Monday, July 24, 2017

From left to right it's Shannon Still, Steve Newall, Ed Snodgrass, Steve Still (Jr.) and Steve Still (Senior), Allen Bush, Pierre Bennerup, Thilo and Georg Uebelhart. Otherwise known as the Ratzeputz*  gang. Two members are missing (Dave Schultz and Kirk Alexander). Notably missing is Kurt Bluemel--who passed away in June of 2014.

I spent most of last week in the company of these delightful people: we visited the Bighorns, the Beartooth (proof is shown above--and you can even glimpse the "Bear tooth" in the background). We spent a day in and around Cody hiking behind the Retreat Center where we were staying and visiting the remarkable Buffalo Bill Museum complex in that town. Another day was spent in Yellowstone.

I've known and spent time with most of these Ratzeputzers on their home turf in New Zealand, Maryland, Kentucky, Connecticut and Germany. They've called upon me in the past to accompany them in Colorado. Needless to say, now that I've been inducted into their august company (several bottles of Ratzeputz were emptied in the process as initiation...), I can't resist but share my delight.

I know that fraternities have their detractors (I never joined one in College after all).  You may smile and tease me all you want--but I am more than a little tickled to have joined this illustrious clan!

Long live the Razteputz!

*Ratzeputz is a ginger based liqueur made in Central Europe and reputed to enhance's an acquired taste, need I underscore. I'm developing a taste for it, much to my amazement!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Desirable weeds?

Epipactis helleborine

I remember first finding these in a meadow near Middlebury Vermont in 1973: I knew right away they were orchids, but couldn't imagine what Eastern species it could be...I discovered soon that they were the first Eurasian orchid to naturalize widely in the East. Fast forward a few decades later, and I saw some on the Hill in Boulder where I grew up--they'd managed to find their way to Colorado. Suddenly this year they appeared dotted across several score of feet in the El Pomar Waterway garden at Denver Botanic Gardens. I suppose if one is to have a weed, an orchid is a better case scenario. It doesn't really interfere with anything in this garden, and they are quite beautiful--if not the most colorful shades! I believe the horticulture staff may let them be...I'm posting a number of pictures so you can see the variety of form they take on...

Aha! Not at the Botanic Gardens now: this is Rod Haenni and Ann Priestman's wonderful garden in Bow Mar--and sure enough they had a rash of these appear (all but one of which Rod mowed down). He couldn't resist leaving one clump!

His is distinctly greener than the ones at Denver Botanic Gardens...

This is a different sort of weed: five or six years ago I spied Epipactis gigantea (our rare native cousin to the weed)  growing in some raised beds at the Grand Junction Orchard Mesa gardens. I asked them about the orchids and they said they'd appeared spontaneously! One whole bed was almost filled with them and they were weeding them out! I helped and weeded a few out--some of which were sold at Denver Botanic Gardens plant sales!

Here is a large mat of the Colorado Epipactis growing at Copenhagen Botanic Garden...

It certainly deserves the common name "chatterbox orchid"!

They also had large masses of Epipactis palustris, a European species that spreads rhizomatously but has not been weedy by seed (yet anyway). There are species in east Asia as well--a very interesting genus, I think. It would be fun to grow the less weedy species in a garden. And I know there are mail order nurseries that sell them. But you may get Epipactis helleborine soon in your own garden--even without trying!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

A mountain haven

About a half hour west of the Denver metro area there is a remarkable home and garden at over 8000' where it's always cool and pleasant and there is a remarkable collection of plants, sculptures and spectacular monumental rocks from China that would be the envy of any botanic garden. I shared some images from a visit we made there almost exactly four years ago--you might be intrigued to compare and contrast. We are fortunate to have been invited here for wonderful lunches over the years and have watched this garden evolve and flourish. I can't resist sharing a few pictures from a week or so ago...I hope you enjoy them a fraction as much as we did. They really don't need a commentary!

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Proctor/Macke tour de force!

I have featured Rob Proctor and David Macke's garden before in this blog, but on a horribly sunny day: I drop by frequently, and have masses of pictures, and really ought to do right by this amazing garden--but at least you can get a taste of it this week. I dropped in again, middle of the day (blazing sun) but the clouds came over and I dashed around and got a few pictures...

Of course, it's a lush, "English" seeming garden--but filled with drought tolerant perennials and shrubs (some spectacular specimens)--a real tour-de-force: check in at Tagawa's and you can get tickets for a tour in a few weeks (they do it every year to support the Animal Shelters). A visit here is always a delight!

These pictures don't really need a commentary: the garden is just outrageous! Just come on the tour!

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