Monday, July 3, 2023

July Garden Update and Just Bee-cause Tablescape

Happy July, friends! Today I want to share an update of my garden since my last post with May progress. But first, I also have a sweet little tablescape to share, just bee-cause I've been inspired. My post is heavy with photos, much like the summer air with humidity, so enjoy your air conditioning and the photo journal which follows.

Just Bee-cause Tablescape

My table for two was mostly inspired last year with the appetizer set of Queen Bee plates I bought on sale at my local boutique which sells MacKenzie-Childs. I layered a set of Williams-Sonoma salad plates I already had, along with an adorably inexpensive plate from Dollar Tree.

With a few other elements I already had, I set my table. Then I received another sale item I ordered from MacKenzie-Childs directly - a votive holder with bee design - and plopped a floral arrangement from the grocery store inside.
I added this to the table for a few photos, and then decided I liked it better on my kitchen counter. Notice my little artwork on the wall below? That's from my talented blogger friend, Jenna, at the Painted Apron. Jenna has a Society6 shop where she sells her artwork, and that little Garden Fantasy doodle made its way to my home.
Other elements added to the table include a few estate sale finds: the pale yellow tablecloth, watering can napkin rings (embellished with bee magnets), and black matte flatware. The stems are La Rochere. The other linens are MacKenzie-Childs (a dish towel layered atop the tablecloth) and HomeGoods napkins with cute, little tassels.

Summer on a table!

Garden Blooms from mid-May to July

I planted several new perennials this year, and am always excited when they bloom, hoping they'll be happy long-term.. As those of you who garden know, it can often be a crap shoot, given the fickle nature of weather, soil and infestations. My USDA hardiness zone here in the southwestern part of West Virginia is generally considered Zone 6b, although my particular location being situated along the Kanawha river lends itself to 7a conditions for the most part.

Without a lot of fanfare, I'll just mention what plants have bloomed in my garden since late May, primarily for my garden journaling effort. 

Neon Flash spirea (transplanted this spring when amending my grass line)
Evening primrose and garden glass art by my friend, Mary Nunn, who lives in Arizona.
Lavender bouquet harvested from new, more reliable variety English Hidcote.
One of three baptisia (false indigo) plants transplanted fall 2022.
Baptisia blooms
2023 containers: verbena, calibrachoa, and dracaena
Bubblegum Blast bee balm (new 2023)
Various daylilies in my landscape, all inherited from previous owner.
Zinnias and alyssum, planted from seed. Japanese beetles began infesting these vigorous annuals' leaves at the first of July.
Zinnias and alyssum dug from the overcrowded bed and put into containers.
Zinnia containers placed on patio, along with a petunia basket. Amish-made 360° swivel and gliding Adirondack chairs and table are the latest additions to the patio,
Front: 2023 east facing annuals: geranium, vinca and angelonia.
St. John's wort
Western Star Gemini Shasta Daisies (purchased last year from the nursery orphan rack, divided and planted, blooming in 2023 first time),. Can you see what's on the central flower, beneath the taller one?
A baby praying mantis!
Everlasting Garnet hydrangeas
Pow Wow Berry Coneflower (new this year).
Love-in-a-mist passalongs, originally from my sister's mother-in-law's garden. After receiving from my sister in 2005 or so for my previous landscape, I passed the seed heads along to my daughter in 2018, only to have them come back to me this year. 
First love-in-a-mist bloom in new landscape, 2023.
My first hummingbird was spotted July 3, on my blooming crocosmia (Lucifer). This is exciting for me, since I am not feeding birds other than with my flowers planted.
Western facing flower pathway.
Southern facing garden bed. I have been working on this one quite a bit in 2023.
Below: garden totem "the earth laughs in flowers", gift from a close friend. Surrounding the totem, from top R, are Ice Cream Dream Shasta Daisy (new), balloon flower (new), dwarf butterfly bush (pugster blue, 2nd year), and white guara (new, also called Lindheimer's beeblossom, Indian feather, whirling butterflies, dancing butterflies).
Pugster blue butterfly bloom, July 3, still not fully flowering. White gaura in background.
North facing flower bed. The Magnus coneflower on the left was replaced this year after dying last year. I amended the soil. The one on the left is 2nd year.
My north facing landscape. This has been my labor of love/hate in 2023. I've dug out lily-of-the-valley, amended soil, transplanted most everything in this bed, and altered the grass line (still slightly visible. If you look very closely, you can see where the start of the new grass line meets the old). 
Progress and a prayer.....that's my 2023 garden motto! I'm still holding out for several winter damaged boxwoods to heal (most notably that upright one pictured to the left of the round holly plant above). It'll take time.

Oh, a special shout out to Linda from Life and Linda, who helped me by updating my blog header a bit. It's a cleaner look, don't you think? She's a blog fairy, you may or may not know.

Thanks for stopping by. Leave me a comment on what this year's gardening challenges and successes have been so far for you. I love reading of my friends' gardens in other zones. We can commiserate and cheer together.


  1. You have so many lovely flowers that I'm not familiar with. You have the touch Rita. Loving the sunglasses on your garden statuary; very cool. I saw my first hummer a few weeks ago, but none since. I tried a feeder one season and they all acted horribly, fighting and total territory war. So that was it for hummingbird feeding. They'll have to be happy with the blooms. Your neighbors must love your garden too, I'm sure it really brightens up your neighborhood.

  2. Good morning Rita. You have done so much to make your home beautiful. All the beautiful flowers and I love that the hummingbird is enjoying. Love those little birds. They are so sweet. Happy 4th. Hugs. Kris

  3. Oh Rita, I was already to wax eloquent on your wonderful table -- and then I saw the garden. I cannot imagine (yes, I can -- but only imagine!) how much work that takes, how back-breaking it can be. It is gorgeous. Your spirea, lavender, the path to the front door -- all glorious. I expect to see butterflies here! And the blog header is great -- Linda is terrific; she did mine and it always gets lots of praise!

  4. Rita, there is much beauty in this post. I love your just bee-cause tablesetting. The MC Queen Bee appetizer plates are stunning and make a huge statement on your table. I love reading about your garden. It is truly a labor of love and your sweat equity is already paying great dividends! The neon flash spirea is lovely and it is new to me. The garden glass art is a nice addition, I enjoy the unexpected in a garden. Your patio is most inviting and I can imagine morning coffee in one of the gliders. Daylilies are great performers and you have inherited some pretty ones. The beetles are a real menace this year, they are eating our sunflower leaves and many other things. Thanks for sharing the joy of sighting your first hummingbird in the garden, they sure love crocosmia and zinnias. I love your new header! Our son and DIL are hosting our festivities for today. I am only making the home-made ice cream. I still owe you an email, I haven’t forgotten. Wishing you a wonderful 4th and thank you for the gorgeous garden update!

  5. Rita, I love your Bee themed summer table. Those Queen bee plates are gorgeous. How perfect they look with the black and white check. Your new bee votive is a perfect vessel for your lovely flowers. Your garden is looking fabulous. Daylillies are gorgeous. How fun to spot a hummer in your garden. The spirea, St. John's Wort, lavender plus so much more is so very pretty. The patio looks wonderful and inviting. I love the garden glass garden art, perfectly complimenting your garden. Thank you Rita for the shout out. Happy 4th.

  6. Lots of fun in your post today! I guess I'm blogging as Katie today, but this is Fonda! I'm using her computer as mine is on the fritz! I love your tablescape as I love bees anything! Your flowers are gorgeous. I know how much time you must spend in your garden, and you are certainly getting the big pay out! As far as your blog header goes, I was really partial to the skyline of the city where you live. I know it isn't your view now, but I loved seeing that golden dome! Happy fourth of July! We'll be passing by in a few weeks, but I'll be driving straight through. That will be about a 10-hour drive with a few stops here and there for only the necessities. Best wishes!

  7. Rita, your garden is just beautiful! What a gorgeous array of flowers that you have and they all look so happy and healthy. You must have a very green thumb!! All your hard work has definitely paid off. The glass garden art is gorgeous. So happy for your hummingbird and sorry about the Japanese beetles - hope you are able to get rid of them. And your "just bee-cause" table is also bee-autiful. I love the queen bee plates and the DT plates are perfect. I hope you are having a wonderful July 4th!

  8. I love everything about this post. Starting with your new header it is in chanting. I also like your table scape, I also have the yellow bee plates and have used them in other settings and your garden. and your garden is spectacular. I just kept going over and over each picture and looking at each beautiful flower and plant. You definitely have a green thumb. I planted some zinnias and apparently you have to water them as they flowered beautifully until we got a week of exceptionally hot weather and I could not resuscitate them. Thank you for sharing. Hugs and blessings.

  9. Rita, I love your bee tablescape. The DT plates look so good underneath the other bee themed plates. They look as though they were a set. The votive holder will look so good when lit. It does a good job of being a vase as well. The tea towel makes a great topper. Your garden is gorgeous. We've had so many storms and downed trees that this year is somewhat of a wash out at the moment. Our limelights are about to bloom. The mandevilla and hibiscus have flourished. All of our evergreen bushes are struggling but should look good next year hopefully. Your yard has such a nice variety. Your patio is so inviting. You have transformed the outside into a lovely oasis. I enjoyed our stroll through your beautiful garden. Getting to see the hummingbird pic was a nice bonus. Hope you had a nice 4th. Clara❤️

  10. I love your bees, but even more so I really love your garden! I can only imagine all the time and energy you’ve put into it. Unfortunately, it’s getting harder and harder for us to do yard and garden work.

  11. The above anonymous is from Carol at theredpaintedcottage

  12. It was lovely to take a walk with you around your garden today. You have done so much work and I was really impressed with the changes. The flower additions are beautiful and provide you with such great color. The bee tablescape was such fun. I'm partial to bees and you did such a wonderful job. Thanks for the tour.
    Lynne, Thrifting Wonderland

  13. You can see all the beauty from all of your gardening efforts, Rita! Your front walkway is so colorful and welcoming. That bubblegum bee balm plant is fun! I’ll bet you love checking on everything each day. You must enjoy relaxing in your new Adirondack chairs after all your work. Your bee tablescape is a joy and Jenna’s creation is so pretty in that spot!

  14. your gardens are amazing! - You must have missed this while living in the condo! Your table setting is bee-utiful!!

  15. Good morning Rita, Your table is the bee knees! I love your layers, both linens and plates. I picked up a pair of those Dollar Tree bee plates too, bee-cause they were so affordable. They look great as a charger with your honeycomb plate and MKC Queen bee plate, along with your adorable bee vase. All your hard work in the garden has really paid off. Everything looks so happy and healthy. I love your new bee balm variety and great capture of the bee with the pollen basket! Great capture on your female Ruby throat too, you have to be quick on the trigger to snap your photos. We don’t seem to have as many hummers as usual but I’m keeping my feeders fresh, a challenge in this heat. Beautiful daylilies too! I’m partial to the varieties with the contrasting throats. The Japanese Beetles are such a menace. They’ve skeletonized the leaves on the roses. I get great satisfaction in plucking them off and dropping them in a bucket of soapy water. 😊 Hope you’re staying cool, it’s sweltering.♥

  16. Rita, I'm late to the garden party as my mom was here for 2 weeks. I'm sure you won't be surprised how much I adore your bee theme tablesetting! Wowza! And so much fun touring your garden and landscape. After 38 plus years in this house (we bought it brand new) a month ago we finally got landscape 3.0 completed! Took three years during the pandemic to find a concrete guy to replace the sunken front pad and weedy sidewalk. Then to find a landscaper who had laborers. So we are in watering mode! Thanks for the inspiration.

  17. Hello there Ms. Green Thumbs. Just popping back in to say I'm featuring this beautiful post on Farmhouse Friday tomorrow. Guess now everyone will know how deep my jealous streak runs. ;) Thanks for linking up! pinned

  18. hi Rita,
    Your bee tablescape is the cutest!! And wow, that Bubblegum Blast bee bum is the coolest! Your have a very green thumb, your garden looks amazing! Love that garden totem too~ All your hard work is certainly paying off πŸŒΊπŸŒΌπŸ’

  19. Thanks so much for stopping by my blog today, such a surprise! I just love a good bee table, topped off with a wonderful garden tour, very fun to see, thank you πŸ™

  20. The bee tablescape is making me smile: I love black and gold together. It's always fun to see how your garden is progressing. Everything is beautiful, and I love the color of your spirea!

  21. Rita, sorry I did not get back to you in a timely fashion. Yes, I did feature this post at last week's Share Your Style #395. Love all the blooms!!! I featured your tablescape but it was just the touch of the iceberg. :) Glad your grass is growing back in and that the hummingbirds are finding your flowers. I have lovely blooms for them but I am not seeing them this year. I need to plant more annuals next year now that the perennials are in. This year was all about making sprinkler systems work correctly and running lines for drip irrigation. It's always something!

    Enjoy your beautiful garden and keep cool!
    Barb :)

  22. Rita, I love your table with all the bees, both linens and plates. This is such a darling table, and just right for summer. Your garden looks incredible!! Your hard work in the garden has really paid off, every single plant looks so beautiful and healthy. I love all your flowering plants, and I'm sure they are attracting lots of birds, hummingbirds and butterflies. We're so lucky that we have lots of hummingbirds, we don't feed them either but they drink from the flowers and - cutest ever- they bathe in our fountain.

    I love picturing you out there in your garden {when it's not too HOT!} watering, clipping and just being blessed by your flowers. Thank you for sharing all these beautiful photos. xo Lidy

  23. Good afternoon Rita. I enjoyed the stroll in your garden and seeing all the wonderful blooms. You have put so much love into your new space and it shows. I love the bee table setting, the tour through your garden, selection of plants and the capture of the hummingbird too! Be well and enjoy your creations!