Start Planning Your Bee Garden Now

bee cartoon

Now is the time to start planning your bee garden for this spring, summer and fall! Over the next few weeks, I’ll be discussing the bees’ favorite plants and scouring the new garden catalogs for tasty bee treats!

Tune in for more information!!

Bringing The Garden Indoors

My garden is officially dormant for the winter. It’s a sad day on Columbia Parkway.

Oh, I have some bulbs to plant and some mulching to do. The usual fall tasks. But the really fun part outdoors is over for the year…

I cheer myself up every November by planting giant amaryllis bulbs indoors. This year I found a great deal online for a dozen Amaryllis Apple Blossom bulbs. I spent the day finding suitable vessels to hold them.

They are so easy to grow! I just stick them in water and leave them alone. In 6 to 8 weeks I’ll have a little garden indoors. I’ll be sure to post pictures.

After the amaryllis blossoms are gone, I’ll start Sweet Pea seeds under lights. With luck I’ll have fragrant blooms by February.

And spring will be right around the corner!

Dahlias And The Last Of Summer Blooms

The emergence of my dahlias soothes the pain of losing all the other blossoms…

Flowers For The Bees

The nectar flow is strong right now, but we worry about August, September and October. We want our ladies to go into winter with a big store of food to carry them through the winter.

My dahlias and everlasting peas will bloom until fall, but my roses and hostas will be done by then.  Thank goodness for my neighbor who’s a wonderful gardener!

She grows the most gorgeous hibiscus which the bees just love! While not a staple of the English cottage garden, they are beautiful just the same!

They are just now coming into bloom and will continue as long as the weather is warm, which, around here, can last until October.

Here are some pictures, along with a few from my garden as well:

Things To Do In The Cottage Garden In July

July can be a fun and productive month in the cottage garden.

Not only are your borders burgeoning, but there are ample opportunities to enhance your plantings with seeds and garden center bargains.

First, the not so fun tasks:

If your garden is like mine, everything needs deadheading, particularly the roses, hydrangeas, geraniums, sweet peas and hostas. Regular trimming will keep them looking tidy and will encourage reblooming.

July is the perfect time to compost those trimmings and to use that compost to mulch and feed your borders. Commercial bark mulch leaches nitrogen from your soil.  Using composted organic matter to mulch your plants actually improves the quality of your soil.

If you use layers and layers of bark mulch every year, you will soon be trying to grow your plants in nothing but bark mulch. It doesn’t work. And people often think there’s something wrong with the plants.

If you must use bark mulch, try mixing it with compost, or add the compost first and top with a light layer of bark mulch.

Rainfall in July can be spotty in many areas, while the heat and humidity can soar.  Make sure you keep your garden properly hydrated with periodic long soakings rather than daily sprinkles.

Now the fun part:

Planting seeds every few weeks for quick growing, colorful flowers such as sunflowers and nasturtiums will provide new interest in the garden throughout the rest of the summer.  Also, now is the time to scout garden centers for end of season bargains.

And start planning your fall garden/plantings.  Fall is the best time to plant some of the most popular plants such as peonies and alliums.

And be sure to take some time to slow down and enjoy the results of all your hard work!

What’s Blooming In The Garden On July 3rd

It’s broiling hot, and we have to water almost every day. Thank goodness for flowers that like the heat and humidity! Lots of nectar and pollen for the pollinators…


Monarda With Bumble!

Old Fashioned Hydrangeas

Everlasting Peas


Geranium ‘Rozanne”

Hydrangea ‘Limelight’

The Noble Bayard tried to drink out of the Italian Bees’ birdbath and got roundly spanked!  I will be administering Benadryl with his kibble tonight!!

The Noble Bayard

What’s In Bloom On June 11

My dahlias are getting ready to bloom!

Stachys “Cotton Candy”

My Favorite Cottage Garden Plant – My Grandmother’s Sweet Peas

Today my sweet peas bloomed. It was a special day for me. I grew my sweet peas from seed from the garden that my grandmother and great-grandmother tended.

My Grandmother’s Sweet Peas

Sweet Peas come in both annual and perennial varieties. It’s true that the annuals are showier vis a vis color and fragrance, but the so-called “Everlasting Pea” comes back bigger and better every year.

I have the perennial variety. It is also more tolerant of the heat and humidity of a Southern Ohio summer.

And my bees love it!!

I hope someday to pass down seeds to my daughter and granddaughter. It will truly be an Everlasting Pea.