Nasturtiums And Colorado

Nasturtiums and Colorado go great together. I see them all over our state. They do well up in higher elevations and well on the Front Range. Here in Colorado (and elsewhere), Nasturtiums are a gardener’s dream. They are virtually carefree once established.  I was introduced to this beauty by my friend Nancy. The summer of 2007, while a summer of grief over the loss of my sister Leslie, was also a summer to discover my love for this cheerful plant. If you are in grief, there will be new joys that come along. The garden reminds me of this truth and helps remind me of my rooted hope.

The funniest thing about the nasturtium is that it likes old soil. It does not do well in soil that has been amended with nutrients and fertilizers. Best thing to do is to use soil that you have had in another pot for years. Use that old dirt and stick some seeds in that pot. Yes, please use seeds. I would not recommend transplanting nasturtiums. Instead, I recommend getting your pots filled with other annual flowers and your beds all planted. Then go around and stick nasturtium seeds in empty spots. Also take an empty pot or two and just fill it with seeds. And then watch then sprout. Be patient as they can take upwards of two weeks to germinate. Do all this once the threat of frost is past. Nasturtiums and Colorado only go great together once it has warmed up a bit.

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Gardening Failure

I don’t want to have any gardening failure this year. I don’t. But I will. Darn it. I will. Some plants will croak and die. But can I diminish my failures? Yes, by learning to learn from each and every snafu.

Gardening failure

As I work to create my 2015 garden plan, I face three BIG questions: what, where and when.

gardening failure


What plants?

Where to place each plant?

When to plant the seeds for each plant?

I call the what, where and when questions BIG because answering each requires me to be courageous. Why?

The Tuberous Begonia In Colorado

If you love using containers in your garden or if you are strictly a container gardener, you will appreciate knowing that the tuberous Begonia in Colorado does very well. I have a large covered front porch. My property also includes a lot of trees. As a result, I have quite a bit of shade in my garden. I need a few flowers that do well on my porch and under my shade trees. Tuberous begonia is one of my go to plants. Here is one that was growing in my garden in 2011.

Tuberous Begonia in Colorado Garden

But here is the problem. To buy a flowering Begonia at a nursery is going to set you back about $6.99 for each plant. Yikes! But there is a way around this high cost. Let me show you how.

Lavender Growing In Colorado

Lavender growing in Colorado can be tricky. But lavender growing in Colorado is not impossible, in fact it is quite easy. But, it is important to note which lavender grows in Colorado. Why? I’ve seen many of our big box stores sell lavender that is not hardy here in our beautiful state. And, I have noticed that sometimes, the tag on the lavender being sold is not labeled with the zone. Depending on where you are in the state, our growing zone varies. Here on the Front Range your zone is most likely 5-5b.  Not all lavenders are hardy in this zone! But this lavender pictured below grows beautifully each year. I took this picture in 2008 and it looks this lovely each year.

Last gardening season, while in Costco, I noticed a particular lavender being sold.

Sola Balsa Wood Flower Bouquet

If you are looking to make your own bouquet for your wedding, I would encourage you to consider a sola balsa wood flower bouquet. Why? Take a look at my daughter’s bridal bouquet.

sola balsa wood bridal bouquet

If the picture doesn’t convince you, let me give you a few other reasons why a sola balsa wood flower bouquet and table arrangements might be the way to go. Besides, there are some of you out there in internet land that are looking to make sola wood bouquets and you are wondering whether to do it. You are scouring the net looking for photos (I found very few) so I’d like to share with you what we did and WHY.  So here is why….

FREE Seed Catalogs

Free seed catalogs? Oh yes! It’s the time of year when the ground is frozen and we wonder if anything will grow again. This is a perfect time for me to share with you my list of FREE (and great) seed catalogs — ones that are in print form…ones you can write in, mark up, dream over. There is nothing like holding a seed catalog in your hand in the dead of winter.  Even if you can only order one or two packs,

Picture of Mums

This quote makes me laugh.  And it is so true for me and for many gardeners I know.  In fact, for most people who have something they do with their hands (woodworking, cooking, knitting, building an engine) they are happier.  And happy is NOT bad.  If we do something in the pursuit of happiness as an end in itself, we may end up disappointed.  But to do something so that we do it well and so that others are served, then happiness happens!  So does joy.

Yes, this quote rings true for me.  Gardening has helped me find joy (an attitude) and happiness (a state of being) in the midst of tough times.  Thanks be to God.  What is one thing you can take up doing — something that requires the use of your hands?  Do it.  Take it up.  It will bless others.  THAT brings joy.  And your spirit will be lifted.

Late Summer Salad

It is mid September here in Colorado.  We had some really cold weather last week, so cold I had to cover up my garden goodies two nights in a row.  But this week it has been in the low 80’s and I am finding a few gems out in my backyard garden.

Late summer salad beautifully arranged on a white plate.

Finding gems.

Late summer is a time for that.  I may think my pole beans are done, but I find a few more on the vine.  And then I peek close to the ground and see a few last cucumbers.  That one more ripe tomato makes me scream with delight.  Am I being melodramatic? Yes, I am and I don’t care.  A garden is worthy of drama.

If you are a gardener,

A picture of a rose of sharon bush

Healing in the garden. In the last 11 years, I have navigated at least 11 hardships (some I would call tragedies).  Each time I have gone to my backyard garden and put my hands in the soil.  I have been made better there.  Thanks be to God this is true.  And, I think the hard clay soil is different as well.  Thanks be to God this is true.

This is a picture of my Rose of Sharon bush.  It blooms in August.  I love things that bloom in August, don’t you?

Gardening With Kids

If you are gardening with kids, I can’t begin to tell you about the perfection of Scarlet Runner Beans.  And if you are not gardening with kids, I can’t begin to tell you about the perfection of Scarlet Runner Beans!!!  Seriously they just are THAT great because they help cultivate HOPE. Take a look at the pictures below.  Just look at the seeds.  That’s enough beauty to keep me going for days.  Stick these seeds in a big pot of dirt, and place it in the sun, full sun (6 hours).  Once they start growing and are about 2 inches tall, thin them to be 6 inches apart.  Provide some support for them to climb on (I often use a combo of twine and poles).

It won’t be long before you have beautiful red flowers than will eventually turn into HUGE beans.  You can eat these, but I don’t.  I let them sit on the vine throughout the fall and let them dry out, saving the pods in an envelope so I might use the seeds for next year.  Kids love the saving part.  They get to watch the pods dry out (and show them what the beans look like inside BEFORE they have dried out).  Then once they are dried out, the beans have changed.  How cool is THAT?!?  And then, you get to plant them again next year.  This teaches the kids so much about the cycle of new life, life, kinda dead, dead — but life still lurks there!  If that doesn’t teach your kids hope, I don’t know what does.  And if that doesn’t teach you about hope then gosh….I don’t know what else to tell you!  🙂

(Hint: In the beginning phases of growth, you may need to use an insecticidal soap to keep the bugs from eating the baby plants.  But after a while, the bugs will leave this plant alone.  At least here in Colorado anyway.)

This picture shows the green pods, some pods that have dried and the beans taken from the dried pods.  Let the pods dry before removing the bean seeds.

This picture shows the green pods, some pods that have dried and the beans taken from the dried pods. Let the pods dry before removing the bean seeds.

Look how gorgeous these bean seeds are!

Look how gorgeous these bean seeds are!