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I’m not French, but I’m horrified by violence.
So I decided I would try to post photos of flowers for the next several days. Not just any flowers – flowers that are blooming despite being surrounded by death (more specifically, the flowers in my nearly dead garden following the irrigation scandal of 2016).
Like this little trooper:
The world needs more flowers. And fewer assholes.
This one opened yesterday, in 112 degree weather. Go figure.
Over the weekend, I decided to make some changes in the garden. I needed to replace some plants that had died, and some that never matured.
Here’s the before photo of the garden:
As you can see, the tomatoes are thriving. The oregano and parsley are also doing well. But on the left side, the peppers and cucumbers aren’t as happy as they should be.
(The Zinnias at the base of the planters are starting to take off after being planted from seed.)
In between the cucumbers (far left) and the peppers are several tiny beet sprouts. They’ve remained sprouts like that for the last couple of months. Which means I planted them way too late – they prefer cooler weather.
It was time for them to be replaced by vegetables that like the heat. Like this little cutie:
And more of these little guys:
Muuuuuch better. They may be a little crowded, but I like to think of them as one big happy family, haha!
Now the garden looks like this:
(By the way, that container in front of the garden has the chayote sprouts – they are slowly growing, hanging in there.)
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.)
Growing great in the closet hanging storage units turned garden containers:
And now it’s time to showcase the beautiful flowers of people who don’t have blogs but still want to share their photos.
Let’s start with the lovely Ginny Burton, of Burton Optician in DC.
Says Ginny, “Well, the garden is pretty played out by now, due to lack of rain and my innate laziness. But the jasmine is blooming like mad on a pedestal by the front door — a fragrant treat for the mail carrier. I see now that the photo isn’t very good, but there really are lots of flowers!
The zinnias continue to look so pretty (again, not a good picture). I found the tag for them. They’re Magellan Mix and haven’t had a bit of mildew on them, despite being so crowded in their pots.
I got this Lantana for half price because it was so leggy. I like how intense the colors are.
This ginger is 8′ tall with the blooms at nose level to the back porch. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to have a scent. They’re more coral colored than the picture shows.
And here’s what’s left of my dill blossoms, complete with the swallowtail butterfly caterpillar that ate them!
Thanks for hosting this NBBD event!”
You’re welcome Ginny! Thanks so much for sharing your pretty flowers with us! And your caterpillar!
Up next, from Turnbull Farms in Bloomington, Indiana, are these photos from Zachary:
Very nice! Thanks, Zach, for sending those photos to me.
That was fun – I love seeing what other people have blooming around their houses. Thank you again for sharing your photos!
I’ll be back tomorrow, hope to see you here!
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.
Wanh, wanh, wanh.
Albuquerque’s first frost was Sunday night. In one swoop, my back door container garden has been wiped out.
Goodbye, pretty Gaillardia!
Thank you for your cheerful blooms which greeted me every day from June until November.
Goodbye delicious basil!
Ouch! You look terrible. But thank you for your service all summer – you tasted great. Still have lots of basil seeds – any takers?
Goodbye pretty Zinnias and Portulaca!
You were happy additions to my container garden, thank you for beautifying the place!
Bye Osteospermum, you’ll be missed!
Dang. Frosts are harsh.
I’ll be back manana, hope to see you back here.
Ya’ll know how much I love flowers. Here are my favorite flower photos – taken in and around my casa – in the month of September:
Thanks to our hostess Carol over at May Dreams Gardens for suggesting we post photos of what’s blooming on the 15th of each month.
Hope you have a great weekend, I’ll be back Monday.
Hi sweet potatoes, and happy Monday!
Carol over at May Dreams Gardens had the idea to showcase what’s blooming around the 15th of each month. Sounded like a good idea to me, so I’m down!
BUT. We had our first frost last week. Some flowers disintegrated overnight. Others survived just fine. How? Why? I don’t know – it’s not like I have a line on Mother Nature’s decisions. I’m a big fan of hers, but that doesn’t mean she shares her secrets with me.
So for this month’s GBBD, I decided to share the winners and the losers of the recent frost. Because I think there’s beauty in death as well as life. I’m weird like that.
Let’s start with this sweet little Cosmos growing in a container next to the front door:
The Petunias survived the frost just fine:
But the Zinnias all fried overnight:
So did the Morning Glories:
Here’s a strange one. One Basil plant is happily blooming away, the other fried to a crisp:
The Parsley laughed at the frost and continued blooming:
I have Cosmos growing in a container by the back door, and almost all the flowers died. Which is fine by me – I’m going to leave them there until the seeds form, then I’m going to collect them. That’s going to be a bounty of seeds:
Not all the Cosmos flowers died. The lower ones are still blooming:
Man, I love those pretty pink flowers.
During the winter months, I’m really appreciative of my indoor plants. Having flowers indoors when it’s dreary outside sustains me until spring. This is Easter, my Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera):
And now that the nights are longer, my other Schlumbergera is beginning to bloom. I don’t technically have a name for her – Dottie gave her to me, so I just call her Dottie because that makes me happy:
Hopefully Candy the Lime tree and Ellie the Euphorbia will bloom soon. You’ll have to wait until December’s Garden Bloggers Bloom Day to find out!
Thanks Carol, for giving me the chance to share flower photos!
I’ll be back manana with some Nature inspired holiday gift ideas. Hope to see you here.