Going back once again to the Denver Garden Bloggers Fling last June, let’s talk about the private garden of Dan Johnson and Tony Miles. I loved it. It was relaxed, joyful, and crammed with goodies.

An adobe wall stands in front of the house. Look at the cactus and sedum in that bowl-shaped container resting on the wall!

Dan Johnson is a serious garden person: Associate Director of Horticulture at the Denver Botanic Gardens. And yet in the GBF program he says that his main garden goal is to figure out where to put all the plants he has acquired. In other words, he is just folks. Possibly he is having a little too much fun here, but I won’t tell on him if you won’t. 

I spent a lot of time over the weekend finalizing my seed and plant orders for spring planting. Though “finalizing” may not be the right word, as I always end up making follow-up orders for every season.

This list would be much longer, but I already ordered lots of stuff that I planted last fall.

From Brent and Becky’s I ordered 25 Caladiums – the white and green ‘Candidum Sr.’ and the more colorful ‘Celebration’. I discovered last year that starting Caladium bulbs inside is much cheaper than buying them at the garden center.

2014-08-09 18.12.50 Calladium
‘Celebration’ Caladiums with New Guinea Impatiens.

What with St. Valentine’s Day coming tomorrow, I thought I would tell the story of how I met Judy, my blog partner and spouse of almost 35 years.

So cast your minds back to 1983 in Chicago. I was working for a political organization, preparing for a regional conference up in Madison, Wisconsin. Judy was an experienced community organizer and between jobs. More on that later.

On the last day of the 2019 Fling we visited the Denver Botanic Garden (DBG). Its 23-acres are located in an urban setting, not far from downtown – unlike Chicago’s Botanic Garden, which is located in the far suburbs.


After a couple of years of Polar Vortex, this winter has felt pretty mild. There’s been cold, but it’s rarely gotten much below 20 degrees (in my opinion, you don’t have real cold unless it gets below 20). And there’s been snow, but never more than a few inches at a time, and often not even that.


A few days ago Judy slipped into the Back Garden with her camera to take some pictures of the light blanket of newly fallen snow. Her attention was taken by Middle Billy Goat Gruff. He was installed as a companion to the Big Billy Goat Gruff (Aruncus dioicus – the native Goatsbeard) and Little Billy Goat Gruff (Aruncus aethusifolius – Dwarf Goatsbeard), both growing nearby. And you see they have a bridge to cross.

Planting some Wild Lupine (Lupinus perennis) in our garden may be a pretty bad idea, but I really want to. They’re such beautiful blue flowers, and I love blue flowers.  I’d like to plant them at the north end of the Driveway Border, where they would emerge out of the Hardy Geraniums and Nepetas.

prairie nursery lupine
Photo from prairienursery.com.

Wild Lupine is native, though uncommon, in this part of Illinois. You may know that it is the only host plant for the endangered Karner Blue Butterfly. However, it’s probably unlikely that we will see any Karner Blues. Wild Lupine is also  a host plant for Duskywing butterflies. They are more likely to be seen, but they are terribly drab.

The Lurie Garden now has an incredibly cool interactive map on their website! If this does not thrill you to your very core, then I pity your torpid soul.

2020-02-04 (3)

I learned about the map from reading a post, The Challenges and Rewards of Mapping the Natural Garden, on the Lurie Garden website. The post was written by Peter Slothower, the Lurie’s Assistant Horticulturalist and Gustafson Guthrie Nichol Public Garden Apprentice. Click here to read the post for yourself – it’s fascinating stuff.

So you’re walking along in a pleasant Denver neighborhood of single family homes, when suddenly you come upon a front yard that looks distinctly different. This is the garden of Jim Borland, a retired radio talk show host, and one of my favorite stops on the Denver Garden Bloggers Fling last June.


On the third day of the Denver Garden Bloggers Fling we visited the home garden of Rob Proctor and David Macke. Rob Proctor used to be the director of horticulture at the Denver Botanic Gardens, so I was looking forward to this visit with keen anticipation.


The Madison Garden Bloggers Fling: Don’t Miss It!

The 2020 Garden Bloggers Fling will be held in Madison, Wisconsin on June 18-21st. For most of us Midwesterners, that’s just a few hours drive – truly a golden opportunity for those who have never before attended.

Ohlbrich Botanical Garden
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