Loose Ends: The fleeting flower extravaganza

What is it about the flowers during this time of year that make even the most jaded among us stop and take notice? It could be the challenge the plants face year after year, a reminder of the constant struggle against ever-changing high country weather. The official pronouncement that summer 2011 has arrived follows on the heels of a late, late, spring which is just now producing a profusion of flowers in the most surprising places. Shooting from underneath a tangle of overgrown bushes and weeds, a cluster of California poppies catches the downcast eyes of passersby. Yellow wild roses decorate the clumps of curbside bushes and orange Indian paintbrush cling to the hillsides.
Flower sightings are reported as regularly as the weather reports, with full descriptions of time, place and circumstance included. Directions for finding the latest wild specimens are more specific than the directions to local residences. Many locals, tired of waiting to head up into the high country and see the first columbines of the season, have scores of the domestic version blooming in their yards.
Putting plants in the ground after the last frost is the local reality so many gardeners have been waiting for the snow to move off the top of LO7. Memorial Day is the usual time for planting flowers, yet it seems that quite a few folks held off for a week or two more. One family took the easy way out this year. Rather than using patio plants and hanging baskets as decorations, they simply eased them out of their containers and inserted them in places throughout the yard.
The dated expression for preserving food, “putting it by,” describes much the same process, yet a lot more work. “Putting in” is the new modern solution for taking the work out of gardening.
This might turn out to be a true solution for the no-fuss-no-muss problem-solving proponent. Things could get a little thornier for those who like to take pride in their efforts with the green and growing things in their yards. When someone compliments the gorgeous blooms on the flowering plants, it might seem a little strange to accept the compliment. It might be warranted to learn from the time-honored response to kitchen compliments, “I’ll pass it on to the …” and substitute gardener for cook.