Category Archives: Gardens

Floral Friday May 25, 2018

While we’re waiting for the weekend, let’s take a stroll around the garden for this week’s edition of Flower Friday, shall we?

Our version of “Blue Bonnets” (aka Lupines) are in bloom now and a real favorite. These guys have ‘naturalized’ over the past several years coming up everywhere after planting just two single plants. I think they’re happy…what do you think?

It’s a jungle out there.

Hoping you have a wagnificent weekend and are able to enjoy some of spring’s beautiful displays of color and texture.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Floral Friday ~ May 18, 2018

It’s Friday, one of our favorite days. The weather should be a tad cooler (and if we’re real lucky, there will be a spot of rain in the forecast) after temps have been hovering in the 80’s this week. The garden is really coming to life. Next week we’ll be at the hospital visiting patients and hopefully making folks smile. Till then we plan to stop and smell the flowers as the garden continues to burst into color and bloom. Have a wonderful weekend-have you got any special plans?

Take time to stop and smell the flowers.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Floral Friday


Mom asked if I wanted to do today’s post and I agreed. Well sort of. Elsa here. It’s been raining the past couple of days and the temps have been slightly more than crisp but I’ve been super bored since my pansy brother, Sam doesn’t like walking in the rain much. I, on the other hand, live to go on walks. I tried to remind him that squirrels don’t take time off just because of a little rain but he didn’t care. Can you believe it? Not care about squirrels??? They are in full force 24/7/365 so I must patrol the ‘hood for safety reasons. The beginning of the week heralded such lovely spring weather and mom made me sit-stay walked around our garden taking photos of various plants that were in bloom. I said, sure I’ll do this post…just as soon as I catch 40 winks…okay?

Here’s what’s shakin’ around the Ranch. One of mom’s all-time favorite flowers are Bleeding Hearts. I had to sniff them to see why they swing in the breeze. I thought mom was gonna have a cow. Sheesh, mom, I just wanted to see whether or not they squeaked when squeezed. Those puffy little pillows were fascinating.

Bleeding Hearts – a sure sign spring has arrived.

Last autumn, mom added a bunch of bulbs to the yard, mostly daffodils. In the past she hasn’t had much luck with tulips and was quite thrilled when she came back from vacation and they were blooming. The lupines are ready to bloom and it looks like we’ll have some nice bouquets of peonies. Mom said the bearded irises probably won’t be very good this year since they haven’t been thinned. She said anyone who wants some is free to put dibs on the extra ones.

We have tulips! And I sit and stay nicely these days.

While she’d love for our spring garden to look like this, it probably won’t ever happen since we don’t have a Volkswagen. {BOL} But how cool would an old yellow Bug be full of beautiful flowers?

Not related, but definitely in the pawsome news category, mom said I could share some great  news. Castle Rock, a town in Douglas County, about 35 miles south of Denver finally got its act together and rescinded the longstanding ban on Pit Bulls after 26 years. It had been one of the longest breed specific bans along the Front Range. Some 60 dogs had been expelled from the city over the past decade. This was just too wonderful to NOT to share. Mom has been  giddy and hopes there’s momentum building to rescind other backwater, outdated bans in Denver, Aurora and other cities within the state. We’ll do whatever we can to change opinions of narrow-minded officials and encourage others to do the same. Breed specific bans are shortsighted and unfair to a majority of responsible dog owners. We hope other cities will follow Castle Rock’s lead.

Now that you’ve had nice flowers and great news, we hope you have a super-duper weekend. I’ll be practicing more sit-stay commands. Are you doing anything exciting?

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Springtime in the Rockies ~ March 27, 2019

While most are yearning for spring and warmer temperatures, I continue to long for some moisture. This winter has been bone dry with few snow storms containing minuscule amounts of the white stuff. Imagine my rejoicing this morning to wake up to a this winter wonderland. I’ll take it. Thank you, Mother Nature.

Any surprises when you woke up this morning?

Live, love, bark 🐾

Fab Friday ~ October 6, 2017

Last weekend was the quintessential Fall weekend. Perfect temperatures in the 70’s, low humidity, and crystal clear blue skies define autumn in Colorado. The kind of weekend that is not only most welcome following a few days of misty rain with chilly temps, but the kind that beg you to stroll through gardens and enjoy the outdoors. And this weekend was extra special, as there were a gazillion tourists out enjoying it and who weren’t congesting the highways. Often confused with Monarch butterflies, the Painted Lady butterflies have been so numerous this year as they move south toward their warmer winter habitats but first they will gorge on tasty local offerings. They even have been spotted on weather radar. See stories here and here.

Radar images showing a 70-mile-wide wave of butterflies drifting across the Denver metro area. Source: National Weather Service via AP

What’s not to love about this time of year? The temperatures are usually mild and there is a special glow of light that turns everything golden and gorgeous highlighted by exquisite blues/purples contrasting against typical autumn colors. Many of the summer flowers have for the most part, given up center stage to their autumnal cousins although the annual Zinnias are holding out till the first frost. Hardy Mum, Aster, Black-eyed Susan and my personal favorite, Plumbago are all demanding the spotlight.

As I walked through the garden, the Painted Ladies explode upward, as they flit around in annoyance that their nectar banquet was interrupted. Quietly kneeling and holding perfectly still, I patiently wait for them to return and resume the meal. I am soon rewarded.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Butterflies in the mahogany colored foliage of Plumbago

Happy Flower Friday. Tomorrow is Sam’s 12th bark day so we hope you will swing by. There will be special treats for His Knuckleheaded-ness so let’s get this pawty started. But first, let’s entertain our good friend, Friday wine. Cheers!

Live, love, bark! ❤︎

Larks and Lavender ~ Colorado Style

It’s full-blown summer here now and while it would be fabulous to travel to Provence, in the south of France, the next best option presented itself over the last weekend in the Mile High and bonus points were scored for not having to deal with TSA. While still relatively new as a commercial enterprise, Colorado’s lavender production has been increasing. Our arid climate lends itself to production of the herb with a climate that is similar to the Provence region with scads of sun, low water and few natural pests. The Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield Farms located in south suburban Littleton hosted a wonderful festival showcasing the garden’s 800+ plants with demonstrations and products, tours of the farm, and including music and kid activities. Beautifully landscaped mounds greeting visitors under gorgeous blue skies along with loads of vendors to share all manner of lavender products including soap, essential oil, dried bunches, potpourri. I wandered around sniffing to my heart’s content. Indeed everyone there seemed mellow and calm, no doubt due in part to the terrific effects of this special herb. We all know how wonderful lavender smells but did you know about all these positive properties?

  • Reduces anxiety and emotional stress
  • Heals burns and wounds
  • Improves sleep
  • Restores skin complexion and reduces acne
  • Slows aging with powerful antioxidants
  • Improves eczema and psoriasis
  • Alleviates headaches

Although I arrived a bit too late to attend any of the formal morning classes, I talked with a number of the vendors who were all extremely informative and happy to share samples of this fabulous smelling herb. I never saw a cranky person or child there and the hot temps \ would have been reason enough to be fussy. Lavender is such a great mood elevator and mellows out everyone.

Look at those beautiful mounds!

This vender was charming and cheerful while being ever so patient answering my questions on growing techniques. I have a number of lavender plants in my garden but learned several tips that may provide even more success with this fabulous herb.

Lavender bundles. No extra charge for bees.

There were other beautiful flowers at the festival

English lavender does better with our winter climate

Loads of happy ‘chill’ people at the festival.

More than just lavender at the Chatfield Farms

Fun garden art made from old spoons

Tons of lavender skin care products

Pretty Echinacea

More Echinacea plants

Even the Clydesdale was mellow

 

 

 

 

Lavender Association Booth with distillation equipment

All in all, it was a great day in the sun and I was able to gain some valuable info about maintaining and improving my own lavender garden. Even when leaving the parking lot that was filled with hundreds of cars, I was relaxed and calm no doubt due to all the sniffing of lavender plants and infused products. How do you enjoy lavender?

Live, love, bark! ❤︎

Gardeners and Dogs


Gardeners and Dogs…deceptive title because this isn’t about the ever romantic pottage garden harvesting all manner of herbs and salad ingredients, while the dogs snoopervised the non-stop back-breaking weeding. Nope. And we’re not talking about the joys of wrecking a manicure from digging in the dirt to harvest any $150.00 a piece tomato (as I recall that was about the amount I calculated the last garden I planted veggies at the Ranch, accounting for tools, water, compost, time, etc. and presuming the squirrels didn’t get it first). Even though I do love to garden, wrecked manicure notwithstanding, instead what I’m talking about is even if you live in a high-rise condo with no yard, you’re a gardener if you have dogs that go outside. Only those peeps living on Antarctica are probably not gardeners and well…they’ve got other problems. 

 

How is it possible that we are all gardeners? Well, remember that post talking about nasty grass awns? Those horticultural nightmares have dried out and are just waiting to be widely dispersed. This morning’s walk showed me just what joys to expect [insert breathless anticipation here]. Don’t get me wrong. I love grasses…those exquisite textures gracefully swaying in the garden.  

Otherwise known as ornamental grasses. 


What I’m talking about here as the latest assault by Mother Nature on gardening dog owners is this clumping, upright grass that’s a bear to eradicate from the landscape. Often called pearl millet, I have always called it “Velcro grass.” The leaves are hairless except at the base. But it’s those bristly seed heads that cause major problems. Growing up to 3 ft. tall, these things stick to socks, furry legs, noses, wherever they can attach their dastardly evil heads. Not everyone may have this botanical scourge (lucky you). But you probably have stuff we can’t even begin to nightmare about in the Wild West. I just discovered a website that identifies weeds that grow where ever you live in the US, with apologies to our Canadian friends for not showing what might harass them (See: http://www.preen.com/weeds). This site identifies 3 separate categories: broadleaf, grassy and woody weeds. Yeah, I know, it’s sponsored by a chemical herbicide company, and around the Ranch we go organic but the information it provides can be invaluable for identification purposes. Besides, it’s much more ladylike to call it what it really is known by than spewing like a drunken sailor the kind of vocabulary I normally use when I’ve had to pick out, one by one, those millions of pearled seed heads from my socks or from the dogs’ legs, ears, snouts or chests. Trust me when I say they are no picnic in the park to remove, thus the PG-rated name for our purposes. Even though I now know what they’re really called, they’ll still probably be referred to as Velcro grass or one of the more colorful HBO names I normally blurt out.  And just so that you can benefit from my past ineffective removal experience, even washing socks wasn’t a very simple way to remove those damn things. 

With Elsa shoving any and every thing into her mouth (eyeglasses, socks, grass of all stripes, just to name a few items) I have to go organic to protect her from noshing on anything sprayed with chemicals (my go-to herbicide is non-toxic table vinegar) and then watch her like a hawk when we’re outside the safety zone of the yard.

So have I convinced any of you condo/apartment residents that you really are gardeners? Do you have similar herbaceous squatters? Got any tips for removing them from socks?

Live, love, bark! ❤︎