August 15, 2022

August Bloom Day: Pots, Perennials, and Pollinators

Potted Mix

Like most gardeners at this time of year, I have many luscious blooms and plantings to celebrate. I'm linking in today to Carol's Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day at May Dreams Gardens. In addition to the colorful potted flowers and foliage above, I'm enjoying many other garden goodies. Here are just a few.

Allium Summer Beauty

The 'Summer Beauty' Alliums (A. angulosum) I planted around the mailbox last year are settling in this summer. I have them in other spots in the garden, too, but I think this sunny location will be perfect for them.

Fuchsia Marinka

I've overwintered Fuchsia 'Marinka' for many years now. The plants always get set back a bit with seasonal change, but they readjust and thrive in the garden from May through early October, when I bring them in before the first frost.

Fuchsia Dark Eyes

Fuchsia 'Dark Eyes' is another favorite. I've never overwintered it, but maybe I'll try this year.


Butterflyweed (Asclepias tuberosa) is still going strong, with new blooms, buds, and foliage, as host plant food for late-season monarch caterpillars.


This patch of Calamint (Calamintha nepeta) also blooms for most of the summer and into the fall, until the first hard freeze. It's always covered with honey bees and bumblebees.

Coleus Black Dragon

Who doesn't love the variegated foliage of Coleus (C. scutellarioides)? But the flowers are worthy of praise, too. I always buy several cultivars for my potted arrangements. This one is 'Black Dragon.'

NG Impatiens

'Magnum Purple' New Guinea Impatiens (I. hawkeri) is rich with color and lush health.

Blue Vervain

Native Blue Vervain (Verbena hastata) is another pollinator favorite. The tall branches blew over during a windy storm, but I have them staked a bit and they're still vital and available for the pollinators.

Rubeckia Gold Rush

'American Gold Rush' Brown-Eyed Susan (Rudbecka fulgida), also at the base of the mailbox, took time to reappear and bloom this year. I'm happy to see it's back and happy.

Angelonia Alonia Big Blue

And 'Alonia Big Blue' Angelonia (A. angustifolia) is definitely a dramatic bloomer. It's especially lovely splashed with dew and rainfall.

I'm very thankful for a great growing season this year in my USDA zone 5a garden. We've had just enough rain and plenty of warmth for the plants to thrive.

Happy Bloom Day! Head on over to May Dreams Gardens to see what's blooming in gardens around the world.

August 01, 2022

Cut Flowers Aplenty

arrangement 1

While I could spend hours arranging cut flowers, indecision and abundance are guiding me toward "quick creativity" lately. Not as "perfect" as it could be, but this arrangement serves the purpose for a happy display.


In addition to Hydrangea foliage, I included yellow and orange Gladiolus...


Various shades of Zinnias...


Bright pink Cosmos, and...


Spikes of Liatris.

arrangement 2

About a week ago, I used similar flowers in this arrangement, also featuring Rudbeckia branches and Hosta flowers.

So many cut flowers; I feel rich with options. Have a great week!

In a Vase on Monday is hosted by Cathy at "Rambling in the Garden."

July 27, 2022

Wordless Wednesday: July Fen

midsummer insets
July Fen
[Insets, L to R: Wild Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa), Sawtooth Sunflower (Helianthus grosseserratus),
Virginia Mountain Mint (Pycnanthemum virginianum), Prairie Blazing Star (Liatris pycnostachya)]

spring insets
May Fen
[Insets, L to R: Wood Betony (Pedicularis canadensis), Wild Strawberry (Fragaria virginiana), Golden Alexander (Zizia aurea)]

January Fen

July 16, 2022

Sunday at the 2022 Fling:
Perfect Weather and More Great Gardens

Rotary Sunken
The sunken garden at Rotary Botanical Gardens

On the last day of the 2022 Garden Bloggers Fling, the weather was fabulous, as were the gardens.

millers 1

We split into two buses at separate gardens again, and the first garden my bus visited was the colorful, delightful garden of Jane and Duane Miller. It really makes a statement out front, with colorful paint, bowling balls, and display plants. It was bright and beautiful on this nearly cloudless summer day.

millers 2

Jane has a creative, artful way of arranging her garden items and plants. It's very welcoming and you want to wander into the nooks and crannies, to see what's around each corner.

millers 3

The vibrant plants and the unique props complement each other.

Ann Munson 3

Next, we headed to Ann Munson's peaceful, mostly wooded garden. She, too, has fun and artsy garden displays.

Ann Munson 2

Ann has lovingly cared for her garden for 43 years. She started with a small veggie garden, and has gradually expanded to include her entire 3/4-acre suburban lot. There's no lawn—paths and natural structures weave in and among the garden areas.

Ann Munson 1

Ann created her gardens using storybook themes, and the result is a warm, whimsical trip through a great collection of plants and props. 

Rotary 1

We next traveled to Janesville, Wis., to visit Rotary Botanical Gardens. I've always enjoyed this view, which you can access by climbing a few stairs to a patio that overlooks the Formal French Garden.

Rotary 2

The various gardens cover 20 acres, featuring 26 areas that surround a lake.

Rotary 3

Benches at the gardens share words of wisdom from historical sages.

Janet Aaberg 1

In the afternoon, we headed to Stoughton, Wis., about 30 minutes southeast of Madison. Janet Aaberg began creating her colorful garden in 1999, which features blooms and fabulous foliage from early spring through November.

Janet Aaberg 2

Lilies, colorful shrubs, and amazing climbing plants grace her sun-filled property.

Janet Aaberg 3

Janet shared a welcoming sign to say "hello" and "goodbye" to our Flingers.

Jim and Jay 2

The final private garden of the day was that of Jim Ottney and Jay Hatheway, also in Stoughton. When they bought the property, it was an untended field of weeds, an oil change sand pit, volunteer trees, and invasive plants. They turned over the entire lot by hand, transforming it into a tranquil sanctuary.

Jim & Jay 1

The result is a comfy oasis, filled with amazing plants and garden art. Jim describes it as "a private escape and a space where we can entertain small groups of friends."

Jim and Jay 3

Since I last visited, Jim and Jay also have beautified the nearby waterfront with the blessings of local officials.

Allen Centennial 3

Finally, we ended the Fling at the UW-Madison campus Allen Centennial Garden. It's described as the "artful living laboratory" of the university's horticulture department. Beautiful, healthy annuals and perennials are displayed in 14 areas of the compact 2.5-acre property.

Allen Centennial 2

Veggies, ornamentals, and plants of all types are displayed and tested here.

Allen Centennial 1

We think a youngster helped create this welcome sign.

And that was the end of the 2022 Fling! It was fun, educational, and done in the blink of an eye. We hope everyone who attended enjoyed it; we certainly were happy to reconnect with plant-loving friends we hadn't seen since the summer before the pandemic!

Thanks for joining me on this journey! To read more about the 2022 Fling and learn about the 2023 Fling, visit the Fling website.