Spring in Colorado Pic Post

Finally made myself resize/optimize all those pics I took last week, and, after some enlightening comments from Terri, have added my own little flair to each pic before posting it –

For your viewing pleasure, Spring in Colorado –

Picture of Lilac Buds
Lilac Buds – Let us hope no severe cold fronts come through –
Picture of Wild Poppies
Over 20 wild poppies this year – once I carefully clip all the grass away, I may just discover more!
Some Rhubarb ready to harvest.
Some Rhubarb ready to harvest.
Picture of tulips
White and Purple ones spared from Thumper and Peter Rabbit’s grazing…
Picture of wrong soil mix
2 of the soil mixes I experimented with in the tires are a No-Go –
Picture of Jerasulem Artichokes
Bed weeded and ready for filling of Oakley dug holes, compost and new mulch layer – Can’t bear to thin ’em out – will see If I regret that decision…

There Ya Have It – Stay Tuned for the call I got from NCIS – –

Pictorial of 10 Days Hard Labor

As promised, here’s some snapshots of what’s been getting done around the place the past week or so – Final push on the the north eastern perimeter wall is tomorrow, and I managed to hobble around, get some weeding and light raking done today, but taking it easy so me and the man-child can whip in and get ‘er done tomorrow – hopefully, the rain/snow forecast for Wednesday/Thursday will clear out in time for Friday-Fruit-Bush-Delivery Day!

Hard to tell (where's a real photographer when you need one?) but the north and western perimeter beds are nearly 3 feet tall - Waiting for a deep watering before ChokeCherries are planted the mulch applied..
Hard to tell (where’s a real photographer when you need one?) but the north and western perimeter beds are nearly 3 feet tall – Waiting for a deep watering before ChokeCherries are planted and mulch applied.. Didn’t the man-child do an awesome job of evening it all out?
Left over tires - I've lost count, but so far, we've stacked, buried or tiered over 250 tires - some of these will go for a few more projects and the rest will be sent to the recycling center in May to become tire bales for Earthship homes or pretty, long-lasting mulch colored with non-toxic water based paint -
Left over tires – I’ve lost count, but so far, we’ve stacked, buried or tiered over 250 tires – some of these will go for a few more projects and the rest will be sent to the recycling center in May to become tire bales for Earthship homes or pretty, long-lasting mulch colored with non-toxic water based paint – A few of these will be put to use for a new strawberry tower – and designing potato growing areas
The bed that last year stopped shortly after the tree stump has been finished - will house wild roses, garlic and onions -
The bed that last year stopped shortly after the tree stump and held Amaranth has been finished – will house wild roses, garlic and onions from here on out
Picture of Burgundy and Golden Giant Amaranth
This is what the west fence bed looked like last fall
Some work left to do - need to pull down very top tier of tires, cover with some more dirt, then deep water before planting the Golden Currants and Sand Cherry bushes -Concrete blocks will provide barrier in front to keep mulch/grass area separate - see those fencing panels wrestled in behind the tires?  Part of 'expand Oakley's space' project
Some work left to do – need to pull down very top tier of tires, cover with some more dirt, then deep water before planting the Golden Currants and Sand Cherry bushes -Concrete blocks will provide barrier in front to keep mulch/grass area separate – see those fencing panels wrestled in behind the tires? Part of ‘expand Oakley’s space’ project
Rhubarb and irises coming along nicely - area has now been neatly surrounded by rocks donated by the Family Rock Hound.
Rhubarb and irises coming along nicely – area has now been neatly surrounded by rocks donated by the Family Rock Hound instead of the ugly old recovered, mix-matched bricks.
Last spring, in two hurriedly built beds, i transplanted 135 'gifted' to me strawberries - one has survived - and lookie! 3 of the Welsh Onions I planted last year have finally made an appearance
Last spring, in two hurriedly built beds, i transplanted 135 ‘gifted’ to me strawberries – one has survived – and lookie! 3 of the Welsh Onions I planted last year have finally made an appearance
I love this tree (s?) - Thinking about some Bleeding hearts for the near the base of it and maybe some hydrangeas - would like to not have to mow this area -
I love this tree (s?) – Thinking about some Bleeding hearts for the near the base of it and maybe some hydrangeas – would like to not have to mow this area –

And for the grand finale, the south and southwestern area slated for ‘kitchen garden’ is shaping up nicely – still work to do in middle area, but posting the journey –

South beds have been deep watered, aerated, and are waiting for wild roses/pea gravel mulch at back of bed, veggie crops and flowers at the front - the tire wall will hold trailing squashes and melons this year, with some teepees of Scarlet Runner beans reaching for the sky -
South beds have been deep watered, aerated, and are waiting for wild roses/pea gravel mulch at back of bed, veggie crops and flowers at the front – the tire wall will hold trailing squashes and melons this year, with some teepees of Scarlet Runner beans reaching for the sky –

Remember when this area looked like this?:

Circa - 2 springs ago
Oops – can’t have sand blocking stucco like that!

And this?

Southside - Ditch to be dug for blocks
Southside – Ditch to be dug for blocks

Happy Sunday!

 

Spring has Sprung

After somehow managing to build and launch 4 websites in 7 weeks, one of which was the biggest site I’ve ever done – I’m happily diving back into my gardening and writing plans.

Since you most likely thought I was dead, given my long silence, I shall not further shock your system by making you read a 10,000 word essay on what I’ve been doing since last we met – – rather, I’ll share my 1,000 words at a time with some pics:

Remember the Rain of the Century we got last August?

August 3rd - Rain, Rain and some more Rain
August 3rd – Rain, Rain and some more Rain

The lovely rain meant the weed that turns into tumbleweeds grew like crazy and our area has been inundated with a gazillion of these sticky, spiny, trashy wayfarers.

I’ve hauled off two truckloads to the town heap, as I’m not certain I’m an advanced enough composter to ensure heat enough to kill the seeds –

The ditch, full of water last August, still holds some tumbleweeds even after gallant efforts by me and the boy – we nearly had them all out two days ago, but alas, a few more blew back in –

I swear, we had them down to about a handful left to clean up just 2 days ago!
I swear, we had them down to about a handful left to clean up just 2 days ago!

Remember the purple water-sucking-hog plant from last spring?

It raised it’s beautiful head again this year and has been positively identified as Wild Purple Tansy Mustard. But this year, I’ve won, at least so far.

Growing Green Things
Growing Green Things – 2013
To Weed or Not To Weed
To Weed or Not To Weed 2013
2014 - Nearly ready to plant - waiting for the snow storm due Sunday night to move through
Nearly ready to plant – waiting for the snow storm due Sunday night to move through
Can't see all of them, but have 6 out of 6 transplanted rhubarb plants coming up - Yay!
Can’t see all of them, but have 6 out of 6 transplanted rhubarb plants coming up – Yay!
Put the tiniest iris division on the east side - see my snazzy new solar filter window coverings?  Hoping for lower cooling bills this summer!
Put the tiniest iris division on the east side – see my snazzy new solar filter window coverings? Hoping for lower cooling bills this summer!

The gifts of Daylillies, Vinca and Bishop’s last August are doing fine as frog’s hair, as are my divided irises and the rhubarb I moved from next to the propane tank into the newly thinned iris bed – alas, the wild roses transplanted from my mom’s garden don’t look so hot, but waiting to see if anything happens in the next few weeks before ripping them out. The late-planted, drought tolerant grass of last fall is somewhat sparse, but already making plans to overseed.

See the jungle around the daylillies?  Waiting to clean that up until the poppies come up, so I don't end up wrecking my wild poppy patch
See the jungle around the daylillies? Waiting to clean that up until the poppies come up, so I don’t end up wrecking my wild poppy patch
Bishop's Weed
Bishop’s Weed
Vinca - I failed to put down thick enough layers of newspaper before planting this area - so some weeding to do - -
Vinca – I failed to put down thick enough layers of newspaper before planting this area – so some weeding to do – –
Roses look bleak - Grass needs some attention- but thanks to my new doctor, I'm a shadow of my former self - 60lbs lost since last summer! Yay!
Roses look bleak – Grass needs some attention- but thanks to my new doctor, I’m a shadow of my former self – 60lbs lost since last summer! Yay!

Remember my ‘shade the west wall with plants’ idea from last summer?  Well, last fall I ordered Jerusalem artichokes and wandered around my place trying to figure out where to plant them – they get tall, are perennial and die back in winter – and finally smacked myself in the forehead and said, “West Side!”   Although I’ve never grown them, I believe they are starting to poke their heads out, because the same looking leaves are poking out in carefully measured spots

I hope these are the Jerusalem Artichokes - if not, a new weed has learned to grow 12 inches apart in tidy rows....
I hope these are the Jerusalem Artichokes – if not, a new weed has learned to grow 12 inches apart in tidy rows….

Of the plants I foolishly purchased on my way to the doctor last fall, only to discover I had pneumonia, not many have made it – or at least don’t look like they have – the Wooly Thyme and Cascading Snow are looking pretty bleak –

WoolyThyme
WoolyThyme
CascadingSnow
CascadingSnow

However, Mystery Plant 1 and 2 are doing awesome – and yes, I will buy a permanent marker and plant ID stakes so I can remember what I’m planting this year:

Some kind of succulent and good for something, else I wouldn't have bought it!
Some kind of succulent and good for something, else I wouldn’t have bought it!
I purchased a couple Appleblossom Yarrow plants - is this one of them?  Heck if I know!
I purchased a couple Appleblossom Yarrow plants – is this one of them? Heck if I know!

While working last weekend, the ladybugs deigned to visit me when I was worn out and wondering, once more, if I’m doing things right and will Mother Nature bless my endeavors?   No pics of them, I was too tired to go get the camera, but while snapping pics this a.m., my friend, the Robin was nice enough to pose:

He always shows up when I need encouragement!
He always shows up when I need encouragement!

And last, but not least, the pretty, native to my place groundcover that blooms with beautiful purple stalks in July – I carefully kept every area of it and it is coming along nicely

Don't know what it is, but it's pretty, likes it here and plays nice with others - a keeper.
Don’t know what it is, but it’s pretty, likes it here and plays nice with others – a keeper.

Stay tuned for the great Strawberry Invasion…

 

Grateful for Troubles

Okay – as you know, I always strive to see the  silver linings – mainly because they clue me in to the humungous dark cloud approaching.

And these past few weeks, I’ve not been at my best.   Health, multiple set-backs regarding my plans and schedule, due to other people’s schedules, the weather, full moons and such have left me feeling that perhaps I’m not on the right path, after all.

But last night, the child-unit, recently returned from visiting his dad, hollered at me to come quick.    I tread out in stocking feet, wondering what catastrophe has happened now.

I gazed where he was pointing:

What Happens when You're behind schedule
What Happens when You’re behind schedule

These beautiful, unidentified-at-this-time flowers are located in an area scheduled for weeding and re-planting.   Had I not been distracted from this area by a host of other troubles, the short, spiny weedy looking things would have been pulled three weeks ago and I would have missed out on knowing the beauty already planted there.

Would have ignorantly ripped from the earth a perennial that apparently, really likes it here and flourishes.

This latest discovery has reinforced my belief that procrastination is not the horrible thing it’s made out to be…

And made me grateful for all that kept me from completing this area’s project ‘On Time’.

**********

This morning, I also looked at an area that was completed on schedule – I was told I most likely would not get any blooms this year, but that come fall, I can dig, separate, replant and maybe next year…

Surprise, Surprise, Surprise!   First bloom appearing!

Don't tell me which year I can bloom!
Don’t tell me which year I can bloom!

Pearls

After 2 days of running chauffeur duties, I finally got to spend some time this evening playing in the dirt.   I have crowded irises (to be divided this fall), suspected tulips and five prolific rhubarb areas to rescue from weeds, and get worked into the overall landscaping plan,  as well as a couple of ground covers and vines to identify before I start covering,  building garden beds and planting low-water, ground cover everywhere else.

Why rip something up, cover, buy and replant when I can just save what is already here?

Who should drive by while I’m up to my elbows in mulch, but Mr. Gardener Extraordinaire (aka Mr. GE from now on), who also ran the local filling station here for over 40 years.   When I was a child, he always had a cold soda for me to enjoy while he and Dad had a beer and shot the breeze when we stopped in to fill up the truck tank after a long day’s work.

I believe candy bars were handed out too, but don’t tell – Mom still doesn’t know why I wouldn’t eat supper…

Mr. GE has gardened the same plot here in town for nearly 60 years.    His place is small enough that even with companion planting and rotation, he can no longer grow heirloom tomatoes or cabbages.   He’s worried about the continuing bee population decline – gave me best wishes on  my plans for flowers, bee hotels and a natural hive (not for me to raid, but for bees to feel at home).  We agreed it was a global problem and pondered in silence for awhile, contemplating the enormity of it all.

For some time, we visited while standing by the newly mulched irises I had rescued from weeds (again – – now that we’ve gotten rain and it’s finally warmed up, the weeds are making up for lost time)  and thinking someone in their 80’s might like to sit, I finally asked if he still liked a cold beer now and again – did he’d have time sit for a spell and chat?

He did, and we did and here’s what I learned:

  • This place hasn’t been gardened for over 15 years or more – so I’m starting off with just about virgin soil.
  • Around here, you never plant your turnips til July or so.
  • Parsnips need to go into the ground in spring, left in the ground all next winter, harvested the following spring – they will be the greatest treat I’ve ever had and he knows several people who will be happy to purchase if I grow and harvest them the correct way.
  • If I grow the cabbage, he’s got the all the tools, crocks and recipes for sauerkraut and his kids will show up to help with the manpower, come sauerkraut making time.
  • If I somehow happen to  have a bumper crop this year and can’t preserve all of it,  anything I take to the local church pantry will be put to good use in a day or so.
  • A few years back, the Master Gardening certificate was big doing’s around here.  So he bought the book, read it, and found out he’d been gardening wrong for 60 years.  Since he raised a family and kept many of the residents here in fresh veggies for the same amount of time, he threw the book in the dumpster and went back to his ‘wrong ways.’
  • He was intrigued by my raised beds out of old tires idea and, having owned the local gas/mechanic station for over 40 years, believes my idea is providing a great public service to local businesses.
  • Young people round here don’t always know how to put fresh veggies to use, but no matter what I grow, he’ll know an older someone that’s been hankering for garden fresh (insert veggie name).
  • If I wash my carrots real good, then let them dry in the sun, they’ll keep in the crisper all winter.
  • Every year, something will go wrong – something won’t grow, or won’t keep good or will end up dying.   Doesn’t matter how long I garden or how good I get at it, every year, something will let me down.

**********

He’s alone now, the kids have moved away and his wife passed on awhile back.  Four walls close in on him sometimes.

I told him that’s okay, stop by anytime we’ll have a cold one and a chat…

He doesn’t often indulge in a beer much anymore or radishes –

That’s okay, I’ll make lemonade or ice tea or have on hand what he does want…

Ain’t I too busy to be stopping and chatting?

Nope, I reply – Never.   Life’s too short to miss out on an afternoon chat.

What I didn’t say was, “You really think I’m too busy to stop and listen to someone who actually knows what’s going on?”

Maybe I’ll tell him next time…  Which I hope is soon…

After Dusk - Newly rescued iris bed
After Dusk – Newly rescued iris bed