Thursday, June 28, 2012

Fire on the Mountain!

Yes, it was true, the words out of the mouth of my youngest son. Fire on the mountain! Cindy, myself and our son John with his friend Jeremiah had just left the Colorado Renaissance Festival near Castle Rock, Colorado. We were headed back to Colorado Springs and had just passed a bend near Palmer Park when we viewed a sickening plume of white smoke. We all knew immediately there was a wildfire.
Soon the interstate 25 was blocked with traffic near the Air Force Academy. We took a shortcut and turned on the radio learning of the fire that was only 3 hours old on Saturday. We arrived near Garden of the Gods road and I got out the camera in a parking lot. On the left is Pikes Peak and black smoke from pine trees burning, this is approximately 7 hours after announced.
Everyone was in a surreal mood, non believing I suppose. The day had been extremely hot in the 100's with winds soon to follow that night. On this day is was regulated to 120 acres. It was so early in the fire, plans were still being devised. That evening before sunset, Pikes Peak to left in photo below.
A little before sunset Saturday night.
Sunday brought more winds, forever changing directions. Containment was at 0%. Firefighters were fighting high temperatures and changing winds. Winds on Sunday were blowing from the north, somewhat holding the fire in place. Smoke was appearing in town. 

Monday was our day to go north to Wyoming. Firefighters were appearing in the hotel and this was the first morning I could smell pine wood burning. It was going to be a night people of Colorado Springs will not ever forget as 35,000 people were evacuated in the middle of the night. The winds caused the fire to jump two canyons to the foothills and come down on the subdivisions west of the city. I had previously lived a 1/2 mile from these homes. Soon the winds had moved the fire swiftly through the Shadow Mountain subdivision. Before that a popular tourist and local attraction, Flying W Ranch had been mostly destroyed. Having lived here and having friends in this area cause a sense of bewilderment in my soul. 
Please keep the people of the springs and the firefighters around the west who are fighting many fires in your prayers! Cindy and I are now in Wyoming and getting updates from my son. Unfortunately I am allergic to smoke. However I have been able to take medicine to overcome minor discomfort. Hope things are more cheery in you neck of the woods.
Photo courtesy of The Denver Post. Shadow Mountain Subdivision after the fire.
Link to other Photos.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Fathers Day Pride

 The Thursday before Father's Day I sent my son a plant request pickup as he was traveling to Dallas to enjoy a weekend with his friends. I did my nursery research by contacting Pam Penick from Digging fame, she told me to contact Michael with Plano Prairie Garden. Michael had a wealth of information available and I thank you so much for that. I was lusting wanting  a Agave parryi 'turncata' as it was hardy in Kansas. I emailed all the information to my son and he agreed to pick some up. He had all the info and locations of nursery nearest to him. So every thing was going according to Hoyle. Or something like that. I called, emailed, and text-ed on Saturday, no answer.
Sunday morning while in church I received a call which I couldn't answer. After the services I read my messages and my son had called and left a message that he had technology problems and had no list or locations of nurseries.
Egads. I called him after services and he told me the story. As he was leaving Rockwall to go home to Oklahoma City he pulled off the road at a gas station, as he had something his friend left in the car and they were going to meet them there. Across the street from the gas station was Covington Nursery, one of the nurseries on the list and he remembered I wanted an Agave. Cool huh? Needless to say, he got the last two Agaves that where half price. And a happy Fathers Day it was and a great ending to the story!
Unfortunately the plants had no labels.
I think this one is A.parryi-
I don't know this one. Any clues?
 Even though this is a little late I am linking this post with Diggings Foliage Followup meme. Enjoy.
L to R:  Foeniculum vulgare, Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Sungold', Salvia guaranitica, Brassica oleracea, and Miscanthus sinensis 'Dixieland'

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Awash in GBBD 6 of 12

How can you not love Rudbeckia hirta and that bright sunny color. Lost the tag on this one.
As close as you can get to a black flower. Alcea from a big box.
Light pink and gray, one of my favorite color combos. Alcea rosea 'summer carnival' and Artemisia 'powis castle'.
Newly planted this past fall via bare root plants, Dalea purpurea-Purple Prairie Clover.
 Dalea purpurea, Perovskia atriplicifolia 'Little Spires'-Russian Sage 'Little Spires', Stipa tenuissima-Mexican Feather Grass, and Alchillea millifolium 'Terra Cotta' in the background.

And I leave you with the late great giant mullien-Verbascum thapsus.
Happy Garden Bloggers Bloom Day! As always follow fellow bloom busters from everywhere @ May Dream Gardens.
Yes, that's right! It's a weed. And cowboys used to use it, if you know what I mean.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Recovery II

Mollie the wonder dog and I returned to our land of treasure to search for the elusive Prairie Larkspur seed. Some of my fellow garden bloggers have requested seed and so our work begins. Read about the previous treasure hunt linked here: Recovery.
In a matter of days the vacant lot had changed from a lush cool season grass prairie(vacant lot) of brome grass to a more refined warm season prairie with summer flowering forbs and grasses. The brome grass seed heads have turned to a golden brown with the grey and green foliage of the summer forbs and sub-shrubs. 
Catclaw sensitive plant-Mimosa quadrivalvis and Downy Bromegrass-Bromus tectorum.
Amorpha canescens-Leadplant and Downy Bromegrass-Bromus tectorum.
Asclepias syriaca-Common Milkweed(best guess)?Apocynum cannabinum-Dogbane/Indian Hemp
Common milkweed seed.
Foxtail Barley-Hordeum jubatum
Waxy Leave Thistle-Cirsium undulatum
Whoolly Verbena-Verbena stricta(I think)
Whoops! Got a little sidetracked. I found the Prairie Larkspar! I had to review the photos from the previous post to locate the exact location. Original Photos:
There's the plants previously near the brush pile.
 A few days later......see it?
 It's the dead stick on the left side. ha ha. Nothing, no blooms, and no seedpods. While I was there I noticed a caterpillar. Need to get a photo of that.
Cool, but what's that next to it? A seedpod! I only got one seed. Bummer. Looks like my treasure hunt came up a little short. Guess I'll have to place closer attention next spring. Sorry folks.