Valley Gardening: Just do it!


Life is good in the neighborhood! Peyton and Landon Sanchez, with their dad Charlie in tow, came by for lunch yesterday. What a wonderful family! My Peyton was able to give them the $200-plus that she had raised at her little stand—she was so proud! Between you (my customers) and me and a few other special people, we have raised around $2,000 for the Sanchez family. It really is only a drop in the bucket when it comes to ongoing medical bills, but the thoughts and prayers behind the giving cannot be measured. It’s HUGE, and so very much appreciated.

The family heads back to Denver Children’s Hospital this week for more tests. They really need to find another drug that will keep Peyton’s NF stable. Please keep them in your prayers, always. They will get back in town in time to set up their lemonade stand at Cole Park for Summerfest on the Rio. Peyton will be raising money for the Jerry Reed Scholarship Fund! Jerry passed away a few weeks ago—he was so loved, and is so missed. Stop by and get a lemonade and support the cause!

Let’s see…gardening! Just do it. As I look at the weather reports, it looks like we are frost free for the next 15 days—yahoo! This does not mean that your tender plants will not be decimated by the wind.  It’s always something, isn’t it? A few years ago, like maybe even 10 or more, we had a fence built at our house. It is only on the south and west side of the vegetable garden but is one of the best things we ever did (besides drip irrigation). This coyote fence blocks the wind and also defines the area we (Larry) need to plant. Plants that I think are especially tender include beans and all the squashes and cucumbers and pumpkins, so give them a little protection if you can.

If you haven’t already planted EVERYTHING from seed, this weekend would be a great time to get it done. You can always hope that as the seedlings emerge from the ground, they are close enough to the ground to be protected from the next/last frost. Hope springs eternal is the motto to live by.

Rhonda and Gary have helped me a lot in Mom’s Garden this week. I am so thankful for their help. And now…as time allows I can plant. I have changed my plan of attack this year and I’m only going to do a tray of plants at a time, plus a few perennials, and maybe a shrub or two. I’m thinking that this will make this area more of a joy instead of a chore. Honk and wave when you see me in the early mornings in the garden—or bring me a cup of coffee.

Over 25 years ago I was given one of those choices—quit or be fired from the City of Alamosa. I had done city landscaping for many, many years. The gardens weren’t perfect, but they were beautiful—absolutely beautiful. (It’s a long story on the details—gladly explain over coffee if you are interested.) Within a week, every flower bed I maintained was bulldozed, and thousands and thousands of dollars’ worth of plants were taken to the city dump. I’m still sad about this—to this day. It would be different if city landscaping was beautiful now, but in my humble opinion, it is not. I have seen numerous projects take shape over the years, only to not be maintained and ultimately destroyed. Over and over again.

I have invited myself to be on a city committee to develop ‘water-wise landscaping’. I’m not quite sure what this means as I have always watered as little as possible in every landscaping job I have done. Does this mean more rock and more rock with just a few plants? Does this mean dozens and dozens of Karl Foerester grass in the rocks? I guess I will find out. Do you remember the gardens of days gone by? I know that the Saturday morning of the Sunshine Festival (now Summerfest) I was able to pick a HUGE bouquet of flowers for the Gosar Sausage Booth. I picked Columbines, and Penstemon, and Shasta Daisies, and Blue Flax and oh…the Iris, they were so beautiful! Where is the color now? I sincerely ask for your input on what you would like to see YOUR city look like. Please come in and share your opinion, please.

I hope you all have a wonderful and safe Memorial Day weekend. I am going to freshen up my front window that has the pictures of my Dad and Mom. And I am going to remember the days of growing up in the Luverne, MN, VFW. When you have time, read my Dad’s story and my Mom’s story—just take a minute in the front of my store. They were wonderful patriots who loved our country, loved and served, until they died. Ken Burns did a documentary on WWII and part of it was based in Luverne, Rock County, MN. My mother was in a documentary after the video was made. I am proud to be their daughter, and I am proud of the way I was raised. Thank you Mom and Dad! I miss you everyday!

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