Friday, June 26, 2009

Saturday Snippet

Laura took over 400 pictures today. I took...well, let's just say the camera was rarely out of my hand.

This is my "neighbor around the corner" front yard tree. I have no idea what it is called just yet, but isn't it interesting?

A close up of the fluff....

Anyone out there know what kind of tree this is???

(Maybe I'll have to knock on the neighbors door, introduce myself and find out about the tree!)

Be back tomorrow with more!

Venturing into the Stone Age

The Stone isn't that cute name for a business that sells rocks and stones?

Lots of picture worthy rocks to see...and to consider for future landscape renovation.

This trip was just to whet our appetite, and to give us fodder for dreams and plans.

It was raining, which was so much the better as the wet stones colors shone in the wet.
The copper based green stones are sometimes found here as entire house fronts!
Regular sandstone and "chocolate" sandstone behind. Decisions, many variations to chose from.

But here's the real draw: we'd like to install fountains in the garden, and have decided that the drilled rock style would be perfect in our garden.

We just have to decide where in the garden, and what kind of rock we would want drilled.

I'm leaning towards red rock...but the Japanese part of the garden might do well with a black stone. Maybe we'll have a few fountains scattered about...

To dream, think, imagine, plan....that is half the fun!

The fountain could also be on a flat style rock, and would flow river like down the face.

We definitely will be getting a stone bench....or two. I imagine lots of pictures being taken of friends and family seated on such a garden bench!

Eggs, rocks, fish, birds, flowers and faces...speckled things charm me into smiles.

Other rocks have stripes...doesn't this look like wood grain instead of rock?

I could imagine resting on this slab, looking up at a starry summer sky...

(A cherry tree was in the corner of the property, heavy with the sweetest ripest cherries. I could have snacked on them for a long is so tempting to be greedy with such tender seasonal fruit!)

The rocks and my Rock of a Husband: both colorful and interesting to observe. It actually is raining quite a bit, and his outfit is a last moment defense against the elements.

So what would you do with this rock? I've seen charming planters made with such rocks, bonsai pots, and candle holders. Maybe a frame for something?

Earth landscape...or planet topography.
We decided to visit a second rock shop down the way....I walked into the display room and immediately encountered two large white ducks inside!

The company had built a huge koi pond and water feature inside their showroom, and the ducks apparently were invited to live there too.

Their pom-pom duck feather do was a first for me. Is this a breed of ducks, or just stylish renegades?

Pop star ducks maybe?

I've mentioned that it was raining...
Later we had lightening and thunder and snow dusting on the mountains.
We left the Stone Age, and rocketed to the Modern Age....a store with modern home accents like this floor lamp...

and this one. Colorful pillows in mod designs caught our eye, and we left with two huge orange and white pillows for our patio couch.

We had a lovely time last Saturday...and so much time has passed since then.
Maybe we need a modern clock to keep up with the modern way time flies!
Lots to do this weekend too....
I'll keep you posted...eventually!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Oh that garden!

Because sometimes visits to other people's gardens are just here and scroll through a daylily collection that will make you gasp.

I am SO looking forward to creating an iris/daylily/bulb flower bed on the west side of our house that currently has vinca and brambles sprawling beside the bricks.

It is hard to be patient...but the garden will eventually happen. And when it does, I'm planning to have a least of few of Gotta Garden's daylilies too, like her "Tremor", "Forever Redeemed", and "Peppermint Pinwheel", for sure!

Which of the flowers would YOU choose?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Fairies and Breakfast with Feathered Friends

Have you seen this book?
It is a delight!
Written/drawn/published first in 1923, it combines poetry about flowers and trees with drawing of fairies.
The author/artist Cicely Mary Barker was a fragile epileptic English child, born in the late 1800's. She was too frail to attend school, so she studied art at home.
Her art was first published when she was sixteen years old, and she went on to have several books published after that. This particular book is a compilation of all her "Fairies" books.

I love that she had such an eye for flowers and plants, and that Kew garden allowed her to come and draw their flowers in bloom. The fairy faces are based on the children enrolled in her sister's nursery school, and it is wonderful to see such sweet faces and know they are the faces of real children.

Barker was a Christian, and when asked about the fairies, she was careful to say that she had never seen a fairy, that fairies were just pretend.

I find the poems and drawing are helping me remember the names of some of the flowers and trees in Salt Lake City that are new to me.

The Ash Tree Fairy poem taught me something new about the tree that shades our garden: the seed pods that we are eyeing with considerable concern, imagining seeds flying everywhere come autumn are called not clusters but rather the more charming "keys."

Today we had the Ash tree and its keys against a blue blue morning sky.

With smooth gray bark on the newer growth...yes, the poem describe the tree nicely.
This morning as we ate breakfast in the kitchen pop out window, I felt like I was breakfasting in a tree house!

We shared our time with two Downy woodpeckers, a chickadee, mourning doves, robins and various sparrow dining at the feeder a few feet from our window.

The Stafford "Herbs and Spices" china that I chose as a teenage complimented the fragrant peonies from our neigbors perfectly.
(The window view is to the west. )

With a look to the east across the deck. I usually sit facing east and to the mountains, while B. prefers (or perhaps defers to my preference...) to look west, to the other mountain range and beautiful sunsets.

Oh how I wish I could just linger at the breakfast table watching birds and flowers growing all day long!

(PS: Good news-Mama Robin is on her nest. Papa Robin did a flyover on me this morning when I went outside. I thought only nesting mockingbirds were aggressive. Maybe I need to go to get some nice fat worms as a peace offering to the nesting couple...and figure out how they would like their worms served.)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

First Day of Summer Garden Tour

Ah is it summer at last?

Yesterday the sky was lead gray; winds whipped the trees and this morning the mountain had a sheen of snow dust again. Yet the day before my arms were reddened as I labored to trim back the scrub oak branches that had begun to obscure my deck top mountain view.

An activity today I have come to rue...but more about that later...

I'm beginning our first day of summer garden tour from up on the deck, with a picture above of the nest that I discovered yesterday as the winds blew the oak leaves askew. This morning the nest was easy to photograph, yet empty of life. The robins have been frequent visitors to our garden, and I guess I must have missed their chick rearing days.

Heading down to the garden we'll see the shade garden growing beneath the towering sequoia tree. I'm collecting all the variations of columbine for that flower bed...the coral and yellow Columbine....

The lavender and cream....

And the yellow and cream.
Yesterday we were gifted with a naturalized Colorado mountain Coumbine a deep blue-purple flowering plant from a neighbor.
Yes...we are living in a neighborhood that swaps plants!
I'm loving it!
Even more exciting...the same neighbor is taking out an original stacked sandstone planter to make room for more of her wildflowers and has sold the two tons of stones to us at a very reasonable price (compared to at the stone yard...where you actually can't get the same style quarry work stone anyway.)
Our current garden planters that are now a mix of broken concrete or rotted wood will soon be re-made with the neighbor's bounty.
Isn't that cool?
And wouldn't it have been just horrid to imagine the stones just being hauled away to the dump?

Since foxglove takes two years to bloom from seed we have purchased plants already in bloom and will seed heavily this autumn. Currently we are reading aloud a book called "A Place to Call Home" by Deborah Smith, and it has a lovely legend about foxgloves and fairies, foxes and chicken farms. Plus there is a beautiful love story nestled into the foxglove covered mountainside, which has made us both become quite smittened by the freckled blooms.

Bright moss, both Scotch and Irish, is filling in spaces between garden steps and stones.

For the reception party we leveled the stepping stones and plugged both kinds of moss between, and have been quite pleased at how fast the plugs are growing. And also by the fact that the moss has tiny white flowers as well!

The Columbine seen at the foot of the sequoia and the stone steps leading down to the flower bed and the "vineyard" growing on the hurricane fencing above the seasonal stream.

Looking up the steps to a small bench holding some of B.'s baby Japanese maple collection.

Looking up the steps and to the right is a small stone patio area just outside what we call the sun room; it is the room we used for our bedroom while upstairs was under heavy remodeling.

Hart is not happy that I have not invited him out for a meander! He likes the sun room because it has his big cat tree, and it is just the place to take a long leisurely snooze out of the way of workers or busy Blondie lady...(that would be me, btw. I always disturb his naps because he always disturbs mine!)

Looking up from that patio area: The downstairs small window is the bathroom room, the large window is the hat room. Upstairs the glass block window with the "letter box" in the middle is the bathroom window with an operable window inserted in the middle. It is an original feature of the house that I insisted on saving. People (except Laura who for some reason doesn't like glass blocks) rave about the design. I'm not sure such a window with a letter box window can be done with anymore...more's the pity!

Looking south out and up from the patio: The mountain, and a bird on the wire. Wish I could catch Larry the Cable Squirrel in one of his rambles across the line. We think the squirrels have a dray up in the sequoia now...we'll keep you posted on that development!

It was pure serendipity that an enormous swallow tail decided to feed on the pink roses just as I walked down the lawn to see what was blooming in that flower bed.


Down by the sun flower bed is a silvery mica covered step. The garden has an interesting variety of stones. Later I will post about our trip to a stone yard where I came to realize just how varied our stone collection was.

Down below the sun flower bed is the path along the fence and the grapevines.
We are considering putting a small stone bench down here as it is a lovely place to listen to the stream and feel quite at one with nature.
The purple flowers at the far end of the path are from the catnip plant.
Lots of sedium is growing as well, which will provide abundant autumnal color later on.

The grapevines are flowering nicely...

The creek with rocks since the neighbor's ancient retaining wall gave way during the deluge last Saturday. We are sorry for the neighbors, but all of the downstream neighbohood is enjoying the burble water sounds tremendously.

This tendency to rain hard on Saturday is getting to everyone here.

We are constantly being told that this much rain is very unusual, and last night the television had flash flood warnings. Mudslides are taking out areas south of us, and worries of wild fires later in the summer due to abundant plant growth are being discussed regularly.

The lower lot, as we call it, is the south east corning of the property. Right now it is covered with wild pink rose and scrub oak, and the stream has overflowed on it several times.

Looking back across the lawn, you can see how big the sequoia base is in comparison to the lawn chair. The tree is estimated at 80 feet tall, and no estimation has been made of it age. It has to be old though, real old, don't you think?

Below the sequoia by the sunlit fence we have planted two tomato bushes. We hope they will thrive...and if not, Jeff's tomato gardening is always has an abundance we can count on as a back up.

Under the deck is where we have the hot tub, and I had the clever idea of covering the area under the steps with the old "hippie bead" curtains that originally were in one of the bedrooms in the house.

Good recycling, no?

Peace, man. Dig it!

At the base of the deck stairs and next to the concrete pad under the deck is destined for renovation. Currently a muddy patch that refuses to grow grass, it will soon be covered in gravel and sandstone slabs will make stepping stones and a rather Japanese looking garden for Bernie's bonsai collection.

I can't wait, as it is now there is a constant parade of muddy footprints up the steps and onto the deck. The mud seems un-removable...even after pounding rains hit the mud sticks to the deck anyway. Yuck!

A view down to the lower lot. We have drug pruned branches down there for now; soon there will be dumpsters made available to the neighborhood for yard clean up materials.
I'm lobbying for a chipper purchase or rental...seems a waste to not turn the clippings into mulch. Especially since there is an equally big pile of branches on both sides of the house, and the neighbors have similar amounts.
Chipping party, anyone?

A developing bonsai forest at the foot of the deck stairs.

More of the bonsai garden. Eventually we would like to make the lower lot a tiered Japanese garden. No hurry on that thought....but fun to think about. We've promised ourselves no major overhauls of the garden for a year...we want to see what the garden does in each season first.

Back up on the deck I was HORRIFIED to see Mother Robin on her nest!

I feel terrible: I had pruned back and around that very branch just two days ago on Friday wanting to get my mountain view back. I didn't even see the nest then, then yesterday I did see the nest, and an hour before this picture the nest was empty.

Oh boy...I sure hope I haven't ruined the neighborhood for the Robin family.

Us Utah Spriggs women seem to have an unintended negative affect on nesting birds!

Another view of Mount Olympus from the deck. The small crevice of snow has been steadily melting, I am wondering if it will survive the summer or if it is an unmeltable glacial bed.
A few weeks ago I posted a similar picture when the apple trees were all pink blossoms.
Now there are tiny apples the size of large grapes!

Looking down on the sun flower bed from the deck. The bird seed feeder is to the right, just inches below the deck railing. Not too many seed eaters are stopping by right now.

Looking back to the house and the pop out window in the kitchen. The pink flowers in the vase are peonies that we've gathered that overhung the wall between our house and the neighbors up the street. The neighbors are a surgical resident wife and an airline pilot husband, their adorable nine month old daughter and thier elderly (and massive!) white boxer.
The humming bird feeder hangs less than a foot from the kitchen window. Breakfast and dinner is served up to the Broadtailed humming birds who are gradually getting used to the fact that we eat meals at the same time that they do, and they need not worry about us as they dine.
So, in re-cap: the columbines are planted in the west side of the garden, the sun flower bed is south, the patio north, and the bonsai garden is east. Just to orient you Hal!
I do promise to do a house tour soon....this weekend is the first weekend when we have done NOTHING all weekend.
I feel like I have been on a vacation.
Last night as the rain poured on, we built a wood fire downstairs, snuggled up with throw blankets and tried to watch the golf play-off that was so badly rained out.
We fell asleep...I slept from six to nine, then was back asleep at eleven.
Woke at seven am, then went back to sleep until ten.
Yup...I'm pooped!
But now it is summer!
Let the fun begin!
I'm not doing ANYMORE serious house work until CHRISTMAS!
(Special Happy Father's Day greeting and thanks to you Dad, the man that taught me all I needed to know about gardening! I love you and can't wait for you to see this garden in person!)