Monday, August 22, 2011

Wildlife Interrupts Coasting

WILDlife is beautiful...

This is Blitzen's Cousin. He visited our greenbelt on Saturday evening. It was a pleasure to have such a gentle, friendly giant visit us. Nonplused by us, he feasted on what the outside of our fence has to offer. Our apples, chokecherries, and alfalfa.

Enjoying some chokecherries.

Hmm, where should I go next...

I see you, seeing me through the tree.

WILDlife messes with the wrong gal...

Aspen twigs strewn about on the ground.

I got up this morning - early - to re-stake my poor little weeping spruce
hoping that I could save the top. He broke the top two foot out of it. And it
isn't even a year old. I found this on my Aspen trees.

And these... Hoof tracks... Oh, Mr. Elk, I have been trained by the best eye.

While out watering my annual pots I noticed my weeping spruce.
I started to weep. Thinking it was my sweet, little two-year-old. He has
been known to pull apart my plants. My husband, said Nathan wouldn't do
that. I chalked it up to never really knowing.

Well, look at what other gardening chore he helped me with (my words filled with controlled, seething anger)... He dead-headed the roses, ALONG with the new buds!

Most people that know me, know I was raised by a hunter. I grew up part of my life in the mountains and the eastern plains of Colorado. Learning to respect wildlife and natural world the Lord blessed to us, our keeping. Learning the signs of these animals. Learning how to stalk these animals. Times that I would never trade for anything in this world. I relished going with my dad. They also know I could never kill one of these animals.

The other thing people that know me, know about me, is my passion for my yard. My yard is my third child. I spend at least 6-8 hours in my yard this time of year and twice that during a project in the spring or the fall. It isn't just a hobby to me, a lifestyle, or the way I make my money. It is literally in my blood. My grandparents on my father's side were gardeners and farmers. My grandparents and great-grandparents on my mother's side were avid gardeners and my great-grandmother was a famous gardener in her own right-a flower judge and has a park named after her.

Since living here, I have dealt with evicting skunks living under our front porch, raccoons and skunks digging holes my garden. I have handled these things in stride as they are out of my control. This Elk, I am stumped. We have been here 8 years and have not had a creature such as this visit us. Must have followed the creek down. We back to a creek/open space greenbelt. All I can do is try to rectify the damage. I know him scraping the Aspen is a sort of death sentence for this tree. While they withstand this type of damage/activity in the mountains, at this elevation they have so many health issues. This will surely open it up to canker. I am going to try to save my weeping spruce. It should be a 20 foot weeping tree in time, if I lose the leader out of it, it will only be a four foot tall weeping spruce and very fat. Doesn't work for the space I have it in at that point.

Well, Mr. Elk, I hope you enjoyed your visited to my garden that had so many comforts of home and delicacies to be enjoyed. Please move on now. We enjoyed your visited, briefly.

So now I pray that he does not return-oh, he can return, as long as he stays in the back!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Dog Days

Dog Days of summer have arrived. The days are slowly growing shorter in Denver and summer will start singing it's swan song soon. The mornings have already grown cooler and i know in a couple of weeks I will that sense of fall in the air. The growing season here is all too short, going by way too fast. Our days are still hot. We have not had rain for two weeks now.

My oldest returns to school in a week. We are very busy at work getting ready for our big finish of fall services and are booked for a month with pruning work. Awesome!

My kentucky bluegrass lawn looks ill and shows the fall out of the moisture and the heat: symptoms are faded browning and weeds galore this year. Moisture of July also brought on some other uninvited pests to the garden: grasshoppers (more than usual) and mosquitos. Living in Denver we don't see grasshoppers too often. We back to an open space green belt with a creek so this brings both these creatures into my urban haven.

Many of my plants are stressing. My hydrangeas in the shade garden are usually sad by the end of the day-even after their morning sprinkle. My miniature balsam fir burned up in the heat. My canberra grass (appears a moss, but its not) burned up in the heat. Not sure what happened to it. Supposed to be full sun. Perhaps not here in Colorado. too bad because I loved it. The moisture in July and these high temperatures are just wreaking havoc in my yard. Things that don't usually happen, are happening. I think the cool weather of July fooled the plants and really spiked our normally low disease threshold. I like that plant. Guess I will have to find another, and another miniature balsam fir.

So for now I have become frustrated. I have not completed any of my garden projects except for adding a few tidbits to the shade garden. And it seems no matter what I add, I struggle to get just that... Funny, at work the stuff just pours out of my soul to clients and it turns out great! I am my own worst critic. So not completing any of my major 2011 projects wears on my ego. I still have a few months go to get the work completed, so all hope is not lost. I just want to get the rock garden finished. Of course, my fellow gardeners and bloggers know that a garden is never finished. It is constantly evolving. Finishing the rock garden and a few more perennials in the shade garden are the priority for the end of the summer. Can you tell it is wearing on and driving me crazy?

So for now since it is so hot and I put so much energy into my work days I have spent the past month just doing the basics, deadheading, watering, and weeding. I did tidy the perennial shade garden up last week. The foxglove i cut back to 8", the lupine I cut back to 8", the spiderworts were cut back to 4" and the artemesia was cut back to 5". I just get tired of their tired and flopped over appearance after they become so heavy from holding up their poor little flowers heads. And by this time in the year they have produced enough carbos and sugars to push and flower next year-and my garden looks a little neater. August is a frustrating month for me in my garden. I hate August!!!

You know, after doing this process I looked at and thought to myself-oh look at all of the space I have for more plants! Then I chided myself: the same thing will happen next year and you will be over planted.

I did some more fussing and over-loving of the little darlings tonight as my human darlings were otherwise occupied. The garden and a bath on friday nights are my way of saying thank you for the end of the week and therapy session.

Well, I think I have rattled on enough-here are some new photos. Perhaps when my children are little older I will be able to blog a little more specifically on plantings and design and such. But for now I am happy just to have 15 mins here and there to just blather on to you all. Thank you for reading.

The photos of the perennial garden before cutting some items back.
My little helper.
A shade cloth umbrella to cover some items starting to be scorched.
My new crocosmia 'lucifer' that my mom purchased for me.
My hydrangea.
The rock garden. This is the side that needs some work with additional plants.
My canna in the pond started blooming again yesterday. Lovely.