Nature Friday ~ July 19, 2019

We made it to Friday-woohoo, no thanks to the blistering heat Mother Nature has been doling out. As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing this weekend, we’re also celebrating the 72nd birthday of astrophysicist and epic guitarist from Queen, Brian May, PhD. Commissioned by NASA, this anthem, his first solo song in 20 years, celebrates the latest mission by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft, which just set the record for the most distant spacecraft flyby ever. So let’s hear it for May and the universe. And because it’s Friday, we’re joining our good friends and Nature Friday hosts, Rosy and her brothers from LLB in Our Backyard.

Mother Nature and I are not on speaking terms this week. Like most of the country, we’ve been baking in triple digit temperatures. Luckily the humidity in these parts barely registers in the low teens so at least we don’t have that with the heat. We are looking forward to 65 days from now…the official arrival of Autumn. I know, I know, I heard your digital groaning at that thought but neither the Knuckleheads or I are hot-temperature fans. Sure we enjoy the longer daylight hours , but the heat, um…no thanks.

So this weekend we’ll be lifting our eyes toward the skies enjoying the universe’s wonder, and then take a look down here on Mother Earth to take in summer’s bountiful lavender harvest at the annual festival tomorrow at the Denver Botanical Gardens, Chatfield Farms location. Here’s an image from last year’s festival. What are your weekend plans? Stay cool and enjoy nature this weekend.

Lavender
Lavender Festival, Chatfield Farms, Denver Botanic Gardens

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ July 12, 2019

Our favorite day is here so that means, we’re joining our good friends and hosts, Rosy and her brothers from LLB in Our Backyard. Other than the arrival of the weekend, we love Fridays because wine arrives too. After a stressful week, a lovely glass of wine at the end of the day sure hits the spot, don’t you think?

We know wine comes from grapes which are vines so we thought we’d highlight another vine plant nature has been showing off this month in spite of pizza-oven heat. Our favorite vine in the garden (other than the grape) is Clematis.

Clematis

With nearly 300 species within the buttercup family, Ranunculaceae, one of the most popular of the hybrids in the Clematis family is C. Jackmanii. It has been a garden standby since 1862. This cultivar was named after 19th century British nurseyman, George Jackman. As a hybrid, “Jackman” comes from the marriage of C. Lanuginosa and C. Viticella. Clematis can be woody and deciduous; there are also herbaceous and evergreen varieties as well.

Jackman blooms in our Zone 5 garden in July and like many Clematis needs support. It likes well drained soil and shallow rooted plants around the base provide the necessary shade to cool the roots. It does not like ‘wet feet’ and seems to do well in a xeriscape garden. Jackman has large (5 inches across) blooms, which come in a dark purple-violet color.

Here’s one last look at Jackman with best wishes for a terrific weekend. We hope you are able to enjoy a bit of the magic that Mother Nature provides.

Clematis

Nature FridayLive, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ June 21, 2019

” Into Each Life a Little Rain Must Fall” [Henry Wadsworth Longfellow]

Rain dropsNot sure Longfellow had this quote in mind for the first day of Summer but this is what greeted the Mile High City today.

While Summer officially arrived earlier today (9:54 A.M. MDT), my Internet was missing (hence this late post). But we wouldn’t miss an opportunity to share some of the good and bad Mother Nature offered this week with our hosts Rosy and her brothers from LLB in Our BackyardIt’s been one of those days and since we couldn’t post the intended potpourri of lovely, I thought I’d share some of the not so lovely aspects Mother Nature dished out on this cold and rainy day.

There are elements of nature that aren’t quite as picturesque as the beautiful flowers that are just beginning to peak. Weeds fall in that category but even some of them can be quite stunning. As in this wild dandelion. That bloom is over 3″ across and I couldn’t help but wonder if that meant when you blew those seeds, you’d have more wishes fulfilled.

Dandelion

Along with weeds, some nasty critters are part of dear Mother Nature. Two days ago, the neighborhood nemesis (aka Hoodlum Bastard Squirrel “HBS”) decided to grow a BIG pair and attack the other kitchen window that faces the street (this makes the 4th time squirrels have chewed through the screens). From the living room I heard something crash in the kitchen and went to investigate and found HBS scrambling over the drapes and behind the herbs looking an exit like his life depended on it (it did-I was super cheesed off at this latest ballsy move by the little creep). Lots of HBO words were screeched which frightened said HBS which made him totally freaked (there were skid marks in the sill) out but he managed to exit the same way he broke in. For my part, I wailed my head off and then began looking for the roll of screen material and spleen tool to repair the latest damage. Man, you’d think the mouse traps on the outside sill would be a hint he’s not welcome here. Frankly, he’s not welcome outside either, but that’s another story. Who knew squirrels were so clueless?

Squirrel

Despite these bad elements Mother Nature provided for the arrival of summer, I’m not completely oblivious to the beauty she does offer. Rain drops on this nearby Clematis this afternoon looked especially lovely.

Clematis

So how’s the weather on your first day of Summer? Anything like the cold, wet stuff we have going on in the Mile High City (which is forecast here for most the weekend)? We hope your first weekend of summer is sunny and bright.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

 

Monday Meme ~ June 17, 2019

Sam in the Garden

Have a super week, whether you’re hiding out or chillin’ till summer officially begins.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ June 7, 2019

It’s Friday and you know what that means…we make a point to showcase all the beauty Mother Nature freely provides us…when we look around. As always, we join our ‘fur-iends’ Rosy and her brothers from LLB in Our Backyard in sharing what we’ve observed. Like much of the country we’ve managed to receive frequent rain showers. Just as the garden was bursting forth with color galore, a quick hail storm threatened to put the kibosh on the beauty, but we actually managed to dodge the bullet unlike that monster that hit us a couple of years ago. But enough about the weather (can’t change it anyway, right?) so let’s get right to the beautiful and fascinating sights from this week.

Appreciating nature in my ‘hood only requires a quick walk and when you’re out and about a few times a day with a couple of knuckleheads, that’s extra easy. Walking with the dogs, seeing what interests their snouts provides me with observing things too many people miss because they have their noses stuck in a little screen. It’s still astounding that people think they’re walking their dog, but are actually tethered to a small screen. They neglect to see the beauty (or dangers) surrounding us. What’s an observer of life to do? Relish what IS seen!

I had to make a few extra trips to the post office and library this week and walking to each location allows me to see stuff I wouldn’t if I drove. Like this dragonfly that landed next to the sidewalk. I nearly missed him. Those transparent wings nearly made him  invisible but for his body being a bright green.

Dragonfly

Speaking of pollinators, check out this gorgeous Swallowtail butterfly that flew right past me. I gasped and worried he might take off before I could pull out my phone and contort myself near enough to capture him in this rose bush. Such a showy dude!

Butterfly

Walking offers a terrific way to see some other garden friends, the bees. Whenever I come across purple or blue flowers, I know there’ll be somebody in there either drinking the nectar or scooping up pollen.

Bees & Flowers

Tucked into a corner of a pie shaped sliver of a garden on the way to the library, I came across a beautiful little oasis complete with mini Stonehenge water feature.

Water feature

This garden contains lovely flowers including this lovely rose and Heuchera (Coral Bells) where one can stop and meditate for a few moments while the sky grew moody, suggesting a storm. It was just too lovely not to linger, even if I did get wet.

Roses Heuchera

Smiling inside and out as I left this beautiful area, lo and behold another beauty  screamed out at me. Ice plants are very common around here but I’d never seen this color combination before. It was definitely worth the wait!

Ice Plant

Arriving back home after my wanderings and being contemplative after seeing such beautiful sights, I stopped and took in my own front garden. It gave me yet another opportunity to savor everything Mother Nature offered this week.

Home Garden

As I walked up the front walk, I began to notice the jungle, otherwise known as an arm-shredding rose bush near the front door. I had been planning to move it but the weather didn’t cooperate and I feared transplanting it after the late snow storms might kill it. Now it’s spread like a virus and is covered in buds (along with those prickly thorns). But now, it has the first delicate blooms.

Rose

Have you taken time to appreciate Mother Nature this week? I sure hope so. Enjoy the  weekend and don’t forget to “stop and smell the roses” along your way.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Twofer Friday

Nature FridayNormally we welcome Friday with a toast…hey it is Friday after all, the gateway to fun weekends, but today it’s a twofer. Today we join our friends Rosy and her brothers (one of whom is celebrating the big s-e-v-e-n we might add) from LLB in Our Backyard with Nature Friday and also to celebrate World Parrot Day with our avian friend, Kismet, a curmudgeon blue Indian Ringneck parrot. Don’t forget to click on the links to see what all is shared from Blogville for these two special events.

Happy birthday, Arty. Seven never looked better and well, Kismet…you may be a curmudgeon, but hey, on you it looks good. We hope you both have a fun filled day full of treats and smiles. And yes, that does mean lots of sunflower seeds, Kismet.

FlowersTo celebrate, we’re sharing a bouquet of purple taken earlier this morning. With Mother Nature bringing lots of moisture to the garden this May, the Lupines, Irises and other early perennials are showing why this time of year is a favorite around our ‘hood.

Lupines

Another purplish-blue standout in our garden also happens to be the state flower, the Columbine. Growing up I didn’t realize Columbines were any other color than this beautiful purplish-blue though I now know there are other colors. Seeing the morning light shine through the delicate petals makes me realize why the blue version was chosen as our state flower.

Columbines

World Parrot Day

When I first moved to the Mile High City, my son was given a cockatiel bird who lived with us for over twenty years. Guinevere was quite the character and I was surprised that I became pretty  attached to her. I don’t have any digital images of her but hoped that Kismet will not be offended by this last photo homage from a few years ago after a family of squatters sparrows moved into a holiday garland near the back entrance of the house. It’s the closest thing I have in my digital library to honor her. Having neglected to remove the garland after the holidays (too wimpish because it was too cold, too snowy and probably too lazy as well), once I realized they’d built a nest, I didn’t want to disturb them and were delightfully entertained while they were residents. Which mostly translated to being dive bombed by the parents whenever I came out of the house or shrieked at by the babies for interrupting their meals. Birds aren’t the most affectionate of Mother Nature’s creatures, but still they sure are lovely and fascinating to watch.

Birds

Hope you enjoyed this week’s twofer, Nature Friday and World Parrot Day. Make it a great weekend and get out there to enjoy what Mother Nature shares with us every day. For those of you in the Midwest who have been pummeled with storms, we are thinking of you and sending oodles of poodles of thoughts and prayers. Be safe and keep smiling.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ May 24, 2019

FlowersWelcome to another edition of Nature Friday where we visit our ‘fur-iends’ Rosy and her brothers from The LLB Gang. We’re finally greeting with gorgeous blue skies this morning which should last for at least for the next couple of days. It’s still chilly (in the 30’s at this writing) but should warm up nicely (until the next round of cooler weather returns).

Poppies

Despite the chilly weather and snow this week, the number of blooming plants we encountered during our daily walks and in our garden have been surprising. The many lupines, irises and peonies in my garden seem to have taken the snow with a grain of salt and are either blooming or will, in spite of what nature threw at them this week. Take the Oriental poppies for instance. The colorful, herbaceous plant of the Papaveraceae family, poppies are very easy to grow and come in shades of white, yellow, pink, orange and red. Red poppies have been used as the symbol of remembrance since the trench warfare in the Flanders, Belgium poppy fields of World War I.

California poppy
Photo courtesy of Planet Natural Research Center

This year, as any West Coast  resident can likely attest, the California poppy bloom has been spectacular due to all they rain they have received. California poppies (Eschscholzia californica), with their fern-like foliage and lively orange, red and yellow flowers are very drought-tolerant plants that are self-seeding and offers long-lasting blooms that provide reliable, easily maintained plants especially with extra moisture and goodness knows, there’s been plenty of that to go around this year. Last year a couple  magically appeared and quickly multiplied around the garden. Though mine haven’t bloomed yet, they will burst onto the scene soon once the weather warms up. Guess I need to do more thinning this weekend if this spot is any indication of their self-seeding abilities. That spot used to be bare but is now filled in with new lupines, sage and California poppies. Guess the Mile High can be jungle-like given enough prolific seeders and some moisture.

Poppies

Having been cooped up and shivering all week long, I plan to get out and check out what Mother Nature has  been up to after this week’s storm. Do you have any plans that will get you out to enjoy some of the beauty Mother Nature’s willing to share? Hope your weekend is full of beauty and fun.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ May 17, 2019

Yay, it’s finally Friday and we couldn’t be happier putting this week in the history books. But that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy a little nature, right? Even though we are in the heart of the city, there are lots of spaces where one can get away from the constant noise and hubbub. While out running around doing errands this week I came across this mini-stream between a couple of parking lots. It enchanted me enough that I climbed down the bank and just stood there for a few moments taking it all in before resuming the challenging battle against returning to the hamster wheel known as urban life. Sadly, I scared away some bathing birds who undoubtedly thought I was trespassing, if their squawking was any indication.

City Stream

Once home, I realized the woodruff in my garden is beginning to green up and bloom. Apparently a little Ladybug also discovered it and was busily noshing for aphids or the other little crawly things they enjoy. It gave me another opportunity just to quietly watch and relax while nature did its thing.

During this morning’s walk-about, I noticed one of the neighbors has replaced their turf grass into a carpet of tiny purple flowered groundcover. It won’t need mowing and I don’t ever recall these flowers being quite as prolific and lovely as they are this year. Guess last week’s snow and rain encouraged an enhanced bloom now that the temps have moved back into the 80’sF. The spring temperatures have been so fickle this year; one week in the 30’sF and a few days later up into the 80’sF. Springtime in the Rockies is never dull.

Sam & Elsa

Sam continues to feel better; thank you for all the sweet thoughts and POTP. It’s made quite the difference in bringing back the Knucklehead’s smile.

Nature FridayHave a wonderful weekend and don’t forget to visit Rosy and her brothers and all the other ‘pawticipants’ in this week’s Nature Friday Blog Hop.

Live, love, bark! 🐾