Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

I hope everyone had a wonderful Memorial Day. On our way to have lunch at my in-law's we drove past Fort Logan cemetery. Each white grave stone had an American flag standing watch for the service member laid to rest there. I am very patriotic and the line of cars coming and going from struck a cord deep within me.

We took the boys for a drive in the mountains on Saturday. And had a beautiful picnic lunch by a creek. It was a bit cool out, but lovely.

Ah, Sunday-this was the day we took on a major project. Putting together a fort/swing set for our two boys. The amount of parts and pages of directions was a daunting task. Needless to say, we have only to get the support beam up for the swings and we will be done with it. Pretty amazing to look at and know that we built that. And, that it will not be going with us if we ever move. Hahahaha.

I wanted to take a moment to explain the name of my blog. Some years back I started a website called Fields of Heather. My name is Heather and my dream is to one day travel to Scotland and see the fields of Heather there, my namesake. Since that domain name was already taken on blogger, I chose Heather's pastures. Where I grew up there were fields and pastures all around us. Today, many of these pastures are being turned into tracts for homes. Rather sad. So each of my little gardens is a pasture. My front yard is broken up into several little "pastures". I chose to design it in little bits each year. The only way I can afford the projects and physically get them completed. Because of this they all turn out a bit different. The landscape doesn't necessarily flow the way a landscape designed all at once would, but I love it and the variety it gives me. I have an area dedicated to iris and peonies, a small formal rose garden with six hybrid tea roses, I have my perennial garden, and my two rock gardens. I have two sections in the front left to complete at this point. I have chosen as this summer's project to continue to wrap around the front of our house with a cottage garden centered around three dwarf conifers and two large moss rock boulders. There is a lot of work to complete in this area in order to start this project. I have to move a couple of tons of crushed granite rock, move old weed barrier, and amend the soil. So far I have a weeping white spruce at the corner of the where the garden will begin.

The final project is on the opposite side of the driveway. An area I hope to build raised beds in to create a small community vegetable garden. Once this project is complete I will use flagstone pavers to create a small sitting area to reflect and enjoy all I have built.

So far this year my garden is looking just beautiful. I still have some plants to add to the waterfall rock garden to complete it and then I will pea gravel it and add some mexican beach pebbles to edge it. And I still need to add some perennials to the shade garden.

Next time we are going to talk Roses and Kentucky Blue Grass lawns.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Lets talk Rain

Well, before I talk about the recent rain we have received-let me give you a garden update.

I planted my vegetable garden on Sunday. Turning the area over first and then raking level. The usual-Tomatoes, peppers and a couple of carrots. I also planted my "unknowns" to let them grow so that I may further determine what the heck they are! I cleaned out the pond filter and re-potted my water lilly. Crossing my fingers it performs. I fertilized my roses with the new Bayer three step process. I have used the Bayer product before, just not this new version. So I am hopeful it will take care of the insect issues I had with the rose buds last year and they will perform. If they perform like they did last year, well they are going to be dug and either moved or trashed-because I can't have roses that don't perform they way they should.

I also finally figured out how to take macro photos on my camera. I know, I know-what took me so long right??? Well, I took some glorious photos to share with you. I will put them at the bottom.

WATER/RAIN: Here in the Denver area and the area considered to be the front range of Colorado we have been the recent recipients of large amounts of precipitation. I believe close to five inches so far in the month of May. Now, keep in mind that we are a semi-arid climate generally receiving about 15" of precipitation annually. Some broadcasts-radio/tv have been commented that the large amounts of rain can be detrimental to a tree's health and a certified arborist should be called out to evaluate the trees. This, generally, speaking is true. Our soils, in this area predominantly alkaline clay soils. As some have reported the threat of the moisture collecting on the leaf surface can cause excess weight on the plant causing what we call 'storm damage'. I just don't see how this is possible. This is typically a very big concern for us here during the early fall before leaves have senesced or in the early spring after leaf emergence-when we are at risk for heavy wet snows. These storms can cause severe structural damage and sometimes catastrophic. The larger concern would be for the root system of the plant. All plants (and living things for that matter) require water to survive, thrive, and grow. All plants have a threshold of this vital ingredient before it starts to cause detrimental effects. Too much water or too little can have very similar signs/symptoms. My concern for our plants during these heavy periods of rain (and not a cloud burst) - several days of heavy rains- would be for the root systems. It can compromise a root system just as severely dry weather can. It weakens the soils the plant is rooted in and the plant may become unstable, especially when high winds are involved during the storm. It can also cause a lack of oxygen-effectively drowning the plant because the roots cannot absorb oxygen. Yes, people the roots need oxygen. The leaves take in the Carbon Dioxide and the roots take in Oxygen. Our trees in Colorado endure great extremes-sometimes even from day to day. Imagine standing in one place your entire life and enduring all they do? My best advice-no matter where you live-if you have a concern for your trees, have a tree that is aged, leaning, diseased/infested please do call a certified arborist out to evaluate your trees. They provide us with so many benefits. And, it is not even a bad idea to do this annually-just as you would service your swimming pool, AC unit, furnace or car. And to be honest, sometimes we cannot even tell or prevent something from happening in a healthy tree. It is a living thing and therefore, can be unpredictable. Happy Gardening folks. And a happy Memorial Day. Take a moment to remember our veterans or someone special in your life you have lost.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Spring Gardening has begun!

My son fell asleep in the car ride on the way home today from work. So he slept a good part of the evening. I did as well after dinner. It has been a long, rough couple of weeks at work. I had a major landscape installation to complete with our crews as well as many appointments with clients and misc. items to take care of. I am ready for Memorial Day week-that is for sure. I also worked with a migraine headache today-that I still have.

Not to mention the weather lately has been a major challenge. Of the past 7 days only two have been decent weather. And both I was working and unable to garden. Last week in about three days we had 2.5" of rain in Denver-highly unusual for us. And it hit us again today. We had snow in the mountains, rain and hail in the city, some funnel clouds and oh-my nemesis the WIND. It is definitely a four letter word in my book.

So decided that I needed to blog. Monday was good weather and Nathan again fell asleep in the car on our way home at the end of the day. I wasn't really in the mood to plant my goodies from the Denver Botanic Gardens plant sale. But I did need to till in the compost I laid last fall-even though some of it blew away. And the soil was perfect for light raking and turning over. So I began my warm-up garden exercises. I use these types of activities often to get my juices flowing for the creativity needed to plan or plant. So after I raked the perennial garden I then planted my shade garden perennials. I thought well, perhaps I will do the rock garden plants this weekend, but then i got into the groove and got them planted as well. I was wanting to get it done prior to this rain we received-thought it would better for them to help get them settled into place. Plus we have a busy weekend coming up again. So I have planted all that I have purchased.

I do have a tray of some items that I started by seed in February and March. They are sitting in the dining room still growing. Most of them are ready to plant. I know what most of them are at this point-however, I am sometimes not very good at the details-I made plant tags, however over the past couple of months-even with a sharpie marker-have faded. So some of the items I have no idea what they are. So I will plant where I think they should go for now and then transplant them later.

I also managed to repot the two water plants I purchased at the sale. So I hope they will be happy now and thrive! This weekend I will clean out the pond filters.

Well, I am signing off for now. I will update pictures soon.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Spring 2011 Waterfall Rock Garden Additions

While attending the plant sale at the Denver Botanic Gardens I am always sure to visit the booth setup by my favorite rock garden nursery-Laporte Avenue. Love them! So I have new additions for the rock garden waterfall area. I needed to add some plants into this garden and so these little guys will really help out. I will get them planted this weekend. Some similar items to what I already have and some new items. Unfortunately some years the plant sale is better than others and those with a discerning eye can recognize the difference. This year was not as good of a year for the variety. Here are some samples of what I purchased. I have several others that I did not upload photos for. The last one is a rock garden variety ornamental garlic. The forth photo is a hardy, sun tolerant moss. It is very cool!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

No gardening today

Well, no gardening today. It was declared a day of rest, housekeeping, and laundry. And I just realized that my last post of the waterfall/rock garden went on the home page instead of the rock garden water feature page. Such a bummer.

Here in Denver there is a slight chill in the air. So I really had no desire to get outside today.

One major chore is to repair my mainline in my irrigation system at the backflow, as it has a slow leak in it. Bummer. Has to get done this week.

Goodbye for now.