Welcome! Grab a cup of tea, and enjoy browsing some of the photos and stories. As the 'teawife,' it is my duty to watch and listen and be a supportive friend, and a loving mum and wife. I should post more often, but sticking my nose into everyone's business keeps me busy! Kathy the teawife

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Strawberries, Squirrels, Spiders & Snakes!!

When we had our backyard landscape redone a few years ago, there was one new huge bed that I decided to dedicate to berries. The landscaper thought I was nuts. He thought boring shrubs, which occasionally bloom, would be the better option. However, I decided to plant a variety of thornless blackberries, raspberries, gooseberries, honey berries and strawberries.

I planted strawberries in England in an old sandbox in some very poor sandy soil. To my surprise, the strawberries flourished there. I enjoyed going outside to pluck these intensely sweet and fragrant strawberries, and I wanted to do the same here in Colorado.

I started with four very small insignificant plants two summers ago. Oh my gosh. Would you look at what's happened? The strawberries have spread over the entire bed -- in and around the tree, over the stones, between the berry bushes, and everywhere they can dig in their tendrils!

I also found that much of the wildlife loves my strawberry patch -- spiders, squirrels, raccoons and SNAKES! There is one Mama snake who has taken up residence (and raised her young) in a corner of the patch. She's shed skin twice this spring, and she looks at least 2 feet long. Here is a snippet of her body I managed to photograph before she slithered into the rocks

I use a pole to push the leaves around to hunt for berries. I'm not putting my hand in there without carefully checking first!!!!

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Lovely Loveland Roses

My Irish husband grw up with wild roses climbing the retaining walls of his family's home garden. These were the old fashion roses -- single petals but lots of scent. 

A highly scented, extra large hybrid tea rose called Crescendo.
My green-thumb mom could grow roses in our old homestead in Texas. Her rose bushes were like monsters on steroids with loads of summer blooms. My favorite was her Peace rose, with its subtle cream and peach hues.

The Crescendo roses have a lovely pink and cream hue
After living with my hubby and son in Surrey, England, on two different assignments and for about seven years, I came to adore roses, which seemed to easily grow in every garden! Our homes at Keepers Cottage and later Hillside had a variety of roses, and I added a few extra bushes, too. We always had a philosophy that we only planted roses that had fragrance. Heirloom David Austin roses were my favorites.

When we moved into our home in Colorado a few years back, I was dismayed that we did not have one single solitary rose bush!! Our neighbor had huge and successful collection of roses, and I would walk by her display, somewhat green with envy!

Slowly, we've been making changes to our landscape, but it's no easy task. In Surrey, England, my soil was fertile and soft. I dug a hole, tossed in a plant, and voila! Done.

Colorado. Hmmmmmm. Colorado.

Every new plant requires a major operation to shift rock and clay and mix it with potting soil to loosen it up. Then, irrigation drips have to be installed for each plant. They aren't big on pop-up irrigation here for flowers and shrubs because of the evaporation. In England, it rained. A lot.

This hybrid tea rose is called Rock n Roll.
Buying cut roses for your home or for yourself was also a popular thing to do in England. And, cut flowers were available to buy at the supermarket or weekly market at a small price. I love having a vase of fresh flowers in my house at all times, but it can be a costly exercise here in the States. While I mostly grew floribunda or cluster roses in England, I decided to plant some long-stem hybrid tea roses here in Colorado with the idea of cutting my own roses.
Just Joey is another hybrid tea rose with a vibrant juicy fruit orange color and scent.
That said, I find cutting these beauties really difficult since they are lovely to enjoy outside, too! Run wild, free rose, run wild! Hubby and I love strolling through our garden in the evenings, stopping to soak in the scent of the roses and enjoy the vibrant colors. Bravely, yesterday I cut the first of one of my hybrid tea roses. It's a beauty with the scent to match.
The Rock n Roll rose is reminiscent of a strawberry and cream hard candy,
The previous owners of our Colorado house liked so-called low-maintenance shrubs, which are mostly bushy and joyless. We've had to be very creative to come up with new places to plant roses, and we're running out of spare spots. We just about break our backs getting the rose bushes into the ground, too. But they are so worth it, if I can find more garden space!