Sunday, March 31, 2019

Blink and Wait

I know, an odd title, but I couldn't decide between "Blink and They are Gone" or "Still Waiting." Either title would do to aptly describe the post. What do you think?

Most of the time, when I leave the house, I go through the garage to get into the car, or I go out the back door, so I almost missed the crocus. If you blink, they will be gone because they don't last long. Actually I think they are rather late this year. In a discussion with my horticulturist/tree hugger (or more appropriately, arborist daughter), we were talking about how late Spring is and how cold it has been. She mentioned that for Denver the forsythia usually have bloomed by the first of March and now they are month behind, so I suppose we can expect everything else to be behind, too.

The coccus are coming up amid the dianthus, but I think the pinks have winter killed this year. I always enjoyed their spot of pink amid the roses. They were good companions.

Yes. The snow shovel is still in place. Who knows? We may have to use it again before Spring really arrives. Nor have I pruned the roses back yet. Usually I do that Spring Break, the second week of March--a hold over from my work schedule, but the yard was under snow then. Was that the week of the bomb cyclone? Then the next week we had a heavy rain storm, with a tornado just east of us. Spring is certainly undecided this year.

I always cut back the clematis, too. This week, I hope. I'm taking the hedge trimmer to it.

One bright note: the daffodils and tulips are arriving.

Still wearing her winter brown, Spring does offer a tease of green: those pesky hollyhocks. Yes, I called them pesky. They self seed all over the place. 

One could really be depressed with all the brown. A bad April Fool's joke.

But we know that once we take the hedge trimmers the grasses that we will find new growth--we hope. We never know what will winter kill, especially during drouthy winters.

These poor dears. What possessed me plant them on the north side of the house? I'll see if any of the roses survived the cold.

At the back of house, this garden shows life.

The bleeding heart will bigger and lovelier this year year. 

I have decided to clear out this bed this spring. Grass has crept its way in and what was once a cool succulent garden is now just a jumble of stuff. So it needs a good cleaning and a new plan.

Probably too many late day shadows to see the what lies beneath the brown. The peony needs its dead stalks removed. 

The butterfly bush will get a good cut back too.

The fish are slowly waking up. I think they need warmer temperatures to stimulate their appetites. 

So there you have it. Still brown here. It is a routine that I'm used to: Blink and wait

And look at three little characters.

Brody will be a year old tomorrow. He has grown up to quite a big dog, bigger than most German Short Hairs. Last time he was weighed, he registers 88 pounds. He's made a new friend with Nathan who will 10 next week. My, how they grow. Lily came to spend the night, too. Nathan who, after seeing a film about Jackie Robinson, has decided that he wants to play baseball, so he taught Lily all about the game--Brody had to be kenneled because he can't field a ball worth a darn. 

So glad that you dropped by. I appreciate your visits and your comments. Have a great week.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Spring Break

Spring Break goes on for weeks here at the Garden Spot. Two weeks ago, it was the University's break, so although I only go there for two hours on Wednesday to tutor, I had that morning free. Last week, the granddaughters were on break, but Mom kept them very busy, so they came over for just one day, and this week, the grandsons are here for their break. Sixteen year old Jacob will go home Wednesday while Nathan wants to stay the whole time, which is great.

This morning the boys went with the Head Gardener to have coffee with the old guys, and I suppose shopping at some sporting goods store. Each boy will fix a supper. Tonight Nathan will make pizza, so we will go to the grocery and get his ingredients and tomorrow Jacob will make meatloaf. I will have them do the entire process: plan, shop, prepare, and clean-up.

Meanwhile, Spring is upon us, and talk about coming in like lion is most certainly understated. Last week I wrote about the terrible blizzard that still has Nebraska in its grips then last Friday as we ate at our favorite pizzeria with friends, our phones began to go crazy, screaming the tornado warning to take immediate cover. As it turned out the twister was near our friends' home and they were concerned. No damage, but really Spring? In March?

The snow melted and then rain came; now we are beginning to see the lawn and pastures turn green and the spring bulbs are pushing up through the soil nicely. Can't wait for them!

I woke up this morning thinking about the parties that we will be hosting in August, the class reunion and the wedding. So I'll be working through my ideas here. You all have been with me a long time, so I have to include you. I took photos this morning of the yard and here is what I am thinking:

Soon the three crab apples will be in full bloom with red, yellow, and orange tulips in bloom beneath them. Sadly all that color does not last that long. For our summer parties, these three trees will pruned and lighted. I consulted a professional yard lighting expert--our daughter who works for a tree company in Denver and does their outdoor Christmas lighting, so she will order the commercial grade LEDs and install them. 

A large white tent for both the reunion and the wedding will be set up beyond the ash trees next to the barn.

We call this the barn circle. Last summer the Head Gardener skirted the pine trees, meaning that he pruned off the lower limps that touched the ground. What difference getting rid of that growth made. It opened up the yard and created a "livable" space. We have a lot of work to do to get this space party ready. One half is grass while the other half is gravel mulch, which is very hard to maintain, so we are going hire a landscaper the removed the gravel and install sod. The irrigation is already in place. I am excited for the change; it's something that I have long wanted to do. 

I plan to string Edison lights through the branches. We will have tables and chairs set up here and perhaps a dance floor. 

This is the pile of rubbish created from skimming the pine trees. It all has to be hauled off. A really big job.

We seldom use the fire pit, but I am sure that we will light it up for one or both of the parties.

These old chairs were slated for the land fill, but I see them often in the garden magazines, so I guess they will stay.

Same for this old table and chairs that were left here by the previous owner. I think I'll spray paint them for the parties.

This self seeded tree has to be removed.

I can just see the trees all lit up at night. My neighbors will have a better view than I do. I hope they enjoy them.

We do have our work cut out for us. Stay tuned.

Thanks so much for joining me. Have a great week and enjoy Spring.


Monday, March 18, 2019

Cyclone Bomb? Really?

We are beginning to see signs of spring here at the Garden Spot, but we have had to walk through fire snow, before the Season Makers deemed that was time to bring us out of a grim winter.  Briefly to recap winter: dry, dull, drought. Then last week word began to spread that a Bad Storm was on it ways. By mid afternoon Tuesday, the TV crawlers were announcing school closures all along the Front Range. School children and parents were checking their school's web sites for office confirmation. Common Sense coupled with past experience made most of Colorado wonder if the weather predictions were much ado about nothing, since we have seen similar grave predictions over the years with the storm fizzing out or never arriving, but no so this time. They called the weather  phenomena a Cyclone Bomb or Weather Bomb, apparently now an official weather term. (You can read more here on Wikipedia)

Here in Northern Colorado we had the wind that blew the snow that caused snow drifts that cause highway pile ups--two alone I-25. One to the north near the Wyoming border and one south of Denver headed to Colorado Springs. I-70 east of Denver was horrible. News photos showed abandoned cars buried in snow drifts. Live stock on the Plain were caked in snow and many new baby calves were lost. Avalanches in the mountains closed highways and destroy homes.

Colorado natives know that March is our wettest month, and we can have spring blizzards long into May. The snow came down, the wind blew, and the snow piled up and then the sun came out and the snow quickly went away, and leaving behind much needed moisture that inspired the the signs of Spring to appear.

As it begins to warn up and now with the encouragement of moisture, things are happening in the garden:

  • While the lawn looks brown at a distance, as does all the landscape, if bend down and look real close, you will see shoots of new, green grass trying to break come through the dead thatch
  •  next the early daffodils are coming through the bark mulch. I have to admit that daffodils make me giddy. 
  • In the front courtyard along the sidewalk the tulips, coccus, and hyacinths are well on their way
  • even the gold fish have emerged, rising to the surface, sunning themselves.  I love Spring.
So as Spring begins to take over where Winter left off, I realize that it is time to get outside and start the clean up with even more vigor than ever with the reunion party in August followed by a wedding here the next weekend. Remember our little college student who lived with us. She is all grown up and found the man of he dreams and they have asked if they can have their wedding here in August. It is going to be so much fun planning and getting ready. The good news: it follows the reunion party so the yard work will be all done. I do hope that I can keep my energy level up. 

As my blog friends post beautiful photos of their walk-about, I thought I'd share  mine:

I begin on the back patio, testing the wind, assessing the temperature, planning my stroll.

I walk over land  past the water garden. It's calm this morning and ice free.

I go past the barn and veer toward the hen house

where I pick up a nicely rocked path

I find myself at the east gate of the Hen Pen where I give them a treat: the vegetables that met their untimely death in the refrigerator crisper. (Why do they call it that? It's the place where vegetables to die).

She looks so good, but the hens are aging and past their point of egg productions. We have decided not get anymore--for now at least.

Pretty feather that reflect the early morning sunlight.

While certainly not a walk any consequence, it's a pleasant little trip. The birds are happy this morning, chattering, singing: mostly sparrows, a couple of red winged black birds, few house finches, some robins that have been here all winter. 

So glad that you took a moment to visit. See you at Mosaic Monday.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

A Frosty Return

I can't believe that it has been so long since I last posted. No. I have fallen off the face of the earth or fallen at all, unlike two of my dear friends who suffered very bad breaks this winter. I have been lucky and I have been keeping myself inside because of the ice and snow. I know. I know. I need to get to out and get fresh air; however, I have fallen victim to ice once before and broke my own ankle. No thanks to a repeat.

We are thawing out quite nicely. March, however, in Colorado is our wettest month and here on the plains we certainly need the moisture. Perhaps if you have been watching the evening national news you will see that our mountains have been besieged with avalanches, with many feet of snow falling in the mountains, but on the plains, we are praying for moisture.

As I searched my photo library to see what I could had for a blog post, well, there just isn't much since the last time. So this what I've got:

The weather lady called the heavy frosting that covered everything frozen fog, and it did change the landscape. I loved photographing what is a rare weather occasion here. Even the cobwebs on the outside stair railing collected frost. The heated bird bath provides much needed water for our feather visitors, the robins and other birds that stay around all winter. Did I mention that Brody finished his training?  He needs a lot more.

The horses seem to take the cold weather in stride, but Pop gets blanketed when the temps dip below 20. He's worn his blanket a lot this winter.

I love this accidental photo of Sundance. It was shot facing the sun, but what I wanted to show was the frost covered plants. Still, it is an interesting photo.

The chain link chicken fence made a very interesting image all frosted up.

The Farr grain elevators long abandoned are always fun to photograph; here their cold steel juxtaposed with the frosted limbs of bare trees.

In the garden, the globe had a thin layer of frozen frost along with obelisk.

 Especially the wrought iron arbor by the water garden looked so pretty frosted.

 I like the old red chair underneath frozen aspen and frosted pines.

And the green chairs--ancient chairs that I have threatened to send tot he dump, but they seem to compliment the landscape. 

The sun shines today as we sprung forward. I was out early this morning surveying the damage that the dog had done to the drip system in the garden beds and searching for the garden art that he had carried away from the front court yard. I found everything and have put all out of his reach--I hope. He's had a lot fun tearing out the hosing, spray nozzles, and garden lights, I say as I am shaking my head.

The Head Gardener will celebrate his 50 year class reunion this summer and has offered our home as for the Friday night hospitality party for the graduates. I thought that it is good idea since next year we will be hosting a wedding here and we will use the reunion  party as a dry run to see what we have to do for the wedding, so there is a lot of work to do to get the yard in shape--show quality--shape. The grand kids have been hinting around (ie pleading) for money-earning projects. Jacob is now 16, wanting a car, and the two older girls have horses. So, yeah, they need money and I need help. 

I'll keep you posted on the plans. Nothing like a party to get inspired to spiff things up.

I have spent most of the winter working on the dollhouses. You can check my progress at

Thanks for sticking with me. I'm linking with Angie for Mosaic Monday. See you there. 

Have a great week.

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...