Monday, August 28, 2023

What to do when it’s 92.

Big bumbles sleep in my Hollyhocks.

It was briefly hot, not terribly hot, and for that I've been grateful. A summer I would describe as:

Everything is beautiful and nothing hurts. 

Actually, Kurt Vonnegut is the one who came up with that wonderful quote. So I'll give my favorite author some credit at the bottom of this post.

Cosmos + Allium.

In comparison to previous years, the weather has been delightful. 

It’s cooler this year so we’re trying to forget. 

The West has been bruised and battered. With a seven-year drought, heartbreaking wildfires, endless heatwave. I live across the street from a bone dry meadow and it's just a matter of time before some dummy shoots off fireworks and sets it ablaze.

Severe watering restrictions prevented me from sprinkling my little flowers last summer. Rains have vastly improved that situation.

Moppy-headed Bee Balm.

All that misery is behind us. At least, for now.

Can't remember.

This morning, I took a walk in the gardens. 

Appreciating those tough cookies, aka waterwise and native flowers, who happily survived. 


Just strolling about, bending down, collecting seeds from spent flowers, tossing them into other areas.

Thanking my lucky stars for the monsoon rains. 

Maltese Cross.

Monsoons are kind of a new thing for us - up here in Utah. Very common in New Mexico. I’m no meteorologist; I’m just observant. It feels like the summer weather patterns from New Mexico are moving farther north. 

Monsoons are intense, short, rainstorms - hits like a wall of water. Likes to show up right about the time you're far from home, without an umbrella. 

After the deluge, you’re gifted with a pretty rainbow and a garden of tall perennials collapsed in the mud. 

Hollyhocks from Hazel's Garden.

Most folks, like me, who choose to live in high elevations do so because we can’t take the heat. The few, the proud, who fully embrace winter and all the fun it has to offer. 

So even though it’s been cooler this summer, I still find myself hiding out in the air conditioning, mid-afternoon, checking up on the gardeners of TikTok. 

I suppose it sounds kind of odd that I prefer this social channel vs. Facebook. But I just love those TikTok gardeners. 

Mallow ~ Miniature Hollyhocks.

Back during the halcyon days of blogging, we were thrilled with 1,000 followers. 

These gals have 2 million viewers taking a virtual stroll through their backyards. And they are so much fun.


TikTokers inspired to me to plant more seeds, this summer. 

Every garden has some odd quirk. It’s hard for root-bound, potted, perennials to take off in my poor soil. And even though it’s practically impossible for seeds to survive – thanks to this little jerk, below, who ate half the seeds and invited all her friends to the party...

It’s really fun when my annuals pop up and say howdy. 


Busy days. 

Been riding quite a bit. We're enjoying a super bloom of wildflowers in the High Uintas. I try to photograph whatever the horse doesn't eat. ↓

Hurricane Hattie has been sharing her recipes for the bestest mud pies. ↓

As I look at this photo, I can't help but giggle that I let her make mud pies in that pretty dress. Didn't even think about it. Her mom and I don't see eye to eye. On mud. :)

Charlie is learning to appreciate the fragrance of Wild Asters.  ↓

* That yellow flower is Helianthus. A perennial sunflower -- and the very best choice for late summer color in mountain gardens. 

Only plant her if you're willing to allow her to multiply and please don't call me in a few years when you have 100 of them instead of 10. 😇  Because this is me. Saying I told you so. 

Charlie Waffles + Helianthus + Wild Asters

The big talk on TikTok was what to plant for late season flowering. None of the flowers in this post were recommended -- maybe they're just too boring. But I love 'em. I've reached a point in my 'gardening career' when easy = better. 

These flowers aren't exotic but during the summer when the city wouldn't allow us to water them, they did just fine. You can prevent a lot of heartache when you know what grows.

They were up to their eyeballs in straw bedding - which I would never recommend. Straw retains moisture for long periods of time - very helpful in difficult circumstances. 

** Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse 5, “Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt.”

Sunday, July 09, 2023

The Roses are Blooming


I only have three varieties of Roses. Technically, I should only have two. This beauty is not what I ordered. But I'm not complaining!

I've always been a little afraid of Roses. Assumed they were high maintenance. And delicate. Didn't believe they could survive in this harsh climate. Especially with me in charge.

Mom gifted me this yellow one - years ago - when I purchased this house. Wild Yellow Roses blanketed my parent's property when I was growing up. Oh, I just loved them... She promised me: You can't kill 'em, no matter how hard you try. :)

I was skeptical but she was right about that.

Wild Yellow Roses + Bonus Dog

Feeling rather bold after my wild Roses flourished, I tried my luck with another low maintenance variety. The John Cabots

This is a story of how I fell head over heels in love with John Cabot Roses.

They are a surprisingly, (shockingly?) tough variety. 

How tough? This tough:
I've owned this house for a long time but I didn't live in it for 5 years. During those years, I had hired a landscaping guy who did a fabulously incompetent job of taking care of the property. 

He disconnected the irrigation system so he didn't have to mow the lawn very often. Not caring that, in doing so, he would kill every flowering thing in my gardens.

* There's a special spot in hell for guys like that. At least, I hope so.

John Cabots are huge. This boulder is the size of a Jeep Wrangler.

Anyhoo... when I moved back to the house, 5 years later, I was shocked at how bad everything looked.

But there they were! My John Cabots survived. Living in a high plains desert, during drought, record breaking heat, very little water, it hardly ever rains here. But there they were! Flowering up a storm.

I own a half dozen of these hot pink beauties. I'd probably buy more - if I could find a place to put them.

It is ~ finally ~ full on summertime up here in the mountains.

The Bottle Rockets are going nuts. I call them that because they typically bloom right around the 4th of July. [Kniphofia Red Hot Pokers.]

The Rocky Mountain Penstemon has decided that growing inside the garden beds is for suckers, she shall bloom wherever she pleases. Choosing to take over the garden bench. And since she's so pretty, nobody wants to sit on her, therefore we don't get to sit in the garden.

The wild meadows in Payson Canyon.
* This is not me ~ I'm taking the picture.

Our plentiful snows last winter have brought the wildflower meadows back to life. We're experiencing a super bloom, everywhere we ride.

Last year, this time, we were suffering through our 7th year of horrendous drought. Smoke-filled air from the plentiful wildfires made it difficult to breathe. Ash accumulated on our cars, from wildfires burning too close for comfort. Me. Offering shelter to friends forced to evacuate.

And, of course, the media couldn't stop with the doom and gloom - deeming this cataclysmic. Predicting that we will not survive.

But we did. 

My darling granddaughter and her BFF on a forced nature hike.
They're standing out there, complaining that they don't have their iPads.

So far, this has been an absolutely delightful summer. The gardens, the meadows, the people, the wildflowers. Everything coming back to life. And I hope it stays this way. For a good long time.

Monday, June 26, 2023

Worth the Wait

Rocky Mountain Columbine is normally true blue.
My alkaline soil turns the flowers a purplish-blue.

They say patience is a virtue. I really wouldn’t know. My mind is often spinning in a dozen different directions. Who's got the time to worry about that?

Some folks might consider this pretty Columbine a 'weed,'
since she prefers to grow in the crack in my sidewalk.

I've never really minded all my nervous energy. It inspires all kinds of I’m gonna do this! I’m gonna do that! exciting ideas. 

Thanks to this nervous energy, I actually follow through. 

This wild Columbine planted herself in my gardens.

 “You have the patience of a flea.” So sayeth my gone but not forgotten supervisor during my last corporate performance review.

In this world, there are doers and talkers. He dearly loved to talk but he never really got around to doing much of anything.

This Poppy is another volunteer. She just showed up, one day, and said: I like it here!

I quit after my supervisor insulted me by calling me a flea. Hummingbirds are 'impatient.' Couldn't you have used that as an example?

I quit. Started my own company. Stole his biggest account. But… not…. intentionally

Had barely figured what to call this company I decided to start, when my old boss’s biggest client called me asking if I was in business. 

Um. Yes. I proudly claimed. Lied. Wondering how quickly I could purchase a desk, and a new laptop and possibly hire someone to upgrade the wireless. 

Great, she says. We have so many projects and none of them are getting done fast enough. We’d like to hire you to make this happen. 

This Snowball shrub was an impulse purchase. 
We had 38 feel of snow last winter, nobody needs to see any more white.

Here’s the irrefutable truth about impatient people. We get shit done

Like this morning. When I stepped outside at dawn and played in the gardens for six blissful hours. Couldn't believe I was out there that long. The time just flew by. 

And yes. I freely admit. I've experienced many exasperated, impatient, moments when I stood in front of my flowers and irrationally screamed: Grow dammit! 

Brunnera is a shade lover. Tiny blossoms about 1/4 inch diameter.

But now that the gardens are fully grown, I step back, calm down, and think to myself: The waiting was the only hard part. 

Sort of looks like a Brunnera (upper photo) doesn't it?
It's actually a wildflower that enjoys full sun in my backyard. Not sure the name.

Thinking about patience and people because I said my final goodbye, last Tuesday, to my last freelance client. 

I resigned all my freelance accounts last year. Time to retire. These people move very slowly. Six months later, we had a lovely goodbye; he was always my favorite - I worked with him for 20 years. And I think that’s because I always believed at some point he might change. Even though it's a well-documented fact that people never change.

Wild Iris

During our last conversation he said: “We will be [insert title of project that will never happen here] and it’s too bad you can’t be part of that.” 

But… but… I was part of that! At least I tried to be! When I recommended that you do that. Three years ago.

Impatient people get a bad rap. [I'm mostly just saying that because I am one.] 

Anxious to do whatever it is that needs doing… we often make other people feel lazy. And sometimes crazy. Because we keep asking: Have you done that yet?? What are you waiting for??

I can tell you what I've been waiting for. For a very long time. A simple summer day. And it's finally here. 

Summer arrives very slowly - at this elevation, in the mountains. But it is always worth the wait.

Sunday, June 04, 2023

Let's Take a Walk

Pear Trees

Spring has finally arrived in the mountains. Not completely, the furnace is still on. And those April showers - that can't seem to figure out it's June, now, - are still foiling our plans to truly take a walk...

But it is most definitely springtime. My trees told me so.

Spring - it is such a lovely time of the year. I often wonder why we make our resolutions on New Years. When it's cold and snowy and the most creative thing we can come up with is maybe joining a health club or going on a diet. 

They bud pink; they flower blue, I don't know who they are but this Lilac is my favorite.

It's these beautiful Spring days, this rebirth and renewal change of season, that inspires me to pop a bottle of champagne and celebrate. When the gardens begin to bloom once again. And we see how all our flowering friends survived.

Plus. The second the snow melts you're working like a fiend out in those gardens. Who needs a Peloton bike when you've got that going on?

There's a 'super bloom' happening in the horse pasture. Meadow Phlox is so dainty, it's hard to photograph the drifts of petal pink, so here's a close up.

This wildflower might be called a Biscuitroot - not sure. I don't plant wildflowers back there. 

Sable does! 

You're not supposed to pick wildflowers but the horse doesn't know that. She eats the flowers, and later, deposits seeds back into the pasture, creating her own, magnificent, garden.

We have a lot of short-sighted new residents in Park City, now, who complain that horses 'poop' on the trails. But your dog poops on the trails and nothing good ever comes from that. Horses are vegetarians. As are deer and elk and moose. Our stunning wildflower trails do not come from you and your destructive mountain bike. We can thank the vegetarians and the birds for this glorious show. It might be nice if you people would shut up about that.

Okay. Fine. I'll stop complaining about my new neighbors. Let's keep walking through the gardens...

Golden Currants attract tons of songbirds. Makes a wonderful chutney.

No animals are attracted to Cushion Spurge, [which is kind of why I plant it!] These happy yellow blossoms are some of the first flowers to bloom every spring.

The Bridal Veil is just getting started.

The Newport Plum is almost done.

High winds are making short work of the Crabby Apple trees. It's sort of 'snowing' white petals this afternoon.

Perhaps my insanely alkaline soil is the reason my dark purple Allium has evolved into precious pink beauties.

Bleeding Hearts have no business blooming this early but who am I to complain? 

Did you know Bleeding Hearts can handle -40(F) degrees? Zone 3. I'm zone 6 - they're very happy we don't live in Alaska. 

The scent of various Lilacs waft through the open window. That lovely fragrance is really the only saving grace with these daily afternoon rains. I mean. If you have to rain every day. Couldn't you do that at night while we're sleeping?

Anyhoo. That's what's blooming in my neck of the woods. Now isn't this 'walking exercise' a whole lot more fun than a treadmill at the gym? No need to thank me. 😊