Tuesday, May 31, 2016


As I was driving around Denver on errands yesterday, I noticed that the Tall Bearded iris--which are always good--were uncommonly lush and happy this year with all the rains and the long season. So I took a few pictures. And I realized they might be fun to string together for this blog. I love Denver for many reasons, iris are surely one of them. I would love to take a day or two off--I could compile hundreds of pictures like this--each one different. Denverites are a special breed, and I am fiercely in love with this crazy, windy Queen City of the Plains (not to mention the Rockies!)...

Isn't this a grand way to line your street?

How about this captivating Halloween combo?

A closer view: black iris rock!

Or how about white iris against a black fence? Pretty cool, no?

White iris are very popular...

I hope this lady doesn't read my blog: but I love the Saguaro and the robust iris clumps.

There were many long drifts of gorgeous, fragrant pallida everywhere--this was not unique!

And there has to be the rebel who plants a Siberian!

The backlighting in late afternoon is my favorite feature of these plants!

Everyone seemed to be out in the garden yesterday--Memorial day.

It was raining: thought I could take a picture through the window...Ha! This was a grea vignette. Let's just pretend I'm an impressionist!

I was at a stoplight and caught this Denverite gardening...

He looks very cotemplative and pleased. I would be too!

And there are plenty at my house too--to end the short trip. Perhaps I'll take a day off in the next week and do this neighborhood photography thing. I did notice a car following me at one point--probably thinking I was casing out houses to rob. I only steal images and take away memories and a great sense of gratitude to live in a town full of iris lovers!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Highlights, Spring 2016


Spring is beginning to wane, so you have to forgive me if I take a fond look back at the last few months of what is turning out (between colossal snowstorms)


Trachystemon orientalis





Prunus serrulata ex Hokkaido (very hardy)

Narcissus 'Peeping Tom'

Corydalis malkensis and Anemone blanda

Leontice ewersmannii

Fritillaria michaelovskyi

Cyclamen coum

Crocus gagaricus

Adonis amurensis in bud

Iris 'Rubies in Gold'
The name may be just a tad overstated...

A slightly chloritic Viola pedata. I'm still thrilled...

Gentiana acaulis 'Caerulea'

Aquilegia saximontana x flabellata 'Nana'

Fritillaria pontica

Medley of blues

Iberis taurica and Allium karataviense 'Henrik Zetterlund'


Pediocactus despainii (very small...)


Paeonia anomala

Primula x polyanthus and lens cap.

Valeriana sp. (ex Arrowhead Alpines--name not certain)

Gentiana acaulis

Phlox kelseyi 'Lemhi Purple'

Orostachys spinosa

Sunday, May 8, 2016

A Colorado mountain garden suprises!

Primula denticulata
If someone had told me when I was a young man in the last century that I would live to see a botanic garden mature and flourish in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, at nearly 7000' I would have thought they were truly insane. You see, I was born some 18 miles away, and spent stints every summer at my uncle and cousin's home with my father fishing the vast--mostly empty--spaces of Routt County. Northwest Colorado is somewhat more populous--but still pretty sparse. To have created a garden of this scope and have it maintained so well is truly a tribute to the entire community--but especially to the founders (Bob and Audrey Enever) and the dynamic staff lead by Gayle Lehman from the inception.

I just had to give that acknowledgment! I have featured this garden in a previous blog which I hope you will click on to compare: the garden changes dramatically through the season...and well worth visiting any time it's open (roughly May into October most years)...

 This June the Garden is co-hosting the Annual General Meeting of the North American Rock Garden Society (something I would have found equally incredulous a few decades ago) and we will have a breakfast here in a month and a half. I know the rock gardeners attending will be dazzled!  The garden is full of wonderful vignettes of choice plants and beautiful vistas of the Park Range and Flattops in various directions. I would love to append a long commentary on each picture below--but shall restrain myself with just a few plant I.D.'s--just enjoy and try to compensate a bit for my glaring photos (still not used to my camera...)

New crevice garden
Only two years old, the dramatic crevice garden has grown a lot over last summer...

New crevice gardenl vignette
The big cushions to the lower left are probably Dianthus anatolicus. The small white buns above them are an Arenaria (not sure which) and the yellow and white to the right are Draba dedeana var. zapatieri and Draba hispanica.

Tulipa tarda in the rock garden

Tulipa kaufmanniana in the rock garden

View of the rock garden

Tulipa kaufmanniana in the rock garden

Rose garden in crocus time
The roses are still quite dormant...
Closdr view of Rose garden in crocus time
Crocuses love the rose bed...they're HUGE.

Very happy Crocus vernus

Daffodils in the aspen grove

Pediocactus simpsonii
I was surprised to see a mountain ball cactus blooming just a few days after April--I'm sure other years this must bloom later. Mine are just blooming in Denver...

Chionodoxa luciliae gone crazy
I'm astonished that the Chionodoxa have spread so widely--they have huge patches over a whole half acre of woodland garden...

Art in the garden
I am not crazy about garden art in excess--but they found the right spot for this piece!

The dry sunny slope with Agave parryi
I would never have dreamed that agaves and manzanitas would persist and do well at this altitude: these have been here for years. I am curious if the agave shall ever bloom.

Agave parryi
I think this may be straight parryi: var. neomexicana from New Mexico would be even hardier.
Arctostaphlos x coloradoensis 'Mock Bearberry'

Pulsatilla vulgaris

Sedum rupestre 'Angelina'
I'm intrigued that this vigorous sedum is even MORE vigorous at altitude!
Last look at the Crevice Garden
The garden had just opened the day I visited--and I was amazed there were so many primulas and early perennials not to mention bulbs blooming. I should have taken time to photograph the willow catkins and the many beautiful details--but the visit was stolen moments between my cousin Maria Callas' funeral in Craig 40 miles west and her internment in Oak Creek (18 miles south), which we almost missed...Αιώνια η μνήμη σου, ξάδελφόυλα μου.