Monday, June 7, 2010


I seem to remember some movie somewhere, where the rainmaker shows up. You know the senario. Someone is in an impossible situation and the bad guy brings in an even badder guy and says "Make it rain." or "He's the rainmaker." Something like that. Then he makes it rain. Not really. He just punches out some poor schmuck or something.

Anyway, the rainmaker is a notion that those of us in the desert just love. Make it rain. As if. Well ladies and gents I am here to tell you that I made it rain. Granted it was in the greenhouse and I didn't really have much to do with it. The air in the upper echelons was hot and then the vent opened and the misters came on. The hot air cooled, consdensation occurred and gravity happened. It was very exciting finding out that I am a very, very bad dude. Yeah, I'm the rainmaker. I make it rain. Don't mess with me or you'll get wet. 

Thursday, June 3, 2010


I'd almost missed it. The Party. It was in the community gardens this morning. Kathy and Sharon got together and made an egg bake and had cinnamon rolls and fruit and yogurt, coffee, the works. It was quite a party. And they threw it to celebrate how great their garden looks. It does, too. You may remember back to the delphinium post of a couple of weeks ago. Yup that was them. And you should see the rest of what is in there. Just don't tell Max about the larkspur.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


Hi All! I've been on vacation these last few days. It was nice getting out of our Gardens and getting into nature's gardens. I hiked up in the Monument, Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Canyonlands and Glenwood Canyon. Tremendous! It is no wonder our mission is to connect visitors with the beauty of the Colorado River Basin and Plateau.... It is amazingly beautfiul out there. And I can't help but hope we all start bringing "out there" home. Pansies are nice and all but cowboy's delight is too and hardly takes any water. Plus if you put it in your yard you are taking to first step to creating your own conservation area, giving back to nature, who has given so much to you. I'm coming down off the soapbox now.

The Gardens is spiffing up for the Garden Tour this weekend. I've the Workenders weeding their hearts out and we've been adding some annuals and getting some plants into the Children's Garden. Remember that you can only get your tickets to the Garden Tour the days of the event exclusively at the Gardens or the CSU Extension. See you Saturday or Sunday!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Rock Roses

I couldn't resist a quick post about the rock roses (helianthemum). They are one of mine, and definitely on of Kenton's, favorites. It was like an electric wire to the eye this morning as I walked past them. Their sunny, yellow hearts looked so good with the sedum behind I had to snap a couple of pix. I like the first one even though it is a little blurry, it harkens back to the drug addled 60's when bright yellow, electric pink and chartreause looked just fine together.

Here is a nother more sober view. Just lovely, don't you think?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Irises smell just as good as they look. And the irises look gooood. Oh and look. There is our new sculpture!


Before you read any further you should probably put on your sunglasses. The blue of the delphiniums in the community garden are so bright it'll blind you. Really. The photo doesn't do them justice you have just got to take a gander at them for yourself. But remember. Bring your eye protection.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


For those of you who are regular readers have no doubt read my rants on landscape cloth. Get ready for another one. We were renovating a garden today and ran into some landscape cloth. The photo below shows the awful interface that happens when landscape cloth is used. The roots are from a bindweed that has tunneled through the landscape cloth. The good news is they couldn't grow through the compacted soil. Good for weeds but what about the nice plants you want to grow? They need good soil not dead compacted soil that has been suffocated by landscape cloth. There is no such thing as a maintenance free garden. You'll have to weed even if you use landscape cloth, especially if you are a chucklehead that puts down organic mulch on top of your landscape cloth. So suck it up. Pull up the landscape cloth and do a little weeding. It is good for you plus it keeps you in touch with your garden. 'Nuff said.

The first thing I did on Tuesday was stop and get a pick-up-truck-load of plants. What a way to start the day! I highly recommend it. You should try it some time. All these lovlies are going into the Children's Garden. What fun!

Here are three friendly faces. On the left is our new intern. In the middle is Ginny, expert gardener and keeper of the Children's Secret Garden. On the right is Derek, my right hand man for two days a week. We are getting a great crew together. It is going to be a wonderful summer.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Hi All!

Tremendous things have been happening in the gardens and I feel guilty for not telling you about it sooner. We've gotten new art from the city. I'm trying to figure out how to download the pictures from my phone. It is hard to believe I was a tech girl in a former life. ;)

You have to see the new sculptures. Just head to the gardens, one is in Shozan-en and one is right outside of the conservatories. One by Michael Ford-Dunton and one by Dave Davis. They are both phenominal artists. And their work looks so good in the Gardens.

The irises are doing their thing. They are about a week late but they look terrific!

The Children's Garden is getting a bunch of new plants this week. The heirlooms are coming! The heirlooms are coming!

That is it for now. I'll be letting you know as things develop but you shouldn't wait on me. You should come on down to the Gardens and see what's sprouting for yourself!

Thursday, May 6, 2010


Usually I like to talk all about my triumphs. Not today. Although I'm riding high on the wave of self accomplishment I'm more excited about flowers. I just noticed our Plant Select butterfly bush (I think it is one of the fancy-not-yet-available ones) has some really, really cute flowers on it already!

The amsonia, also a Plant Select, is starting to bloom. I just love this little guy because the leaves form a cup for the flowers to bloom in. You've gotta' come down and check it out. It only blooms for a little while in the Spring.

You gotta' come down anyway to see the new fence and gates and to shop 'til you drop at Bloomin' Deals and to notice all the trash that the City hauled off for us today. Yes. Today was a triumph.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Every Day Is A Thrill

I've been noticing all the drastic changes along our front bed this week and really am excited by all the changes happening. Every day there is a new flower out or I'm loving the way the rain has rearranged the blooms (the catnip really caught my eye. One plant looked like a ballerina's tutu and the other looked like some teen aged boy with his short hair touseled by eight or ten hours of good sleep). It is just magnificent!

I've started working a new schedule, Sunday through Thursday instead of Monday through Friday, and I love it because it gives me more quality time in the conservatories. Every day there is something new going on in there. I forget that because my attention is on our outdoor gardens right now. It is too thrilling to see the cycad with new leaves coming out. They look like the start of a crown, just tremendous. Also, one of our gingers has kindly placed itself so when you go into the tropical greenhouse it is the first thing your eye hits. What a welcome!

Even the butterflies are playing along. I released a Queen butterfly this morning who regally placed herself right at eye-level, well, eye-level if you are a shortie. With free Sunday there have been a lot of visitors and kids especially. It was wonderfuly watching the kids marvel at the butterfly that was just at their height. She hung out there all morning then decided to show off by flying around the butterfly house.

It is a wonderful time to be at the Gardens. Stop by if you haven't in a while, every day is a thrill.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Chokecherry Fairy

If you are a good Operations Manager and if you pull all your weeds and eat ALL your spinach, then the chokecherry fairy comes and gives you a beautiful 2 inch caliper chokecherry. Thank you Chokecherry Fairy! I have a nice spot picked out on the west side of Shozan-en for it although I'm going to leave it by the front door for the moment because it looks so lovely right there.

Monday, April 26, 2010

No Cord

With all the music I've been posting lately I'll bet you think I meant no chord but I didn't. The cord to the camera has been misplaced so I haven't been taking any pictures lately. I feel a little guilty about that because there is a lot going on here!

The City came in with their skid steer and made short work of our old fence. I heard it took five years to put it up. It came down in four hours. FOUR HOURS! We've had staff meetings last longer.

The new fence is coming up lightning fast as well. They said it was going to take a month but I don't think so. Not the way those boys are working.

I've just about got the irrigation going. Yee Haw! It is almost warm enough to run through the sprinklers.

The irises are looking better and better every day. The word for spring right now is purple. The grape hyacinth, the veronica and the catnip are dominating at the moment.

Come on down. The weather has been beautiful and your botanic garden is growing in beautiful ways.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Bloomin' Springtime

I was all set to write a nice post about three little maids from school are we about these really, really cute irises in the front when lo and behold there are now FOUR little maids from school. That just happened. Just now. Yes. Rush down and check it out because by the time you get here it will be FIVE little maids from school and Roger's and Hammerstein just haven't written a song about that.

The burr oak also started leafing out today and who knows what else is sprouting? 

Sunday, April 18, 2010

So Much News!

Good morning all. Well, I feel I can finally let the cat out of the bag. Meeooow! After about a year and a very rigorous application procedure I can confidently say that we now have a new executive director, Dana Hobika. She comes to us from Crossroads, Fitness, not Liquors. ;)  She is full of energy and has jumped in with both feet. Make sure you introduce yourself to her the next time you are at the Gardens.

I was going to tell you all about my trip to Florida but for some reason I can't upload either of the pictures. Technology. I tell ya! It will give you something to look forward to.

Other news. It looks like I will be working Sunday through Thursday. It will be good to have one day on the weekend at the Gardens. I always like having a weekday off, too. It feels like you are playing  hooky every week. 

Enjoy the great weather and spend some time puttering in your garden. Don't forget to take a break and come down and stroll through ours!

Thursday, April 15, 2010


His name is Phil and he is awful cute. No, not my latest boyfriend, our latest turtle. A red eared slider that someone found on the side of the road and brought in. Check him out. He is currently spending time in the pond in Shozan-en until he gets the urge to ramble. I have a feeling he was born a ramblin' man stuck in a turtle's body.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Boo Hoo and Yaw Hoo!

First the boo hoo. The weather just isn't on our side. So instead of waiting until the last minute like I did last year, it looks like the great Easter Egg Scramble will have to be called off this year. Dang it! We had so many folks helping us out and literally thousands of eggs. So come down anyway. Enjoy the warmth and beauty of the greenhouses. We got pupa today and they were a' wigglin' which means butterflies should be emerging in the next couple of days. We have plenty of eggs for all who visit. Heck, you can come on down just for the eggs! Plus, we'd be pleased a punch to see you in your Easter finest on Easter Sunday. It is free first Sunday after all. 

Remember tomorrow night is First Friday. We'll be having, oh shoot, I can't remember what we'll be having but it will be way cool. The greenhouses at night are artwork in and of themselves so head on down. It is a great place to unwind after a big week.

On to the Yaw Hoo! part. We've found a new director. I'm not telling you who just yet. I don't want to say anything until the ink dries on the contract. ;) 

The interview process was pretty cool. It was an all day deal and I'm sure glad I didn't have to go through it. There were three parts: written, speaking  and practical.  Plus, hobnobbing at lunch. We were all exhausted by the end. I think the candidates more than we were. So stay tuned. I'll let you know next week who our new leader is. Needless to say, I'm thrilled. Spring is here and I've already had the WorkEnders out here for a day pulling weeds!

Friday, March 26, 2010

A Very Happy Cactus

Hi All. Here is some news from Don Campbell from the Chinle Cactus Club.

The abnormally harsh winter of 2009-10 was not kind to many cacti in the two Chinle Club sponsored gardens. However, on Wednesday, March 24 immediately following the regular 'Garden Party' at WCBG it was especially pleasant to find a few very happy cacti. Ernie's Cactus Corner at the Western Colorado Botanical Gardens has some of the biggest, happiest, healthiest 'Mountain Ball Cacti' one is likely to find anywhere on the Western Slope. In fact these Pediocacti are so happy they're getting ready to celebrate spring with a profusion of flowers. The plant shown below is slightly over 6 inches in diameter and loaded with flower buds. Count 'em, there are over 20 with the possibility of still more to emerge. Depending on the upcoming weather, one could expect to see flowers in about 10 to 14 days, If you go looking for flowers, be sure to give old Sol enough morning time to work a bit of magic and coax the flowers into opening.

(With the vandalism we had last year at the Gardens it looks like the cactus are arming themselves.-Elizabeth)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Bloom Day

Ok, so I actually took these photos on Bloom Day. From the blogs I read I think that Bloom Day is every 15th of the month. Garden bloggers are supposed to venture out and take some photos of what is blooming in their gardens. I just happened to be inspired by our plants on March 15th. It wasn't until the 16th that I figured out about Bloom Day and, of course, it isn't until today that I actually posted them. They are lovely photos anyway.

1. Lobster claw in the butterfly house. No, I did not enhance the colors.

2. Variegated ginger in the butterfly house. This is an extremely happy plant.

3. The same ginger, but the whole shebang. I told you it was happy.

4. This isn't a bloom, but dig those crazy Shirley Temple curls on the philodendrom!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Ghost Orchid

Plants do the most amazing things. They grow in the wrong soil. They grow when you prune them wrong. They grow in the wrong zone. All kinds of crazy things. The one phrase that comes up again and again in discussions trying to figure out why the plants are doing what they do is "Plants don't read books." They don't read newspapers either. Thank goodness.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Something Fishy

Something fishy is going on here. See?

This is our brand new koi. It's name is Sushi. (giggle) What you can't see is the plecostimus. It's name is Arley, because you can 'arley see 'em. No, they aren't swimming around in radiator fluid. They are in their transfer tank which is an acidic shade of green.

There is Sushi in the Rainforest Greenhouse pond. He (she?) looks right at home. Arley is living up to her (his?) name.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Hey! I just got hit on the head with a hibiscus leaf.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Hooray for Grey!

Hi all. Usually you are hearing me kvetch and moan about the grey weather outside. It is true yesterday was truly a superb day and I'm pretty sure I heard seratonin levels exploding all over the Grand Valley. However, today we are back to grey and gloom. So what should you do on a grey and gloomy day? Visit the butterfly house, of course.

We have nearly 100 pupa in the puparium and they are starting to emerge. We let loose a couple of monarchs and a queen this morning. Yes, that is the royal we (forgive me, I couldn't help the pun). The weather is a plus for releasing butterflies because our little darlings are a little sluggish on grey days. That means we'll be putting them out to roost on low branches and you'll be able to see them up close and personal.

You know what else will be in our butterfly house that you can see up close and personal? Renowned artist Sara Oakley. That's right. It is the First Friday of the month and that means we've got that rare plant artistus spendens  down here at the Gardens. Sara will be painting in the butterfly house from 5 to7pm tonight. Come on down and check it out. There will be cookies....

Saturday, February 27, 2010


I don't think I can take one more grey day. Luckily Marilyn emailed me some photos her husband took in the butterfly house and the rainforest conservatory. That and that alone stopped me from totally losing it. Whew! Crisis averted.

Here is our stripey bamboo that is so contemporary looking.

And our picture perfect bananas.

Losbsta' claw

and finally the bird of pardise.

Ahh... That is much better.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Weather

Brrrrrr. Brrrrrrr. Brrrrrrr. I think I'm going to live in the Butterfly House until June. I'm happy for the sunshine though. I'm not complaining about that at all. I'm waiting for the usual February warm up teaser. Oh. Wait. We already had that a couple of weeks ago. One good thing about the frigid weather keeping me inside is that I'm getting a lot of planning done.

The Children's Secret Garden group has been working on a plan for this year. Our children's garden has been an aggravation to me for the last couple of years so I'm super thrilled with the plans we have for this year. Our mantra has been "No red tomatoes!" Plus, we are doing a big blitz with the annuals.  And containers. I'm not so good with those but luckily I'm not the only one on the committee. We'll be removing some things. I think we might even bring the turtles out of the greenhouse and let them have a little summer vacation. I think they'll like that.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Butterfly House

I'm doing my work in the Butterfly House this afternoon. It is so nice in here. There are a couple of butterflies roaming around. The jasmine is blooming so it smells really good. The humidity is at 80% so my skin is happy.

Oh look the butterflies are playing. Yeah, right. I used to think that too. Now that I know our little lepidoptera a bit better I now know that they are not playing but waging war. They are pugnacious little critters, very teritorial.

I know I'm spoiled rotten because I get to hang out in the butterfly house. Don't get too jealous though because you, yes you, could have this job too. I'm looking for some fine folks who like to spend time in our Butterfly House.

As you have just discovered our butterflies are a little rowdy and they need some babysitting. So if you are interested in hanging out in the most beautiful spot in Grand Junction let me know. Email me at or call me at 245-3288, ext. 3. But I'm warning you. I'm learning from the butterflies. You might have to fight me for a spot on the bench. ;)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Ketchup on my blog, yes. On my french fries, no. I prefer mayo.

I owe you all a couple of posts. OK. OK. I owe you more than a couple but it is a start and here they are. Enjoy!


As you can see by looking at the right side of this blog, I don't link to a lot of other sites. There are more blogs and websites thasn one person will ever be able to slog through. So when I link I try to find a good reason for linking.

It is a no brainer why I link to CSU. We luv them. The Garden Rant crew is definitely fun and informative and their guest bloggers are fabulous! The Human Flower Project caught my fancy for their in depth posts that really reflect the "human-ness" that plants bring out in  us. World Changing is my dose of theory, intellect and grass roots action.

Today I am adding a new link. Drum roll please. It is to the Garden Professors.

How many of you were at Landscapes West a couple of years ago. That's right, raise your hands. You. In the back. Is your hand up or are you just scratching your head? Let's see, one, two... That many? Remember Jeff Gilman, the mythbuster of the plant world? Well, he's teamed up with a couple of other brainy folks and they've put together a blog where you can read all sorts of interesting things about plants and learn words like paraheliotropism and thigmonasty. Who doesn't want to throw a word like "thigmonasty" into their conversation? Or their rap song?

Anyway the thing is, that by the time you are done reading their blog post for the day you are smarter than when you started. How do they do that?

Light As A Feather

stiff as a board. And speaking of...boards, not stiffs, here is our board. Aren't they a good looking bunch? This picture was taken at their last retreat, and I'm not talkin' about Bonapart's retreat. These folks are getting things done.

I remember playing that game Light as a Feather and Stiff as a Board when I was a kid. I wasn't inclined towards magic so the hocus pocus part was lost on me. What I did realize was through my experience as a feather was if a bunch of people pitched in all of a sudden you could lift a twelve year old girl. Cool. And that is just what our board is doing. Everyone is pitching in and we are accomplishing great things. I am so excited for what the upcoming year is going to bring. It is going to be wonderful.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


So, to start the big road trip out last Tuesday Cristina and I stopped at the Betty Ford Alpine Garden. Umm. Yeah, I know. That garden looks a lot more interesting when it isn't covered in a blanket, make that a thick down comforter, of snow. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


This is how far this plant thing has gone with me. Some of you may know that in my previous career I was an art historian and spent a majority of my life preoccupying myself with terribly important issues like form over function and art for art's sake. 

I was so wrapped up in the plants I didn't even notice the absolutely fantastic sculptures by Henry Moore that were sprouting up all over the place (pun only now intended). When I first walked into the gardens at DBG I did notice the smell of linseed oil and take a quick walk down memory lane before being distracted by some really lovely clumps of snow on the evergreens in the Japanese Garden. Only once the visions of hot sunny days intermingling with cold wintry ones left my eyes did I see the really big statue that was staring me in the face. Is that really??? Oh yes it is!!!! It was one of those really glorious moments when two of your loves surround you.

I love it when that happens.

Winter Color

So this morning I was at the DBG checking out the gardens, seeing how they were holding up under the snow. Cristina had a meeting with their volunteer coordinator and I miraculously had meetings with no one but the plants. Perfect.

I am ready to wax poetic about amber, ochre and honey and the lovely blond seed heads on the grasses tossing back and forth in the wind. Don't get me wrong, the prickly pear had turned a lovely shade of burgundy and created a texture that I'd like to recreate on my office wall. The atriplex was really green, like summer green. And if you looked for them, here and there were glimpses of all the greens of spring tucked in between rocks and crevasses. 

But it was that soft, sweet, sunshiney yellow that predominated through the snowy landscape. It was  as though summer and winter were holding hands. Enjoying each other without the showy interference of the brilliant colors of spring and fall. 

Monday, February 8, 2010

Flowers and Frogs

Conservatories are sooo great. Where else can you see frogs that look like trees and flowers that look like birds?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

First Sign of Spring

They are here and they don't care about the snow and ice. This is when they are supposed to be here and here they are with their red breasts just a bob bob bobbin' along. And they are making a huge mess of the mulch! Darn those robins!

Monday, February 1, 2010


Everything's coming up roses!  You gotta love Ethel Merman. But everything is coming up roses. See? The photo below is the President and Vice-President of the Grand Valley Rose Society giving the Gardens a donation. We love those folks. And they love us. Yes, Valentine's Day is coming up and muddling my mind but it is a good thing. Love is a good thing.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


Hmmm. Maybe I should have been more specific yesterday. The grey is more or less gone but it has been replaced by white. Not that white is bad. White is snow. Snow is water. Water is always something that is welcome in the desert. So yay for white! But still, here is another picture from last summer so I can remember there are more colors than white.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Grey, grey

Grey, grey go a way! Come again some other day.

This grey weather has made it impractical to have butterflies in the butterfly house. They really need sunny days to fly.Plus, our suppliers in Florida got wiped out because of the cold so it looks like it will be a week or so until we are able to have butterflies again. Sigh.

But here is a lovely picture to remind us that yes, there will be sunshine and flowers.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Tamarisk Symposium

I spent the last two days at Two Rivers Convention Center in a roomful of land managers, plant scientists and conservationists. And I was totally outclassed. These people were smart. Really smart. I was lucky to be there. I learned a lot. A lot about tamarisk, the tamarisk beetle, the southwestern willow flycatcher, ranchers, revegetation, and russian knapweed. And that's not all. That is just the start. But I won't bore you with long lists. I will bore you with one more picture from the mi favrito jardin botanico en Mexico.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

For Want of a Nail

For Want of a Nail

For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

or in my case a double a battery. That sits in my freezer like it has for the past week. It isn't like my freezer is hard to get to. It is actually right next to the back door. Yet day after day I forget the one thing that would release the photo of the beautiful bird of paradise that is blooming in the butterfly house.

What an aggravation.

In the meantime, here is a photo from the cute little Jardin Botanico I like so much in Mexico City aka el DF. The greenhouse was great.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


Hi everybody!

I'm still wrangling with technology on the Mexico pictures and I've been stuck behind my desk it seems like since last April. This makes it hard to take lovely pictures of our own gardens. That is why this quote really resonated with me when I came across it yesterday.
"When I go into the garden with a spade, and dig a bed, I feel such an exhilaration and health that I discover that I have been defrauding myself all this time in letting others do for me what I should have done with my own hands."
Ralph Waldo Emerson, writer and philosopher (1803-1882)
True, he opined this over a hundred years ago but I find it still holds true.
I'm really excited for what we have coming up this spring at the Gardens. If you have any interest at all in gardening I encourage you to contact the Gardens. We are in the planning stages and I'd like all our gardeners to be a part of that this year. So come on down! I'd love to see you.

Monday, January 4, 2010

I'm Back!

Did ya miss me? Huh, huh? Did ya? Well, I missed you. It has been a month of paperwork and snow. I did manage to escape to Mexico for a week's vacation. It was good to be in the warm weather and sun. I loved the botanical garden in Mexico City. It was very formal but had a nice selection of succulents. The greenhouse was also nice with stucco walls, stained glass and bunches and bunches of orchids. I'll post some photos as soon as I can.
I hope your holidays were happy. 2010 looks to be a really great year for the WCBG. I can hardly wait to see what the next few months will bring. Our staff is passionate and dedicated and board is the best it has ever been. Of course our volunteers have been taking it easy for the last month but we will be gearing up for spring soon enough.
It is good to be back! See you in the greenhouses!