Sunday, January 30, 2011

Mosaic Monday: In the Pink

For the Love of Pink 

Be sure to check out The Little Red House where I have entered
my mosaic in her Mosaic Monday
We love our pink, don't we?   My all time favorite color, I have dressed little girls in pink, painted bedrooms in pink, put up pink wall paper looking like pink dotted swiss with white daisies, worn pink, planted pink. If it's pink, I seldom stop to think. So naturally, I gravitate toward the beautiful pinks in the garden. In my old garden, I had a lovely miniature rose bush with the most delicate tiny pink roses. I treasured my pink David Austin roses, and my star shaped pink clematis was just becoming a prolific bloomer when we moved. And who doesn't love the beautifully simple and delicate cosmos, so sheer that we can almost see through the petals? The little vase dates back to my grandma, Abby Duston. She had a pair of these vases facing opposite direction; she called them Lizzie and Tizzie. Since my middle name is Elizabeth, she gave me Lizzie.

Abby Henry Duston: Flower Show Judge, Master Gardener, Grandmother

Abby Henry Duston
While the tiger lilies honor my husband's grandmother, mine, Abby Duston, taught me to love and respect the beauty in the garden. She was a certified flower show judge in Colorado, a real expert. I remember hearing her on the local Denver radio station one morning talking about gardening with another well-known Denver gardener who had his own radio show, Herb Gundel. Her love of flowers and the beauty that they bring inspired her to plant flowers along the roadside of highway 40 (Colfax), the main artery out of Denver in those pre-super highway days to Colorado's mountain resorts and the Western Slope. So dedicated to maintaining her roadside flowers, she and grandpa Duston even hauled water to the roadside flowers. Years after her death when I was in 5th grade (August 7, 1959), she was honored by having a roadside rest area dedicated in her honor,  located in one of the Blue Star Memorial Highway road-side parks. Read about the national Blue Star Highways and read more about Panoramic Park  in Lakewood, Colorado. (Note that grandma's name is spelled wrong--Duston, not Dunston) Highway 40 received designation as a Blue Star Memorial Highway to honor America's armed forces. 

I had fun one afternoon arranging the delicate pink roses and Shasta daisies in Lizzie's coif, creating a lovely  hat for her. I was so thrilled with the way the arrangement turned out that I took dozens of photos and finally settled one print to make little stationary notes. 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Mosaic Monday: Grandma's Tiger Lilies

Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright
When my husband and I first married, we were so poor that we moved in with his grandparents on the family farm where he had grown up. He went to work for his dad farming. We lived there when our first daughter Heather was born. Needing our own space, we moved to the Congregational Church parsonage in Ault. My father-in-law paid our rent as part of my husband's farm salary. We lived in the big two story Victorian house for nine months when the church hired a new minister who wanted to live in the parsonage, so we moved to the Baptist Church parsonage down the street. We there about 18 months when the farm finances became so tight that we had to move back to the farm. By then grandma has passed and our second daughter was on the way. Eventually we bought a home in Pierce, Colorado--just up the road from the farm. We lived there for 12 years. Wanting a larger home, we moved down the road from the farm back to Ault (population 1,000), where we lived for 18 years. Two years ago we moved to the Garden Spot just a little further down the road, half a mile maybe. Along with us, I have moved a small clump of tiger lilies that were Grandma Martha's garden on the farm to each one of our gardens. 

The tiger lilies are hardy and dependable and always provide a great show of blooms, even after being newly transplanted. When I dug them up this time, I was able to share some bulbs with the girls and even left a few stragglers in the old garden where I hope the new owners will enjoy them too, but doubtful, since they mowed down my roses and planted sod.

Make sure to check out Little Read House Mosaic Monday.

The Carnival and Pen Pals: To Judy

I had so much fun with Fer's World Carnival of projects and resolutions. With 50 participants, the Carnival offered a great opportunity for participants to share their gardening inspirations for the new year. I had great fun reading and commenting on all 50 (the ones in English, anyway). As a kid, I had two pen-pals. I'd hurry home from school each day to check the mail to see if I had letters. I had found their names through my favorite magazine Western Horseman. One girl lived in California and the other in Illinois. Judy in California and I became great friends through our passion for horses. We had so much in common and got to meet each other twice. In 9th grade my dad took my brother and sister and me to San Diego to visit relatives. I took a train to Fullerton where I met Judy for the first time. She was a year or two older then I was and could drive. She took me to Disneyland and Knott's Berry Farm. Certainly one of the best days of my life. Quite sadly, Judy died in an awful car accident when we were in college. We had lost contact with each for a bit then we reconnected in college. She was at Brigham Young University in Utah and I was at a junior college in Northeaster Colorado. She was studying to become an elementary teacher and I was in journalism. We vowed to renew our friendship. I think we would still be friends today.
Using my point and shoot Olympus digital camera, I caught
bumble bee in flight. I was so amazed

The gardening blogs take me back to those days of hurrying home to read my letters and to answer back. While not quite as obsessive as I once was, I think I am settling in quite nicely into a a new community of friends who cheer me, entertain me, inspire me. I hope I do the same for them. I have a Face Book Profile, and while in the beginning it was great fun, I am finding it be less than a nurturing environment. While it let me connect with some long lost friends, the fun and uniqueness of it has worn off for me. I much prefer my gardening community. Thank you all for your wonderful comments on my garden project. It will be such fun this summer to watch everyone's garden grow. 

Monday, January 17, 2011

My Carnival Project

This is the first time that I have participated in any sort of blog project. I've considered Mosaic Monday and others, but the project Carnival over at My Garden in Japan intrigued me.

We moved to The Garden Spot two years ago the end of February. The move was a huge change for us. We went from a city lot to 5 acres. We had two water features, a wonderful vegetable garden, a nice rose collection, and while there was always something else to do, we had a mature landscape. Our new place also has a mature landscape with nearly a 100 mature tress, pasture, lawn and flower beds, but there are also some spots in desperate need of work. One major project was accomplished last year: to get the entire acreage on the large automatic sprinkler system that draws from the well. Mission accomplished, mostly. Here, then, is a list of this year's projects:

  • drip system in the garden beds attached to the sprinkler system
  •  removal of tired, worn out bushes and sprouting tree stumps
  •  finishing conversion of  the storage shed that we moved from the old house into a potting shed/hen house.
  • get hens
  •  continue to refine the vegetable garden and get it on the sprinkler system--the list goes on and --, but most certainly build our two water gardens
  • 2 water gardens: a 1,000 gallon pond 36 inches deep so that we bring our gold fish home (living at the neighbors) and get the water lilies out of their temporary home in a horse tank. The second water feature will be a small water garden in the front courtyard. We bought a preformed tub for this small water feature, but the larger pond will be hand dug. The Head Gardener here just turned 60 and while he is still quite agile, strong of back, will, and fortitude,  the initial digging will be done with a small back hoe.
Our first project of spring will be to finish the court yard. I want a dramatic front entry.

The front court yard had plant material: scruffy bushes, tangled vinca, a mound of dinathus, and an assortment of weeds and remnants of an older garden

On the other side of the side of the side walk, a sickly rose that has already been pruned and an assortment of crocuses, and more weeds.

Now we have a clean slate with which to work.

Last summer I planted new roses and a clematis in the corner at the far end. I am quite excited to see it bloom, which it will this spring. It was planted late in the fall, but really took off before the first frost.

The Plan: 3 trellises along the wall  to give an architectural back drop. The front entry faces the west, so while it has cool shade in the morning, it gets very hot in the afternoon, so I will need hardy plant material. We will also add some sort of stones and rock, and some solar spot lighting. I want to keep the area clean and simple but inviting and restful. I bought this trellis at Tuesday Morning (the planter in my header came from there as well--love that store), so it is doubtful that I will be able to match the trellis, so I may end up with 3 different ones or place it another spot and buy 3 matching one. I need hardy, heat resistant climbers too. 

I've spent quite a bit of time the last few days on the blog. I will slow down a bit now. While I will have Mondays off from school, I will have to use Mondays for grading and planning, but I will be reading and commenting on all of my blogger friends and making new friends. One of my New Year's resolutions is to not spend so much money on magazines, and the beautiful photography and wonderful stories on your blogs seem to be satisfying that addiction. May all of your garden projects for 2011 be grand and glorious and successful. 

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Sun Dance's Story

   Sun Dance seems to be getting a bit of attention. I thought perhaps his fans might like to know a bit about him.
Years ago my brother in law went into the horse business. He gathered a small  herd of quarter horses. For a short time, he had them pastured out on the Wyoming prairie where Sun Dance was born. His mother died out in those harsh grasslands, leaving the little colt to fend for himself and he survived. Some how he ran through a barbed wire fence, damaging his left ear, literally breaking it so that the top half flopped backward.

   My girls were raised in a small town, but their dad was raised on a farm. Jennifer, whose grandfather still had his farm, always wanted him to buy her a pony. but grandpa gave up farming, sold the farm, and moved away. Jennifer grew-up and went along her way without a pony, but always wanting a horse. Her uncle continued to raise his quarter horses. With the bum ear, Sun Dance was just a homely little colt. Uncle gave him to Jennifer when he was 18 months old. By then Jen had grown up, had a good job working for Hewlet Packard and was able to take on the responsibility of caring for a horse. One of the first things she did was to get his ear fixed. Today the injured ear stands straight. A close look will reveal the scarring, but the ear stands erect.

 She boarded the little colt at a facility where she had help breaking and training him. He is now 13 years old, living the life a prince. She moved him to The Garden Spot last spring where he and her father have become great friends. He has two lush pastures to graze, preferring the pasture grass to the hay. He's a tough kid. While he has a stall where he can get out of the weather, he prefers to stand with his back to wind and weather the storm. He is gentle enough for the little ones to take a bit of well supervised ride with careful tending, but still skiddish enough that he requires very careful and watchful handling. While he lives alone, he can see his next door neighbors. On one side he can visit with 3 young black Angus steers, while on the other side he shares company with 5 other equines. He lives a quiet peaceful life, spoiled and pampered where he prances and dances his days away.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Queston: Does a 15 Minute Walk in the Garden Replace 30 Minutes on the Treadmill?

Sun Dance Dancing
and prancing

Icy Whiskers

We keep a full plate for the birds
My granddaughter's fairy friend (as she calls her) reads year round
Too bad we didn't have this scene Christmas Day

So, the answer is a resounding "no," but I had fun walking around in the cold (12 degrees) sunshine. Tomorrow I return to the world of academia where I will guide 75 college freshmen through their college research class and share great literature with another group of students. 

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Just Another Winter's Day

Winter has us under her tight grip this evening. The worst part of the storm will miss us, but we have about 5 inches and it will be very cold.
Looking out the front door
Looking out the patio door.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy New Year

We must be careful of what we wish for: winter weather. The storm came through Northern Colorado Thursday so fierce and cold that we canceled our annual New Year's Eve with our dear friends from Haxtun. We received probably 4 inches of snow; in addition the wind came along to redistribute the falling snow, making it drift here and there. The moisture certainly is needed. Now we have temperatures that have hovered around 0 for last couple of days. According to weather reports last year between September and December we (Denver) had 37.5 inches of snow. So far this year during the same period, we  have had 1.5 inches. So it goes on the Plains of Colorado while our mountains have had record amounts of snow. 

So as I watch the sun rise this morning on a cold, white snow scape in the Garden Spot, I am drawn to my iPhoto library to seek out the warmth and companionship of my flower friends who are soundly sleeping, awaiting their Spring wake-up call. The seed and flower catalogs are arriving and I have already chosen the must haves. Top of my list: the David Austin William Shakespeare, a brilliant, prolific bloomer that resides in the garden at Will's birthplace in Stratford on Avon. This red beauty is a most appropriate edition to my yet small rose garden, as I spend a few weeks each semester trying to get my college students to love William's work as much as I do--I have moderate to good success. I have long, luscious lists of both annuals and perennials, including zinnas, sunflowers, clemetas, and more roses. We have a couple of major garden projects that will start as soon as the earth thaws and begins to warm. Top of the list are two water gardens--one in the front entry courtyard to our front door, which will be a preformed a plastic tub. The major project will be about a 1,000 gallon fish pond. Our fish from the old house have been adopted out to the neighbors and my beautiful water lilies are residing in a horse tank. The gold fish need to come home and the water lilies need to spread their roots.  

I have not been a blogger long, so it will be so much fun to see the beautiful gardens my blogging friends grow from Malaysia, to Denmark, to England, and France. From the Plains of Colorado, to the deserts of Arizona, California, Oregon, Washington, the South, Canada, and the eastern coast. Can't wait. 

Just a Hint of Spring with a Dose of Cuteness

It's not safe to say that Winter has made his exit. He's still hanging around waiting to surprise us. We know the routine: freezing ...