Sunday, June 9, 2019

Mosaic Monday #31 - How Does Your Garden Grow?

Blue Columbine
My April 14 post, Anticipation, had me dreaming about the wild grass and wildflowers that we sowed in the fall.  I also speculated about our formal landscaping - would it return?  Would there be self-seeding?  Would the apple trees bloom and cross-pollinate?  And then we have the pines and the aspens we transplanted at the end of the summer.  Did they survive?  Since I know you have all been on the edge of your seats waiting for the answers, this post will put your inquiring minds to rest.

I began keeping a garden journal on April 21; on a weekly basis, I note observations about each of the plants, and take pictures.  I am also tracking key events such as rainfall.  I am confident that in years to come, my notes will become my own mini-Farmer's Almanac for planning purposes.  Call me crazy, but this approach and its future application gets me jazzed!

If I went all-out with this post, it would contain over 25 mosaics to document plant progress since April.  This is good news because it means that most of the landscaping survived the winter, but even I think that's too much.  Perhaps I will focus on the most dramatic transformation, or my favorite plants.  Let's start and see where this goes.

BEE BALM: I am excited to have several of these plants in our garden since they are a magnet for bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.  Last year, they did not bloom; I am hoping the second year in the ground will make a difference.
Left to right: April 21 through June 2; all other collages will follow
a similar format
COLUMBINE: My love affair with this flower began when I saw a plethora of yellow columbine along the Highline Trail in Glacier National Park.  Our garden contains red and blue columbine, although some of the flowers seem to vary from what was on the official tag.  Never mind, they are delicate and unique and I never tire of looking at them.
Red Columbine

WILD STRAWBERRY: You might be surprised to know that wild strawberry flourish in this mountain climate; the plant is among the first to sprout and bloom.  Of course, this also means they are very attractive to hungry critters in the spring.  This plant was chowed down to the ground at the end of April, and has been nibbled at least once since then while making a comeback.

PAINTBRUSH: If you've never seen one of these, the pictures will soon reveal the source of its name.  Paintbrush is a sought-after prairie beauty that prefers bright sites with medium dry soils.  Its vivid bracts nearly hide small greenish flowers.  These plants are seldom grown in gardens because they are partly parasitic and require the roots of a host plant to survive.

GOLDEN CURRANT: an ornamental shrub with fragrant, yellow trumpet flowers, this drought tolerant plant should produce sweet, golden seedy fruit within three years of planting.  Given the maturity of these shrubs when they were planted last summer, fruit this year is a distinct possibility.
The currants were the first of our shrubs to leaf out

WESTERN SAND CHERRY: This small shrub has grayish-green leaves that turn purple in the fall.  The mass of white flowers along the branches in the spring are followed by large quantities of purple-black fruits in summer.  Unfortunately, as you can see in the upper middle photo of the collage below, a couple of the sand cherries show significant withering.  I discussed it with our landscaper, and he asked if aphids were present.  By the time the damage was visible, if it was aphids, they had moved on.  I suspect it was aphids since I have now discovered the little sap suckers on our burning bushes!

WILD GRASS/WILDFLOWER SEED: Last fall, we scattered 30 pounds worth of wild grass seed, mixed with wildflower seed.  We were equal parts hopeful and skeptical, given 1) the seed is sown in soil that has been scored to loosen it - so, essentially, the seed is lying on top of the soil, 2) the target areas were disturbed and in some cases compacted during construction, and 3) birds and other critters would have an opportunity before snow fall and after snow melt to gobble up the seed.  I am pleased to report that hopeful won out in this case - we have a healthy crop of grass (that we don't have to mow) - the wildflowers will take a little longer to see.

TRANSPLANTS: In my November 7, 2018 post, I wrote that we had transplanted no less than 2 juniper, 18 aspen, 5 Engelmann spruce, 2 Douglas fir and 9 larches.  As spring approached, I recalled my days as a pregnant woman - anxiety mixed with joy as I anticipated our success rate.  AND?  The spruce and the fir are not showing new growth, but the needles feel soft, which means they are still alive.  (A dead tree would drop its needles at the merest touch, much like a dried-out Christmas tree.) The juniper have green tips, and 17 out of 18 of the aspen have leaves, with most of them fully leafed out.  I cannot say we have enjoyed such a ratio with the larch - only 4 out of the 9 greened up, and one more is questionable.  Sigh.  Good thing we have plenty of young larch to draw from elsewhere on our property when we try again in the fall!
Upper left: aspen; lower left: juniper
Top and bottom right: larch

ROYAL RED NORWAY MAPLE: If you've been following my blog for a while, you will recall that this maple was subject to some severe "pruning" by elk last fall.  It's still a little lopsided, but the overall condition is better than I expected when the elk left it with little more than a "poodle tail"!

FALL FIESTA SUGAR MAPLE: Now, this is a tree!  You can take the girl out of the Midwest, but you can't take the Midwest out of the girl!  Something about the leaf shape, the contour of the tree, its fullness - ah, that's a tree!

APPLE TREES: I saved the best for last!  The Honeycrisp was planted to honor my Father, a life-long gardener who taught me most of what I know about nurturing a landscape (he passed away in April 1998).  When I was a young girl, we had Winesap and Golden Delicious trees - so many sweet memories are tied to that small orchard.

As it turns out, a Honeycrisp needs another apple tree for pollination, so it seemed only fitting to dedicate the second tree, a Goodland, to my Mother.  It was a blessing that my Mom was here last September to harvest the first apples from her tree.  As I watch the bees and other pollinators buzz about the blossoms, I think of my parents, and I wish my Dad could have been here for one of his famous "garden tours", only this time I would be giving the tour.  This post is for you, Dad!
Elk also "pruned" the Goodland but it has made a full recovery

Welcome to Mosaic Monday, a weekly meme where we get together to share our photo mosaics and collages.
Please include at least one photo mosaic/collage in your post.
The link will be open from 1 p.m. Sunday until 11 p.m. Monday (U.S. Mountain time).
Remember to add the link to your Mosaic Monday post and not the one to your blog.
Please link back to this post so that your readers will be able to visit and enjoy more wonderful mosaics; taking the MM blog button from my sidebar is an easy way to link back.
As host I will visit every participant and leave a comment so that you know I stopped by.
Please try and visit as many other blogs as you can, especially those that join in later, so that everyone's creativity can be appreciated fully.
Thank you for joining in today and sharing your mosaics with us.

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Click here to enter


  1. So many beautiful flowers and plants!

  2. ...I have never been fan of landscaping with plants that needed a lot of fessing. If they needed extra care and attention they were too much trouble.

  3. I'll be back tomorrow morning to read your post thoroughly and comment appropriately. For now I'm heading to bed. Happy new week to you!

  4. I quite understand that you are thrilled to follow your baby plants - how they survived the winter and munching by animals. The apple trees as memory of your parents is a lovely idea. I have some perennials that come from my mother / my childhood home. Wishing you a beautiful week Angie.

  5. So, your passion for landscaping with plants was nurtured by your late father. He must be smiling at the Honeycrisp from time to time. I haven’t planted plant for the memory of someone but planted the seasonal plant on each occasion my four grandchildren were born. I’m sure your garden journal will be so useful and helpful for future as landscaping with plants will require comprehensive plan with the detailed knowledge for each plant. I'm thrilled to imagine how your environment will be in a couple of years, in a decade, and long time away. Incidentally, I'm a haphazard gardener. Keep up the good work.


  6. I agree, a passionate post! I wish you all the best with all this. I'm more a haphazard gardener, as well. This is a lovely visual journal for your progress!

  7. Hello, you have done wonderful landscaping. Beautiful trees, flowers and plants. I love the columbine, bee balm is another favorite of mine. I would love to grow the honeycrisp apple trees. It is lovely to grow special trees in honor of your parents. Thanks for hosting MM! Wishing you a happy day and a great new week!

  8. Nothing in gardening is a given especially in the wild so I'd say you've had great success. It's wonderful that you are keeping a journal of what you've planted or transplanted and how it's all doing. 118 F here right now. Ugh! My plants suffered a bit while we were away but I gave them extra water yesterday and they will spring back. Unfortunately, summer just started so it's just going to get hotter and hotter. :/

  9. Looks like all of your hard work is beginning to show, Angie. We have a relatively small garden compared to yours, but fairly large compared to the typical suburban plot. I know how hard it is to keep everything spic-and-span and to ensure one gets a good showing of flowers and vegetables...

  10. Our blogs are such a great way to document things. I look back at some of my wildlife sightings all the time to see when I saw something. I hiked this morning! YAY! It felt great to get out again! Happy MM! Hugs, Diane

  11. Angie, Nothing like a well dressed apple tree in full bloom. My Mom had apple trees (several varieties) in her winter garden. She left them behind when they moved to the apartment. Very good results with the transplants I would say. Thanks for the property update. Have a great week. Sylvia D.

  12. A lovely and very useful way to keep track of how plants are growing (and in a mosaic!). Thank you Angie for your 31st Mosaic Monday.

  13. Very nice. I like the way you have different categories for the plants. Fun to watch new stuff come up. I get the same feelings.

  14. Luv the idea of your plant journal. Happy Monday


  15. I believe I'm going to be a copy cat, Angie, and start a garden diary, too. This is my 3rd year of taking are of plants and they are certainly teaching me a lot, some of which is "listen to Mama." Hurrah for your maple! I've been thinking about getting a Japanese maple, but where oh where would it, could it, go. I think about digging up the driveway. We don't use the garage anyway. I wonder if a current bush would grow here. Thanks, Ms. Hostess!

  16. Really nice post. Our success rate with trees has been very mixed.

  17. Excuse me for writing late... I had to work in the mill last Weekend. Will post next on Happy Monday about.

    Your Garden diary is an inspiration for me, dear Angy! An interesting idea. Wonderful captures.

    I wish you a very good week. Thank you for hosting.

    Heidrun xxx

  18. Hello Angie. I continue to be impressed, overawed even by your attention to detail and snippets of knowledge that you impart.

    I am very much a reactive gardener, cutting the grass when it’s needed and tending the plants only before they get swamped by wilder ones. So, I can understand how that garden journal of yours will be so useful in your day to day and future landscaping plans. I wish I was more organised- too much time birding. That’s my problem!

    You will be interested to know that we are having the wettest and probably coldest June on record. We don’t need rain but are desperate for hot sunny weather.

  19. Lovely shots of your plants! That columbine is charming.

  20. Beautiful nature photos and lovely mosaic presentation ^_^

    Happy Day to you ^_^

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  22. Wonderful plants, the cover of your journal is so cute! I only havd a balcony, but I am waiting fir my cgerry tomatoes, red belk peppers and herbs to grow. I even planged a zucchini and squash, have a lovely day☺

  23. What a wonderful selection of plants. The journal is a great idea to put down your thoughts about the plant's growth, the weather and any other info you think is important. Great reading material later on and also a good way to compare the data for different years.
    Have a wonderful day, Angie.

  24. Wow, I learned a lot from this post Your photos are so pretty and you are so good at keeping track of the flowers.

  25. It is wonderful to see your plants coming along, hopefully the elks oeave them alone this season. Great idea to keep a garden journal.

  26. I LOVE the idea of a gardening journal. I started keeping notes this year too. I should do the rainfall too. Thanks so much for the idea :D
    Really enjoyed strolling through your garden.


  27. Wow, Angie, these mosaics are magical. I enjoyed reading and seeing your gardening efforts so much. And gave me ideas and reminders about what I should be trying in the garden. Keeping a diary is such a fabulous idea as I've found out, a garden is a multi year effort. And I tend to forget about things from one year to the next. What a great tribute to your Dad.

  28. I love reading about your plantings. I always get nervous each Spring to see what plants of mine return. So far, everything is looking good. :) Kit

  29. Actually, I did fall off the edge of my seat from excitement as to see if your seeds, plants, trees......had survived. I truly did. I have loved reading your accounts of all your plants and trees. In a couple of years when all your beautiful trees have grown, your landscape is going to be even more beautiful, if that is at all possible. I love that you record your landscape's journey both in word and photos. I too, love 'Granny Bonnets'. They grow like weeds here, which in my opinion is a most excellent thing. Thank you for this beautiful post, Angie, it was most informative. Love reading about the plants that thrive (and perhaps not) in your neck of the woods.

  30. It looks like your garden is doing very well :)


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