Sunday, April 22, 2012


With this past year's unseasonably warm winter, spring sprung early here at Ashton House. This is my favorite time of year. It brings with it the heady scent of lilacs that we invite indoors to perfume the dining room. They're the perfect flowers for displaying in my collection of 1930s funeral baskets.

These sweet little violas will be planted in the ground once they're done brightening a garden box. I like to transfer them over because they will self-seed.

Some 50 rose bushes make their home in the gardens just outside Ashton House, and several are already blooming! This is the earliest I can ever remember them doing so! Here in Iowa, they don't usually bloom until early June. I spotted the first bloom on one a couple weeks ago.

This lovely rose is not yet in bloom but I wanted to share it with you because it's close to my heart; it came from my grandpa's garden. I am blessed to have many passalong plants that spark pleasant memories of loved ones, but this is one of the few passalong roses I have received. Because of our cold climate, only certain roses do well here. I grow a mix of English roses, rugosa roses, Knockout roses, Buck roses, and Canadian Explorer series roses. All have faired extremely well in our gardens. I haven't lost one of them since they were planted.

The bed of ferns—one of the only remnants of the original landscape—is already flourishing just outside our dining room windows. It's too early to plant annuals, so the garden urn in the middle of the bed will remain empty for now. We must wait until the danger of frost has passed, and that's usually around Mother's Day.

The lily of the valley are in their prime. I love their little bell-shape blooms. They've spread so much over the years, I think I'm going to have to dig up some of the pips. We've been gradually moving them to another area of the landscape but I'm also sharing them with others who want them. Like those who gifted me plants, I want to pass along the joy of these delightful treasures to others. 

One of my favorite plants is lady's mantle. I love the chartreuse green blooms because they go with any color. After all, green is the ultimate unifying hue in the garden!

So what are you growing in your gardens this year? I hope they are off to a great start!


  1. At the moment all I seem to be growing is weeds...sigh. I love the photos of your garden...especially the lilacs. I really miss lilac trees in the spring. Apparently it doesn't get cold long enough in the winter for them to grow here in Texas.

  2. Love all your flowers. Thanks for sharing.

  3. do you do all the gardening yourself? it is so beautiful!

  4. Your flowers are all beautiful. We had lilacs in the house a couple of weeks ago too - I love all the pretty Spring flowers.

  5. My favorites are the lilacs! Our cactus are in full bloom at this time of year and the annuals are fading fast.

  6. I can almost smelll your beautiful lilacs.
    Love the basket. I have one also but never really thought about putting lilacs in it. Thanks for the wonderful idea.

  7. I like your 1930's funeral basket, I have always admired those and didn't know what they were used for or their age. The lilacs are perfect in there. Your flowers are all so beautiful! I have a ladies mantle in my garden also. :)
    Have a great week!

  8. I loved seeing what's in your garden, especially the passed-along rose and those gorgeous ferns!

  9. loved the garden tour Kimber! We have some in common - but sadly Lily of the Valley does not like my garden - she can be quite particular! I grow lots of different ferns in my shady garden, Acers and bamboos! Lots of different shapes of leaves...


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