Rain, rain, come this way……

The Front Range is really arid, and I love it!  Very low humidity, lots of sun, and only rarely a gray, dreary day of rain.  Sometimes it goes a bit far though in our part of the Front Range.  South of the Denver area, a lot of storms seem to come through.  But when the forecast is for rain north of Denver, it seems to skirt right around our area.  We might get one storm for every 6 or 7 storms in other parts of the metro area – even the North Metro area.  We seem to get about one storm every 4 months or so.  And what light showers we get, evaporate about the time they touch the ground.  We end up needing to irrigate – more than I’d like to have to do.  Thank goodness for our irrigation system, which helps a lot during these dry times.  We see lots of storms on the horizon, accompanied by great lightning displays and rumbling of thunder, but the rain eludes us…. The weather reports say that we have had almost our “average” rainfall for this summer – but not here!  We sure could use an occasional storm…..Guess we can’t have it all, can we?

Here is aImage photo of skies we sometimes see, which leave us hopeful for rain, but usually pass us by.

 

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Glads all over…or not…

Gladiolus generally don’t overwinter in the ground here. Even where I used to live, which was Zone 7b, glads didn’t reliably overwinter. So, although I really like glads, I haven’t planted them in a long time, because I really want plants that will return year after year.
Last year, I succumbed to the beautiful photos in the bulb catalog, and bought a few varieties of glads (not even sure where I’d put them. And then when I went to a nursery, in a weak moment I bought more glads. Sigh. So last spring I planted all the glads, about 60% came up, and about 60% of those actually bloomed. Not a good percentage, but I did enjoy those that bloomed.
I don’t dig out bulbs or corms, or rhizomes to overwinter safely – too much work for me. So I left the glads in the ground. This spring I needed to dig up many of the beds in which the glads were planted, (that is a subject for another post) and most had turned to mush. I resettled the beds where the glads had been. Lo & behold, in a few weeks a solitary glad began to grow! And it now has a swelling flower stalk on it! It
should begin to bloom within a week. Can’t wait to see what color it is! Love a good gardening surprise!
Afternote – Just went out to photo the flower stalk for you, and it is beginning to bloom! Pink – I believe it will have a white center.DSC00459

Green Ice

I love roses, the way they unfurl their petals, and the varying scents of the blooms.  Here on the Front Range, I find that miniature roses grow the best (but I grow others, as well).  They seem to be better (read that ‘easier’) to deadhead.  I’ll prune off large clumps of spent flowers, but the individual ones are easily just broken off their stems.  Much easier & quicker than pruning off each individual flowerhead – especially if just a single plant has 50+ hips to be pruned off!  Later in the season, probably mid to late September, I’ll begin leaving the rose hips to grow and swell, providing a bit of fall color, and supposedly food for the birds – although I’ve never actually seen a bird eating the rose hips.

One mini that I’m enjoying right now is called “Green Ice.”  It stays under a foot tall, and is slightly spreading to about 18-20 inches.  The flowers are a creamy white, with a very slight green tint to them.  Really pretty.  I just noticed this week that some of the roses opening up have a bit of a pink tint to them, as well.  Makes for a very pretty rose.   Here is a photo of this rose.  Hope you can see the subtle coloring.   The bush is just covered with flowers right now.DSC00455

Guess it’s time to take time and smell the roses………

Pressing flowers

flower press

Today I went out to cut flowers to press and dry.  It is best to do this in the late morning, after the dew has dried (Dew?  In Colorado?  Maybe not!) and before the heat of the day stresses the flowers.  However, I don’t ever seem to get out there for my cutting till 1 or 2 p.m. – probably the worst time of day.  Oh, well.  I do it when I think of it.

The best flowers for pressing & drying are ones that have a more flat profile, such as impatiens, perennial geraniums, pansies, etc.  Coneflowers are one of the worst, as their center ‘cones’ are so thick that it is difficult to press them without destroying them.  Individual rays (petals) would work fine though.  Flowers or leaves that are fleshy don’t work too well, either, as they take too much time to dry.  But experiment!  You can dry flowers, leaves, grass seedheads, or anything that appeals to you!

Cut only a few at a time before laying them out to press, so they don’t wilt too much and become hard to flatten properly.  Lay them on sheets of acid-free, somewhat absorbent paper – but NOT paper towels.  I use watercolor paper (another of my hobbies, for another post), with heavy cardboard between each pair of watercolor sheets, and then weigh down the whole thing with bricks, jugs of liquids, etc.   I used to go the old phone book route, with the flowers pressed between sheets of waxed paper, but hey, I decided to get fancy!  Besides – who has those big, fat phone books any longer?

You can also buy a flower press online, for about $20, but when I saw how it was made I figured the cardboard, watercolor paper, and bricks would do the trick.  Using good paper allows the moisture to leave the flowers quickly, before the colors fade.  My prior method, with the waxed paper, was ok, but many of the lighter colored flowers turned somewhat brown during the slower drying process.  Above is a photo of my ‘high-tech’ flower press.

Two weeks should be long enough to let the flowers dry, but it is ok to wait longer.  After all, they aren’t going anywhere.  This will give you something to do in those long winter months, besides browsing through all the seed catalogs!  I’ll let you know in another post what to do with all those dried flowers.

Press on!

Come Into My Garden…..

 

Welcome to my new blog.  This is my first attempt, and I’m not a writer, but I got some inspiration from another blogger I’ve been following, so I thought I’d give this a whirl.  Ok, now I’m dizzy…..

I love gardening, and find something to do out in the yard every day.  Usually it involves digging, or pulling up a stray weed.  Occasionally, I’ll walk around (or just sit) and actually enjoy the garden – but not often, as most true gardeners can surely understand.

I may not blog daily, especially in the middle of a blizzard, but then again,  I have lots of houseplants, so maybe I can blog about those if I get snowed in!

Today, on a brief stroll in the yard, I noticed that the natives are restless.  Natives being the mosquitoes.  They found me more attractive than usual, so I didn’t stay outside too long.  Besides, it was extremely humid – 65%! so not a real pleasant day out.  I know, all my Eastern friends are scoffing big time right now – but I’ve become accustomed to single digit humidity, so when it hits double digits I start to complain.

We’ve had a number of confirmed cases of West Nile here on the Front Range, so I wasn’t in the mood to hang out with the mosquitoes.  Inside I went & potted a plant.

Till the next time….'Etain' pansy with purple alyssum