Nature Friday ~ June 17, 2022

Ranch HandsGreetings, nature lovers! Elsa here with this week’s gander at some of what nature dished out this week. We’re joining those Land of Enchantment cuties, Rosy, Sunny and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard with their weekly Nature Friday blog hop. Don’t forget to click on the link to see spots of nature from around Blogville.

Like many places across the country, the weather has been hot, hot, hot. As a pup gardener with a black coat, it’s been brutal. Mum has to walk us at the crack of dawn so me and my dolt of a brother don’t melt. He’s not a fan of the heat either and both of us suffered until mum could find someone to start up her rooftop evaporative cooler. We’re finally online now enjoying pleasant conditions indoors. Whew…those triple digits we’ve had were brutal. But apparently the garden seems to enjoy them which proves there’s no accounting for taste.

Nature FridayThe most notable plant we encountered this week is the Mock Orange shrub. Mum goes nuts when this shrub starts blooming with its white flowers and their sweet, citrusy fragrance. Once it blooms it’s pretty unremarkable as shrubs go. Still, Norman is compelled to try and treat it like it’s a bulletin board by attempting to leave ‘messages’ to every 4-legged passerby in the ‘Hood. Mock orange has a soft texture not usually found in xeric shrubs with it’s oval-shaped leaves and billowy vase-shaped growth. It looks great in a perennial border in a naturalistic landscape and tolerates Colorado’s poor, heavy soil. It will even thrive in dry shade locations.


Next up on this week’s photo roll are the Smoke Bush shrubs that we see along our walking route in several spots. A deciduous shrub/small tree, it has beautiful purple-pink ‘smokey’ plumes with purplish leaves which turn a gorgeous shade of mahogany in the autumn.


A closeup below shows the trademark, flowering hairy clusters which bloom white flowers resembling smoke drifting in a breeze. Flowers

Smoke bush has an upright, multi-stemmed form that reaches about 12 ft. tall with either waxy green or purplish leaves. It is a moderately xeric shrub and prefers well draining soil.

Ice Plants throughout the neighborhood are exploding with color. I may be a scrappy Ninja but I still prefer the girlish, hot pink color. Check out this one that I see every day.


Closer to home, the cherry tomato mum planted just a couple of weeks ago is already beginning to produce even though it didn’t have a lot of flowers formed when she planted it. She hadn’t expected seeing tomatoes for another couple of weeks but they seem to love hot days and cool nights. She actually squealed out loud when she saw this little puppy. Mums can be so doggone embarrassing.

Tomato plant

I certainly won’t eat any (blech on veggies other than green beans or broccoli) but it seems to make mum happy and as long as those hoodlum tree rats don’t try to filch any, I’m happy for her.

So what’s going on in your garden? Doing anything exciting this weekend? I’m taking a vacation from the brother where I can lounge around with all the toys while he and mum go visit her dad in southern Colorado for Father’s Day. Which reminds me, I hope all the dog daddies out there have a ‘pawsome’ Sunday with their families this weekend and hope a spot of nature is part of the celebration.

That’s it for me. This girl’s gotta go take a nap to digest breakfast. Make it a ‘wagnificent’ weekend. Signing out…your favorite neighborhood Ninja.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

66 thoughts on “Nature Friday ~ June 17, 2022

  1. Wow! Thanks, Monika for sharing all those beautiful As much as I love the mock orange, I have terrible allergies to that sort of thing and I think it could drive me crazy. I hope you had a great visit with your Dad and that he had a wonderful Father’s Day. We celebrate Father’s Day here in September. Well, it’s time I get to bed. Actually, that was awhile ago.
    BTW while I was photographing the Autumn trees today, I heard a kookaburra laughing among the leaves, but didn’t see it. I recorded a video and will have to post it. I loved the irony of it as the kookaburra’s meant to be sitting on the old gum tree – not a deciduous import!
    Take care and best wishes,

    1. Seeing my Dad always buoys my heart especially since Mom passed away. I try to get down there as often as possible and I know he loves the visits, especially when Norman comes calling.

      1. I meant it and I am off to bed so I might just dream
        About the green and the flowers – hahaha
        Not a bad post to end the day with

  2. Lulu: “Hmm, so does the mock orange make fun of you when you go by it? Maybe that’s why Norman likes to pee on it all the time.”
    Java Bean: “Nah that’s just a boy dog thing.”

    1. Some of the ones we pass every day are in such poor soil, barely receiving any supplemental water and yet, this time of year, they provide such amazing beauty.

    1. Thank you, Helen. Mock orange smells so divine and the flowers are quite pretty. Have a super weekend!

    1. It’s one of my favorite xerox plants in our mountain desert plants. So unusual and so interesting.

  3. So many unique and beautiful flowers. We love the smoke bush and the mock orange blossoms. We are also not too happy with the endless heat we are having. Mom takes us out to walk at the crack of dawn too, but it makes for a very long day inside:(

    Woos – Lightning, Misty, and Timber

    1. We sympathize with you. The heat index is stifling but at least we don’t have your humidity. I’d evaporate in no time. Try to stay cool this weekend.

  4. Wow, that smoke bush is fascinating. We would all be checking it out for sure and trading pee mail with Stormin’ Norman. Too bad you have to stay behind, Ninja Girl, but you will probably like it better at home anyhow. XOX Xena, Lucy and Chia

    1. She does well as an only child and it’s easier on her. Norman and I won’t be gone for too long.

  5. Hi Elsa,
    Thank you so much for making the effort to show us all those interesting plants. The smoke bush shrubs are super cool. Unlike your weather just now! Here in Scotland it never ever gets anywhere near 100 degrees and Gail (my human) says if it did then she would be collapsing with heat exhaustion half way round our daily park walk…
    Enjoy your weekend.

    1. You are most fortunate, Nobby. It was a very hot summer and truthfully, we’re quite jealous of your balmy British Isle weather. Oooh, the misty downs…just thinking about them and a spot of fog sounds heavenly.

  6. WOW! We have had a mock orange for YEARS and it’s just in the wrong spot in the yard – it rarely has more than two or three flowers but the lovely fragrance is mind-boggling! The smoke bush is amazing……….absolutely!

    Hugs, Pam

  7. What beautiful flowers. We are finishing up our backyard project – should be done in mid-July. I have a section carved out for wild flowers, I can’t wait to see a little of God’s beauty out of my windows. Have a wonderful weekend my friend…

    1. Thanks! Wildflowers from the windows is indeed a glorious sight and (at least in my case) releases all sorts of dopamine into my system. Seeing beauty like that makes us appreciate those quiet moments in a crazy hectic world. Wishing you a pawsome weekend!

    1. Thanks, guys. It’s a favorite shrub of mine and would simply fabulous in the Land of Enchantment. 😉 Have a ‘wagnificent’ weekend.

    1. Thank you, John. Homegrown tomatoes are the best. Here’s hope you do’t have to wait too long for the next one.

    1. Thanks. Happy to extend your viewing of them for a bit. Gotta love their pop of color! Have a super weekend.

  8. There is definitely no accounting for taste when it comes to who “likes” hot weather. So far in SE Pennsylvania we’ve experienced only 80’s and, with a fair amount of rain, everything that’s supposed to be green is still green…a minor miracle. Plants and trees alike are living their best lives right now. Hope the Ranch has a great weekend!

    1. I’m with you. With rain on the scant side this week (there was one day where about 16 drops fell-only enough to fertilize the weeds), the garden will shift to survival mode sooner than usual. Multiple days in the upper 90’s and a few in triple digits will turn flowers into memories soon. July and August look to be brutal. Here’s hoping you have a great weekend and Happy Father’s Day.

    1. It could be a good reminder to savor it with the eyes, not inhale it to the lungs. 😉 Have a smoke-free weekend.

  9. Beautiful flowers. Nature rocks.

    Last weekend it was in the triple digits and this weekend it’s chilly. I’m wearing socks and shoes, long pants and a jacket. It’s cold.

    Have a fabulous day and weekend. Scritches all around, a smooch to Norman and a big hug to you. ♥

    1. Good for you-just hope that means a cool day is in our near future as it moves eastward. Norman really hates the hot temps. Can’t blame him, I do too and I’m not wearing a fur coat! Have a super weekend.

    1. The sun loving, hot temp plants are super happy now. Me and the dogs…not so much but as long as the AC works, I’ll live with it until autumn’s arrival (‘only’ 97 days!) 😆

  10. Wow, such pretty flowers you have in your neck of the woods. That mock orange sounds divine.
    So very glad you’ve got the cooling system going right.
    Thanks for the tour.
    I’ll be taking it easy this weekend and have to work on the next two Mondays as both Fridays are holidays. Woot! I don’t care which day is off, as long as I have a four-day work-week.
    Happy Friday to you and the gang.

    1. Thank you. I try to find plants beyond the basic box store variety. Here’s to fabulous 4 day work weeks! 🍺

  11. Love mock orange. I don’t have one now but I had one at the old house. Locally here, wild honeysuckle is blooming along the edge of the woods. Another great smell!

    1. Both scents are so intoxicating. I’m looking for a spot to plant a mock orange shrub.

  12. Our mock orange is doing phenomenally well! The fragrance wafts in when we have our windows open at night — lovely! Our penstemen are planning a take-over as usual, but they look gorgeous right now. It seems we got our moisture when the plants needed it. So we’re grateful this Friday.

    1. That fragrance is absolutely intoxicating! I linger whenever I encounter one of those and try to sniff each branch. I need to plant some penstemon. I love them! Have a great weekend.

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