Saturday, June 30, 2018

The Divine Miss Katie Bug

Looking off toward the mountains... anxious for her next adventure.

* She was named Kate when she was gifted to me. And, we can't have two Kates, hence her pet name Love Bug Katie Bug.

** Her real name is Spirit Angel Fire. Which is way more befitting such a stunning paint.

Friday, June 29, 2018


Wolfsbane -- wards off werewolves. And, quite successfully! I've never seen a werewolf in these parts so I guess you have me to thank for that.

Do you love this flower? Love it from afar.  Because it will kill you.

It's a very popular pain reliever in traditional Chinese medicine. And, it's gorgeous. Which is why I planted it.

Then... one dark and stormy night... I was watching that murder series Dexter and whaddyaknow.. it's the mystery poisoner used throughout the season.

So, look, but don't touch. And, never get on by bad side. :)

* Also known as Devil's Helmet, Monkshood, Aconite.

Thursday, June 28, 2018


98 degrees (F) yesterday afternoon. We mountain folk are not used to such sweltering temperatures.

3 cheers for the dog pond! Sadly, no humans allowed or I'd be in there, too!

Wednesday, June 27, 2018


Blacksmith Lupine

Bird's eye view of a Blacksmith Lupine who finally decided to bloom because I finally got around to watering her. :)

Lupines have a tough time in my garden -- they prefer more water and definitely better soil.

I have to grow Lupines in my garden because -- back in my childhood days in Minnesota, the wild Lupine hunt was an annual event! That no one attended! Other than myself and a fellow gardener who absolutely loved finding patches of purple Lupines growing wild in the Minnesota woodlands.

If you live in Utah, as I do, be prepared for pink petals in later years. They tend to change colors thanks to our alkaline soils. [Amend with gypsum.]

* When growing by seed, let seeds soak for at least 24 hours. The seeds are very hard. Soaking will soften the seeds and encourage them to sprout.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

John Cabot Roses

Up close and personal with a John Cabot Rose, in full bloom. They will flower ALL season, from June through October. Which is one of the many reasons why I can't live without them.

* Full grown, they can stand about 8 feet tall, on thick, thorny branches, with hundreds of hot pink blooms. I've never seen a need to trellis them.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Only The Strong Survive

Hello. I'm the hardest working rose in the flower business.

I survived all last summer, in record heat, in a high plains desert.. without humans watering me.

* That torture wasn't intentional. The sprinkler system was turned off and nobody informed the gardener.

As much as I love to garden, I just can't stand wimpy perennials. You never know what could happen. Like me moving away for 4 years and leaving the plants to their own devices.

Gives new meaning to that phrase: Only The Strong Survive.

* I was absolutely astonished to see that they did survive. 'They' as in the half dozen John Cabot Rose Bushes living here, doing fine and dandy, without me. A rose by any other name, would be long gone by now...

John Cabot Rose, Explorer Series, Blooms all summer, until first frost.

πŸ’Ÿ   Waterwise conditions happen over time. These beauties were planted 8 years ago. New plants require lots o' TLC.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

The Butterfly Garden

Swallowtail in the Butterfly Garden

A huge Swallowtail was flitting about the Butterfly Garden while I was weeding this morning. The wingspan is larger than my hand!

It's easy to attract Swallowtails if you plant Coneflowers and Bee Balm (Monarda) but if you really want to fill your garden with Swallowtails... plant some Parsley.

* Parsley is the favorite host plant for Swallowtail caterpillars.

Thursday, June 21, 2018


Thistle Crescent Butterfly

A sure sign of summer! The butterflies have arrived. I, so far, haven't been able to talk a Swallowtail into sitting still for a photo. Soon, I hope.

This is a Thistle Crescent Butterfly ~ dining on the Pincushion flowers in my garden. I don't know a lot about butterflies but I do believe this is the only one who arrives to let it be known I haven't properly weeded my garden. :)

* Their preferred habitat is the Canadian Thistles (aka noxious weeds) whose seeds can lie dormant for 40+ years! Which is why - hard as I try - I will never be truly rid of them.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018


Oriental Poppies in the Wildflower Garden

Hey! You're still alive!

So sayeth me when the Oriental Poppies began to bloom. I'm back in this home after a 4 year absence.*

Every week something old, yet also new, catches my eye. Looked out the kitchen window and ba da bing ba da BOOM! Spindly little wildflowers can't hold a candle to these smiling orange faces.

Plant them by seed. In the soil. In your garden.

They absolutely hate being transplanted and will rarely survive - even if you're planting a healthy looking item purchased at a nursery.

And, fear not when they 'die.' They turn brown when the weather gets too hot to handle.

* Moved out of this house, to fix up a worn out rental home, in town, 4 years ago.

** Handed the tenants, renting this house, a substantial discount on rent to keep an eye on the gardens and alert me if an auto-sprinkler had broken. They did not notify me. On the technicality that all of the sprinklers were 'broken.' They had turned the sprinklers off last summer.

So.. when I say Hey! You're still alive!  I'm just as surprised as you are.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018


I repurposed my wine bottle. πŸ‘Œ

Makes a beautiful vase, don't you think?

It's holding Spidey. A truly ancient Spider Plant that has been with me since my college days.  And, in all those years, Spidey has never grown bigger than a 6 inch pot. They get too big and out of control so quickly that I typically pluck the strongest plantlet (the little dangly shoot that is why this boring old houseplant is often called the Airplane Plant.) Stick that in a vase and start over with a new Spidey every couple of months.

Variegated Spider Plants need a bright spot in order to keep their stripes.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Indian Paintbrush

Prairie Fire ~ also known as Indian Paintbrush ~ blooming in the grassy meadow, near my home. If she looks different than other Paintbrush flowers you've seen, that's because there are 200+ varieties of Paintbrush. This mountain meadow version is softer-looking than the stark desert varieties.

* Named as such because the bright scarlet petals resemble the tips of paint brushes.

** The Paintbrush is a parasitic wildflower. It's roots establish connections with other plant roots in order to sustain itself. Which means... if you try to transplant her, she will curl up and die. Best to enjoy this beauty in her wild environment.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Mexican Shell Flowers

Tigridia: aka Mexican Shellflowers
Some gardeners scoff when I mention I plant Tigridia -- because she only flowers for one short day. I'm simply delighted to be there, on the day her petals unfurl..

Over winter these very tender bulbs indoors. And, plant at least a dozen! They come in a variety of jaw-dropping colors.

Friday, June 15, 2018

The Rambunctious Yellow Rose

Wild Yellow Roses

Hi, Mom.

I always say that when she's in bloom. I grew up with this rose. She was a wild bloomer at my mom's house in South Dakota for as long as I can remember. As a tiny girl, I'd steal the flowers and wear them in my hair.

In 2003, when I was starting my own garden, Mom gifted me one of her 'children.' An off shoot of the big rose bush.

Which scared me half to death.

You know.. one of those pressure plants where you don't want to confess to the owner that you killed it!

"Fear not, young gardener. I love it here." 

The second her roots touched the soil she felt at home. And, has slowly but surely squeezed out every other flower in this section of my garden.

Fine by me.

*  She's not actually a wild rose bush. At least, I don't think so. But, she's tough as nails. Fully intends to live longer than me. Never gets a drop of water. Doesn't really care...

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Centaurea Montana

Centaurea Montana
It's a purple / blue time in the garden, and I'm loving every day of it. The Montana (above) and the Dame's Rocket (below), are putting on quite a pretty show.

Montana -- zone 3, drought tolerant, and so dainty - a long blooming perennial, with deadheading. This flower prefers full sun but since I never water it; it only survives in the shady spots.

Dame's Rocket
Yes. I know... I should be adding these Rockets to the 'weed list' but it is such a delight to see them covered in Swallowtail Butterflies...

Plus, the Rockets, just like the Montana, get a bad rap because they are problematic in well-watered gardens. Reseed like crazy and kill off other wildflowers. In this spot, beneath this native tree, where they never receive a drop of water... they are very well-behaved.

* Dame's Rocket has been deemed a noxious weed in the rich, moist, acidic soils of the southeast.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Meadow Phlox

Pretty little Meadow Phlox, blooming in the debris of a rotting tree. I love hiking this time of year. Something gorgeous is always flowering... #utahwildflowers

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Bitter Root


Lewisia -- aka Bitter Root. I've never seen one in the wild but they are, allegedly, Rocky Mountain wildflowers.

This little cutie (flowers approximately 1 inch wide) is growing in my rock garden.

* Zone 5. They are very sensitive to overwatering.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Blue Mountain Penstamon

Love the electric blue of this wildflower that is decorating the high mountain meadows around Deer Valley right now. She will also flourish in the drier spots of your garden.

Most hybrids are Zones 4 - 9.  Does best in low nutrient alkaline soil.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

The Blue Bayou

The eerie desolation of the Bonneville Salt Flats. Driving out to our campsite, I had to stop for a minute and marvel at the weirdness of this place. Nothing can survive in this salty, smelly, water.

Looks so pretty in a picture. In reality? 50 mph winds. 102 degrees. Thanking my lucky stars we weren't camping here.

Friday, June 08, 2018

Bearded Iris

Bearded Iris

One of the crazy old ladies, decorating my garden. It is good to see her again. (I just returned to this home and garden after several years absence -- so this entire planting season will be a reunion, of sorts.)

Did you know...? Bearded Iris are one of the most practical, hard working, long lived perennials you could ever enjoy in the garden. They flourish in any type of soil. They don't mind if the winters are miserable. They don't care if you water them.

Bonus!  They weed themselves. Yup, you read that correctly. Their rhizomes (aka roots/root stalk) cluster together at the surface of the soil, squishing out any pesky weeds.

Thursday, June 07, 2018


Drought tolerant Knautia

The flowering trees are nearly spent so I was delighted to see the Knautia stepping up to take their place. Always the first to bloom in the Butterfly Garden. A cousin to the Pincushions -- those purple flowering perennials you often see at garden centers.

This gal will happily bloom without any help from you. Drought tolerant, flowers all summer long, with deadheading.

Knautia macedonica Zone 5

Wednesday, June 06, 2018


Arnold Red Honeysuckle Bush

A throwback to my childhood. We used to pinch off the flowers and taste a sweet drop of nectar.

Most folks grow the vines -- I do, too -- but I'm partial to the free-standing shrubs, their brilliant flowers and how they flourish with, or without a gardener's care.

Watch out for the bees!

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

A Calf of a Different Sort

Aw.. a bouncing baby Moose, resting in my neighbor's yard.

Moose are remarkably quiet, solitary creatures. We hope she and baby hang around for awhile.. πŸ’›

Monday, June 04, 2018

Fields of Gold

Mule's Ears and Larkspur @ elevation 9,500 feet. Spring comes slowly to the high mountain trails but it is absolutely worth the wait. #utahwildflowers

Sunday, June 03, 2018

Wooly Mule's Ears

Sunset, looking toward the Salt Lake Valley
A field of Wooly Mule's Ears greeted us at the top of Parley's Summit. They look like sunflowers. The seeds taste like sunflowers.. But, they're actually a mountain wildflower in the Aster family.

Saturday, June 02, 2018

Hey Sweetie Pie

Hattie B is 3 months old!

Just look at that face. πŸ‘ΌπŸ’•Too cute for words.

Friday, June 01, 2018

Prairie Fire Crab Apple

Prairie Fire Crabapple Tree
The last to bloom - always worth the wait - one of my absolute favorite flowering trees. Beautiful red buds in early spring. GORGEOUS hot pink flowers, in June, followed by bright, beautiful red fruit.

* Have no idea how the crabby apples taste. The birds gobble them up pretty quick.