Thursday, July 31, 2014

Fairy Gardens

I have been inside most of the week. I did manage to get some garden work done on Monday, mostly weeding and planting plants that I hadn't gotten in before they totally died.  I cannot believe how quickly weed seeds germinate. I also pruned back the clematis. Indeed it had smothered out the little supermarket rose that had the sweetest little white roses. Two stalks remain, so I hope they help the plant come back. I could hear Gertrude take a heavy breath of fresh air once I pulled away the vine that covered her. Telepathically I could her scolding me for being so neglectful in letting a lowly vine nearly strangle the life out of her. I apologized profusely. Out loud. Still more work to be done. Always. We have had rain--a lot of rain. Inches.

Rather typical to have rain this time of summer, but not so much, nearly 2 inches. Again parts of the state are flooded, not like last summer, but under water, none the less. As the Head Gardener remarked making note of the last 4 years of drought, we prefer rain. The Garden Spot sparkles in the early morning sunlight, the lawn heavy with dew drops.

Last Saturday I took the girls on a fairy garden tour. Our favorite garden center Bath Nursery sponsored the first Northern Colorado Fairy Garden Tour that included six gardens. We missed both the Greeley and Ft. Collins garden tours earlier in June because of the family reunion, so I was excited to get out and tramp around other peoples' yards. Let me share the gardens with you:

Garden 1: The Mountain Sage School

Just off of a busy street hidden by trees, barely visible from road, travelers see a community garden aside a parking lot for an office complex of buildings. We don't know who tends the grown-up garden, but school children have built several little fairy gardens tucked next to the fences, using mostly what they find in nature.

We wondered through the rest of the garden. The broccoli was absolutely amazing.

 Garden 2: The Geller House (you can read about the Geller House here)

A center for those with special needs, the Geller Center's mission is to "provide a safe place for development of the spirit within the whole person. . . ." This little garden in the front of the center in a small place began this spring. It is an amazing little garden with lots of whimsy.

This was my favorite little spot in the garden. A garden within a garden. These gardeners went to great detail to create a fairy village. What better way to nurture the human spirit than to garden?

Garden 3: A Grandmother and her grandchildren have turned the backyard into an enchanted forest full of creatures, surprises, and pure fantasy. 

One cute fairy serves mini treats and cool lemonade. While the day was coolish, the lemonade was refreshing. 

Giant toad stools make a nice place to sit a spell.

Giraffes hide behind lush forest.

An unusual fountain tucked away in a corner, simply a large stone with a hole drilled for trickling water.

Carolyn, the grandmother, had many little vignettes featuring different little themes. We liked this one with the big dragon. Now we are on the look-out for dragons at the thrift stores. 

We loved this little house with the ladder.

A fairy cute Fairy Bear. 

I loved this giraffe. 

Froggy croaks when anyone passes by, perhaps warning the fairies within of intruders? He was a classic touch. This garden was lush with wonderful plant material. She uses strawberries as ground cover. I like that, so I planted six of my bargain strawberries in the center garden to cover a bare spot (one of many bare spots.) We visited with Carolyn a bit. Such a sweet lady with a passion for gardening and love of fairies. We loved that the grandchildren worked with her.

Garden 4: The Smith's Garden

PomPom would love this garden filled with gnomes. This garden has a magical mining theme.

in the border of an immaculately groomed lawn, a variety of planters hold the little garden vignettes. Each detailed and perfect.

More dragons. So cute. See the little gnome climbing down the ladder in the old mining car. 

Who would think that a mining theme in a  garden would work? I love this coal bucket with marigolds. Hey, I think I  have my mom's coal bucket out in the barn.

The gnomes are mining for rose quartz. The quartz stones sort of blend in with the gravel mulch in the photo, but it is cool stuff.

Garden 5: A Garden with a lakeside view: These have taken over a MacInstosh apple tree where they nurture the tree all year long. 

With a view of the walking path and lake behind the home, this tree is the prefect place for fairies to take up living. Full of fanciful creatures in a unique setting, the little village inspires visitors to want to go home to see if any of their trees would be suitable for fairy life.

But the biggest surprise in this garden grabbed my attention the second I entered the gate, for there was this statue. I had seen it before.

At the Denver Botanical Gardens another statue takes center stage in a small garden, a girl and a frog.  I commented to the home's gardener that I had seen the same statue at the the DBG. He said they were aware of that statue but had never seen it. Their's had belonged to the wife's grandmother and because the granddaughter had the yard, she inherited the boy statue. There are just these two. The grandmother had  her's for years. Wouldn't you just love to know the rest of the story? 

There was a sixth garden on down the road, too far we felt to drive to Loveland to see it; we were assured that it was a garden not be missed. 

The day ended back at the nursery where the little girls and grandma bought little fairy tokens to remember our day together. The girls each have their own fairy garden in old wash tubs that they plant each year. I hope they got some good ideas for not just the fairies, but for creative planning and planting.

Back to reality here. While there is still plenty of summer left and gardening to do, some how I am winding down. We have another family picnic in another week, so the yard will have to be spiffed up. Actually this is the best the garden has looked since we moved here. The hard work is beginning to pay off. The vegetable garden is another story.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed the fairy garden tour. We sure had a lot of fun. Oh and thanks for stopping by Ann's Dollhouse Dreams. I have done a lot of work on one dollhouse. I'll update  in the next few days. As the week end approaches, I wish you a happy one.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Dog Days of Summer

With the Dog days of summer upon us, gardening has nearly stopped, except for the constant watering, especially the new plants. Our mornings begin deceivingly cool, comfortable, sometimes misty, cloudy, even brooding. By noon-ish the sun has burned away the cool cloud cover, bringing the temperatures to 90+ by mid afternoon. By day's end the storm clouds begin to arrive, coming from the northwest. Sometimes they only threaten; other days they send down pounding rain with lots of drama, deafening thunder, and frightening lightening.

Water lilies thrive during the Dog Days.

The ancient Romans sacrificed a red dog in April to the star Sirius thinking that it was the cause of the hot, miserable weather that followed it's appearance in the sky. The largest star in the constellation Canis Major during those times rose in the morning sky just before the sun or as the sun rose. The star then was blamed for the Dog Days, a time when the sea boiled, wine soured, dogs went mad, and even man suffered from diseases, especially mental malfunctions. 

Today the Farmer's Almanac sets the Dog Days between July 3 and August 11, the days in the Northern Hemisphere with the least amount of rain. (Wikipedia). Thankfully we don't sacrifice dogs, red or any other color. Now we have global warming and climate change to explain weather. (Resisting editorial comments).

My favorite time to garden is early evening when it is cool, and the sun has dipped low on the horizon about to drift behind the a Rocky Mountains. But with the rains and the ever present threat of Mosquitos, this summer I have been a bit lazy of late and in part because we worked so hard to get the gardens ready for the reunion. I really hate Mosquitos. Here they carry the often deadly West Nile virus. We are cautioned to wear mosquito repellent with Deet. Who wants to put that disgusting stuff on? We are also cautioned that Deet is not safe for humans at 35% concentration; however, the most popular repellent Off has only18%, but the stuff is still icky. When I purchased my hand lotion at Bath and Body Works, the clerk shared that the vanilla scent that I chose worked as a mosquito repellent. I'd say that on days when I have lotioned my body, the little varmints haven't bothered as much.

July brings a profusion of summer bloom: here are my July favorites:

 Corcosmia Lucifer is such a beauty with its fiery red blooms on regal iris-looking stems.

Aptly named, the red flowers stand out in the garden. It didn't bloom last summer, so this summer I was very anxious, checking everyday to see if there were any hints of blooms. I was well rewarded. I do wonder if it gets enough sunlight. I believe that because we had a wetter winter, many of our plants and trees performed better this season.

New to the garden, the obedient plant is just the sweetest little darling. Right now dwarfed by the wild dill, it plods along, blooming its little heart out. I wish had purchased more. I saw it on someone else's blog in a gorgeous huge tall clump. I have my fingers crossed that this little plant winters well.

It's called Dill Weed for a reason!

You can barely see Obedient behind the dill. While I relish the fragrance as I walk by and enjoy the yellow flowers and hope that a black swallowtail butterfly will lay her eggs on the thin fronds, I am going to cut it off before the seeds mature and drop. I doubt that I will ever rid the front garden of dill, but I intend to reduce its spread. You can't see in this photo the sprinkler head that it blocks from irrigating the garden behind the dill; thus, a dry spot. As Lady McBeth laments: "Out damn spot."  So "Out Dill."

I can never remember the name of this day lily planted in the front garden, facing the road. It has "edgings" in it name. I should remember its name because the Head Garden reminded me the other day that it was a $30 plant. (Yank that man's credit card). It come with 3 plants and a free-be day lily, but still . .  . . The color in the photo does not quite capture the pretty pink edging, and I do believe that the first blooms had the more vibrant coloration than the more recent blooms.

You all got quite a chuckle out of our garden conversation, so I thought I'd show you the hole. You can see the clamp that holds the repair splice in place. I should have moved the sunflower aside. But I didn't. 

When I planted the clematis here, I never imagined that it would do so well, but look at it. With the cold, wet weather we had in the spring, I did not get it pruned back and it went wild. Would you believe that it has engulfed one miniature rose and totally covers Gertrude Jekyll? I am going to have to cut it back before it chokes out the roses. I really wanted it to cascade over the front of the garden wall, not smother everything else is its path.

I have one more flower to share: 

I spent months last year going to thrift shops looking for dishes to make garden art and now the Moment of Truth has come. I made my first flower. I get over exuberant on a project that I really really want to do. Trouble is I am not particularly crafty. I did a lot of research to see how these flowers are made, pinned dozens of inspirations, and looked obssessively for glass plates. The red plate I found at an estate sale Saturday for a $1 inspired me to get moving. (A note on red glass: quality red glass is made with gold, so it is very hard to find and expensive. Most red glass is just painted that will wash off.) I am sure that in a trendy antique store it would bring much more. I have also had a problem detaching myself from the pretty dishes in order to resist putting them in the cupboard. Like I need more pretty dishes. These are junk dishes, I tell myself. Anyway, I used E6000 glue to glue them together. I still need to add the stem which I will do in a few days after the glue has cured. I have a table full of dishes in the garage waiting to metamorphose into beautiful flowers. Don't you think that they will make nice gifts?

The Head Gardener has gone to the mountains to set up game cameras where he hunts elk. (If any of you are squeamish about hunting, please don't be. He is an ethical hunter, hunts with a bow and arrow, and elk meat is much healthier than beef. In addition, over the 30 years or so of archery hunting the score remains Hunter: 1; Elk: 29.) So I am on my own today

. Another moment of truth has arrived: I will begin work on the dollhouse by painting the first coat on the interior before I glue it together. I am nervous.

I enjoyed the response on Anns Dollhouse Dreams, my new blog. It is still a work in progress as I try to work around Google's new profile presentation. I am wondering how I will keep up with two blogs, but that one will be updated as I make progress on not one, but now 3 dollhouses. Yep 3. But that's for the other blog. Take a peak if you will. 

Thanks for visiting. I do enjoy every moment I spend with you either reading your posts or your kind comments that you leave with me. Have a wonderful week. The Dog Days of summer will soon end and we will begin to sense that Fall is just around the corner. 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sunday in the Garden

As we headed out to the garden this morning, I determined that it would be the last planting day, unless I get bored and have to go to the local garden center to see what's marked down. We had a short list for today:

Plant the few bargains that we picked up Saturday:

  • the two roses , 50% off. Who could pass that deal?
  • the one little perennial 
  • the dozen strawberries, 2 six packs for the price of one. Couldn't pass that one up
  • 2 bargain hostas
Plant the two small apricot trees that we bought last week end, another two for the price of one.

We discussed last night what we would do today. I wanted the iris that bloomed so wonderfully this spring moved. The Head Gardener got ahead of me last night and by the time I got back outside he had them dug and loaded in the EZ-Go. My plan had been to mark each one so that I knew which was which. Now they will be labeled Plant 1, Plant 2, etc. when I divide them.

Planting was going well. We had the apricot trees planted; though we struggled to figure out just where to plant them. You would think that with a yard as large as we have, finding a place to plant two small trees wouldn't be a problem.

Next the roses. I bought them for center garden that we have worked so hard to reclaim from weeds. Me and the Head Gardener work well together. I tell him where to dig and he digs, but he does offer his wisdom and I generally listen. Since this was a rather uneventful work day, I left the camera inside.

Me: I'd like the pink [rose] one here.

Him: That tree is going to grow. (He is referencing the already huge ponderosa pine that still has a lot of growing to do) I will leave off the discussion we had about the how stupid  it was to plant two big trees … Never mind. This was not a part of our conversation that should be made public.

Him: How about here?

Me: Too much shade.

Me: Here?

Him: Well, I don't think the tree will reach that far. The lower branches are shorter.

Me: (In my mind: My luck the rose will die before the tree ever gets that size.)

Rose #1 placed.

Now for Rose #2.

Me: I want it here.

He begins to dig. No discussion

Me: (Cheerfully remarking) So much easier to dig here since you tilled.

Him: Yeah until you hit an Aspen root.

The digging stops. His head droops. He then drops to the ground, his hands fiddling around in the hole he has been digging.

Me: What's wrong?

Him: I think I ruined the sprinkler line.

Okay. So we didn't really get everything planted. Rose # 2 is still in its pot out in the garden as I contemplate now where to plant it.

Six strawberries were planted and the one hosta that I planted while he repaired the sprinkler line. Then it was time for lunch. Then the thermometer hit 93. Then it was time for a nap. Then a trip to the grocery store. Then . .  . And the  daily thunder storm rolled in.

And so today would not the last planting day.

Yesterday's Sunrise, a brilliant red sunrise perhaps filtered through a haze created from distant wild fires.

A golf cart load of work. I will divide the iris, giving some away and planting the others around the water garden
I left the Head Gardener to tend to the sprinkler line. Needless to say, he was a bit annoyed. Oh not with me. Let's just say he needed his space.

So I took pictures. Sundance steeling green apples. 

A gorgeous yellow swallowtail butterfly; the first I have seen this summer linger in the garden.

There is still garden to work to do, but seriously I am ready to just enjoy what we have accomplished this summer. Today was not a stellar day in the garden, but some days are like that.

Me: I think I should map out my gardens, marking where all the plants are so that when I buy a plant I know where it will go before I get it home.

Him: Not a bad idea.

Me: And sprinkler lines.


Our Colorado weather has been rather weird this summer. We have had a lot of rain and a very cool June and July. The days have been pleasantly mild, ending with loud thunderstorms, but now I believe the dog days of summer have arrived as 90+ temps are predicted for the next several days. Good thing the sprinkler line got repaired. 

Even as a child, I loved walking around a rain wet garden. Some things we just never outgrow. So barefooted, camera in hand I, wandered about the garden in the rain to see what caught my eye.

The old song "Raindrops keep falling on my head" played in my head.

Using my 75-300mm lens, I was able to capture rain drops pooling on the patio table covered with heavy clear plastic over a table cloth.

 I loved that I was able to capture rain drops in action.

Rain drops on the tiller handle

on Echinacea

on a tiger lily bud

 A rain covered patio floor.

Before I leave you, I'd like to invite you to check out my new blog that I have just launched. I hope I can keep up with two blogs; I know that some of you do.

 I was inspired when I restored Heather's doll house this spring. So much so that I am building my own doll house. Jen bought me a kit on Craigslist, but before I start that house, I have ordered a small cottage to learn how to work with the manufactured wood. I have to admit that I have become obsessed with miniatures and building my house, so of course I have to blog about it. My little cottage arrives this week. I will spend daylight in the garden, but I will be working on my house at night.

Stop by Ann's Dollhouse Dreams, if you like. The current post is about Heather's House which you have already seen on this blog. I hope to see you over there, but I know not everyone is into dollhouses. It will be fun to see how the new blog progresses since I will be doing a few things a little differently, such as connecting it to Pinterest more than I do with this blog.  I remember how discouraged I was when I started the Garden Spot. I stressed because it took so long to get followers and comments. Blotanica helped so much and joining another blogger's garden party helped me meet other bloggers. Now as an experienced blogger with a such a lovely group of followers, I can now appreciate the hard work and patience that it takes to get a blog going. You all are my first love.

Have a fabulous week. Thanks for stopping by.

The Last Hollyhock

(Note: if the font in Safari is too small: press option command + keys to zoom your Safari screen.)  Here in Northern Colorado, we are all f...