Gardening + Nature

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Orange Horned Poppy

Hummingbird Moth

Moon Carrot

Wabbit

This and the one above – Apache Plume

Colorado Springs – home of my dreams…

Well, we did it! We hosted our cousin’s birthday party Saturday (and took not one photo of the actual festivities, only the frosting, which was Y U M) and yesterday, a little afternoon garden party for our ever curious neighbors (What on earth are you doing??). What fun! And what a great relief, too, to have all that work behind us and everyone enjoying the beautiful fruits of our labor. There was much laughter, lots and lots of cake, and hummingbirds zooming about. WooT!

To treat ourselves, we’ve pulled not one weed, nor put one plant in the ground (though there are three echinacea waiting). This weekend maybe, but for now we are enjoying long walks to breakfast with the girl (thank you Good Neighbors!), book reading, game playing, and home improvement show watching, because that, my friends, is our JAM.

Happy Wednesday!

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p.s.

Look at that little river flow!!

Hello! Juniper models for our latest bit of progress. I spread the remainder of the mulch this morning, woot! What a relief to have that behind us. And now, we are t-minus three days to the reason for the BIG push to get all these home projects completed. We’re hosting our cousin’s seventh birthday party this Saturday. Cake! Cupcakes! Yummy snacks! Lemonade and laughter!

Wait, what are we looking at? Thataway is the rock circle, where we plan, on lovely evenings (when there is no fire danger), to have our fire pit going.

This little river actually flows! At least when there is a downpour, and not perfectly, as I am neither God nor a hydrologist, so my skills are in need of improvement. That said, I give it a ten based solely on appearances. It works for supermodels!

View from the fire pit. I’ll show you our fenced orchard another time.

Oh lordy, this was our worst weed patch. I would dig and dig and dig, and weeks later it was so bad that it didn’t look like I’d done anything. Insert big blue streak of curses. I am thrilled to finally have it tamed and mulched and planted with what I hope will be happy shrubs.

Juniper’s patch of grass! Send your best thoughts for healthy growth, won’t you please? I’d LOVE, and really can’t wait, to see more flowers and green than mulch and fence!

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Oh, and if you are local – I am mostly a perennial xeriscaper, as I don’t want to start from scratch every year or have thirsty plants in the high desert. For this reason, I buy the majority of my plants at Phelan Gardens and Desert Canyon Farm. They have the best selection of what will grow in our area, with many that are out of the mainstream, especially Desert Canyon. Though it, rather sadly for me, is only open for a couple of months a year (about mid-April to mid-June), but is well worth the trip to Canon City!

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red hot poker

volunteer sunflower

foxglove

horehound, with bumble bee

crocosmia

milkweed

echinacea

rudbeckia

evening primrose

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We’ve entered the sun in the morning followed by afternoon rain pattern of my dreams. Well, except when it hails. I used to think a wicked wind was my least favorite of the elements, but now, as I coax this garden along, it is most definitely hail. We’ve been spared as of late, thankfully. Yesterday, as deluge number five began dropping wretched ice bombs, I darted to the sliding door and shouted, “NO damaging hail! You hear me, storm? NO damaging hail!” And you know what? It stopped that instant. At least at our house. The Zoo was annihilated with softball sized hail, making cars undriveable and killing three animals. Good grief.

But I do, as you well know, love the rain, and it’s been marvelous to have our daily bit, and especially to walk the garden afterward, when every leaf and flower is gorgeously saturated, air sweet. The best.

We are on the home stretch with this year’s garden projects. Most mornings, we get up around six, feed and walk Juni B., then get cracking while there is blessed shade. The hubster goes in after an hour or two to earn our daily bread (thanks be to remote work!!) while I soldier on, until either the shade or task runs out. Tuesday, it was a rock border out front, each stone brought from the back, one by one, to and fro, to and fro, digging out dirt as needed, blowing displaced ants from my limbs, muddying myself as I wipe the sweat from my brow. Honest work. Meditative, too.

And while I garden, Fleetwood Mac “Sara” has been playing in my brain, and in between chatting with the land lubbers and flying things, resident and visitor, I sing along. And sometimes cry. It’s that kind of song.

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Happy Monday, dear reader, and welcome to our June 2016 garden! Though, it would be far more accurate to say our 2016 weed patch. A very small portion of the plants here were anything but the insidious and horrible little boogers. This was after pulling the mega weeds that were as tall as the hubster and filled one third of an equally mega dumpster with their remains. It is before we replaced the cool looking but falling down and totally lacking in privacy fence or jack hammered the hideous and quite unsafe patio. And people wondered why we weren’t inviting them to tea. Our house was a shit hole, that’s why.

Here we are a couple of weeks ago, with all the latest plants in the ground, and the majority of last year’s (seen here – scroll down a bit) doubled in size.

Fifteen TONS of rock delivered!

We got super serious and rented a Bobcat! As you can see from the photo above, it was a rather spritely one, the actual smallest of the lot, at 36″ wide, but perfect for maneuvering around plants and in and out of our back gate. In a hindsight is 20/20 world, we would have done this first, but honestly, the thought never occurred to us before our backs were sore and tired of digging. Hopefully I am now saving you much, much time, and aches and pains, of the bodily and pain-in-the-ass to shovel variety.

The dumpster was 4.5 feet tall, 8 feet wide, and 18 feet long. We filled it about one-half of the way, mostly with rock from the unsafe patio. It was a LOT of trips down the alley. A LOT.

This morning, under the shade of our neighbor’s massive cottonwood. The paths are made from the rock we had delivered. It’s called Sunset Breeze, and we are both super pleased with it!

In front are my hail-mauled peonies, looking rather sad. The two patches of crocosmia are going like gangbusters and making our resident hummingbirds (Rufous and Calliope, mostly the latter) very, very happy! Also pictured, but not easy to discern: milkweed, horehound, foxglove, yarrow, iceplant, mallow, feverfew, honeysuckle, red birds in a tree.

I really couldn’t be more in love with the way it’s coming along and delight in thinking about every plant growing bigger and even more beautiful. Our red hot pokers, for instance, only made five flowers last year. They’re on their way to more than fifteen this time around! It is worth every bit of effort to walk along the freshly laid paths and admire the flowers teeming with bees and butterflies and to watch the scores of birds, squirrels and rabbits flitting happily about. As our friend Travis says, “It’s like a Disney movie!”

There is still much to be done, like moving the rock that delineated the paths before the addition of sunset breeze, putting weed barrier and rock down in the fenced garden, planting more plants, moving a couple shrubs, finishing the woodwork on the patio, building a shed for our bicycles (currently stored in the basement), and possibly getting a wee patch of grass for Juniper Beulah to roll in. Soon, I hope!

 

Our house, as it was when we first laid eyes on it, nice, but definitely needing our stamp. It was exactly what we wanted, a brick ranch of the ilk I grew up in and that my grandparents owned. Solid. Humble. No frills. A giant garden!

During the dig, dig, digging – the hubster waving hello!

And now. Mostly new windows and coverings and a beloved front door. The color is Black Magic. We still need to replace the glass in the garage door and get a new driveway and sidewalk, but now there is no grass to mow! Though it hardly looks it from the picture, there are dozens of plants, mostly natives and not-too-thirsty. Some are so itty-bitty as to require a hey, don’t step on me! fairy circle of rocks around them, but there, rooting down and sending their spritely sprouts skyward. Pink, purple, white, blue – with more bees than we can count, hummingbirds, and butterflies, too. Grow, grow, grow!

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