even more important. Each year, I happily dug, divided, and moved my perennials around and created new flower beds. Every Spring, I was so grateful that I had those little garden maps to help me identify the foliage as the perennials peeked through the soil!

Years later my garden grew again, as my dad and I worked together to build raised beds and a white picket fence to create my Herb & Tea Garden. My garden journal was filled with dreams, measurements, lists of culinary herbs and herbs for tea. (Huge thanks, Dad, for making my garden dream come true!)

Every year, I took photos to document the changes as my garden grew. With the advent of digital photography, my garden memory-keeping took a different turn. Instead of pencil and paper, I began recording the changes in my garden with weekly photographs of each perennial and herb bed. At the end of the growing season, I looked forward to creating a digital slide show of the year in the garden. I adored those slide shows, burned them to CDs, and shared them with family and friends. What could be sweeter on a cold, Winter’s day than to take a year-long ‘walk’ through the garden, while enjoying a cup of tea! It was also a great resource as I planned for the next gardening season.

For the past three gardening seasons, my blog has been a handy place for garden memory-keeping. It’s fun to look back to see when my perennials bloomed and to plan for changes in the garden. It has also been a great way to share plants with nearby friends. After seeing blossoms in blog photos, several friends have come to dig flowers to start gardens of their own. Sharing plants is truly one of my favorite joys of gardening!

Last summer, inspired by the wonderful book The Right-Size Flower Garden, I began making some very big changes in my garden. I decided to eliminate my large Cutting Garden bed, and transplanted several old-fashioned favorites to the borders of my Herb & Tea Garden. Next, I eliminated a very wild Butterfly Garden bed and created a History Garden bed filled with perennials that have been a part of my garden since long before I moved here. After all of these changes, I sketched and watercolored two new garden maps. Thank goodness for the garden maps! Now it is such a delight to watch the foliage of those perennials emerge in their new beds this Spring!

There will be many more big changes here during the 2017 gardening season as I continue to ‘right-size’ my perennial beds in the front yard. It feels like this could be the year that my garden will undergo the biggest changes of all.  In addition to garden maps, photos, and gardening blog posts, my heart has been wanting an extra-special way to preserve this year’s garden memories.

So, I have just begun keeping a journal of “Garden Joys.”

I think it will become a wonderful place for quiet reflection

and feelings about all of the changes ahead in my garden this year.

I’m excited to use a few art supplies from my little Paper Garden studio downstairs

as I document this year’s garden!

There will be a bit of doodling, along with bullet-style journal entries.

 So far, I’m really enjoying this style of memory-keeping!

It’s inspiring to try something so different from my earlier garden journals.

It’s a fun way to nourish my creative soul and grow…  just like my garden!

♥♥♥

Do you keep a garden journal or preserve your garden memories in some way?

Hope you will share with all of us!

♥♥♥

If you are curious about some different ways

that people document their gardens,

be sure to visit my blogging friend at Jean’s Garden.

Jean has done some interesting research on different varieties of

Garden Record-Keeping and has some very helpful tips to share!

♥♥♥

Thanks so much for stopping to visit!

Wishing you gentle showers followed by warm, sunny days…

It’s your time to bloom!

♡ Dawn

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Garden Inspiration…

herbteagarden

 

Hi Friends!

One thing leads to another!
Has this ever happened to you?

Over the past few weeks,

I’ve often thought of the charming, children’s book,

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. (Take a moment to enjoy the read-aloud here!)

Today’s post, inspired by Laura Numeroff’s sweet, children’s book,

offers a peek into the unexpected activity in my garden over the past few weeks…

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If you give a gardener…

a wonderfully written and illustrated book,

Homegrown Tea ~ An Illustrated Guide to Planting, Harvesting, and Blending Teas and Tisanes

by Cassie Liversidge,

it will quickly become one of her very favorite books about growing herbs and teas.

As she reads, she will decide…

to move the Monarda (also called Bergamot or Bee Balm) from her Butterfly Garden

back to her Herb & Tea Garden, where it grew many years earlier.

She will realize that she doesn’t really need a small Butterfly Garden bed,

when her entire yard is a butterfly garden!

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After she transplants the Monarda to the ‘heart of her garden,’

she will decide…

to move her favorite, old-fashioned flowers from her Cutting Garden,

to the inside of her Herb & Tea Garden,

along the white picket fence

(built with love).

herbteagarden

How sweet it will be to tend the fragrant herbs,

surrounded by Bleeding Hearts, Hydrangea, Coreopsis, Black-eyed Susans, Coral Bells,

Speedwell, Obedient Plant, and Phlox!

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As she moves these perennials,

she will realize…

 that she really doesn’t need a Cutting Garden bed,

next to the deck, near the towering pine trees,

because over the years

her entire garden has grown into a cutting garden!

Each morning, she happily fills vases of flowers to bring the beauty of the garden inside.

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On those hot, humid days that aren’t suitable for digging in the garden,

she will dream her garden dreams…

with paper, ink, stamps, and watercolors

in her little Paper Garden studio.

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What fun to design tiny gardens, using Art Impressions Watercolor stamps! (Bee skep is from a vintage Stampin’ Up set.)

While she creates little gardens on paper,

she will decide…

that it would be fun to grow tall, colorful blossoms

along both sides of her white, garden arbor,

where the pink and purple Clematis bloom.

So…

when the days are a bit more comfortable,

she will spend hours and hours…

digging out patches of Daylilies,

day after day,

to make her garden dreams come true.

She will move beautiful Phlox that were already growing in the yard

when she bought her little bungalow 29 years ago.

They were such a lovely gift

left by those who gardened here

long before her

and are a very special part of the history of

her beloved, 94-year-old cottage garden.

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Patches of pink, white, and purple Phlox,

spiky purple Obedient Plant,

and delicate, pink Coral Bells

will welcome visitors who step through the arbor,

and follow the flagstone path to the Herb & Tea Garden.

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So, the happy gardener will…

stay busy as a bee

in her cottage garden

digging, transplanting, mulching,

and

‘watercoloring’ with perennials

as the late Summer days

turn to early Autumn.

What a joy it will be to watch her ‘new’ old-fashioned garden emerge in the Springtime!

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If you give a gardener…

a wonderful book to read,

the seeds of inspiration will grow!

♥♥♥

It has been a true joy to find so much inspiration

in my summer reading…

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and I have lots more to share!

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I’m so happy that you stopped to visit today!

What books have inspired you most this summer?

Hope you will leave a comment to share with us…

Wishing you lots of happy!

♡ Dawn

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Frost on the Pumpkin

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Hi Friends!

The weather forecast warned us of frosty nights here last weekend.

There was a definite nip in the air while I scurried around the garden,

just knowing that the end of our gardening season was quickly approaching.

There is always so much to do!

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It was time to harvest fragrant herbs.

I also gathered big bunches of Annabelle Hydrangeas.

A cozy part of my paper crafting studio for designing scrapbook pages.

This cozy part of my ‘Paper Garden’ studio is just perfect for designing scrapbook pages. A nearby stamping table is just right for card making. (Sorry that we can’t peek, as Thanksgiving cards are works-in-progress.) I feel so blessed to have this special place to create and share handmade kindness! ♡

Now all of the harvested flowers and herbs

are hanging from the ceiling

in the ‘Paper Garden’

to dry.

It brings me such joy to have flowers around me all year long!

The last of the garden flowers.

The last of the garden flowers

As the sun fell lower into the sky,

my heart wanted needed

one last memory of the garden flowers.

So, I carefully clipped one stem of blossoms from each plant

and placed them into a simple, stoneware pitcher.

Containers of pink geraniums found a warm home in the garage.

I quickly covered the mum plants to keep their blossoms a bit longer

as darkness fell upon my Midwest garden.

Now…

I was ready.

Not really ready. It always makes me sad to bid the garden farewell.

 Jack Frost painted a coat of white over the garden on both Friday and Saturday nights.

⚛⚛⚛

Despite the chill, we felt the warm glow of Autumn fun inside.

Sunday afternoon was our annual family Pumpkin Fest!

Heartwarming memories are a key ingredient in our Pumpkin Soup.

We first tasted this wonderful soup three years ago while relaxing with dear friends,

on an Autumn afternoon

at an outdoor cafe in the beautiful Black Forest, in Germany.

A few days later, Sabine taught me how to make Pumpkin Soup

in her kitchen, as her lovely, young daughter, Hannah,

translated the recipe into English for us.

(Herzlichen Dank, liebe Freunde!) ♥♥

Organic Red Kuri pumpkin and potatoes

The thin, edible rind of the Red Kuri pumpkin adds both flavor and a deep color to Pumpkin Soup.

We always use a Red Kuri or Hokkaido pumpkin

to make Sabine’s wonderful Pumpkin Soup.

These pumpkins were much harder to find this year.

We searched all of our local markets and the Asian markets nearby.

We finally found organic Red Kuri pumpkins at Whole Foods!

(I might have done a little ‘Happy Dance’ right in the middle of the Produce aisle!) ☺

The rind of the Red Kuri pumpkin is very thin and edible. It adds rich color and flavor to the soup.

Oh, you can only imagine the fun

on that special afternoon three years ago!

Three dear friends, wearing aprons,

chopping, stirring, and laughing

in Sabine’s kitchen

while making both

Pumpkin Soup and happy memories!

I couldn’t wait to make Sabine’s Pumpkin Soup for my own family!

♨♨♨

You can only imagine my delight as I stirred a big pot of pumpkin soup,

in our own kitchen a few weeks later.

Sabine surprised us with a phone call as I stirred,

answering all of my questions as I made my first Pumpkin Soup!

(What a blessing to have a guardian angel in the kitchen!) ♥♥

Pumpkin, potatoes, broth, and onions boiling.

Ah, the heartwarming memories of our Autumn in Germany…

now shared with our family here each October.

Our Pumpkin Fest menu

is always a very simple one,

inspired by two of my favorite cooks…

Sabine’s Pumpkin Soup  ~ Sabine J.  (recipe below)

Iowa Corn Bread ~ Susan Branch

Cranberry Apple Crisp ~ Susan Branch

Pumpkin Soup

Pumpkin Soup, garnished with a sage leaf

Sabine’s Pumpkin Soup

1 onion, chopped

4-6 potatoes, cubed

1 Hokkaido pumpkin (or Red Kuri pumpkin)

          ♥    Put chopped onion and a little margarine in a large, heavy pot.

          ♥    Cut up the potatoes and add to the pot.

          ♥    Cut the Hokkaido (or Red Kuri) pumpkin in half. Scoop out the seeds and discard.

                Cut the pumpkin with rind into chunks and add to the pot.

          ♥    Next add a pinch of salt, freshly ground pepper, and a bit of sugar to the pot.

          ♥    Add boiling water and vegetable bouillon (or organic vegetable broth) to fill the pot.

          ♥    Boil the soup for 20-30 minutes, until the potatoes are soft.

          ♥    Puree the soup until creamy and taste.

          ♥    A bit of cream can be stirred into the soup at the end, if you like.    Mmmmm! Enjoy!

  ♥  Guten Appetit!  ♥

Sabine's original Pumpkin Soup recipe

Hannah (only 11 years old when we visited) impressed us all with her wonderful English skills. After only one year of studying English in school, Hannah was able to translate the recipes for Pumpkin Soup and her grandmother’s special Linzertorte! ☺ Hannah speaks fluent English now whenever we Skype. We are all so proud of her! What an amazing young lady! ♥

♨♨♨

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Do you plan any traditional Autumn activities

when the frost is on the pumpkin?

Hope you will share…

DSCN3274Thank you so much for taking the time to visit today.

Wishing you a wonderful October weekend!

 Autumn blessings!

♡ Dawn

 

Let’s Party!

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Hi Friends!

♫♬  “Silver white Winters that melt into Springs,
                 These are a few of my favorite things…” ♬♫

Our smiles are a bit brighter and our steps feel a bit lighter today! Can you feel it, too?

Hello Spring!!

I have always loved the change of seasons, each filled with changing weather patterns, new outdoor activities, holiday traditions to celebrate, and of course, big changes in the garden.  From my earliest days as a gardener, Spring has always been my very favorite time of year.

It’s so exciting to watch the garden grow in early Spring. Here in the Midwest, it’s still much too early to plant. For the next few weeks, I will enjoy daily walks through the garden, a bit of pruning here and there, and a lot of gardenkeeping. It’s the perfect time for dreaming and garden planning, too.

After a long, cold, snowy winter in the Midwest, we are all happily celebrating the arrival of Spring today! What a delightful time of new beginnings! Are you ready?

Spring is nature’s way of saying,

“Let’s party!”

~ Robin Williams ~

A few decorations always make a ‘party‘ extra-special! Inside there are folk art bunnies, faux nests filled with speckled eggs, and pots of blooming shamrocks (Oxalis). My colorful, folk art birdhouse collection sits atop the mantle. On the front porch, an old zinc watering can is filled with freshly cut Forsythia branches, with hopes of forcing bright, yellow blossoms to welcome Springtime.

Just this week, a brilliant, red blossom has opened near the sunny, southern exposure of our dining room window. The small Mandevilla Vine, that bloomed all summer long on the deck has made it through the winter. I have been pinching off the tips of the fast growing vines for the past few months. Several more buds are ready to open in the days to come. The flowers are sure to add a colorful, tropical flair inside, until the weather warms up. Then the Mandevilla Vine will move back outside to the deck. It has been such fun to watch this tropical vine grow and change with the seasons.

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Lace curtains provide filtered sunlight for the Mandevilla Vine as it overwinters in our dining room.

The packets of flower seeds that jumped into my shopping cart on a frigid, snowy day last month have become a quick bunting to celebrate Spring. Until it is time to plant them in the garden in mid-May, the packets of Sweet Pea, Larkspur, Cosmos, and Zinnia seeds make me smile each time I pass them. I know what treasures they hold inside!

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I quickly gave the seed packets a ‘vintage’ look, by applying ‘Gathered Twigs’ Distress Ink with a Mini Blending Tool. Using natural hemp and Darice Mini Clothespins, the bunting was hanging up to welcome Spring in just minutes!

The real ‘party’ is going on in our perennial and herb gardens. Now the flower buds are beginning to swell on our Magnolia tree near the front porch. Each day for the past week, I have noticed small changes happening in the garden beds. It’s so exciting to watch new leaves emerge from the soil, watered so deeply by all of the melting snow.

The small moments, as our garden changes daily, are really something very big to celebrate!

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Just a little reminder of the joys of Springtime in the garden!

The early days of Spring remind gardeners to be patient and hopeful,

for very soon…

warm sunshine and gentle showers will nurture our gardens

into the lush, colorful, fragrant places of our dreams.

…..

Here in the Midwest, we are expecting snow and freezing rain on the first weekend of Spring!

“Despite the forecast, live like it’s Spring!”  

~ Lily Pulitzer ~   

Let’s Party!

♡ Dawn

              P.S.  Does it feel like Spring where you live?  How will you celebrate the change of season?

Anticipation…

www.MaryEnglebreit.com {via Pinterest}

Hi Friends!

Anticipation…

Can you feel it?

Are there signs of Spring in your garden?

What signs of Spring are stirring in your heart?

In the Midwest, we are still living in a ‘Marshmallow World.’ The bright sunshine makes our snowy landscape sparkle like glitter. Our bone-chilling temperatures keep us bundled up in layers, hoping to find a bit of warmth. The Winter winds are still biting cold. Waist-high snowpiles along our driveway make backing down the driveway a bit of a challenge.

My perennial and herb gardens remain buried under a very thick blanket of snow. I’m longing to peek into the garden! I’m yearning to see a blade of green grass anywhere. Although we are surrounded by the reminders of a very long Winter, I can already feel the early signs of Spring sprinkled throughout each day!

The signs are everywhere…

Last night, I read the entire issue of ‘Garden Gate’ magazine, from cover to cover.

We shivered and huddled for warmth, while standing under the full ‘Worm Moon’ and star gazing.

At the market today, packets of flower seeds jumped into my basket.

A pair of cute, sturdy garden gloves hopped into the basket, too.

I have been sketching a few plans in my Garden Journal already!

This weekend, our clocks will ‘Spring Forward’ one hour, as Daylight Savings Time begins.

Our extended weather forecast calls for more seasonal temperatures, above freezing, at last!

The signs are everywhere…

Exactly two weeks from today,

at 5:45 pm Central DST,

Spring arrives!!

(Check out the Countdown to Spring clock.)

♥♥♥

“One of the most delightful things

about the garden 

is the 

anticipation it provides.”

                                                                                ~ W.E. Johns

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In the Springtime, the Magnolia, tree near our front porch, bursts into bloom.

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Spring bulbs add bright, cheery pops of color throughout the garden.

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Irises are one of special flowers that brighten our Friendship Garden.

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Bright peonies in late Spring bring old-fashioned charm to the garden.

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Following the stepping stone path across the yard to the Herb and Tea Garden in the Spring makes my heart sing!

Let's relax and enjoy a cup of tea together!

Right now, snow is still halfway up my white picket fence. I can’t wait for the glorious Spring day when I can first open the garden gate… and step inside!

Spring is on the way…

and the 

 anticipation

is so delightful!

While our gardens rest, insulated by the snow, Midwest gardeners are so curious to see what’s happening in our garden beds. We haven’t been able to see our gardens since the blizzard buried us in snow five weeks ago! Our gardening friends in New England have been waiting much longer, through their relentless series of winter snowstorms.

As we all anticipate Spring here in the Northern Hemisphere, our friends in the Southern Hemisphere are waiting for the arrival of Autumn. Visiting garden blogs from other parts of the world has been such a joy during our Winter days. It has been so lovely to peek into gardens of blog friends in Wales, Scotland, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Australia, and closer to home in California and Arizona. Although we are separated by distance, we all share the same joys of digging in the soil and nurturing new growth in our beloved gardens. 

Wherever you live, I hope you will take time to notice all of the subtle changes…  

in nature and in your heart. 

Anticipation…

Enjoy every moment!

I can’t wait to share a few of my garden plans with you! It will be fun to hear about your garden plans, too!

Counting the days!

♡Dawn

P.S.  Have you seen any signs of Spring yet in nature… or in your heart? Hope you’ll share…

A ‘Secret Garden’

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Hi Friends!

Brrrrr! Snowflakes are twirling down, covering my garden with a sparkling, white blanket today. It’s a perfect time to dream of sunny days… and to share two small gardens that hold a very special place in my heart.

First, we must visit my favorite garden spot in the whole world!

It’s just a few steps away,

through the arbor,

past our Friendship Garden,

and down the flagstone path to our Herb and Tea Garden.

..

Welcome to my favorite, little garden oasis.

The garden gate is open to welcome you.

Welcome to the 'Heart of 'our Garden!

Step through the gate, into the ”heart’ of our garden.

This garden is not a secret at all!

Friends are always welcome to pick herbs or mint for a cup of herbal tea.

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Enjoy the heavenly scent of fresh cut herbs.

Our little, picket-fence garden, filled with culinary herbs and mints, will always be my favorite garden spot in the world. Although today it is covered in snow, our Herb and Tea Garden is a warm reminder of a special dream-come-true one summer long ago. It is filled with love and sweet memories!  Oh, the happy hours I have spent in my favorite little garden ‘getaway’.

♡♡♡

But I also have a ‘secret garden.’

It’s a small, green oasis ~ a calm place of beauty, that makes my heart sing! What makes my ‘secret garden’ so special is the place where it is hidden, the people I share it with, and the memories it holds.

My ‘secret garden’ is so far away.

Just going there is an adventure of the very best kind!

It requires an eight hour flight to another continent,

a fast drive along the autobahn,

and a streetcar ride downtown.

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Just behind this castle lies a beautiful park…

A walk past the castle leads to a beautiful park filled with many gardens. Sometimes it takes me a while to find my ‘secret garden,’ as I meander through the park, following the winding paths. Finally, I can spot it in the distance ~ my ‘secret garden!’

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Each visit holds such special memories.

I first discovered this special garden over thirty years ago, on a warm, summer day, while walking with a dear friend who lives near the castle. Over the years, we have visited my ‘secret garden’  together many times.

Stepping through the green, living arches into the garden always fills me with joy!

I will always remember visiting my ‘secret garden’ one Christmas Day long ago. As I walked along the paths in the park, there were families out for a Christmas stroll, walking arm-in-arm, singing Christmas carols together.

One very special summer, I invited my mom to see my ‘secret garden.’  Imagine her first glimpse of a real castle, and our walk through the park together. Suddenly, we were caught in a huge rainstorm, but our umbrella and our sense of adventure let us continue. Being together in this faraway place is such a sweet memory for both of us!

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It’s lovely to spend time, just sitting on a bench, enjoying this very special place.

Not so long ago, on an Autumn morning, my husband and I explored the castle and walked through the park with our dear friend. When we first stepped into my ‘secret garden’ together, it was a magical moment shared by all!

Oftentimes, I visit my ‘secret garden’ on my own.

I know the way.

I follow my heart…

… and I count my blessings,

for the special people in my life!

Wishing you warm memories!

♡ Dawn

          P.S.  Hope you will share your warm memories of a favorite garden or a secret garden spot of your own!  It will help to melt away the winter chill. (If you know the location of my ‘secret garden’…  shhhhh! Help keep the secret!) ♡