Garden Tour Week #11

Has the sun reached your gardens? The sun and heat have arrived here. And this gardener could not be more grateful! A bit tardy to the party, but glad to be here nonetheless, here is what’s growing on in my Zone 5b garden in week 11 of the #GrowNOW2015 Garden Tour!

 Don’t forget to check out Beth Billstrom at More Than Oregano , Beth has been venturing quite successfully in vertical gardening this summer. 
After handling the blight infestation in my raised bed garden, I have lost all veggies but two tomato plants and three pepper plants.  This is a bummer, but not a total loss. There is still a modest harvest, and a tasty one at that! Rather than having large amounts of veggies to share or to preserve, we are picking and dining – and that’s a treat enough for me!  Lessons learned and I look forward to fall and addressing some soil situations in my garden for next year!   

I feel lucky every day to walk out into my yard and gardens and see pollinators feasting and enjoying my flowers. And, let’s be honest who can be unhappy when they start the day with an eye full of zinnias and sunflowers?  Look close for the butterflies!  

I know there are a lot of people who aren’t fans of butterfly bushes, but I enjoy mine. I enjoy it for its size and presence in my perennial gardens and I do quite often see it being frequented by butterflies. They hang out in the gardens and then on the butterfly bush and then repeat the cycle. It’s fun to watch them magistically swoop to and fro!   
How about we end week 11 of the growing now tour with colorful and happy shots of flowers sown from seed in my gardens. What a LOVELY activity to take part in during the early Spring months … And turn the season page to Summer, the beauty still remains. #BeTheGood , throw some seeds down next year and see what you can get growin on! 

(It can be SOW easy – here are 3 seed/flower types: Cosmos, zinnias, and sunflowers. Some seed packets are only 20cents. Say you sow 5 packets of each of these, are committing to only $3.00!!



What’s Growing NOW 2015 … EEEK! Week 10?!

The locust are calling.  Get your fork out, summer is done.

{or will be in six short weeks per the locust}

#GrowNOW2015 Garden Tour Week 10!

  The #GrowNOW2015 garden tour has hit double digits in weeks? Wow. As if to confirm and back up the screech of the locusts outside, I see that this installment is the TENTH in the weekly series.  {{whispers: that does mean beautiful fall color is on it’s way}}

Do yourselves a favor and go check out Beth at More Than Oregano. This woman is so talented, in ways I can’t even describe – she writes as though she is in your head and know the questions you have as you read her articles. You will have a great time seeing what fab garden, nature, community, artistic activities Beth is up to now!

The sun may finally be coming out for it’s third consecutive day tomorrow. I plan on having a moment of silence, followed by a parade with marching bands and blimps, followed by everyone in the land being allowed to take tomorrow off of work – but still receiving full pay for the day, followed by everyone in the land receiving a gift from the hammock fairy and all people shall rest in their hammocks happily and barefoot and watch the sun set.

Lofty? Perhaps. Deserved? For sure. We all need a shot of vitamin D!! WooHoo! I’m soaking up rays today for a bit to show you what is #GrowNOW2015 in my zone 5b garden!

Holy hydrangea, Batman! It’s alive! It’s pink! And the crazy woman grew it on the North facing side of her house! Soil amending and north facing – huh. Lofty concept.   Can you imagine the potential of this mixed container if it were ever truly sunny outside?! Shazam! 

 I love impatiens. I have been growing them for more than half my life in containers. This container is approx 30 inches off the ground. It’s a heft size and looking great!  

White cosmos? Reseeded themselves? Yes, please! Loving the garden staples!  
Cosmos and asparagus are just a mighty fine sight each and every morning in my garden! 
Last flush of Alpine Berries making itself present! 

Liatris and daylily in their first year in the formerly desolate, limestone jungle.   

Autumn Joy Sedum, getting ready! 

Echinacea, black eye Susan’, and purple balloon flowers! WoooHoo!  
Enjoy your week!!

What’s Growing NOW Week 8

If you live in Indiana, then you should know that really this post should simply be a photo of an ark being built. We cannot catch a break in the weather!

Thanks to Beth Billstrom from More Than Oregano for organizing this weekly blog adventure in gardening.  If you aren’t following Beth, you need to check her out! I really enjoy catching Beth on Twitter, here !

I am chasing blooms left and right in my zone 5b gardens. It has been a season of look quick before the next rain sweeps in and beats the delicate blooms down. Are you experiencing this in your gardens?

The other notable garden news this week is a bad word. Yep. You know the one that starts with a B? I’ve got to say it and it’s just painful to utter the word ….

BLIGHT! It’s hard to admit it, but gardening is ups and downs, right?!! And I was not able to be a superhero and save my tomato plants from the wrath of the evil blight.

Yes. I do the following:

  • Prune my tomato plants up at least 8″ from the soil level to reduce splashing on the foliage
  • Prune all suckers from the plant to promote health and vigorous growth to the main parts of the plant
  • Tie, stake, and delicately manipulate plants in a fashion as to ensure proper air flow
  • Do not over head water if at all possible, water as early in the day as possible (have not had to water my garden once by hand this year)
  • Use grass clippings as mulch around the plants to keep moisture in and further reduce effects of splashing

Nope. I didn’t have control of or practice the following:

  • Crop rotation
  • The ability to stop our area from getting 3+ inches of rain most weeks with less than 3 consecutive days of sun since May

Crud buckets! I’m so disappointed to have this common garden evil. I’ve been reading and asking a lot of questions. I’ve been picking and pruning the affected leaves and stems, bagging and throwing away – and I’ve had to shovel prune my first and maybe last attempt at growing an heirloom plant. I have a plan in place and fully intend on a garden redo next year. I’m going to reconfigure my raised bed blocks and try my luck at a keyhole garden (DIY version).

So, you will see the blight here – and then we will swiftly move on to non diseased beauty! The blight seems to be affecting even my marigolds that I always use as a companion plant. If you have recommendations, be sure to leave a comment at the end of this post! Cheers!   

Oh gosh, this makes me laugh a lot too. I did not know that mint was super aggressive (cough, invasive) – so I must also share “the bed that was”. Yeppers. I lost a 4×4 bed to amazingly resilient mint. And you can see its having a party and heading for the strawberry bed and the house. Oh Lordy, have I learned a lesson!   
 This hydrangea that I won last year from Proven Winners during a #groundchat event is so teeny tiny, but has put out the two most spectacular blooms in the entirety of my yard. It’s so cool. I hope it continues to grow and just have an incredible show in a few years.  
I am not as patient with the cleome as I should be. I have heard from a few master gardeners that it’s a great plant if you pinch it back. So I have dead headed and am anxious to see if it will indeed bush out. The flowers are intricate!

  One tiny flower on the sugar baby melons. I suspect they would appreciate some heat and sunshine. I would be happy with one melon after all this rain!  
The once mystery flowers, now determined echinacea are just fantastic! They are chest high and absolutely spectacular from a distance and up close. 

I look forward to these later blooming lilies every July. There are not a large lily, but curiously later than other varieties that I grow and the color is spectacular.  
Did you know there is a hashtag out there for #flowerbutt ?!! This cracks me up. And this Cosmo, if I may say, has a very nice butt form! Ha! 

Oh yeah. Reaching for the sun!  
Have you taken the time to walk through your garden or yard and just listen? Grab a pen and paper and write down what you hear, it’s so inspiring to quietly enjoy nature. #BeTheGood and share you nature walk with a youngster, they will think it is super fab to have your undivided attention!

Garden Tour: What’s Growing NOW 2015 Week 7

sheesh! It’s Fourth of July weekend. Can you believe this? I cannot! It has NOT RAINED here for 18 hours. Sound the horns! It’s a miracle! What a difference a day of sun and a light breeze can make!  I am loving what’s growing on in my gardens this week!   

Thanks to Beth Billstrom from More Than Oregano for this amazing concept. Be sure to give her site a look, it’s gorgeous and informative! Check it out, here! I also love chatting and sharing with Beth on social media … Find her here on Twitter! If you share on social, be sure to hash it up and share using #GrowNOW2015

Ya’ll know I am dabbling in floral design by day. My style in the shop is incredibly true to form in my garden style. One of my absolute FAVE cut flowers to work with is called “Stock”. Oh my land. This. Flower. A thick, sturdy, semi-woody stem, topped with 4-6 inches of the most fragrant, color intense, flower poof ever. It’s just a machine. And versatile! Stock can be used as a focal, line flower, it can be cut down and used in floral foam, the deep purple can be the background in a jewel tone arrangement of red roses and stargazer lilies. Most of all, it just smells wonderful. I mean, KAPOW! 

When I discovered I could be growing stock, cutting it, and have it repeat bloom fairly quickly in my own Zone 5B garden – well, I think the heavens opened and I heard the angels singing. I did not plant from seed. Next year I plan to. The grow at home variety is also not nearly as filled in with blooms as the near perfect blooms we use in the floral shop, but it matters not to me! I found a small, growers six pack at an #IGC and decided to go for it. The plants weren’t very well taken care of, but they are finally settling in and working on bloom flush #2!

I liked the texture of rosemary with this stock, especially because this is one plant I will have no problem cutting and bringing into the house. The combo of the rosemary and stock together, HOLY WOW!! The scent is as prolific, if not more than a lilac bush outdoors. Thank goodness for me, this container resides right outside my kitchen window. 

Common stock, MATTHIOLA incana ‘Midget Mix’  (MIDGET SERIES)  



Apparently snapdragons are simpatico with the rain. I forgot to deadhead one particularly robust container of snaps. Gardener palm to forehead moment. I hope that they bounce back and have another bloom flush even though I was late to the deadhead party!

Columbine out, Black Eyed Susan in. There is about a 2 week lag, but I’m giving myself a {*clink*} trowel tap for this best-effort-at -successional-bloom-planning. Throw in the Siberian Iris bloomin in the early part of summer and it’s like I’m an old pro on this north side perennial bed.   
 Jupiter’s beard, Centranthus ruber. Also known as red valerian for its rosy pink flowers, Jupiter’s beard is one of the longest-blooming perennials in the entirety of my gardens. Win, win, win. Bought last year as a teeny, tiny 4 inch pot, boasting only one bloom head in it’s first year – now in year two, this plant is a performer. For me, it’s perfect type of plant. I love it’s color alongside my cedar fence, and there is a 24 foot space it can keep on truckin’ in. Easy. Colorful. Happy.  

Speaking of things filling in. Man. I’ve officially learned a big lesson. Mint. That’s all I can say. I’ve lost an entire 4×4 bed due to it’s spreading and snarly way, and now it’s heading for the strawberry bed. No matter how I try to address the bed it has taken over, it comes back and chokes out all other life forms.  Fall will have to be time soon enough to figure this huge dilemma out.   

Volunteer sunflowers?! Yes, please! I have a feeling that these are going to be Lemon Queen. Right along with the echinacea, it is going to be a mystery treat!  I did not even have time to explore this end of my garden until this week. All the rain and chores in the other beds, I was totally surprised when I discovered an almost waist high sunflower mound! The ants and spiders were playing all over my “mystery” blooms and buds today!  
I love terra cotta pots, even more so than normal when they look like they have been to a few flower rodeos in their past. Scored this pot from a dumpster death. It’s a treat in the corner of my garden. 
Speaking of the garden. Here is what I know. Things are growing. They appear to be healthy, but not a lot of signs of life form by way of fruits and veggies.  Today I did some studying and found some great news! So much rain and not enough sun. I hope these plants become big producers! We have the bees and are ready for them to keep buzzing away!  


Make sure to check back again for more updates, Growing NOW 2015 is a weekly post through Labor Day. 

Have a wonderful Fourth Holiday Weekend. Take some time, #BeTheGood and ask a child where they would like to see a flag pole installed and have them help you make it happen!!!!


Growing NOW 2015 Week 6

I hate to pat myself on the back. But I am totally doing it. I speculated in the Week 5 garden tour post that this week would be week two of a quiet, two week creep & crawl before the gardens and flowers leap next week …. And I believe I am right!

All the rain we have had in Northeast Indiana. Wow. That’s all I can say! Coupled with warm nights and just a FEW hours of sun this week, the garden beds and flower pots are nearly ready to burst forth with color! 

Show of hands — Who still has a seed or two to sow?!! Shhhhh …. Me too!!!

Thank you, Beth Billstrom. You are such a great garden pal! The Growing NOW 2015 Garden Tour is an easy and fun way to walk through gardens all over the World! Be sure to check Beth’s blog out. When she says MORE than oregano, she means MORE THAN OREGANO  !

Beth wrote a great article on sage recently. I let my pineapple and cinnamon sage bolt intentionally each year. The bees go CRAZY for their flowers! I would like to cook with sage more often and allow just one or two plants to bolt intentionally this year. Beth is teaching some fab ways to use sage in the kitchen, … Check out her advice here

Without further delay, here is what is Growing NOW in my zone 5b garden!

Snap Dragon City! These snaps were in such poor, nearly dead shape when I rescued them from a large, chain store. A little pinch and they came back valiantly!  

I am trying to embrace more and more petunias. I’ve worked in at least 3 varieties this year. Thanks to proper deadheading practices seen in this video, my plants look awesome! 

How do you feel about the angel I have tucked into my container? She is sweet and has a broken base, I thought she would be a clever garden addition. 

Do you enjoy tucking in unexpected items in your gardens and containers?    

Everbearing strawberries are fighting the damp conditions for round two of fruit production!   

Ok. Hydrangea. That’s all I’m going to say. I’m underwhelmed and exhausted by this plant. That’s another post. Little buggers just don’t like the south facing side of the house. I may have found the solution on the north side of my house. The soil may be key here because the north side is currently enjoying 2 years of compost amending.  

Echinacea, liatris, lilies, and hosta flowers are ready for some fun in the sun … If it ever decides to shine again!   

You say nobody likes a show off? What if the show off is a trial-by-fire gardener who comes bearing home grown, fresh cut flower bouquet gifts?!

I did something that is out of the norm for me this week. I have the hardest (ok. WORST) time cutting flowers out of my flower beds to take indoors. I work so hard on my outdoor vision! It makes me sad to cut the flowers and take them inside where I cannot see them as I mow, drive down the street, play outdoors – you get it! 

This week I did choose to cut a lovely, fresh vase of lilies, lavender, and popped in a yellow day lily for a focal flower. Wow. It’s a stunner. None of these photos is with a filter. The lighting was spectacular!  

Blanket flowers, year two. I believe they are more vigorous when the conditions aren’t so dank and damp out. Scientific name: Gaillardia  

Russian sage, also year two. And I cannot wait!!! I’ve always wanted Scientific name: Perovskia atriplicifolia, and last year I added two plants!  

Carefree and happy to be divided! Scientific name: Platycodon grandiflorus — Balloon Flower to me, this perennial is as much fun as snapdragons to little ones in the garden!  

Tick-tock, coneflower. I’m ready to see your color and bloom habit! I’m guessing pink or purple … But the shape of the bloom. Hmmmm…  

Daylilies,  cosmos, and malva. Always glad to have them come back to my gardens!!  

What is Growing NOW 2015 Week 6 has been beautiful here!

#BeTheGood find some green tomatoes and fry them up, share a plate with your favorite little gardener!



Growing NOW Week #5 -ish 

Here we are! Week #5 of the Growing NOW Garden Tour! I may be posting in week 6, but I was out in the garden, my tardiness is legit!

On with the tour! #GrowNow2015 in my zone 5b garden…What zone are you growing in?! 

I have to thank my Twitter pal, Beth Billstrom from More Than Oregano for starting this effort. I love having a weekly record of what’s growing on in my garden world!
Evening Prim Rose Party! Have you ever sat with a good friend and taken bets on which Evening Prim Rose bloom will open first? I highly recommend it. We laughed. We clapped. We had an absolute riot. These flowers were two-videos-worth of bud-opening-amazing!  

Out in Helen’s Garden Angels #FeedYourCommunity garden, we are seeing peppers come on and gorgeous cabbages developing. I am so proud of the 500+ vegetables and flowers we are growing in this brand new garden space. I can’t imagine how many meals we will be able to provide for such little effort. #BeTheGood takes on a whole new meaning!  

These aren’t pretty. But they were cheap. So cheap they were free. And yup. Required a lil’ dumpster diving. When I see 15 flats of assorted squash, I have to think that with a little water, a little love, and little prayer these babies can provide food for our community!   

Sometimes I get impatient. Especially with perennial seeds.  How can I possibly begin to wait for 350 days to see a bloom?!! But such patience does usually hold big reward. This Cupid’s Dart was sown last summer in what I call The Juglone Jungle. I was tickled to see a delightful and airy clump grow and bloom on the west facing side of my gardens. It definitely fits my cottage garden style!

I am learning to grow perennials in spite of a Black Walnut tree. Wonder what juglone is? Then you must know to look no further than the folks at the PURDUE Extension Office for awesome and easy to understand advice.


It’s a week of beauty, a quiet and yet promising pause. Many flowers are out, new buds developing. It’s the mid-June calm before the big bloom! Probably one more week of things looking “the same” before the gardens get that jungle green look. I can’t wait!

Do you have a gift or talent you could share with a youngster? Try it! Engage a young mind, challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone and #BeTheGood in a new way!

I wanted to give a BIG shout out to some amazing folks who I discovered on Twitter. I will be writing so much more about my friends at Cedar Craft, but for now I will share their beautiful website with you and a few pics. Listen. I’m a woodworker’s daughter through and through. I know quality when I see it. These products are absolutely stunning. I would be 100% agreeable to converting my entire garden to cedar planters from Cedar Craft! See more about Cedar Craft HERE.

I have a special discount offer for you! Use discount code HANDY when checking out and receive 30% off! 

The folks at Cedar Craft sent me and Helen’s Garden Angels an elevated planter to trial at our “Feed The Community” Garden. This elevated planter will allow persons in a wheelchair, persons with limited mobility or fatigue issues, or even back and hip issues to garden at an ergonomically and wheelchair accessible height. What a gift!! 


Growing NOW Garden Tour 2015 Week #4


Week #4? Wow. It’s unreal to think about Week 4 of this Garden Tour. It has been incredibly warm and wet here. My mind wants to worry about mildew and other garden diseases, but my eyes keep seeing healthy and vigorous plant growth!  The only plants that are making me furrow my brow are melons. All of my melons, watermelon, muskmelon, and honeydew look fantastic …. But they have looked the same for weeks. No bushing or runners shooting off the main plant yet. I’m going to be patient and hope we dry out a bit, maybe then they will take off!

Centranthus ruber

This plant is probably my favorite newbie. “Jupiter’s Beard” is my top shade of showy, hot-pink and just the perfect whimsy shape and growth habit for my cottage garden style. It is in year two in my garden and I’m extremely impressed with it’s hardiness!  

 This is the mystery coneflower. I cannot believe I didn’t save the seed packet! But oooohhhh – the anticipation is going to be so worth it! Even better than a surprise flower color? The fact that these flowers are growing in what I like to call “The Juglone Jungle”. I have a doggone, no good, plant killing, mess making, young and straight and future hardwood floor looking, black walnut tree in my yard. Oh. This. Tree. That’s an entirely different post. But these perennials to be don’t seem to mind the Juglone and I’m stoked. 
Hello, texture! Hello, color contrast!   
 Whooooo doesn’t like a simple, small touch of color in a container?! I didn’t want to distract from the adorable owl, but wanted to add some colorful interest to this area of my stoop. Coleus seemed to be the perfect companion! 
 I do love anything that is as reliable and hardy as Shasta Daisies. I have divided and moved, and divided and moved what started as one tiny, discount pot of daisies 4 years ago. I feel very lucky. Sometimes gardening is all about thrift and knack! 
 Berry bonanza. How much joy can a 4×4 garden bed bring? Ask my littles after they have raided the bed and have sticky hands and faces! There is nothing better than a celebratory, strawberry smooch in June when it’s been discovered that the berries have gone bananas!  
 Bare root rose experiment from last year. Chrysler Imperial is what the tag said.  Not sure I want to keep trying this hard to keep a bare root plant going. I need to find a more vigorous and healthy looking 3-5 gallon plant before I judge on my desire to have roses in my landscape! 
Oh, cosmos. I’m so glad they reseeded themselves. They are just the best!  
 Rain and heat and more rain and more muggy heat = a seed germinating machine! My mammoth sunflowers popped out in record 3 days time. I’m. In. Awe. 
Hope you all are having a fantastic week! As always, please don’t forget to go check out Beth and her garden over at More Than Oregano !! She has recently planted up a keyhole garden. If you have ever had back issues or want to just increase the ease with which you garden, you must check this out!

     Don’t forget – plant a seed with someone who has never had a chance! #BeTheGood 

JUNE: What’s Growing Now 2015 Week 3!

My friend, Beth Billstrom over at More Than Oregano has been working hard on collecting weekly garden tours to feature on her blog. I think it’s pretty spectacular. Today kicks off week 3. Don’t you think her graphic above is pretty sweet? It screams Beth: Herbs, veggies, and her amazing patio! It may also scream a weeeee bit of Helen {wink wink} I helped her out with the design layout! 

Holy Moly there is so much growing on here! Besides annuals, perennials and veggies – loads of ideas for an outdoor learning center and more charitable concepts have been sprouting & growing too! I’ve been reaching out to friends near and far … I can’t wait to share more in a future post!

In my home gardens I am blown away once again at Mother Nature. I adore the guessing “game” of identifying perennial or volunteer seedlings in my perennial beds.  

It’s just about time for the columbine to finish up.   

The asparagus has ferned out, stood tall, and then flopped after a brutal series of storms over a few days. The 50 MPH winds were no match for the asparagus, but this trellis has come in quite handy!   

Knock-Out Roses, Munstead Lavender, & Delphium & Veronica are showing off too! 


The birds are all busy growing their little families… And to this gardener it is a welcome sign!  Hoping that all the birdiness means worminess!! I have robins, bluebirds, orioles, and finches! Here is a peek at the robin’s nest in my crabapple tree!  

What is Growing Now 2015 in your garden?!! I’d love to see! Thanks Beth, for this awesome garden tour chance!  

#BeTheGood and plant a seed with a kiddo in your neighborhood!! 


Fare Thee Well, May

I can’t believe it is the last weekend of May. May went incredibly fast in my zone 5b garden. We are dry, only being teased by rains that aren’t beneficial to the garden or my containers. We need a good few days of a soaking rain to encourage the tender roots of both annual flowers and garden plants to settle deep down into their new homes!

I’m happy to be participating in Beth’s (from More Than Oregano – go check her out!)  weekly Growing NOW 2015 Garden Tour ! This is a fun way to see what friends across the United States are enjoying in their gardens! This is Week#2!

Be sure to check out Beth’s blog – it’s smart, artistic and very informative! My favorite feature out More Than Oregano is Beth’s information on herbs – an area I’m looking forward to expanding my knowledge. Beth is so personable and easy to understand, she teaches and ® outages and  does so in a phenomenal way!

Here is what’s Growing NOW in my garden this last week of May, 2015:

William Baffin Rose – A climber that can be trained to climb a trellis or left to ramble. Vigorous grower, USDA hardiness zones 3-10! Grows on new wood. New to my garden and truly a delight to watch bloom for the first season.  

I get super excited for my iris patches to bloom each year.  Like most of my perennials, they have been shared with me by dear friends and I have moved them with me from house to house.   
I have many varieties of irises, but don’t ask me to pick a favorite!   

Hello there, gorgeous. These Triston Strawberries from Bonnie Plants get the most incredible and delightfully bright flowers. I can’t wait to get to snacking on these strawberries! 

Last but not least …. What my momma has always called a bleeding heart — and is actually a columbine. It is growing at her home, my home, and my brother’s home. We trace it back to my great grandma and I’m so curious where she got her start from! 

   I hope you will join in the fun with the #GrowNow2015, be sure to check out More Than Oregano for more details!

#BeTheGood and help someone plant something that makes their day bright and happy!