Columbines in the Garden

Columbines in the Garden

I told you that I would post some photos of the Columbines once they popped so I could see the colors.  I bought a large selection of many types at the end of the season last year on discount.  Since they were past their prime, I didn’t really have any idea what the color of many of them would be.

Double Columbine

Didn’t label them so didn’t remember WHERE they would be.  It has been like a treasure hunt in the garden watching them start to grow as I recognize the leaf and when the flowers come, such a surprise.

Double Columbine

I did manage to get a few yesterday that were not on sale unfortunately, but are definitely different colors and varieties than I have right now.

Cream Columbine

I do so love a good columbine and oddly enough even having heard that name of the flower, I had never encountered them prior to living in the mountains of Colorado on our ranch in the front range.

Blue Columbine

I have no idea why I hadn’t seen a columbine before, why no one that I know seems to grow them, or why there aren’t even MORE colors and varieties as they are so easy and fun to grow.

Double Blossom and Double Color

I have counted 5 different colors and types so far.  Sadly, my maroon purple with a white center double one from Colorado doesn’t seem to have survived the winter.

I know this was supposed to be all about Columbines, but I couldn’t help adding in one last photo of the stunning poppies that popped in the yard just a day ago.  They are such a shock of color that I can see them from all the way across the yard.  I remember last year, shortly after we moved from CO to MI, that I happened to look out our bedroom window one morning and saw this shock of color in the yard.


I had no idea what it was and hurried outside to take a closer look.  Imagine my surprise to find that we had a bunch of these growing in the bottom of one raised bed.  I have beds all over the yard, but this is the only bed they are in.  I love the centers and the vivid color.

I think that Charlie should paint some poppies, what do you think?

Garden Photos on Alba Ranch

Garden Photos on Alba Ranch

I have been snapping a few photos here and there of the garden over the last week as it is so in bloom.  Tulips, Lilacs, Bleeding Hearts (Grace’s plant), Choke Cherry Trees and others too numerous to mention.  All my Columbines are starting to pop and it is super exciting as I bought about 20+ of them on clearance last fall past their prime and stuck them in the ground here and there everywhere.  I am excited because now I get to see what colors they are.  Every time one opens it is a surprise as I didn’t really know what they were going to be.  Soon more of them will be open as the flower heads are just starting to open and I will get some photos for you.

Grace’s Plant aka Bleeding Heart

In the mean time, I have included a few of my favorites.  Grace’s Plant aka Bleeding Hearts are one of my all time favorites.  When I was first married to her son, Charlie, and living in Scotland newly transplanted from Michigan…..I was sometimes lonely.  I started talking gardening and plants with Grace and we both had a passion for it.  One day I remember she handed me this root thing and said “plant it and it will grow”.  I looked at it and she said “No, really.  Plant it.”  Apparently my face showed my thoughts as if I was screaming.  I did plant it, and it did grow and it was stunning.  I love the little hearts with their little bleed bit.  I had the pink with the little white bleed from Grace.  I started calling it Grace’s plant and have ever since.  When I see them I always smile and think of her.  It is hard to believe that she has been gone almost four years now.

White Bleeding Heart

For variation, I tried to grow the all white version in Scotland and it died on me.  But the pink and white one that Grace gave me thrived.  When we moved back to the USA and out to Colorado, one of the first plants that I bought at the garden center was another bleeding heart.  Even at 7500 feet above sea level, on the side of a mountain, in a high altitude desert, that pink and white bleeding heart thrived in my garden.  I would sit on my chaise lounge and look off the mountain ridge down in the valley in direct line of sight of that bleeding heart so I could see them both and talk to Grace.  I remember saying to her “See your hearts and the mountains. Aren’t they lovely?”  I again tried to grow the white one, and it died.

Once we moved back to Michigan, I dug up my pink and white bleeding heart from Colorado and drove it all the way to New Era, MI in a feed sack and pot.  I bought another pink and white form the garden center here as well as another white one.  Third time is the charm right?  The white one faded away, the leaves browned and fell off and the flowers died and it just shriveled up and disappeared.  The pink one that I brought from Colorado and the new one that I bought from the garden center were still going strong but the white one had gone and died on me again!  Imagine my surprise this spring when that white one popped up again.  Success…finally.

My Choke Cherry trees also were dug up from Colorado and drove here in a feed sack. They absolutely adore Michigan weather and climate and I am going to be making a lot of choke cherry jelly this fall.

Newly resided and roofed wood shed with winter wood started

I know that it is June and everyone is thinking of summer and warm weather, but WINTER is coming!!  For those that Homestead and live closer to the grid, we prepare all year long for winter.  Charlie has roofed and sided the woodshed in metal siding to match the garage, studios, hay barn, lean too and wood shop.  Eventually all our out buildings will be done like this and the house will have its copper roof with white stucco.  We thought the out buildings could handle being white metal siding rather than posh stucco.  What I love about this photo, is not only the great job that Charlie did re doing it, but also that our wood supply for the winter is about 25% there.  We are on our way and once we get the wood split and stacked down in the orchard I expect that we will have this years and a good share of next years wood already laid up.  Yes, that is how I like to go into a winter!