Wednesday, July 28, 2010

It's a jungle out there!

The other morning I went out to water. I turned on the faucet and filled the watering can, and turned around and just had to giggle. This is what I saw--what a jungle! That cleome takes center stage and amazes me every day with it's blooms.
And as I looked further at my little backyard garden, it really looks like a jungle! But, you know..that is the look I love. I am definitely a lover of the cottage garden. Lots of anything that will grow-everywhere!
Out of the 7 zinnia seed packets I planted, 2 groups of flowers have germinated and grown and look great. They are tall, but have small blooms and make great cutting flowers. As a matter of fact, that is the name of the group they are from, "the cutting collection." You know I was not thrilled with the seeds I bought, but at least I got these flowers. They add to that wild jungle look.
The stroll down the path is pretty clam, but you can see all the things I have growing. There are lots of things that are not handling the west sun very well, but for the most part things are doing ok.
In the mist of the early morning hours, it may look like a jungle-but I do love my garden, even in the hot summer time. It is full of so many different things-lots planted by me, and a few planted by my bird friends. I will try and remember how it looks on this hot summer morning some cold and dreary day in January. Remembering will help get me through the winter!

"In the depth of winter..I learned that within me lay an invincible summer."
Albert Camus

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Rocky Mountain High-2010

These are the Ruby Peaks high up in the mountains of Colorado. This is where we spent a week. It is where we found peace and tranquility. It is where we found simple joys from nature. It is where I would still love to be.
We camped at Lake Irwin which is outside of Crested Butte, high up in the Rocky Mountains. We have been coming to this campsite for 30 years. It has changed over the years--we think the word must have gotten out as it was pretty crowded this year. We can remember when there were always open campsites. That is no longer the case. You have to reserve your campsite in the winter. But, who wouldn't want to come to the cool air and get away from life for a while!
One of the things we love to do while camping is to hike. This is Judd Falls, one of the many water falls we hiked to.
Another thing we like to do is fish in the lake. We catch and release our fish, so our technique makes fishing a little more challenging, but we had great luck and caught quite a few fish that were released back into the lake. And then, there are the flowers....
oh my goodness how beautiful are the wildflowers! I took many pictures..let me show you just a few..

These are Gentain or Monument Plants. We see them every year, but what was so interesting this year-they were blooming! They only bloom every 10 years, so we felt pretty lucky to see them.
The buds and blooms are not very showy, but put them in a big meadow and they really stand out!

Of course we saw lots of columbine, Colorado's state flower. We camp pretty high up (10,000 ft) so we have columbine all around.

These are called Sky Pilot. You smell them before you see them. No, they don't have a wonderful sweet fragrance-they smell like a skunk!
The meadows were full of these alpine sunflowers. They are always one of my favorites. There are so many yellow wildflowers in the Rockies I couldn't begin to try and identify all of them. And because they cross pollinate-they are hard for even the experts. The nick names for the yellows up here is "DYT" --"Darn Yellow Things!"
This is a ferny-leafed white flower with a very distinctive spicy sweet smell. It is named Osha and looks very much like our Queen Anne's Lace. It is everywhere! I saw one meadow that looked solid white because there were so many of these pretty flowers.
This is called Jacob's Ladder. I wish I could have gotten a better picture for you-it is such a sweet little flower. You can't tell, but it is a very light blue and usually grows under trees and other plants. I never see them in lower elevations, only up in the mountains.
This is an Elephantella, or Elephant Head. It is really an unusual plant with little flowers that have the look of a tiny elephant head.
There are a lot of Scarlet Paintbrush (which look like our Indian Paintbrush here in Texas) in Colorado, but this is a Rosy Paintbrush which is very hard to find. I was so excited to come across quite a few of these on one of our hikes.

There are so many other wildflowers we saw: asters, lupines, daisies, wild geraniums, sneeze weed, cow's parsnip, chokeberry, wild roses..oh I could go on and on. As you can see, I was very content and happy to just sit in the middle of a meadow surrounded by all these happy flowers.
John Muir once said "Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves." How very true this statement is. Our cares did seem to fall off, and we find a peace in the mountains like no other. Thank you Colorado, for your streams and rivers; for your beautiful lakes; and for your cool weather and spectacular flowers. We do indeed find a Rocky Mountain High and can't wait to come back again soon!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Saturday Morning

I took my coffee out to the patio this drizzly Saturday morning. As I sat and watched the humming-
birds and cardinals come for breakfast, and listened to the sounds of the water hitting the rocks in the pond, I felt such peace. The sky was cloudy, and I suppose there are some that would call this a dreary day, but for me-it was a perfect morning.
For some reason, I love to see a garden on a foggy, drizzly day. After such a hot June, I know my plants are really happy with an overcast sky and rain!
I sometimes wonder why I bother with gardening-do you ever think about that? My answer comes pretty quickly though--I find serenity in my garden. I solve problems in the garden-and I sometimes create problems in the garden! :)
And on this drizzly Saturday morning, I find content-
ment in the garden.
The heat will return, the rain will stop, plants will come and go, and summer will turn into fall. But for this moment in time, I feel such peace.
I hope you all have a peaceful, beautiful weekend. I am taking a brief break from the blogging world. I will be back soon!

"Working in the garden gives me a profound feeling of inner peace. Nothing here is in a hurry. There is no rush toward accomplishments, no blowing of trumpets. Here is the great mystery of life and growth. Everything is changing, growing, aiming at something, but silently, unboastfully, taking it's time."
Ruth Stout

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Update on Coneflowers

I thought I would give you an update on my coneflowers and the worms. As suggested by you wonderful blogging friends, I cut off all the blooms on the plants that had the tiny worms. And, I am happy to tell you the coneflowers are blooming again and show no signs of the pesky little worms.
They look really healthy even in this heat, but of course coneflowers really kind of like all this hot weather.
The only plant that is not looking very happy is the White Swan. There are quite a few buds, but they are not developing as I think they should. I wonder if worms continue to be a problem with this plant. And, something is enjoying the leaves as you can see. I really don't mind a bite or two taken out of a leaf, but please leave the seed heads alone!
This is my newest coneflower:
Hot Papaya.
It starts out as a light yellow, then as it grows the petals turn a pretty apricot color. I found a worm on one of the flowers earlier, and cut all the buds off.

This plant has tons of blooms now and as far as I can tell, it is worm free.
I still don't know what type of worms I had. I tried to do some research on what it could be as did Tina. (thanks so much Tina!) I read about diseases coneflowers are susceptible to, but could never find anything about problems with bugs of any kind. Such as life in a garden.. you never know what surprises--good and not so good--you will find! I hope all your garden surprises were good ones today!

"Let us permit nature to have her way. She understands her business better than we do."
Michel de Montaigne

Saturday, July 3, 2010

"Oh I went to a Garden Party...."

Some of you may remember that old Ricky Nelson song! Well, I went to a garden party recently. It was a very special garden party- it was for me! It was a garden party to celebrate.. my retirement! Last Wednesday, June 30th, was my last day to work.

Knowing how I love wildflowers, my work buddies got together and went from fields to backyards picking all kinds of wildflowers for the centerpieces.

I took all the bouquets home and saved as many seeds as I could.
They know me well-their wishes say it all!
I am one of the lucky ones. I have been blessed to have a job I love, and work with the most wonderful people in the world. My last day the department surprised me by wearing t-shirts that said "We love Linda" , "We will miss Linda," and "Happy for you, sad for us." How do you say goodbye to a group of people who have been like family to you for so many years?
We have laughed together, we have cried together. We have shared stories, books and recipes. We have watched our children grow up together.
And throughout the years we have truly cared about each other. I cannot tell you how much I am going to miss all of these work buddies that I think of as family.

But, it's time for me to move on. It is time for a new chapter in my life to start. I am so excited about a new adventure, but I will always remember my family in GISD Technology. I love you guys!

So, what will you do now you ask? Well, right before my last day at work I got a letter in the mail informing me I was accepted into the Dallas County Master Gardener I am going back to class! I am a little scared, and a little nervous, but a whole lot excited! New chapter in my life--YES!

"Don't cry because it's, because it happened!"

Doctor Seuss