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.

2018_flowerfriday

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

It’s the last Flower Friday of August and much of the garden is starting to shift into autumn glory. In our urban neighborhood the lots generally tend to be on the small side and as we passed by one such a garden this morning on our walk, I especially wanted to stop and take in all of it beauty in this small place. Is that color just spectacular or what?

Mums and asters are beginning to take center stage as the garden shifts toward autumnal beauty. As we prepare for more hospital visits today, I hope you enjoy some of that  beauty. Have a beautiful Friday and an even more 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! 🐾

Floral Friday ~ July 20, 2018

It’s been hotter than bloody-blue blazes this week and while there’s still 64 days until the official beginning of autumn, this week’s entry, Zinnias, seems to enjoy the hot weather.

One of the easiest of all garden plants to grow from seed and one that is exceedingly cheerful and colorful in the garden, deer resistant zinnias  bloom until the first frost. Zinnias provide a burst of color and attract butterflies. An annual that must be planted every year, they have bright, daisy-like flower heads on single, erect stems that can grow up to three feet tall. When deadheaded, you’ll have a show of flowers all season long to enjoy. They make a great addition to the cutting garden.

We hope you have loads of cheer today and throughout the weekend. I’m hoping to not evaporate this weekend at the annual lavender festival held at Denver’s Botanic Gardens Chatfield Farms location (you can read  about last year’s festival here). What are your plans for this weekend?

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Sunflower Friday

A recently new addition arrived at the Ranch. Volunteer sunflowers! And I couldn’t be more delighted. Here’s to a sunflower happy kind of weekend.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Floral Friday ~ July 6, 2018

It’s easy to get distracted as I come and go in and out of the house. Yesterday as I was looking around for a blooming plant for today’s post and watering the flowers in containers, I realized a couple of things.

First of all, most of the garden plants are in that “in-between place.” As in nothing much is blooming now. My garden tends to be heavy blooming in late spring and as the heat of summer wears on (will summer ever ‘chill’ out before winter), fewer flowers bloom. One notable exception are the volunteer Snapdragons which have managed to consistently bloom precisely where they were never planted. ‘Snaps’ are prolific re-seeders and have managed to make their way across the entire yard. I love Snaps. They are such simple flower, but one that always makes me smile and of course, always entices me to pinch their jaws and say some silly thing like I’m some sort of plant ventriloquist. Come on…you do it, too. Just like the lupines, they have managed to find homes in some of the oddest places. These guys managed to take over a pot that hasn’t seen Snapdragons in years. This pot usually is home to geraniums. Ironically, I’ve never planted yellow or white snaps. Ever.

Second, bumblebees are mesmerizing. As I watered the containers, I was delighted to see not one but several bumblebees noshing away. Check out those gigantic ‘golden-ish kneecaps’ on this guy. I’m surprised he was able to keep afloat.

Anyway, bumblebees remind me to randomly walk about and check out the landscape a little bit closer. Just be careful, you just never know when a Snapdragon is going to cannibalize you (apologies for the out-of-focus bee–in some circles that might be  considered ‘artistic’). In this case, it’s clearly a reminder to work on focusing and depth of field, even with an iPhone.

Who’d have thought pink Snapdragons devour bees with chubby orange knees?

When holidays fall on a Wednesday. It’s almost like having two super short weeks in one. Nothing like going from Monday to Friday twice with a day off in between. Here’s to a lovely Friday and an even better weekend. Stay cool if you can.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Floral Friday

It’s hotter than bloody blue blazes in the Mile High (triple digits yesterday). And the perfect time to feature a  plant that accurately describes those temps. Known as Kniphofia or sometimes called tritoma, they are commonly referred to as Poker Plant or Torch Lilies. These guys are part of the Liliaceae family and thrive in USDA zones 5-9. Classified as an upright evergreen perennial, native to Africa with a clumping habit, there are more than 70 known species. Producing copious amounts of nectar when blooming, poker plants are attractive to bees and hummingbirds. The swallowtail butterflies have been recently seen swooning around them.

These babies need room to spread (note to self, be sure to divide these guys this autumn-notice the one coming up in the Canadian shrub who has also become insane fairly large-yikes). Preferring full sun they are not fussy about our crummy soil. They do require good drainage and don’t like ‘wet feet’ so no planting in bogs, ‘kay?

Poker plants are hardy and moderately drought resistant although some regular water is required in order for them to reach their full potential. Make sure they received adequate water during hot, dry spells and providing a 2-3 inch layer of mulch will help. Deadheading will encourage more blooms. These guys can be divided in the autumn and their crowns should not be planted deeper than 3 inches. Water throughly upon division and liberally mulch and you should have a new plant next season. Just make sure you provide enough space (something I clearly misjudged when they were planted in a few years ago).

Now it’s time for me to enjoy an extra-large glass of well-iced lemonade and work from inside the house in air-conditioned bliss. I realize many of you have had very hot temps already with the high humidity so I’ll stop whining now. Ummm, after second thought, nope, no I won’t. I’ll just finish by saying, it’s too damn hot!

Have a great weekend and try to stay cool. 

Live, love, bark! 🐾