Monday, September 27, 2010

A different botanical garden.

While vacationing in Colorado, I visited the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens. Located at the base of Vail Mountain in the Colorado Gore Range, this Alpine Garden celebrates the incredible diversity of high mountain flora.

The perennial garden has over 1000 varieties of traditional and unusual perennials. We visited very late in the season but locals told me that early in the summer the garden is an explosion of colorful blossoms nurtured by the mild warm sun.

A wall of Colorado blue spruce, offering a place of peace and tranquility, surrounds the meditation garden.

The rock garden imitates the dramatic cliffs and water falls found in the Rocky Mountains.

The alpine tundra garden, located at the highest point of the botanic garden, has a collection of mountain tundra from all over the world.

The children’s garden is a fun place for kids to learn about their local surroundings. Hopefully, these young visitors will become future gardeners!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Fall colors in the Rocky Mountains

Yesterday my wife and I returned from a wonderful vacation in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. We visited the towns of Breckenridge, Vail, and Aspen in search of cooler weather and fall colors.

We found the fall colors but had no such luck with the cooler weather; the temperatures were in the mid 80’s during the day (global warming anyone?).

First stop, the old mining town of Breckenridge

While my wife visited the stores, I walked around town taking pictures of the gardens and the beautiful hanging baskets on Main Street.

This house had a plaque honoring the gardener that created the garden many years ago. Today, the house is a store but her garden and her name live on with this nice tribute. Don’t you wish someday in the distant future there would be a plaque like this in your garden?

Second stop on the tour was the ski town of Vail.

Vail was celebrating Oktoberfest.

Vail is the Disney World of the ski industry. The resort was built back in the 1960’s to resemble a Bavarian village and the ski mountain soon became world-class. Today, summer tourism has grown in popularity, an integral part of the local economy with flowers as the main attraction.

Third and final stop--the town of Aspen.

Aspen is my favorite town in Colorado and my wife and I have been coming here for many years. The town is located at the end of the Roaring Fork Valley and is surrounded by majestic mountains. Aspen was established in the mid 1800’s as a silver mining town and today the town celebrates its mining past with loving restoration of so many of the original historical buildings.

The gardening season in the mountains of Colorado is a short one but the local gardeners take full advantage of it.

While staying in Aspen, I like to walk the many miles of hiking trails surrounding the town.

A short distance from the town of Aspen is the White River National Forest and the striking Maroon Bells--the most photographed peaks in all of Colorado.

There are only two ways in and out Aspen from Denver and both are spectacular drives.
Driving from Leadville on State Road 82, you cross the Continental Divide at Independence Pass. While the drive is breathtaking, make sure you have a strong heart because, in some spots, the road is so narrow that only one car can drive through at a time with huge boulders on one side and a steep precipice on the other!

Driving on the much safer I-70 Highway, pass through Glenwood Canyon with the Colorado River running parallel to the road. The views from the bottom of the canyon are simply spectacular.

Aspen is known as the playground of the rich and famous and the evidence is seen in the many million-dollar homes built in the surrounding mountains and in the astronomical cost of real estate.
This is a town of haves and have-nots and the have-nots cannot afford to live here. Every morning buses from all over the Valley deliver workers to Aspen businesses and every night they leave. Aspen has hundreds of homes owned by absentee owners that sit empty most of the year, waiting for their owners to occupy them for a couple of weeks during ski season.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Coleuses the ideal plant

In this corner of the garden is my collection of coleuses. Coleuses have a reputation as plants that just about anyone can grow. Give them good soil, fertilizer, and regularly watered, they will flourish in any garden. My zone 10B is ideal, especially during the summer months.
The best part about coleuses is how easy they propagate. Three or four inch long cuttings will produce roots, even in a glass of water. I pinch my plants to prevent flowering, it makes the color of the leaves much vivid.
I will away from the Blog for a few days. My wife and I are going to the Colorado Rockies to cool off for a few days from this hot and humid Florida weather. We hope to see the aspen trees at the peak of fall colors. (I will be taking pictures)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

From one now there are eight.

I started with one banana tree three years ago, and now I have eight.

This is the last of my three producing trees this year. Banana trees are messy and my city issued garbage container is not big enough.

There are eight trees in three different stages of growth, and several buds popping out of the ground. Before the banana was planted I had heliconias in this corner of the garden and they continue to pop out of the ground among the banana trees.

Flower of the week

This Taca is from my dad’s garden. I got two tacas a couple of years ago, one I planted in my back garden and the other was for him. Two years later my is dead and look at his (Who is the better gardener? And the man is 97 years old)

Today I hired a company to replace my rain gutters; after several hurricanes and 20 years of service it was time for new ones.

My rain barrels should be able to catch all the water.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Vegetable garden ready for planting

This morning I got my vegetable bed ready for planting.

I added two full wheelbarrows of home grown black gold compost, and additional soil.

For now I’ll let it cook under the newspaper for month and start planting in early October.

This key lime tree was not doing well in a shady area of the garden; I am hoping this new location will do the trick (that’s the beauty of growing trees in containers)

Finished in time before the rain came down in buckets.