Valley Gardening: Have a safe July 4th


Everything is NOT good in the neighborhood—which I am calling the San Luis Valley. So many lives have changed this week with the Spring Fire on the Forbes Trinchera and beyond, that it’s hard to know where to start. It doesn’t feel like it will be over for quite some time. I looked at the weather forecast and the closest we come to a 50 percent chance of rain, is on the 12th of JULY!!

I would like to ask all of you to be extra vigilant from now on and for the rest of the summer until we get some rain—lots of rain. If you see a neighbor having a campfire, or someone throwing a cigarette butt out their car window, or burning trash (that’s how the Spring Fire started) call the authorities! As fast as you can! Be a snitch, be a tattle teller, be an informer—just do it. You just may be saving the rest of the Valley from another fire.

Respect the fire ban and the ban on ALL fireworks! Just do it! Have a water balloon fight instead and get some water on our parched lands. Of course, pick up the balloon pieces when you are done. How about a watermelon seed spitting contest, or an egg toss, or a three-legged race? How about a walk through the cemetery and honor those who have given so much. Get down to the pancake breakfast, and stay for the parade. Be old-fashioned, and be safe.

Not celebrating the 4th is pretty easy for me. As a kid, I don’t ever remember having fireworks. I don’t even remember going to see any firework displays. I think I remember putting flags at every cemetery in the morning and picking them up in the evening. I remember picnics at Blue Mound State Park in Luverne, MN. I remember those little black things we lit, that were like snakes—but no noise.

Because my Dad was a prisoner of war in Germany, the sounds of fireworks were more than he could stand. The memories were too much and so our Fourth of July celebration was typically quiet. But I remember them being good memories. It doesn’t have to be about fireworks—as we are all about to find out this coming Wednesday. Be safe and give thanks to the hundreds of men and women who are putting their lives at stake to get this dang fire out. Again, be safe, and be thankful.

I’ve been working pretty hard on Mom’s Garden. And I’m pretty proud of how it’s coming along. Before I forget, let me emphasize that the most crucial times to water in plants is right after you plant them and again, within 12 or so hours. Betty Bennington used to explain to me the marriage of the soils when you water. It creates a bond that helps the plant to take off growing. I have been planting a number of annuals in between every rock area in the garden. I have been thrilled to see that some of my Iceplant from last year is coming back, as is the Dusty Miller, which is a new one for me. I thought the Iceplant and DM coming back at the First Southwest Bank was because it is such a microclimate, surrounded by concrete. Having the perennials come back in Mom’s Garden, where they experience tough love, is pretty rewarding.

I was planting up some of the boxes at the museum yesterday and what amazed me there was a Scopulorum, or Red Bird was growing AND blooming. Have never had that happen with the RB. In fact I thought it was an annual. Oh…I’m not sure if that is the right spelling, and internet is down so….oh well.

After the Fourth, Scott Van Horn from US Tractor is going to bring over one of those adorable little green tractors if front of his business and we are gonna see what it can do. If you have been wondering about that machine give Scott a call or come by and check with me, and I will give you a time and day. I wonder if he is going to let me operate it. H-m-m-m-m.

Everywhere I look I see lawns that are cut so short. It makes me sad that folks just can’t get this grass thing figured out. Water deep, less often, mow HIGH and fertilize appropriately. If you don’t get your lawn back in good shape this summer, it is NOT going to be miraculously better next year. It just isn’t.

One last thing…that guy, Dan McCann, stopped to help me in Mom’s Garden yesterday. Quite unexpectedly, but greatly appreciated. I have always wanted to bottle his energy and sell it—I would be rich. Or….I would have every flowerbed in Alamosa back to what they used to be and be enjoying the flowers. Doesn’t hurt to dream, does it?

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