Thursday, March 29, 2012

Early Spring in an Iowa garden

The red twig dogwood is stunning with its green foliage. Notice the flower buds; this shrub is pretty in every season.

I love the multi-color pulmonaria.

I call this photograph "Blue on Blue."

I have pink as well as white hellebores in the cottage garden. I'm not sure what cultivar they are.

A purple finch sings (he must be happy that spring is here) from his perch in my redbud tree.

Puschkinia scilloides libenotica
(Striped Squill)

Chinodoxa forbsii 'Blue Giant'
(Glory of the snow)

Tulips blooming on March 25
Way ahead of time for Iowa!

I don't remember planting any hyacinths, but obviously I did; I don't think a bird planted them here!

This weekend I did a daffodil head count. 750 daffodils!

I needed to thin them, did so, and gave away about 150. I have daffodils on the fencerow, and in little bunches, as well as an en masse planting. In addition, I have underplanted many of my daylilies with daffodils.

Below, just a few of the varieties of daffodils in my gardens.

Last summer I had creeping Jenny in a pot and as it got closer to winter, I transplanted it. You can see it's creeping along quite well...I adore that chartreuse color, and even though it's a ground cover, it's very easy to pull if it gets out of hand.

"Gardening is about enjoying the smell of things growing in the soil, getting dirty without feeling guilty, and generally taking the time to soak up a little peace and serenity."  ~ Lindley Karstens

Thanks for visiting!


Monday, March 26, 2012

Keep Calm and Drink More Tea

Ah, the serenity of sitting down with a nice hot cup of tea.

Scenes of tranquility from Miss Spenser's Special Teas, an authentic English Tearoom on the prairies of Iowa...

Perhaps you are already familiar with Miss Spenser's Blog. Maybe you know that Miss Spenser and her mother, Donna, have published two cookbooks. The recipe for her basic scones, as well as many other delicious accompanimants to tea are included.

 Miss Spenser's delightful tearoom is filled with eye candy.


Take a little time out of your busy day to relax.

Perhaps a nice hot cup of tea will be part of that relaxation. Tea has less caffeine than coffee; there are also herbal teas, rooibos, and decaffeinated teas.

Relax, make time to savor not just the tea, but the gift of life. Live with Joy!

"Drinking a daily cup of tea will surely starve the apothecary."  - Chinese proverb

Today I am linking up with Bernideen for Friends Sharing Tea and also with Sandi for Tea Time Tuesday.

Thanks for visiting, and remember to

1) Keep calm,
2) Drink more tea, and
3) Live with joy!

Would you like to create your own Keep Calm image? You can even personalize it to a poster or a mug! Click here to find out how.

I want to thank you for visiting, and wish you all a jolly-good Tea Time Tuesday, shared with Friends!

God bless you!


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Keep those hydrangeas hydrated

Welcome to Beyond The Garden Gate, where I blog about my garden, my table (especially tea), and my life. Hope you'll find something to enjoy and share here.

Is there anything prettier than a hydrangea in full bloom? (Don't you love seeing the photographer's red garden shoe in the picture too? LOL)

But what if the hydrangea doesn't bloom? What might cause that, and how can you as a gardener rectify the situation?

Improper pruning can leave you without blooms. Know your type of hydrangea and prune accordingly.  Some bloom on old wood. For those, don't cut off the older wood until after flowering. Others bloom on new wood. They can be pruned down to just a few inches in height in early spring.*

*Endless Summer cultivars - bloom on old and new wood
Annabelle and Incrediball - bloom on new wood
Oakleaf types - bloom on old wood only
Panniculata types - bloom on new wood

Be sure to water your hydrangeas thoroughly in the fall and again in early spring if rainfall is inadequate. Without proper hydration, the buds will dry up and not bloom.

Proper feeding is essential. You can use compost and/or a general purpose fertilizer (10-10-10 or 16-16-16). On the other hand, some experts recommend a fertilizer with high phosphate (middle number), such as 10-30-10 or 10-52-10. If you add too much nitrogen (first number), you may get all vegetation and no flowers.

Last but not least, another reason for lack of blooms is out of your control...if the buds get nipped by a late freeze, or damaged from a harsh winter, there will be no blooms.

And, just in case you'd like additional information about hydrangeas, click here to read a guest post by Rebecca Hanson.

Hope this is a bloomin' good year for all of you!

Thanks for visiting!



Thursday, March 22, 2012

What's in my early spring garden?

What's in my early spring garden, you ask?

Well...not a lot...but more is blooming every day!

Colorful crocus

A clump of daffodils - I have over 400 daffodils in the gardens, and those down at the fencerow have begun to bloom.

Stunning hellebores

True blue Siberian squill

The deer were here!
I haven't seen deer in weeks, but obviously they haven't left the area.

Tiny snowdrops are also beginning to bloom; other than that, and lots of green shoots, the only thing interesting in the garden is...

the cats!

Neighborhood strays - sadly, we're always seeing new ones. Where do they all come from?

At any rate, they can come over here and eat...and perhaps that is exactly why they visit my garden!

Linking to Fertilizer Friday

Thanks for visiting!


Monday, March 19, 2012

A Tearoom in the Spring Time

Spring is so very welcome!
As such, I welcome you to my garden and tea blog!


Fun in the garden


April showers bring May flowers


The magnificence of magnolias

Glorious forsythias

Enjoying tea in 'Blue Garland' at
Sisters of the Heart Tearoom


 A delightful lunch with my tea...don't you just adore tearooms?

And the desserts - oh my!
Chocolate at its best


Springy faux flowers graced the table on another outing to Sisters of the Heart.

 Mis-matched and pretty patterns in the dinnerware

A very English looking transferware salad plate

I enjoyed my salad, as well as the broccoli cheese soup (below).



Good food, good tea
Good Company!
(l-r: Me, my daughter, and her friend)

 A springy teaset for Sandi's Spring Tea

A hint of spring, a cuppa tea; of such are memories made.
Sisters of the Heart Tearoom

Keep on blogging!
And drinking tea!

Welcome, Spring!

Thanks to Sandi for sponsoring Tea Time Tuesday. I have joined her Spring Tea Party.

Also I am joining Bernideen for Friends Sharing Tea.

So glad you stopped in and toured Sisters of the Heart with me. Now head on over and visit the other ladies for a great cuppa!

Hugs and blessings to all,



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