My Town Monday: Bleeding Hearts

We had several bleeding heart plants in Virginia but my camera could not do them justice as evidenced below.

2011-april-080-bleeding-heart VIRGINIA garden

Early in the farmer’s market season last June, I purchased this wee plant from a landscaper who rips out plants as requested by homeowners, takes the unwanted ones home and rehabilitates them. I was happy to pick out my very own small bleeding heart plant and hopeful for its new opportunity. Here is proof that it is blooming and that I now have a camera to do justice to such beauty.

DSCN5773 bleeding HEARTs

I look forward to taking more pictures as the blooms mature.

DSCN5775 bleeding HEART

CHM 2014 Garden Tour

My bottle tree

My bottle tree

Carolyn over at Deep Thoughts of a Common Household Mom is hosting a garden tour today. Pop on over to her blog to see a list of all who are participating.

This fountain was at the entrance to my mom's house. The birds enjoy drinking here and so does the cat...  and probably some nocturnal wildlife, too, as evidenced by the occasional footprints. 

This fountain was originally at the entrance to my mom’s house and now sits by my own front door. The birds enjoy drinking here and so does the cat… and probably some nocturnal wildlife, too, as evidenced by the occasional footprints.

My confession: I am not a gardener. I keep the Christmas Cactus plants very happy indoors, but it is my husband who puts 90% of the work into our yard. I like to tell him what I think will look good and sometimes he listens to my ideas.  My theory is that when I was young, all of us kids were forced into slave labor weeding and I was scarred by the slugs and bird droppings.  I like the idea of gardening but not the sweaty, tedious work that goes into it. Weeding the garden is a lot like cleaning the bathroom or the kitchen — an hour later, it hardly looks like I did anything to clean it up. Also, if I’m down on the ground too long I have trouble getting back up again.

But never mind all that…

Clockwise from top right: small rose bush, strawberry patch, back garden with baby hydrangeas, iris, columbine and tulips

Clockwise from top right: young, small rose bush; older strawberry patch;  back garden abundant with baby hydrangeas, iris, columbine and tulips


My friend ~A~ has been very generous with us and given us bulbs and plants from her own yard, since we moved into this house 3 years ago to discover we had almost no flowers in the garden.  All of my iris bulbs, the columbine, lilies, daisies, and more came from her garden. She even bought a purple-flowered butterfly bush as a gift for us, so in a way our garden is half hers.  I remind her of this when we are overwhelmed with squash and zucchini.

499 Garden sweet pea blossoms, June 2013

the peas in bloom

Mmmm... good for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!

Mmmm… good for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!

The above pictures taken over the past few months (or even the past few springs… I hope you’re not picky).  Parts of our garden are much prettier in springtime than in the heat of mid-summer.

Right now we are in vegetable garden season: peas, beans, zucchini, squash, tomatoes (as of yet, still in bud or green orbs) and sunflowers. We have 2 raised beds in the backyard, stretches of garden area along the fence and house in back, and another garden patch between the driveway and alley on the side of the house.

DSCN3759  resized for web sharing

The birds will be happy well into the winter with another good crop of sunflowers this year.

The most current event happening in our garden is a new fence. The old fence was about to fall over in places, so piece by piece and section by section, SuperDad is building a new (taller! prettier!) fence for us.  Right now there are 3 new sections in various stages of being ready to join the standing section pictured below. Our temps are reaching for 100°F here this weekend so it is hot, slow work.

DSCN3755 new fence section

A few raspberry brambles have made their way under and through the old fence from the neighbors’ yard. These meager branches have provided us with a handful of berries. And then, a few days ago,  we noticed that the house across the street had a profusion of raspberries in the back garden, so we called up the owner and asked if she needed help picking (and eating) them. SCORE!  We’ve picked and enjoyed nearly a gallon of red deliciousness since then.

DSCN3752  Lavender, cropped pic 4x6I posted a few days ago about my lavender, which has grown quite nicely from the small mound I lovingly planted in front of my kitchen window.  (Surprise! I actually do a little bit of gardening.) Some of that lavender might just go into the making of gifts, such as lavender sugar or lavender sugar scrubs or perhaps even a sachet or two. We’ll have to wait and see how crafty I am feeling this fall.

In another month we’ll be in high season for squash and zucchini. We might go a little overboard with those each year (if you’ve never read that zucchini post, you really ought to click on that link) but they are so good!  I should go thaw the rest of the shredded zucchini from last year and bake up a few batches of bread before we become inundated once more.

Tuesday 20: Roses!

Elegant Lady


Voo Doo




Veterans’ Honor

Princess Margaret of England

Glowing Peace

Artistry rose


Prima Donna rose

Pink Promise


Brigadoon roses

Henry Fonda roses

St. Patrick rose, with a green grasshopper!


variety unknown

I do not know the names of these last two roses. I failed to record the variety when I took the photograph. Can you help me?

unknown variety

The red rose to the right is a Black Magic, but what is this lovely variety with the pink and cream petals?

Click on any pic to embiggen

Busy as a Bee

Queen Elizabeth rose

Queen Elizabeth entertained a visitor on Wednesday, although she might have thought him to be a bit rude.

These ladies-in-waiting were not amused:

Elegant Lady roses

The New England Asters were hosting a party of their own.

Plenty of PINK was seen, but only these plants could be considered to be on their best behavior:

Obedient Plant

We have had beautiful fall weather here this past week (honestly, for the past two months!) and it was time to make one more trek up to our favorite city park before the autumn rains finally arrive. I never get tired of visiting the gardens!


Let the color PINK inspire you! See more Pink Saturday posts here.

Blooming Hill

Before moving to the Pacific Northwest, our family spent 4 years in Northern Virginia — land of icy winters, hot & humid summers, pleasant springtime and beautiful autumns. Since I am fond of winter, that made for a “3 out of 4 ain’t bad” situation.
(We won’t discuss my husband’s long commute to and from work.)

lavender cuttings

It was there in Virginia that I met my friend Cyndie, grower and purveyor of close to fifty varieties of lavender. She has other plants in her garden, too, but lavender is her hallmark.

Blooming Hill is the lovely home and business of Cyndie Rinek. These photos that I took last spring don’t show the additional garden beds that she & her family have been working on this year, but they do give a taste of the beautiful place available for you to see if you happen to drive out to the scenic western end of Loudoun County.

Blooming Hill gift shop

blue and white plates line the gravel path bordering a bed of lettuces

decorative blue and white balls along the garden path

wearing a "hat" fit for royal wedding

My official visit to the gardens was on a sun-kissed May morning in 2011. A late spring breeze blew the lavender stems beguilingly to and fro, making it difficult for me to capture their beauty with my camera.

Western Loudoun County feels like a world away from Washington, D.C., although it takes less than 2 hours to drive from the cherry blossom-strewn Tidal Basin and tourist-packed National Mall to the rural peacefulness of Blooming Hill.

Let’s go inside, shall we?

Not only are the garden beds lovely to tour, but the gift shop is chock-full of beautiful items I would be proud to call my own — Peter’s wreaths and paintings, and Cyndie’s lavender gifts among them.

inside the shop, looking out

Peter's wreaths and artwork line the walls while whimsically painted watering cans hang above

lavender for sachetsCyndie’s husband Peter is a landscape architect who built this adorable gift shop. He also helps to fill it! He is the one who creates the wreaths of eucalyptus and pussy-willow; he also is the artist of the folk art prints & paintings of local villages.

Cyndie has been busy sewing lavender sachets this past winter. My favorite (as seen on her own blog) is one with the British saying, “Keep Calm and Carry On.” Very little can calm me as sweetly and easily as a lavender sachet.

Check the Blooming Hill blog for special events throughout the season — perhaps you could pair a visit with a winery tour or the Loudoun County Farm Tour this spring. A special treat would be to make reservations for one of the high teas available to the general public (see Cyndie’s blog for details).  Opening day this year is Friday, April 13, 2012.

Blooming Hill is open Fridays and Saturdays, 10am until 5pm, mid-April through mid-December and other days by appointment or request. Contact information is available on their website. You can also look for the owners at various fairs and shows throughout the growing season.

Please let me know if you go!

A HUGE thank you to Cyndie Rinek of Blooming Hill for taking the time to give me a tour in the midst of preparing for a Saturday fair last May, and then patiently waiting 10 months for me to finally blog about it!  🙂