Nature Friday ~ November 9, 2018

Even though a number of you guessed various locations of where I  might be headed to, no one accurately guessed so for the inaugural of Rosy and the Boys’ Nature Friday blog hop, I thought I’d share another clue. Be sure to visit the other blogs for some terrific shots of nature.

Have a great Friday and an even better weekend.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

 

Flower Friday ~ November 2, 2018

Holy cow…is it really November? Where did October go? Hopefully you survived ‘Howloween.” The weather has done a couple of up’s and down’s temperature wise this week but yesterday was nice enough to visit the botanical gardens with a friend. It was nice to catch up and see some autumn beauty.

Naturally after a few hard frosts, seeing actual blooming flowers is becoming harder and harder. The good folks at Denver Botanical Gardens know how to protect plants so visitors can enjoy them. In addition to protecting, several workers were planting bulbs for spring magic and the Dead of the Dead exhibit was in full swing with a couple new offerings I had not seen before. I just love these faces!

Day of the Dead

Dead of the Dead Harvest

One of the best parts of autumn in Denver are its textures. This mum seemed aglow with beauty and texture. The light variegated ornamental cabbage is extra pretty in the golden light of autumn.

Autumn mum

Ornamental Cabbage

The morning sky morphed into moody clouds before the sun returned later. This statute looked particularly lovely with tawny colored ornamental grasses with a cloudy backdrop.

Statuary in the gardens

Don’t you just love these berries and colorful leaves? These berries will provide interest throughout winter and offer snacks for local birds.

Berries and Leaves

All in all, it was a great outing with a lovely friend. We enjoyed catching up and soaked up the beauty of the late autumn garden on a beautiful day.

Best wishes for a beautiful Friday and weekend.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Flower Friday

Woo-hoo, we made it to the end of the week! It’s Flower Friday again, hosted by our fur-iends over at LLB in our Backyard. Not much is left blooming these days but we did manage to see a spectacular specimen when we visited West Pines earlier this week. Pyracantha is a large, broadleaf evergreen shrub sometimes known as Firethorn because of its many thorns found on the branches and at the end of the leaf clusters. With narrow, deep green leaves in summer, they become tinged with burgundy in the winter.

Clusters of single, white flowers appear in late spring on the previous year’s wood but it is the pea-sized berries that make this plant exceptionally striking during this time of year. The berries last well into winter for beautiful garden interest. It thrives best in full sun but can tolerate some shade. Pyracantha is a waterwise plant that does well in Colorado’s dry climate. You won’t want to plant this baby any where near where baseball could be played as they tend to swallow up balls with absolutely no mercy, due to its extremely dense, thorny nature (note those thorns in the bottom right corner-um, no thank you to any playing near that hedge!).

Pyracantha makes for a nice backdrop though for a certain knucklehead posing while waiting to visit West Pines patients and staff. Never mind that frou frou collar. We were trying to be festive for patients but everyone thought he was sweet like candy-corn. #costumefail Hopefully we’ll find a better costume for Saturday’s Pet Parade for the therapy dogs. Sam’s not much for dressing up as you may have surmised from his pose, which seems to be channeling,  “Seriously mom, don’t take a photo with THIS stupid collar on-the other dogs will make fun of me” look.

Candy corn pooch

Wishing you a wagnificent weekend.

Flower Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Flower Friday ~ October 19, 2018

My goodness, what a difference a week makes in the garden. Early this week we experienced the first snowstorm at the Ranch. Nearly 4 inches of the fluffy white stuff fell which, in and of itself, did not kill everything in the garden. But the two nights of frost at the beginning of the week pretty much made many trees dropped their leaves let alone, had flowers pretty much gave up the ghost and say,  “I’m outa here.”

Lest you think the mountain high desert otherwise known as Denver is without any autumnal beauty, you’d be mistaken. Colorado is well-known for its bright golden Aspens but there are other plants with bright foliage color more associated with Eastern US landscapes. Native to Northeast Asia, Japan and central China, right now one such plant is taking center stage. Dwarf Burning Bush is often thought of as an invasive species, especially east of the Mississippi due to more than adequate rainfall which makes for easy seed dispersal and naturalization. With Colorado’s general lack of water, invasiveness isn’t much of an issue. Eastern US State Extensions bureaus however often suggest eradication. Widely available throughout the US and it is especially popular here in the Centennial State.

Dwarf Burning Bush (which isn’t all that dwarf actually) requires moderate water, full sun, and ample room to grow. Pruning is not necessary and flowers are mostly  inconspicuous to non-existent. They are most noted for their show-stopping flame red color in autumn.

We hope this week’s entry in Rosy and her brothers’ blog hop provides you with an appreciation for all things autumnal. Have a great weekend. We hope you have warm and sunny conditions like we plan to enjoy. After teens and low twenty’s early in the week, no doubt there will be some leisure strolling through crunchy leaves in near 70’s temperatures. Whatever you do, we hope your weekend is pawsome.

Flower Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Flower Friday ~ October 12, 2018

Autumn splendorAutumn has definitely arrived in the Mile High. Cooler temperatures and even a trace of snow seen here earlier this week have made things seem somewhat seasonal but there hasn’t been a whole lot of color change in leaves with a couple of exceptions from a few maples and ash trees. I suspect the summer drought and long stretches of extreme temperatures took their toll on the internal clocks of the trees in the neighborhood. One exception is the tree shown here, taken yesterday in downtown Denver. But this dearth of autumnal  color doesn’t mean things aren’t looking somewhat seasonal. The plumbago still has a few flowers but now the mahogany-hued leaves are beginning to show.

What else is blooming in the autumn garden? Oh course, there are the ubiquitous mums and asters but what I’m enjoying now are the ornamental cabbage making for some beautiful texture in the Sedum bed (which is also turning gloriously mahogany). Normally I prefer the cream variegated version of ornamental cabbage but alas, was too late at the greenhouse and only managed to grab the only two remaining offerings [Note to self, make autumn purchases sooner instead of later].

Today will be sunny with temps back in the 60’s so it’ll be a great day to leisurely stroll around the neighborhood taking in all Mother Nature has to offer in city gardens.

The weekend is upon us so I’ll leave you with something totally smile worthy from yesterday’s downtown excursion. While waiting to join a former colleague for lunch, I spied a street busker in full regalia playing tunes on his bagpipes along the 16th Street Mall in front of the Federal Reserve building. Just across the street blaring on patio speakers was a hip-hop tune at a brew pub. Can you say musical incongruent?

Nothing really surprises me anymore but I did find the alley scene below beyond the usual weirdness. It must have struck a chord with the rest of the lunch crowd along the mall because a queue had formed and you had to ‘wait your turn’ in order to get close enough to photograph. I almost miss working downtown for seeing odd and peculiar stuff like this. Almost.

Have a great Friday and an even better weekend. We’ve been asked to ‘pawticipate’ at a hospital event tomorrow to bring a little joy to ER nurses so I’m guessing smiles and fun will be in abundance.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Flower Friday ~ September 21, 2018

Well here we are…the Friday before the arrival of our good friend, Autumn. Summer has stayed too long in my mind and has acted much like an unwelcome rude guest. So today we join Rosy and the Boyz for another Flower Friday. While summer yawns and relaxes before (hopefully) exiting for the year, let’s pause to check out a few garden plants who always perform admirably in hot temperatures-some annuals.

You may remember when I stumbled upon a secret garden a couple of weeks ago that featured some adorable “bathing beauties” (in case you missed it, read it here). With a simple annuals including petunias and a bevy of zinnias to complement the water fountain in separate alcove of that garden, it’s easy to contemplate the ‘complexities of life’ in a place like this. No wonder the tiny sparrows filled the various corners with their antics. Whether to just enjoy some fresh air or escape the hustle and bustle of the city, this respite easily transports visitors for a few moments and allows the mind to relax and savor a pretty side of Mother Nature. 

So as you welcome the official beginning of Autumn this weekend, don’t forget to take a moment to savor those hardworking but simple heroes in the garden: annuals. Here’s hoping your weekend is ‘pawsome.’

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Flower Friday ~ September 14, 2018

What’s the first flower you think of when you think of autumn? If you’re like most people, the first one that comes to mind are mums. Have you ever experimented with other autumnal plants? While rounding the last block on our walk this morning, I came across something quite magical. An autumn crocus…Colchicum cilicicum.

Colchicum is free-flowering with up to 25 bright purplish pink flowers that deepen in color at the tips. When I looked it up, everything pointed to it being vigorous and easy to grow. Yay!! Colchicums prefer well-drained soil that doesn’t dry out in summer and they need shade where summers are hot. 

Look at that color!! Isn’t it beautiful? I think I may try planting some of these guys for next year. Whatever you plant this weekend, we hope it’s grand.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Floral Friday ~ August 24, 2018

Despite having posted scads of flowers earlier in the week from the outing to the Denver Botanical Gardens, I still wanted to participate in this week’s edition of Flower Friday hosted by Rosy and the boys. I just can’t get enough photos of colorful blooms. In all the years I’ve gardened, there has been one plant in particular that I have never had any success with and it really cheesed me off. Rudbeckia, otherwise known as Black-Eyed Susan, has eluded any gardening success. Imagine how delighted I was when I saw this bloom this morning. I nearly squealed out loud. 

Here’s hoping your Friday has this much success and the weekend is filled with loads of beauty and sunshine. 

Live, love, bark! 🐾

 

Happy Floral Friday

It’s Friday again and this week seemed to breeze by quickly. Our latest bloomer for Flower Friday is a pretty lily that’s blooming for the first time since being planted. Yay for gardening success!

Here’s to a beautiful weekend.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Floral Friday ~ July 27, 2018

Last Saturday the annual Lavender Festival was held at the Denver Botanical Garden’s Chatfield Farms location. Having had a terrific time last year (click here for a flashback), I wanted to check it out again this year. It was hot but heavenly and I wasn’t disappointed.

Last year’s festival featured around 800 lavender plants. This year the festival featured nearly 2000. From white to pale pink, to blue and purple, there’s something for everyone to love. I’m all about the dark purples and the darker the better, but every single plant was a stunner. And that divine fragrance…swoon. As I walked through the rows, I was struck by the mesmerizing effect this incredible plant has on people. In an age where everyone seems to be constantly jockeying to get ahead of everyone else, people were kinder, gentler and just more consider to one another. It was a pleasure being there, even amongst a huge crowd. Knowing it would be a warm day, I had arrived 30 minutes after the festival opened thinking I could avoid the crowds. But the crowd was already so large, a sheriff’s deputy ‘kindly’ blocked me just as it was my turn to turn onto the access road leading toward the entrance. Harumph…dude, should I bring you back a big bunch of lavender to lighten up your cantankerousness, I grumbled to myself, in between HBO words.

Us plebeians were directed to the backside of Chatfield and I began to wonder if I’d need  4-wheel drive to cross through that back-forty pasture. Up, down, swerving back and forth to avoid small car swallowing ruts, I traversed the access road to find myself in the middle of a fallow pasture that had been turned into a temporary parking lot. At least I had sense enough to wear close-toed shoes unlike many who were clad in low-heeled sandals whose feet were going to be dirty in a matter of seconds as we hiked through the dusty pasture toward the pick up area where ‘farm limos’ waited to whisk us closer to the entrance. Look out Uber, you’ve got some serious competition out there.

Near the ticket booth, I was greeted to a picture perfect, blue-sky day guaranteed to lower the aggravation quotient.

Having pre-purchased my ticket the day before, I didn’t have to stand in the 50+ deep ticket line and made my way toward nirvana. Despite being early in the day, I was surprised there was already a sizable queue at the wine and spiked cider tents. I like wine with the best of ’em, but if you are in need of an alcoholic beverage at 9:30 in the morning, you definitely could benefit from wandering through rows of lavender in which to mellow out.

Lavender does surprisingly well in arid Colorado and English lavender in particular, is quite cold-hardy and generally thought to have strongest fragrance over its French and Spanish cousins. Lavender’s overall health benefits and healing properties were discovered more than 2,500 years ago. A powerful antioxidant with antimicrobial and sedative properties, the Greeks were the first to experiment with this natural remedy and soon the Romans and Egyptians were on board. Many monarchs in Europe made lavender widely popular. Lavender’s underlying chemistry allows for the diversity in its many medical to culinary uses, with a range of biochemicals, terpenes, and acetates accounting for the healing properties of lavender. Okay, enough with science and history of this awesome plant, let’s check out the festival.

Lavender and lemon flavored pops for those with a sweet tooth
This blooming Red Yucca plant was exceptionally striking
This is where a scratch-and-sniff screen would be incredible (Lavandula Augustifolia – English lavender)
Lavender with Black-eyed Susan’s
A pretty bucket of English Lavender
A visitor soaking up sun and scent among scads of lavender
Beautiful white lavender
Some of the new plants
Craft offerings galore
Whiskey pops for adults
Sweet smelling handmade soaps
Wildflower backdrop for a row of lavender
Pretty coneflower with insects
Don’t know what this plant was but it was so beautiful among some lavender sprigs in the meadow
Musical entertainment rounding out the festival

Hope you enjoyed the festival as much as I did. Have a great weekend!

Live, love, bark! 🐾