2015 Gardens – Saying goodbye


During the summer and fall of 2015, we were getting our house ready to put on the market.      Mid-Spring , I dug up the seven roses I wanted to bring along.  Also potted up some special herbs and a few favorite perennials to bring to the new location.  Seemed a little crazy at the time, but I’m so glad they are here!

Apothecary's Rose

My husband and I spent the summer of 2015 painting the inside and outside of the house. I said a lot of good byes to my wonderful gardens and rambling roses.  I drew a map for the new owners and labeled the herbs and roses that stayed behind.  Thankfully, they are gardeners, and really connected with the herbs and growing spaces.  They love the gardens!

Now we begin again to build new gardens, but this time with all of our accumulated knowledge and experience.  We will try new things, including Elderberries, Honey Berries, and Hawthorn.   Schizandra will finally have a permanent place to grow.  We will plan ahead for the vigorous vining habits of Passiflora incarnata.


I can almost feel this property breathing a sigh of relief as we make plans to bring the soil and the landscape back to life.  Gardens, here we come!

2014 Gardens – Early May

Greetings!  Time to take a walk through my beautiful, organic Spring garden.

It was a hard winter – for roses and bees.  Normally my crabapple would have been alive and buzzing, but nary a bee did I see this spring.  It’s done blooming now, and I’m just starting to see a few bees here and there – not nearly as many as in past years.  Very sad.  I hope the human race gets a clue before it’s too late!

The old roses and species roses are all leafy and green.  The hybrids are all attempting to leaf out from their very bottom branches and graft points.  Thank Heaven for Rose de Rescht, Darlow’s Enigma, Apothecary Rose and the Rugosas!   Not sure how the others will recover.  Next year I’ll add 12″ of mulch around each rose bush.

Here are images of what is blooming now, in early May, in my gardens:

Pulsatilla is STILL blooming after 3 weeks!
As long as I deadhead, this plant continues to bloom.
An early blooming anemone! Very vigorous. Grows well with Plumbago and Campanula.
From the front sidewalk, you see the Anemone along with Basket of Gold and Catmint. LOVE!
Purple Mullein (Verbascum weidemannianum) – so beautiful!  And Medicinal!
Erodium chrysanthum (Golden Storksbill) – Putting on quite a show this year! LOVE!
Must have very well drained soil, so I added a generous amount of pea gravel to the soil.

Lovely purple Ajuga with Norton’s Gold Oregano.  Later, the oregano greens, then blooms with pink flowers.
I’m considering planting these peach miniature iris next to the Lipstick Fragaria.
The first wave of violets came on quickly this year. LOVE!
Bitter Root in full bloom. Continues for several weeks.
One of my all time favorite plants that requires well-drained soil.

Closeup of these stunning allium. I’m keeping all the seed for myself!
The first Saponaria flowers of the season.
Soon the entire plant will be covered in these little beauties.
The Blue Mallow is just getting started, but still quite large
(That’s my size 7 foot there).

Lots of other herbs and flowers coming on, including Verbascum canadensis, Echinacea paradoxa, E. tennesseensis, E. angustifolia, and E. pallida.  Looking forward to sages, clematis, hollyhocks,geraniums, penstemons, roses, oreganos, skullcap, prunella, passiflora and many others – which I will share with you!

Summer Gardens – June, July & August 2014

It’s August already.  Here’s an update…

Photos from the June Garden

Verbascum canadensis started blooming in early June and kept going
for at least a month. I harvested at least 5 bowls of flowers from this amazing plant.


Verbascum canadensis close up



Elecampane, an extremely durable plant, started blooming vigorously in June.

First year for Elecampane (Inula helenium)!  I planted it last fall, and it’s been quite impressive.  Love the flowers.

Toward the end of June, I gathered roses and bee balm.

These are English roses, Crown Princess Margareta.  It’s quite vigorous, and I’m growing it as a short climber on the entryway arch to one of my gardens.  The bee balm looked so amazing during June and part of July, but I think it needs a wide area of very well drained soil to thrive.  It grew pretty well in a  pot that I mixed 1/3 pea gravel, 1/3 sand and 1/3 composted garden soil.

These hollyhocks reseeded in what turned out to be the ideal location for them.
Such a beautiful color.

I had some other ideas for this location in my garden, but since these Hollyhocks look so amazing there, I’m turning it over to them.

Blue Mallow and Penstemon were gathered to make infused oils and bath teas.

Valerian growing in a deep pot, surrounded with the lovely Norton’s Gold Oregano


Purple mullein and arnica flowers


One of my favorite Clematis – Clematis viticella ‘Venosa Violacea’
Blooms for a number of weeks in an amazing display


Clematis viticella ‘Venosa Violacea’ in full bloom


The delightful Alpine Skullcap I bought in Canyon City from Tami Hartung’s organic farm.
Reblooms when harvested right after bloom gets going.

Turns out there are a zillion kinds of Skullcap.
This is Cherry Skullcap – also long-blooming and charming!

Sometimes I buy small plants that I’m unfamiliar with, but curious about, and I grow them in pots for a while to see what their growth habit is like.  I planted this one in a pot with a species Iris, and later planted them together in a well-drained area of the front garden where they just might bloom together next June.

Photos from July

Early July brought the long-awaited blooms of Primula florindae, also known as Giant Cowslip.
I’m infusing the flowers in rose hip seed oil for external use, and making an elixir for calming and relaxation. Such a beauty!


Closeup of the beautiful flowers. They carry a very intriguing and spice fragrance. Taken July 3 2014.


The beautiful flowers of Wood Betony (Stachys betonica).
I plan on growing more of this in a large clump, as the flowers are so lovely.
Matthew Wood recommends harvesting the leaves prior to bloom, which is what I did. Now, in July, enjoying these lovelies.

Bee balm, Calendula, Echinacea tenneseensis, Stanwell Perpetual Roses and St John’s Wort…thank you for gracing my gardens!

 August images

After carefully pruning this rose after it’s first lengthy bloom, it’s now reblooming in August.
Organic Age Old Grow and Mile Hi Rose Food really make a difference.

I first saw this rose, Morden’s Sunrise, at the Botanic Gardens in Denver.  I have not been disappointed.  Got it at Harlequin’s Gardens in Boulder.  While having a very mild fragrance, it’s amazing color and form are just beautiful.  It’s a very vibrant plant, too – suffered very little dieback over the past winter.  My other hybrid roses struggled to come back, but are looking pretty good and also reblooming here in August.

Rose de Rescht, Prunella lanceolata and Lemon Verbena.
Making these plants into a tooth powder later this summer.

Three of my favorites:  Rose de Rescht is an old rose with compact and very fragrant flowers.  Blooms like crazy for a couple months, takes a break, and often reblooms vigorously.  These are some of the roses I use in Rose Elixir and Rose Honey.  Lemon Verbena – the fragrance is a little slice of Heaven on Earth.  It is a relaxing herb with tonifying properties, tastes and smells delicious.  Prunella has amazing healing properties.  Antibacterial and antibiotic, it can be consumed as a cold infusion, added to salads, or steamed like spinach for general use, and I also tincture it to make mouthwash, combined with Echinacea and Spilanthes tinctures.

Love morning glories..


Rudbeckia. Gotta love it. Some herbalists categorize it with Echinacea.
My little dog sometimes grazes on the leaves first thing in the morning.

The very fragrant roses, Angel Face and Stanwell Perpetual.

The beautiful garden my husband built for me.
Photo taken August 14 2014




I’m available for garden consults, redesigns, and plant recommendations, and I am selling my herbal products on Etsy!

Be well, and happy gardening!

Gardens 2013

First, the Spring Garden:

Lewisia blooms early and continues for many weeks

Listed as an endangered plant, Lewisia or Bitterroot would be worth adding to your rock garden or along the edge of any well-drained garden in full sun.  Early blooming, and continues to flower for several weeks.  Montana state flower.

Pulsatilla vulgaris – not the wild variety, but still has a mystery and beauty about it

Pulsatilla, or Wind Flower, also blooms early in the Spring.  With it’s lovely ferny foliage, make sure you plant this where it’s interesting flowers and foliage are readily seen in the early garden.

Species tulips growing next to early and continually blooming Corsican Violet.  Wood Betony leaves grow in a clump, showing off their scalloped edges.

Another delightful species tulip





I love species tulips!        



These are the most beautiful purple iris!  Long-blooming and very hardy.  That’s Sulfur Buckwheat blooming behind the iris on the upper level garden.  Catmint blooms in the foreground.

The Summer Garden:

Codonopsis is a perennial in Zone 5. Dainty twining stems and leaves wind their way up the trellis in mid-Spring.  Later in the season, Codonopsis’ tiny round buds open into small purplish-green bell-shaped flowers.

This Codonopsis plant was given to me as a tiny seedling by one of my fellow students at the North American Institute for Medical Herbalism three years ago.  I planted it in a pot, and it grew quite well, but then died back…  I wasn’t sure about harvesting the roots, so I let it go.  Lucky for me, it came up the following year, grew very vigorously in a pot all season, and then I transplanted it to the garden, keeping my fingers crossed that it would survive and perhaps thrive.   And so it has!  I’m planning on harvesting some of the roots this fall.  Known as “poor man’s Ginseng,” Codonopsis is often used to strengthen the immune system, invigorate the spleen, and treat a variety of disorders, including high blood pressure, lack of appetite, diabetes, memory loss and insomnia.

Several of the Penstemons in my herb garden came back with great vigor!  Much larger than I expected, and the flowers stayed for several weeks.  Native Americans once used Penstemon to treat bullet wounds.

Wood Betony, with it’s distinctive foliage, growing next to Norton’s Gold Oregano in partial shade.  Wood Betony, known as Stachys betonica or Betonica officinalis, is an herb that fell out of favor, but was once used widely.

Hops Oregano just budding.  Such a beautiful plant in every stage.

The same Hops Oregano in full bloom.  These are actually bracts that are easily dried.  They retain their color for months or even years if kept out of direct sunlight.  Pretty!
Honeysuckle!  This one blooms mid- to late Spring, and repeats throughout the season.

One of my favorite Penstemons.  It’s a Husker Red whose foliage is now all green.  Blooms over several weeks in partial shade.  I added Penstemon heterophyllus (Electric Blue) in front of it, so next year we should have quite a show.

Ajuga reptans is a lovely vigorous groundcover that blooms in early summer.  Grows in sun or partial shade, and the flowers are held above the variegated foliage for a number of weeks.

Early-flowering clematis on the arched trellis entry to my herb garden.

The herb garden in morning light.

Love these Hollyhocks!

I grew these beautiful hollyhocks from seed.  I was hoping for a more dramatic mix of colors, but the pale pink flowers are quite lovely.  They dry to a medium pink and retain their substance.  Excellent to infuse for a bath tea, or as part of a dream pillow formula.

The amazing old rose, Zephirine Drouhin. This is the first flush of bloom in it’s first full season of growth. 

An exceptionally fragrant old rose (1866) from France.   Should reach 10′-12′ tall by about 6′ wide.  Will bloom in partial shade, according to some of the garden blogs I’ve visited.  So far, mine had an amazing first flush of bloom in early Summer, followed by sporadic blooms on the new growth.  Here in August, it is still pushing out new canes and buds.

Zephirine Drouhin closeup.

Crown Princess Margareta English Rose – can be grown as a shrub or climber. Very fragrant, especially in the late afternoon.

An exceptionally fragrant lavender rose, Angel Face.

One of my all time favorite roses for color, shape and fragrance.  Angel Face is one of the best roses to distill into a hydrosol.  I combine Angel Face with Rose de Rescht, Hansa Rose, Ebb Tide, and Westerland for an outstanding hydrosol.  I also air dry these roses for use in bath teas and dream blends.  Rose-infused oils, witch hazel and honey are wonderful for skin care.  Rose infused honey is more than delicious – it’s heavenly!

Autumn Sunset and a charming red rose that volunteered.

I love the Autumn Sunset climbing rose.  Wonderful fragrance!  I may have to move mine to a more protected location, as it’s not doing well against a south-facing fence.  We just enhanced the soil with a mixture of mushroom compost, earthworm castings and Azomite rock dust.  I’ll know soon enough if more work is needed to rejuvenate this rose.

A large, fragrant rambling rose, Darlow’s Enigma. A “found” rose, it is one vigorous plant!

Just Joey bouquet. Huge, beautiful flowers with a light fragrance.

Scutellaria laterifolia is a vigorous plant with tiny twilight blue flowers.

When  I first bought these plants, it was obvious they hated growing in those 2″ pots.  I wasn’t sure how they would like my fertile, regularly watered garden…  Turns out that this plant LOVES growing in my garden next to Dan Shen, Lemon Balm, Lemon Thyme and Prunella.

Prunella lanceolata has such magnificent flowers!

Lots of vital force in this plant.

Althea officinalis

Lemon Thyme – not as prolific as Mother of Thyme, but a lovely plant and the fragrance is amazing.

The second season, Meadowsweet bloomed with many very fragrant flowers that the bees adored!

Meadowsweet, Filipendula ulmaria, is one of the best anti-inflammatory herbs.  This plant reached five feet in height, and was incredibly fragrant.  I feel so blessed to have this plant growing happily in my garden.

A biennial, Verbascum canadensis will produce a huge candelabra of medicinal flowers next year!

Another favorite bee flower – Lauren’s Purple Poppy – would often have 5 to 7 bees in each flower at one time. I will grow these every year from now on.  These poppies did best in the more “tended” garden, surprisingly.





Gardens 2012

 My gardens were very successful last year!  Even though Passiflora incarnata is listed as a zone 6 plant, it came back with great vigor last spring here in zone 5.  I ordered it from One Green World, and decided to grow it in a large clay pot in 2011, as the plan was to take it inside for the winter.  The pot stayed all summer in front of our south facing back fence, and the Passiflora vine reached about 9 feet high and bloomed the first season.  When we went out in late September to bring the plant in for the winter, we discovered the roots had grown out the bottom of the pot and into the ground.  Those are the roots that came up  everywhere in 2012. I planted some bulbs in October 2012.  In full bloom on March 11 2013.


The plants were just getting started in the photo below, on the right.  This new garden is in full sun, running east and west in my very sunny back yard.  Small ecosystems developed later in the season, making it possible to grow sun-loving and shade-loving plants next to each other – in perfect harmony.  Prunella grew quite prolifically in between two roses.  Scutellaria found it’s way into the shade of Wild Indigo and Meadowsweet.  Nettle took up an entire corner in one season from a very small plant. Following is my garden description from 2012. On the left, the May “upper garden” in bloom.  This is a mature 5-year old garden.  On the right is a view of my new herb garden, installed last year, and planted in late April/early May.  This photo was taken in mid May. Below is the herb garden in late June.  I attribute the growth and vibrancy of the plants to the soil enhancements – namely organic goat manure and glacial rock dust.   The organic material improves uptake of nutrients from the soil while the rock dust remineralizes. My gardens hold an extensive collection of my favorite herbs, including Roses, Penstemon, Lavender, Thyme, Mints, Passionflower, Mallows, Echinacea, St. John’s Wort, Lemon Verbena, Lemon Balm, Violets, Sage, Motherwort, Plantain, Wood Betony, Hyssop, Wild Indigo, Oregano, Angelica, Oat, Lewisia, Rudbeckia, and others! Love them! All organic, of course. Creating a growing environment that is appropriate for each plant is the key to successful gardening.  I seem to have a knack for it. Lots more info coming on how to create an ornamental medicinal garden.  Even if you don’t have garden space, many herbs grow amazingly well in pots.  For example, I grow Oats (Avena sativa) in a pot every year.  The dogs eat the grassy part, and the plants still send up their oats!  I get a lot of my seeds from Mountain Rose, by the way.  Another plant that loves growing in a container is mint.  I grow several different kinds, as it’s such a versatile and tasty herb.  Be sure to give it plenty of room to spread, water generously, and you will be rewarded with lush, fragrant, nutritious, delicious mint.

2 Responses to Gardens

  1. Mark M says:

    Wow! What a pro garden artisan! Google searched and found a link to your page of the Elecampane in bloom and discovered something I’ve never heard of before. Schisandra. I wonder if it will grow here in North Georgia. How do you keep you plants looking so healthy? If its not the bugs, the blight destroys half my gardens. -Mark M

    • Thanks, Mark!

      Schisandra Eastern Prince is the one that I’m growing. It’s a zone 3 plant that enjoys some shade and moist, well drained soil. This is my first Spring growing it in the ground, so we’ll see what happens. Evidently, it can trail along the ground, but only the upward-twining parts of the plant will fruit. There are other varieties of this plant listed as zone 7 at Evidently, you would need to plant two of these varieties for cross pollination. Would love to know what happens in your garden if you decide to grow one of these.

      Here’s a link I found for organic blight control:

      My plants look so amazing for a couple reasons. First, my gardens are all organic. My “secret amendments” are glacial rock dust and mycorrhizal inoculant. Miraculous. I also add rabbit manure, horse manure, goat manure at various times, and use Age Old Grown organic plant food periodically. Selecting plants that LOVE to grow in Colorado also has a lot to do with my success.

      Happy Gardening!

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