Thursday, December 27, 2007

Peace for 2008

Peace to all my gardening friends for 2008. I hope that your hearts are full of love and your gardens will be full of flowers. This is the time of year when I relax from the cooking and shopping of the holidays and take time to enjoy the love and gifts I received from my wonderful family. I take the week between Christmas and New Years to decompress and not expect too much from myself. Time to get out a jigsaw puzzle and spend some lazy hours accomplishing little. By the end of the week I will be ready to reorganize and get going for the new year. And, of course, the many seed catalogs will start coming in the mail and the excitement will build, dreaming about the coming gardening season. Meantime, I observe the peacefulness outside my window and enjoy watching the antics of my Ringed-Neck Doves. Peace to all!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Careless Neighbor Update

Just missed a seafoam sage. Several sprinkler heads were run over, but it looks like they popped back up.

The snow is starting to melt, so I can begin to get a better idea of the damage done by my neighbor's truck when he jumped the curb and ran down the parking. I really think most things will be okay (thanks to all the mulch I have down) except those that will be crushed by the posts. As soon as I can get at them better I will pick them up. There are several tulip bulbs that will be coming up around the posts, so I want to get that area cleared.

New aster was in the path, but I think the dried foliage acted as a cushion and hopefully saved some root damage. There will be tulips coming up under where the posts are now.

This is where he cut across the corner. Can you believe the sprinker head is still standing? Won't know if id will work, however.

Luckily, the tires went right in front of a couple lavender plants that I had transplanted this fall.

This log was dug further into the ground. I'm really surprised that he didn't flip his truck when he hit all the logs and posts.

This is the area where I planted several small plants I got from High Country Gardens. I still can't tell if they were damaged. All said and done, I think I will be pretty lucky.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Careless Neighbors Leave Their Mark

It was an agonizing morning yesterday when we discovered that a truck had jumped the curb and run down the middle of one of our strips. I guess it was bound to happen sooner or later, and that's the chance you take when you garden that close to the street. One year we a neighbor slid into some of the upright posts, which thank goodness stopped his forward progress, but it was nothing like this. My heart sunk as I realized that the path was right over most of the new plants I brought back from Santa Fe this fall. After the initial shock I rationalized that perhaps the posts did stop some of the momentum of the truck and since there was already snow on the ground (and lots of mulch) perhaps there was some cushion for the tender plants. A couple Russian Sage were knocked over and will need to be cut back as soon as weather permits. It could have been a lot worse.

Heidi and her owner come to help...

...or maybe not.

Later, a neighbor came forward to tell us that he had lost control of his truck. I had an idea it might have been him. He and some friends live in what I call the "party house." Every weekend they sit out front and party until 3 a.m. and I've had to complain about the noise. When the weather gets colder they stay in their big diesel truck and run it for quite a while, several times during the night. Since they rent, I suppose they are out there smoking and whatever else they don't want their landlord to know about. The noise is so loud right outside my window that neither a pillow over my head nor my ipod earphones drown it out. Sooooo... I guess it was nice that he at least admitted that he was the one and even offered to pay for the damage. It's amazing that he would do that, and while I give him credit for doing so, it was very difficult to stand there and "appreciate" his actions, even though that is what I said. I still feel bad about my plants and we told him that we really won't know the damage until we see what happens this spring. Most of my plants are pretty hardy. But still, the fact that I have to put up with this guy and his cohorts all the time just pisses me off. Just one more reason why I can't stand the guy. Ughhh!!!

On the lighter side, it was a beautiful (if icy) snowfall and we really needed the moisture. One of our NICE neighbors brought their St. Bernard over to console us and have some fun.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Chickadee-dee-dee (Winter Bird Watching)

One of my favorite wintertime activities (well, not very active on MY part) is to sit and watch the birds. I especially love hearing the chickadees when I venture outside. Their little perky chirps fill me with joy. How can a heart not be lifted with their antics? Better than any anti-stress medication I can think of!

My HH (handy husband) built a beautiful high platform feeder outside my living room window so I can see them even while sitting down (which I do a lot of in the winter). This also helps protect the birds from the neighbors' lurking cats. I also have tube feeders in the front, outside my office window so I can see them while sitting at my computer. The frog is a funny "earthquake detector" that we got in Santa Fe one year. It sits atop the first feeder he made for me that includes a peanut feeder for squirrels. I don't feed peanuts any more because they destroy too many plants by burying them. As you can see though, they get their more-than-fair share of birdseed.

This shows the outside of the feeders.

Flicker antics.

I would love to have some Orioles and other beautiful birds I see in photos from parts way east of Colorado. Still, I do have a nice list of frequent visitors to my feeding stations:

Chickadees (of course), Flickers, Downey Woodpeckers, Juncos, many different Finches and Sparrows, Bushtits, Crows (not too excited about these), Starlings and a Robin or two who hang out with them, my VERY favorite Ringed Neck (Eurasian Collared) Doves, Blue Jays, and even a Hawk or two or possibly a Prairie Falcon. I so enjoy watching the doves strut back and forth. They are new to our area the last few years. Once in a while we also see a White Winged Dove too. In the summer we have the beautiful Goldfinches and Turtle Doves.

Ringed Neck (Eurasian Collared) Dove

This is the best photo I've been able to take of the doves. They frighten easily at the slightest movement, so I tried getting a photo through the shutters. Sometimes I have as many as 15 or more at one time.

Every morning (and more often during cold or snow) I take food out back (sunflower chips, a mix called "Chickadee Chew," consisting of black oiled and striped sunflower seeds, a couple kinds of millet, tree nuts and peanuts. I add to this a handful of hulled millet, which the doves love, and all the other birds are happy to leave for them. I also have a heated birdbath that gets MANY visitors, since a lot of people do not keep water out in the winter. When the Starlings visit I know that I must go out as soon as they have left and clean out the debris, as well as refill the now empty birdbath. I've had this heated bath for about four years and couldn't live without one. It really works well, and I feel so good knowing the birds have a source of water. Several suet feeders complete the menu.

These crows are okay in small numbers.
And here are some beautiful sunset photos that my hubby took the other evening.

Veggies put to bed for the winter.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Nature Redecorates for Fall

It was a cold, windy day yesterday. I decided to bundle up and take a break from household chores and take a brief walk outside. Having just finished redecorating my living room and choosing a color palette, I was conscious of the colors that greeted me. Can you imagine any more beautiful color combinations that those provided by nature?

Dusty greens, bronze and beige, accented by a touch of silver.

How wonderful it is to experience these lovely colors this year.

The Sedum Autumn Joy is always a stunning sight.

As well as the dusty green of Powis Castle Sage, Blue Avena grass, and the fuzzy remains of Rose Campion.
Frosty Morn Sedum adds texture and color.

And the Russian Sage creates a beautiful textural background.

Plumbago, Rose Campion and Heuchera

Wandering around the corner, this color combination struck me as very unique.

Lastly, here is a pile of brush and leaves to help St. Francis give protection for the little birds during the winter.
When I got back inside I noticed that these are many of the same colors I used to redecorate my living room! No wonder! I'm wondering how many of us gardeners are inspired by nature's beautiful palette? Probably a lot of us.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Where Did November Go?

A light snow fell right before Thanksgiving but soon melted, just what I love about Colorado. This year there is some nice "winter interest" on the strips due to the lack of heavy snows that knock everything down.

The roses are now put to bed. I cut off any extremely long branches that will break during winter winds and then wrap the bushes in twine, again for the same reason. I rake up all the debris, mulch and top soil around them, then I added some winterizer from High Country Gardens. After that my husband helped me put down new compost and garden soil, piled up against the bushes, and then mulch was added. Now I can go into winter knowing my roses are nice and warm, and given a boost to start them next spring. I don't mind doting on my roses since I only have a few bushes.

OMG, I can't believe looking at the calendar today! November has blown by. We had a small Thanksgiving snow storm after setting highs the days before (76 degrees)! I'm just thankful that so far (knock on wood) it has not been as snowy as last year. Because of this there is actually some "winter interest" on the strips and I enjoy looking at them every day. The only gardening chore I have not done yet is to clean up my tools. Gotta do that soon!

So, where has November gone? Well, I have spent most days redecorating and painting, and trying to catch up on household chores that went lacking during a busy gardening season. Wow, I didn't realize how far behind I was! I still have lots I want to accomplish by Christmas, but the progress I am most pleased with is getting all of the gardening books out of the living room and into my office. True, they are not organized here yet, but that is my next project. It will be good to have all of my information at hand while I'm at the computer and at my desk. Should make things much more convenient and efficient. And the next project will be to start a central catalogue on my computer of all my plants (from the very beginning). I'm looking forward to winter days to accomplish this.

This week I plan to catch up on all my favorite blogs and see what everyone has been up to. It feels good to have accomplished a few projects.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Frosty Morn

A couple days ago I got up early to get started on a busy day, but Iafter looking out a window I just couldn't resist grabbing my camera and running out to capture nature's beauty on this frosty morn.

I love to find nature just the way it is, no rearranging allowed. Doesn't she do a beautiful job? Here with Lamb's Ears.

I couldn't believe this attractive array of colors arranged by the wind. A fleeting display, for sure.

Partridge Feather sage

Corsican violas. They will peak their pretty little heads out from the snow most of the winter months. Unless we have several feet, that is. Let's not even think about that yet!

This Dusty Miller sage comes back every year. It is supposed to be an annual here.

Pasque Flower foliage

Oregon Grape Holly offers a lovely blue hue next to other plants

This Autumn Joy photo should be rotated, but I loved this composition more

Culinary sage


Wild and interesting textures of Bachelor's Buttons