Three Additions to Millie’s Garden

Oh, last week was a glorious, gorgeous hint at spring…Will she arrive early, or was this just a tease? Every year Chouchou and I start feeling the gardening itch as soon as the first beautiful days arrive. This year was no exception.

Originally, we had wanted to wait to add anything until we’ve seen what flowers came back, what bloomed and where we need to fill in. The other day was a wonderfully mild, sunny day, and I just couldn’t help it. We headed to our favorite local nursery, The Gardener Nursery, and I found a couple of early spring flowering camellias I wanted to bring home. We also gave a change of scenery to a few other plants. Read on to see what we moved around and the camellias we added.

Mom’s Rosebush

Mom had told me about a rosebush that she had in her garden that was starting to feel cramped. She had mentioned digging it up one phone call. The next time we talked, she mentioned it again and said she was going to dig it up and she wanted to give it to us for Millie’s garden. Then when I was visiting her a couple of weeks ago, she had already dug it up, and she had it ready to send home with us.

I am glad we have a rosebush for the garden, although I admit I have absolutely no experience in this arena. As with pretty much everything in Millie’s garden, this is an opportunity to learn. The only other rosebush that I’ve ever had is the one that came with our house, and although we’ve not pruned on schedule or like we should, it seems happy. It blooms for us throughout the year, so I hope this new one will be as low maintenance, too.

We planted it near one of our granite rock features, giving it a little “company” as it grows. I am excited to see that there is already new growth on this rosebush and hope to see some blooms this spring or summer.

I always love to research the symbolism behind each plant or flower that we choose and plant in the garden. For pink roses, Bloom&Wild says they symbolize grace, joy, and gratitude, and they are perfect for those you “appreciate most, like your friends, siblings or teachers.”


We have been in our house for eight years now, which is crazy to imagine, because I feel like we just moved here. When we first moved in, Chouchou purchased three rudbeckia for the side entrance of our house. They are beautiful, fall blooming flowers, and as the years passed they became bushier, more cumbersome. We only have a few mums in the garden, and I wanted to add more fall blooming flowers, so we dug up, split and moved these – our three plants split into six, and we were able to add them in pairs around the edges of the garden.

They have beautiful white blooms with a yellow center, and although I thought that these are rudbeckia, as I search for symbolism, the pictures for rudbeckia (black eyed Susan) I do not see any images that match ours!

They look a little rough, cut back the way they are, however they are settling in to their new dirt and the new growth has stayed strong. I anticipate lots of beautiful blooms this fall now that they have been split and there’s more growing room for each plant. Hopefully, I’ll also be able to accurately identify the plant as well, so that I can share with you the symbolism of the flower.

Spring Blooming Camellias

Chouchou and I have a distinct memory of a large, twenty foot camellia in the backyard where we rented in Richmond. We were leaving the apartment in the middle of winter, after an ice storm, and there were flowers in full bloom encased in ice. It was such a beautiful sight and a symbol of beauty and strength despite the adverse weather conditions.

We want to add different features to the garden that will make the garden a lovely respite throughout every season. As we were planning we discussed the camellia, and planted two last winter. They were beautiful to watch bloom this fall into winter. Then, as we visited our nursery last week, I learned there are Spring blooming camellias as well.

Who knew? I am learning that as is true with most of the flower families, camellia varieties could be fall blooming, spring blooming, or even long blooming.

According to, “With camellias, the calyx and petals fall away together, which is why the camellia also represents eternal love or long-lasting devotion.” How fitting, as we will always hold Millie dear in our hearts and this garden is a reflection of our long term devotion to her memory.

Early spring comebacks

Daffodils, Narcissus, and Tulips

Last year we planted a ton of daffodils and tulips, after they had already flowered for the season. We weren’t sure if they would come back, and we had forgotten where we had planted some of them! I am so glad that we made a garden key, that helped us as we walked around last week. To our surprise, the daffodils and tulips have already started breaking ground and some of the daffodils have even started flowering!


In addition, we had planted peonies last spring. Every time we get a new plant, I research it, and I realized after the fact, it is suggested to plant them in the fall. I watered these little rootstocks all summer long. Some grew, others never broke ground, and we never did see a flower. I wasn’t sure what to expect this season. However, on a recent walk through the garden, MC pointed out where some peonies are coming back, and I am thrilled! We planted nine in all, and there are three so far that we’ve seen emerge. I feel like each day we find a new something that’s woken up and begun to show itself.

Butterfly Bush

Lastly, we trimmed up our butterfly bush. We were advised to cut it to about knee height at the beginning of spring, so Chouchou and MC did that as MA and I supervised. I saved a few of the cuttings – we would like more butterfly bushes for the butterflies, but I didn’t see any sense in buying a new one if we could propagate more for free. So, Chouchou and I are conducting an experiment to see: (one) if we can propagate butterfly bush, and (two) to see whose method is most efficient. I’ll keep you posted with updates in a few weeks! I am pretty confident that these will propagate easily, as the words “invasive species” were popular words across many websites describing butterfly bush.

Has the recent warm weather inspired you to garden?

For previous garden updates, check out the links below:

  • You can read about early spring updates here;
  • Summer updates here;
  • Spring and summer additions here;
  • Our nursery haul here;
  • December additions here;
  • Fall additions here;
  • The end of week one progress here;
  • Check out the grotto in progress here;
  • Read about the chopping of our cherry tree here;
  • and see what we started with in our before pictures here.


6 thoughts on “Three Additions to Millie’s Garden

  1. Looks like your garden is having a wonderful beginning of Spring! It’s good to know that you can leave daffodils in the ground and they can still survive. I hope you have more flowers than you expect!
    Which new flower are you most excited to grow?


    • I am excited about the camellias! I can’t wait to see them grow. Yes I have loved planting bulbs- they are so easy to get started and they come back every year! Thank you!


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