Colorful Annual Garden

I wish I could find a way to describe how this garden made me feel the other night.  I was driving home, it was hot, I was distracted…and then I came around the corner and WOW!  A surprising shock of marvelous color!  Normally I don’t like lots of different colors in one garden because it is easy for it to look busy rather than restful. This gardener’s key to success  though is using blocks of the same plant and curving edges that make you feel like you are in an Impressionist painting!


Tulip Time in Pella, Iowa

The last few days I’ve been writing about my mini vacation to Pella, Iowa.  This weekend is the big celebration of Pella Tulip Time.  We chose to visit the weekend before the crowds arrive, and we missed out on the parade, everyone dressed in historic costume and wooden shoes, but it was nice just to have the tulips to ourselves too, without so many people around!  Remember those posts I made in February, longing for spring and tulips?  Well, my longings are well satisfied now!

Spring…fresh, not yet too hot, the strong have pushed through the darkness, upward, breaking through, settling for nothing less than sun, air, and life.  We see the outer loveliness that encloses the hidden inner beauty and strength!

Inner beauty

VEISHEA and ISU’s Lake LaVerne

It’s greening up nicely here in Ames, Iowa!  Today it was marvelous to just watch leaves blow in the wind.  I love green lace time when tree branches are like nurseries full of baby lacy leaves, but today the leaves are like teenagers, big enough to blow around, wrestle and interact with the big blue sky.

Here are some pics I took a week or so ago during ISU’s own home brewed celebration called VEISHEA, a word made up from taking the first letter of each of the colleges that make up the university.  Our little Lake LaVerne  next to the Memorial Union is one of my favorite places on campus.  During VEISHEA there are canoe races and students and visitors  sitting around the lake to watch.

Calling Laura Ingalls Wilder fans

While my son was growing up, we read the Laura Ingalls Wilder books aloud to each other, probably several times for each book.

This winter, as the snows kept coming, I got a yearning to read The Long Winter again and the agronomist in me became re-fascinated with the idea of Pa and Laura twisting slough grass into sticks to burn after their coal ran out.

At Purdue I learned about alfalfa and timothy, but slough grass hadn’t been covered.  Just what IS slough grass?  I still don’t really know the technical answer to that, but I do think I have a picture now!  After our picnic at Briggs Woods park, we slipped off the road to Baurer Slough.  It was still pretty brown and bleak looking, but I hope to go back when it is green, and maybe sometime when it is teeming with water fowl!

I’m guessing this is similar to Laura and Pa’s coarse slough grass.

I wonder if Laura would be honored or amused to know that in 2010, we are talking again about using grasses for fuel…not twisted sticks of slough grass, but cellulosic ethanol!