Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Enjoy all of the ghouls, ghosts, and goblins that come a haunting tonight!

Friday, October 30, 2009

What a Mess!

This photo, taken from the same vantage point as the one in the previous post, shows what 20" of snow can do to a lovely autumn garden. All the pretty fall foliage is now buried or scattered on the snow...
Luckily, I didn't have any damage to any of my trees or shrubs even the apricot, below, which was still holding a lot of its leaves.
Today is bright and sunny and a breezy 45 degrees (F) --- major meltage happening! Seriously, I don't want to see any more snow until December 21st. Let's keep snow a winter happening, eh?!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Dressed in Red

Autumn garden

Who doesn't look great in red? This plant combo outside my office window is still going strong. Autumn Brilliance serviceberry (Amelanchier x grandiflora), compact burning bush (Euonymus alatus compacta) and bloody cranesbill (Geranium sanguinem) all strut their stuff for several weeks during the fall.

My Northern red oak (Quercus rubra), on the other hand, never turns red, just a milk chocolate brown. It's losing its leaves today. All of them. This is one smart tree, as we are expecting heavy snows midweek.

Oak leaves

What color(s) is your garden wearing now?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

America's National Parks

Looking across the salt flats of Death Valley

In response to an invitation by fellow garden blogger Pam, at Digging, I’m going to write a bit about some of the National Parks I’ve visited over the years. As Pam noted in her introductory post (here), most gardeners share a love of the greater outdoors, not just their own little patch of dirt. There’s so much to learn from, and be inspired by, the vast expanses of natural landscapes featured in our parks. Each and every one of them has at least one OMG! vista that will live in your mind’s eye forever. They are truly a gift of our American heritage.

My First

One of my earliest childhood memories is of a rare family vacation that was not just a visit to “the relatives.” Our destination was Yellowstone Park, or as I thought of it, Jellystone Park. Our goal was to see Yogi and Boo-Boo, and we did! I also remember looking out over a steep cliff to view a beautiful waterfall and the river far below. My dear dad kept urging me to “get closer for a better look!” (Amazingly, I did not develop a deep seated fear of heights.) I must admit though, that my biggest memory of that entire trip was that we got to stay in a motel, and that the motel had a swimming pool, and that I had gotten a new swimming suit just for the trip that matched my big sister’s (oversized harlequin diamonds, hers was blue, mine gold). Oh, well. I guess when you’re five years old it’s the little things that make the big impressions.

My Most Recent

Last December my husband and I took a long road trip over the Christmas holidays. Part of the plan was to spend a day in Death Valley. The enormity of the space is pretty overwhelming; I kept thinking, “This is what Afghanistan must look like?!” That, plus the extremely low speed limits and poorly designed/built roads (must’ve taken the lowest bid on that one…), made for a marathon day. I would recommend that you plan to stay in the park at least one night so you can see some of the attractions featured off of the main road. The ability to be there very early in the morning or at sunset would allow for some terrific photo opps!

My All Time Favorite

Gotta be Mesa Verde. I first visited this park when I was about ten years old. I loved reading historical fiction as a child. Stories of pioneers, cowboys and, particularly, Native Americans were my favorites. The idea that this remnant of an ancient civilization had been discovered just recently by working cowboys really captured my imagination. As I grew older, my interests in architecture, fine crafts, and plants! would also be enriched and expanded by visits to Mesa Verde. My roots are deep in the southwest; New Mexico, Colorado, and even (yes, I’ll admit it) Texas. The beauty of the southwestern landscape really speaks to me, and the vistas in this park are gorgeous in any season. A special sense of place and timelessness is what makes Mesa Verde resonate deep within my core and makes it a joy to visit again and again.

Been Here, Too

Rocky Mountain - kind of a snooze for me, I see vistas like this all the time!

Zion - awsome! I would love to stay in the lodge here.

Grand Canyon - make it a destination. It's too hard to get to for a quick peek over the edge.

Great Sand Dunes - a fun, fun family spot.

Don’t Forget our National Monuments!

They are certainly smaller, but typically quirky and fun. Check out Black Canyon of the Gunnison in Colorado, Capulin, Bandelier, and White Sands (my destination come November) in New Mexico, and Four Corners in, well, the four corners.

Happy travels!

Saturday, October 10, 2009


We awoke this morning to our first snow of the season. Snow in October isn’t that unusual, but sunny skies and mild temperatures are the norm. As you can see, my Autumn Brilliance serviceberry has barely had a chance to show off its brilliance!

I’m feeling a bit smug that I got my artichokes harvested before this weather hit. Unfortunately, they just weren’t very tasty. Even the smallest buds were very tough, and the leaves of the larger buds were pretty much “meatless.” My plant’s label did not include a variety name, but next year I’m going to search out one called ‘Emerald’ that is supposedly is frost and heat tolerant with few spines.

Thursday, October 08, 2009


A cool, misty morning. I love the way damp weather intensifies the colors of autumn foliage!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009


We had a nice visit from Jack Frost last night. A late afternoon rain and temperatures down into the 30s made for a perfect collaboration.
Plants closest to the house or paving were spared Jack's icy paintbrush, but those a bit further out in the garden got a nice, light whitewashing.
Snow will be here before we know it!