Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Shout Heard 'Round the Yard.

Each morning I have my routine. Most mornings I am up around 5. I run water through a coffee pod and sit down with my iPad to read your latest post. I can spend an hour or more just reading and commenting. Really I should be out taking a long morning walk. Once I have had my yogurt and banana and get dressed, I wander about the yard, inspecting everything, pulling a weed here and there and every where. Monday, I let out a shout that could be heard around the yard. I yelled for the Head Gardener who was inside on the computer. Last time there was such a yell I had fallen on a patch of ice and couldn't get up. He could not hear me because he was sleeping with a c pap machine. Fortunately the neighbor heard me. I had broken my ankle, a very serious break, but that is another story. So you can imagine the look on his face when he appeared on the patio. He had a right to be terrified because I had a near fall the other day when I lost my balance and nearly fell out of the raised bed off the patio. I landed on my feet in the lawn, a miracle indeed for had I not it would have been a very bad fall. With blood and broken bones. Anyway.

"I have grapes," I announced proudly, followed with an apology for scaring him so badly.

We planted the grape vine 3 or 4 years ago and it has done nothing. It is supposed to climb and run across the top of the wall underneath the soffit and produce an abundance of grapes. Each spring I cut it back and tie it to the trellis. This spring, however, with the work done on the patio, I let it go and then it got too big to handle and now I have grapes. Not many, but there will be grapes. They may be seedless Concords. I may add another grape out in the garden to grow on the berry trellis now. I feel confident. I do need to do research. Perhaps I should prune in the fall. Or not all. 

I am so impressed with the peonies this year. Never have I had such gorgeous flowers. I chalk it all up to the abundance of moisture that we have had beginning last fall with rain and then snow through the winter and a wet spring.

I looked up the names of the peonies that we purchased at the iris farm, and I think this one is Hermione. Isn't she just gorgeous? I should measure the size of the bloom. I have my little white pitcher packed full and what a sweet perfume they add to the living room.

Mother Nature is so exquisite. The peony blooms are tightly packed into a nearly perfect ball that grows each day; then one petal at a time it slowly opens up.

My treasures are adorned with another pretty bouquet. The tea cup was a gift from my step grandma Hazel when I was just a little girl. The loving sister with her little brother on her lap plays "This Little Piggy." My grandmother bought the figurine on a trip with her sister to Kansas City. When she brought it home, she told me that it would be mine when she was done with it. That happened August 6, 1959 when I was about 12. I often thought that if the house were to catch fire, this figurine would be the one thing I saved. The bunny rabbits are thrift store finds. The doll was my mother's sister's doll. I have a photo of two year old Margorie Nell holding her doll and a teddy bear dating probably back to 1911. I collect swans, too. The far left is a porcelain figurine sold by Home Interiors and Gifts, a direct sales decorating accessory company that I worked for many years ago. The other three are thrift store treasures. The doll in the back on the right was my husband's grandmother's. It was a Christmas gift from her teacher.

In the front courtyard, the roses are just starting to show off.

Top left: David Austin Tess of d'Urberivilles, a Thomas Harding heroine. If you love Jane Eyre, you would certainly enjoy this 17th century novel. Top right and below is First Prize, a Weeks Rose that is a stunning beauty as it slowly unfurls several big blooms. Bottom left: Gertrude Jekyll. I chose this photo because it was supposed to look like she was peeking out from under her cover of beautiful green leaves, but the effect seems to be lost. Still to bloom pink yet in this garden: James Galway, another David Austin, my climber. The yellow St. Patrick seems to struggle, but has a small bud developing.

Veterans' Honor has a very crisp, pure red blossom. And always produces an abundant number of blooms.

This little ground cover is doing her job. I just love her dainty pink flowers.

Sea Pink adds a splash of color next to the gray moss rock of the water garden. Soon she will fade. I will dead-head her, hoping to encourage another round of pink pompoms.

The clematis in the corner has just gone wild. I usually give her a good pruning, but because it was so cold this spring I just didn't it cut back; now I am paying the price. There is lots of vine and not many blooms so far. 

Did I add that I adore pink?

The rest of the photos will be a hodgepodge. I got carried away photographing this morning.

As I began the post talking about inspecting the garden each morning, I should have mentioned that some mornings don't turn out so well such as the morning I found the main stem of my newest rose planted last summer broken to the ground. I am guessing wind. The stem was very tall and should have been staked, I suppose. It was loaded with beautiful pink buds. :(

Plant find of the week at Lowe's: a tray of a variety of sedum. I just have not decided where I want to plant it.

Gadget of the week: this watering meter. Sometimes it is just really hard to decide if I should water or not, so I am finding this gadget very handy. It came with a lengthy plant list with water requirements. 

If flowers are the soul of the Garden Spot then this is the heart of the Garden Spot: the watering system. I do not pretend to even understand it. The water comes from run-off when the hay field is irrigated. The irrigation comes from two wells that six home owners share, taking turns on a 3 week cycle. The run-off is collected in large cement tank under that mound of grass. It fills up pretty quickly when the hay gets irrigated. A pump inside the barn pumps the water from the tank to the underground irrigation lines. It works just like any other automatic sprinkler system with at least 9 zones that can be programed to run for a certain time. The system does not automatically come on; the Head Gardener has to flip the switch and can determine which zone needs the most water. Right now he has it dug up so that two more valves can be added. We use very little city water to water. Right now we use city water to water the vegetable garden. Our 5 acres is one of six that were subdivided from the original farm and we all have use of the farm's original wells. Indeed water is an important part of land management. We would not have purchased a parcel of land that could not be irrigated. There are many farms here that have been developed in the same manner, but the water has been sold off, so home owners end up with large parcels of weeds or if they are lucky native grasses. But little can be done without irrigation.

 As he has worked on the underground portion of the irrigation system, he had to remove the holly hocks that grew by the barn door. They were harmless enough and added some color, but they had to come out. He left one clump. There will be only one stem blooming this year. I caught that little white pony Pop with his head stuck through the fence nibbling on some fresh greens.

My current project has been to reclaim the center garden. It is a dumb place for a garden right in the middle of the front drive way, creating a circle drive. Not quite a circle, more of a tear shaped, it grows wild and so unruly. I let it get away from me last year, so this year I am desperately trying to get it look like a garden. Previous owners planted aspen trees and ponderosa pines that are growing so big that soon we may have to think about removing some of the aspen. They are finally maturing enough that I have a shade garden that I am trying to get started. Aspens are really pretty trees, but they are supposed to be short lived and send up suckers. The Vinca Minor is out of control. The bird bath is nearly hidden. It's contents are the results of some imaginative garden nymph. (Elinore).

I like this view. I want to get a climbing vine. I tried morning glories. The seeds didn't even germinate. I think I planted a clematis once. It didn't make it. So I am thinking a honey suckle vine.

I have worked very hard to clear the path from the weeds, mostly dandelions and thistles gone wild. The vinca has also taken over the path.

I have dug some out, but mostly I just pull it out. It will probably come back, so I will have to keep at it. I am going to leave some vinca because I do like it, just not an entire forest.

So the path at both ends is clear; now I have the middle under the aspens to clear. I am going to spray the path and put down Preen to deter the weeds and then get a very fine bark mulch to help define the path.

Sundance is gaining back his golden color after shedding his dull winter coat. He did not winter well at all, and he seems to have recovered from his spell of colic, though he is still thin. Last year he was too heavy. For an 18 year old, he still has plenty of spirit. Pop needs a bath. From show pony to retired. At 25, he's got plenty of spunk too. But mostly the boys just like to eat.

The end of another day at the Garden Spot. I didn't get much work done today. Tomorrow I will go to town and buy the compost that I need to plant a few plants and see if I can find bark mulch. The weather for a Colorado June is still rather cool and a bit wet. Nice weather to work in. 

I need to get to bed now. See you in the morning. 

Thanks taking the time to visit with me. 


  1. Heavens to Betsy Ann what a lot you have going on in your garden - such a lot to talk about. Considering how bare everything looked a few weeks ago, everything seems to be going bananas in your garden right now. I am loving all your lovely roses - I have Gertrude Jekyll too I love her fragrance. Your peonies are absolutely gorgeous - I really must try to find room for some more I only have one dark red one - the pink ones are beautiful and look lovely in your posy on your china cabinet with all your lovely trinkets.

    That picture of the clematis bloom is my favourite I like the composition with the blurry background - excellent. It looks like you have a big job on your hands clearing that overgrown patch - mother nature does take advantage when you leave something alone for a while and vinca is so hard to get rid off - things just want to grow.

    Your horses are looking in fine fettle in that sunny picture such a peaceful scene. Enjoy the rest of the week and don't work too hard.

  2. This was a nice tour around your yard where all kind of things happen. It is indeed so exciting to discover the first grapes in years. Best time for pruning grapes is in December when the sap flow in the vines has stopped.
    You have some lovely roses of which I have Gertrude Jekyll and Tess of d'Urbervilles. I bought Tess because I read Thomas Hardy's book. Fortunately the rose is very nice too.
    We have more in common: Lovely little treasures in your cupboard where I see exactly the same swan which I also found in a thrift store in our neighbourhood.
    I see your garden keeps you busy too but it's nice to see the horses grazing comfortably in their meadow when you are out in the garden.

  3. Hi Ann!
    We are really starting to love horses in our family. Kelli has a barn and three horse board there, so we get to see their pretty faces on a regular basis.
    Your land, your work, is gorgeous. So vast! I can barely keep up (ha!) with my little earth.
    I am having a quieter day today, looking at my books, papers, pens and pencils, and feeling blessed.
    Have a wonderful weekend!

  4. Hi Ann,
    Your peonies and roses are so beautiful. What a gorgeous garden. And grapes! We have them, too, although I never planted any. Our neighbour did, though, along our shared fence. She says we can have whatever grows on our side. So for the last couple of summers we've enjoyed juicy Concords. I made grape juice concentrate last year and it was so good in the winter. Our neighbour doesn't care for her vines at all, yet they keep producing (her late husband planted the vine about 6 years ago.) I clip back our portion in the fall, but other than that they take care of themselves.

  5. My peonies are just starting to break out of the bud stage, yours are gorgeous. It would be exciting to have grapes after all this time, and it's a good thing the shout wasn't from a fall again.

  6. You had me holding my breath, did she break something again? Whew, good news it was grapes.

    I love the birdhouse, have one very similar that my Dad made me, and I have a very vigorous Golden hops growing up it.


  7. It is nice to see a beautiful garden with wonderful flowers! So nice to hear that you have got a grapes plant! Morning walk is very good for health!

  8. Congratulations on your grapes, Ann!!! Wow, that's exciting! My husband's grandfather used to have a Muscadine vine, and he also had the most wonderful apple trees. He really like to grow things.

    Your peonies are just GORGEOUS!! I'm determined to plant some next year, as I have seen so many beauties on the various blogs this year. It's neat to see your Gertrude Jekyll rose -- don't you love the fragrance? I enjoy ours so very much!

    When is your family reunion scheduled? Good luck in getting everything ready; that's quite a job, but I know everyone will have a wonderful time! Enjoy your weekend. :)



  9. You are retired, and you get up at 5? Years of habit? LOL I am retired, and I get up at 8! But I've always been a night owl. I'd be excited about the grapes too. Heck, I get excited at the first cucumber and tomato every year. You've been busy, busy out there in the yard. Isn't it nice to have time for it all?