Word For Wednesday - Weathering

I have managed to weather this year well, but last year was another story.

I had gotten my dog, Aster in the late summer of 2010. Work was crazy and I wasn't sleeping very well. It had been about eight months since my dog Max passed away and I was ready for another dog. Max had a gentle disposition. He was great around children and other dogs. He was the ultimate omega dog. I started looking for golden retriever crosses that I hoped would have the same disposition as Max.

For a couple of months, I looked at the animal shelter websites in Santa Fe, Albuquerque and in Espanola. Alas, no golden retrievers. I looked at the golden retriever rescue sites, too. I wasn't in a hurry to have another dog. One day while I was looking at the Santa Fe Animal Shelter website, a golden retriever cross caught my eye. Her name was Tara.

That weekend, I went to the animal shelter looking for Tara. The kennels that you walk through at the shelter are small rooms with Dutch doors. Some of the rooms had the top part of the door open so that you could interact with the dogs. When I got to the room with Tara, both the top and bottom part of the door were closed. There was a sign that requested after visiting with the dogs to close the top door. There were two dogs in the kennel. A white lab and Tara. My friend Geri said I should take both dogs, but I only brought Tara home.
Tara was adorable, but I promptly renamed her Poppy. (She was subsequently renamed Aster, but that's another story.) The day after I brought her home I went out to breakfast with a friend. When I came back home I found her climbing over my six foot fence like a drawing of Kilroy was here. Who would think a forty pound dog could scale a wall that size? It was funny seeing her head peeking over the fence with her paws on either side of her.

I wasn't quite sure what to do with the escape artist. I should have been alerted that Tara was a jumper. There was a sign in her kennel at the shelter that both doors on the Dutch door had to remained closed after visiting. She was so adorable that I didn't heed this warning.
After telling a co-worker about her escapist behavior, she recommended taking her to dog training. The trainers she recommended didn't have any open classes. But Aster continued to escape, so I hired the trainer to come to my house. He didn't think Aster was beyond redemption. Woohoo! And he recommended that I buttress the fence with lumber that faced inward and dig trenches near the fence to prevent her from getting a running start. I decided against the dry moat around the perimeter of my backyard. I didn't know I would have to fortify Casa de GirlSprout to keep her.
Last fall, I came home to find my front door ajar. My house had been broken into and I called my friend Katie hysterically saying someone had stolen Aster. She recommended that I walk around and look to see if anything else had been taken. I discovered that my television and DVD player were taken. No one had stolen Aster, but she was gone. Katie fixed the door frame for me so I could close the door that night, but I was despondent that Aster was gone. I called my friend Geri. Geri drove up and down the street with me. We took a flashlight and walked up and down the arroyo near my house calling for Aster.

I went to bed crying and forlorn. In the middle of the night I woke up and felt something wet under my hand. It was Aster. She had climbed back over the fence and let herself in through the dog door.

Aster and I have weathered many storms, but I know she can find her way home.
Special thanks to Donna at Garden Walk, Garden Talk for hosting Word For Wednesday (W4W). Check out other perspectives on weathering.


Christmas Cards From Santa Fe

Wishing all of my blogging friends a Merry Christmas and many blessings in the New Year!


Think Warm Thoughts

It snowed last week in Santa Fe and it's been bitterly cold. I could feel the chill through my fleece lined winter pants when I walked Aster on Friday. However, around the Thanksgiving holiday I went to Orlando, Florida for a visit with my family. I have two aunts and an uncle who live there.
When I used to wait for the morning bell to ring in high school, my classmates and I would huddle around in the cold damp air and think warm thoughts. We would talk about sitting beside a fire or feeling the radiant heat of the sun on a sandy beach or drinking hot cocoa. Thoughts about the the warmth I felt in Florida a few weeks ago will carry my through the cold Santa Fe winter.
My Mom and Aunt humored me and accompanied me to the Harry P. Leu Gardens. It was a balmy 75 degrees most of the time I was in Florida and I could use a little of that heat now.
I wonder if it weren't for Monet if we would still have the same appreciation for water lilies that we do? This could probably be filed under "things that make you go, hmm."
Happy Winter Solstice! I hope everyone stays warm this winter and if you're cold try thinking warm thoughts. 


La Plazuela

La Plazuela is a hidden or not so hidden treasure in La Fonda, a hotel in downtown Santa Fe. La Fonda is the oldest hotel in Santa Fe and started out as a Harvey House. Every year, the chief of my bureau takes all of us out to a special winter lunch. For the last three out of four years, we have gone to La Plazuela.
As you walk in, there is a huge chandelier ensconced by two ficus (?) trees. La Plazuela is open and airy and feels a lot like a courtyard. I learned on the La Fonda website that La Plazuela was originally the hotel's patio in the 1920s. It's surrounded by a balcony where you can peer down on diners or revelers depending on the occasion.
I love the painted window panes, which were painted in the 1970s and 1980s. There are about 400 of them and no two are alike. La Fonda had a staff artist, Ernest Martinez who painted them.
Lunch was delectable, but my camera phone doesn't do the food justice. I'm not sure if mashed potatoes taste any better piped into a rosette, but I enjoyed the presentation. Kidding aside, the food doesn't disappoint. It's one of the reasons we go back year after year. Seasonal specials included the green chile meatloaf with pine nuts and shrimp diablo. 
I got to sit with my back to the fire while we were eating lunch! It warmed me up on a cold winter day. 


Buy Locally

I was at Newman’s Nursery in late October admiring the Muhly grass, but was reluctant to purchase it. They only sold it in five gallon containers for $30. I didn’t want to dig a hole that large and wasn’t certain that I wanted to pay that much money for something that might not survive the winter. So I stared at it covetously, but my practicality got the better of me and bought three one gallon switch grass plants that were half off instead.

As I walked into the nursery area I was surprised to see wall-to-wall poinsettias - a sea of green plants.
Sometimes, it's not easy adjusting one's mindset to spend more money locally. One-click buying has led to the demise of bookstores everywhere local or otherwise. A few weeks ago, I was having lunch with a few friends. My friend Geri had mentioned ordering a book from Garcia Street Books. It is one of the few remaining bookstores in Santa Fe. And she was going to try frequenting it monthly to support the local economy. I love Garcia Street and would be sad to see it go. I got my copy of Secret Gardens of Santa Fe there.
But I would be sadder to see any of the local nurseries go away. The plants tend to be more appropriate for the high desert climate. At Newman's, a staff member can answer my gardening questions or find someone who can. You can buy a poinsettia at a big box store for less, but it wouldn't be this pretty. Support your local nurseries! 


WFW - Texture and Pattern

I'm not a loquacious person, but I am a word junkie. Donna at Garden Walk, Garden Talk has a biweekly meme called Word For Wednesday (WFW). Her words for this week are Pattern and Texture.  
The concepts of both texture and pattern are intriguing. At what point does the pattern or texture decompose and become unrecognizable? 
Is the essence of the Jupiter's beard still there or has it become an abstraction? 
I've never noticed the pattern of silver lace vine going to seed until I started snapping photos for this WFW post. The photo is much blurrier than intended. Off to pack for short vacation, but I'm glad I got to participate in Word For Wednesday this week and hope to check out some other interpretations of the theme. 


The Buck Stops Here

My friend Kirsten sent me these photos a few days ago and I asked her if I could post them on my blog. She came up with the clever title in the email that she sent out. She lives within walking distance of the Garden of the Gods in Manitou Springs, Colorado and had unexpected visitor.
An excerpt from her email: Sunday before last, this guy was napping in our front yard. After a while (maybe because I was creeping around taking pictures of him) he got up and munched on the serviceberry bush out in front of our kitchen window before he took off.
Thanks to Kirsten for allowing me to post and collage her photos.
The coolest thing about blogging for me is vicariously seeing other places. Check out these beautiful fall photos from Bratislava on Daniela's blog, MIMI A JEJ SVET.


On A Walkabout

Two weeks ago, I signed up for the Autumn Walk Challenge on Carloyn's blog, This Grandmother's Garden. Walking doesn't require much of us, no special equipment. All you need are a pair of shoes. Sometimes walking is a contemplative time and I try to put things in order. Other times I just need to get out of the office and take a break from staring at dual computer monitors.

I work across the street from a residential neighborhood. The condos are little bungalows designed by Allen Stamm.  Yesterday while taking a mid-morning break, I turned the corner and saw this huge yucca plant with a waterfall of ivory blossoms.
Not a usual fall bloom and I gasped in surprise. Other more typical sites, included Virginia creeper, a coyote fence, and lots of berries. This little neighborhood comes to the rescue when my head starts to pound from staring at the computer too long and my eyes have gone cross.
I also frequent the dog park with my dog, Aster. She tires of me after one lap around the park and finds more playful companionship with her canine pals. This past weekend, I saw these perfectly white primroses (I think?) that hadn't been trampled over by running dogs.

I managed to walk every day, but one these last two weeks and hope that I slowed down to enjoy the ephemeral beauty of fall. Thanks Carolyn!


Unexpected Fall Color

There are sights and sounds that recall a New Mexico autumn to my senses: the leaves turning brilliant shades of gold, the sound of leaves crunching underfoot and the smell of burning pinon and juniper firewood permeating the night air.
But who would expect to see the almost continuous flowering of the same California poppy plant from spring to fall? I haven't spent much time in the back garden because it's fall. But a few weeks ago, I popped behind the aspen trees to put something in the shed and encountered these flowering delights.
They continue to flower to this day. The photos in this post have all been taken in the last two weeks and some today.
Four poppies grouped together remind me of Andy Warhol's Flowers series. I don't know if his iconic image of the silk screened flowers were of poppies or not.

Wishing everyone a Happy Autumn!


Garden Bloggers' Foliage Day

Last weekend, I sat under a canopy of yellow and green leaves. The dappled light shone through the leaves. I wondered why I hadn't done it sooner and recalled that the summer's intense heat had limited the amount of time spent outside. I'm ashamed to admit that I have two outdoor recliners under the tree that are hardly used.
My neighbor once relayed to me that a previous owner of my house had planted the apricot tree from a pit. Unfortunately, the tree is becoming unwieldy and needs to be removed. The trunk is splitting in the middle and I've only enjoyed its fruit one season.
The transition from fall to winter has started. The leaves of the purple robe locust have turned golden and seedpods abound. Two weeks ago,  there was snowfall on Santa Fe Baldy. There is a chill in the morning and I hear the furnace starting.

My two favorite nurseries are having clearance sales. I can't decide whether to try to get a few more plants into the ground so they can set roots in the winter or not. Alas, my gardening season might very well be over.

I'm linking up Creating my own garden of the Hesperides for Garden Bloggers' Foliage Day. Special thanks to Christina for hosting!


GBBD - Just Roses

My roses are nothing to write home about. They suffer from benign neglect and I don't understand the arcana of pruning roses.  I have three rose bushes: two Christian Dior hybrid tea roses. Two survived out of the three I planted and an unknown white rose. This year, I pruned the Christian Dior roses at the wrong time, some of the canes died back, but others took their place. The white rose, I was too lazy to prune so I took the hedge trimmer and lopped it down to about two feet. I hope no one is aghast.

There wasn't much in the way of Spring blooms. But as I've previously mentioned, we've had some late monsoonal rains and the white roses look better than they ever have . They're not xeric, but I planted them under a downspout in the hope of rain supplementing my watering.
I had difficulty photographing the white roses. White and red flowers challenge me the most as an amateur photographer. I photographed the rose above on my second outing outside. (Crouching Gardener, Hidden Rosa)
I tried to trick my camera by using the snow setting for the roses. Alas, the camera was not fooled by my guile. The remaining roses were photographed on my third trip outside after the sun had receded some.
But the recent rains are not going to seduce me into buying more roses. I know that this was an anomaly and have killed many a rose bush discovering this.
I had been thinking of pulling this rose bush out because it was such a poor performer, but it got a reprieve. 
Happy Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day this October. Special thanks to Carol at May Dreams Gardens for hosting.


It's Aspen Time

On Sunday, I was thinking I should call my friend Kim because the aspens in the Sangre de Cristo mountains have started turning golden. As I was having this thought, my phone dinged in the other room. There was a text message from Kim asking if I wanted to go for a hike to see the aspens. So I promptly called her back and mentioned that I was thinking the exact same thing.

Hiking is one of my favorite things to do, but because my dog, Aster tends to get car sick, it's something that I didn't do all summer. This summer was also so hot that I didn't feel like going. But the turning of the aspen leaves is a ritual that I look forward to annually.
We wended our way around the switchbacks on the way to the Big Tesuque trail, which is about 12 miles North of downtown Santa Fe.
It seems like the aspen leaves changed color later this year, but it was worth the wait. I can't remember the leaves being so luminous last year.
The Big Tesuque trail joins the Aspen Vista trail. There are lots of gradations of yellow and green at the vista itself. Conifers are interspersed with aspens.
The whiteness of the bark seems to lend itself to being photographed. I probably have hundreds of aspens photos, but I can't seem resist taking one more. 
Banks of trees ablaze in golden light. Nature doesn't get much better than this.

I'm joining Happy Homemaker UK for the Post of the Month Club. Thanks for hosting Laura. 



Sunflowers for Daniela

A fellow blogger, Daniela from Bratislava on her blog, MIMI A JEJ SVET (Mimi and her World) posted some photos of invasive sunflowers a few weeks ago. I thought that the same sunflowers grew in Santa Fe. Alas, no. The sunflowers that grow here have a different petal shape.
The flowers above look like they're related to coreopsis and are an allergen. Someone at the dog park said they're related to ragweed. Ahchoo! 

I took the photos outside of my office on a windy day with my phone so unfortunately they're blurry. 


Back to the Books

My next project management class started about two weeks ago so I haven't had much time for blogging. Where I live most of the fall color is golden or yellow. However, there are some trees outside my office building that have caught my eye recently because of their reddish hue. The leaves seem like they're suspended in mid-air like an Alexander Calder mobile.


Word for Wednesday - Illumination

Donna at Garden Walk, Garden Talk started a meme, called Word for Wednesday. I'm a word junkie. I have a favorite word and a penultimate favored word. I subscribe to word of the day and I used to subscribe to urban word of the day. So I love this meme!

Today's Word for Wednesday is illumination. The light in Santa Fe is remarkable. Sometimes, I see someone pulled over to the side of the road to photograph the sun setting. It's one of the reasons, I didn't move to a more urban area after living here a few years. Even though my intentions were otherwise.
Recently, I've spent more time at the dog park than in my garden. I've had my dog, Aster for over a year and can't seem to exercise her enough unless we go there.
The light in the moments between the sun setting and dusk are luminous there. Sometimes, I bring Aster's pal, Guinness to frolic with her.
Many thanks to Donna for hosting Word for Wednesday and check out more posts on illumination.


Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day

For me, this hasn't been the year of the garden. There hasn't been much to whisper about, much less shout about. I've lamented the dry heat and the incessant wind. However, in the last month some late monsoonal rains revived the garden. Woohoo, I can participate in Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day for the first time this year. Thank you Carol for hosting!
The Rose Queen salvia came into its own this year. The color is so pretty and cutting back led to a second and a third flush of blooms. I bought four more and planted two of them this summer. The first two didn't get into the ground soon enough so I made another trip to the nursery.
I said in an earlier post that I wasn't sure if I like the ultraviolet salvia or not. I'm still not sure, but it has bloomed all summer in a grass like way.
Look at what I found behind the shed. I have wild asters popping up all over the place. I've tried transplanting them before to no avail so I will enjoy them where the grow and maybe consider developing a meadow-like space behind the aspens.
Agastache and more agastache. I've tried different cultivars, but the rupestris seems to work the best for me. One year I tried the Acapulco. Alas, it didn't come back the next year. I have some Rositas in the front garden and some Avas in the backyard, but both were sparse bloomers in this dryer than dry summer.
The gaura and raspberry delight salvia have been the stalwarts of the summer garden and will continue to bloom through early fall. Happy Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...