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A couple of months ago, I carved out an area of the back yard for a flower garden, and planted lots of seeds, mostly different varieties of Zinnias. I carefully planted one little portion with Cosmos seeds only.
I waited a couple weeks, and nada. No sprouts.
So then I pulled out all the seeds I’d collected the last couple of years in Albuquerque – my Penstemon, Agastache, Gaillardia and Hollyhock seeds, and more. I threw them all into the bed together willy nilly.
A couple of weeks later, still nothing. (Except for the Cosmos portion of the bed – lots of encouraging sprouts there.)
Then I decided to pick up a few seed packets – Portulaca, more Zinnias, some wildflower mixes. Planted ’em all with no thought to straight rows or neat little bunches of flowers. I stood over the main portion of the bed and scattered them with wild abandonment like I had beforehand. I felt like the wind. Or a flock of birds.
A couple of weeks later, the Cosmos portion was thriving, but the rest of the bed was disappointing. A handful of sprouts that I could identify as Zinnias, a stray Cosmos sprout or two. But pretty much nothing else.
Then last week, it rained – poured – for nearly two days in a row. I should mention, the bed isn’t on drip irrigation, but I was very good about keeping it moist so the seeds could germinate.
But I had nothing on the rain.
Suddenly, I had dots of green galore. Yay!
My takeaway here isn’t that I should’ve been more diligent about planting in an orderly fashion. It wasn’t that I’m going to need to thin those when they get a little bigger. And it wasn’t that perhaps I should’ve exercised more patience from the beginning.
Nope. None of the above.
My takeaway from this is that I love rain in the desert.
One thing I don’t like about the desert? The spring winds. I thought I’d escaped the ones that hit New Mexico by living in the low valley of Arizona. But I was wrong. A few days after the rain, we had 45-50 mph gusts of wind for a whole weekend.
Which brings me to another first in the garden: First major cleanup of spring.
(I know, this doesn’t look too bad, but it’s only the tiny area by my back door. The entire back yard is littered with leaves and trash. Also, to my amusement, the welcome mat by the front door somehow ended up in the back yard. Not sure if it flew over the apartment or went through a series of turns and flights.)
This is likely the last bouquet of flowers from my garden in 2014:
This time of year always makes me a little sad, for that reason. I’ll miss the cheerful flowers that greet me every time I step outside. They’re not gone yet, but they soon will be.
As always, I’m grateful to have my indoor winter bloomers to sustain me. Like the Euphorbia milii plants:
And of course, the Schlumbergera plants:
I don’t know what I’d do without them!
Aaaahhh, I felt like sharing some photos of pretty flowers. Some are new to the casa, others are returning from last year.
This Allium, opening in one of the container gardens, is a newcomer:
Much smaller than the other decorative onions, but no less charming.
The ever-fabulous Gaillardia is back:
Bright showy flowers from May through November. I’d be thrilled if the flowers reseeded themselves all over the place. It doesn’t bother me that some people associate Blanket Flowers with weeds or dismiss them as too commonplace – I love them. I love their cheerful little faces greeting me every morning. Their consistency is a great quality in a flowering plant.
Another of my favorites, this Penstemon is back (I planted it last spring):
Gorgeous flowers! The hummingbirds love them.
And the first Gazania is back!
Woohooo! Everybody knows Gazanias are cause for celebration.
These flowers open the gates to summer blooms here in the Southwest. I’m excited to see the plants that follow them.
I’ll be back tomorrow, hope to see you here.
Hey, lots of pretty flowers!
Thanks to Carol over at May Dreams Gardens for suggesting we post photos of what’s blooming in and around our casas on the 15thish of each month. Be sure to check out everyone’s flower photos on her blog.
As I mentioned, I’ll post photos for you nonbloggers out there tomorrow. You still have time to email your flower pics to me. I hope to see you back here.
Hey look! Lots of photos of pretty flowers blooming in and around mi casa:
Indoors, Lady Evermore, an Aeschynanthus plant, is rocking some blooms:
And so is the adorable Echeveria on the windowsill:
Thanks to Carol over at May Dreams Gardens for encouraging us to post photos of what’s blooming in and around our houses on the 15thish of each month. Check out her blog for more pretty flowers.
If you don’t have a blog but would still like to share your flower photos, you can email them to me. Recently I’ve been posting them the day after my own, but tomorrow I have an all-new Ask the Experts scheduled. So let’s aim for Tuesday to publish them instead, our August Garden Nonbloggers’ Bloom Day. That will give you the weekend to shoot photos and get them to me. You can also post them on my facebook wall.
I’ll be back tomorrow with the Experts. Hope to see you here!
Let’s see what’s blooming in and around the house:
We have been getting some rain in Albuquerque, which is great. It’s much appreciated. The flowers in the orange container love it, as do the tomatoes.
One side note…I planted marigolds in all the containers to ward off pests, but something ate the marigolds in the purple container. Stripped them of all their leaves. Not sure who did that but I thought it was amusing. Whoever it was left the marigolds in the other containers alone. For now. I’ll be keeping my eye on them!
Inside, the Chlorophytums (Spider plants) bloom nonstop:
Lady Evermore, an Aeschynanthus, also blooms:
And so does the cute little Echeveria with her adorable pink blooms:
Thanks to Carol over at May Dreams Gardens for suggesting we post photos of our flowers on the 15thish of each month.
If you don’t have a blog but would like to share your flower photos, you’re welcome to email me pics and I’ll post them tomorrow. Hope to see you back here!
And now for photos of what’s blooming in and around my casa:
Thanks to Carol over at May Dreams Gardens for suggesting we post photos of our pretty flowers on the 15th of each month. Thanks Carol!
It’s safe to say that I’m a nurturer.
If you know me in “real life,” or even if you only know me through this blog, it’s pretty obvious that I’m always getting excited about baby leaves and teeny tiny flower buds.
I love nurturing and growing things. And I’ve always been that way.
I’m not alone.
Anyone who’s raised a child or loved a pet feels the same way. Any gardener who’s planted something small and helped it grow to fruition feels the same way. Anyone who has grown a relationship with another person feels the same way.
We may each have different approaches, but in the end, growing is rewarding. The more we grow, the more texture we add to our human experience.
But dang, sometimes those growing experiences can take the wind right out of our sails.
I don’t know about anyone else, but sometimes it takes me a day or two to recover from various experiences. This past weekend was a good example. I was too wiped yesterday to blog about anything.
Before I share what happened, let me first share some of the babies from my garden because they make me so happy!
Like the Chayote, which is growing strong:
And the baby tomatoes!!!!
Baby Zinnia bud:
Pretty little Thunbergia flowers:
Newly sprung Gaillardia (Blanket Flower):
I love all those little guys! It’s a lot of work growing them in containers – most mornings, I go out armed with rubbing alcohol and q-tips to fry any bugs I see – but they’re coming along so well!
They are a welcome relief from “real life.”
So what happened over the weekend?
Well, regular readers know that I’m a volunteer for the local chapter of the American Red Cross. I’m on a disaster team, and have been for about seven years. (I met both Expert Dottie Correll and Expert Lewis Casey through the Red Cross, btw.)
Basically what that means is that when there is a natural disaster, we respond. Nationally, the Red Cross responds to tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes. Here in Albuquerque, it’s almost always a house fire. Our goal is to make sure everyone has shelter, food and clothing.
More often than not, the calls come when you’re sound asleep.
Early this past Saturday morning, just before 4a.m., I got a call from Lewis, who was the captain for the disaster team. There was a home fire in the East Mountains, he wanted to know if I was available to go with him (we’re not supposed to go on calls alone). I was sleepy, but I said yes.
Was it inconvenient? Sure. Would I rather have stayed in bed? Absolutely.
But then I would’ve missed an opportunity to meet a gentleman who was humbled by how his dog alerted him to the flames and saved his life.
And I would’ve missed watching the full moon set over the mountains as the sun rose.
And I would’ve missed Lewis’s good company and leadership.
The rewards were greater than the inconvenience.
Then, on Sunday morning, after having breakfast at the Grove, I got in my car, turned on to Edith, and boom, there was a house on fire. I pulled over. People were coming out of neighboring houses, stopping their cars and getting out, everyone was calling 911. Some people tried to fight the flames -which were coming out the back of the house – with garden hoses. Neighbors were rushing to make sure the house was empty.
The fire had just started, yet already it was consuming the back half of the house.
We must’ve all been on the same wavelength, because everyone who had a car jumped back into it and moved it to the next block – there was nothing we could do except make room for the firetrucks.
A garden hose was no match for those flames, we needed the big guns.
And they got there fast, within minutes of those first 911 calls. Those rockstar firefighters were all over it.
Here’s what the house looked like shortly after they arrived:
Once the firefighters showed, I made my way to the people who lived in that house and identified myself as a volunteer with the Red Cross (I had my badge in my purse).
The house was a duplex, and the occupants were renters. One of them told me he’d only been gone 15-20 minutes at the grocery store, and came home to smoke pouring out of the house. The other tenant had been home and managed to escape safely. The fire started and spread so fast, they were lucky to be alive. Also luckily, there were no kids or pets in the home.
We watched as firefighters battled the blaze, and everyone hoped that they caught the fire early enough to spare most of the house.
And then this happened:
Something in the attic caught.
Once I saw that, I called Lewis. He was still the captain on duty, and these folks were definitely going to need assistance.
The house ended up mostly destroyed. Here’s what it looked like hours later:
I ended up being on scene for more than four hours. We helped the tenants, both financially and emotionally. We thanked the firefighters and policemen.
I thought I was going to spend the day watching the Indy 500. Instead, I watched someone’s house burn. Which sucked. And was draining. The rewards were not abundant.
I posted photos on facebook, and people started throwing the “hero” word around. I think that’s very sweet, but I’m not a hero. I didn’t risk my life like those firefighters – they’re the heroes. Those guys, along with our military heroes and other emergency personnel, swore to serve and protect. I took no such oath. I didn’t risk anything by helping others.
What I am is a nurturer. And someone who believes neighbors should help neighbors. Which makes me exactly the same as 99% of the population.
Will I take credit for volunteering my time to help others? Yes. And I’ll take credit for doing what I said I would I do. I’ll take credit for the hard work. But those things don’t make me a hero. They make me human.
I’m not trying to be modest. I’m trying to make sure we’re not setting the bar too low.
I worry, are we starved for heroes in our world? Maybe we’re so jaded by the constant beat of inane celebrity stories in our news feeds that we can’t help but lavish praise on the ordinary.
If I’m a hero for acting on a basic human instinct to help others in need, if I’m considered special for donating a little bit of my time, then aren’t we aiming low?
Call me naive, but I still believe the vast majority of us would’ve pulled over the moment they saw flames, just like me. Or reacted just the same way that folks did in Oklahoma, and in Boston.
Maybe that makes us heroes. Or maybe it just makes us decent human beings.
What do you think?
Can you see why I needed a break yesterday? It wasn’t the holiday weekend I intended to have, but then, it wasn’t much of a holiday for the fire victims, either.