Showing posts from December, 2015

Steel houseleeks

They look more like artichokes than cousins to houseleeks, although they're actually just sedums according to most botanists!

I first grew Orostachys spinosa (I'm not ready to call them Sedum--it apparently is genetically very close to others in that amalgam) when I first came to Denver Botanic Gardens in 1980. The propagator had grown several wonderful specimens from seed, and I remember planting these in what I supposed was a perfect spot in the Rock Alpine Garden. I can't recall if they died that winter or the following summer, but they didn't last very long at all. This happened again and again to me--and I assumed that this seemingly tough plant that supposedly grew in Tangutia where it gets to -60F in the winter--could find Denver too harsh--well, this didn't seem likely. Why couldn't I grow it?

Here it is growing exactly as it shouldn't be, on an open slope. And blooming no less!

Finding it in the wild was no good at all: it grew absolutely …

Wild iris

I'm sure you're asked to "What's your favorite flower"--and for those of us who make a living pushing petals, this is a silly question. We love them all! Or as my buddy Randy Ortega says (of Nick's Nursery in Aurora) "my favorite flower is the one that just went out the door". Except in my case, the one that's looking at me now. But I confess, there are a few that haunt me just a tad more than others--and most any wild iris (which for those of us in most of the interior West means Iris missouriensis) rates right up there. How many Junes as a child did we drive past the meadows around Fraser and Kremmling in June when they were an azure dream of color and I wanted so to stop to go out and wander among them...but these were fishing trips: the likelihood my dad would stop was nil (he was so anxious to get to Oak Creek and see his brother)...

But eventually I did stop. Again and again. These pictures are from one especially memorable stop five and …

Delimited International Airport

I fly quite a bit and coming in and out of Denver--I am always struck at how incredibly monochromatic and (shall we say) minimalistic the bare acreage is coming home. It's such that I must intersperse my depression-era pictures with some more colorful images to cheer them up a tad...the bigger shots were all taken on a single drive--albeit in winter. Spring, summer and fall are about the same, alas.

A slight contrast to the following...