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Sunday, May 31, 2009

When Flora Met Fauna

Gardens are the topic of the day. Gardens in Greeleyville to be exact. Shade gardens, edible gardens, well trimmed gardens, and gardens that take more water than the Nile can deliver, so to speak.

The trees, the parks, and the gardens, thus far, are one of my favorite things discovered in Greeley. As I explore more I am sure there will be other things and I will cover them in my blog. No doubt along with the small things I find disconcerting like the plentiful and myriad large rumbling, bumbling, garbage trucks that dominate the neighborhood street one or two days a week. But for today it is gardens.

I started laying out my kitchen garden early upon my arrival in town as I could not readily find sources for tasty organic products locally. They may be here and it may be I have just not stumbled upon a good source. So in the meantime the basil, tomato, red bells, and other necessities are potted in the backyard and doing well. Thyme, oregano, mint and other ground cover has been stashed between the landscaping rocks in the front yard. I enjoy exploring Mediterranean foods but I hate paying a fortune for good mint from a local store when it grows like a common weed in your garden under the right conditions. Besides these plants look beautiful. At least for now. I realize I have winter in store to learn about yet. And winter in Greeley will be vastly different than my previous winters. Snow tires are on my shopping list. Wool garments too.

These are all parts of the motivating experiences that lead to my rise and shine every morning. (Well, to be truthful, I don't shine every morning but I try to keep it in mind to try to for the sake of the others in the household.) It is interesting coming to a new area. For many reasons. I find myself sneezing, my eyes looking at its planted beauty through red rims, and slowly adapting. Talking to a local gardener dedicated at the current time to expanding his shade garden I found out a few things. He helped me build some good soils for my cooking herbs and to identify some of the tree pollens that may be bothering me. I have never had allergies before. I'd like to go back to not having them again. Our chat was productive and interesting to say the least.

First it had never dawned on me that there could be seemingly so much water in the middle of the prairie yet never quite enough. I thought twice about turning on the hose after my chat with the gardener. I decided to set out and see more of the flora and fauna and get some ideas on what would be practical. So I went around town and the University area yesterday and saw grand tall oaks bigger than any from home. Cottonwoods, Elms, and even Canadian Larch trees lined the streets. It gives one the sense that people have taken care over time to add green to their environment and nurture it with delicate parenting care. The lawns are proudly manicured in most sections of town and the landscaping shows signs of being groomed and shaped. It makes for a pleasant aesthetic. On campus, so I am told, the diversity of plant life looms even larger. I like different things and I appreciate a town where the houses and landscaping do not look like cookie cutter clones of the neighbors. Originality is a good thing. I wonder if it will play out in other areas of community life.

As mentioned, I already see qualities of diverseness around town. Maybe not everywhere, and maybe that is not always a good thing, but there are abundant examples of well cared for gardens available for the drive-by eye. I looked for a garden tour in the local media but could find none. If someone knows of one please let me know. I saw some divergent species around town that I'd like to know more about and understand how they fair in this climate.

Secondly, as I questioned the gardener, I found that most plants in this area, should be, geared towards the watering needs of the Blue Grass fondly cradled in most lawns. Equally surprising was the information that this type of flora and fauna requires about 40 inches of rain a year while Greeley gets a little less than the state average of rainfall a year at about 8 inches. Always having been fond of math, especially when it reminds me of my checkbook figures from my twenties, that leaves a 32 inch deficit to cover.

Does this mean that the groundwater systems are slowing being depleted or does the local watershed draw upon excesses from the more bountiful surrounding mountains and aquifers?

Ah I can see I need someone with more specific information to source out this equation.

Watersheds interest me greatly. More so since my growing understanding of the dangers of the ever encroaching salination of our fresh water systems as the population expands haunts my plans for having great-great grandchildren. Have I mentioned that I enjoy thinking about systems and how they impact the present as well as the future?

I guess not since this is my first posting. Life isn't just a box of chocolates. It is a puzzle waiting to be explored.

There will be more shared in the future to come. I enjoy writing and learning. I like examining the holes in the Swiss cheese of life. Considering my curiosity is now focused on my new home this seems a good peaceful way to begin my quest of discovery here. And as I seek out a new role here in your community I hope you, the reader, will join me on this journey.

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