Sunday, November 22, 2009

Amur may be "no more"

Remember how disappointed I was the last few years because my Amur Maple wouldn't turn red in the fall? Well, it did this year. Glorious, huh? I was certainly pleased over my late bloomer. And it only took four years.
Even the fallen leaves in the birdbath below the tree were beautiful.

We had 16 inches of snow fall over a couple of days in late October but the tree held up.

But last week we had another snowstorm, only 10 inches this time. But it was a much wetter snow and most of it came in the night while I was asleep and not out there knocking snow off the maple's branches.

Uh-oh. This can't be good. Not sure it will survive this but at least it finally turned red before it ends up dead.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


One of the leaders on birding field trips I used to go on would mark down any birds that he couldn't get a good glimpse of as LBBs -- Little Brown Birds. I have my fair share of little brown birds in my backyard at the feeders and at the bird bath.

Look at us, we're just little brown birds.
Not me! Check out this red breast.
That's not bad, but we'd rather have some REAL color, like that guy in the yellow and black.

Or even that noisy blue fellow.
But no, we're destined to be just little brown birds. At least there are lots of us.
But even a crowd is no match for a squirrel who wants our dinner.
Call in the big guns!
And their brothers.

You all do what you need to do, this little brown bird needs a drink.
And peace and quiet to enjoy the garden. Even if we are little brown birds.
With thanks to the house finches, goldfinches, bluejays, and magpies. And no thanks to the squirrel.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Fairies and such

When my Adorable Granddaughter and her friends play, they make fairy gardens out in the flower beds and under the bushes. Well, grandma likes fairies too so I thought I'd give her the ingredients for a fairy garden for her next visit to my house. I gathered together all these tiny implements and added them to a few items that I've collected from garage sales, including the mixing bowl I put the sand in.

I added a gnome. And there's a hoe, little shovels and rakes, and a watering can. At this point I wanted to play in it, too.

Adorable Granddaughter has her ideas about what a fairy garden should look like. First you take all that stuff out and add flowers.

And a lizard with a watering hole, and can't forget the fairy doll.

All done! But oops, there's no room for the little house. Which worked out nicely, since she took it home with her to use in her own fairy gardens.

Since Adorable Granddaughter's visit, I haven't noticed any fairies around but I did see a mermaid.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Things I ignore....

There are parts of my garden I never pay any attention to. I might give them a glance now and then and think, "I ought to do something about that" but I never actually do. This first tangled mess is off to the side of my front porch. The ground slopes away here and nothing I like ever grows successfully in this spot. So the volunteer morning glories have taken over, backed by the obnoxious 4 o'clocks. The morning glories are not Heavenly Blue so I despise them. I'm not sure what those tall spikes are in back but I do remember planting a Mock Orange here once. Surely that's not it, my nose would know.

Then there's a bed of Snow in Summer, or is it Snow on the Mountain? I'm never sure till I look it up, but I don't really care either. It's also called Bishop's Weed. Which fits in perfectly with the theme, since that's Yellow Archangel in the back. One of those plants you wish you'd never laid eyes on one time and thought it might be a good idea. It's not. At least both these culprits are confined in this bed and any seedlings that escape promptly get mowed. In keeping with the religious theme this is also the final resting place for a succession of gerbils, pet rabbits, and cats over the years. I guess this is actually the burial bed - no wonder I ignore it.

Okay, this is a little embarrassing and I swear I'm going to cut this volunteer hollyhock down soon. It's starting to swat at my car as I drive into the garage.

I could pretend this corner looks pretty good at times, but that wouldn't be true. There seem to be volunteer bushes growing here, though the huge pussywillow in the back was planned. I have to admit I never thought that stick of a plant would get so big. I used to plant tomatoes in a couple of wooden barrels that you can barely see but I kept forgetting to water them so I quit.

Here's my biggest disappointment of the year and much as I'd like to ignore them they're front and center and I see them every day. My gauras - Whirling Butterfly. Remember how pretty they were a couple of years ago? Age hasn't improved them and nary a bloom in sight this summer or last. They'll be history in the fall.

In the back yard I have this 12 foot square that used to be a sandbox for Dear Son. He's 30 years old now. Nature has taken over. She apparently thought that Russian Olives would look nice here and also a huge weed that gets about 6 feet tall and has sticky burrs and woe to anyone who brushes up against them. I felt really bad for this phone company guy who had to get his ladder in there the other day. Well, I didn't know he was coming, did I? Hope he didn't trip over a rotted wooden post with a martin house on top that I know fell over in there a couple of years ago.

One day last spring The Dubious Gardener sent over a tree man to trim some limbs and while he was at it "tear that ivy off the house". I might have been more upset about that except I accidentally tore part of it down last year and then the rest of it started falling down. I hardly ever walk around to this side of the house and when I did the other day I was surprised to see Virginia Creeper taking over. It's not ivy and I'll soon be yanking it off the overhead phone lines but I might ignore that too. Wonder if the phone company man can?

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Not bad....'s only been a little over a month since my last post. Which means I missed July. But I have a good excuse. It's summer in Colorado which means the relatives come visiting, and I got a double whammy with relatives from both sides of the family. It was lots of fun and only slightly hectic.
It's a good thing it rained so much or my garden might have felt neglected. This is my new favorite garden ornament, an Everlasting Allium. Pretty cool, huh?

The canna lilies that I bought at Home Depot are blooming their heads off. I have three in the little pond and these two in a corner. Everytime a bloom fades there's another one waiting in the wings. I'm thrilled.

Here's a closeup of the red one. Those emerging buds look a lot like birds-of-paradise, don't they? I love this carmine-red color.

I found this yellow jug at a garage sale on my way to work last Friday. (I'm always late on Fridays). I thought $5 was a decent price for it.

I think the Nicotiana Sylvestris looks like candles in the dusk. Or maybe like clusters of candelabras. I'm really fond of these towering flowers. I don't have as many as I used to because my little maple tree is getting bigger and shading more of the front bed. But these few really make me happy.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


My daughter thinks I'm pathetic for neglecting my garden blog. I agree. So at the risk of not getting 8 hours of sleep tonight (when does that happen?) I'll attempt to redeem myself and post a few photos. We've had an amazing amount of rain in June - almost 4 inches - which for our semi arid climate is pretty much like a rain forest. It also means my plants won't start dying of neglect for at least another month.

For years my garden colors were mainly pink, blue, and white. Now all I seem to want is a riot of color. Maybe it's all those vacations in Mexico. Here's what I found at Lowe's last weekend - a Gerbera daisy called Lollipop. Bright enough?

And a complimentary's that for a match?

I found these cannas at Home Depot. Must have been a fresh shipment as they were in great shape. I read that cannas are marginal plants for ponds and can take water up to 6 inches. Hope that's right. If not, well they look pretty now. And I don't think there's room in the pond for much more. But those water lettuce can start multiplying any time now.

I found a great green-glazed strawberry pot at a garage sale for 6 bucks. I was thrilled. But I probably shouldn't have planted these purple petunias in the pockets since I can no longer see the planter. Or the lovely blue salvia in the top that a friend gave me. Who knew those petunias would do so well after I squeezed the life out of their rootballs trying to smash them into those little pockets? I'll plan better next year - or not.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Belated elf

La Gringa had one of these posted on her blog and I thought it was so funny I had to make one, too. Christmas may be over, but the elves don't know it, and besides, it's still snowing.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Cow Snow

We have a saying in the Denver area: If the air smells like cow_ _ _ _, it’s going to snow. True. That’s because fifty miles north of us is the small town of Greeley that claims the largest beef processing plant in the country. Have you ever smelled a feedlot? When the prevailing winds shift and come from the northeast, those are upslope winds that bring the biggest snowstorms. And the smell of cow manure. So if we smell Greeley that means snow.

Today it sure smelled like Greeley, but the flakes were few and far between. And it was preferable to the smell of jet fuel which is what we usually get at work. We’re across the street from a busy regional airport. No wonder I want to come home and smell the flowers. But there aren’t any.

Come to think of it, maybe we weren’t smelling Greeley after all. The National Western Stock Show started this week. All those stockmen brought a lot of cattle to town. In fact, they parade them down the streets of Denver to kick off the show.

About 30 Longhorn cattle from the Searle Ranch in Monument are driven by cowboys on horseback up Wynkoop street towards 17th Ave for the beginning of the National Western Stock Show Parade on January 15, 2008. (Post / Helen H. Richardson)
I’m probably not going to the stock show. I went once about 20 years ago. But I'll salute the spirit of the festivities with my version of a cowgirl outfit from Halloween a few years back.

And it still smells like Greeley outside.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

10 months...but who's counting?

I can hardly remember how to make an entry on my blog, but it's starting to come back to me. It seems that I've taken almost a year off and while I've been occupied with other things, you all have been gardening and visiting each other and with any luck (and lots of time) I might actually catch up on some of your activities.

My garden was lackluster this past summer and Christmas is over but I can combine a bit of both in the photo above. Remember my Pink Flamingo ? He became a part of the holiday decorations this year. Two visitors to my house recently commented that the flamingo is the ugliest thing they ever saw, but I'm enamored of it.

Once the hustle and bustle of the holidays was over I decided I should do a jigsaw puzzle. Years ago my mother-in-law used to have a puzzle in progress every Christmas Eve and we'd all contribute to putting it together. That memory surfaced recently so I found a puzzle in the basement that I'd gotten at a garage sale. See the missing pieces? But there's also an extra piece that is a duplicate of another one. But it was worth fifty cents anyway.

A belated Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all!