Much of my gardening enjoyment comes from the endeavor. I like getting my hands dirty, caring for plants, and struggling to encourage growth in a challenging gardening environment. Vegetable gardening is a series of daily events with planting, weeding, fertilizing, thinning, pruning, and harvesting on the list of chores. For me, my flower beds require much less residual work. I focus on perennials and once the initial planting and mulching is complete, they pretty much take care of themselves and fade on my activity roster. But when they burst into bloom it fosters the same sentiment as my veggies and fruits.
Many of my summer flowers are finally blooming. My season is much later than most due to the high elevation and I seem to enjoy new flowers as other gardeners are watching their gardens wane. The flower beds were put in and planted last year so this is the first season when they've been able to assert their own authority. I'm pleased with the results.
My wife is enchanted by the Kniphofia, the Red Hot Pokers. One long bed is filled with xeric plants and the Kniphofia steal the show. Among the flashy Gaillardia, the stately presence of the rainbow stalks draw immediate attention to their display.
It took a lot of work by me and many friends to break the sod, amend the soil, and plant the plants. Besides the ones I’ve mentioned, many other beautiful flowers have roles in the landscape. This season I'm able to sit back and enjoy the vivid visual fruits of last year’s labor. It's a success story that once again proves how beneficial gardening can be.
I still have many gardening tasks before me in the weeks ahead and almost all of them center around the vegetable garden. It makes those tasks less of a chore when I can take a break and lean from the deck railing or sit on the patio and be surrounded by the colors of nature, colors that I had a hand in creating. The butterflies and birds enjoy the same theater. It makes me glad that I'm not a one-act gardener.