Sunday, June 7, 2015

Granny's Cap and Others

My list of favorite flowers goes on for pages. I claim one week that roses are my favorite, but I love peonies, too; I just cannot get enough of daffodils in the spring. Next week I will profess my love for water lilies. Pansies rate right at the top of my list as well. However I have to admit that dating way back to my early childhood, the Colorado columbine holds a very special spot in my heart.

My grandparents had a cabin in the Colorado mountains west of Denver where I spent many weekends with my grandparents. I have written about my grandmother before, telling how she inspired my love of gardening and flowers. She taught me early about the Colorado columbine.

In 1899 Colorado school children voted to name  Aquilegia caerulea  the state flower. Commonly know here at the Colorado Blue Columbine, it grows as a native throughout the Rocky Mountains. In its native home, it grows at 11, 000 ft. in aspen groves, much as it grows here in our yard in the center circle. In the mountains it will bloom around the first part of July. Some call it Granny's Cap; I call it columbine.

My Monday Mosaic shows off my small collection of columbine, oddly enough most of which have been self starters, probably left overs from previous gardeners who lived here, demonstrating what a hardy perennial they are, that they a self starters, and come in an array of colors and styles for the very pale yellow in the first frame to frilly multi layered bloom in the bottom frame.

I tried to look up the name of the one grows wild in my court year shown in the bottom right of the collage, but what I found was a web site that carries seeds for 37 varieties of Aquilegia. If you are interested, check out the list at Swallowtail Garden Seeds. The columbine got a slow start this season, as have the rest of my plants because of our cold, crummy weather, but they are in full bloom now. I think daughter Heather gave me this columbine when she thinned out her garden. It is located in the flower bed at the back of the house. With its tiny, and delicate flowers, it adds height to that garden. Stunted by a Mother's Day freeze, she is not as full as she has been in years past.

So, what is your favorite flower--this week? And most interesting, what is your state flower?

My sweet little North Star cherry tree that always produces enough sour cherries for one cherry pie, was lucky to survive the winter. We lost our other two cherry trees that we planted out by the garden last summer. The Head Gardener dug them up last week and took them back the garden center where we bought them. Thankfully they honored their guarantee, giving us store credit so that we can replace them. By the looks of the little dwarf tree, the cherry harvest will be small. I may just donate  them to the robins this year.

This  tree lives aside the dwarf cherry tree on the south side of the house. As you can see it looks pretty pathetic. Heather was up this weekend and pronounced it dead, so we will have to cut it down. What a hole it will leave in the landscape. We have never been able to identify it, a non-fruit bearing plum, perhaps. This and the cherries were not our only tree loss this year. There are others.

What do you see in this two photos. If you are squinting your eyes or trying to enlarge your image on the computer screen, don't bother because the correct answer is "nothing." Friday we finally got out to plant the tomatoes, pathetic lot that they were. They were started in the office, nurtured, and coaxed, but didn't amount to much.  I have been trying very hard not to fuss anymore about the weather because it is the same old story and getting rather old for my readers to endure, so I am trying to be positive here. It was cloudy and thundering in the distance, but we were determined to get the tomatoes in. Half way through the planting, it started to sprinkle so we went in. When the sprinkle quit, we finished planting the tomatoes just as the it started to pour rain--again.

The next morning the HG came in from doing the morning chores to announce that all of the tomatoes were gone. Where'd they go, I asked? Then I remembered the pounding thunder storm that had hit late the night before. A short storm that slammed down the rain hard and heavy. It was too much for the weak little tomatoes. We had 3 left.

While the tomato were ruined, the holly hock forest thrived. We had planed to use Round Up on them but didn't get around to it. So they live and spread and live and spread. The bees will love them and the little girls will make flower girls out of them

So half of the garden is doing well. The onions and the garlic are doing great but will be taken over by dill soon. We have a mud hole in the corral. I picked up some mosquito granules to sprinkle in the water mess because it will take a while for the mud hole to dry up. That's how much rain we have had.

I have been enjoying your photos of your peonies. Finally mine are just beginning to open up. They smell so good. 

Raspberry Parfait is my favorite.

The plants are beginning to fill in around the water garden in the courtyard. I like the way they are hugging the rock edging.

And look at this fellow, a giant alum that is a self starter. I like this guy's spirit to set down roots in a strange place all by himself in the courtyard where I would never have thought to plant an alum.

I have a nice collection of water lilies, but so far the only one to bloom is this white one. I fear that I lost the yellow and pink ones. Darn.

When we went out to the plant the tomatoes the other morning, the HG fed the hens. We both heard it. That immature eeeerrreeerrr of a young rooster. Drat another one rooster. The HG wasn't sure what he heard, but then the chicken uttered another hoarse, awkward eeeeerrerrrr. First, this chicken was supposed to be a black maran. Instead it turned out to be a cuckoo maran and now it is cock-a-doodle-doo maran. What will we do with two roosters? 

Some ask if we will eat them. No. 
Will we sell them? No. 
They are here to stay. 

The chicken accommodations, then, are being expanded both in and out. The other rooster and two hens will share this new, roomy pen and will have a private suite in the other half the storage shed, turned potting shed, turned chicken house.

Finally, does anyone know what this plant is? It has been the garden maybe two years, but bloomed for the first time this week. As you can see, it grows in the middle of another plant. I have always wanted to dig it out, but never got around to it--gladly now. But I haven't a clue as to what it is.

Well, that's what's going on here at the Garden Spot. The rains perhaps have moved on. It will heat up now and perhaps we can get some work done--like plant the tomatoes that we bought in town this afternoon.

Have a wonderful week. Thanks for stopping by.


  1. Our columbine are still going strong - they have been in flower for weeks - they are such a good plant to have in the garden. Sorry to hear about your tomatoes hopefully your next lot will survive. I love the raspberry parfait peony so beautiful - I only have the common red one but it is still beautiful, shame that the buds open but the petal drop so quickly. Your pond has established so quickly, all those water lily flowers - beautiful. Have a wonderful week yourself - more sun, less rain we hope.

  2. We call them Granny's bonnets! I have several in the garden and they do tend to seed themselves and come up with all sorts of colours.

  3. Hello Ann, I just love all of your beautiful columbine flowers and plants. GORGEOUS mosaic! Your veggie garden looks great, I hope it does well. And I love your roosters! Have a happy Monday and new week ahead!

  4. Well Ann, you're quite the fickle gardener loving this plant one week and another the next week...and so am I! LOL Let's face it, we love all the plants and animals. That's a shame about your tomato plants, heavy rain, and hail can take a toll on our veggies and ornamentals for sure.
    I like 'Raspberry Parfait' too but don't have it, 'Kirinmaru' will be my latest to flower for the first time this year and I'm still waiting for blooms on 'Sorbet'.
    I can't see the pink flower too well, could it be a mallow of some sort?
    Thanks for linking to Mosaic Monday.

  5. Here we call Columbine Granny's Bonnet - similar to the nickname you wrote about. I love the color of yours. As for favorite flower - I've decided that it is the flower I am currently looking at. Saves me the trouble of having to decide.

    The Washington State Flower is the Rhododendron - and if you've been reading my blog you will see that it grows prolifically here.

    Great post - lots of info and pictures to enjoy.

  6. I have to say that iris are always my favourite flower, but I have a very soft spot for columbine too. Unfortunately, the only columbine I can find anywhere these days are tiny flowers, not the larger flowers that I remember from my mother's garden. I did find one pink and white larger flower in my garden this year, so I moved it to a better spot so that it will self-seed there for next spring. Our provincial flower is the trillium. Since it takes up to seven years for a trillium to flower from seed, it's illegal to pick a trillium or to dig one up, although not everyone here knows that. I love your raspberry parfait peony ... what gorgeous shades throughout that bloom!

  7. Oh I love columbines too and peonies and pansies and roses...oh I love them all. I am sorry to hear about the tomatoes though. I had to wait 2 weeks longer to get mine out because of the I am pampering the little tomatoes keeping them covered for a while.

  8. Every year it seems another few favourites don't return, and it's a sad day when you realize that.But that's the life of a gardener. I understand your it's not the rain, it's the heat, and the bugs...oh the bugs! Worst year ever!

    If it's eat-able it's Get some more tomatoes...even just one plant if you have to pay for them. Don't give in, fight for tomato justice!!

  9. Every year it seems another few favourites don't return, and it's a sad day when you realize that.But that's the life of a gardener. I understand your it's not the rain, it's the heat, and the bugs...oh the bugs! Worst year ever!

    If it's eat-able it's Get some more tomatoes...even just one plant if you have to pay for them. Don't give in, fight for tomato justice!!

  10. Glad I scrolled down to catch up ... Another lovely garden post. When we traveled all the time I thought it would be fun to get a pic of every state flower, a wish that started because of some great ones I got of columbines while visiting our CO family. I never managed to get time to look for the rest of them though. So much to see, so little time. Sigh!