Monday, August 22, 2016

A Test Garden

I come to you this afternoon, coughing and sneezing, eyes tearing. No I don't have a cold. I have been cleaning and chopping Anaheim peppers, jalapeño peppers, and onions in preparation for making salsa. I needed a break, nor do I want to miss the deadline for Mosaic Monday with Maggie at Normandy Life. 

So this post will come to you in intervals.

Tomatoes need blanching, peppers and onions chopped in food processor.

Last Week in the Garden

Perhaps your husband does the same thing: You are occupied with something important, any thing. He comes rushing in the room breathlessly demanding that you have got to come see_______fill in the blank. Now we have hawks patrolling  the skies over the Garden Spot all of the time shopping for mice, voles, rabbits, hens. So what's the big deal? You gotta see this one. Grab your camera, he says. So I finally gave in to go have a look see. 

I was able to get quite close to this handsome fellow. We are not sure just which one it is. I kept creeping closer and closer, using my 300mm telephoto. He finally got tired of my spying on him, so he took off. There have several in the air the last several days, young ones learning how to hunt with their ever watchful parents near by perched on high electrical polls and in tree tops supervising the hunting lessons.

 While I was in the garden camera in hand, I took a few photos.

Late summer blooms and seeds: Sunflower and Dill. Nice garden companions. I like the contrast in texture, shape and color.

These are wild sunflowers left to  their own devices in the garden. We leave them because they are so pretty and later the birds will eat the seeds.

You will find a lot of pink in the garden, too.

Hollyhocks grow like weeds around here. The soft pink ones are my favorites

I get all queasy when I see my shades of pink zinnias.

Orange sings out loud and clear.

The multicolored ones make me smile, too.

The glads are winding down. I'll be sad to see them go. Next year I am ordering them from a good catalogue, instead of the supermarket margin bin.

You will notice that there is a lot of pink in my garden:

Cosmos Light Pink

Cosmos Darker Pink

Hibiscus (Heidi for short) Big and bold blooms for the end of summer.

The last of the cone flowers are fading.

A rather small dahlia that I am so thankful bothered to bloom. They were planted late in the north bed that only the brave dare to bloom.

First Prize in the north rose bed where the roses get too much shade, I suspect.

Still she makes me happy.

A Quiz of Some Sorts

  • We visit this place every year except the years that we forget to go.
  • It's free
  • It's eye candy for the gardener
  • Inspiration for the gardener
  • What do giant can of Campbell's Tomato Soup, an old high school building, and a hibiscus have in common?
Of course: Colorado State University's Test Garden. 

The old Ft. Collins School is now the home of the University Center of Arts. It is one of those classic old school buildings like the ones we might have gone to school in. Love the architecture. 

Here are few of my favorite photos. I took so many, but I only a chose a few to share.


The garden's web page explains that supplies donate plant material for the garden an volunteers plant the leaf slips. Yes, almost all of the plants come from leaf cuttings. A few plants were marked as planted from seeds. I found this most interesting.

Would you serve this beet to your family or guests: Bulls Blood. The plants are gorgeous, dark and mysterious. Something Henry VIII might serve.

Rows upon rows of our favorite annuals in every shade and color.

We had weekend guests who helped their grandson and his girlfriend move into their college apartment, so when I saw her photos of the garden I told the Head Gardener that we were going this year.

This is Moon Carrot. What an unusual plant. Here it is growing next rudbeckia and what an interesting combo this two make. 

There was so much plant material to see and ponder and wonder about. There is not a weed in sight or sickly bloom to be seen. The sun was warm but not hot, the breeze gentle, making a perfect afternoon stroll through the garden.

Meanwhile back a the Ranch

We have seen them flirting through the yard and finally one humming bird stopped by the feeder. 

And I'll leave you with our golden boy with the setting sun making him shine like the gem he is, even as he scratches his itch.

The salsa is done. The kitchen is a mess. Canning does make a mess and I cleaned up some of it along the way. I am tired. I took a taste of it and boy does it have a bit. I forgot wear gloves when I seeded and chopped the peppers, so they burn a bit. I made six pints that have quite a bite to them. I hope the salsa isn't too hot. 

Tomorrow I am going to make kraut burgers. Do you make them? I have 3 great heads of cabbage, so I am going to make them from scratch, including bread dough. I'll let you know how that goes.

Have a wonderful week. Thanks for stopping by.


  1. Your garden has some very pretty flowers, pink and yellow and orange! I'm partial to pink ones myself.
    Salsa will happen here later this week, I hope. Today is plums and green beans.

  2. These are such great photos, I can't do this sort of photography at all!

    I'm looking closely at the picture of your hawk. We have them all over, for at least the past 6 years and I think that's an oddity in the city other than the suburban land has been eaten up with communities. We have several nests overhead in our backyard. I haven't been so great at identifying them but we were up close to one the other day which was on the ground and poking and trying to kill a small bird. Hmmmmm...have to get used to this.


  3. My garden has a lot of pink in it also! I haven't grown dahlias, but have lots of Cosmos, pink, roses, and other pinky plants. It's a very calming colour mingled with blues and creams.

  4. Almost too many wonderful things in this post, Ann! :) Your flowers are gorgeous and we could do with some of your hawks here.
    The University garden looks beautiful and very interesting.
    I too like taking photos of dill flowers... unfortunately I don't have sunflowers.
    Have a great week!

  5. Wow, Ann! You are a busy bee! Gorgeous flowers!
    You took a wonderful photo of Mr. Hawk.

  6. Hi Ann, I'm imagining you busy making salsa, then stopping to write a post for Mosaic Monday, then getting back to the salsa, then adding photos, them canning the salsa. Such dedication should be rewarded! Love your flower photos, I've been studying them and wondering how you get the flower to stand out against a blurred background? I love that type of shot (macro?) but haven't ever known how to get the effect with my point and shoot Panasonic Lumix.
    Thanks again for taking the time to share your stories with us this week at MM. Enjoy those cabbage burgers!!

  7. Hello Ann, I am sure your homemade salsa is delicious. Awesome shots of the Hawk! Your flowers are lovely, I especially love the sunflowers, zinnias and cosmos. The University test garden is amazing. Love the sweet hummer and your golden boy! Wonderful photos! Have a great day and new week ahead!

  8. You are so lucky to be near a university test garden. I loved your flowers -- some of my favorites: zinnia, hollyhocks, cosmos (love how they dance in the wind). Your salsa sounds wonderful. Have a great week.

  9. And I thought I had a lot of pink in my garden!

  10. You have been very busy....pffft you must be tired after such a day. Husbands always interrupt us when we are busy, but this was a very special one. To be able to make a photo of a hawk so near is only once in a lifetime, I suppose, great.
    Beautiful photos of flowers as well in your own garden as in the Colorado University's garden.

  11. Your garden is so colourful and nice ♥

  12. Hi Ann, I starting reading your post earlier in the week and had to go and couldn't remember if I got to the point of leaving a comment - I see not.
    Homemade salsa sounds delicious and I'm sure with tomatoes and other veggies a mess is bound to happen.
    My gardens have been fading since the hot and humid weather came back in June so I do anticipate autumn with its cooler days. We're not used to these extremes and I've felt lethargic for a long time and it's not like me to neglect my plants. We'll definitely see who the survival of the fittest is.