Monday Musings ~ May 23, 2022

Happy Monday morning. As we prepare to make our  scheduled hospital visits today and tomorrow, Norman says “Never underestimate the therapeutic value of a wet nose.”

Norman
The Dogtor is In

We hope your encounters this week are therapeutic and allow you to feel better.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ May 20, 2022

Welcome to Friday where we join our pals,  Rosy, Sunny and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard to see what’s going on in our ‘Hood in the 303. The intrepid duo decided to sleep in today (for reasons I’ll explain later), so I’ll be bringing today’s edition.

Spring is in full swing with a riot of colors, from pinks to red, blues and lavenders, pops of bright yellows and greens but today we’re gonna look at orange. No Max, not Bronco orange…but the kind of orange from Nature’s very own slice on the color wheel. Besides it’s hockey season and we. just. can’t. do. football yet. So let’s get to it.

Walking around the neighborhood it’s easy to find lots of orange. First, fresh annual marigolds are brightening spots all over Mile High gardens. Bright and happy, they also are guardians in the veggie garden. Harmful bugs do not like their scent, so I always plant some of this hardworking annual around the tomato plants so I don’t have to spray any toxic herbicides.

Flowers
Cheerful and hard working marigolds

When it comes to orange nothing says springtime quite like Oriental Poppies. Native to the Caucasus, northeastern Turkey, and northern Iran, they grow from a mound of leaves and are drought resistant. Coming in a variety of colors, bright orange seems to be the standard default. They beg passerby’s to stop and stare at the paperlike blooms and fuzzy teardrop-shaped buds.

Flowers
Oriental poppy

Another type of poppy around here are Papaver nudicaule, commonly known as the Icelandic Poppy. Native to subpolar regions of Asia and North America, and the mountains of Central Asia as well as temperate China (ironically not Iceland), these charming poppies can pop up in unusual spots, like in this retaining wall which were clearly not planted. Again, flowers are crepe papery textured, bowl-shaped, supported by hairy, curved stems in the feathery blue-green foliage. First described by botanists in 1759, they are hardy in USDA Zones 3a-10b and xeric with low water needs.

Flowers
Icelandic Poppies along a garden wall

No low-water garden in the Mile High is complete without Blanket Flower or Gaillardia, a member of the Asteraceae family, native to North and South America. It was named after Maître Gaillard de Charentonneau, a French 18th-century French magistrate who was an enthusiastic botanist.

Flowers
Gaillardia (Blanket Flower), a perennial

Next entry on the Orange Tour are perennial Daylilies (Hemerocallis), whose name refers to its flowers, which typically last about a day. Hemerocallis are native to Asia (primarily eastern Asia, including China, Korea, and Japan), and popular everywhere because of the showy flowers and their hardy nature. There are thousands of registered cultivars. Despite their name, daylilies are not true lilies growing from bulbs. Be sure to keep your pets from ingesting as like most spring bulbs, they are harmful to pets.

Flowers

Last on our walking tour, is this tiny cactus. I probably wouldn’t have noticed it save for it’s bright shock of color. Regrettably, I have no idea what kind of cactus it is but it was pretty enough to include in this edition.

Flowers
Blooming Cactus

So what’d you think of the Orange Tour? Some interesting and certainly lovely blooms, right? Glad I was able to present them for your enjoyment since we’re under a winter storm watch. Yes, w-i-n-t-e-r.  A late season storm moving through the northern and central Rockies is calling for 3 to 6 inches of heavy, wet snow for the metro area with freezing temps (note to self: cover the freshly planted veggies and emerging flower seeds and disconnect the hose). It will be the first decent snow since mid-March. We hope.

I haven’t got the heart to tell Norman about the snow…preferring to let sleeping dogs lie. Ignorance is often bliss.

Norman
Rest up, big guy

So what plans do you have for the weekend. We’ll be drinking hot chocolate and nursing our wounds from the first lost in the Stanley Cup Round 2 playoffs and hope the Round 1 team shows up again instead of the guys who played last night. Whatever you do, we hope you have a fun-filled weekend enjoying the wild, diverse beauty of Mother Nature, especially from the orange pallet.

Current temp 39F°

  Light Rain – feels like 36°
High today: 42F°/38°

Friday Rain to Snow Showers

Saturday – Snow

40F°/28°
 80%

Sunday- Scattered Showers

52F°/27°
 50%
Nature Friday
Live, love, bark!  🐾

Wishful Wednesday ~ May 18, 2022

Horse drawn carriages
Horse drawn carriages, Prague

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ May 16, 2022

Is it really Monday again? Ugh. I’m not ready to Monday today. But I can at least chuckle with another sign from our pals from nearby Indian Hills. Whether you’re into science or silliness, we hope you have a terrific day.

Signs
Funny signs from Indian Hills

Live, love, bark!  🐾

Nature Friday ~ May 13, 2022

Ranch HandsHappy Friday! Norman and Elsa here to help Mum out by sharing some nature from around the ‘Hood. Friday is generally the day most of us look forward to as it’s usually the gateway to a relaxing weekend spent with our families, many of whom work weekdays. Today would be the same, unless of course you happen to have friggatriskaidekaphobia-that irrational fear of Friday the 13th. The good news is today is the only Friday the 13th in 2022 and since it is a Friday afterall, it’s better than any Monday whatever, right? Did you know that Friday the 13th occurs whenever a month begins on a Sunday? All well and good but today is also Nature Friday around Blogville so we’re here to share the beauty of nature, and we’re not going to worry about crossing paths of black cats, walking under ladders or broken mirrors. Elsa: “Cats…where?!” Norman: “Nevermind the cats, Ninja”…let’s just join our pals, Rosy, Sunny and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard to see what’s happened lately naturewise in the Mile High City.

It was another windy week but that reality won’t stop us from sharing unusual gardenscapes this week from around our ‘Hood.

Gardens in the metro area are as diverse and fascinating as the people who tend them. Elsa: You mean weird, don’t you? Norman: “Well that’s somewhat rude to say. I like to think of them more as creative souls, expressing themselves. They can range from meticulously maintained flower beds at the Denver Botanical Gardens to pint sized plots on teeny lots with monstrous mansions on them and everything in between. Let’s take a closer look, shall we? Here’s an example of a perfectly tended bed from DBG. Notice the symmetry and formality?”

Flowers
Tulip bed near the front entrance to the Denver Botanical Gardens

Elsa: “Yeah, yeah, but where’s the flower bed with bunnies?” Norman: “Oh, for heaven’s sake.”

One of the things we keep our eyes peeled for when we’re out wandering about are unusual plants and whimsical garden decor. Elsa: “Not me, I’m looking for bunnies and squirrels you big oaf.” Norman: “Ugh…focus, please!” We came across a small group of trees that just blew mum away with its ‘camouflage’ bark. American Sycamores are stately trees with unusual looking bark. Norman: “They smell nice.” Elsa: Everything has a nice smell to it where you’re concerned. Sometimes I think you’re a Bloodhound, not an Old English Sheepdog.”

Tree
American Sycamore Tree

Mum always manages to find unusual sights on our walks. She likes to check out those gardeners who are clever and original. For some reason, she’s begun to notice of a lot of gardeners decorating their trees like this neighbor who lives around the corner from the Ranch. Norman: “Hey, if it’s a canine bulletin board, count me in.” Elsa: “Look at that weirdo face. I think a cat must have been here earlier this week.” Norman: {eye roll}.

Trees
Ponderosa Pine with Face

Some gardeners think whimsy should be part of their design. Norman: I thought I should investigate what this dog was sniffing until Mum said it wasn’t a real dog.” Elsa: “Yeah, there wasn’t even a treat in that hole or flowers in the pots. What kind of scam is that?”

Garden Decor
Hey, where’s the bunny?

Some ‘gardeners’ have more success with paint brushes than with trowels. A nearby neighbor paints ‘house tattoos.’ She guarantees her creations require no water and will always bloom.

Art
House tattoo by a neighborhood artist

Fairy houses are popping up everywhere, probably a sign of the housing crunch that’s rampant everywhere. The square footage may be minimal, but the cuteness factor runs large.

A newly constructed Fairy house

A neighbor who’s new to the block has a toddler and as they tell it, they’re often too busy trying to keep up with the little tyke, so they installed a small potted garden for flowers on their corner lot that is otherwise turf. Norman: I keep waiting to introduce myself to the dog named ‘Cat’ but haven’t seen him or her yet. Elsa: Cat??? Where? Why are you torturing me by bringing up mythical cats again?”

Flowers
‘Cat,’ the nice dog’s potted garden

Norman: It’s clear, Elsa sees gardens differently than me or mum. But we still hope you enjoyed some of the more whimsical gardens around our neighborhood. Elsa: “Yeah if anyone knows where I can actually find a cat or a bunny, please let me know. That stupid oaf of a brother can’t seem to dish on their whereabouts.”

Mum: Ok, you two, that’s enough. We hope you enjoyed our little tour with some of the different gardens around and liked the tour the Ranch Hands conducted. Just like gardeners here, their ideas are as different as night and day. Hopefully you will be able to spend some time outside this weekend looking for beauty from around your own neighborhood. Have a ‘pawsome’ weekend!

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Wordless Wednesday ~ May 11, 2022

Peacock door
Door handle to Indian restaurant.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ May 9, 2022

Do you ever have a feeling you’re doing something wrong but can’t figure out what it is? Today’s smile might shed some light on that.

Smiles
Now I get it.

Here’s hoping there are plenty of ‘sit-ups’ with those smiles this week (along with some extra steps).

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ May 6, 2022

If yesterday’s stock market dive has left you feeling a bit stressed, then hopefully this week’s Nature Friday edition will provide some comfort. As usual we’re joining our fur-pals, Rosy, Sunny and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard. Hopefully these new pics from the Denver Botanical Gardens will be the antidote that can help restore your zen.

Norman & Elsa curated these images from my favorite area within Denver Botanical Garden’s grounds. Despite the fact the Ranch Hands are not being able to enjoy the beauty first hand (dogs are not permitted unless they are bona fide service dogs), it’s a place full of peaceful calm and serenity. Let’s go straight to the zen, shall we?

First, a little bit of historical info about the garden called Shofu-En, or “Garden of the Pine Winds.” Located in the northwestern corner of DBG, the Japanese Garden was designed by Koichi Kawana over 40 years ago (he also designed Japanese gardens in San Diego, Chicago, and St. Louis). Kawana transplanted over 100 locally sourced ponderosa pines that had been stunted by harsh, windy conditions in the Roosevelt National Forest near Boulder, Colorado. Some of the smaller trees are more than 200 years old and are meticulously maintained to preserve their size and shape through trimming and tying of their branches.

Kawana also designed the teahouse, that was originally built in Japan, disassembled and rebuilt on the site. In the 40 years I’ve lived in the metro area, I’ve only seen the tea house in use between the fence slats just once for a private group. Without sufficient access to the fenced area, I’ve never really been able to get a decent picture but learned tea ceremonies are held during summer months, pre-registration is required and it’s already sold out for the 2022 season.

There are several features that distinguish a Japanese garden. This little fella, camped out near the “Bee Hotel” featured in last week’s post, sweetly shouted them out as I moved toward the garden. Overall, the keys are: keep it natural, simple and uncluttered.

Critters
Welcome visitors..

Japanese gardening offer simple, peaceful spaces that promote contemplation and serenity. The space can be small or large but always focuses on natural elements to provide a relaxing retreat, underscoring nature’s impact on the space.

Japanese garden
Order and serenity are a hallmark of Japanese garden design.
Flowers
Welcome to the Japanese Garden

Beautifully raked areas are often a prominent feature in a Japanese garden. No wonder dogs cannot accompany their owners. With Norman’s big paws, this area’s serenity and order would be undone in no time.

With Denver’s climate of being considered a mountain desert, a dry garden is in perfect harmony with Japanese garden design. It’s easy to slowly meander across the bridge while walking around a small water feature that feeds into the lake. Spaces are meant for viewing nature, provide balance and inspiring peaceful meditation.

Japanese garden
Boulders and a small  bridge adds to the zen feeling.

The pièce de résistance centerpiece of the garden is the pond and this redbud tree highlights it beautifully with spring color.

Japanese Garden
Calm at the pond area.
Pond
Evergreen trees surround the pond.
Bells
Japanese bells.
Bells
Temple Bells.

These temple bells were provided by a generous DBG patron. They are exquisite and one can only imagine the sound they could make when struck.

Koi pond
Koi enjoying a spot of sun.

No Japanese garden is complete without a Koi pond. These guys slowly meander about adding to the whole peacefulness of the space.

I hope this short tour lowered your blood pressure and just in time for a Mother’s Day celebration this weekend. Everyone at the Ranch wish mum’s everywhere, a lovely day with meaningful time with their children, whether they have two or four feet.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark!  🐾

Wishful Wednesday ~ May 4, 2022

Venice, Italy
Freeloader pigeons in Bascilica de San Marco, Venice

Live, love, bark! 🐾