Monday, June 20, 2016

The Heat is On

Hello Friends. Summer seems to be sizzling right along. While we mildly lamented  a too cool, even cold, and wet spring, we knew that the heat would soon arrive on the Colorado prairie. And it has. All of the moisture that we had over winter and during the spring has paid off with an abundance of very strong, lush growth all the way from long candles on the pine trees that indicate new growth to the lawn needing to be mowed more frequently, to a bumper hay crop.

Spring flowers have faded, making way for June,s flush of blooms, which now, too, are beginning to fade, making way the the heat loving blooms. Come walk with me as we wonder the Garden Spot to see what's new and what is in bloom.

Our fist stop is a bit of lunch before we begin the tour. Chef salad is on the menu today.

Cool. Refreshing. Light. Perfect for when the heat is on and we don't feel like a heavy lunch.

I begin my salad with a fresh, crisp head of ice berg lettuce. Home grown, by the way. This head of lettuce has a story to tell.

Last summer the Head Gardener bought lettuce sets from our local garden center. He planted them. The weather turned hot, causing the lettuce to bolt and go to seed. I don't think that it even formed heads. So much for head lettuce. Then this spring after the the garden had been rototilled and planted, before the weeds set in, up pops this lettuce. We left it alone until the other day when we decided that chef salad sounded good. I didn't want to let it keep growing until it had become bitter. So now I am thinking that we should plant lettuce seed in late fall. Let it winter over and see what we get. The lettuce was really sweet and very crunchy. Clean. No chemicals, for fertilizers, no pesticides. Just lettuce.

Take a look at these potatoes with purple flowers. The potatoes will be purple, too. Have you ever eaten purple potatoes? Drop by sometime in the fall and we'll sample one.

From the vegetable garden to the water garden more purple. Look at the beautiful iris. When the neighbors next door tore out their pond, we inherited their water plants, including this iris. It was a very sickly thing barely alive in the pot. But look it now. You can imagine my shock when I first discovered that it was going to bloom.


And bloom it did. What a show the iris has put on. I can't tell you what sort of variety it is. A water iris, I guess.

The peonies have been wonderful this year. They bloomed a few days late, but quite worth the wait.

This is the last one to bloom. We think it is Sara Bernhardt. I love the shade of pink. 

These are the peonies out front. They grow so big and heavy. We put rings around the three in the backyard, so I will have to buy more rings for these three. These plants came from White Flower Farms catalog. They were titled as a heritage collection.

I cut some to put on the dining room table. They are very fragrant and perfumed the house. As a side note you will see that I have redecorated since the new floor went in. Still using my old second hand table and chairs, I added braided rugs that I found at Tuesday Morning. I purchased the vase in 1997 at the university. At the end of each semester for a while I would treat myself to a piece of pottery made by students and sold by the pottery club to make money for the program. This one is perfect for the long stemmed flowers.

Now here is an ugly sight. Actually it is the site of an in progress project. The HG is configuring a watering system for the hanging baskets on the pergola. They will be on a timer which will really help to keep the potted plants watered.

On the other side of the patio, the flower garden shows off it's color. The coral bells especially like this area. Heavy, wet clay soil with morning sun and afternoon shade. They will bloom all summer.

As self starter, this snap dragon has been appearing every year that we have been here. They come up spontaneously here and there and are always a welcome sight. This year I am most surprised at how the colors match, the coral bell and the snap dragon, almost as if planned.

Another self starter last year, the echinacea has grown taller this year and bloomed. I love the shade of pink. She didn't put herself in the best spot, but she seems very happy there. 

Not so happy is this poor begonia. We bought two begonias just to see if they would grow in the center circle where it is nice and shady. One continues to grow and one just rotted. We grew begonias at the old house. One year we started the tubers inside and transplanted them in the shade garden. The winter was so mild that they re-emerged the next spring. I am thinking that I'll buy tubers next spring and start them again. They are very pretty but rather pricey in the garden centers. Do you grow begonias?

The hay has been baled. It did get rained on. Always does. It is just so stressful to have hay on the ground waiting for it to cure to be baled, watching the clouds roll in, and hoping that they move on without dumping rain on the Garden Spot. 

We had an amazing production. The first year we cut hay we got 85 bales. Another cutting yielded 111 bales and the HG knew for sure that he could never beat that total again.

He stacked 50 bales in the barn for the horses--or rather the horse. Pop no longer can chew hay so he gets moistened hay cubes. More on him later. Anyway. 50 bales for us and 148 bales for a friend who feeds two horses. Yes, 198 bales of hay from 1.9 acres. Amazing. Thank you Mother Nature for all of the moisture that we received over the winter and during the spring. 

I will leave you with a spot of red. Well, two spots: Veteran's Honor and another self starter, red snap dragon. Don't know where the red one came from. As I said earlier, they just appear.

Do come back again, for there is always something new here at the Garden Spot. Thank you for keeping me company our little walk.

I do hope that I can get back into the blogging groove. I have neglected both my blog and yours, too. Hopefully I can focus after this week. I have working on a photo album for little Lily's birthday this Saturday. It has been a big project and then I am also obsessed with the dollhouse houses, too. Yes, plural. And the garden and weeds . . . The list goes on.

Tomorrow it is supposed to hit 98. We will be delivering a load of hay, but I think I'll be inside most of the day. The nice thing about Colorado heat: low humidity and it cools off very nicely at night.

Finally a sweet memory as we approach the summer solstice: July 20, 2001,  I was at Stonehenge--before digital photos or I'd share a photo. I have to say that was the highlight of my entire life: Stonehenge. Marriage, babies, my master's degree were all regular life stuff, but Stonehenge was possible only in my dreams and fantasies. And I even had a return trip in 2006, but this first one was the day before the summer solstice. The driver of our tour bus took a back road in through Her Royal Majesty's military practice fields. We heard the booms from the practice artillery going off. We passed a band of gypsies parked by the side of the road, traveling by horse drawn wagons. The adrenaline was coursing through my veins as we drew nearer to the park. When we arrived the parking lot was full of law enforcement, the army, and TV news vans, and, yes, Druids. Indeed, a dream come true.

Thanks so much stopping by and leaving your sweet comments. I have you missed you. Have wonderful week. 


  1. What a great visit to your garden. The flowers are so pretty. I love those snapdragons that appear here and there - they do that in my garden, too. How great to enjoy the lettuce that popped up on its own, too.
    Happy Summer to you!

  2. Lovely garden - I love the lettuce story. The salad looks fabulous!! All the flowers are so pretty - well, not the begonia - but the others. Your trip to England sounds like a dream for sure. Glad to see you blogging.

  3. It's hard to keep up with blogging during the busy summer months. I haven't done well lately but love to visit with you! The lettuce would be wonderful! And your flowers are beautiful. Stay cool during this hot spell. We are having to stay inside more now. Sweet hugs, Diane

  4. Hello, happy summer. Your lettuce and salad looks wonderful. I love coneflowers, your flowers are beautiful. We are not having the heat wave like you are, I guess that is good. Travel memories are the best, I've been to England but I missed seeing Stonehenge. Happy Tuesday, enjoy your day and week ahead!

  5. Hi Ann, so nice to catch up with you! Like everyone else will probably write, I've backed off from blogging somewhat too.
    Gorgeous flowers and lots of peonies for vases inside, I just wish they'd last longer. I've had blue potatoes and we can often buy a small bag with different coloured varieties at the grocery store.
    How serendipitous for a head lettuce to show up, a nice surprise and a tasty salad.
    The farmers around here can get into a dither when it's haying time and I know they may go around and help each other. Poor Pop, softened hay cubes? Much like an older dog I suppose that feels better with canned food than kibble.
    Happy Gardening!

  6. How cool, head lettuce out of the garden. I have only grown bibb type lettuce. I am sure it was good. Love your peonies, mine are long gone. Just love a bouquet of peonies. The vase is perfect. Enjoyed seeing your pretty dining room too. Stay cool, is suppose to be 100 here in St Louis tomorrow YUCK!

  7. Amazing number of bales of hay you have from your meadow, congratulations. Was not that the most delicious salad you ever had? Such fun this surprising iceberg lettuce from own garden. These Begonias bring back sweet memories to me, my grandmother had them in a round bed in her frontgarden, in winter she stored the tubers on the attic floor. I have had them sometimes but I'm not fond of them.

  8. I know! It's SO hot! Oh well.
    Your garden is looking lovely, Ann.

  9. Your garden is looking wonderful and that salad looks delicious. I grow a bit of leafy lettuce in a huge pot and its perfect mixed with some store bought romaine or iceberg. No garden beds for me any time. Sniff...

    I adore peonies, I had them at the lake until we had some outdoor renovations and they were lost---long story. I used to cut them and bring them indoors. I'd let the water evaporate and then they dried and lasted so nicely for months.

    It has been quite hot here, too. Tonight we had several tornados move through our area and right into downtown Chicago which is rare. Praying for peacefulness and sun tomorrow.


  10. Hi Ann,

    Lovely photo's of your garden and home! Hope you manage to stay cool in that warm weather.

    Take care!

    Madelief x

  11. That lettuce does look sweet and crunchy! I so enjoy your posts. They are a window to your world and to country life that is very different from mine. :)
    Your flowers look lovely. Have a great weekend!

  12. Hi Ann,
    Lovely to see you back blogging again and to catch up on life at the farm. Your flowers are all so pretty and they must love your place since so many of them seem to wander in from nowhere and take up residence. Love the story about the iceberg lettuce you should definitely plan on growing more next year.
    bon weekend

  13. I too have neglected blog, my own and others, but I am trying to keep up! What a lovely post, I love your garden and the single little lettuce in your veg patch! I have been to Stonehenge but never at solstice time, I can imagine it was a bit magical. Xxx


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