Wednesday, June 15, 2016

on the brink of summer ~ lush and green

The beauty and lushness of the Midwest really shines in mid-June. Between lots of sunshine, warm temps and scattered thunderstorms, nature explodes. This past weekend, I went to Ginger Blossom ~ a place that carries fair trade ethnic rugs, furniture, clothing, textiles, crafts and antiques from all around the world. I've featured this business on my blog before, so it might look familiar to some of you. This is a privately-owned business and is on the expansive grounds of the owner. I always enjoy walking around taking photographs  of these peaceful grounds. Little cottages are filled with ethnic goods and the property is filled with gorgeous perennials, flowers and statuary.

This barn is filled to the rafters with furniture and art objects from all over the world.  

I found this beautiful glassware from Mexico in the barn. These glasses are thick and sturdy (I hate flimsy drinking glasses!) and I love the vibrant colors. I only bought two for now; at $6 each I wanted to make sure we really liked them before I bought a complete set. I can always go back and buy more.

Because it was the art and music weekend at Ginger Blossom, a singer with a gorgeous voice serenaded the visitors all day.

This lady, Angie is the main reason I love going to the art and music weekends at Ginger Blossom. She comes to these special weekends to sell different varieties of abergele cheese (which is a specialty cheese from Wisconsin - a tribute to Abergele, North Wales, UK), raw honey, organic maple syrup, handmade soaps, homegrown veggies, homemade healthy dips, and delicious homemade baked goods. I don't eat much cheese, but I cannot resist the garam masala abergele cheese. It's very creamy and rich, with the spicy Indian flavors on the outside of the cheese. One small slice is perfectly satisfying.

Speaking of lush and green, I'll show you a little of what's going on back at my home...

 I'm still working on the patio area. I bought two hanging solar lanterns at IKEA and hung them from the trees that overhang the patio. They're charging right now...I can't wait to see how they look at night! 

Here's the problem on the patio right now. Mulberries. I cannot tell you how much I loathe these things! They fall from our neighbor's tree every year. We had her tree trimmed back a couple of years ago to her property line. Last year, we were relatively berry-free, but this year they've come back with a vengeance. This tree isn't even hanging over the patio again...I guess the growth is just enough where they are managing to find our patio once more. If these things aren't swept up every day, they attract flies and ants. Not to mention you can't walk on the patio without the berries squishing under your shoes!

My basil is prolific right now. I really need to start harvesting it and making some pesto.

When I was at Ginger Blossom, I also bought a red sorrel plant from Angie. She said it was a slow-growing perennial and I thought it was pretty with the red veins in the green leaves. I can harvest the leaves and use them in salads.

One of my favorite perennials that burst into bloom just this past weekend: tickseed. I don't do anything to it except deadhead when the flowers dry up. I never even water or fertilize this plant. Comes back bigger every year and I love it. Great cutting flowers for small vases, too.

I was so worried about my clematis. It wasn't doing well for awhile and all the leaves were drying up. Hubby fertilized it again and it came back to life. You can see the new tendrils growing up the arbor and even new buds on the vines. Hooray!

The tomato plants are growing nicely and have the telltale yellow flowers on them that will soon be fruit.

The Phlox, Butterfly Bush, Purple Coneflower and Black-eyed Susan in the butterfly garden are really taking off, but nothing in bloom yet - except for the columbine in the back. That's always the first to bloom.

Joe Pye Weed is really taking off, too. This was two small plants just a few years ago. By August, it'll be much taller and have beautiful blooms on it, which the bees love. That smaller groundcover next to the Joe Pye Weed is goutweed - a very invasive plant that appeared "out of nowhere" a couple of years ago. At first I thought it was kind of pretty...but when they say it's invasive, that's putting it mildly. I'm always pulling clumps of it out of the ground to keep it away from the other plants. I'm going to have to Google how to get rid of it for good (without using pesticides). 

One spring annual that I'm surprised is still thriving despite several days in the 90's is these little violas. They seem to love being in the birdcage and are starting to grow right through the top! I suppose it's because this birdcage is hanging from a plant hook in an area that's mostly shady.

Talk to you all soon...I'm off now to sweep up mulberries. ;-)

Sharing with At Home with Jemma - Thoughts of Home on Thursday.


  1. I would absolutely love that wonderful place - oh boy, I could spend hours there!! Your garden is looking great! Love the wine bottle border - super cute!!

  2. I wish there was a Ginger Blossom here! That's more than a store, isn't it? It's an "experience", which is what we all want, rather than just shopping. Pretty glasses! And your gardens continue to be lovely, but I have to admit that mulberries must be a real pain. Wish there was a solution.

  3. Dear Sweet Melanie, I love how you get out and explore the area around you. You find the neatest places to show us, from this amazing artsy garden, to coffee shops, secondhand book stores and ethic restaurants. You could start a touring business of places to see and things to do. I am sure there are people that live around your home town that have no idea of all the cool places to go that are right under their noses. I think it is brilliant.
    I love your yard, too. You have incorporated so many interesting plants and placed them in such lovely planters. You've got a real talent for these things.

  4. Your garden is growing really well isn't it, lots of lovely things coming along! The shop you visited looks like a lovely place to go, I like your new glasses!

  5. Your garden looks lovely, Melanie. And I love those new glasses - so pretty!

  6. What a wonderful place 'Ginger Blossom' is.

    Your gardens are looking great! I have a berry that falls from the rubber tree that overhangs patio areas and it is such a pain. I try to keep up with the sweeping and raking them up. It's nice when that time of year is over, and I think it might happen twice here, I'm not sure.

    Happy Summer gardening and I bet your solar lanterns are going to be really neat at night.


  7. I think that store would be a favorite of mine if I lived close. thank you for taking us along.

  8. Wow! I wish we had that store here. I think the closest one we have is a place called Jackelope, which sells lots of pottery and fair-trade decorations, as well as plants and garden stuff. I like to shop there now and then but it's expensive. We have a big, semi-unhealthy juniper in our front yard that we want to remove eventually and put some big landscaping stones in its place. I think I may buy the stones from them. Your plants look really good. I love that bed with the Joe Pye. I've been ripping out mint shoots as fast as I can get to them but it never ends. I didn't plant it, I inherited it, and I like it but not that much! I hope the mulberries slow down. I can only imagine the mess they make. We have a lot of mulberry trees at the library and you could actually fall and hurt yourself if you don't walk carefully on the sidewalks that get covered in berries. I hope you're having a good week and that you enjoy your weekend!

  9. Your garden is lovely, Melanie...I need to get some of the solar! The store looks like a wonderful place to shop and explore!

  10. Melanie, your photos are all so beautiful. We are past the brink of's 98 here today. I'll just enjoy the outdoors by looking at your pretty pictures.

    Happy Thoughts of Home. :)

  11. I had to chuckle at this blog title, Lush and Green! Ha! We're already brown and dry here, and it's only June. I LOVE those colorful glasses, I would have bought them on the spot. I actually have some similar, with all the colored glass bits on the bottom. But I don't even use them, they are on display in the dining room. Maybe some day I'll use them instead.

  12. We had our mulberry tree taken down last summer. While I miss the shade, I do not miss the bird messes. Ahem. Our neighbors were pretty glad when it came down as well. :)


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