Monday, July 8, 2019

On a Clear Day

Where did June go? Were I still teaching--as teachers measure time, especially summer break--I would begin to feel the pressure to start planning for fall classes after the 4th, but now retired five years the days, weeks, even months blend together almost seamlessly. Still it seems downhill until the school bells begin to toll.

Has your summer been odd this year? Certainly here in the western states the season has been off with unseasonably cold temperatures and more moisture, making everything from gardens to corn fields behind by about three weeks. Generally farmers want to see their corn knee high by July 4th, but this year it is half that height.

There are benefits to cooler, wetter temperatures. Flowers enjoy the gentler environment, seeming to flourish and grow a bit stronger.

New faces bloom in July garden scape:

I think the bell shaped clematis is Duchess of Albany. If you find this one at your garden center, buy it for I've not see one since I bought this one. She is prolific. I cut her back nearly the ground this spring and she is taking over her corner of the front court yard. 

I've long forgotten this gorgeous rose. I just love the delicate peach color.

In the back garden, now fully a shade garden, the daisies are blooming. Dotted with an early morning irrigation, new blooms are nearly perfect before the bugs begin nibble.

Out front the hostess are so beautiful and big this year and perfect without any hail. I need to do some clean-up. At the alliums done blooming are now going to seed, and I am wondering if I should leave the seed heads or clean them up? They are unusual, so they have also taken over the garden. The aspen send up runners and it is a constant battle to keep them down and the the birds drop other tree seeds that pop up all over. 

Out back the vegetable garden flourishes, too, with a very healthy crop of weeds. My goodness they do well. Some would consider this sunflower a weed, but here they are cherished, especially this year as we prepare for the weeding. These sunflowers this year are weeding flowers. I'm doing the flowers for the wedding, so keep good thoughts about no wind or those nasty frozen ice balls that fall from the sky. More on the wedding flowers after the wedding. I will say that the bride and groom have a very small budget and the bird wants very simple flowers, even if she has to pick them the from the road side--but we will do better for her.

The asparagus has gone to seed. I wasted a lot of asparagus this year.

I am hoping that this lovely sunflower doesn't bloom out before the wedding because hopefully it will produce some large blooms, but we never know until she smiles.

Cabbages look awesome, tomatoes, too.

 Bricks and cans remain in the garden as covers should hail be in the forecast. Fortunately we have been very lucky.
The garden now has fence around to keep Brody out of the garden. 

Tomatoes look healthy and happy. Can't wait for the fresh ones.

As back up, my neighbor who works in our favorite garden center in the green house offered to grow sunflowers for the weeding. We dropped by last week to see how they were doing and decided to bring half of them home. They are sitting on the patio hardening off and hopefully we can get them planted in the garden this afternoon. They are starting blooms, but who knows if they will actually be ready for the wedding.

We have a backup plan.

 Saturday was the last horse show before fair so I spent the day cheering the girls on. At the end of the judged events the girls participated in the gymkhana events. Here Lucy does the flag race, a timed event when the rider gallops to the first flag, grabs it on the run, gallops to the next bucket and plants the flag in it and heads to the finish line.

Mariah, though is very curious about what is in the bucket. Would you believe oats hold the flag in place?
As you can see, they were galloping.

Ellie has the right idea.

Pole bending takes a lot of coordination for both the rider and the horse as they are required to wear in and out of six poles--at a full gallop--or a slow trot. It's all for fun.

And a new twit on the egg race. Remember you school game day at the end of the year running the race with an egg in a spoon?

Another fun game: riding bareback with a dollar bill underneath the rider's thigh. Ellie didn't participate, but Lucy was all in.

 Finally I have to share my new pancake mix; it's gluten free. Now, I am not going gluten free totally, but I am trying to change some foods because certain foods are causing awful acid reflux. I don't want to write about my health problems, but I do want to share this pancake mix made from brown and white rice flower. It almost looks like buckwheat mix, but not as dark. The pancakes are moist and sweet. I found it at Spouts, a local organic store. I've decided that this my pancake of choice. 

Later in the morning we took short drive north to pick up a door for the wedding from my housekeeper. I had to take a quick photo out the truck window of the long horns grazing under blue skies with the Rocky Mountains on the far horizon. 

Songs come to mind:

O give me a home where the buffalo roam
Where the deer and the antelope play
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word
And the skies are not cloudy all day.

And we remember Barbara Streisand singing:

And on that clear day on that clear clear day
You can see forever and ever and ever and evermore

Wishing you a week full of clear days. Thanks for visiting the Garden Spot.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Posies to Ponies

The early morning sunlight filters through the trees, the dew sparkles on the newly mowed lawn, and robins announce the new day. 

The heat is on. 

With June now spent, the plains of Northern Colorado are heating with the occasional thunder storm to wash away the dust and cool things down. Today we will hit 90 by 3 PM followed by a thunderstorm, according to iPhone weather app, but one never knows as the weather patterns change. The gardening plan then is to get out early to get the chores done and find some pesky weeds to decimate before they ruin the flower beds.  I've been down for a week with gout in my right knee. Still able to walk, the worst part was bending the knee, making sitting and getting up painful and nearly impossible, so I've lost an entire week, and there is much to do.

June's rains helped the summer bloomers to thrive. When it is so bloody hot, we can't keep up with the watering, so the rain gives everything a good start.  From bright orange of the Red Hot Poker, or Kniphofia to the Rozanne geranium to the Coral Bells, the back garden looks lush and colorful.

As the last of the peonies fade, I have a lot of fun photographing the after the early morning irrigation drips from their leaves. I've been trying to get the perfect water drop photo.

I do wish my June lovelies would last longer--all summer.  


Roses seem to tolerate the heat better than other plants, but even they are struggling with the 90 degree. New face appear: First Prize, which is always a heart throb with her giant bloom, Gertrude Jekyll has finally decided to come to the party, now with a profusion of blooms. I think the extremely cold spring stunted her growth because for a while it looked like we might lose her. I thing the has spent most of her spring trying to recover from the cold, building up the energy to bloom.  The third little rose blooms her sweet heart out. She was a Mother's Day gift one of the first years we were here at the Garden Spot. I don't even know her name, but she is a beauty, blooming abundantly.

This rose, also in the front courtyard was here when we moved and when we redesigned the front entry, it was the only thing to remain. Peachy in color, with a bit of florescent look, she blooms all summer long.

The roses are about to finish their first flush. I'll cut them back, feed the, and they will bloom again.

The Patio Posies

Pansies are cool weather favorites, cool weather being the key word. With a cool, wet June the pansies still thrive. Sorry for the poor quality photo, but you get the idea. It is really meant to show how we get double duty out of the patio drip system by placing potted plants underneath the hanging baskets to catch the drips.

From pansies to pink hydrangea, another garden favorite and a bit tricky to keep here in the dry, hot climate, but I keep trying. I absolutely swore never to buy another one last summer, but as I wandered to a local garden center, I could not resist these pink ones. Winter hearty--supposedly--, were only $12, so I bought two. I get giddy when I look at their big mob head flowers, edged with lime green in the early stages of the bloom and the luscious, sweet pink.

As if pink hydrangea are not enough, what about the pink fuchsia? The Head Gardener picked this one out. I spent a lot of money on hanging baskets for the patio this year because the patio has to look pretty for the next three gatherings here. I have some very exciting news for the next party that we will hold here, but I can't anything until the hostess announces it.

Our gathering with our teacher friends last Sunday was so special. The food was delicious, but the spirit of the moment was the best. We had never gathered as group socially before--some to the women get together occasionally for lunch, but the entire Lecturer faculty with spouses came, some of whom I had never met. 

I will not take credit for much because the other Hostesses brought food.

Brenda, our retired office secretary ordered this delicious poppy seed cake with raspberry filling. Delicious.

I had planned on holding it outdoors, but it rained. Even with the tents up, the grass would have been too wet, so I moved the furniture around and we had plenty of room.

We wanted to give them little gifts, so Brenda provided these potted herbs. They were perfect.

Party 1: Perfect

 Some Pretty Garden Flowers

Other Stuff

Brody has grown up. Now at a year, he weighs 92 pounds, a bit large for a short hair, but he carries it well.

Ponies, too.

The granddaughters tested Saturday for their 4-H horsemanship in English, wanting to move to Level 1 which is walk, trot. They are new to English riding, learning all of their riding skills in a western saddle. Isn't Hank handsome? He just gets better. I should write more about his journey. As a Boy Scout camp trail horse, this is all new to him, so sometimes he tends to be distracted as he takes in all of the newness. He's been in the arena twice before now, so he was settled and calm.

Mariah, the Mustang, an 18 year old lady, she is doing so well with her training and is learning new things too as Lucy pushes her forward. 

Leaving the arena with smiles on their faces after being told that they had passed. Their skills are growing and so are the ponies'

Pelicans Soar

As I left the fair grounds, I heard roar of jet planes overhead. Nothing unusual, except they were flying rather low in perfect formation--until I too a second look!

Have a wonderful week. 

Thanks so much for visiting.

Monday, June 17, 2019

As Storm Clouds Gather

Another busy week at the Garden Spot. Our first party for the summer will be Saturday as we host a picnic to honor my dear friends at UNC who unceremoniously had their contracts terminated. Those of us who are retired and had worked with them for years felt the sting of the unfair terminations, so we decided to celebrate our friendship and honor them in a way that only friends can do: with love and appreciation.

Anytime we have a garden party, we want the garden to look spectacular! Everything is very late this year. The roses are just beginning first flush, and I do enjoy them. The water lilies are really behind thus not providing much over for the fish. Mr. Blue Heron continues to visit and does his flyovers. Brady sees him, and will certainly run him off. My mom always said that peonies should be ready by Memorial Day, mind usually bloom the week after; they are just beginning to bloom. The columbine will finish up and have put on quite a show this year. They will be past prime by the weekend.

June is also hay cutting. I was too busy to take photos, but we did all ourselves this year except for the cutting. A neighbor bought a hay baler and the Head Garden pulled it with is vintage Case Tractor. I should have a photo of that somewhere. The Jennifer and her girls picked up the bales, loaded them in the horse trailer and stacked them under the eves of the barn, but got really tired really fast, so called her aunt and cousin for reinforcements. The hay is beautiful this year. It got cut, dried, and bailed in only few days without getting rained on. 

As storm clouds, gathered in the late afternoon, Jen was in a hurry to get the hay picked up as the Head Gardener moved to the next average to cut the next field of hay.

🌬 June Storms

June in Colorado brings the thunderstorms. Saturday on our way home from Ft. Collins after supper, I noticed this thunder head building and recognized a familiar emoji in the clouds. I kept snapping iPhotos of the cloud and we had fun watching the face of Windy Man emoji form. Once I downloaded them to the computer, I discovered that the photos were really beautiful, showing the landscape of where I live, how green and beautiful the fields are with a goodly amount of rain. 

Watch emoji form. 

Have a great week. Linking with Angie for Mosaic Monday.

Thanks for stopping by.