Archive for May 2007


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Hail + iris = disaster! Two back-to-back hail storms ripped through my neighborhood this past Tuesday and did a pretty good job of tearing things up. My irises, in full bloom, were shredded, as was the foliage of any plant with large leaves; the giant crambe, mullens, and especially my water lilies and lotus, really took a beating.

But hey, at least it wasn’t a tornado!

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As I’ve mentioned before, my love of textiles inspires my garden design and vice versa. One way to get new ideas for color combinations for your container gardens or even perennial borders is to examine and adapt the colors from a favorite piece of fabric. This might be a garment, a napkin, bed linens or perhaps an accent pillow. Your goal is not to try and replicate the colors exactly---that would be maddening!---but to identify the colors involved and how they are used proportionately. You will find that one color will dominate via the use of multiple hues (lighter and darker values of the color). Additional hues of colors that echo the warmth (yellow cast) or coolness (blue cast) of the dominant color will also be brought in to strengthen the overall color “message” of the composition. Last, a smaller amount of a contrasting (again, cool vs warm) color will be included for visual punch.

In this example of a vintage fabric, there are several hues of yellow (which is the dominant color), a golden orange, a very strong vibrant orange, and white. The rich, chocolate brown is a good contrast. For a garden design I would also introduce a strong blue as a contrasting cool color.

While you’re shopping for plants, keep your color scheme in mind and try out different plant combinations right on your shopping cart. Edit out things that don’t work, and add something different if it does. Remember, the point is not to duplicate the fabric, just to use it as inspiration. And don’t forget to include foliage color! Purple, bronze, yellow, silver, variegated---they all add to the interest and complexity of your composition.

Most importantly, have fun!

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Crazy Busy!

Crazy busy in the garden this past weekend! My main goal was to stain our old fence---you can see the results in the photo above. The fence is cedar, and most surfaces had weathered to a very pale straw color. I was ready for a new look, so I used a semi-transparent oil based stain in a dark blue-grey color. I like the semi-transparent stain because it creates an uneven color wash that keeps an aged, rustic look. I’m pleased with the results. The darker hue really makes the plants pop!

Meanwhile, husband Jim and a couple of his pals had great fun cleaning out and re-plumbing the koi pond. All of the hardy water lilies, lotus, etc were set into a tank so the pond could be drained most of the way down (the fish were happier to stay in the bottom of the pond than be moved in and out---less stressful for us, too!). A wet vac was used to slurp up the accumulated black goo---icky stuff that went straight to the compost pile! Then the external pump, in need of expensive repairs (again!) was switched out for a submersible type. Much quieter, and will allow for better water circulation in the pond as well.

Last, but not least, I got all of my patio pots planted with annuals. I’m actually a week ahead of schedule on this---Yea! This year I chose to go with a specific color scheme, inspired by my findings at the garden center. Lots of coral, dark purple and chartreuse. Sounds weird, but I’m pleased with the results. And isn’t that the point of gardening? Photos to come when the plants fill in a bit.

Hope you are enjoying this moist, lush Spring in your garden!

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Bloggers' Bloom Day

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It is the custom, I’ve been told, to post what’s blooming in the garden on the 15th of each month. So, being the responsible garden blogger that I am, I present my list:

fern-leaf pea shrub---Caragana
cameo quince--- Chaenomeles

periwinkle---Vinca major & minor
ballerina & bloody cranesbill geraniums---Geranium
false forget-me-not---Brunnera
Turkish & woolly veronicas---Veronica
yellow flowering ice plant---Delosperma
cottage pinks---Dianthus
creeping phlox---Phlox


Any day now….
red & white valerians---Centranthus
bearded iris---Iris
Mormon tea---Ephedra

Keep in mind that these are just the things in my garden that are blooming today!
Photo: creeping phlox (Phlox subulata).

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Visit my Garden!

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On Saturday, August 4, my garden will be one of five featured in Denver Botanic Gardens' Highlands Art Garden Tour. The gardens are open to visit from 1-3 p.m., and are preceded by a lecture at DBG by award-winning author and landscape designer Julie Moir Messervy. The lecture and tour will explore the ideas of art as an inspiration for garden design, and gardens as an inspiration for art.

My garden, though over 20 years in the making, is also my “laboratory” and always being edited and reinvented. I have been working the past few years on creating a prairie garden and adding more regional plantings. For the tour I will feature the artwork of several local sculptors and my own art quilts as well.

Please join us for a fun and inspiring day! Tickets range from $16-$25, and may be purchased here or by calling Denver Botanic Gardens at 720-865-3580.

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Use Only What You Need

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I like Denver Water’s latest ad campaign. It encourages people to make smart choices, with a focus on not wasting water. Many people water too frequently, or for too long. The biggest visible waste I see in my neighborhood is people watering in the middle of the day (between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.) and/or when it’s windy. Helloooooo!

The watering amount recommended for the month of May is 1” per week. That’s it! And if our rain showers continue, we may not have to use our sprinkler systems at all (I have yet to water my lawn this spring).

Visit the Denver Water web site and click on Tap-Smart Irrigation for Homes for more information.

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