Wednesday, October 26, 2011


I wanted to write about the tress where I work at the University of Northern Colorado while they were in full color.   With two new residence halls that have been built, the new landscape around the halls shouts wonderful fall colors. So Sunday I had to run back to the university library to check out a video on Emily Dickinson that I had forgotten on Friday. I had been wanting to photograph the campus in its fall colors, but the trees in Greeley were slow to turn. Once, however, the colors began to come, the drive through town was just so beautiful. Sunday beautifully sunny  and not a cloud in the blue sky was golden yellow with splashes of red and burgundy, accented with the olive, sage, and pine greens of the evergreens. It was the best day to photograph the campus.

A chorus line of color down 11th Avenue

The long walk I take to get from my office to my 8 AM literature class

My favorite little tree on campus

Harrison Hall, one of the older residence halls

From James A. Michener Library 2nd floor: 
Bishop Hankcock home of Athletics, Sports Sciences and Medicine, the Rec Center, and gym.

The red maple are so brilliant. Most red maples in the area are small because they are fairly new to Colorado landscape design.

 Residence Halls in the distance and Ross Hall in the foreground where my office is located. No. I do not have a window.

From the University Center second level: The Rocky Mountains with new snow.

"Home of UNC Bears." "Beware the the Claw"--university tee shirts read. Our mascot has always been the bear. Since I was an undergrad in the late '60s, an Alaskan bear totem was always in the center of the student center. It was a part of campus landscape for as long as any alum could remember. A few years ago some one doing research on the totem discovered that it was stolen from a museum in Alaska and some how ended up at the then Colorado State College, so the university righted the wrong, the totem has been returned to its rightful home and now the giant bronze grizzly stands sentinel over the campus.

Our campus is lovely. The grounds are well kept since a horticulturist was hired a few years ago. I stopped one day between classes to compliment one of the yard crew telling him how beautiful the campus was looking. He seemed to appreciate that someone was noticing his and his crews hard work. UNC is a small liberal arts school with and enrollment of about 12,000. Best known as a teacher's college, the university is also know for other academic programs: an outstanding school of music and performing arts, business, psychology, to name a couple.

And then this is what we awoke to this morning. 

The weather reports had been predicting snow for this week. Usually they are wrong or the storm misses our part of the state, but it started snowing before we went to bed. The power went out about 11 PM. We knew that the storm leave about 8-10 inches, but we were caught off guard with the severity of this storm. By 6 AM this morning, I knew that the university was closed due to damaged trees and downed power lines. The university Never shuts down for any reason. The noon news showed pictures of the campus. The destruction and loss of trees will be immense. The snow this time of year is wet and heavy and clings to the leaves still on the branches. The weight of the snow breaks even the strongest branches. The trees here at the Garden Spot are badly damaged, too.

I have had a love/hate relationship with this Russian Olive that grows at the edge of the patio. Its redeeming qualities: provides shelter and cover for birds, has a lovely scent in the spring, and shades the patio. On the down side, it is a very dirty tree, dropping flowers in the spring, seeds in the late summer, and leaves in the fall. I have wavered back and forth on whether or not the tree should come down. Well, the tree has lost by default. Mom Nature had her way, I guess. I am thinking a red maple as a replacement.

Branches hang low, low, low over the patio barely missing the living room window.

Using a broom to shake off some of the snow, hubby soon gives up.

 A main branch broken down to the ground

The front court yard a blanket of snow. Sleep well little daffies.

My beautiful apple tree that I had such great plans for next year. Hopefully the branches will bounce back once the snow melts.

The broken branches of one tree through the broken branches of another tree. Once a thick, full pine tree, this tree will have broken limbs for sure.

Flash back to the week-end (and previous post) we planted daffodil bulbs and 3 peonies.

Tool of the month: an auger that attaches to the battery operated drill. This tool really reduced the amount of time that it took plant the bulbs. A must have for all gardeners. This one is a 24 inch augur purchased at Ace Hardware for $25.

An action shot.

The bulbs are now blanketed in a moisture rich bed hopefully absorbing food and water to grow into the most beautiful display of daffodils that the Garden Spot has ever seen.

The snow will melt only to reveal just how much damage has been done to the trees not only at the university and in the all the cities of Northern Colorado, but here at the Garden Spot as well. There is little that we can do except to clean up the mess and prune the trees so that they will fill in as they continue to grown. Our daughter's works for a tree service in Denver where is trained to evaluate damaged trees and recommend treatment, so she can help us assess the damage. We will lose two for sure, the Russian Olive and the weeping willow out by the garden that struggles to hang on. From the golden glow a warm fall days to the cold grip of winter, I love the changes of the season, but today's storm was a little much. By the noon, over a 100,000 homes were without power, though ours came on about 10:30 in the morning. While not anything near the damage that Irene did, this one will be a costly one. Let the winter weather begin. Here's wishing you all sunny days with or without bad weather.


  1. Wow, snow already!! It always looks pretty but then you go out in it and it is deep and dangerous. Lovely photographs of the campus and all the beautiful trees!! Keep warm and safe, Jackie in Surrey, UK.x

  2. Hi, Ann! You got more snow than we did! I'm waiting for it to get light so I can take a good look at the trees.
    I loved your photo tour of the campus!

  3. Now that's a sudden change- you should have burned a zinnia! We had a storm like that in October of '87- unforgettable. Tons of damage, power was out for almost a week, AND I was caring for my newborn son and 23 month old daughter. They're predicting a rain/ snow mix here tonight and we haven't even taken down the fort yet :( Great pix and I'm glad you got your bulbs in on time!

  4. I'm shocked to see so much snow in your photos. Although beautiful, it does look a tad too heavy. Let the winter begin. Keep safe. :)

  5. Very similar to what we are seeing down here. The area near the Denver Zoo was hit the hardest. Some damage on my end of town and our maple does have some broken branches in it. I think it may be possible to save the Russian Olive at least until we can get something new planted to start growing. An Autumn Blaze Maple should do nicely-not a red maple. They don't do so well here. We can removed the large downed lateral limb. Does dad have a come along? We could use a come along and some eye bolts and seven strand wire and cable the upper branches back together. The apple trees we will need to think out. More air flow and less surface area to collect snow is the key. It is so sad. We are removing several trees because their trunks were just split in half. There is still time to plant trees yet this fall. We haven't even started our fall tree plantings.

  6. I really hope there won't be too much damage to your trees but I am seeing some horrific damage in Boulder.
    It's too early for that much snow!

  7. Wow! It is really bad when the trees haven't lost their leaves and then the heavy snow piles up. Hope you can salvage some of the tree. And the color was so fantastic....I wish you could have had it a little longer. Stay warm.

  8. Oh my! It's way too early for all that snow! I admit, it's kind of pretty. But I grew up in Michigan, and I really dislike winter, cold and snow. You mentioned lantana being an annual there, it certainly is here too. But I keep it in a pot and overwinter it.

  9. Did you know that the first snow of the season is magical so I hope you made a wish. So sad about the tree.

  10. Gosh, that is a lot of snow and so early. I really hope your apple and other plants and trees recover ok. Stay safe x

  11. The snow is beautiful, but I know what you mean about tree damage. We had so much here, too, with our October snow. I LOVE the trees on your campus, and those views of the Rocky Mountains really make me pine for skiing out there!