Growing Now

Rooted in Hope and Growing in Love: Colorado Gardening Is THE BEST!

I am honored that Beth Billstrom at More Than Oregano invited me to be a part of her Growing Now 2015 Garden Tour. I am also thrilled because those of you who regularly read my Facebook page, Instagram feed, twitter feed and blog are going to see some other amazing gardens. But before you hop over there, keep reading. I can’t wait to show you what we’ve done this year.

Beth and I became acquainted on Twitter where gardeners love to meet up on Mondays during #gardenchat. I have learned so much from the gardeners who participate. Beth is an avid gardener, doing so like me, on a small urban/suburban lot.  The Growing Now tour over on her blog is very informative. I am struck by how creative these gardeners are with the space that they are given.

Gardeners do need to be creative. I’ve gardened on small patios and lofty decks. This requires creativity. But this year, my garden has required more work and more creativity than what is typically normal.

When we first purchased our home, the backyard was a bit of a mess. On a limited budget, we have slowly (over 17 years) turned our backyard into a nice place to be.

But, there was one area that we had yet to transform, a place that had a lot of sun. But was it ugly! A squared off area of rock, weeds and hard clay soil that is typical for Colorado. Yuck. But it had lots of sun and because of that I’ve had my eye on this spot for YEARS! I’d love to show you what we have done.

In January 2015 we drew up the plans and built the first garden box to see if I’d like its height. Knowing I’d age in this garden, we settled on higher beds so I could work in them more easily. We also decided to use a sustainable wood product for the beds.

On the warmer days in February, we began to add more boxes. We layered the bottom of each box with tree limbs we had just removed from our property. We borrowed this idea from a method of raised bed gardening called huglekultur. On top of the wood we placed in the leaves we had raked from the past fall.

End of April

By the end of April we had finished the boxes. We decided to finish filling them with a mixture of 1/3 compost, 1/3 vermiculite, 1/3 peat or coir. I highly recommend this mixture. The pictures below will tell you why. Here you can see we are adding the  white irrigation lines. That was creative and hard work! With all the rain this year, we’ve hardly had to use irrigation.


By June 6, the decking was finished and it was all planted out. My husband did all the structural work, I did the seed starting and transplanting. This area is an outdoor lab and I can’t wait to write more posts on my blog to tell you what I’m learning about gardening here in Colorado. We make a good team.

June 6

And just two weeks later on June 15 it looked like this.  We couldn’t believe the rapid rate of growth. The vegetable garden I have on the other side of the yard has never grown like this. Sun and good soil make a BIG difference. I highly recommend raised beds for Colorado gardeners.

June 15

And then, by the middle of July, we had a jungle. I planted and spaced this garden similarly to how I plant and space the vegetable garden on the other side of my yard where the dirt is not as rich and the sun doesn’t stay as long. Clearly, sun and soil make a difference! I’ll have to rethink how I space plants in these boxes next year!

Here is my husband checking to see if any tomatoes have turned red. He is eager to use them in his cooking.

Middle of July

I love this space. I love my whole back yard. Every inch is a place where rooted hope grows. I love using my garden to teach others about gardening. I’ve learned a lot about hope in the whole of my life as I grow (and lose) plants.  I’m glad you came by my blog today.  And thanks to Beth for adding me to her tour.  I’ll leave you with some more captioned pictures so that you can take a peek at what else is going on here in this place I love.

Entering into my yard from the top deck. The new garden is on the other side of the yard.

This is the garden I added when we first moved here in 1988.


The patty pan and piracicaba broccoli won’t quit!

Echinacea makes a garden in July pop!

Arugula flowers are beautiful and tasty!

I can almost taste the butternut squash soup. Be sure to find the recipe on my blog.

I’m a huge fan of calendula. I have it growing all over my garden to ward of pests. It works! And it makes one beautiful bouquet!

I’ve never had success at growing cauliflower until this year.

What is it about the color red?

The color green and purple go well together.

Oh the color blue.

Growing a garden helps me live in a way that I do not have to grow weary or lose heart. Thanks for stopping by.

Here is the link to More Than Oregano where you can find the Growing Now Garden Tour 2015. You MUST go see!

It’s All So Lovely

The possibility of anger creating that which is beautiful.

I walked by round bales of hay yesterday at the Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield. And of course I thought of you.

Round bales of hay at Denver Botanic Gardens — Chatfield on July 1, 2015.

I recalled the phone calls you would make each fall. You LOVED when the hay was cut and baled on the rolling hills of your Tennessee property.
“I just think it is all so lovely,” you exclaimed.

I didn’t take notice of this kind of beauty back then.

Now I do.

Your absence has taught me to