Wednesday, September 30, 2009

An Evening Visitor

Last evening we had a welcome visitor to the garden! We rarely see praying mantises here, maybe once every few years, so it was a real treat to spy this carnivorous insect on the window pane. It was a great opportunity to see the critter live, up close, and in person.

view from inside my office window

Follow this link for more information about these fascinating insects.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Kinda Weird

Yesterday afternoon I headed outside to do some weeding and, guess what?, there were no weeds! Well, maybe a handful, but that was it! So I mowed the lawn; an easy 15 minute jaunt around the yard, and that was it! So I grabbed my pruners thinking there would be some deadheading to do. I made a few snips here and there, but that was it!

I feel like I'm in a gardening twilight zone: lots of beautiful flowers blooming, lush foliage starting to turn colors, dense green grass, and NO WORK!

Weird, indeed.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Ghost?

This first day of fall is a bit early for Halloween shenanigans, but it just may bring our first snow! Under that light weight "row cover" is this:
Yep, my artichoke plant is still going strong and has about 13 buds on it now! I'm hoping we'll avoid a hard freeze for a few more weeks and give this beauty a bit more growing time.

The koi will stay frisky for a while yet, despite the cool air temperatures, but we've already cut back on their daily food allotment....

Saturday, September 19, 2009


Chamisa, as it's called in New Mexico, is more commonly called rabbitbrush here. Either way, Chrysothamnus nauseosus is one of my favorite fall blooming shrubs. Not only does it signal the changing seasons, but it also reminds me of the many wonderful fall vacations I've had traveling throughout New Mexico.
Rabbitbrush in Crown Hill park, Wheat Ridge, Colorado

Chamisa is so symbolic of the southwest that it is often featured in both historic and contemporary southwestern art, such as in these paintings by one of my favorite artists, Robert Daughters.
This plant is native or naturalized to many areas of the west, most commonly seen in disturbed areas, along roadsides etc. that are sunny and dry. These shrubs have a coarse, rangy, texture and are typically 4-6 feet tall, although there is a dwarf form that matures to about 2 feet.
Dwarf Rabbitbrush in bloom now in my garden.

I recommend that you stick with the dwarf form in smaller, urban settings, or use the standard (4' size) as a back drop for other xeric plantings and give them a hard cutting-back in early spring. They are ideal in large, naturalized areas where they can grow to their quirky best.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Fall, she is a 'Comin!

The grasses are turning tawny...

The seeds are setting...

The sedums are blooming, and keeping the bees buzzing...

The liatris are lazing...

And the top of the hackberry tree is already turning yellow.

The last days of summer certainly must be savored!

Monday, September 07, 2009

Artichoke Update

Just look at these beauties! There are two more buds a bit farther down the stem, nine in all. It looks like at least these seven will be big enough to eat before we get a hard freeze.

The plant is now about 4 1/2 feet tall---I had to take these photos while standing on a chair!

Hope you're enjoying your Labor Day holiday...

Saturday, September 05, 2009

I'm in Love

With this plant! Another facet of the CSU Trial Gardens is the display garden of Plant Select perennials (located near the white gazebo). One of my favorites is this 2008 introduction called Mongolian Bells, Clematis integrifolia 'Mongolian Bells', with blue, pink, and white flowers---all on the same plant. It blooms May through September, and has the added bonus of silvery, feathery seed heads.

I think this plant would be best suited to a raised planter or rock garden, something a bit closer to eye level, anyway, so the nodding flowers could be seen more easily.

I can't wait to try it in my garden, have you planted one yet?

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

September 1st Blooms

Butterfly bush (and friend)

Russian sage


Purple coneflower

Autumn Joy sedum


Bluemist spirea