Nature Friday ~ July 23, 2021

Nature Friday

Happy Fri-Yay! Please join us for this week’s edition of Nature Friday where we join those lovable ‘anipals,’ Rosy, Sunny, Arty and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard but don’t forget to check out what others shared by clicking on the link.

It’s been another week of heat with the Ranch Hands wilting. We’ve been going out on our morning constitution at 5:45 am. to avoid the warmer portions of the day. I guess when you wear a fur coat the season known as Hades summer isn’t that enjoyable. And then there are the smoke filled skies that drift in as the day unfolds. Not exactly conducive to walks except early in the day. We continue to hope all the current wildfires get controlled soon. In Colorado as in most of the western U.S., wildfires continue to rage while last year’s burn areas are causing flooding conditions on nearby highways. I-70 has repeatedly been closed this week to cleanup mudslides near last year’s Glenwood Canyon fire.

The urban landscape though is full of sun-loving perennials. Let’s take a gander at a few we’ve encountered, shall we?

First up, a gorgeous trumpet vine. They guys are amazing. Strong and vigorous, they can shimmy up a wall or structure like nobody’s business. Although frequently considered invasive, pruning and deadheading can corral their vigorous growth which can reach between 30-40 ft. (9-12 m). They should not be planted near a house or at the base of a tree as they can damage foundations and strangle trees. Still they are beautiful on a telephone pole. Rated at Zones 4-9, they are readily adaptable in most conditions. Hummingbirds enjoy the tasty nectar while other birds often make nests or otherwise hide in the dense foliage.

Flowers

While running an errand this week, I noticed cattail was in full glory near a small drainage area. A herbaceous perennial sometimes referred to as reeds, these guys have always captivated my interest. There’s a large batch of them near West Pines that Sam used to investigate before we visited patients. Leaves are hairless, linear, alternate on a jointless stem that bears flowering spikes. The ‘flower’ forms a dense sausage-like spike on the stem. Once fully ripened, the heads disintegrate into a cottony fluff from which disperses seeds by the wind. What would otherwise be a rather unsightly drainage ditch becomes beautified with the addition of these plants.

Flowers

Back at home, the lupines continue to form seed pods oh joy but are being crowded by numerous sunflowers that mysteriously appeared a couple of seasons ago. In their 3rd year, they are beginning to seriously crowd the lupines. It’s certain heavy duty garden tools may have to be brought out to bring them both to heel as they’re both becoming too invasive. Still, how can anyone not smile whenever they see a cheerful sunflower, even if said flower ‘looks’ the other way (actually I couldn’t get a decent shot straight on because of the position of the sun)?

Flower

Wherever you’re at, we wish you good weather, clear skies and enough spare time to enjoy spending time in nature. My cherry tomatoes are finally beginning to ripen. The smell of fresh, garden ripened tomatoes are filling my senses and teasing my tastebuds.

Tomatoes

Live, love, bark! ๐Ÿพ

80 thoughts on “Nature Friday ~ July 23, 2021

  1. Your tomatoes look beautiful! We are way behind in our growing season here. While the rain has been good to bring us out of the drought, we now need some warmer temperatures to really get things going! My tomatoes are blossoming, but I haven’t seen a lot of the fruit yet! Luckily other farms in the area have greenhouses so I can at least find some fresh ones!

    1. Nothing better than fresh tomatoes in the summer. I noticed some little green romas on the vine finally. I’ve been anxiously awaiting those guys for two months! ๐Ÿ˜‡

    1. Thank you. They were absolutely glorious in the spring (late April through early May). There’s a photo on our Instagram feed that will give you and idea of how plentiful they were. All from just two original plants! They are prolific to say the least.

  2. Lulu: “We’ve got one of those trumpet vine things here! Nobody knows where it came from but it is spreading through and taking over the hedge out front. Dada has to go out and trim it fairly often. I guess as long as he can keep it confined to the hedge, we don’t have to worry about it eating the house, but if we disappear some day, now you know what happened to us!”

    1. We certainly wouldn’t want you guys to go missing! We’ll keep an eye open to make sure you haven’t been swallowed up.

    1. Thanks, Pam! I’m with you, cattails are fascinating. They really like those boggy areas. Have a great Saturday!

  3. Love, love, love the trumpet vine! I bet that the hummers love it! My cherry toms are ripening too (greenhouse ones). What a joy!

    1. I’ve always been an admirer but didn’t realize just how destructive they can be on foundations or how they can kill a tree through suffocation. Completing mind-blowing!

  4. The heat and humidity are brutal here right now and for the next week. We have been walking early too, but we didn’t get out on time today.

    Beautiful flowers and gorgeous photos. We have one tomato plant growing in a smart pot on our deck to keep the rabbits and deer away. We have lots of tomatoes but they are all still green:(

    Have a nice weekend.

    Woos – Lightning, Misty, and Timber

    1. Thanks for swinging by, I know things have been crazy on your end. July and August are the two hottest months so another at least 5 weeks of the heat. At least the humidity isnโ€™t as bad as where youโ€™re at. I cannot take the humidity. Have a lovely weekend and try to stay cool.

  5. We’ve been having some crazy weather! Beastly muggy then rain every.single.day. anywhere from a few scattered storms to all day! I actually say “welcome to Seattle!” It is so unusual for here – typically July is just hot. No rain. Now it is going to 55-57 at night. I’ll take it! Your gardens are amazing! And oh I do love sunflowers! My daughter just took a pic of a beautiful monarch butterfly on one of our “outlaw” sunflowers (the ones we pulled up and tossed over the fence in the compost pile have now grown and bloomed taller and better than all the ones planted this spring along our fence. Go figure!) You are so right…you can’t help but smile when you see a sunflower!!!! Stay cool and enjoy those gardens!

    1. Oooh a Monarch-bet it was fabulous…I don’t see many of those here. We get Swallowtails (those large black and yellow ones). Weather this summer seems to be crazy all over the country. And hot hot July just keeps going on endlessly baking everything. I’ll sure be glad when autumn shows up!

  6. I wish I could send the rains we had today over towards the fires. So scary and awful.
    We have trumpet creepers here, and sometimes they are swarmed by the cedar waxwings…they poke holes in the base of the blooms to extract the nectar…way more damaging than the bees and hummingbirds!
    They constantly put out suckers that if not removed will become established as new plants…I have tried with a bit of success to relocate some of those.

    We have volunteer sunflowers blooming near the bird feeders, and now the finches and other seed eaters are pecking them to pieces in order to get at those seeds! So far the squirrels have not ‘mowed’ them down…shhhh, don’t let them know those are blooming; they will destroy them and also use them to get up into the feeders…which they normally cannot do!

    1. The seeds in my sunflowers are pretty tiny and so far, the hoodlum squirrels have left them alone. I’ve seen the damage trumpet vines can do to foundations and trees. They are very invasive but also very pretty. Have a great weekend!

      1. They’ve been assaulted by them darn squirrels…they are broken off near the ground, and I saw a squirrel holding a big chunk of the flower head in his ‘hands’. Sheesh. Well at least it didn’t get to climb up the plant to enter the forbidden zone of the feeders.

        1. Thereโ€™s a teal love/hate relationship with squirrels at the Ranch. We love to hate โ€˜em.

  7. So nice to see such vibrant colors happening. Those fires . . my God I do not know how you folks do it out west. Scary business.

    And those cattails, I always referred to them as Corn Dog Flowers. . . ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. Corn dog flowers…I LOVE that!

      Yeah, fires in the West are really becoming extra problematic for multiple reasons. And the smoke…ugh, it’s horrible.

            1. Exactly. Just imagine you’re on your way to grandma’s house driving on I-70 and BAM, a mudslide carries you off into the Colorado River! Umm, no thank you.

  8. Oops. Sorry I should have said that we are in lockdown and for the moment the wetland is ” out of bounds” we are only allowed to go 2.5 klms and the wetlands is 7.3 klms from the house.

    1. No worries, I knew that. Hopefully your lockdown won’t last too long. This doggone Delta variant is spreading like wildfire here. Stay safe and warm. In a couple of months our weather situations will flip and so will our complaints. ๐Ÿ˜‡

  9. I always like your Friday. The flowers and the plants are lovely – but they always are and you seem to be able to pick the best of them to photograph.. Glad you are enjoying the heat. It’s mid-winter here and very cold. Also the weather has been very wild with heavy rain and a cold, high wind to go along with it. You are 15 minutes ahead of me. I only get up at 5:45 and out at 6am and the drive to the Wetlands. The stroller is being ” retired” for a little while and Benji is walking quite well. so I am happy with that. Have a great – and cool – weekend

    1. You’re always too kind, John. Thank you! The heat really gets to me. And Norman’s not very keen about it either. Then there’s poor Elsa in her black fur coat. Extreme temperatures are a big trigger with epileptic dogs, so I have to be extra careful with her. Luckily they both like being house dogs and only go out when we’re going for a walk-about or for a brief potty break.

      So glad Benji is doing well enough to retire the stroller for now. Please give my favorite “down under” pooch an extra ear rub from me. Have a great weekend.

  10. Those Vien flowerss are so purrty as are all THE flowerss! An THE Sunflower iss beein shy, mew mew mew…
    Wee hope choky smoke does not bother any of you two much! Wee got a guud North wind an it blew our choky smoke away Fursday!
    Wishin you Miss Monika an Sweet Norman an Elsa a wudnerfull smoke free weekend!
    **purrss** BellaDharma an <3 LadyMew

    1. They really are pretty. Most are orange, though I’ve seen one that’s a pale yellow. It’s really gorgeous. It’s been breezy which moves the smoke through only to be replaced by more smoke a couple hours later. There’s been so much smoke I haven’t seen stars at night for over a month.

    1. You too. Yeah I have to water mine twice a day. No humidity here, just intense sun and heat. ๐Ÿ˜Š

    1. With the perfect weather for them (hot days, cool nights) I thought they’d be farther along but grateful for the ones that are now starting to ripen. My mouth waters just looking at those babies!

        1. I remember that one. Unbelievably destructive. Hadnโ€™t planted any veggies but the flower garden was disseminated for better than a month.

            1. The only time I ever drove to the post office. ๐Ÿ˜ญ Was inside for 5 minutes and came back to a battered little car.

    1. My pleasure. And thank you for swinging by. We always ๐Ÿ’™ visitors.

    1. They’re as sweet as honey and why I keep planting them. Happy weekend to you and the dog patrol, John.

    1. Thanks, guys. They are so pretty, even if they’re destructive as all get-out. Have a great weekend.

  11. I’ve enjoyed a fairly ok crop of cherry tomatoes on my potted plant. This is the first year I don’t have a bonafide garden. I though I would miss it more but I’m doing okay. Don’t miss the work at all.

    1. If I put a price tag per tomato, I’d probably have a stroke. Might as well start flushing $20 down the drain. Still, it’s a miracle that keeps its grip on my soul.

      1. The first year I put in a chain link fence around my garden I calculated my tomato cost at around $32 per lb. Fortunately I had the garden for 10 years. Amortized….maybe brought it down some…maybe.

  12. I prefer tomatoes big enough for blt sandwiches. A couple of years ago I started growing 1 cherry tomato. I pick them throughout the season (sometimes into November) and make roasted tomato sauce, put it in a quart ziplock, and pop into the freezer–fresh roasted tomato sauce in winter. I use yellow tomatoes only, Lemon Boy and Sun Sugar, because they have less acid. Sun Sugar is the original yellow cherry tomato, an All American which wins many taste tests against heirlooms.

    1. There’s certainly is more bang per tomato with bigger ones but those cherry ones taste soooo good and like you say, roasted sauce during the winter is great.

  13. The fires are worrisome in both of our countries.
    The flowers are delightful and I cannot complain about sunflowers as they are my favourite flower… I love the image you took with the one in the background fading while this one is in full splendour (even if she is snubbing us).
    Cattails are a wonderful addition, I agree.
    And I’ve been delighting in my cherry tomatoes and Lebanese cukes for a week or so now – well the cukes for a good two weeks. Delights of a garden!
    Happy Friday to you and the Ranch hands!

    1. Sadly drought continues on both sides of our shared border. It’s quite alarming. Enjoying planted veggies in mid-summer is one benefit of all the hard work planting them although I haven’t planted any veggies in the ground (damn squirrels) for years but learned how to enjoy the fruits of my labor in potted plants close to the back door, including leaf lettuce. Seeing them grow and mature is such a joy.

      1. It is very alarming.
        My garden is a potted one. I want my son to help me build a raised garden next year. I wanted it this year but fuggedaboutit. I went to a friend’s house and he has what I want! Next year!
        Yes, it is thrilling. My eggplants produced a bazillion flowers that kept falling… I checked yesterday and I’ve finally a few orbs!
        Such a thrill.

        1. I know what you mean about the joys and pitfalls of gardening in a pot. The other two tomatoes are sending out loads of blossoms, but that’s all. Not sure what I’m doing wrong this time. And to think I got more tomatoes from the volunteer plant last year! Oh well. Good luck with your raised beds whenever you are able to make them.

          1. So frustrating. And hard to keep from drying out, too.
            I have two pallets that I’m thinking of repurposing… the other day, I saw a bunch stacked up and considered taking them but I wasn’t sure if they weren’t meant to be picked up by somone else ๐Ÿ˜€

            1. I’ve cruised alleys here and found a lot of castaways that can be repurposed. Sometimes people will put a sign on them but usually figure if they’re out by the trash bin, they’re likely being offered for pickup. ๐Ÿคž๐Ÿผ

              1. I figure it’s a great idea and good for the environment… Hopefully, I’ll get the occasion to pick up some more ๐Ÿ™‚

        2. We built raised beds 30 yrs ago from construction grade redwood 2ร—4s. 3 are still standing. The Port Orford cedar ones lasted 5 years. My cucumbers do better in big pots, with an umbrella over them in the heat. Everything does better with at least 3″ of shredded cedar. I water with leaky hose for at least 30 mins, rarely any runoff. I also use bone meal or something like that first thing to produce a strong root growth. With numerous 100+ days every summer I have had plenty of time to learn what works well.

          1. Very interesting. Thank you! I reallised my cukes would have preferred some shade… They still produced and are producing pretty well.

    1. You’re absolutely right about trumpet vines being worth controlling.

      During the growing season, cattails are more water dependant than bulrushes and there are some other differences between the two. Bulrushes are much taller. Both can treat agricultural non source pollution and for the creating and restoring wetlands

    1. I hear ya. If it’s any consolation, it’s 61 days until autumn officially arrives.

  14. we hope the fires will not become dangerous to you… and we send prayers to all in the fire area… we love the trumpet vine (typical for us, we love the things what can cause a mess LOL)

    1. Nothing wrong with liking trumpet vines-they are gorgeous and I know from being a kid, the nectar in them is ever so sweet to drink. No wonder ‘hummers’ love them! Have a great weekend. Sadly this wildfire season is shaping up to be another bad one this year. Sigh.

  15. California burns every summer. It seems to be happening everywhere anymore. It’s awful. Prayers for those affected.

    Love the beautiful plants and flowers. I didn’t know that about cattails though. Brilliant.

    Have a fabulous day and weekend. Scritches to the pups, a smooch to Norman and a hug to you. โ™ฅ

    1. Thanks, Sandee. Sadly, the fire season throughout the west seems to last most of the year anymore. Stay safe, cool and make it a great weekend! The pupsters send puppy kisses and butt wiggles. Hugs from me.

  16. Our triangle of native plants is perpetually crowded by sunflower, but you’re right, I hate to pull them before they’ve bloomed because they’re so bloomin’ cheerful!

    On another note, did you know that the EPA recommends growing cattails on sites contaminated by heavy metals? The cattails pull the heavy metals out of the soil, and put them in the top growth. At the end of the season, they are cut down and hauled away to the hazardous waste dump. Pretty slick.

    1. That’s awesome! I love they way they look and always try to snag some for craft projects; then realize they’re in 6″ of water and I’m in sandals. LOL

Feel free to bark your thoughts...but no growling please.

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