The Stars of My 2018 Summer Garden

Without a doubt, 2018 has been the best growing season for this rookie gardener. I delved into gardening about a decade ago but nothing like I have been doing the past three years since I moved to Minnesota. Not only did I have to learn how to garden in a completely different growing zone, but also how to deal with the nuances of gardening in a farming environment {hint: it is not the same as gardening in the city }. But it has been quite a ride. Yes, gardening can be quite exciting! And as I mentioned, this season has been fantastic especially because I took chances on plants I have never grown before, and started checking them off my bucket list. From herbs to flowers, I took some chances and as a reward, the garden gifted me pure beauty especially flowers. And of these, two stand as the stars of my summer garden:


The dahlias ‘Break Out’ is a labor of love for me. After a disastrous year three summers ago growing the famed Café au Lait dahlia (never again), I looked for a dahlia that had a similar look and another gardener recommended ‘Break Out’. Last year I ordered it and when is started growing I quickly realized it was not Breakout but rather another stunner—Kogana Fubuki (which interestingly, I was also growing and was a crop failure for me, so in a way, I was rewarded). This year I purchased tubers from a smaller tuber grower and I could not be happier.

It is a stunning dahlia and was everything I expected. It is a bit more colorful than a Café au Lait but still retains that gentle quality. The flowers are colored in a soft pinkish watermelon color with buttercream. And it a perfect for cutting flowers because it has long, strong stems. And if you want a workhorse in the production department—this is a great bet. Very prolific. I love all my dahlias this year, but this one has definitely been the star of them all.




Roses are a completely new plant for me. I am not going to lie--- they scared me to death. So, of course, in true Angie fashion, my first foray into growing roses was by ordering bare root roses (which scared me to death) from the most expensive roses I came across—David Austin. Lol.

I know… I am crazy! But I chose them for two reasons: I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the look of English roses and David Austin has a 5-Year warranty on them. I ordered three of them: Scepter’d Isle, Alnwick, and Claire Austin. Two of them bloomed beautifully but the Claire Austin never came out of dormancy so they are replacing for free the next growing season. Now, the two that bloomed are gorgeous!

And of the two, I am head over heels with the ‘Alnwick’ rose. This rose is sooooo beautiful. It has cupped blooms that are many-petalled. The color can range from pink to a pinkish coral almost. And the fragrance is beautiful. Almost berry-like. It is very reliable with a long flowering season. So much that I thought my roses had started going into dormancy but the Alnwick is getting a second wind.

‘Alnwick’ is the pinkish coral one. Look at those cupped blooms!

‘Alnwick’ is the pinkish coral one. Look at those cupped blooms!


And there you have it! The stars of my summer garden!

Did you have any standouts in your summer garden?


I may be found on one of these link-ups: In a Vase on Monday, Mosaic Monday, Home Sweet Home, Friday Bliss, Home and Garden Thursday, End of Month View(31st of the Month), Blooming Friday,Pink Saturday, Sundays At Home, Thursday Favorite Things, Share Your Cup, Heart & Soul Link Party

Subtle Shades of Autumn

Autumn is officially here and with it, my favorite season has arrived!!!! Yet, while I am ecstatic, I am also missing my summer garden. So much that I wrote a love letter HERE saying goodbye. But the fall garden is bringing me much joy. Now, I know you are probably tired of seeing dahlias, but this is prime time for them. And if you have read a few of my back post, you know I have a deep love of dahlias, and this weekend the garden gifted me with some beautiful blooms that are definitely autumnal in coloring.

Part of this is that the past three days we have definitely had fall temperatures. It is as if mother nature turned on the “fall temperatures” switch and we have had mornings in the 45F with highs in the low 70F. This is important because dahlias are highly reactive to temperature changes causing their colors to vary. Pinks become lighter, intense colors more subtle— like Penhill Watermelon which has take a russet tone (far right bloom).


But today’s vase is very special because it is the first time I have been able to harvest perfectly pristine blooms of ‘Iceberg’ dinner plate dahlias and ‘Center Court’, both white dahlias that have been decimated by beetles all summer.

Between using organza bags and now cooler temperatures, I have managed to win this battle against the beetles. By the way, the ‘Iceberg’ below it is bigger but had to harvest it due to a storm we had a few days ago that toppled some branches.


Below, ‘Center Court’ shines with its lovely white petals. That I have managed to harvest perfectly beautiful white blooms is a gardening win for this novice gardener.


For this vase today, I used a $5 vase from Target (for those in the UK, this is a department store hugely popular in the US). They have these bins at the entrance of the store where they offer seasonal items that are absolutely adorable and super affordable. I love those bins! :) Anyhow, I love the beehive pattern of this vase and the teal color looks beautiful with these flowers.


How was your first day of fall? Did you do anything special to celebrate the autumnal equinox?