Sunday, September 06, 2015

The Story of the Traveling Plants

This Hollyhock began it's life in South Dakota in my Mom's Garden.
I took the Hollyhock seeds with me to Minnesota, planted in my first Garden.
Then I took the seeds with me to Park City, Utah, planted in my next Garden.
And, again, when I moved to the ranch house.
Now these seeds are on the move again...

'Tis Labor Day weekend and I was up early harvesting the slowest growing tomatoes on the planet. They are still green and this is my fault* because I've completely ignored the veggie garden all summer long.

Too busy moving plants.

Helianthus (best to divide these plants and grow from roots.)
Last November, I rented the ranch house, where I used to live. Moved back into town, into the 2nd house, I've owned forever, where I began gardening 12 long years ago.

Tiger Lilies (best grown by seed.)
It's all part of a convoluted plan to sell both houses ~ and I wanted to sell the city house first.

But, when I got here, I was shocked and appalled at all of the damage long term renters had inflicted upon this poor, little house. So, the garden budget was diverted to fixer upper tasks, instead.

(Be careful with this gal. She grows easily from seed & will take over your garden very quickly.)

Back to those traveling plants.

I have spent the entire summer going back and forth from my old house to the new. I've got my trusty bucket. My handy dandy garden fork. And, half an acre of pretty perennials to choose from.

The jungle that is my wildflower garden.
I go back to the old gardens, on the old property every week. It's kind of like I'm shopping, but not nearly as much fun as drooling at all the goodies in the nursery. :)

But, it's saved me a fortune! I stroll through my old gardens picking and choosing: I want you. And, you. And, you, too! I dig up a few of my faves, take them back to town and transplant them into my 'new' gardens.

Daisies (best as a transplant) and the last of the Columbines (better planted from seed.)

I'm over there digging in the dirt, pleased as punch with my selection of chosen transplants when I realized... Hey! I remember you. Turns out I was bringing some perennials back to the city house that got their start there 12 years ago.

Because, you see, I was broke when I moved into the ranch house, too. So, I was, essentially, doing the same darn thing - just driving in a different direction. Stealing perennials from the city house and transplanting them out at the ranch. :)

* Some perennials do better when transplanted by root, others by seed. Hollyhocks, in particular, prefer to grow from seed.

On other items of national importance... This was a much, much happier week than last.

Played hooky from work (always a fun thing to do) and took another ride in the Faerie Forest. At 9,000 feet elevation, autumn has already arrived.

My horse absolutely loves exploring new trails. In fact, she was having so much fun on this ride I decided to film her with my iPhone. So, hop on Sable and take a virtual ride with me:


Tomato Tip:
Did you know...? If you remove a couple of tomatoes from the plant the others will ripen quicker. More plant energy going to fewer fruits speeds up the process. Removing leaves and suckers help, too.

Most gardeners don't need to bother with that. But, this high up in the mountains the nights are already dropping below 50 degrees (F.) Which can be the kiss of death to a homegrown tomato. If it stays chilly at night, the plant will convert it's sugar production from fruit to vine (in a grand effort not to freeze to death.) And, you'll end up with tomatoes that taste almost as bad as the ones in the grocery store. :)

Have a great week, everyone!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

This, That, and The Other Little Thing

Big Love: Sable is so tall, I need to stand on that truck tire to get into the saddle. 
But, I don't care. I love her.

Enjoyed some much-needed horse time, yesterday, with my best friend. Here she is, standing politely at the barn door, waiting for her oats. I would imagine that most folks visiting this blog are garden gals, not horse people.. so plz allow me to point out an interesting tidbit about this photo.

Look close -- she isn't wearing a bridle or a halter. Because she's not tied up; she never is.

The gates to this boarding facility are wide open, and she could run away, but she won't. Because she likes me! And, we're a team. (Plus, I've got opposable thumbs and I know how to unlock the oat bin.)

 Cowboy Bob photo-bombs our ride through the Fairie Forest. (Me & Sable, left.)

Lots of folks, who consider themselves 'horse experts' have been very critical of me for giving her this amount of freedom.

One guy, in particular, burdened me with an extra long lecture on why that was a terrible thing to do.

Sable & I are members of the 'Between the Ears' club. A national group of horse lovers who photograph all the amazing places we've been, and sites we've seen, between the ears of our beloved horses.

When I asked that guy why he never lets his horses run loose... even if they're fenced in on their property. To graze on the grass in their front yard, or whatever... he replied:  

Because we couldn't catch 'em when it's time to put them back in their stalls.

So, lemme get this straight. I'm doing it all wrong because my horse actually likes me and won't run away? 


Note to self: 

I spend way too much time listening to critics. 

And, not nearly enough time messing with their heads.

I would also like to point out that... Roy Rogers could just whistle for Trigger and he'd come a runnin'. So there.

Good Eats!
This big bumble is having the time of his life!

I slept outside Thursday night! Purely by accident! :-)

Returned home after 2 days of meetings...mentally drained, laid down on the couch -- out on the deck -- to enjoy the pretty flowers and listen to the birdies sing. Woke hours later to a near full moon.

That was so cool!

This week was 2016 marketing plans meetings - where you sit for 2 days in a windowless room and try to come up with a good idea.

Hardy Lobelia is a great, late bloomer for your garden.

I'm - allegedly - a marketing consultant but since I specialize in web-only advertising, they all think I'm a computer programmer. And, nothing I say, or do, will ever alter that opinion.

* I could try to educate them.. but, in my little world... nobody ever listens, or learns.

More Hardy Lobelia -- if you don't care for red, the purple is absolutely stunning. (Pay no attention to how badly that fence needs painting. :)

Being typecast drives me crazy & I've been thinking about that ever since the PR person cornered me at the end of those two long days ~ at the precise moment when everyone was eagerly packing up their stuff to leave.

Seriously? You've been sitting here for 2 solid days and now you need some of my time? Well, my Mama always told me to take a compliment whenever, wherever I could get one. This gal clearly values my opinion! So, I agreed.

Turns out her smartphone was acting dumb and since I'm a computer programmer (in her mind) -- she wanted us to go have some wine and fix this thingamajig! {Sheesh}

Now, you can't just have wine in Utah. 

There's a law against having that much fun. (Alcohol must be accompanied by food.)

So, we ordered some appetizers and waited for what felt like forever for that wine to show up - all the while she was explaining, in painstaking detail, what was wrong with the blessed phone.

I knew exactly what was wrong with it (one does not need to be a computer programmer to fix a damn phone) so once I got her to shut up I took the phone and began to re-set that thingamajig. And, then! She pissed me off...

"So, Kate, do you have a boyfriend?" She asks.

What am I, fourteen? I thought to myself. I politely handed her back her phone and explained that I had no idea how to fix it. Which was a big, fat lie.

Still mad about that!

And, in the grand scheme of life, it is such a little thing!

To everyone but me.

I guess I'll just end up going to my grave -- without having landed on the ultimate, snappy comeback to the most commonly asked question in my life.

Nobody wants to hear how I can train a horse to do what she's told without those ropes and ties that bind.

No. no. The only item of interest is why in the world I have chosen not to get re-married. Isn't that kind of bleeding obvious? I didn't want to.

Seems to me that by the time we reach this 50-something period of our female lives, certain things shouldn't matter. Women could be handed more respect. Without ageism. Sexism. Stereotypical Stupid-ism raising it's ugly head.

Admittedly, I'm sensitive to that question because I have to answer it all the time.

So, I just thought I'd throw this silliness out into the universe ~ in case any of the rest of you have situations like this that make you kind of bonkers. If you have a snappy comeback I'd be delighted if you would share....

Thanks for visiting and have a wonderful week in the garden!

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Sunday, August 23, 2015

Grateful for Gardens

It has been a long, hot and very tiresome summer. Was thinking about that, yesterday, when I was down in the Salt Lake City Valley, running a full day of errands.

I love my little hometown ~ the mountain town of Park City. But, I hold zero affection for the sprawling metropolis down below. I only visit when I need stuff. And, I needed all kinds of stuff. Grateful for a big car that I filled to the brim with groceries, flowers, horse supplies and even some new clothes.

The hard labor of horses + getting my new gardens all spiffy caused me to drop from a size 14 to a size 12 jeans. I probably could have hoisted myself into a size 10 but I'm allergic to constricting waist bands. PLUS, winter will arrive at some point when that excess poundage should happily reappear. :-)

Is it just me or is it darn near impossible to find jeans that flatter a 50-something's body?

The pair I like are Lee 1989s. The fact that this company has to remind me how I haven't evolved (fashion-wise) in 26 years is more than a wee bit insulting.

But, I swallowed my pride. Fought the crowds at the dumbest of stores, ("We need your phone number to finish this transaction." What?? "Use mine!" offers a loyal shopper in line behind me - eager for the purchase points.) I grabbed those beloved jeans and got outta there as quick as I could.

I don't know why I'm so anti-social but I just hate how stores demand your private information.

No. You can't have my phone number. Or, my email. No. I'm not gonna like you on Facebook. Can't you just take my money and be done with it??

Okay, that felt good. A little bitch session always does.


But, why stop there? The sad fact of life is that it's just been an awful summer. The death of a friend, sick horses, family strife, horrid work conflicts. You name it; it's happened. People and their problems have worn me paper thin this year.  I guess that's what has kept me from blogging for so many weeks. And, it's also kept me hibernated in the garden.

We were talking about that over at the barn. What to do when it all feels bad. 

What can you do? Other than tough it out? And, curse my family for the umpteenth time for raising me to be one of those stoic Midwesterners who keep things all bottled up inside.  Best of times, worst of times... I dunno. My remedy is to surround myself with beauty and hope things will get better. At some point. I mean they kind of have to... don't they?

After I finished up the drudgery of running all those errands, I decided to treat myself with a visit to Millcreek Gardens where I went a little hog wild on Coleus. Don't ya just love 'em? Such stunning foliage - though I've never ever planted one outdoors. I keep 'em in pots on the windowsill. Shade annuals make fantastic houseplants!

PS: While it's highly doubtful my mood could entertain you... I sincerely hope the gardens have!

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Friday, June 12, 2015

Annoying Ants and Astonishing Blooms

A beautiful garden in the Irish countryside. (From my travels, last month.) Great inspiration for what I'd like to do with my own garden. Of course, I need a centuries old farmhouse to complete the picture!
In the last, exciting episode of the Long Neglected Garden... :) I was weeding and weeding... and weeding some more. Not much has changed.

Though, I have moved onto the murderous activity of evicting ants from the property!
A pretty Iris graces my own garden (planted many moons ago.)
Ants, despicable ants. Depending upon where you live, ants are either a minor nuisance or a majorly painful experience. My [red] ants are aggressive and, most of the time, quite secretive.

Yet another gorgeous Iris I don't remember planting. Probably a rhyzome from my Mother's garden.
I uproot a large perennial, or move a big rock, and bam! In an instant! Both arms and both legs are covered, literally covered, hundreds of ants scurrying up my arms and legs. Doing battle with the human who dared disrupt their living quarters.

I keep the hose handy, spraying myself off before they bite. Then I flood their anthill.

Blissful blues. A drift of Penstamon at my 'other' garden. I'm planning to steal a few of these for the new garden, once they have finished flowering.

Okay, fine, that sounds terribly mean spirited, but I want those freeloading ants gone! ['Tis true they don't harm your garden, but if they are so plentiful, and aggressive, that they begin harming me, then it is time to serve the eviction notice.)

Once their home becomes a lake, those vicious ants will pack their bags and head to drier ground.

In between rain showers, Bob & I hopped on the horses and went for a ride. Our near constant rains are rivaling Oregon's wet climate and the wildflowers are going bonkers!

We rode our horses through a vast meadow, filled with wildflowers.

I spotted the Tansy flower growing out in that meadow.

For one, evil, moment I contemplated harvesting the seeds, adding it to my arsenal. Did you know that Tansy flowers will kill ants? Yup! Plus, ticks, flies, you name it. It's very toxic.

That's probably how it got out there. Someone looking for a 'natural' way to rid themselves of these infernal ants. But, Tansy grows so well that it is now deemed a noxious weed in 47 states.

So, I shall stick to drowning those infernal ants. Much easier than uprooting Tansy, from my gardens, for the rest of my life.

* Most people recommend using boiling water on ants but it doesn't seem all that necessary. They hate water, at any temperature. Periodically flooding their anthill generally sends them packing. If you have a neighbor you don't particularly care for... consider guiding them in that direction. :)

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