Category Archives: Gardens

Nature Friday ~ February 15, 2019 (updated 2/16)

Nature Friday
Editor’s Note: Apparently our scheduled post didn’t publish yesterday. We apologize for that.

Once again we are joining our fur-iends Rosy and her brothers from LLB in Our Backyard for this week’s edition of Nature Friday Blog Hop.

It’s been a super busy week with commitments scheduled every day and today is no exception (we’ll have more to share about the adventures next week). While Sam and I had some very lovely visits at West Pines, hospital and hospice we still managed to get our walks in around the neighborhood. We couldn’t help but do a double take when we saw these little babies. Daffodils! Maybe the Groundhog’s prediction a couple of weeks ago is right for a change.


Further along on that same walk, we found more evidence that some tulips are planning on making an appearance soon.Tulips

February provided us with more snow over the past two weeks than we’ve received all year but we are looking forward to the arrival of Spring and sharing of more floral scenes in the coming weeks.

One more day of volunteering and then I’m kicking back and enjoying a nice quiet weekend with the Knuckleheads. How ’bout you, any fun plans on the horizon?

Live, love, bark! 🐾

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

We’re off to the hospital and West Pines these next few days but we’ll try to catch up by the weekend. Till then hope you enjoy this (Almost) Wordless Wednesday photo. Come quickly Spring…I need more beautiful flowers with gorgeous colors.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

P.S. Don’t forget to check out Sam’s E-Shop here. There’s a new luscious bath sugar scrub ‘pawfect’ for winter skin that can plague uprights this time of year.

Nature Friday ~ February 8, 2019

Nature Friday

Welcome to another edition of Nature Friday at the Ranch hosted by our California friends, Rosy and her brothers over at LLB in Our Backyard. We hope you’ll swing by their backyard and check out theirs and others tip of the cap to Mother Nature.

You can say things have been unseasonable around the Ranch lately. Normally our coldest weather comes in January when the Stock Show is in town. This year however the weather for the most part was quite balmy. A number of days even had peeps wearing shorts with their puffy jackets (yeah, I don’t get that either-wearing shorts with a ski jacket is very common around here). January and February typically have little in the way of snow and yet we’ve had two snow storms in consecutive weeks with 10 and 6 inches respectively. I don’t mind the snow, but the below zero temps following this latest storm seems beyond what is normal for this time of year. Yesterday it was -5 F and just barely over 0 this morning, so let’s go for a little orchid action to warm things up.

It’s been some time ago but I found this beauty hanging out forlornly at the grocery market so naturally I felt compelled to ‘rescue’ it. It was the only blue one and I knew it would be a lovely addition around the Ranch. Isn’t that blue color simply exquisite? I don’t know how they get the color, but it’s beautiful and made me feel like I was back in Hawaii.


Speaking of Hawaii, I would be remiss to not include a photo of the real deal in its natural environment. Located just north of Hilo on the Big Island is the Onomea Bay and the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden. With 2,000 species, representing more than 125 families and 750 genera, this is just one many beautiful plants located in this one-of-a-kind garden.Their orchid collection is particularly spectacular. Just check out this specimen. Talk about colorful and delicate looking!

I don’t know about you, but after seeing photos of tropical orchids, I can once again appreciate all that nature has to offer even as I look out the window at a wintry white-scape. I hope we won’t have to bundle up like Eskimos again, like yesterday. Lacing up 10 snow boots, donning three coats and mittens was more exercise than the actual walk!


Have a super weekend and get out there to enjoy all the beauty Mother Nature has to offer but stay safe and warm.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ December 21, 2018

Nature Friday
Welcome to Friday where we join our fur-iends Rosy and her brothers from LLB in Our Backyard in a blog hop for more Nature Friday.

Today is the first day of winter in the Northern Hemisphere and the shortest day of year. While the coldest part of this season is ahead of us, I try to focus on the pawsitive side; a few moments a day of more sunlight. Yay!

For today’s post it would have made sense to showcase a beautiful Christmas tree, but alas that little detail is unfortunately missing from the Ranch. In its place there is a pitiful Charlie Brown spindly thing, but it’s just too tacky looking to be shared. Instead however, here are a few photos from the Blossom of Lights taken at Denver’s Botanical Gardens. Trust me, they are far more awe-inspiring than the silly twig on the table.

DBG Blossom of Lights

Garden Amphitheater area where concerts are held on the grassy slopes during the summer months

DBG Blossom of Lights

Monet Pool, home to the garden’s waterlilies

DBG Blossom of Lights

A pool near the Romantic Gardens

Happy First Day of Winter and enjoy the last weekend before the big howliday arrives.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ December 7, 2018

Welcome to Friday where we once again join our fur-iends Rosy and her brothers from LLB in Our Backyard for Nature Friday.

When I was in Mexico recently there were such amazing sights I came across, combining the beauty of nature and the artistic nature of man. One day in particular stuck out in my mind-a trip to Old Town. Located across from the iconic crowned Renaissance-style towered church, Our Lady of Guadalupe is a beautiful and colorful plaza where visitors can relax, people watch and listen for the church bells that are rung by the sextants every 30 and 15 minutes prior to each service. Filled with colorful banners mixing traditional Christian and Aztec motifs, there were loads of flowers and plants to provide a charming respite in a busy spot in the cobble stoned enter. Many of the plants I was familiar with, but only as house plants. Seeing them in a garden setting left me in awe.

Mexican Plaza

Our Lady of Guadalupe Church

Church as viewed from the plaza

Everywhere it seemed that Bougainvillea were in brilliant bloom throughout the landscape. In Mexico they are known as bugambilia but in my mind they are simply  spectacular. The thorny ornamental vines/bushes/trees with flower-like spring leaves near its flowers can grown up to 40 feet tall. The thorns are tipped with a black, waxy substance. In tropical areas, the popular ornamental plant remains evergreen where rainfall is plentiful all year-long, or deciduous if there is a dry season. In Colorado we only know them as potted plants that beautify our patios during the summer and brought indoors in winter as they are quite frost sensitive. They are frequently seen in natural settings in the southern states. Sometimes referred to as “paper flower,” the bracts are thin and papery. The actual flower is small and usually white; each cluster of three flowers is surrounded by three or six bracts of the bright colours typically associated with the plant. They can be pink, magenta, purple, red, orange, white, or yellow. Bougainvillea glabrais sometimes referred to as “paper flower” because the bracts are thin and papery. The fruit is a narrow five-lobed achene. The first European to describe these striking plants was Philibert Commerçon, a botanist who accompanied the French Navy admiral and explorer Louis Antoine de Bougainville during his circumnavigation voyage of earth and first published for him by Antoine Laurent de Jussieu in 1789. Introduced in Europe in the early 19th century, French and British nurseries did a thriving trade providing specimens to Australia and other faraway lands. There are over 300 varieties of Bougainvillea around the world and many hybrids.

Hope you have a terrific weekend and are able to enjoy your own special spot of nature.

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 ~ October 5, 2018

Today’s entry in the Flower Friday blog hop hosted by Rosy and the Boyz is this beauty. I think it’s some kind of wood rose. I walk past this church frequently and they have several of them in a flower bed next to the main building and then earlier this week I noticed my favorite neighbor has a few of them planted next to his side walkway. Talk about being an especially welcomed spot of color in the autumnal palette!5dHldRv5TeevPPdDSz8ujA-e1538692380567.jpg

Hope you have a wonderful weekend and can get out and enjoy all the beauty Mother Nature is serving up these days.


Live, love, bark! 🐾