Saturday, July 31, 2010


This time it was with a visit to the Denver Botanic Gardens. There were so many memorable places and vistas but I begin with one of my favorites. Is it because I am English born that this garden reminds me of so many of those wonderful English gardens?

Our visit coincided with "Moore in the Gardens" Presenting 20 of the British sculptor Henry Moore's monumental works. Here a long shot of the same garden seen through his Oval with Points.
We had reached this garden, the Schlessman Plaza and fragrance garden, by walking down the perennial walk. But for the fact that the walkway was paved rather than grassed I thought I was at Wisley. The long perennial walks, which originated in Europe, were designed as a rebellion against the formal gardens of the Victorian era. This was more of a mixed border with annuals mixed in among perennials but providing color and texture through all seasons.

Rest a while among the achillea.
Watch the barracuda leap by the wall of water.

Or take a minute in the shade of one of the two summer houses. Always a feature in many English gardens; a must on even a nice summer's day.

My granddad built a sunken garden in his garden. Like the walled kitchen gardens, a sunken garden would afford protection against the harsh winds, providing a microclimate. Here in Denver another garden which was to remind me of my long ago home.

From the English style of garden to a garden across the other side of the world; the Moongate leads into the Chinese garden. It represents the full moon and happiness.

A pebble pathway leads through the lush planting..

To the Ting, which in Chinese means 'pause' inviting the visitor to stop and rest and enjoy the scenery. Not a hard thing to do on a hot day in Denver.

This interesting vine was Lonicera reticulata, Kintzleys Ghost Grape Honeysuckle.

The South African Garden displayed many of the plants I am familiar with. The succulents were beautifully displayed in various levels of planters.

Or raised on gravel beds

The rock alpine garden with the cactus and succulent house in the background.

The gateway into the Japanese garden.

Stone, water and plants brought together in such a way that we would recognize this garden immediately.

A stop for lunch at the cafe. Great paninis.

Overlooking the potager, or kitchen garden with its giant headed alliums. I think I should change the name of my vegetable garden to 'potager'. It does sound so much nicer.
More Moore. Mother and child.

Daylilies in full bloom.

Please someone tell me what these flowers are and will they grow in Texas. They were stunning en masse.
More places to sit in the shade.

I would love to grow this frilly cosmos too but have never had much luck with any but the native orange variety.

And if you find the idea of a tank in your garden too 'Texas' then here's an idea with a softer look.
there is a little bit of everything in the gardens. Here a style that might be a little closer to home.
A green roof, although I am not sure how this would offer much of a cooling effect.

A recent bond, to fund parks, means that new gardens are being added all the time. I was given a peek at the new Mordecai children's garden which will open later in August. Here children were helping with the planting.
One thing is for sure. I won't pass through Denver gain without spending a day at the gardens. Members of the Wildflower Center enter the garden without charge.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


The nest on the front gate was finally finished and by the time I went out there with my camera two eggs were in the nest, but no sign of the birds anywhere. No angry calling, which is usually the case when you are near a nest.

Each morning another egg.

Until there were four.

The eggs were laid in the early morning so I never got to photograph number 5 as the bird was now sitting on the nest. I opened the gate and off she flew. No more going out to get the mail that way.
I suppose I had never really given too much thought to egg laying until recently. I'm sure those who have chickens know that the hen doesn't sit until she has a certain number of eggs in the nest. For wrens it appears to be five. The eggs remain cold until she starts to sit which means they all hatch about the same time. I learn many new things every day.
Pity my poor plant. It was doing so well. I may have to beg another cutting from Diana, Sharing Natures garden, next year, but it won't be going in this planter.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


Not for some time, I'm sure.

For weeks on end the garden has been subjected to temperatures in the 90s and that wouldn't be so bad if it weren't for the fact that night time temperatures do not drop below 75degrees. That makes all the difference in how plants tolerate the heat.

Tomatoes stop producing fruit once the night time temperatures stay above 70. At least most plants. My Celebrity, Peach and Romas have finished production. The cherries do a little better and my yellow pear and juliets are still producing. The Juliet was a seedling growing in the gravel which I found a new home for in the vegetable garden. It is a prolific producer of small fruits with a somewhat sharper taste than the larger fruited tomatoes. When I have an odd assortment of tomatoes, misshapen or requiring some parts to be cut away, even green ones, I have a great recipe.

Saute some onions and garlic until soft. Add the cut up tomatoes and cook for a few minutes. Pour into a casserole and add chopped mozzarella, basil. Season and grate parmesan cheese over the top. Bake 20 minutes until cheese in brown. Great dish to have with fish or meats.

If the tomatoes shun the hot nights then this little plant is quite the opposite. It doesn't even want to open its flowers until later in the day when the sun is beating down with all its ferocity. Afraid that it would not be hardy in our winters I took cuttings in the fall and kept them alive over the winter, replanting them when danger of frost had passed. The plant sulked for the longest time until conditions were to its suiting. The time has come. It is vibrant pink like the portulacas but the leaf is small. Anyone know its name?

I always buy a couple of 4" pots of portulaca, Portulaca grandiflora. That is all you need because they are so easy to root. Just break off a stem and stick it in a pot in a sheltered spot until it roots and then plant. Notice the competing wine cup among the pink portulacas.

The difference between these plants and the first one is , these open their flowers as soon as the sun comes up and the other creeper opens its flowers as the portulaca is closing.

Here is another member of the portulaca family, shaggy portulaca, Portulaca pilosa. It appeared in the gravel and opened its flowers this week. It is native to texas and will cover the ground with a rosy mat of flowers. It seeds easily, hence its appearance in my garden this year.
I won't give a mention to that other purslane, the weedy one, which doesn't ever produce a visible flower but manages millions of seeds. Plenty of that over here.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Summer is well and truly underway in every part of the USA and the northern hemisphere. We are all invited to share our garden blooms with gardeners everywhere, as part of Garden Bloggers Bloom Day hosted by Carol, at May Dreams Gardens.

Sometime back in the year 2001, at a Newcomers' garden club meeting, I took some cuttings from the above plant. Photographs showed a beautiful stand of pink blooms among green foliage.

For the last nine years I have tried to rid my garden of this plant. It spreads by underground runners and pops up all over the place. It is rather smelly when you rupture the stems. One runner finally made its way into the corner of the front garden. It is rather a no man's land where I just allow columbines to grow. However, this plant was softening the corner so I let it stay. Lo and behold it has flowered and I remembered why I was so taken with the plant when I saw its photo. I would love an identity if anyone can help me out.

The pink rose, Felicia responded to recent rains by growing a long stem clustered with pink fragrant roses.

Verbena bonariensis along the edge of the dry creek.

In the background a glimpse of the Texas fish hook cactus which bloomed especially for bloom day. Another plant responding to the recent rains.

Along with rain lilies and

Texas sage, Leucophyllum frutescens, our barometer bush.

Gazanias and native cosmos are reliable bloomers in any heat.

As are the rudbeckias. Behind is the snapdragon vine, Maurandella antirrhiniflora.

This delicate vine resembles the snapdragon in looks only. It produces a mass of flowers in late summer, dying back to the ground in winter.

The garden snapdragon, is a very late bloomer this year.

Lurking behind the blanket flowers is the red spider zinnia, Zinnia tenuifolia.

I couldn't be without the zinnias, especially the narrow leaf zinnia, Zinnia linearis, seen here in the orange and white forms.

Gomphrena globosa returns from seed for another year. This plant is a favorite of the hispid cotton rats. They will sit and pick at the seeds for hours on end leaving behind a mass of snowy litter.

This little plant is Texas tough. Ruellia, the Mexican wild petunia took root in a crack along the wall. Cut it back and it will bloom on and on into the fall.