Nature Friday ~ April 29, 2022

Welcome to the last Nature Friday post for April. As always, we’re joining our fur-pals, Rosy, Sunny and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard.

Ranch HandsThis week (and likely for a few future weeks) we’re going to share images from the Denver Botanical Gardens. Let’s get started.

Today we’ll be highlighting some of the amazing things to see from the Boettcher Memorial Tropical Conservatory at the gardens, starting with the building.

Denver Botanical Gardens
Image courtesy of Tom Churchill

This concrete and Plexiglas paneled structure, designed in 1964 by Denver architects Victor Hornbein and Ed White Jr., opened in 1966. Named to honor local benefactor Claude Boettcher of Ideal Cement Company, it became a Denver Landmark in 1973 and contains more than 11,000 sq. ft. of plants from tropical and subtropical regions, as well as a concrete fabricated two-story banyan tree offering a multi-layered view of the tropical forest.

When you first enter the conservatory there is a small aquarium with D. tinctorius “Azureus”  (Blue Dart Poison Frog), who has bright blue skin with dark spots. With glands producing poisonous alkaloids which can paralyze and sometimes kill a potential predator, these little guys (reaching approximately 3.0-4.5 cm in length) live in the rainforest of Brazil and feed on ants, beetles, flies, mites, spiders, termites, maggots, and caterpillars. Spots are unique to each frog. These frogs are territorial and aggressive toward their own as well as others and their toxins have been used on the tips of arrows darts of natives.

Denver Botanical Gardens

Sorry about the glare, the aquarium has a ceiling light above it but they are kind of cute little guys.

Denver Botanical Gardens

{Shudder} We’re not sure we’d like toxic frogs less threatening so let’s see something else, shall we?

Bromeliads are tropical plants that adapt to various climates. Their foliage takes different shapes, from needle-thin to broad and flat, symmetrical to irregular, spiky to soft and usually grows in a rosette, are widely patterned and colored, ranging from maroon, through shades of green, to gold. Varieties may have leaves with red, yellow, white or cream variations. Did you know that pineapples are a type of bromeliad?

Mum couldn’t find an identifying tag in the humid conservatory but loved this bright pink one nonetheless.

Denver Botanical Gardens

Lots of you are bakers and probably use vanilla when baking but did you know that the vanilla flavoring come from an orchid? Mum buys the pods, and makes her own extract.

Denver Botanical Gardens Denver Botanical Gardens

Mum was totally captivated by this beautiful Travelers Palm (Ravenala Madagascariensis) which fanned across a large area of the conservatory. Isn’t that symmetry something else?

Denver Botanical Gardens

Well, that’s it for this week. Join us next time for another post highlighting scenes from the Denver Botanical Gardens. With the weather being far more pleasant we hope to get outside to enjoy some of Nature’s wondrous treasures. Do you have any special plans?

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Wishful Wednesday ~ April 27, 2022

Germany
Düsseldorf, Germany

Your table is ready.

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Monday Musings ~ April 25, 2022

Smiles

Just a heads up…we will be visiting with patients and nurses for the next couple of days so our responses may be somewhat delayed but we’ll do our very best. We hope you have a happy Monday and ‘pawsome’ week.

Live, love, bark!  🐾

Nature Friday ~ April 22, 2022

Welcome to this week’s episode of Nature Friday where we join Rosy, Sunny and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard.

Spring finally sprung in the 303 and apparently decided to do double-time to make up for her slow arrival, while the upper Midwest and Northeast decided to take a step back and revisit Winter. Meanwhile Spring lasted about a hot minute with emphasis on the hot and now has decided to confer with her cousin, Summer. The Ranch has once again traveled to the family homestead in Southern Colorado where temperatures will reach the low 90’s today. And yes, that’s 9-0, as in too freakin’ hot for April. Why, oh why does Nature punish the Front Range with hot temps and low moisture is far beyond my paygrade so I guess I’ll just move straight to some of the things we saw around the ‘Hood this week.

For those few moments Spring was actually in town, welcome sights greeted anyone who took the time to check them out. Last week I had intended to share a pic from the cold hardy magnolia a tree from down the street but was unable due to computer issues so because they’re so pretty, I’m including one today. This tree had been zapped a couple of times with chilly temps (and thus some browning around the edges) but managed to show why it’s worth sharing this week. When it first started blooming a few years ago, the blossoms were a light creamy color but now they are more yellow in recent years. Still, it’s a lovely sight to behold. The only shortcoming is it doesn’t have the typically divine scent that magnolia trees have in the South. But when you look like Sophia Loren, people don’t criticize you. No one.

Flowers

Flowering trees showed why gardeners enjoy planting them. This crabapple tree was covered in blooms apparently so yummy as to beg for pollinators to nosh on their sweet nectar.

Trees

A visit to a local garden center showed some stunning Ranunculus asiaticus, as early blooming perennials are beginning to arrive. These double flowered beauties heralding from the eastern Mediterranean region are simply stunning in the ornamental garden.

Flowers

The Ranch Hands appreciated some ‘breezy walks’ this week (which translates to windy as all get out) among some showy Creeping Phlox and even posed nicely together. Apparently miracles do happen and not just in hockey. Imagine wrangling two squirmy dogs not all that keen on touching one another while holding their leashes tightly so they don’t chase a nearby squirrel, focusing a cell phone in between hands also holding a full bag of poop ready to be ditched in a bin and this is one extraordinary image despite its less than stellar composition. Yeah, I’m bowing now and patting myself on the back, you betcha.

Ranch Hands

The Ranch Hands and I have been keeping our eyes peeled for wildlife. Yesterday while Norman was playing co-Grand Marshall with another pet therapy dog leading a parade at a hospital event, we spied a goose who was roosting over 6 eggs in a planter near the front entrance. Mama Goose was not pleased with the people or their dogs and hissed warnings at us. A quick unimpressive snap and we off we went after she made it clear we were not welcome. Next week we’ll share pictures celebrating the National Pet Therapy Day.

Goose

Well that’s it from the Ranch this week. We hope those of you who received a blast from Winter are now enjoying better Spring days and we are praying for all those in the western US dealing with wildfires. Hope you are able to get outside this weekend and enjoy all the beauty Nature shares. Go forth and enjoy.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Wishful Wednesday ~ April 19, 2022

Travels
Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands

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Nature Friday ~ April 15, 2022

Welcome to the Good Friday edition of Nature Friday. As always, we’re joining our hosts, Rosy, Sunny and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard.

Nature has been conspiring against us most of this week with ongoing high winds every day, making Wi-Fi sporadic at best. The laptop did a death gasp and am now trying to post something from my phone. People who are able to function that way have my greatest admiration.

As I’m clearly inept in my feeble attempts of trying to post from a phone (trying to insert images is beyond challenging), I’ll just end this painful exercise by hoping everyone has a Happy Easter, Passover or Ramadanwhichever holiday you celebrate.

Hopefully we’ll be back and fully functioning online next week. Till then, do good things, smile and be kind. But for heavens sake, make sure to get outside and enjoy some of the Nature shares. Had I been able to figure out how to add additional photos, you no doubt would have agreed with me. ☮️

Live, love, bark🐾

Wishful Wednesday ~ April 13, 2022

Travels
Castillo San Felipe del Morro, Puerto Rico

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ April 11, 2022

Smiles

Norman took offense to this cartoon but did admit he might be a bit of a herder. Have a Happy Easter Week.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ April 8, 2022

It’s Friday where we join our pals Rosy, Sunny and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard for another edition of Nature Friday.

Nature continues to tease Spring’s arrival. This week she tried a different strategy. Seasonal winds are a hallmark of March but seemed to wait until April to arrive and have been buffeting the Front Range all week. Wait a minute…I thought April supposed to be the gentle, sweet month with showers for flowers. Ahem…I’m waiting Mother Nature. Oh sure, if my count was accurate, about 16 drops of moisture fell earlier this week but cold, strong winds evaporated them immediately. Sigh.

Here are this week’s images from around the neighborhood that suggest spring’s arrival. I’ll spare you the typical tulips, daffodils, or forsythia blooms. With the lack of measurable moisture they aren’t quite as picturesque as usual. I did find a few exceptions though.

One particular hyacinth caught my eye from a shady spot. It was chock-full of glorious white flowerets. No color needed here with this beauty.

Flowers

The tree canopy is just beginning to unfurl its leaves but remains at the beginning stages. Crisp temperatures no doubt are contributing to the delay but when you look closer, you see the promise of future shade. The neighborhood staple-maple trees, showed tiny incremental development despite cold mornings as they begin to leaf out (as I began this post this morning it was 30ºF with a thin layer of frost on the rooftops).

Trees

This flowering crab found along yesterday’s walk showed it was ‘thinking’ about blooming. With next week’s forecast, I hope they survive possible snow showers and continued cool temps. Having lived on a street as a kid that was lined with flowering crab trees, the sight of seeing them bloom makes them one of the prettiest of the flowering trees and brought back happy childhood memories. If you look closely you can just see hints of pink ready to burst forward.

Trees

Another early springtime beauty around here are pasque flowers. Native to meadows and prairies from North America to as far away as the UK and Norway, Pulsatilla typically blooms around Easter time. When I looked it up to learn more, I discovered it is a toxic plant and was used as a homeopathic medicine by Native Americans for centuries. Blackfoot Indians used it to induce childbirth and it has been used to treat reproductive problems (i.e. PMS and epididymitis). Those soft hairs always intrigue me. I’m a sucker for texture.

Flowers

Yesterday’s walk also provided a ground cover/shrub I’ve not noticed before. I think it might be some sort of Photinia but not positive. If you know what it is, please leave a comment. Aren’t the pink edges pretty?

Flowers

Imagine my surprise encountering this sheltered strawberry plant robustly emerging near the base of a tree!

Flowers

I’ve been keeping my eyes peeled for wildlife sightings. Those efforts were rewarded yesterday as a ginger cat followed our crossing in front of its domain. The dogs totally missed him but I didn’t (truth be told, my eye had originally focused on the childlike greeting drawn on the front door wishing a Happy Easter). We may not have been as good as ‘bird TV’ but this fella was likely irritated by mesmerized by our presence or it’s a darn good guard cat.

Cat

We’ve only encountered one robin as yet but did manage to see these beauties in a front yard. I think they may be ‘permanent’ residents though.

Birds

One last pretty this week may be a hardy cyclamen of some sort. It wasn’t very tall but that color grabbed me like a stage hook, screaming “LOOK AT ME, look. at. me!”

Flowers

My eyes are always drawn to shocks of color and when you add in variegated leaves, well count me in. What draws your eye when your trying to view evidence of spring?

That’s it for another week. Spring continues to take its sweet time but it makes for opportunities to consciously hunt for it. Got any special plans for the weekend? Nothing is on our radar except to wish a dear friend a very happy birthday. You know who you are. Happy birthday, girl-we love you and hope your day is as special as you are.

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Wish I Was There Wednesday ~ April 6, 2022

Germany
Köln (Cologne)

Live, love, bark! 🐾