Yellow irises in my community garden
I’ve had a love affair with irises for a long time. They are easy to grow, easy to trade, and their colorful blooms signal the end of spring and the promise of hot summer days to come. When my mom would come to visit in the spring, we’d visit the local iris nursery and appreciate the blooms scattered around my community garden. She especially loved the yellow ones growing in Millie’s plot. She LOVED it when I brought splits to her on my trips to Wisconsin. She lovingly planted them around her home and over time, amassed quite a collection of those yellow blooms! When she passed away last fall, her spirit came back to one of my sisters talking about yellow flowers and I knew that she wanted us to have her yellow irises. We dug them up and split them among her four daughters to grow in our gardens. I will always think of my mom when I enjoy the irises of spring!
After this afternoon’s sudden hailstorm – a relatively common spring occurrence in Denver, I rushed back to my community garden to check for damage to my newly planted tomatoes and was struck by the vast array of blooming irises all around. Despite the rain, I couldn’t help but walk around and take photos of the beautiful blooms. Here they are:
Deep purple and yellow in Brenda’s Garden. May 28, 2018
Two toned yellow in Carol’s garden.
Light pink irises in Carol’s Garden.
The Herb Garden
Millie and Theresa’s Garden
The south border next to the orchard and Brad’s Garden.
The east border along the fence.
I love how gardeners at Rosedale settle in and plant beautiful perennials for all the enjoy. After looking at all the possibilities, I would love to expend my collection and just might be offering to help people split their irises in the spring.
This morning I met my running group for a lovely sunny Spring run on the Two Brands Trail in Hildebrand Ranch Park. This newer trail in Littleton is accessible from my neighborhood of Trailmark and from a parking lot on Deer Creek Canyon Road. This time of year, the grasses are low and the rattlesnakes have not yet appeared in the relatively cool weather. A perfect time to hike, run or bike this five mile loop! Today’s idyllic four mile jog brought to mind another similar expedition in June 2015 which followed a Seattle-like rainy May in Colorado. That morning, we reveled in the sea of colorful wildflowers and ambled much of the way taking photos and posing — until we saw the bear tracks on the trail.
Fortunately, we didn’t see the bear tracks until after we turned around. We’d run about 30 minutes out and had turned around to head back down the hill to our cars. I was the first to see the bear paw prints in the dirt and alerted the others. Geez — there was bear somewhere nearby and it had trotted along the same path we had run on for about a quarter of a mile! We knew the bear probably wouldn’t bother us as long as we were noisy. So we talked and concentrated on finishing our run — fast! We all laughed how normally we might slowing down on the last leg of a run but not today. Being one of the slower runners in the bunch, I focused on keeping a brisk pace and not being the last one. Nothing like a bear to motivate a slow jogger!
Whew! We all made it to our cars safely with a load of beautiful photos and a lot to talk about at our post-run coffee klatch!
A few years ago, I discovered a little treasure in my hometown of Littleton, CO. The Crabapple Trail, a civic project started nearly 40 years ago, winds through a few flowering miles of neighborhood streets in the downtown area. And its colorful peak only lasts a few days during the month of April. Its a Springtime ritual not to be missed.
I first saw the signs in 2012 and enthusiastically followed the trail that April. I missed the peak in 2013 but this year, I was fortunate enough to remember just as the pink and white buds appeared. To my delight, I was able to tour the blooming route several times with my mother, my sister’s mother-in-law, and my children. To fully enjoy the crabapple trees, one must drive with the windows down to inhale the fragrance of the trees.
The crowning vista of the route can be found at Jackass Hill Park located at
the crest of a hill on the south end of Prince Street. Trees bloom on both sides of the park entrance with the snowcapped Rockies in the distance and casting a dramatic backdrop for a perfectly stunning photo. Its easy to pull over to take a few photos at the park. But, don’t forget to stop and look up through the flowering tree boughs at the blue sky peeking through, close your eyes and take a deep breath. The beautiful sight and smell signifies the coming of Spring in the most perfect way.
By Robert Frost
Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers today,
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.
Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night,
And make us happy in the happy bees,
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.
And make us happy in the daring bird
That suddenly above the bees I heard,
The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill,
And off a blossom in mid air stands still.
For this is love and nothing else is love,
The which it is reserved for God above
To sanctify to what far ends He will,
But which it only needs that we fulfill.
Read at the Dedication of the John f. Kennedy Park, May 29, 1987, four days after my first child, Madelaine, was born.