Winter is a contemplative time for Gardeners. Or a time for madness. No, that's actually my house. No, I don't live in a museum, it just takes me a while to update my word processing equipment.
Christmas is a nice time to decorate and over-eat.
(Trichocereus pringlei; someone will ask. He's 20 years old, his name is Fernando and I adopted him recently)
Outdoors, the sun makes the snow dance in and out of places. It betrays the microclimate of the KAFM Native Garden's crevice garden. The first snow has never melted from the North face.
Opuntia 'Dark Knight' is the purplest of them all, wearing his winter cloak through most of summer as well. Treat yourself to one at coldhardycactus.com
On Main Street in downtown Grand Junction, I just noticed this lovely placard in one of the better of the flower beds. I though native plant people were just forgotten. No sir, I've heard this man's name reverently spoken of among native plant gurus. I bet there are living things here he is responsible for which I take for granted.
My friend Greg and I inspect the "prototype" unirrigated greenroof. (Fence pickets stapled together and lined with roof lino) No one has stolen it off of the roof. That's like calling a beer can a prototype for the apollo missions. Hey, but this eagle's been flying for over a year now and all the plants are alive. The best thing about experiments which require forgetting about them for a year is the forgetting. You can have lots of experiments going at once.
The fluorescent light shelves are full of agave seedlings from my hunting trip to Arizona. These are so fast and easy to grow from seed, they'd make a great windowsill slow-motion circus for the cabin-fevered gardener. Their little seed hulls stick to them and do not encumber them at all, unlike if this happened to a tomato, say, or pepper.
if I have failed to wax poetic on the blog about these miniature sea-lavender or Statice, I am a fool.
Limonium gougetianum (from Harlequin's Gardens in Boulder, CO) but ultimately from Spain or North Africa, perhaps? Anyhow, it's great. Grows beautifully in the dry clay semi-shade rock garden. 7 out of 10 plants die there. It turns Christmas-light colours in winter. Oh yes, it does have pale purple, long-lasting wee flowers in a little spray above it in summer.
It's sister species, perhaps a neater, smaller plant is Limonium minutum, which can grow into excellent cushions of tight, ever-shrinking rosettes and foliage. In years of harsher winter weather (this el Niño doesn't count as harsh at all) it wears much bolder reds and purples. If you have a rock garden and live in Colorado, Utah, or New Mexico, you mustn't suffer another year of life without this plant. Please don't do that.
No one said Asperula gussonii (form the Denver Botanic Gardens spring sale) turned cabernet-sauvignon in winter. I'm sure glad it does.
Allen, left, who is a talented up-and-coming propagator came over for the world's briefest bonfire. We lit my week's cardboard recycling to simulate a forest fire on top of a pot of sown Greenleaf Manzanita seeds. it's been said you can wake them up this way. I did it accidentally last winter, without fire, and grew this little nugget, who doesn't blink at the weather. (Arctostaphylos patula) Oh, the accident? An overnight soak in Hydrogen peroxide, a few weeks wet and warm in soil indoors, then out for the remaining three months of winter, germinating in the late spring. Allen predicts the seeds around the edge of the pot will germinate.
I made a new year's resolution: If two options presented themselves as
1. known, comfortable or 2. New, unknown, scary then pick the latter at least half the time. This happened over tea again, and my friend, passing through town, led us canyoneering in the Monument. Rappeling off of frozen waterfalls was not scary after all, even using all of the 300 foot of rope. A beautiful foggy day.
Here is what you'll find in this very place in the spring and summer.
Hyla versicolor, canyon treefrog. Isn't she sweet?
Don't you wonder where she goes for the winter?