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!)


Anonymous said...

Awesome post.I can't believe we live here....B

Vicki said...

What a great tour of your amazingly varied back yard! (yeah...those beads...I'm diggin' it, man...)

I think Mama Robin may decide there are still enough leaves around for good nest cover. Let's hope so, anyway.

Yay! for you for getting plenty of sleep! I know you've earned it. (Your hours of sleep sound a bit like Doc's weekend sleep much as possible!)

Yay! for you for being able to take the time now to enjoy your home! You both have worked hard...enjoy! Oh, and Happy Father's Day to Bernie!

Sara at Come Away With Me said...

It's all beautiful, Jill. Lush and lovely.

Lovella ♥ said...

Jill you and Bernie have a fantastic back yard. . .and what a deal on the neighbors stones .. .
I love the japanese . .oh there is so much to love about your yard.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful yard. We enjoyed the tour. I love Colombine. You are both going to enjoy your yard and home from now on, and just putter as you feel the urge. It all looks like such a great place to relax. Looking forward to seeing it all in the future. Love mom S.

Barbara said...

Just loved the tour of your summer garden and the house shots and especially the mountains.