Peonies and Violas

“Oh thank goodness.”


“It’s getting cold. I didn’t think she’d ever get around to putting our blankets on.”

“She always has. Always will. You need to relax a little bit. Soon after the leaves fall, she rakes them over you.”

“You don’t have the same problems with cold I do. You’ll bloom anyway.”

“True. Why are you so wimpy?”

“I’m not ‘wimpy’. I’m sensitive. Don’t forget I’m an exotic oriental blossom that has inspired poetry? I have tender petals.”

“Guess I’m glad I’m just a random wild flower.”


“Is she going to cover you all, too? I hope so. It can’t be fun hanging out on the north side of that fence when it’s 20 below.”

“Martha will cover us soon, probably, but not until she has to. You see, we like growing and blooming and making seeds and all that. A little cold doesn’t bother any of us.”

“I see your pal the columbine is doing well.”

“She loves this. She has ice over her all winter.”

“Well, gotta’ go. Dormancy time and all that, you know. Nice chatting. See you on the flip side.”

“See you in spring.”

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P.S. The fallen leaves are so helpful to bugs, bees, flowers, and the ground I just can’t think of them as “dead.” Oh, here’s today’s bonus, a flock of Sandhill Cranes. ❤




It is actually cloudy and rainy here in drought-stricken southern Colorado, but it’s going to take a lot of rain to reach the target of 7 inches for the year. It won’t happen today. Having lived in California so long where fire restrictions in the mountains are strict, I’m amazed that people are upset that they can’t have campfires. There are a lot of great camp stoves on the market so it isn’t about food (except maybe s’mores). It must be some latent primordial urge to gather around the camp fire and sing “Kum-ba-yah.” I just want to yell, “Get over it. You can have a good time without a campfire.” The fire near the town of Durango is so large and dangerous, that the San Juan National Forest has been closed. Some guy even posted (in protest) on Facebook that it’s unconstitutional to close a national forest.

The first year I moved here, I bought a few expensive iris from some fancy company. Of course, I forgot what they were called, but who cares? I wanted them to grow. I wasn’t going to call them in for dinner. This year — their third year — sticking their pretty faces out toward the sun — they’ve been so beautiful and so cheering. I’ll separate them this fall and share them with my neighbors. I have also been given iris by friends and it’s a very sweet thing to walk around the neighborhood and see our gardens sending up brothers and sister flowers.

I love iris – for themselves and for nostalgic reasons. My parents planted a little field of them outside our back fence in Englewood (their first house) and when I was old enough — 4 or 5 — and had colored pencils, my dad told me to draw them. They were the simple beautiful purple iris and drawing them was a kind of magic.

In those same years, my Aunt Kelly lived next door to a man who’d turned his whole back yard — 1/4 acre+ — over to irises. She’d come to visit with actual ARM loads of irises. She and my mom would rush to find vases for all them. The fragrance filled the house.

In California, irises were hard to grow so I didn’t have any until I moved up to the mountains (3500 feet) where we had a few snows a year and cold temps in winter. I had a field of iris and I was very happy.

Here are a few pictures — not nearly all the different ones I have but during some of their blooming time, I wasn’t all that ambulatory.

Stargazer Lily

A couple of weeks after I put Lily T. Wolf to sleep, I had company and went to Walmart (I never go there. I hate shopping). I saw these for sale. I’d never grown oriental lilies, but I thought that in honor of my sweet dog, I’d plant lilies.

This year only one of them had half a chance. We had a late snow and late frost and a couple of them just said, “No way I’m going through this.” A couple of them were moved last year and a couple were dug up by Mindy as she searched for cool ground. This one, however 🙂