Friday, April 27, 2012

The Color Purple

I have always loved the color purple.  When I was single, I painted my bedroom purple.  If you're shocked, I know what you're thinking.  Crayon-color purple!  Well, no, it wasn't that purple!  It was a soft, smokey-grey purple, and it was beautiful.  At least I thought so.

Salvia (This is May Night)

My sisters were horrified that I would be painting a room in my home purple!  But when they saw it, they breathed a sigh of relief.  Ah.... not too purple.


I also love to wear purple, although it hasn't been a popular color for some time.  Maybe it will come back in vogue soon.


In the garden, I have a lot of purple.  I'm not the only one that loves it.  The bees and butterflies love it, too.

Scabiosa (Pincushion flower)

It blends well with so many colors of bloom and foliage.  I can add as much purple as I want in the garden, and no one is shocked, no matter the shade.  It doesn't matter if it's a smokey-grey purple, or a saturated crayon-color purple, it works in the garden.


I'm glad Mother Nature loves purple as much as I do.  I bet she would have loved my purple bedroom, too.


I will be traveling for the next couple of weeks, so I'll also be taking a blog-cation.  I'm certain I'll have lots to show and tell when I return!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Inspiration.  That flash of light in your mind that suddenly jolts you into thinking "Oh, my gosh!!!  I could do this in my garden!!!  I could totally make this work!!!".  Then you get that feeling that you have to go do - something!  Anything.  You just can't sit there!  You have to move!

Ants-in-your-pants.  That's the side effect of inspiration.

More and more people are turning to Pinterest for inspiration.  But I have no intention of joining Facebook or Twitter, so no Pinterest for me.

Still, there are lots of places to get that ants-in-your-pants inspiration.

From magazines:

I saw an arbor in a magazine (can't remember which one or even which year) that had jasmine growing over it, blooming.  I could immediately imagine the delight of walking under that archway, taking in its sweet perfume, and knew that I had to use this idea.  So I did.

From books:

My pond garden is a modified version of a pond I found in one of my favorite books.  I wish I had done a few things differently when building this pond, but I still love it.

From another country:

I've never been to England, but just hearing about their famous herbaceous perennial borders fueled my imagination.  This is not technically a perennial border in the English sense, but again, a modified version suited to my garden, and my gardening style.

From memories:

Hydrangeas were a must-have in my garden, because my grandmother had them in hers.  I think a lot of gardeners are inspired by our memories.

From other gardens:

Believe it or not, the idea of putting boxwoods in a horseshoe shape around a focal point (in this case, a standard rose), came from the plantings at a restaurant.  I drove around it numerous times, very slowly, drawing sketches on a napkin.  They must have thought I was casing the joint!

And, of course! From blogs:

A great resource!  Planting inspiration and design ideas are there daily, just for the taking.  And what could be better than first-hand information?

Need more ideas?  Garden tours can be a great source of inspiration.  Just going to a plant nursery can sometimes spark an idea.  Talking with other gardeners can often start the spark of creativity.  Sometimes just the scent of a bloom can be the catalyst for an idea.

Need some inspiration?  There's plenty of places to find it.  When will you know you have it?  When you get those ants-in-your-pants!

I'm joining Garden Walk Garden Talk for her W4W meme on Inspiration.

Monday, April 23, 2012


I suppose most of us garden bloggers at one time or another has had a dream of making money from our blogs.  But then we wake up to reality.  (If you've make a million dollars doing this, please let us know how you did it!)

No, for us garden bloggers, comments and compliments are our payment.  And I appreciate every one.  I know it takes a lot of time, energy and effort to read my blog and post a comment.

I have also been flattered by a couple of people that have emailed me directly, asking specific gardening questions.  I hope that their gardens become the garden of their dreams.  I have even been approached to use one of my photos in a documentary!

But today I would like to share with you my latest compliment.  My blog has been selected as one of's Top 51 Garden Blogs!

Interested in helping?

The winner of's Top Garden Blog is based upon votes.  I would appreciate if you would take the time that it takes to comment on my blog, and instead click HERE (or on the badge above) to vote for your favorite garden blog.  (The blogs are listed alphabetically, and mine is listed as Roses and Other Gardening Joys.)  Voting is open through April 30th.

There are several other gardening blogs that I read and love that are also nominated.  So, really, whether I win or lose makes no difference.  I have already won just by being alongside these other blogs.

Thanks for reading my blog.  Thanks to the person that nominated my blog.  Thanks for voting.  And thanks to for the honor of being one of their Top 51 Garden Blogs.

The Occupy Movement

There's an Occupy Movement going on in my garden.  I started to name this "The Ugly Post" because it's not pretty.  Not pretty at all.

What's occupying my garden that's so ugly?  The eastern tent caterpillar.

They have started making their home in my crabapples.  They have told their friends, and they have increased their hold in my garden.  They are ugly.  If these caterpillars turned into a beautiful butterfly, I might think differently.  But the eastern tent caterpillar turns into a nondescript moth.

I am a lazy gardener.  That's why I garden organically most of the time.  And I've found that there is usually a natural predator that will come along eventually.  Like ladybugs that come to eat the aphids.  But because most birds won't eat a hairy caterpillar, I've read that the eastern tent caterpillar's only natural enemy is the cuckoo bird.

It's unlikely I'll have any cuckoo birds passing by, looking for caterpillars in my garden.

So, I've been wondering how to take care of these unwelcome guests.  I've tried winding the tent around a stick, but the tents are usually very high up where I can't reach, and I don't see any progress being made with this method.

Look closely - there's a caterpillar here!

And now they are everywhere.  Eating leaves.  And leaves.  And more leaves.

And what do I do?  Wring my hands, and wish I knew a cuckoo bird owner!

It seems every picture I take has a caterpillar in it!

Next year I'm going to have to do something with these caterpillars.  I'm just not sure what!   Do you have a cuckoo bird I could borrow?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

April 2012 Garden Book Reviews

It's the 20th of the month - and I'm going to tell you what I've been doing out in my garden!

I've been tweaking.  That's right.  I've been taking a good, hard look at my garden.  Not only did I cull out a few plants that had consistently poor performance, I've also been moving plants around.

And it's all because of a book.  That's right!  It's Garden Book Review time, and of course, you're invited to join in.

The book I've been reading is Color Your Garden by Jill Billington.  I found this book at a discount store, and although it was marked down considerably, I almost didn't buy it.  But what convinced me to purchase it was on the bottom of the cover: 'The Royal Horticultural Society'.  Surely they were experts!

So, I began to read.  And I began to look at my garden with a critical eye.

This book starts out explaining hue, value, and tone.  It then continues with an explanation of the mood colors evoke, and color as a design element.  The subjects of repetition, rhythm and movement, neutrals, graduation in color, graduation in tone, one-colored gardens, white gardens, red gardens, and pastels are all covered, giving specific plant suggestions for every color.  Light and shade are covered, as well as examples for small gardens as well as large ones.

I've never like the orange blanketflower here,
and adding the red carnations just made it worse.

Most of these are concepts I've read about before, but this book gives so many examples and suggestions, that I had to get up and go out in the garden.  Her suggestions made me realize that my garden needed more harmony, and bit less contrast.  Yours may need the opposite, and she tells you how to achieve it.

Changing out just a few plantings
made a big difference in making this area seem calmer.

This book propelled me to make changes to my garden.  What better recommendation could there be than action?  Do you need this book?  Maybe.  It would be of great benefit to anyone putting in a monochromatic colored garden.  It might be helpful if you are timid about color, using so-called "color rules", but would like to venture out into color more and give your garden a little pizzazz.  Or if you're like me, and use perhaps a bit too much color, it might help you see where the clashes are working and where they're being distracting.


Now it's your turn!  You know the rules:

1) Any book about gardening, gardens, or has a garden influence in it is fine, except:
2) No links/reviews about growing substances that are illegal in the United States.  (I know I don't have to worry about my blogging buddies, but I thought I needed to clarify in case someone new tries slipping one in!)

Please be sure to read the other participant's reviews, too!

As a reminder, many of you may additionally be linking to The Sage Butterfly's annual Earth Day Reading Project.   However, if you prefer to link separately, her meme will be open through the end of the month, while this one closes in a few days.

Happy reading!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Donald Trump is Coming to My Garden!

Donald Trump, aka "The Donald", is famous for the line, "You're fired!"

I have decided my garden needs Donald Trump.

Safrano is working hard.

There is a lot of my garden that I love.  But there are parts.  Oh, yes, there are some parts that need to be fired!  And I've decided to do it this year.

I've given these plants plenty of time.  I've tried everything I know to do to make them happy.  Maybe someone else could turn these plants around.  But I'm tired of being frustrated, disappointed, and embarrassed by their performance.

Mr. Lincoln won't be fired.

A couple of the plants that are going are roses.  :(  To be fair, it's not really their fault.  I tried to cut costs by buying these off Wal-Mart's parking lot.  Big mistake.  That's why Connie at Hartwood Roses tells us every year to purchase only quality roses. It really does make a difference!

Of course, I had to learn it the hard way.

So, I tried to save money, but in the end it cost me.  Maybe not so much financially, but in time.  I'm sad that it came to this.  I really don't have the heart to be ruthless.  But it was needed.  I'm not going to overlook a plant's performance any more.  The Donald wouldn't have an underperforming plant in his garden, I'm sure!  And if my garden is going to be beautiful - really beautiful - not just in my imagination, but in reality, I need to do this.

Tamora is looking good.

Underperforming plants - you're fired!

Wow, I feel powerful!  I just might fire some more plants next year!

Watch out, garden - I'm learning from The Donald!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Mother and Child

One of my plants had a baby!

I found this in one of the rose beds:

I think this is the mother:

Red Yucca (Hesperaloe parviflora)

You can see above that I've moved the baby over to the mother.  

It made the mother very happy:

She's beaming:

I'm happy to report that mother and child are both doing fine.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

A Rainbow of Color for Bloom Day

I went to a gardening seminar several weeks ago.  The speaker said she was going to reveal how to design a garden and look like you know what you're doing, whether you do or not.  My ears perked up!  Really?  I wanted to know the secret!  

She went on to say that the easiest way to make your garden look good was to stick to only two different colors, and eight different types of plants.

My heart sank.  There is no way I could ever do that.  

I tried to put in a white garden.  I had all kinds of plans to use only cream and white roses, intermixed with other white perennials, and a little purple thrown in.  Sounds like it might fit her plan!

Unfortunately, one of the first plants I bought for this new garden was red.  


So much for my white garden.  Guess I don't have much self-control.  Now, instead of it being "the white bed", I call it "the new bed". 

It's Garden Bloggers Bloom Day and I realized that my garden has an entire rainbow of color in it.  Want to see?


Lion's Fairy Tale rose (in the new bed - actually white!)


Cupcake miniature rose (in the new bed, too)


A lot of reds:  canna foliage, Home Run rose, Hot Lips sage, Knock Out rose in back  (not the new bed - whew!)


Pat Austin rose (uh, yep, in the new bed)


Charles Darwin rose - I am in love with these beautifully shaped blooms!
(Yes, this is part of the new bed.)


Luna Moth  (Goes with any color of garden!)


Black and Blue salvia
I've read these could become invasive.  Oops!
(Not the new bed.)


Unknown - but I love this color!
(Not the new bed, either.  But if I can find it's tag, I'm going to get some for it!)

Hope you enjoyed my garden's rainbow of color!  Do you have more than two colors in your garden?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Unrealized Expectations

I planted the rose 'La Marne' in my garden last year, and it did not meet my expectations.

La Marne

What I expected was just another rose bush.  One that took a year or two to settle in before it started blooming profusely.  One that suffered in last year's record heat and drought.  I expected just another rose bush.

What I got was completely different.

I got a rose that walked through the heat and drought of last summer like it was a camel.  A rose that wouldn't stop blooming.  It wouldn't even slow down.

A rose that took a pretty picture, looked good with companions, and was cheerfully pink.

A rose that stole my heart.

Only slightly fragrant, it's smooth, almost thornless stems make me swoon.

I walk around to this side of the garden and I can't keep my eyes off of lovely La Marne.  It is definitely the star of the show in this new garden area.

Bush shot

Would I recommend this rose to you?  You bet!  La Marne is designated an Earthkind rose, grows in zones 6 to 9, can grow to 6 ft tall (or kept at around 3 ft), and will steal your heart, too.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

I Dream in Color

I dreamed of a garden.

And after a bit of trial and error, I realized roses did well in the sunny soil here. 

So then I began to dream of a rose garden.

And after some work, a few years of waiting, some mistakes, and a few changes, my dream has begun to come true.

I'm still changing things, and still waiting.

But when I dream, I dream in color.

Start a garden.   

And you'll be dreaming in color, too. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Mighty, Small

What to see one of my most prolific blooming roses?

Carnival Glass

You may be surprised when I tell you this is a miniature rose.  I bought it on a whim, thinking a miniature rose would look sweet planted in the front of this bed.  I have been extremely happy with that impulse decision.

Not only is Carnival Glass a prolific bloomer, but it is also disease resistant and hardy in zones 5 though 10.  I have mine in the ground, where I keep it to around 2 tall and wide.  It has a slight fragrance, but you have to bend down so low to smell it, I don't think that's important.  Blooms are up to 2 inches wide.  They look quite sweet in a bouquet.

Carnival Glass (in front) planted in my garden

It would be stunning in a pot, too.

Bush shot

I completely understand people that get addicted to miniature roses.  They're sweet little shrubs with an abundance of tiny blooms.  After getting Carnival Glass, I have purchased several other varieties of miniature roses.  I have yet to be disappointed.

Yes, I know - it just might be the start of an addiction!
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