The Daily Muse

A Garden Journal -- September 2004

Last Update:  September 29

Cool weather, rain, and a lush labor day weekend in the garden.

September 7 - evening

I have spent four intense days working in the garden. Yesterday, a cool front blew through bringing a short downpour and very pleasant weather along with it. Today, it was absolutely glorious in the garden and despite the fact that I promised myself a day of vacation, I spent hours rearranging existing beds and containers. In the front yard, I re-did two of our "circle beds," removing overgrown Bulbine and replacing it with Agaves that I had in pots. I also added two new species of Agave - Agave utahensis and Agave ocahui. I also planted a new Yucca pallida, the palest leafed version that I have ever seen. I like the spare look of the circle beds and I may remove even more herbaceous material in the future to make it easier to see the clean architecture of the Agaves, Yuccas and Hesperaloes.

Yucca pallida.

In the backyard, I worked on our container garden. I found several Dioons that I will eventually move into the ground when our Cypress allee shades out one of our perennial beds. I have been looking for several of the really blue forms of Dioon edule for weeks, but five gallon specimens are so expensive! (From $200-250!) Finally, I called a friend who is a grower and is very active in the Cycad Society, he sold me three small plants that have really great color. Two are Dioon edule variety Jalapa and the other is Dioon edule variety Queretero. Both, obviously, come from Mexico and are supposed to be quite cold hardy in our climate.

Close up of Dioon edule var. Jalapa.

Speaking of Mexico, Victor is in Mexico with his family. His mother had very serious surgery today that lasted for nearly ten hours. At this point, all seems well, and we are praying for a complete recovery. I guess a little tension doesn't hurt to spur on the psycho gardener within.

So, that's where they are! (Marble mulch.)

September 10 - evening

Victor's mother is doing beautifully after her surgery - thank you to everyone who sent in notes and prayers. This has been an intense week for us, but today, after returning home from work, I was rewarded with a special gift. I spent ten peaceful minutes communing with a Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly in our garden. Beautiful  thoughts and creatures have drifted into our lives this week...

Enjoying the Echinacea.

Another view.




Gorgeous colors.

September 12 - evening

Oxblood lilies.

I have had a realtively quiet weekend - the heat has returned and the air is thick with elm pollen, so I decided to give myself a bit of a respite from all of the hectic activity of the past couple of weeks. I spent a good part of the day working on an entirely new page for the website, one devoted to the Agave clan, my favorite plant family. It is a work in progress, but here is a sneak peek.

A close-up shot of our Agave Bovicornuta showing the fearsome teeth and ghostly leaf imprints.

A close-up of Agave lophantha. What a beautiful range of colors!

Early in the morning, I brought my camera along for my walk, hoping for a visit with a Zebra Heliconian Butterfly that I saw yesterday evening, a small boldly striped creature that I had never seen before. Instead, I was treated to a visit with one of our resident Hummingbirds. Here are a few pics...


Checking out our Hamelia flowers.


A little blurry, but check out those feathers!

September 19 - evening

It has been a very hot weekend - a real blast of summer just a few days before the official beginning of fall. I didn't get much done in the garden, but I did stalk the elusive Zebra Heliconian butterflies that have been visiting. I saw many, but was unable to get a decent photograph because they never seem to settle down for more than a second. The Gulf Fritillaries were much more numerous and obliging, here are a few new shots...

Here is a Gulf Fritillary laying an egg on one of our Passionvines, a favorite host plant of the caterpillar of this species.


Here is another Fritillary resting on a Possumhaw leaf.














A Passionvine in flower.

September 28 - afternoon

We just returned from a long weekend at Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado - it was an amazing few days... lots of dramatic views with equally dramatic weather. It was Victor's first great National Park "experience" and I was very happy to share it with him.  Having my parents join us made it all the more special. I have been to Rocky Mountain many times over the years but this was my favorite trip. The shot above was taken from Moraine Park just west of the town of Estes Park.


This is my favorite picture from the trip (one of several versions of my favorite anyway.) This was taken from Trail Ridge Road just a few hours after it opened following a snow storm earlier in the week. It was snowing just a bit when I took this shot. You are looking north towards the Mummy Range.


The elk were in full rut and you could see hundreds of animals gathered in the lower meadows. This bull was all by himself- perhaps he had lost a challenge for his harem. You could hear the males bugling in the mornings and evenings- their strange plaintive calls echoed down the valley towards our lodge.


The view from our living room at The McGregor Mountain Lodge a  very comfortable and well run place that actually borders the park. In the mornings a silver fox wandered the lodge grounds searching for chipmunks and handouts. This is Deer Mountain which lies inside the National Park.


An evening view of Deer Mountain from the west.


A trailside beggar.


Victor, Mom, and Dad in Moraine Park.


Victor enjoying the snow along the Fall River Road.


Hallet's Peak from Bear Lake.


Alberta Falls. A popular hiking destination for families on the east side of the park.


This is Adams Falls on the west side of the Park. We had a nice picnic here.


The view from our improvised picnic grounds. The waterfall is just around the bend.


Several  Gray Jays crashed our picnic. This one is helping himself to a cracker I was holding.


Aspens in the evening light, Endovalley.


An Aspen grove on the west side of the Park. We spotted a lone female Moose not far from here.


More Aspens, we were lucky to choose the prime Aspen color  weekend for our trip.


Aspens above Endovalley.


A very orange Aspen on the west side.


Along the trail to Alberta Falls.


Trailside Aspen near Bierstadt Lake.


Granite spires seen from Fall River Road. Fall River Road is a one-way dirt and gravel road that follows a canyon up into the high country. It was closed for the first three days of our visit due to snow. A snowstorm  predicted  for this week will probably close it until next spring.


A wide view of the spires.


My favorite scene, again.


A panoramic version.


Long's Peak, the great summit of the Park (14,255 feet / 4,345 meters) as seen from Trail Ridge Road.


Another view of Long's Peak, from the Tundra Walk on Trail Ridge.


Long's Peak from Moraine Park.


Lichens growing on granite along the Tundra Walk.


Victor enjoying the view from the Tundra Walk.


A view along Trail Ridge Road. The poles help guide snow plows.


One of my favorite views of Trail Ridge Road as it meanders across the tundra at over 12,400 feet (3,779 meters.)


A very wide view of Trail Ridge.


Looking south from Trail Ridge.


I love the simple geometry of the tundra landscape.


A rainbow, from Rainbow Curve. Timing is everything!


My Mom and Dad enjoying the civility of Boulder's Pearl Street pedestrian mall.

September 29 - evening

I just cant't help myself, here are a few more pictures...

One of the meadows of West Horseshoe Park.


Yet another Aspen shot.


On the westside, the headwaters of the Colorado River.


Another view from the Fall River Road.


The weather closing in on us on Trail Ridge Road, you may not be able to tell from the picture, but it was beginning to snow.


One final view of Long's Peak.


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