Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Happiest Girls in the Garden

Painted Daisies always make me smile.

May Night Salvia
Check out Mr. Bumble Bee cruising in for a landing. I didn't notice him until I downloaded these photos. :)

Mom's Peonies transplanted to my garden a few years back.

Purple Dames Rocket, Yellow Columbines and Mom's Purple Bearded Iris

I stole her yellow Bearded Iris, too. :))

* The happiest girl in the garden could very well be me.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

June Columbines

Weeds? Never! More like a dream come true!

Columbines are so plentiful around the gardens that they are seeding themselves, growing AND FLOWERING in the cracks of the sidewalk.

I never planted red. But then, this Jacob's Ladder used to be blue, too. Weird soil causing trouble I suppose...

This one's for you, Wunx. She loves white flowers. (No accounting for taste.)

Wunx might go nuts over this one:
Ms. Jasmine grew indoors all winter. While I loved the fragrance, I did not love the way she boldly sent runners 10-15 feet up the wall. When she started wrapping herself around the television set, I decided to toss her outdoors for her last hurrah. Instead, she continues to climb and bloom... and stir up trouble.

So, for a little while, anyways, my ratty old deck holds the enticing fragrance of the Deep South and a favorite haunt, New Orleans...

Monday, June 22, 2009

Bearded Iris and Faces on Facebook

Mom's Bearded Iris ~ snitched from her garden years ago ~ now happily flourishing in mine.

It's official, I thought to myself. If my Brother is on Facebook then I am the last hold out left in the USA, and possibly in the world!

I cannot bring myself to become a Facebooker.

I don't intend to Twitter, either. Ever!

Blogging, to me, has value. It requires time, thought, hopefully a little bit of focus, lots of commitment.

Facebook feels like a bunch of people haphazardly clicking around asking, Hey, can I be your friend?

As if adults have willingly regressed back to the shallowness of high school popularity contests.

Now, I realize this bad attitude could anger lots of people. So, let me just say right here and now: Sorry! I was wrong. (And, I hate to admit that!)

My Brother has spent the last few rainy weekends scanning and posting a ton of photos he found in boxes around the old homestead. Preserving them in the virtual world. He kept pestering me. Join Facebook. Go look.

Get lost. That was my response. But, it's kind of like a traffic accident. You gotta look. Even when you don't want to.

So, I looked. And, look what I found. This is Mom, snowshoeing in the Utah Mountains, on a visit 66 winters ago.

Whenever I see an article listing 'How to care for Bearded Iris' I get confused. Other than occasionally thinning the herd, the less care the better. They live forever, are incredibly drought-tolerant. I can't imagine a cottage garden without them.

* Nope. She had nothing to do with me moving to Utah. In fact, she was against the idea.... :)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Dampened Spirits

Quest and Sienna waiting out the storm.

I'm 50% savvy when it comes to text messaging:

I can read 'em! Have not, as yet, mastered the patience to respond.

Of course, there's no real reason to respond. It's pretty much a statement of fact that plans to saddle up the horses were, once again, rained out.

This was going to be a major horsey weekend! 'Twas the Strawberry Endurance Ride and K had volunteered to coordinate the camping.

Now, when I think of camping, I drag out my ratty, old tent. When K decides to camp she - get this! - rents a 2 bedroom RV! So I was all excited about roughing it.

Endurance is a distance horseback riding competition, generally 50 miles per day. With a happy little Equestrian Massage tent conveniently located at the finish line!

But then the rains came (again) to foil our plans and dampen our spirits. I don't know why I thought they wouldn't. It has rained incessantly for so long I hardly remember the beauty of this high plains desert.
Monsoon (grey horse, not the weather) has logged 3,000 miles in endurance competitions. And, it's interesting... I've ridden him and he barely moves on the trail. Unless he's competing, he thinks trail rides are a yawn.

And the winner is........

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Screamin' Deals

They were having a sale.

I'm not nearly as psychotic as you might think. Been waitin' with baited breath for this sale. One gallon perennials, marked down to $2.00, all because most of them quit blooming. They're not dead. They're quite healthy. They're just tired of the cramped living conditions inside these black nursery pots.

My screamin' deal perennials will be planted into this long, ugly space
which used to be the ditch in front of my house.

And, soon will become a polka dot garden filled with bright, chaotic color.

I've got a big yard because I had big plans. Though I'll confess, over the last couple of years those big plans have become tiresome, overwhelming, and in spite of me doing all the backbreaking labor, too expensive. And, then there is the psychological aspect of doing this in Park City, Utah ~ a problematic little paradise.

Love it here. But so do lots of rich people. Most of whom have gardeners. When my next door neighbor's team of 5 gardeners show up and weed all day long one thought runs through my mind...

Would it kill you to buy an iPod?

They blast a boom box, with horrible music, that ruins my concentration. I suspect, though I have no proof, that lame loud music also impedes my flowers from flowering.

Oh, did you think I was jealous of his gardeners? Okay, maybe sometimes. But, I do sincerely believe: If you want something done right, you gotta do it yourself.*


Birthday wishes go out to my Phalaenopsis Moth Orchid, who has now flowered for 6 long, lovely months. Though I've started taking all sorts of liberties with her care so she will no doubt die by the 4th of July.

* "If you want something done right, do it yourself" only applies to gardening. If you want to clean my house or cook me dinner, have at it!

Monday, June 15, 2009

A Daisy If You Do

Canterbury Bells cope with heavy rains.

37. That was the number of undaunted bikers who peddled past me as I ripped away at the weedy mess that some day (soon) will become My New Street Garden.

I avoid working out on that busy street as much as I can. (Hence, the weeds.) When I do work out there, I absentmindedly tally up all the passers by.

In between torrential downpours, I'd scurry outdoors to make a little bit of headway on my great, big, garden project.

Then, I'd scoot back inside when it began to rain. Which it did, several times during the afternoon.

I felt kind of lucky, in comparison to those overly optimistic bikers. They saw rays of sunshine as an end to this misery, not simply an intermission. And, they didn't have a garage to dash into when that intermission was over.

It's not a gentle rain. Thunder, lightning, fierce winds... pretty much all the drama Mother Nature can muster.

She's been raining on us every day, for 2 or 3 weeks, now.

Lawns squish underfoot. Horses stand dejected in their muddy corrals.

Weeds aren't even weeds any more. They're mushrooms!

My water wise perennials are near death. Drowning from the one thing this high plains desert never gets: too much moisture. So, I guess when it comes to environmentally conscious gardening... I'm damned if I do. And, also if I don't. :)

* 'You're A Daisy If You Do' is an old wild west term implying that if you cause trouble, you could get shot, and then you'll be pushing up daisies. Popularized by Val Kilmer in the movie, Tombstone. Which, incidentally, is a great cowboy flick if you're stuck inside on a rainy day.

Monday, June 08, 2009

40 Days and 40 Nights

I don't care what the calendar says. This first Columbine bloom of the season is the official start to my summer.

Oh, thank God! I thought to myself ~ as I peered out the kitchen window at bright sunshine. A glimmer of hope in this grey, dreary, overly saturated spring.

More first blossoms: Johnson's Blue Geranium peeks out from behind lush foliage.

My joy was short-lived. The coffee hadn't finished brewing when dark clouds blocked out the happy sun and another deluge was upon us.

It's a toss up, I suppose. The scent of fresh Lilacs is intoxicating but the cheery pink blossoms of Flowering Almond are pretty irresistible, too.

I guess it really didn't matter if it rained this weekend ~ which it did, as it has done for as long as I can remember.* And, will do for as long as Google can predict.

Because I was stuck behind closed doors in what could easily go down in history as the most depressing sales meeting I have ever attended.

And, I'm not even in sales.

So, just imagine how the sales reps felt.

Alliums standing tall
(Haze, if you're reading this, these are the ones I thought were tulips when you were visiting! Dang. I can't get anything right.

As a freelancer, I work with all sorts of companies. Some are sweet. Some are mean. This company is by far the hardest ~ for the most childish of reasons. They don't like me. They really don't! I don't know why they don't like me. I'm kind of nice...

Mom's Wild Roses are going hog wild.

As I sat there for hours and hours and hours, I tried to earn my keep by offering up [what I thought was] one good idea after another. They kept looking at me like I was the village idiot. At one point I actually went into the ladies room and sort of sniffed my shirt to see if, perhaps, I smelled really bad or something.

Non-stop Tulip action: Heirlooms that (apparently) bloom forever.

So, I'd toss out an idea and feel like a fool. Minutes later some fellow in the room would take my idea and repeat it to the crowd. Then everyone would smile and say... Oh, that's good... Huh? I dunno, seems hard to believe that in this day and age I could be considered 'a dumb girl.' But, maybe so. The good news is I survived and I guess that counts for something. Hopefully something more than a bruised self-esteem.

* Admittedly I don't have a great long-term memory. Or even a pretty good short-term memory. But, I do believe this is the rainiest damn spring I've ever seen.

However! This deep drenching has inspired pretty much every flower in my garden to get with the program.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Wildflower Wednesdays

Wildflowers of Cascade Springs:
It's been raining like crazy and the wildflowers are going nuts. I'm not very good at identifying wildflowers so if you know who they are, send me an email...

I am (for the most part) a pretty good girl. A task master I guess you'd call me. Scribbling out a list every morning and chipping away at that mountain of pesky chores. The ones we all have. Those things which need doing.

Only some days I throw up my hands and think: "What is the point? Does anyone ever notice?"

But, of course, they do notice. Not so much your successes. Pretty much only the failures. (Clean the house, they'll find a dusty corner. Weed your entire garden and rest assured, the first visitor who stops by will point out the one weed you missed.)

'Tis an odd quirk of humans ~ how they tend to search high and low to find fault. As if it's too much for them to look beyond the small details, embrace a big picture, and simply say: "Wow. You did a good job."

And, that I think, is what prompted me to be an hour and a half late getting back to the office yesterday. No, I did not forget about that conference call. I was just having a hard time remembering why it mattered!

Coming back from my riding lesson, I impulsively took a left turn and scooted 7 miles off the beaten path. To a special little decompression chamber called Cascade Springs.

You don't need 4WD on the bumpy road to Cascade Springs. However! Good shock absorbers are worth their weight in gold.

Because sometimes just walking outdoors and breathing the free air can bring a tired soul [like mine] back to life.

* Cascade Springs is located above the Heber Valley (Utah) near Sundance. When I got there they wanted 10 bucks to get in so these photos were taken outside the real place.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Cool Blue Garden

Camassia ~ a favorite early bloomer ~ delicate, star-shaped flowers.

It's been raining. A lot! Which is very odd in a high plains desert and that's inspired a few Midwestern Moments. Been gettin' all reminiscent about those wasted years when I lived in Minnesota. When most every outdoor plan we'd have was foiled by bad weather.

Dainty little Brunnera (flowers the size of your fingernail) lays claim to a shady spot in my yard.

Back home it's okay to bitch about the rain. Rains every damn time you get on your bike. Out here, it never rains (or so they say) and so I have to keep my trap shut.

The bluest and latest blooming of my Lilac Menagerie has a wonderful fragrance after the rain.

But it has inspired a cool, blue mood in my garden.

The crazy hairdos of Centaurea Montana

It's hard to find true blue ~ especially at my place since my alkaline soil does it's level best to change everything blue into purple and pink. (Acid soil does exactly what I'd like it to do but I'm not moving back to Minnesota to achieve this goal.)

Here's the latest gamble I planted with fingers crossed I might see true blue:

These Gladiator Alliums are supposed to be deep blue/purple, not pink. And, they're supposed to be 6-inch diameter flower balls (as opposed to 3 inches.) But, I still think they're kind of cool.

* Aluminum Sulphate or pine needle mulching are other ways to make your soil more acidic. Though it hasn't worked all that well for me...