July 12, 2019

Pick a Colorado Plant, Any Plant

ice plants

At every Garden Bloggers Fling, attendees discuss which plant signifies that particular gathering and locale. It's always interesting to hear the ideas. Was it the multicolored Ice Plants (Delosperma spp.) blooming in so many of the gardens?

rock succulents

Or the tiny Hens and Chicks (Sempervivum spp.) and other low-growing succulent plants, which were also prevalent? These were particularly prominent in the many rock and crevice gardens in the Denver area.


The Ninebarks (Physocarpus opulifolius) were blooming: Who can argue with this beauty? But wait; this was one of the plants of the Toronto Fling, right?


The cold-hardy Agaves were happy in several gardens. (Is this A. havardiana?) Well, Agaves were also an Austin Fling plant.

Poppy 1

Oh my gosh, the Poppies (Papaver and Eschscholzia spp.)!

poppy 2

poppy 3

poppy 4

poppy 5

poppy 6

poppy 7

poppy 8

poppy 9

But Poppies are popular everywhere.

african daisies

Maybe it was the masses of African Daisies (Osteospermum spp.).

beaver tail cactus

Or the Cactuses, like this stunning, bright pink-blooming Beaver-Tail Cactus (Opuntia basilaris).


Personally, I'm always partial to delicate, but tough Astrantias (A. major).

apache plume 2

And an all-time favorite that's native only to the Southwest U.S. and Northern Mexico is the shrub Apache Plume (Fallugia paradoxa). It looks different at various stages and in different lighting.

apache plume 1

apache plume 3

apache plume 4

Apache Plume seedheads resemble those of Prairie Smoke (Geum troflorum); both are in the rose family.

fox tail lily 2

Many people felt that Foxtail Lilies (Eremurus robustus) were the Denver Fling signature plant.

fox tail lily 1

They were quite dramatic--like candelabra glowing over their garden beds.

rm penstemon 1

But perhaps the signature plant of the Denver Garden Bloggers Fling was the Rocky Mountain Penstemon (P. strictus). That color, that form, those "pollinator pockets"!

rm penstemon 2

rm penstemon 3

rm penstemon 4

How does one choose? All the Fling plants were fabulous!

June 30, 2019

A Garden Full of Joy and Whimsy

terra cotta

You know your favorite aunt whose face lights up when you come to visit...her entire demeanor exudes joy and welcoming? That's what it was like to visit the garden of Jean Morgan, near Denver, Colo., during this year's Garden Bloggers Fling, earlier this month. (If you guessed Colorado, based on my last post: 3 points; Denver area: 5 points; Garden Bloggers Fling: 10 points!)


Jean was so genuinely happy to see us and share her garden--and warm and welcoming--that this particular visit was a highlight, for me, of the entire Fling! The house and property is a historic landmark in what previously was known as "Little Bulgaria" in the town of Louisville, Colo.


Jean has lovingly cared for this garden for several decades--designing and placing all the plants herself. Hens and Chicks (Sempervivum spp.), herbs, and other drought-tolerant plants cover the entire small property, creating a lovely xeric, low-maintenance garden.


Patches of Love in a Mist (Nigella damascena) create a dreamy frame for the succulents.

barney bazooka

Part of the joy of Jean's garden is that it's real. By this, I mean that Jean authentically created the displays herself. The garden is full of whimsical touches, like this bathtub/metal objects creation, Barney Bazooka DeChomp III.

more whimsy

A pump faucet washtub full of herbs and its neighbor pot with a face.


This lady statuette who is "happily dying of chocolate," surrounded by real candy bar wrappers and Chocolate Daisies (Berlandiera lyrata). (I think most of us can relate.)


Jean has a delightful  pond with a waterfall, decorated with metal friends: a heron, a turtle, a cat, a crab, lobsters, and others.


Her fabulous crevice/rock garden is chock full of xeric plants, and is home to a family of quail figurines.

Other Fling attendees had similar impressions while visiting Jean's garden; and most of us had a grand time at the entire Fling this year. Watch for more coverage in the months ahead, by visiting this link. Next year, the Fling will be in Madison, Wis., and I'm on the planning committee!

June 23, 2019

A Tiny Floral Teaser


Do you know where I was last weekend? If so, leave a clue. If not, take a guess. Good luck!

Here are some hints:











It was a beautiful place! I plan to share more about it in the weeks ahead...

June 09, 2019

Garden Patterns, Textures, and Colors


Lately, I'm noticing patterns, textures, and colors in a different way. It's hard to explain, but many surprisingly pleasant views are catching my eye--like the Ostrich Ferns in the back garden, lined up to capture the morning light.

cottonwood seeds

This is not a pleasant view, but definitely a pattern and texture example--the Hostas lining the driveway are now covered in Cottonwood seeds from several neighborhood trees. Everything is coated in fluff and debris, and it won't end for at least another week. (I'm trying to be patient, because I recognize the trees' and seeds' ecological value. It just makes for a very messy garden. It also illustrates why most of my photos in this post have messy fluff all over them.)

sedum and petunias

Some of the patterns, colors, and textures are intentional, like this combination of chartreuse Mexican Stonecrop (S. mexicanum) with Wave Petunia 'Carmine Velour.' Last year, a patch of overwintered Supertunia Vista Bubblegum was in the same pot with the Sedums, but the Supertunia didn't survive a second winter in the sunroom. Both combinations offer pleasant pops of color and companion textures.

salvia and lantana

While I've had this combination in my garden for several years now--'May Night' Salvia (Salvia x sylvestris) with various Lantanas and Marigolds--I happened to glance over and notice the way the purple/blue Salvia was framing the orange hues of the other flowers from this angle.

shamrocks and ivy

Another pot I've overwintered for several years now combines English Ivy (Hedera helix) with Purple Shamrocks (Oxalis triangularis).

alternanthera and ivy

Continuing the same color scheme with Threadleaf Alternanthera (A. dentata).

purple and ivy

Together, across the back wall of the pond, they create waves of burgundy, purple, and green.

new guinea and coleus

'Sonic Light Pink' New Guinea Impatien (I. hawkeri) is another good pairing with chartreuse foliage--here, with Coleus (Solenostemon) 'Colorblaze Lime Time.'

shade foliage

We've had plentiful precipitation this spring, so all the foliage seems extra lush. Hostas, Convallaria, Epimediums, Sedums, and Hellebores (including the little Hellebore seed pods) form a carpet in various shades of green.

alliums and clematis

This combination was a happy accident. 'Nelly Moser' Clematis is a long-standing garden staple. I added several Allium 'Globemaster' bulbs along the back wall last fall, and was pleasantly surprised to see how they mimic the lavender/pink color scheme of the Clematis.

Everywhere I turn, there are new pleasant vignettes. Are you discovering or rediscovering patterns, textures, and colors in your garden this season?