Sunday, August 31, 2014

My First Mosaic Monday

For the first time, I am joining Mosaic Monday hosted by Judith at Lavender Cottage. Since August is my blog anniversary month, I thought I'd do a bit of a reminisce of the Garden Spot over this last year and revisit some of my favorite mosaic title banners.

We have an active family to look after: the golden boy Sundance, his pal Pop, the Ladies in charge of Egg Production, and the most unfriendly cat in the universe Mo. Cute cat, but not cuddly.

Broken hearted with the loss of our beloved Max, we finally gave into the loneliness and brought home Baby Boone. He is growing into a handsome handful. A rescue from a Nebraska adoption agency, he is now part of the Garden Spot Landscape.

Life is a bowl of cherries here at the Garden Spot, sweetened by making new friends. Meet PomPom, fellow blogger.

Muddy feet, dirty hands, helping hands, we all pitch in here. Sadly, little white hen Snow has joined some of her flock sisters in Hen Heaven. The Head Gardener always has a project or two in the works. 

We love pink: peonies, roses, and strawberries.

While not in chronological order, here are some of the banners that I have used over the years:

This is one my favorite title banners. It pretty much sums up what we are about here.

I love decorating for the holidays and while I am a pink person, I get all aglow with the warmth of fall colors.

Sunflowers grow wild here and are given free reign to seed and reseed wherever they want. Another one of my favorite banners.

I really liked this series of collages that I had fun making using Great Grandma's garden cultivator that the Head Gardener still uses to ditch the vegetable garden. I can't remember if I actually used this collage.

Colorado's state flower the Blue Columbine was another favorite banner that I used for a while.

I could go on and on as I look back at my library of photos and mosaics that I have created since becoming a blogger. Let me leave you with one of the first mosaics that I created representing the first growing season here at the Garden Spot, the Summer of 09 as I learned how to use Picasa to edit photos and create wonderful picture collages.

So glad that you stopped by to visit. Love your sweet comments yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Enjoy your Labor Day.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Signs of the Season

First, thank you everyone for your kind words on my blogaversary. It is such great fun to blog, to make new friends, to go places where I probably will never go, visit with you all.

Along with everyone else, except Little K Star who lives down under in Australia awaiting spring, we are all feeling a early fall, even here predictions of an early and harsh winter. Not exactly music to my ears.

There are certain signs here in the north of Colorado that indicate the season change:

  • I can hear the early morning chatter of school children in the school yard just a block away
  • In late afternoon the chants of the football team warming up echo through the neighborhood
  • The after dark cheers of the visiting team as it whips our Huskies
  • The bright stadium lights that glow in the night sky
  • Big yellow school buses rumbling down the road
Mother Nature gets her two cents worth in, too, letting us know that she is preparing for the change. Not quite menopausal because she does it four times a year, but some changes are more graceful and subtle than this year.

  • We have seen our first nut hatch feasting at the peanut feeder
  • We have caught a glimpse of the migrating yellow warbler that flits from branch to tree under the cover of limb, leaf, and pine needle.
  • The humming birds, turning up their beaks at the new feeders, snack on the butterfly bush and go else where to tank up.
  • The air is chilled in the early morning. Last night I had to get up to shut the bedroom window. 
  • The shadows are longer, the water lilies are losing color, the horses are shedding out summer hair, the field corn nearly touches the sky and turns the country roads into long tunnels, the fields of pinto beans are turning yellow, a sure sign that harvest will soon begin.
Yes the signs are there. Some years the end of August is so bloody hot. Our schools are not air conditioned, so the students really suffer, but this year the weather is pleasant. Mother Nature shows her kinder side, but do we really trust her? She could unleash her winter change in an instant, so best we be prepared.

Out in the Garden

Heidi Biscuit is in full bloom and she is gorgeous in this her 3rd year. 

I paired Heidi with a beautiful and very dark Butterfly Bush. Early in the spring only the pruned stump stuck out of the ground. I was sure that it had winter killed, a common disappointment around the Garden Spot, but then one day I spied a very, very small bit of green a the base of the stump. Trying not to get too overwhelmed at the slight sign of life, I waited and sure enough the bush had some life. I do hope it winters well this year because it will be a gorgeous bush that will attract lots of butterflies, bees, and humming birds next year.

This in Winchester Cathedral, a David Austin rose that seemingly died over the winter. Now it spots a beautiful live stem, but is it a throw back to the original rose coming up from below the graft?  Are David Austins grafted roses? I don't know. The leaves look David Austin-ish, but I will know for certain if it blooms, so I'll not dig it out yet.

The point of the center garden is beginning to take shape. Early last spring I bought the grasses that I wanted to add. They looked pathetic. I was so mad for spending so much for plants that looked quite dead, but I was assured that the grasses would wake up. And now look at the pink tassels on this one. I can only dream of what it will like next year. I put off planting them because they looked so bad, so nearly dead. But what they really wanted was to have their roots firmly planted in the ground. 

In my CSU test garden post, I raved about Cherry Cheese Cake hibiscus and guess what, she grows in the center circle. How short my memory is. (add that to my list, Jen @ muddy boots). I confirmed with my husband. And yes, this is Cherry Cheese Cake. So gorgeous.

Not as tall as the bird bath, she has been prolific bloomer in her short life in the center garden. I am dreaming of her rare beauty next year as she grows tall. What a sight she will be for those who admire my garden from the road. (They can't see the pile of weeds that the Head Gardener piled up.)

I realized the other day that I always post photos of Sundance. Say "hi" to POP. Oh he is too busy eating give a nod. He is all covered up. Face mask to protect his pink skin around his eyes from skin cancer and a muzzle to limit the amount of green grass he can consume to keep him from getting either a belly ache or too fat.

I planted rudbeakia the first year here and they have seeded and re -seeded, providing quite a show, growing content amongst the weeds, happy to be alive. Smiling all summer long.

Now there is a pretty smile for you.

Perhaps the last roses of the season. I just love this red rose Veteran's Honor. I failed to mention that the Head Gardener bought a new camera, a Canon point and shot 16 mega pixels. I think I like it-- a lot.

The red rose color seems to be truer than my Canon Rebel 12 mega pixels takes.

I suppose there will be more garden photos, but really the garden is winding down. Thankfully. I am excited to see how the center circle shapes up next spring with all that I have added this year. I want an explosion of color. I will add spring bulbs in a few weeks, so the work really isn't' done yet.

Tea, Anyone?

Mother has left her job at HP after working there for 15+ years so that she can be a stay at home mom. This was the first summer that she has had with girls, unless you count maternity leaves. She had their weeks planned: Make it Monday when they crafted or baked; Tuesday was library day/riding lessons and Tea; Weeding Wednesday; Thursday?; Fun Friday. They went ice skating, roller skating, to the movies. Had fun on Friday. Sometimes I was invited, more to watch Lily. No, I did not skate, not on ice, not on wheels. 

I was invited to the last Tea of the summer. The girls had a sleep over, so Lucy raided my garden for flowers after discovering my little collection of toothpick holders in the garage for my someday to be made dish flowers. So she provided the flower arrangement for the tea table.

Mon gets out the good china for Tea. (A thrift store find).

Inspired by playing dress-up at grandma's (they put on their mom's old prom dresses) and the gloves they brought home that I have on had for dress up, they dressed for Tea. Even little Lily had her Tea dress on.

Mom hopes that Tea time teaches them manners. She tries. Little girls are little girls, but I do know that her lessons will remembered for a life time.

So there you have it. Another week at the Garden Spot has passed. It was good week. I hope you had a good week. 

Thanks so much stopping by. If you have time, check out Ann's Dollhouse Dreams. (I apologize for this shameless commercial). 

Have a happy Labor Day weekend. Enjoy the last bits of summer for they are slipping away.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Happy Anniversary To Me

Good Morning, Friends. I am up before the sun this morning. The Head Gardener put on a different hat  way before the crack of dawn to take a trip to the mountains. Guess who could not fall back to sleep? I quick-brewed my coffee pod and settled in to read my blog. I was commenting on a dollhouse blog that I have just joined, introducing myself when I realized that I have had an anniversary. I began Welcome to the Garden Spot August 5, 2010 after doing some Goggling on toads with my grandson. He had question about a toad that we had found in the yard. I stumbled on Robin's Nesting Place, a wonderful blog about garden, flowers, birds, photography, blogging. I realized that I could do what she did: Blog. Robin was my inspiration to begin. Today her life and blog have moved on, grown, evolved, as life does. She still blogs, but now more about the beautiful furniture that she re-purposes and less about her garden life. We are Face Book Friends now.

I went for a month without any comments, no followers. I got depressed. Upset. At some point I removed all of my photos, so the early posts don't have any photos. Dumb, I know. My first follower was my best friend who lives Elsewhere. We grew up together. Rode our horses on the mesa west of Denver. Spent Saturday nights at the cowboy dance halls. We are both educators. I don't think she reads the blog. She joined because I twisted her arm. I have blogged about her granddaughter, Shey who lived with us while she attended the university. Side note: Did I tell you that Shey is now a grad student and a TA who will be studying English Literature and teaching freshman comp at the University of Northern Colorado? So proud of her. Anyway. I digress. My second follower was my daughter Heather. Then my second daughter Jen signed on. Bless family and friends.Some of my favs have faded away. I miss them, wonder what they are doing. Hope they are okay.

Then I received my first comment from Carolyn at I was so encouraged. She found me through Blotanical where I began to make more friends. I added more followers by joining a garden blog hop.

Kelli at KellI's Northern Ireland Garden has been with me since that first August. Thank you so much. Having traveled to Ireland, but not Northern Ireland, I enjoy having a friend there. She is a brave gardener whom I admire because she has a great talent for starting plants from seed--successfully. I also have several friends in the UK where I have toured twice, desperately wanting to return before I get too old to travel. I love your photos of the English countryside and reading about your gardens and your English life. On my father's side I am totally English, with some Irish and German on my mother's side, so I am in touch with my English roots, for sure.

I have made friends literally all over the world, some close to home, others in faraway lands that I may never travel to. You all read about my wonderful trip to the Denver Botanical Gardens to meet in person Pom Pom, who keeps a sweet homespun blog that always makes her readers feel uplifted at the end of a good read.

From the plains of Colorado to the tropics in Florida, to the rolling English countryside, from Canada, to Australia and Holland, I have such sweet followers who are happy, cheerful, wise, creative, and such fun to blog with. I daydream about traveling to all those faraway places and meeting my virtual friends who take me on such wonderful armchair get-aways.

Since I started the blog, we have lost our pets that I featured in a series called Meet the Pet Children: the cockatiel, Stevie Wonder 22, Jasmine 17, our little girl kitty, Country 18, the cat who loved ride the EZGO with us, and sweet Max 15, our German Short Haired Pointer, all of whom lived with us for nearly 2 decades. The biggest loss, The Head Gardener's mother 82 passed, too, after many months suffering horrible dementia in a nursing home. She loved to garden and loved to help her son putter around the yard.

But we gained two new babies, Nathan now 5 has finished his first week of kindergarten and little Lily who is God's little reminder of who really is in control, now two. Not to forget Boone Doggle, the rescue pup that has far more energy than all 5 grandchildren. The Head Gardener retired shortly after moving to the Garden Spot in 2009, then went back to his job part time--twice. I retired, too. And we are busier than ever. How does that happen?

I have dug into my old photo archives, even fired up the old MacPro laptop to look for those early photos but it so badly suffers from old age that I gave up the search opting for one photo that says it best: I heart you.

Finally, let's not make this all about me because the blog is as much about you, especially in a time of need to ask for support, patience, and prayer to get through a difficult time. We offer each other that extra bit of support, understanding, compassion, love and prayer. Through our little notes of support we can reach across both ocean and land through this miracle Internet to say we are here for each other.

So Thank You all for following Welcome to the Garden Spot. And a special thanks to a brother who reads the blog and saves his comments for Face Time.

Have a wonderful week end and thanks for stopping by.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Friday Morning Rant

I am in a mood this morning. Actually it started yesterday, but really it has been all summer long as I have to face a sad reality here at the Garden Spot: The Weeds Are Out of Control. Seriously. The Head Gardener took me for ride on the EZGO yesterday eager to show me all the work that he had finished, but instead of seeing his accomplishments, I saw all the weeds.

And this was going to be the year that we conquered the weed. What was I thinking? Do we ever conquer them? They thrived in the drought last year. They have soaked up their share of our more than usually rainfall this year, They are a winning the battle.

I even ventured out to the vegetable garden last night to see if there really was anything to pick.

I had to almost chop my way through the weeds to get to the vegetables. The garden is so sad that I'll not be showing any photos of it this year. But the thing about vegetables is how resilient they are. Give them rain and they grow despite the weeds because that is about all of the attention that the garden has received this year. While the lawn looks fabulous and the water garden is beginning to look awesome, other places at the Garden Spot have been neglected.

So, here is my onion harvest. Of the 3 rows and 3 varieties of onions planted, this is it. They just did not grow. They were planted next to the corral fence where the Head Gardener had treated the soil with an industrial weed pre-emergent two years ago. Nothing wants to grow there now. 

I will get an ample production of peppers. These are the Anaheim, a mild but still bitty pepper. I will have lots of green peppers, and jalapeños. The tomatoes are starting ripen. I picked a pan full, so I may get enough to make salsa.

The green beans which we have always had good luck growing fell to the bunnies who discovered the tender new shoots. I suppose we will have to install some chicken wire fencing next year to keep the bunnies out of the garden. We have 3 red beets growing and my husband pointed out the one carrot that survived his cultivation. He tends to forget get that seeds are underneath the soil when he cultivates his ditches for irrigation early before the seeds have a chance to germinate.

So while he is off to his two-day-a week job, I will be weeding the front circle yet again. It is really a really grim place. And this will be the last attempt for the season. 

On a more cheerful note, meet my new friend.

This is Bear. He belongs to my friend whose daughter is giving the girls riding lessons. Usually Mara comes to our house to give the girls their lesson on Pop, but Wednesday they were invited to her barn to ride her big guy Bear. At 24 he is now retired from show competition, but he still wants to be part of the action.

The girls help groom him before they ride. They can barely reach his shoulders. He wears his fancy lace to keep the flies off of his ears.

You can see how big he is as Lucy attempts to mount him.

He is very gentle.

At 13 Mara is an accomplished horse woman and has done so well teaching the girls. Here Lucy takes her first jump. 

The girls were thrilled to get ride Bear. They were so relaxed I think because Bear was relaxed. Ellie looks right at home on the big guy.

Miss Ellie takes her first jump. By the end of her session, Ellie was riding Bear alone and taking the jump without Mara's assistance.

A nice little shower after a heavy work out.

Now look at this little girl and a big horse. Love this photo. And I have to comment on the beautiful landscape behind the barn, the corn fields of northern Colorado.

A day spend with horses and kids is the best day.

And that's why weeds are out of control around here. 

Better get to work.

The EZGO awaits

Hope you all have a fabulous week end.

(Gee, I feel better already. Nothing like good friends to listen to a rant to get it out of one's system.)

Thanks for listening to me today.

Monday, August 11, 2014

As Summer Winds Down

As I sat in the morning sun by the water garden watching the gold fish chase each other, I distractingly noticed that the air felt much like September instead of this pleasant August day. We have had a much cooler than normal summer and it has felt so good. None the less, I am done gardening. We still have some weeding to do to get ready for fall and some deadheading and pruning, but I'll not buy another plant, I promise myself.

Were I not in my post-retirement life, I would  be getting ready to head back to the University writing syllabi and updating my website. I miss that and then I am quite thankful that I don't have do it anymore. Instead I can linger in the warm summer sun, let my mind drift, give thanks for a sweet life.

We had worked so hard getting ready for picnics and company all summer, so with all the entertaining behind us, we goofed off yesterday in Ft. Collins. Coffee at a quaint little coffee shop, a stroll through  a little antique store, a stop at a kitchen store to order replacement parts for my food processor, and lovely walk through CSU's test garden. Wander along with us as we oohed and awed at the beautiful plants.

(Judge Dr. Klett was our daughter's college professor at CSU in horticulture.)


Love more. Comes in 3 colors: pink, white, and yellow.

New varieties coming to your local nursery someday. Maybe. A sign noted that plants received available rain and 1.5 inches of irrigation each week. We have had a rainy summer. The garden has quite an elaborate drip system

Pink Baby's Breath. Love

The grand house on the far side of the garden is a university Frat House. Look at those reds and pinks.

Past their bloom, dwarf sunflowers. Maybe they were pretty. While I love sunflowers, these didn't do much for us.

Ivory zinna. Like

I finally convinced the Head Gardener that we should plant the tall marigolds in the garden, too. He like these.

A traditional rock garden. Like

Snow White would be perfect in the fairy garden as a ground cover. I am continually looking for interesting ground cover.

There are so many new echinacea. I am not so sure that I like this one. Of course, the bloom was not at its peak.

These hardy hibiscus are gorgeous. And I can grow them. They are spectacular when they reach full growth and bloom. Here they are late summer bloomers. This one is. . . 

Cherry Cheese Cake. 

It is always a treat to visit the test garden where the university tests plants from various growers and nurseries. 

Here at home: Holly Hocks Gone Wild

Who doesn't love the holly hock? 

I especially like this pink.

Bees swarm to them.

But enough is enough

 And they all came down

But there are more. We will never be rid of them. Do see them in the far corner of the garden?
What started as just a couple of holly hocks south of the house grew to a forest of them this year. Theu pop up everywhere. Close to gaining weed status, we wanted to get them chopped down before they went to seed. 

Finally the garden around the pond has its final shape with new sod planted last week. The Head Gardener laid a lot sod in all the bare spots in the yard. I will have a blank canvas for next spring. My promise not buy more plants. Ha! I have to indulge myself with a spring bulb shopping spree in another month or so. If I find some bargain grasses, I might have to get some started this fall. 

My first sunflower shot of the summer.

Because I didn't get sunflower seeds planted. This one came up all on her own next to the pond.

Love the strawberries in hanging pots on the patio. They don't complain nearly as much as flowers. A do again for next summer.

And just for you, a bouquet of super market sunflowers, wild sunflowers, and a black eyed Susan. 

Glad you took time to visit. And thanks for your lovely comments.

A Rose by Any Other Name

Jackson and Perkins roses have been in the garden for at least 10-12 years. This year they have been spectacular. The bushes were taller and...