Thursday, May 31, 2007

Lambs Don't Like to be Wet...

This is the way they do best... small, neat clumps.

Poor drenched Lamb's Ears

It rained (what else) late last night. Also sounded like hail, so I just buried my head under a pillow and tried not to think about it until morning. Everything was sopping wet but thank goodness I didn't see any hail damage. I realized on my morning "stroll around," that I have not taken the time this year to supervise the Lamb's Ears (Stachys lanata). If you don't, they tend to get away from you. AND they do not like to be wet! I usually pack them in with companions that like to support each other... this also helps when recovering from hail. If I keep the little Lamb darlings nice and compact and don't let them spread they do much better and add such a beautiful soft texture to the garden. I also cut back most of the flowers and just let a few strong ones stand. Sooo.... I'm sorry little Lambs... I'll pay attention and give you some tending. After all, we ARE supposed to be in a droubt, aren't we???

Today is finally a beautiful day (at least for the moment). I'd better get out there and get to work!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Here We Go Again!

The temperature yesterday afternoon was 49 with a freezing wind. I covered veggies, a few containers, and some new plants. The low last night was 35. Dangerously close, if you ask me! There were damaging winds, downpours, tornado warnings, golf ball-size hail in some parts of the State (thank goodness not here!) and more snow on Pikes Peak. Forecast calls for thunderstorms and rain every afternoon as far as we can see on the weather map. If it's like this now, what will it be like when the monsoons come (July-August)? Yikes!

Monday, May 28, 2007

A Memory Garden

Mom's new rose - Hybrid Tea Nancy Reagan

Today is my mother's birthday. She would have been 87 years old. She ended her difficult journey through dementia more than two years ago. On the day she died I told her that I would always plant flowers for her on her birthday, just like I always used to do. She would watch me planting outside her window, tap on the glass and wave, and I'll always remember the happy smile on her face. I felt it again today. I have a garden in front of my studio window which is dedicated to her. Last year I planted a tea - Princess Grace de Monaco, but it did not make it through the winter. This year I got a beautiful rose - Nancy Reagan. I had to think long and hard before puchasing it (because of her political affiliation) but the color finally won me over. I told the nurseryman I was buying it even though she was a Republican and he got a good laugh. Mom loved Nancy, so this rose will be perfect for her.

The first year after her death I wanted to do some kind of a remembrance garden where other seniors could appreciate it. I remember how she loved to have me wheel her into the garden at the nursing home so she could see the flowers. She would touch and feel each one. I chose a nursing home where my grandmother had once been. They informed me that their large courtyard was already taken care of by a club, but there was a smaller one available. Perfect, I thought. My husband helped me and we planted several flats of beautiful flowers around three raised beds. During the process I found out that it was the smoking area for employees. There went my vision of sweet little ladies in wheelchairs, oohing and aahing over the beautiful colors, just as my Mom used to do. So.... I figured, working in a nursing home is such stressful work that perhaps I can lift a heart or two and help make facing the rest of the day a little easier for some employees. I know how hard they work. Whether I actually did or not I don't know. But my Mom knows, and I know, and that is what's important.

My thoughts today are with Mom, and with all of the families of our servicemen now serving, and those who have given their lives for freedom. You EACH deserve a memory garden.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

This is more like it!

More sunshine yesterday than we have seen in quite a while, and with NO afternoon thunderstorms, just a cool wind which made it easier to garden. We tend to get a bit spoiled and cranky here in Colorado when the sun doesn't shine.
I worked all day and my body is letting me know today that I overdid it. Just don't have the energy and fitness level I used to have. I planted several new perennials which I will photograph when they are ready to present themselves to the camera. Also several Petunias which I always plant along the front of the house in what I call my "Studio Garden." They are easy to deadhead along here, which is why it is the only place I plant them, other than in containers.

Now Appearing...

Complimentary colors of purple and orange. Were I an artist I would paint these tulips.

Daisies always bring a smile to my face

Pink Sunrose.
I love to see this little flower appear in the Spring.
It looks lovely with it's companion moss rock.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Never Ending Winter...

Pikes Peak today as seen from a neighborhood walking path

We had a substanial frost last night and some areas of town experienced snow. Pikes Peak has seen more snow than any season since at least 1993, and there is a chance for more through the weekend. We've been in a drought for so long, that nobody's used to this. There were seven consecutive weekends of snow this winter. Either highly unusual, or we've just forgotten what a real winter is like. Whichever, I'm tired of it and ready for some warm weather. For the month of May we have had over 4 1/2 inches of rain. That's Colorado for you. Wide swings in temperature and crazy extremes. Certainly doesn't get boring! Come hell or high water, I'm planting my annuals this weekend.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Alliums are beautiful this year

And notice the beautiful edging that my hubby did today!
I wish the Alliums would last a little longer. They do look nice when dried, however.

Gardening Tips for Hubby's

I was noticing today how my DS (Dear Spouse) always seems happier and more fulfilled when he has a "project" going. My dad is the same way, although at 91 his "projects" now consist of trying to keep the foxes from using his back yard as a diner and duct-taping everything he wants to remain in place. Today's "DS Project" is removing border bricks from around a berm where I don't like them, to a new shrub border (I usually prefer the more natural look). He has quite a few left over so hard telling where they might turn up. While taking a break I realized that he could publish a book of gardening "how to's" for hubbies. It could include:

  • Line everything with bricks so you can tell where the lawn stops and a garden begins.
  • When planting flowers make sure that every plant is evenly spaced and lines up in straight rows.
  • It's fun to play in the mud. Just make sure when you do that you leave plenty of muddy hand prints on everything in sight in case your wife needs to find you to tell you that lunch is ready. She will especially be looking for your clues all over her recently-cleaned garden bench. Oh... and remember to leave your gloves on the kitchen island. After all, we need to eat more fiber.
  • Never look where you are stepping. Some plants really do like to grow horizontally.
  • When dressing for gardening chores be sure to wear your shortest t-shirt and baggiest shorts. The neighbors and passersby loved being mooned, and heaven knows that area could use a good tan.
  • If you are going to do any fence painting or repair be sure to wait until the plants in front of the fence are well along in their growing season. Your wife loves any excuse to go plant shopping.
  • When something goes wrong be sure to curse in a loud, clear voice so that you can educate the neighborbood children at the same time. (Heaven only knows, ours need something to do other than whine and cry all the time.)
  • Always leave your tools, especially rakes, with the tines up so that you will remember where they are when you step on them. And you get extra points if your wife happens to come along.

Well, that should get any DS started out right. Actually, my hubby is a real sweetie and I don't know what I would do without him. He is always so tolerant of my latest hairbrained schemes to cover up the view of the neighbors noisy kids and horrible backyard, which drives me crazy. And thank goodness he has a sense of humor... don't you Dear?

Thursday, May 17, 2007

It's a "Blue" Day...

Ajuga, Iris and Creeping Veronica

I've got the blues today. The weather has been mostly lousy all week with 59 high yesterday. Skies are dark and gray most of the day. Unusual for this time of year, although you never know about May. Unpacked my summer clothes today but it's too cold to wear them. You see, we are spoiled in Colorado, as we are used to mostly sunny days. When it does set in like this it stays for a while. I am remembering how May often is.... with winds that desiccate everything you plant. And I'm trying without much success to think how fortunate I am. The good news is that the City announced that because of heavier-than-usual snowpack and high reservoir levels we will not have watering restrictions this year.

Actually, this is great weather to transplant some perennials. The problem is that I've been playing catch-up for two weeks because of family and caregiving demands. Not much I can do about that so I end up feeling frustrated that I don't have the energy to get everything done (which is most likey the whole problem in a nutshell.) A trip to a garden center would have helped but no time for that either. Instead, I did take a walk around my gardens and took some photos. Great light for that.

Tomorrow's another day and I'm planning on a much brighter outlook. In the meantime, here are some "blue" photos to match my mood! And you can bet that when hot weather suddenly arrives one day soon I'll be complaining just as much...from the heat!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Now Blooming!

I love the beauty of Bright Blue Flax (Linum) in the morning sun

Creeping Veronica, Hens & Chicks, Ajuga and "FireWitch" soon to bloom

Here's what's "blooming" in my street!

Pasque Flowers are going to seed but still have a few blooms

False Forget-me-not "Jack Frost" with Dead Nettle and Brunnera "Heartleaf"

Still lots of beautiful tulips

Candytuft and Corsican Violas

Also not pictured: Ajuga Bugleweed, Ajuga Chocholate Chip
Daffodils (yes, we still have them the middle of may!)

Monday, May 14, 2007

Beautiful Mother's Day Arrangement

Not only did my wonderful son take me to the nursery to buy container plants, but he gave me this beautiful bouquet which takes up almost the entire dining room table! I just had to share them. I'm one lucky Mom.

Couldn't Ask For a Better Day!

My Mother's Day plants for a shady porch

What more can a gardener ask for than a day of puttering? That's what I did ALL day on Mother's Day. A great way to celebrate for me. My wonderful son came down from Boulder to visit yesterday (Saturday) and took me to a local nursery where I got to pick out some container plants. Spending time with my son and getting new plants too... can't ask for more than that! I always admit to just a "bit" of prejudice, but I believe I've got the most wonderful son in the whole universe. Not only that, but he comes with a fantastic Daughter-in-Love and two terrific grandchildren. I'm very fortunate indeed.

Last Show of Tulips

My tulips are on their way out and it's sad to see them going this year. They have never been more beautiful, probably because of the never ending winter we recently experienced. Spring was more appreciated than usual. Here are some photos I took on my morning "pick-me-up and get the day started right" walk. I'm thinking that the last tulips to bloom seem to be the most dazzling. Guess they want to end their show with a big bang so we will remember them all year. I know I cetainly will!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Mother's Day 2007

Garden that I have dedicated to my Mom

Monday, May 7, 2007

Magnolias in Colorado?

This weekend I visited an open house held by a local gardener who is really passionate about Magnolias. I LOVE magnolias! I love every picture I see of a Magnolia. So, when I read an article about Orange Magnolia in our local newspaper I just had to go see. Many of the trees had been deleafed by a heavy spring frost, but I did get a photo of this Canary Magnolia. I plan to go back when more are in bloom. For more information about their magnificent Magnolias I have added their link to this blog. It's great to see someone living their passion and helping promote these beautiful trees in our temperamental climate.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

My Struggle With Red & Yellow Tulips

I like the blue/purple Vinca in this primary color combination

While attending (a long time ago) graphic design school, I learned the impact of color choice depending upon what message you wanted to convey to your targeted audience (people you want to impress). The colors red and yellow stimulate the appetite (which heaven knows I don't need) and tend to make people hurry. Fast food restaurants were used as examples. I don't know if that was imprinted on my creative drive or not (probably so) but I've never really liked that color combination. Probably because I tend to prefer a cooler pallette, blues, purples, etc. I like to use these colors in a "hot" landscape because it cools things down a bit.

Well, DS (Dear Spouse) once in a while takes it upon himself to make some plant choices to prove that I'm not in total control of all landscaping decisions (ha.... little does he suspect). One year, and since he knew what my answer would be if consulted, he secretly planted a bed of red and yellow tulips. (Actually, his choices are usually made by what is on sale rather than a sense of design.) When they came up the next spring I was thrilled with how they enhanced the garden where they were planted. Sooo... I've since gotten over my colorsnob attitude and am enjoying the red and yellow tulips. When I really think about it, I don't think I've ever seen a flower color I don't like. Every one of them thrills me. Let's go plant some more combinations!

Friday, May 4, 2007

A Hardy Little Trooper.... "Jack Is Back"

Brunnera macrophylla False Forget-Me-Not, Alkanet, Jack Frost

Yea!! I am always relieved to see this beautiful plant re-emerging. Now in his 3rd year, "Jack " resides in a dappled shade garden. He would be quite a bit larger were he not in such a windy, harsh place. But Jack can take it... he's a strong little trooper. As you can see I gave him at least some protection from the cold south wind that ravishes this area by creating a micro-climate close to this Iris. Jack is very cold hardy (thank goodness) and brightens up a shade garden with his electric blue flowers and frosty silver leaves. He's one of my favorites.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

New Colors... New Gardening Inspiration!

New Inspiration

Okay, it's time for a change. I know these colors are probably "faddish" and other people have used them for years, but they are new to me this year and I am getting very inspired and anxious to add to my collection. I love what I call "Santa Fe blue." If you've ever been there you know what I mean. It's that bright eye-shocking, electric blue they use to set off many gardens and plants. (Also love the bright purple too!)

The "Front Porch Garden" above is where I would like to put them. However, being in the front it is quite susceptible to STEALING. There must be a place at the bottom of a scummy pond that is reserved for people who steal other people's flowers. It is difficult to believe there are scumbags that mean and evil who would take such joy away from others. I have had several beautiful arrangements stolen from my yard, and we live in a very quiet, nice neighborhood. One year they actually took off with a 3' planter box filled with beautiful salmon geraniums and bright blue lobelia (gorgeous!). It was bolted down to a brick retaining wall.

Anyway, I regress... I'll find a nice spot out back. Wouldn't these colors look nice with my front porch garden though??

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Wet Spring Day

Lilacs are starting to bloom. They were lucky to survive the hard spring frosts.
I love to smell them!

Sedum Autumn Joy

This Artemesia Silver Sage looks so lovely in the rain, especially when the sun comes out.

The gardens are enjoying receiving large quantities of "God's water" today. At least an inch starting last night. The first big thunderstorm of the season and we escaped hail here (knock on wood)! I'm holding my breath for this afternoon.