Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Bloomin' Tuesday!

Today is Bloomin' Tuesday and I have a two part blog that I will share half this week and then half next week. I had the pleasure of visiting the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens in Vail, CO last week and I was in HEAVEN. If you haven't had a chance to go visit the mountains in the summer, please do so! The wildflowers were in abundance, the weather perfect and the gardens were divine! Here are just a few shots that I took of the Alpine Gardens. Thanks to Jean for providing a chance to share some amazing flower pics! Go to Jean's site to check out what's blooming across the world.

Next week are some shots that I took at 10,500 ft up on Vail Pass!

Monday, July 27, 2009

The return

Brian and I returned from vacation on Friday, and yesterday I had major clean-up in my gardens. It looked like a jungle due to the heavy winds and rain we received the previous week! My hollyhocks were sideways, my russian sage had split down the middle and were lying flat. Time to get the twine and pray! This is the year where I had to see how everything grew together, and next spring is the year to fix everything. I know there are a lot of people that do dividing in the fall, but I've never had a lot of luck with that here in Colorado. I'm not sure if it's because I wait too long and then the roots don't have enough time to establish or what, but a lot of things die over the winter time. Color combinations and size of plants are the main obstacles right now. I planted some crazy daisies and some daylillies right by my sidewalk walkway and everything was too huge to walk through. I had no idea the crazy daisies would flop as much as they have and have to move them pronto. They flopped so much I just cut them down and didn't even get to enjoy the flowers!

Moving on to my veggie garden...I have little grape tomatoes EVERWHERE, and I have to restake all of my tomatoes because they have outgrown what I previously had. I have peppers that are very close to harvesting, and saw our first cukes and beans coming along strong. FINALLY the heat has come through and things are growing with gusto.

My backyard is missing summer color so I will be dividing like crazy and bringing new color to it next spring. It's hard to know for sure what will bloom because when you buy things new, they don't necessarily bloom the same time the first year. I have two types of hibiscus that should be blooming now but haven't yet...and my Limelight Hydrangea is about to pop. Other than some daisies, foxglove and columbine blooming, that's the only color besides green that I really have in the back.

All of my trees are doing very well. I was surprised they don't have any signs of stress from the heat. This week should be a bit cooler to give them a much needed break.

All in all, it's been a pretty successful summer in my gardens. I have one side trained to only need water once a week, which is great. If I could stop planting on the other side, I could get that down to twice a week waterings, I think. Saving water is the plan...

Monday, July 20, 2009

Vacation Part 1

So far we've visited all around Vail. The first day we went to the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens which I really enjoyed. Unfortunately, the lighting was very bright so my pictures weren't as good as I hoped.

We then walked around town and went to a place called the Red Lion Inn and watched a performer named Phil Long.

I ate fish tacos and drank a lot of margaritas. The next day both Brian and I were very tired because we stayed up too late the night before and took it easy by visiting the Vail Market and bought some peaches from Palisade (oh my gosh scrumptious!!) and also a smoked turkey leg. We then headed back to the condo, took a long nap. Later in the evening the clouds started to roll in, so we went to the City Market and bought the makings for a salad. Came back, ate the salad and watched a movie together. Today we are well rested and hope to enjoy the scenery that the mountains bring. It is so beautiful here. I could see us buying a place to enjoy during the warmer months. I love the weather up here...have yet to have to use air conditioning.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Gone for a week

Brian and I are taking our first ever vacation...all by ourselves. I might be checking in from time to time, but won't be posting. Expect a lot of pics when we get back...we're going to go visit the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens!!

For those sick and twisted people, don't get any ideas. We have a housesitter and a rabid dog...


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

My mom has HAIR!

Saw it with my own eyes. It's beautiful.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Regis University

Last Friday I had the pleasure of strolling around the Regis University Arboretum. Two coworkers and I walked around and saw over 600 varieties of trees planted. While there, I found a new respect for a lot of trees. Anything green catches my eye, but these were old trees that had developed into art. There were quite a few that made my "if I had 5 acres I'd plant this tree". Regis has several Champion Trees planted that I took pictures of. The lighting was not great for picture taking, but I did the best I could.

We get to enjoy this! I'm so very excited!

9NEWS.com | Colorado's Online News Leader | Colors bursting in Colorado high country

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Sunday, July 12, 2009

Corrin's 14th Birthday

We kind of had a "birthday weekend" for Corrin. We first went to Joe's Crab Shack on Friday night and had an awesome dinner. I told the waiter it was Corrin's birthday, so they make a big deal about embarassing the heck out of them in front of everyone. Here are some pics to enjoy:

We then went to Baskin Robbins for ice cream afterwards.

On Saturday, we went over to my in-laws to see some friends that have been out of town for a long time, and we brought a cake over for Corrin to share.

Then today we went to the Boondock's Fun Center and had Corrin bring a friend. It was a great time had by all. It's hard to believe he is 14. People keep asking if I feel older when they get older...and that's not really how I feel. It's mostly that I can literally remember like yesterday being pregnant with him and all of the feelings that happened. I remember getting the pregnancy test...telling Brian...telling the parentals. Everything is all so clear. The idea that 14 years have past since then is remarkable to me. He is still such a loving, sweet young man (although the loathe teenager shows up more and more lately). I love him so very much! Happy Birthday, Corrin!

The Golden Maple

Dum dum DUUUUUM. Today I'll be talking about the beautiful yellow maple. You know the one. It's across your street in the neighbors yard, shining brightly. It might even be in YOUR yard and you're scratching your head trying to remember if you had bought a yellow maple. You could have SWORN it was green last year!! Let's take a closer look at this beautiful tree....

Wait. There's something odd about these leaves. They have GREEN veins, but the rest of the leaf is yellow...

What you're seeing is not a yellow maple, but a maple suffering from iron chlorosis. Chlorosis means lack of chlorophyll. Iron chlorosis is a condition caused by lack of iron. No one is absolutely sure what causes iron deficiency in the soils. Chlorosis is typically associated with one of three site conditions--a soil with a pH above 7 (an alkaline soil), a heavy soil containing a high percentage of clay, or a site where there has been extensive soil fill or removal, compaction, or construction injury that has damaged the root system. We live in Colorado, and most of us have the two site conditions in our backyard. With all of the rain, a lot of the iron has been washed away, and chlorosis is happening all around town. Some maples are more susceptible. Amur maples, silver maples and Autumn Blaze maples seem to be the top three. Oak trees also can suffer...especially the Pin Oak. I'm seeing chlorosis happening in Aspens, Ash trees and even my own Mock Orange is suffering a bit.

What to do? There are a lot of products that have pure iron in them. Dr. Iron is a granular type that you can put around your tree's drip line and water it in. Quite a few web sites say to punch holes in the ground and then put the iron in the holes. You can also use foliar spray that has iron for smaller trees and bushes, but good luck spraying the entire tree. It might take a few doses to bring your tree around.

Although those "yellow maples" are pretty to look at, don't hope for one. Chlorosis is a killer to your plants. Treat them as soon as you see it happen.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

My hubby suggested this blog...thank him

We've been getting a lot of phone calls lately about trees and shrubs that are looking sickly. Some seem to be normal transplant shock, and some, I believe, are drowning from too much water. With all of the rain that we have been receiving, this isn't something that we can fix, but we can keep it from happening when we plant. This advice is, of course, for people living in Colorado. I am not sure if this works in all parts of the USA.

When you are planting a plant that eventually doesn't take much water usage, plant UP. Usually 1-2 inches higher than the ground level is sufficient. What you're allowing is water run off to go to the roots, but also allowing the roots to breathe. With all of this water, your plants are oxygen starved!! Especially with the clay soil that is most prevelant in Colorado. If you have a plant that does need more water to survive, plant at ground level. When planting, make sure you are adding water as you plant to see if the plants stay at ground level, or starts sinking to below ground level. If this is the case, build up the plant. Although too much water is a slow death, it does end up the same way: sticks planted in your gardens.

You also might be noticing your grass is looking a bit iffy, too. Again, the constant rain has made your grass just sit there looking beautiful and green, but none of the roots have needed a reason to spread and look for more water. So...with the 90 degree days, your grass is going through some shock, too. As MUCH as you want to water, water, water. DON'T!!! Follow the water guidelines for your city and stick with them. You will eventually have a healthier lawn if you do this. I also remind all to fertilize, fertilize, fertilize (organically, of course!) during the major Holidays. Think Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day.

Our plants can handle this unusual wet spring and summer we have been receiving if you plant correctly, and don't add more water to an already oxygen starved plant. If you are asking yourself, "how do I know if my plants are getting too much water or not enough?" use your hands as a guide. Dig by the plant (not too close to upset the roots!) about 4-6 inches down. If the soil is dry that far down, time to water. If your soil is wet where if you squeeze it and water comes out...take a few days to let it dry out. If the ground is just moist enough where it can clump together, it's perfect...wait another day before watering. Just because the soil is dry on top does NOT mean the soil is dry lower down. Our Colorado winds and high altitude dry out the top layer pretty fast. Let your hands be the judge.

Happy non-watering! :)

Monday, July 6, 2009

Bloomin Tuesday!

Yay! I haven't been able to post some pictures because I work on Tuesday's...but have planned ahead this week and am posting a tad bit early. Lots of things are blooming around here! Make sure you check out Jean's site to enjoy everyone's flowers that are blooming! Thanks, Jean!!

Here is my first arrangement made from flowers from my garden. It brings me great peace!

Asiatic lillies that were SUPPOSED to be Stargazer. Um, they didn't turn out that way, but they are lovely anyways.

'Cambridge Scarlet' Monarda...my absolute favorite flower. The first bloom was July 4th, and it reminds me so much of fireworks. How fitting!

One of the tall Daylillies given to me by a coworker.

Prairie Mallow

'Crazy Daisy' Shasta Daisy

Echinacea purpurea 'Magnus'

Campanula garganica 'Dickson's Gold'

Giant delphinium...first year

'Furman's Red' Sage and more echinacea

Purple fountain grass. Unfortunately, it's only an annual out here in CO.

This, I believe, is 'Paprika' Yarrow, but I'm not absolutely sure that's correct.

Purple larkspur

A shot of some of my garden! :)

Sunday, July 5, 2009

No chemicals in MY garden...

Even though I work at a nursery, and have a million and one things to choose from to kill those pesty aphids, I try to be patient and wait for Mother Nature to send out the superwoman bugs to kill them naturally. My aspens were FULL of aphids later this spring. I kept trying to wash them off with the hose, but they held on. Last week, I noticed a lot of orange/red from my garden...with a very slight buzzing sound as little wings flew...

Never Hurt a Ladybug!

Ladybugs are in my yard
Just look at them devour
Those pesky aphids on the leaves
Of all my pretty flowers!

Never hurt a ladybug
We need them in the garden
Ladybugs help flowers grow
So we must give them pardon!

~Author Unknown~

Did you know that there are 5,000 types of ladybugs worldwide...and 400 types live in North America alone? So, the chances of you having ladybugs in your garden are GOOD!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Finally have something to say...

A lot has been going on and I just haven't had much time to write. I will attempt to give an update with only having one cup of coffee in my system. Be patient, this might be rough.

First off, I've had to do a lot of soul searching the past few weeks. I wasn't lying in my last post about not saying anything when you didn't have anything good to say. I realize that it is so easy to judge others when you finally have your stuff together (or at least hope that you do), but it still doesn't make it right to judge. I think as Christians we fall back on the responsiblity of saying and doing the right thing, but we also are supposed to love one another and help each other out when we are able. I know I'm being cryptic, but let's say that after several weeks of turmoil, I'm starting to be at peace, which is good. Still not ready to talk about everything, but I'm okay with that, too.

Secondly, this past week has been filled with great news! On Wednesday, my sister-in-law and brother-in-law found out the sexes of their twins. Two girls!! I cannot tell you how happy I am for them, and for the rest of the family. With four grandsons on the Lollar side, it was about time someone had a girl...and now we have two coming...probably in September. Congratulations Phill and Angela! They will steal your heart in every possible way!

Later in the week, I received a phone call from my mom. She had her results of the latest CA125 come back...it's at 7. This is the only way right now to keep track of the cancer activity, and this number is way lower than we could have ever expected! Mom was so happy, I could hear the joy tumbling out over the phone. Hard to contain yourself when you get the news that the gruelling chemo worked. We have a lot of questions for the cancer center but they aren't open until Monday because of the Holiday weekend. The biggest question of all? Because the numbers went down so drastically, does this mean she is receiving Avastin treatments? What else could cause the numbers to go down??? Whatever the reason, we are ecstatic.

My mother was telling me that on Wednesday, when she went in for her latest Avastin treatment, there was a woman in her 30's that was receiving chemo. It came out that she had Stage 4 breast cancer. My mother told her that she was diagnosed with Stage 4 Ovarian, and was now in remission. This woman immediately started to cry...filled with hope that there was a chance to kill the cancer!! My mother gave her a hug and told her to NOT GIVE UP!! There was a reason my mother was sitting in that chair, doing her treatment that day. She was there to give that woman hope at that particular moment. I believe that. How powerful it was for my mom to be able to deliver good news to that woman. To offer her story and to offer that shred of light at the end of the tunnel. I do not know how long my mom will be in remission, but if she made it through this to offer her kind words and encouragement to other women...then she should be around for a looooong time. Those that know my mother, know she isn't afraid to talk. To anyone.

Lastly, I received great news that my best friend is now in the double digits of his tour in Iraq. He will be coming home and starting his life again with the woman he loves. I am so very, very happy that the countdown is coming to a close. How I have missed him!!!

Three things to be grateful for today, as we celebrate our Independence.

Life, hope and friendship.

Happy 4th of July!