Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Sometimes You Just Have to take A Chance

The dog days of summer are upon us here in northern Colorado with temperatures expected to reach 95. Fortunately we do not have the humidity that many parts of the country have and generally we have a breezed that keeps the air moving, so you will find me a good part of the day on my patio enjoying bird song and the beauty of summer.

The drip system that Heather and the Head Gardner install for me Mother's Day has made all the difference in begin able to maintain beautiful hanging baskets and potted flowers. Come, let's sit on the patio this morning for a moment.

The patio is on the back side of the house, facing east, so we get full moving sun and shade in the afternoon. We had the pergola build three or four years ago and it has taken me a while to turn it into a pleasant outdoor room. I'd love to add an outdoor futon so that we can sleep outside on those hot, stuffy nights. The HG worries about raccoons. Raccoons?  I am thinking mosquitoes.

I found the rug the other day at Bed Bath and Beyond, perfect, and even more so because it was on sale. It was just the pop of color that I needed to pull the area together, to make it cozy. My pot of flowers, vines, and coleus are doing well this summer with consistent watering. I bought this lime hydrangea thinking that it would bloom white, but it is a yummy lime color. I have not planted in the ground; instead, it is living in its container. I am thinking that I will try to overwinter it in the container and store it in the garage. Should I?  I seem to kill them when they are in the ground.

The last photo in the mosaic is random. I took it only because I was amazed at the growth of the trees on the propriety since we moved here. We used to be able to drive the EZ-Go golf cart between these trees and bushes.

So, this is where you will find me on these dog days of summer, ice tea or water hand, a good book, or my laptop reading blogs, or maybe I will fall asleep. Snow Shovel, you ask? Yes that is a snow shovel. It's Colorado. We must be prepared for snow, sleet, and hail.

We have live here eight years. I still miss my old house; in fact, I dreamt about it last night. I go back to that house in my dreams often and in the dream it not being cared for and the new owners are thinking of selling and I'd like to be back there. Then I wake up and realize that I am here at the Garden Spot, still trying after these eight years to make it mine, to make it home.

On a whim, I decoded to reorganize the pantry. I got started late taking the photos, you don't see the real chaos that was taking place on the left. With my pantry, I found that I was just stuffing stuff in it. I would organize and reorganize, and finally Sunday I had had enough of the clutter, so I emptied it out. On the left you the beginning to the emptying out. I had flour for 2010. Lard to make bird cakes that had gone rancid. So I purged

The after photo on the right show a much leaner, more organized pantry where I can actually see what is in there.

I have two sets of melamine summer dishes for the patio, hoards of coffee cups and mugs that I never used, so I boxed up the cup, all except the special ones on the top shelf where I can't reach food items anyway. I put the dishes in the pantry on the top shelf where they are accessible along with the classes and various water containers.

Now all of my canned goods are in the same spot not he same shelf in easy reach. Now I will know when I am out of tomato sauce or beans. I hope I like the new arrangement. It took me eight years to get here.

Back in the garden, I am able to have hanging baskets thanks to a drip system. 

The last of peonies is blooming, this lucious pink one. I love it. Soon it will be gone.

And what would call this rose. You know it: Winchester Cathedral, one of my David Austins that survived the winter. I was shocked first to see that it survived the winter and then that it bloomed and now that is had a touch of pink.

Won't the be beautiful roses?

So that is all I have for today. I am always late. Blogging seems to be getting harder for me to do, but I am not ready to give it up, thought I am considering Instagram since so many of you are also there. I am finding the the dollhouse bloggers are not as conversational as my garden blogging friends and they seem to spend more time on Instagram too. So I may be joining--or not. What do you think?

Thanks so much for stopping by. I am in a bit of rush. The HG told me late yesterday that the old elementary school down the street is being torn down. When I drove by I saw the fence around it and knew that it was scheduled to be razed, so I want to go down to get some last photos of it. My husband when to school there and so did our daughters. Heather, the emotional one, will be devastated when I text her a photo today. 

Have a great week. Joining Maggie at Life in Normandy for Mosaic Monday, so join us.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Spring Blooms

April showers bring May flowers and more in June. Our wet and cool spring certainly inspired beautiful blooms that have begun to flourish these last few day. The first roses, First Prize and a unnamed rose in the court yard. Other's are ready to bloom. The peonies are glorious, too, especially since their garden bed has been cleared of the dead bushes. Another favorite, the allium always make me happy.

Iris have long been on my list of favorites. This is the dark, dark purple that I love so much. I have forgotten the name, The Dark Knight sounds good, but I don't think that is it's name.

This lemony yellow hasn't bloomed here often. I think I dug it up from one spot and moved it to another so it sometimes takes those transplants a while to bloom.

The camera really didn't quite capture the beauty of this lavender iris. Taken during the shady morning light probably made the color a bit off. It's still a pretty variety.

I thought you might like to take a stroll down the path in the center garden. I'll point out the new plantings along the way.

I have the grandsons this week. They always do a community service--rather a granny service for me. This time I will ask them pick up the pine cones out of the path. They make it hard to walk along the path. 

The hostas are really exciting this season. They are finally getting some size and will be beautiful all summer long unless they get hail. Hope not.

I finally broke down and bought two spring blooming, shade loving perennials, pulmonaria and a forget-me-not. I missed their blooms this spring, but next year they should be lovely.

On down the path we will round the curve to find a variety of columbine, or aquilegia.  I don't know how I ended up with several different varieties because I have never bought any. I never know what I will have from year to year. they are perfect growing beneath the aspen trees as the Colorado native, our state flower do, at higher altitudes where they bloom around the Fourth of July. 

This variety is the one that we know and love as our state flower.

These are the two new astilbes that we added to last year's that bloomed and even survived the winter, along with a spiderwort.


The alliums have gone wild here, too, thanks to granddaughters breaking off the large heads a few years ago and generous sprinkling the seeds about. When you buy allium commercially, you buy the huge bulb. I never thought that they would reseed.

They grow in clumps now. They don't get as tall as the original nor do the heads get as large, but these are fun to watch bloom out with the hundreds of little star shaped blossoms on each head.

This one is right by the front step.

Lastly, a new favorite, the geum. 

I have another one planted on in the center circle and one more to plant. They are easy growers and come in shades of orange. The one added a color to an otherwise dull spot.

Summer is in full swing. The grandsons always come to visit the week after school is out. We have plenty to do to keep them busy. I think a movie late this afternoon. The hay will be cut today, too. The Head Gardener had a hard time finding some one who wants to cut small averages. The fellow who has done it all along for us decided that he didn't want to do these small parcels. It will rain for sure with hay on the ground.

Have a great week. And thanks for taking time to visit. 

Monday, May 22, 2017

Life @ The Garden Spot

Hello Everyone. What a beautiful day we have. I have already enjoyed a walk downtown to have my sad, pathetic fingernails beautified and now I am avoiding doing dishes. The Head Gardener is in town having coffee with his buddies, as he does every Monday, and the roofing crew is on the roof pounding away. They will be here today until it starts to rain about 3 PM or if the wind gets too strong, sending them home early. So roof replacement? Five out of five and the hen house makes six.

Our roof damage occurred last summer with hockey puck sized hail, remember?  The two weeks ago a hail storm ravages parts of Denver some 70 miles south of us. Our son-in-law's SUV was right in the middle of that hail storm with golf ball and larger hail that pulverized Denver. My brother and I own a small four unit office building which is under contract to sell and, yes, roof number five. Most gratefully and thankfully, our insurers have been wonderful.

Hail one week and then snow the next. Last week we had rain and more rain and then rain that turned to snow. Those of you who live in snow zones know exactly how damaging spring snow can be to trees. We lucked out here at the Garden Spot. The HG did a lot limb and tree shaking, but Ft. Collins trees suffered. CSU had 800 trees damaged.

The sun does always return. Now for the fun part of today's post, the photos and Monday's Mosaic, Enjoy.

And What a Week It Was

Not a very good photo of Boone warming by the fire on a cold, snow Mid-May afternoon, dreaming of chasing cottontails, no doubt. I see images of people forging flooded roads on the news all the time, wondering why they aren't smart enough to---any way. Just like those folks, I trusted that my SUV would safely deliver me to the other side of deluge. That's a corn field on the west side of the road, the ground now saturated. A better photo would show the rain turning to snow.

A new washer and drying will be delivered June 1st. Oh joy. So I took a load of underwear--why is it that the washer breaks when you have put your last pair of clean underwear? I took three loads of laundry over to Jen's to do and little Lily made me tuna fish for lunch; here she shows how she can drain off the liquid.

A nice new roof, and YUM YUM YUM home made cheese cake. Now a college graduate and no more homework, Shey has turned to baking to pass her time and brought us this wonderful cheese cake--a running joke with the HG. And thank you, by the way, for all of your kind wishes for her future. 

And lastly, Lily's preschool commencement or continuation or what ever it is called. She is off to kindergarten next fall. Of course the day of her ceremony snow covered the ground and she wondered why her summer vacation had to be ruined with snow.  We were all wondering why we were dealing with snow Mid May, too.  The only explanation?  As I told the young man at the garden center who had just moved here from California, "This is Colorado. Get used it."

Summer Visitors: Some will stay; some are just passing through 

This mail oriole is in the top of the honey locust singing his little heart, trying to attract a mate.

This poor little Lazuli bunting found some comfort food in the middle of the rain and snow.

He is is all dried out and enjoying more free meals. He won't stay long, headed for the Rockies.

He is smaller than I thought we have had before. He fits in the caged feeder that keeps the grackles and starling out of the feed.

He is so pretty. I wish he would stay.

A Hermit Thrush that the HG spotted. He was feeding under the pine tress. Here it pecks around underneath the lilac. He won't stay either.

The HG build several nesting boxes for the robins and this mother found one and made it her home. It is located in one of the ash trees. 

We put out grape jelly for the oriels. They devour it. 

The male's sweet song did bring in a lady.

Caught with her mouth full and the little horned sparrow wondering what is she eating?

So that was the week that was. This week, planting more flowers. I have to take my friend to the eye center where she will have a cataract removed. Piece of cake, I told her. So I will take her tomorrow and take her back on Tuesday to get the patch removed.  The HG will go down to Haxtun to help a friend with her garden work. And another week will pass.

I hope you have great plans for the week, too. 

Monday, May 15, 2017

Mother's Day

Finally we are able to really enjoy Spring this weekend. We have had a rough start: bad weather, bad colds, more bad weather, so getting out and doing those early spring clean up chores didn't happen when it should have, so Mother's Day weekend was perfect on all accounts. We have plenty of projects on the list, and we got one major one accomplished. But before I begin, let me share little Lily with you. She had her last pre school program. She will turn five in June and be off to kindergarten in the fall. Yes, she has a paper plate on her head. It was part of her costume for their little play, "The Little Red Hen." She was the kitty with one line, "Not I," said the kitty. And she smiled so sweetly. I took her shopping Thursday and what a little shopper she is.

Heather and the boys were up for Mother's Day, arriving on Saturday. We loaded up the kids and drove the couple of miles to our favorite garden center, Eaton Grove. Do you see the momma pea hen?  She has a nest there next to the the dig your own strawberries every year. She had a clutch of seven eggs, but the farm already has 40 pea fowl. The garden center was quite busy and crowded Saturday with everyone shopping for Mother's Day flowers and this momma was right in the midst of the activity, calmly nesting. 

I brought home two varieties of mallow and some blue veronica and a potentella ground cover. Jen grew our tomatoes and peppers for us this year. She has a pretty successful crop, I'd say.

 For some time I have wanted a drip system on a timer to water my hanging baskets on the pergola. So my Mother's Day gift from Heather was her help installing the system. It will be on a timer set to water the pots twice a day. We already had all of the materials: the water line and the hangers. (what she professionally refers to as spaghetti line)

Thank you, Heather May for your help. You are awesome.


The line will be hooked up underneath the deck floor. The timer and the pressure reducer have to installed yet, but then I can hang my flower baskets. The second photos shows how the line will hang down from the pergola beams. Once the plants are in place it will be hardly noticeable.

The little hens have been moved out to the hen pen. We turned the rooster in with the last year's hens and he has left them alone, so far. The little girls like being outside.

Meet Fancy, a Dark Brahma with feather legs and feet.

She will be a grayish brownish color with beautiful green highlights. We now have too many hens: 17.

 Sunday morning Heather decided that the pine cones and needles should be removed from under the big pine tree. So there they are, a big pile of needles. Not sure what we will do with them. She suggested shredding them and putting them in the garden. Nice idea; only we don't have a shredder.

Project: Operation Bush Removal.

We have had some brutal winters that have killed some plants, such as our burning bushes in the front of the house and the three David Austin roses that I loved so. Heather and I had decided that the David Austins aren't hardy enough for our cold and sometimes dry winters. I won't plant anymore.

The one burning bush was quite large and required heavy equipment to remove. Plant removal is always more fun when the Head Gardener can use his tractor.

Now the front is bare. I like the clean look. The daffodils will die back, the peonies on the right will bloom very soon and then I will move one. They are planted in a triangle now, but I will move one to be in line with the others. The tiger lilies on the end may get moved too once they bloom. Now I have to come up with a plan for what I will plant. I want a clean, weed free look. 

This week's Monday Mosaic features the May bloomers: Iris and clematis.

We ended the day with grilled chicken and grilled vegetables with garden fresh asparagus. 

This week's project: Clean the water garden. Now won't that make an interesting post? Join me next week to see. But now, pop over to Maggie's for Mosaic Monday.

Thanks so much for visiting.