It’s lavender time in my foothills garden!

If I had to choose one plant that LOVES it the best up here at 7,000 feet, it would be lavender. Every year my plants get larger and larger and ever more happy and beautiful!

They are just coming out now in all of their glory with my different colored yarrow plants!

And they mix so well with many different types of flowers and plants.

Lavender was one of the first plants I planted, before I even had a garden going south of our home.

This is my first plant in October of 2018. I have found that is smells wonderful and absolutely no critters are anxious to take a bite of it ­čÖé

This is that plant today!

It seems that there is a new lavender farm in our county called Spanish Peaks Lavender Farm, 10 miles northwest of Walsenburg, off County Road 521. I’ve contacted them for more information about their operation and I’ll get back to you with more if they answer me.

In the meantime, if you’d like to learn more about choosing the right lavender plants for your high country garden, please go here!

Our private superbloom: Navajo Tea in Navajo!

Seven years past the first time I witnessed a superbloom here in the foothills of southern Colorado, we are having an even bigger one again, right around my home. We live in the Navajo Ranch area smack dab between the towns of Walsenburg and La Veta Colorado.

This is Navajo Tea also known as greenthread, the common names given to multiple species within the genus Thelesperma. This species is a native of the Great Plains and mountain states.

Thelespermas are used by a number of the southwestern Native American peoples as herbal teas, earning the plant common names like Navajo Tea or Hopi Tea. The plant can be boiled whole until the water turns a rusty color and used as a tea. Historically it has also been used as a medicinal remedy and for yellow dyes.

Here are a few local views of our superbloom:

Here is a hillside of flowers with the Spanish Peaks as a rainy backdrop…

Fields of flowers with Mount Mestas in the distance…

And just plain fields of flowers! What a grand spring surprise for us!

How my brain is healing from serious concussion

Although I have other experiences with brain injuries and healing, this most recent concussion a little over a year ago has been quite different. This was the first time I experienced auditory and visual hallucinations after I fell and knocked myself out on a stone floor.

From the first I had lots of balance problems, especially because I so fear anymore falls. But what was different for me was the constant feeling of the world spinning around me, much like the whirlies when you’re drunk. Especially when I turned my head either way or put it back very far I felt so dizzy. This went on for months afterwards and between my bad lungs and my whirling brain, I worried about my balance quite a bit.

What I find most curious about me is that I go through periods of symptoms like the twirlies, and then they go away for a while, maybe a month or so, and then they come back again. When they are bad, I don’t trust myself to walk alone without support of some kind. I have felt like this for the past few days and then this morning I felt fine again.

I know that brain cells can repair themselves, I guess it’s a bit like re-wiring. I experienced that after my TBI in May of 2008. It took lots of rest and a couple years, but I did get almost back to ‘normal’ for me. These kind of personal experiences teach us new appreciation for the incredible resilience of our brains. Perhaps that is what is happening to me now. I get better for a while and then I flash back to that old dizziness for a few days, just to fully appreciate when my balance comes back again.

Let’s hear it for the process of neuroplasticity!

Still codependent but working on it at age 67!

As a lifelong co-dependent and apparent sucker for abuse, it took me FOREVER to arrive at this simple answer to all who have taken advantage of my kindness and understanding:

Don’t be afraid to lose someone who is not grateful to have you.

As I head towards 70 years old I find that I have taken abuse from far too many in my life, first from a supremely judgmental family and then just about everyone else I met along the way. From the beginning, when I felt like I must take care of my mother’s emotional needs, I tried to comfort, mediate with and please others instead of standing up for my own needs. In fact, I hadn’t the slightest idea what my own needs were. After years of counseling, I still sometimes struggle with that…

The main sign of codependency is consistently elevating the needs of others above your own. Other signs include controlling behaviors, self-sacrifice, and fear of rejection.

Yes, gigantic fears of rejection and abandonment! And I was certain that if I was honest and truly myself, no one would want to be around me. I learned this behavior from my mother, who worshipped my father, but was also super angry at him most of the time. She thought having her own opinion or interests would be far too selfish, so she took on my father’s interests instead for most of her life, doing things she has no real interest in to please and be with him. After my father’s death she seemed lost. She had lost her leader.

What a shame and a waste of her unique personality and charm. Years of counseling and reading have helped me wake up to my own personality and charm, but also I find now I have a very low tolerance for abusive people. A number of people who used to be in my life are no longer welcome, because I have such a low tolerance for abuse and nastiness. But why should I fear losing them if they were never grateful to have me in their life?

I know it seems late in life to come to these conclusions, but at least I finally got it.

In spite of high winds & a foot of snow in May, these flowers are radiant in my foothills garden!

This morning the Rocky Mountain Penstemons are smiling BIG TIME

As I move from east to west this plant, that got eaten last year by I don’t know what, is raring to grow.

I love to watch the serendipity of plantings from years past. For example, I had no idea this combination of these little yellow flowers, the Penstemon pinifolius (red), the RM penstemon (purple) and lavender would look so good together this year. I’m not smart enough to plan that!

And these were all planted at different times too. At first I had too much purple and the interesting Knautia macedonica ‘Red Knight’ plant, so I added a yellow yarrow right in the middle. And in spite of high winds and a foot of snow on May 22nd, everything survived!

One thing I have learned, plants need to be quite resilient to survive the wild and windy weather up here!

Mid-June Colorado Foothills Garden Notes

WOW, it was plenty HOT here yesterday! We got over 90 degrees, which almost never happens up here at 7,000 feet. My new plants were not pleased, but those that have been here for the past few years were fine. Here’s a photo summary of what is happening in my garden.

First of all, this is what my “sky garden” looked like in June 2019. We had just completed the hardscaping at this point!

These day in the far east end I am nursing a new plant, an Icelandic Poppy, and so far so good in spite of all the wind we’ve had lately. My Jupiter’s Beard at the end is struggling but still hanging in.

Lavender absolutely loves it up here! And that large Jupiter’s Beard on the left is thriving too.

I forget the name of these cute little yellow flowers, but they sure are tough! Then I have a couple of different penstemons in this grouping near one of my lavender plants. The Blue-mist Spirea bushes with start blooming in July.

This is a view of mid-garden with the steps. Yarrow dominates this area. It seems to be pleased with itself. My native Four-O’Clock is slowly creeping out from under Buddha and that big Catmint plant. It got hit hard by the big snow we had the end of May, that almost froze all the flower heads off! My green shamrock is in the foreground. Thanks Mike!

My west end is mostly new or native plants. So excited to see that yellow Evening Primrose start to bloom this morning! The native sunflowers are everywhere over there and I just planted a “Little Kim Lilac” bush over there. Sure hope it survives the wind! Check out a few of Mike’s creations, the metal sculpture and his horseshoe wind chime under the Bluebird’s box.

I should also include this central square of flowers, the first place I planted anything about four years ago. Can you find my metal coil dog? That’s one of Mike’s more recent creations.