Welcome to Lola’s Garden!
Lola’s Garden is located on a small ranch in rural Idaho, at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. Dogs, cats, birds, horses and of course a couple of people live on the ranch, which is well organized by Lola, the Border Collie.
There is always a lot going on here on the ranch, and especially in the Garden. We have a short growing season, so lots of planning goes into the garden during the winter and then, when spring hits, there are not enough hours in the day. Because we are high desert, we need to irrigate and a big part of gardening around here is really plumbing, replacing heads, cracked mainlines and making sure the driplines drip to each tree and shrub.
We grow hay for the horses in the winter and have to irrigate the fields. The ranch was giant sagebrush (and knapweed) 20 years ago when we first moved here. Now we have several fields of grass and alfalfa, and are able to turn the horses out in the spring to graze without feeding them extra hay.
When we first moved in, there were no gardens, there wasn’t so much as a tulip. Somebody had gone to the local market around July 4th and bought everything which blooms right then: Shasta Daisies, Lupine, so the one garden bed looked great for about a week or two despite being choked with grass and knapweed. The berm had three live and two dead spruces. The one small aspen was foolishly allowed to grow into what is today a scary gigantic grove, and 40 foot cottonwoods lined the stream which runs diagonally through the ranch and from which we draw all the irrigation water.
Over the years a series of gardens have been created, many plants and trees added. The English Garden has a wonderful collection of miniature conifers and an 8 sided power garden as its centerpiece. A pond with a waterfall was added, the back of which contains the miniature garden, a miniature pond and walkways through plants collected throughout the world. The Maze is still and most likely will always be a work in progress… We added a way-too-big strawberry bed and an orchard of apples, plums, peaches (yep, zone 4 peaches), pears and apricots. Two years ago a parterre of peonies, roses and lavender was put in where the south facing lawn always struggled during the hot summer months. Hardy succulents and Mediterranean plants have succumbed and thrived along the south side of the house, in an attempt to push the envelope of what can and cannot survive our harsh winters. A thick layer of snow always helps to create micro-climates where these special and delightfully fragrant plants can survive.
I would love to connect with other gardeners, and share what I’ve learned. The best lesson of all is the sense of community I’ve always found with gardeners online, just as dog lovers, who are a breed apart. Lola, our special little girl, knows where every bird, horse and cat are at all moments, and ceaselessly checks them all to make sure everything is organized.