Category Archives: Delphinium

ROOTS & WINGS

In my core I am a flat lander.

A fourth generation flat lander.

As a kid I was taught by example

To be in awe of sunsets.

My father loved them.

A get everyone up from the dinner table

To admire them

Kind of loved sunsets.

He traveled the world

Met fascinating people

But was never happier

Than when standing in his own front yard

Taking in the full 180 degree sunset

In the evening sky.

We do have some pretty spectacular sunsets.

And thunderstorms.

My friend Mike Klemme has captured many of them.

unnamed (3)

Copyright Mike Klemme

 

I know this place.

With it’s long growing season.

I know that sometime in late January

I can start looking for buds on the Hellebores

DSCN0574

And by Valentine’s I’ll see the first nose of a daffodil.

If not an out and out bloom.

DSCN3364

I know that each fall when I spread the summer’s compost

Around my garden

I can expect a spring crop of worms

The size of small snakes.

Happily digging their way through

The rich soil they helped to create.

But for the past few years

I’ve been cheating on my garden.

I’ve taken up gardening

In another place.

A place that couldn’t be more different

From home.

Where here there is a generous 9 – 10 month growing season.

There the last freeze date isn’t until June 15th

And the first freeze date can happen anytime after Labor Day.

Really….three months.

How do people live like that.

For me it’s because of my grandchildren.

So I’m learning to garden again.

In a new place.

Now don’t get me wrong.

Home is still home.

But I now have the opportunity

To grow things

That absolutely hate it here on the plains.

I’m trying my hand at

Lupines

And Delphinium.

Oriental Poppies

And even Foxglove

Which I have no luck with

No matter where I try.

I’m learning how to out wit

These guys.

IMG_0994 (1)

Though they seemed to have eaten

Most of said Poppy buds.

Most challenging of all is the soil.

They don’t call them the Rocky Mountains

For their light airy loam.

Even staking up a delphinium bloom

(to make it more accessible to the deer)

Is an excavation project.

But the mountain air

Does make for glorious color

In all that grows there.

So, I’m literally putting down part time roots

In a new place.

In order to give the next generation

Wings.

IMG_4082

Gail

 

 

 

2 Comments

Filed under Daffodils, Delphinium, Digitalis, Gardening, Gardening;Perennials, Grandchildren, Grandchldren Generations, Hellebores, Lupine, Poppy, Uncategorized

GYPSY GARDENER

DSCN1467

I’ve been reading a great gardening book

“Grass Roots Gardening”

By Donna Schaper

It’s a quick read

Packed with thought provoking words of wisdom

She is described as:

“Senior Minister of Judson Memorial Church

Mother of three children

Author of 28 books

And happiest when she is in her garden.”

She has introduced me to the idea of being

A “Gypsy Gardener”

You see she has found herself gardening

All over the country.

From Arizona to New England

To Florida to Minnesota.

She has covered the country with her gardens.

This is a great read.

I found my copy on the close out table.

Find it and buy it.

I finished her book this week while vacationing

In Colorado

DSCN1546

And as it happens

I got to garden there.

I’ve learned a lot in these few short days

Of high desert gardening.

One – don’t get gardening advice from the Big Box Stores.

Me:  “What is the USDA zone for this area?”

Big Box Employee:  “Western”

Me:  “No it’s a number.”

BBE:  ” Oh 7.”

Me:  “I don’t thinks so Oklahoma is a 7.”

BBE:  “We have a lot of varying weather here”

Seriously!

Time to move on.

So I just started digging.

Here’s the problem

Mulch

DSCN1492

Inches and inches of cedar mulch.

Now, I usually try to not get too opinionated in our weekly visits

But, I’m about to go off the deep end on the subject of cedar mulch

So if you are a big fan of the stuff

I’d suggest you just stop reading now

And tune back in next week

When I’ve put my high horse

Back in the barn.

So let’s talk mulch.

I have long held the theory that cedar mulch is part of

A “great cosmic commercial gardening conspiracy.”

Think about it.

Convincing homeowners all over this country

That each year they should buy bags and bags and bags

Of commercially produced mulch

Now forget that they never tell you that

As the mulch decomposes it will zap every bit of nitrogen from your precious soil.

And all kinds of ants and other not so great insects love this stuff.

My theory has always been

That if I – a living thing – don’t want to live under it

Why would any living thing.

Like a prized perennial.

DSCN1510

The thing is this new garden that I was digging in this week

Is covered with no less than 4 – 5 inches of cedar mulch.

I’m told a heavy layer has been added each spring for years.

“Keeps the weeds out and the moisture in.”

They say.

Except that as I began to work I discovered that the mulch is so heavy

That the rain and irrigation water only go as deep as THE MULCH.

The soil is as dry as can be.

And there were weeds

Mostly grass and not overwhelming,

But weeds.

And forget worms.

In three days of digging I only found 5 worms.

Not good.

Though I did meet a fox

Up close

And Peg met a deer.

So I set about removing years of bad gardening decisions.

Mulch is gone

Mushroom compost added

DSCN1490

Probably not enough

But it’s a start.

DSCN1495

I bought a few perennials that I can’t grow at home

Delphinium, Iceland Poppies and Lupine.

DSCN1508

And planted Arugula and Mixed Salad Greens

Which will probably  be eaten by the deer

Before I have a chance to return and make a yummy salad.

And with much of the mulch now history

Perhaps seeds from the existing perennials

DSCN1519

Or those I bring from my first love

My home garden

DSCN1446

Will have a chance of filling in the blank spaces

And making this mountain garden

Look more like an actual garden

And less like a Mad Men ad for mulch.

So my advice for this week is

Buy the book

Forget the cedar mulch.

Pretty simple.

It will be safe for all to return next week.

Till then

Happy digging.

Gail

P.S.  Next week if I remember we’ll talk about what I do in place of mulch.

Wouldn’t want to leave you hanging.

Leave a comment

Filed under Delphinium, Gloriosa Daisy - Rudbeckia, Lettuce, Peonies, Perennials, Poppy, Uncategorized