Sunday, June 28, 2009

My momma always says

If you don't have anything nice to say, say nothing at all....

A lot has been going on around my neck of the woods. I haven't had a lot of time to blog, but I am alive. Stay tuned!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day

I am so thankful to have three men in my life. My father, father-in-law and my hubby. They truly are heroes in my book.

In my opinion, there are only a select few that can really live up to the father name. I look at my own father and remember growing up looking to him for the consistency in my life. He was always calm, level headed, truthful. His faith in God was the rock in my household. Things didn't always go just perfect in our family, but he held it together with love and respect. My father had a wild son and a rebellious daughter who constantly came home with issues to be dealt with. I look back on those times and know he never stopped loving me. He always came up with advice that I took to heart. When my dad spoke, I listened. Thank you, dad, for being there for me, for giving me slices of your wisdom, and setting the example that I wanted for my own hubby. You are loved so much by me!

I've known my father-in-law for almost 15 years. He is one of the most kind hearted, giving men that I have ever known. He works hard (too hard) for his family, and would give the shirt off his back to a complete stranger. He is the father of my hubby and I thank him for raising such a fine man. I see pieces of him in Brian, and I chuckle, because they are so much alike. I find that I am at a loss for words on how important he is in my life. I just couldn't imagine him not being there.

My own hubby. From the very start, he has embraced fatherhood in a whole new way. I hear stories of women that say their husbands don't help with the kids, and I look at my honey and say, "Thank you, God, for giving him to me." He is the most helpful man who has pride in the fact that he does it all on his own. He loves his children to the point of heartache, and I love him so much for that. There has never been any doubt in my mind, you are the best father of them all. I love you.

Happy Father's Day!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Sometimes, even when you finally start telling the truth, it doesn't make things better. The truth is a hard concept. I've always prided myself in telling it, although with tact. However, I've held a lot in the past couple of weeks, and after doing that, I tend to explode. The truth comes out of me like a volcano erupting. It spews, and it doesn't spew gracefully.

Although there is a bit of me that feels good that I'm not acting like everything is peachy, a part of me feels bad for the glimmer of truth that was revealed.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Rain barrels and breakin' the law

For the past couple of years, I have thought about buying a rain barrel to collect the much needed moisture that I could use around my gardens. I actually went around and looked at several types, even looked into making my own.

A couple of weeks ago, I was talking to my husband about it, and he told me, quite frankly, that it was illegal to do so in the State of Colorado. Uh, WHAT?

Here is what is stated:

A. Colorado Water Law requires that precipitation fall to the ground, run off and into the river of the watershed where it fell. Because rights to water are legally allocated in this state, an individual may not capture and use water to which he/she does not have a right. We must remember also that rain barrels don't help much in a drought because a drought by its very nature supplies little in the way of snow or rain. The reuse of household water (gray water) is regulated by the Colorado State Board of Health Guidelines On Individual Sewage Disposal Systems (PDF). Local health agencies are responsible for implementation and enforcement of the Guidelines.

Link to additional information:

Colorado State University Cooperative Extension Fact Sheet on Colorado's Water Situation (Western water rights & using gray water (PDF).
Prepared by the Colorado Division of Water Resources, April 2003 on Gray Water Systems and Rainwater Harvesting in Colorado (PDF)

Simply stated, the farmers get my water. I don't. Californians get my water. I don't. Asinine.

However, a new law has been stated...effective July 1, 2009:


As long as I submit an application, the water is mine. My plants say thank you, and so does my planet.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


The weather today is calling for rain, hail, winds up to 60 miles per hour and a chance of MORE tornadoes.

Now, I know the chances go down tremendously since I don't live in a trailer (seriously, check out the stats!) but all of the funnel cloud activity has made me think of what I would be devestated to lose if my home was hit by a tornado.

The first answer, of course, would be fear for my children.
The second is, all of my pictures of my boys, and family members. I have tons of pictures in albums, along with thousands of pictures in my computer. Completely irreplaceable.

I don't worry too much about my house, nor my car, or any other thing that I own. Just those two things.

What would YOU be most worried about?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Need your opinions!

I'm looking for a birdbath for my backyard and can't decide between these birdbaths. I can get the them in pretty much any natural looking color and wish I could post the colors I'm wanting, but I don't have the choice. As designs go, which one do YOU like best?

Planting with Plant Select

I'm reading a wonderful book called "Durable Plants for the Garden" which is made by the Plant Select group here in Colorado. Lovely book. The pictures are outstanding and the illustrations are to die for. I've loved looking through and reading each page carefully. However, something to keep in mind when growing Plant Select. They are a cooperative program through the Denver Botanic gardens and Colorado State University. Just because they say that every plant will work where YOU live, isn't necessarily the case. As a gardener, I love to try new plants to see if they will make it. It hurts when they don't because the first year, the blooms are spectacular, but it also hurts the ol' pocketbook. I'm not knocking Plant Select. Their intentions are superb and God knows we all need help in picking out plants that will work here in Colorado. With the shorter growing time, the conditions becoming more and more arid (although you'd never guess that this year) and the cold winters, it's nice to have a list of plants that are durable and will survive these harsh conditions! I appreciate you, Plant Select, but I'm compiling a list of plants that are iffy that you've come up with.

Salvia darcyi 'Pscarl' Vermillion Bluffs
I fell in absolute adoration with this plant a couple of years ago. I love reds in my garden, and here in Colorado, it's hard to find durable plants that have a red bloom. This particular type of Salvia is RED. Not pink-red, not orange-red, but RED. It also is great for the back of your gardens because it gets HUGE. The first year I grew it, it grew fast and the blooms lasted forever. It didn't come back. I went to my local nursery and bought another one. It did great that year, and didn't come back. So, I bought two more the next spring. One I left alone (I didn't cut it down until I saw growth) the other I did cut down. The one I left alone is growing fine, the other one is dead. Hey, a 1 out of 2 ration isn't too bad! I would suggest mulching it very heavily and leaving it alone until the end of May. The roots are huge, so they are trying to make it, but it's very iffy out here. I just had a customer come in and buy 18 of them from the nursery because it brought the hummingbirds out to Bennett, CO and the customer was overjoyed. His didn't come back in the spring, either.

Bridges Penstemon
I bought three of these three years ago and have lost one each spring. It's another red. Plant Select says this one will last the longest of all of the Penstemons. The first year it didn't bloom (which is pretty normal for Penstemons). The second year, after losing one, the other two bloomed beautifully. The third year, I had lost a total of two. I will say that it takes very dry conditions, and Penstemons are known for not liking wet feet in the winter...and my hubby might have dumped too much of the snow off the driveway on my plants this year. However, it was a VERY dry I'm not sure that was the cause.

Salvia greggii 'Furman's Red'
Are you seeing a red theme, here? This salvia has actually done very well for me, but that might be because I've coddled it during the winter. It's also on it's third year and comes up beautifully. I mulch it all the way to the top and last fall I cut one down and left the other up to see if that made a difference. It didn't...both came back with no problems. However, my dad has also grown this, and had to replace it this year. He lives NW of me. He didn't mulch it like I told him to, so he might try that this year. From what I've heard from customers, they've been treating it like an annual. Hummingbirds also love this plant, and what people will do for hummingbirds!!

Delosperma 'John Proffitt' Table Mountain ice plant
I haven't planted this before, but we lost over half of them in the nursery containers over the winter. Another plant that doesn't do well with wet feet. Not sure what happened, but I'm not happy they didn't survive. Hopefully it does better in the ground.

Plant Select has tons of other varieties (check out their site) that perform wonderfully, though, too. My suggestion is if you see a plant select variety early in the season, grab it, because you won't be able to find them later on.

A list of my favorites:

Buddleja alterifolia 'Argentea'
This is a monster, growing 12-15 feet H. It blooms off of old wood, which is unlike most butterfly bushes. The flowers weep down, and they are PLENTIFUL. Just a beautiful show in the earlier summer-late spring.

Cytisus purgans Spanish Gold broom
It's hardier than any other broom I've seen and seems to be unaffected by alkaline soils, harsh winter conditions, etc. 4-6 feet by 4-6 feet. Evergreen.

Carol Mackie daphne
OMG. I love this plant. The variegated leaves, the smell in the spring. Great speciman plant that performs very, very well. If you don't have one of these, go out NOW and buy one. 3-4 feet by 3-4 feet.

Princess Kay plum
Fall color is exquisite. Smaller speciman only getting 15-20 feet high by 12-15 feet wide. The white blooms in spring are clustered, so they are very noticeable. I love this tree. The aphids love this tree, so protect it.

One I've never tried but will be on the lookout for is the Phlox bifida L.C. Beck Snowmass phlox. The blooms look like little snowflakes.

All in all, Plant Select keeps getting better at producing plants that will work in Colorado. If you haven't enjoyed this book, it's sold through You will love it! Thanks, Plant Select, for trying out new species, and keeping Colorado beautiful!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Bloomin' Tuesday!

Please go to Jean's site to follow other's Blooming Tuesday's pics! What a wonderful way to show everyone what blooms in your neck of the woods!

Yesterday I actually had some time to take pictures of all that was blooming around my gardens. I'm enjoying getting to know the ins and outs of my camera (after a year and half of owning it, mind you!) I sure wish I had my camera when I visited my dad's gardens yesterday. All I had was my cell phone, and it just didn't do them justice!!

Hope you enjoy! Remember that you can click on the picture for a larger image!

A rare treat every year, my Mr. Lincoln rose. Not quite blooming, but always a site to behold either way.

'Rondo' Penstemon. I just added this one to my gardens. I am a huge fan of all things penstemon and keep adding to my collection every year.

Rocky Mountain Penstemon

This little bugger was so hard to catch, but he was filled with pollen, and he just LOVES my Zebrina Mallow!

I personally want to thank Lauren Springer for having me stumble upon this gem. Knautia. I absolutely love it when it's in full bloom.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Reminder to self...and help with plant ID?

When telling my 6-year-old son to pull weeds, make sure I point out what is a weed and what are seedlings.

Just lost my Alcea rosea 'Nigra'.

On a positive note, I went to go visit my father and finally saw his gardens in early June for the first time. Absolutely breathtaking. He also was kind enough to dig up some plants for me that had volunteered, so I have more digging to do!

Here's a couple of plants he was kind enough to share with me. I know the genus, but not necessarily the exact and was wondering if anyone could help?

I know it's a type of Allium..but what kind?

It's a salvia, but I don't recognize the pink spires after blooming...without the pink stems! Any help?

Here's another pic:

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Missed it by THAT much!

Today has been an interesting day. I woke up, poured my coffee and walked outside. I looked on my walkway and there were several daylilly blooms that had been chopped off it's stalks. I kind of look at the severed pieces in denial. Who would do such a thing? About 1/4 of the stalks were removed by what looks like a stick that was swung. I waited 2 hours for my kids to wake up to ask them if they knew anything about it. They both seemed pretty innocent. My family knows how much joy my gardens bring me, so I can't see them doing it. Mystery unsolved.

All of us went outside and planted my latest purchases. Brian then added on to the misters and drip lines for all of the plants. We then start to clean up when WHAT???the tornado alarm goes off! We're used to hearing it the first Wednesday of the month for testing purposes, but have never heard it during the week. Evidently, there were tornadoes all around us! Plus, hail that was reported to being 1/2 inch to a full inch across! We rush downstairs in the basement coralling the animals, too, and sit for about 35 minutes until the tornado warning was supposively over.

When we come up from the basement, I was expecting damage of sorts from the winds, but nothing happened. We are so very lucky that this terrible storm just missed us! Later we find out that around 5 tornadoes were spotted within the Denver Metro area, with one that was only 15 minutes NW of us, heading due east!

I lived in tornado alley for 10 years and did NOT miss this type of excitement!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Oopsies in the garden...Part Deux

When planting my vegetable garden, I put plants that had already started, and then planted seeds, telling God a whole bunch of lies if only He'd make them grow. For several weeks...nothing. I figured God knew me too well and didn't believe my baloney.

However, with all of the rain that we received, the seeds took off. When I was watering, I just didn't water long enough for the soil to get those poor seeds were baking underneath. have to WATER the seeds to make them grow.

I'm a midwest girl that is used to putting things in the ground and they are full grown the next day. I'm not used to the coddling and sweet talking that needs to be done to these seeds. I just found out that a city nearby used to be the tomato capital of the world (or something like that) so I know it's not impossible to grow things out here. However, it takes a lot of conjoling to get 'er done.

I'll be happy if I get one pepper this season from 6 plants. Beans? I think I have two popping up. The carrots are going wild, but that could be because I just dumped the packet in a row. I know I'll have to eventually thin them out, but I'm just so damn happy something is green in that area. My cucumbers look like they've gone through WW3, which is sad because those were actually started for me.

I am sure that the problem is the soil, and that this is the first year...and I need to be patient. However, because I'm a woman that has a sign in her perennial garden that says, "Grow dammit!" you might see what the problem is.

Friday, June 5, 2009

The tried and true, and the new.

I've done it again. Couldn't stay away and bought some more flowers and shrubs. The conquest? A hardy hydrangea that isn't quite as picky about our alkaline soils. The purchase? A super hardy hydrangea that's called 'Limelight'.

Hardy to zone 3, this hydrangea can handle the sun. It also can handle heavy pruning which produces an abundance of flowers. What I love about it most, though, is the flowers are mostly white, but in the fall take a pinkish tone. I have yet to see a negative review about this hydrangea. The leaves aren't as big as the typical hydrangea, but the flower heads are around 8" who's looking at the leaves?

I also am trying a native groundcover called Woadwaxen 'Golden Template'

After established, this beauty takes little to no water which is perfect for the front of my gardens that gets hot, western heat that is close to the sidewalk. It blooms in late spring to early summer. Only 8-10 inches tall, it spreads up to 2' wide. The blooms remind me of a golden broom.

I also grabbed a Verbascum 'Jackie in Pink'

It's a dwarf Mullein and goes well with my delphinium, and cottage garden look. It's also hardy to zone 5 which doesn't happen a lot with Mullein. It's a biennial, that only produces more flowers on bare soil, so I have to make sure I move my mulch out of the way. It's just gorgeous!!

The last purchase of note is the Lo and Behold 'Blue Chip' Buddleia, or butterfly bush.

This is a ground cover butterfly bush with beautiful blue/lavender blooms. 20" tall x 20" wide, it's the perfect spot in front of my blue garden that actually gets the full day sun. You don't have to deadhead it, and it's not supposed to seed which is the perfect low maintenance ground cover I need. It starts it's bloom time in early summer and goes until fall. I can't wait until I see it in action! Pictures can't do it justice!

As for the tried and true, I had to replace a gayfeather and I'm adding another iceplant in my rock garden. Delosperma Red Mountain.

It's an orangish color that I haven't seen before. I was going to grab the Lavender, but I sold out the day I was going to take it home. I'm hoping this variety is as hardy as the Delosperma Cooperi.

I also bought my Blue Mist spirea...a very small one. I've just decided to keep it small and hope for the best!! Now, off of the computer to get my son to dig holes!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Things of Importance..Relay for Life


Lace up and start walking at 6:00 p.m. at the Brighton Recreation Center to honor cancer survivors and caregivers, pay tribute to those who have lost their battle with cancer and empower everyone to fight this disease!!

If interested, please call Dee Durland/chairperson at 303-289-1453 for more information...or to make a generous donation.

I will be walking this and would love some people to walk with! Call me if you're interested, and I'll set this up.

In honor of Connie Sutton, ovarian cancer survivor.

Things of Importance...Growing for Others


"A people helping-people-program to help feed the hungry in local neighborhoods and communities. Launched in 1995 by the Garden Writers Associaten, Plant A Row encourages gardeners to grow a little extra and donate the produce to local soup kitchens and food pantries serving the homelss and hungry."

What can Brighton Gardeners Do?

-Grow a little extra food this summer to donate to our local food banks. It doesn't have to be a whole row; it can be an extra tomato plant, a whiskey barrel full of lettuce, a pepper in a pot. Avoid using pesticides to ensure your food is safe and healthy.
-Take your fresh produce to the food banks at the times listed below, so they can distribute the food right away.
-Any and all fresh and healthy produce is appreciated, including herbs. As a general guideline; if you wouldn't offer it to your family, you proably shouldn't take it to the foodbank.
-Quantity is not important. If you only have three extra tomatoes this week and you're heading into town, the food bank will be happy to have them.

Local foodbank dropoff times:

Sunday None are open
Monday None are open
Tuesday and Thursday 9-11 a.m. preferred (no later than 1:00 p.m) Brighton Food Pantry 129 S. 6th Avenue
Wednesday and Saturday 10:30-12:30 p.m. (no later than 1:00 p.m.) His Hands Ministries 99 N. 1st Avenue
2nd and 4th Wednesday 1:30-2:30 p.m. Calvary Chapel 161 E. Bridge Street
Friday None are open

The food bank hours of operatioin are not identical to the hours for dropping off fresh produce. they want to enusre the produce can be distributed the day it is received.

We are blessed with the opportunity to grow our own food. Let us share with those that are not as fortunate!!

It worked!

I currently have an almost blooming, 12'H, 6'W Mock Orange that looks like Cousin It right now because all of the rain that we have received. However, the key to the prior sentence is "almost blooming". It's taken three years to get it right, but the bush is COVERED in buds. I know that my Mock Orange is a monster compared to most (I'm guessing it's because it's really old, and the newer varieties are made to be smaller) but we'll take what we can get. From what I've read, the smell is very strong and citrus and I cannot wait until the buds pop!

For shrubs that grow new canes every year, you have to really cut down the shrub to replenish the growth. When we moved into our house, the shrub hadn't been cut down in who knows how long. We always cut it down in the very early spring, because that's when the huge leaves were off and it made for easier cleanup. However, since we had cut down at this time, we always cut off the emerging blooms.

The mock orange is not the only shrub that this happens. A lot of lilacs bloom on old wood. Most types of spring flowering shrubs you want to wait until right after it blooms before trimming. There are always exceptions to every rule (ie. butterfly bush), but this is something to remember.

If only I could share smell over the internet! :) I'm guessing one more week or less and the buds will have opened.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

My new baby...

Monday, June 1, 2009

Oopsies in the garden...Part One

I was reading a delightful blog today by Stacy called Dirty Little Secrets and it got me thinking about things that happen in the garden we hope no one else notices, but yet want to share our misery with other fellow gardeners at our mistakes. I know this doesn't make a lot of sense, but sometimes, you just want to know you're not alone in your pain.

As she was talking of weeds, I was thinking of all of the mulch laid down and grateful that it wasn't weeds I was dealing with. However, with the mulch, and the rain...I have holes in a lot of my foliage...

In my Alcea...

My newly planted rose mallow

Also in my echinacea, rudbeckia, asters, and any seedlings that I put out this year. I spent 45 minutes squishing the damn things, and then come back and see another one eating it's carcass. Yum.

I then wanted to share what happens when you grow free plants without asking specifics about height. I wanted a pathway that had daylillies growing up on either side. I started out on one side one year, and then added the other side last year. I now have two different blooming times, two different heights and either side of my sidewalk. Oops.

Notice how these are so high and almost in bloom? Not sure how I'll fix this except to just dig up some from either side and transplant to mix. The colors are almost exactly the same...I guess I should be happy for longer blooming time?

My last oopsy to share would be the lovely urine spots left from my dog this winter in our lawn. I thought...for some unknown reason that if the grass was dormant, the urine couldn't hurt the lawn. I was wrong. The grass is slowly filling in, but a MAJOR oops...and I take full responsiblity for this.