Saturday, June 7, 2014


I was reminded of my formative years this morning as I chopped the rhubarb that I pulled last night. As a kid, it was my job every summer to freeze the rhubarb and to make apple sauce. The rhubarb wasn't so hard a task because I just had to pick it, cut it, cook it, then freeze it, nor was there an abundance of it.  Now apple picking was a project. We had four apple trees that probably dated back to the turn of the 20th century. They grew small, sour, worm infested fruit. I was not allowed to pull apples from the tree, only pick the windfall fruit, and there were windfall apples all summer once they ripened. Dad didn't spray the trees for apple worms, so they were pretty wormy, too. I cut the apples in quarters, trimmed out the worm gunk, cooked them, then had to put the cooked apples through the apple reamer, a long and arduous and tedious project. I simmered them in the pot until they were quite mushy, them reamed them, seasoned the sauce with sugar and cinnamon, and put the sauce in freezer containers.

I had a horse; riding was my passion. I always had to ask permission to go ride.I would ask? "Can I go riding?" Dad's answer was always the same: Make apple sauce or pick the rhubarb, if there was rhubarb, before I could ride. Summers were long and hot, but I had so much freedom when I rode my big sorrel gelding, Sailor. He was part Thoroughbred and part quarter horse,  a big horse, gentle, but fast and smart. I'd ride hard all afternoon with my friend on Table Mountain behind our homes west of Denver. Her's was a huge thoroughbred mare, Chico. We'd race across the mesa, full speed. Our hair blowing in the wind; our laughter filling the silence of the flattop mountain. At the end of the day I'd come home to wash off the trail dust and horse smell by swimming in our farm pond then take a nap before supper. Life didn't get any better. I loved the fresh apple sauce and the rhubarb sauce chilled on toast. So the labor was worth it, but I swore as a kid that once I grew up no more rhubarb cooking or apple sauce making.

And yet this morning I found myself recalling those sweet childhood memories. And honestly, the one hill of rhubarb is in this garden only at my insistence, for I am the only one who enjoys it. I will pour off the juice and try to make a punch like the one that the Women's League of Ft. Collins makes each year for the garden tour. It is so delicious, but an acquired taste, I am sure. We have two apple trees on the property, so I am hoping that they produce. The apples will be wormy because we don't spray either, and perhaps I will make apple sauce, too.

Now that chores are done, take a walk around the Garden Spot with me.

I had the telephoto lens, so I had to take a photo of the neighbors' horse . Isn't he a beauty?

Kids will be kids. While I find grackles most annoying, I had to photograph this youngster reading his mother the riot act. Boy, was his sassing his mama. Shame on him.

The peonies are finally blooming. They are very late this year, as is most everything else in the garden. We can usually count on them blooming by Memorial Day, making them a favorite for taking to the cemetery on Memorial week end. This beauty is one of three that I ordered 3 years ago from White Flower Farms in a package called Heritage or Heirloom blooms. Can't remember which. So there are three colors. This is first year that these 3 have bloomed and they will be spectacular.

This peony has had to heal from the burring I gave it when I fertilized that garden with hot horse manure last summer. I thought I had killed Raspberry Sunday. She is a very delicate pink and creamy white-- and buggy.

I had to replant the succulent garden when the beds around the back of the house had to be restructured after the patio and pergola were built. The south bed had filled in so nicely, but was totally uprooted with the digging out of the Russian Olive stump. I have added new plants, moved back some old ones, and mulched with pea gravel.

The succulent garden on the north side is healthier and prettier because it did not get as disrupted. I moved the hens and chicks from the south bed to save them. A bit of pea gravel makes the little bed looks amazing. Both of these beds need to be viewed from the patio looking down on them, giving the best view.

I like throwing in carefully placing large river rock or moss rock in the garden. I also like to stack rocks to add interest and a bit of whimsy and curiosity to the garden bed.

The Iris continue to bloom. Lemon yellow and deep dark purple emerged this week. They have names, but I don't remember them. Need to look them up, I guess.

And look at Miss Gertrude Jekyll. She moped about all last summer with yellow leaves, refusing to bloom, and growing 8 foot tall stems. But look a her this year, all smiles, and green, and pink and perfect--so far. Hope she keeps up the good attitude.

We hosted our HOA neighbors this week. Our first official gathering on the new patio. The one family has 5 children--4 little boys and 1 girl--and the other neighbor has two little boys. Naturally both moms were concerned about the pond, so the Head Gardener put up this fence that we used to keep Max out of the garden. It did keep the kids away from water's edge. I think we will leave it up to keep our little Lily away from the water.

Question of the morning: Do fish play? I cracked up watching the gold fish trying to swim upstream in the water that trickles down from the water fall, thinking perhaps they were really salmon. One even jumped out of the water to get to the next level.

They have really grown, too, since they were moved to the big pond. The water is still murky and probably needs another dose of algaecide.

At night I sew. I thought I would share my latest project: two Holly Hobby dolls that I made for two special little girls. I am getting better at structuring the heads. They actually look more like heads for these two. Previous doll heads looked more like peanuts morphed into potatoes. Each doll wears a nicely starched slip, pantaloons, a pretty dress, a pinafore, a bonnet, and little felt shoes. I hope the girls like them.

Each sweet doll has a heart full of love, made out love, given in love.

One little doll likes dragon flies, while the other loves lady bugs.

So as we head into the week end, what are your plans? The Head Gardener will be gone Saturday, so I may make a run to the local nursery. He did pull out all of the chamomile in the front garden (on one side) , so I need to decide what sort of plant material to add. It is mostly shade, so I'll have to shop around to see what shade loving plants attract my attention. Any suggestions?

What ever you do, I hope you have a wonderful week end.

Thanks for visiting The Garden Spot today.


  1. My you have been busy! I think we need to see a old pic of you and Sailor? Watch those thorns on that Gertrude Jekell, I had one and oh my the thorns! But yours looks beautiful, I love David Austin roses. When I was little I loved Holly Hobbie and still have my doll, and plates etc. Have a great weekend!

  2. You are a busy lady Ann. My peonies are about a week yet before they open but how I enjoyed yours this morning! I'm glad Raspberry Sunday survived, she's a beauty.
    And you sew at night, the Holly Hobby dolls turned out very nice.
    My hubby doesn't eat rhubarb, and I have 2 plants I grow for myself. I freeze mine raw after cutting it into chunks, and also share some with the neighbours next door.
    Enjoy your weekend.

  3. Lovely photo's from the Garden Spot Ann! That rhubarb compote looks delicious. It's one of our favourites!

    Happy weekend!

    Madelief x

  4. Hi Lynn,

    You are certainly leading a full and interesting life; I can't imagine that you would have time to miss your teaching job. :) This post is full of interesting things and I really enjoyed it. I know what you mean about the sweet childhood memories. We never grew rhubarb or apples, but we did have two horses when I was in high school, and I used to love riding them. As far as rhubarb goes, my husband really likes the flavor of rhubarb. I like it pretty well; we enjoy it best in strawberry rhubarb pie; the strawberries help to offset the tartness of the rhubarb.

    Your garden is really coming along -- love the succulent gardens! They're quite popular now, too. I am a BIG fan of Iris; I just love all the myriad colors they produce. Around here, I've heard the deep purple ones called Black Iris. I can't believe you have a Gertrude Jekyll rose!! That's what we have here -- our one and only rose bush. I absolutely adore it, and my husband really likes it too. It truly is a wonderful variety, and I know you'll enjoy the fragrance. Lastly, your Hobby Holly dolls are so sweet and charming. :) Those bring back memories, too. My sister was a big fan of all things Holly Hobby. You've done a terrific job -- love the dragon fly and ladybug on their hands. Did you sew the clothes as well? That's a gift your granddaughters will treasure forever!

    Thanks for sharing your wonderful garden and projects with us, Lynn. I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

    Big Hugs,


  5. How about Sweet Woodruff? (spelling?) I planted some in my less sunny spot.
    The dolls are lovely! I plan to do some doll making, too! I have orders from two grands to make American Girl dresses and once I get going, I think I'll like that! Really, you did a beautiful job!
    Your grounds look enchanting, Ann! My peonies were slow this year, too. When we meet at the Botanic Gardens, we'll have to talk peonies. I have some questions.
    Take care and thanks for your kind comments.

  6. The rhubarb looks yummy. You seem very busy as usual with lots of activities on the go. The roses and peony are very pretty, probably some of my favorite plants this time of year. The dolls are pretty too!

    P.S. In case you missed it, I replied to your Chelsea question back at

  7. Is your shade dry or moist? That makes all the difference! But epimediums would do well as would columbine, northern sea oats, variegated sedum, hosta, white heart leaf asters and pulmonaria to name a few. Beautiful peonies! :o)

  8. Loved the walk around the Garden Spot. I often make rhubarb compote, so delicious. Your Irises are really wonderful, great colours. And then you also made these pretty dolls, so nice to have lots of hobbies, it keeps us busy after retirement.