Category Archives: Uncategorized

Pansies, Violas and Panolas:

Pansies are one of the best plants to grow whether a seasoned gardener or new to the garden. Beautiful, easy-to-grow and even edible, pansies thrive both in early spring, in autumn and in many areas into winter. I reported on pansies for The Denver Post and also learned about a new mix between pansies and their smaller cousins: known as panolas, these plants will substitute for impatiens–formerly preferred for shade, but currently under siege by a plant disease.

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Cottage foods industry: adult “lemonade stands”

Cottage foods are a steadily growing trend. Are you an avid gardener with a surplus yield? Would you like to make a little profit from your homegrown produce? Or are you a baker who’d be sweet on selling your breads and cookies and other sugarplums — kind of the way you did at your childhood lemonade stands?
If you live in Denver, join the growing cottage foods industry. I reported on this win-win ordinance for The Denver Post. Here’s the link.
If you don’t live in Denver, check to see whether your town allows you to set up a stand to sell your garden produce, baked goods and other products. The cottage food trend is growing because people recognize this old-fashioned mercantile as a sensible wave for our future.

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Easy steps for long lasting, weather worthy Spring container gardens

flowers     If your green thumb itches for a spring gardening project, try your hand at these stunning spring container gardens. With a bit of planning and this expert advice, you can easily create the most stunning displays of spring favorites: tulips and daffodills, pansies and hyacinths. What’s even better is that with simple care these container will last, looking lovely week after week. These plants will withstand the last of Old Man Winter if that’s as issue for you, as it is here in Denver, where we can get blizzards in March. 

I reported this article for The Denver Post with the help of Laurie Jekel, owner of The Last Detail landscape design service in Denver for more than 30 years. Laurie designs the container gardens at Cherry Hills Country Club.

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Vatican cardinal praises “Angels Alleluia” film on angels

AADVDCover“Angels Alleluia,” written and directed by Colleen Smith, currently is streaming from the website of Rocky Mountain PBS. The 30-minute documentary film looks at the nine orders of angels according to scriptures, saints, scholars and artists.
Cardinal J. Francis Stafford — former Archbishop of Denver who went on to serve in the Vatican in Rome, Italy — recently viewed the documentary film. Excerpts of the cardinals comments follow:

“Thank you for sharing the documentary film on the nine choirs of angels. It is of excellent quality… You brought that mystery of mysteries, God’s inner life, closer to us through your commentary and direction. PBS deserves also our thanks for supporting a project not only of high artistry but also of deep interiority.”

“…The windows were infinitely detailed in their abstraction. How to organize and explain such holy realities in a non-sacramental, increasingly imageless world? Your writing and leadership molded the raw matter with a form. The myriads of beings in the glass were brought to order. Form requires finality, purpose… Your words complemented the art work — its movement and inner vitality came alive for us through your work.”

“Life and form danced together in the stained glass. Your leadership made the choreography work. The process of making the glass with fire and breath was literally breathtaking. The blending of skilled and verbal commentators was just right… Now God’s reality seems nearer even in His distance. Our Lady of Loreto has offered the wider church and world another gift. Your film has allowed us a glance of the glory of God in the mirror of the celestial Hierarchy… It leads each of us to a greater purity of heart so that every thought of ours will be God and every breath will be God. The theme is so profound and complex in its beauty that the film needs to be watched again and again.”

Rocky Mountain PBS will stream the documentary until Sunday, April 12. We invite you to watch here.

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9 Quotes about the 9 Orders of Angels

St. Julia's, Weston MA


“Our Guardian Angels are our most faithful friends, because they are with us day and night, always and everywhere. We ought often to invoke them. The Angels take great pleasure in helping us with our enterprises, when they are in accordance with God’s will.”

St. Jean Vianney


“It is from God, through angels, that we have learned the most beautiful of our doctrines and the most holy sections of our laws.” — Josephus


“The vision of the angels

works softly and peaceably,

awakening joy and exultation.”

— Saint Athanasius


“It is characteristic

of God and His angels

that in their activity

they give true joy

and spiritual exultation,

while removing the sadness

and affliction

that the enemy excites.”

— Saint Ignatius of Loyola


“The first thing about the angels that we ought to imitate is their consciousness of the Presence of God.”

— St. Jean Vianney


“Seraphim* were stationed above; each of them had six wings: with two they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they hovered.

One cried out to the other:

‘Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts!

All the earth is filled with his glory!’”

— Isaiah 6:2-3


“…the Lord Jesus himself,

leads them on

to the very fullness of truth

and eagerly unfolds before their gaze

the treasures of wisdom and knowledge

hoarded in the depths of His being.”

~ St. Bernard of Clairvoux on the Cherubim


“…through the ministry

of the angels

we have received

the opportunity

to ascend to the things on high.”

— Saint Hilary


“They place those

who are first in the last place

and the last first;

they pull down the mighty from their thrones

and exalt the lowly.

This is the source of their incentive to love.”

— St. Bernard of Clairvoux on the Principalities

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What flowers say to your Valentine


On the eve of Valentine’s Day, I’m remembering my stints working for Lehrer’s, a Denver florist, and for Country Fair Gardens. In both establishments, Valentine’s Day was a big holiday. Flowers make beautiful gifts.

This Valentine’s Day, if you’re giving flowers to somebody you love, you might enjoy these four heartfelt posts on my page, where I serve as Denver Flower & Gardening Examiner.

Happy Valentine’s Day to you and all those you love.

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Trip to the Hemingway House Revives Interest in Classics

The Hemingway House in Key West, FloridaI’ve never been a huge Hemingway fan, but I’m planning to go back to some of his classics.

A visit to the Hemingway House in Key West, Florida, inspired me to think again about the writer I long ago dismissed as too macho for my tastes. The bullfighting put me over the edge.

On the other hand, I do recall emulating his spare style while I studied fiction writing in the Iowa Writer’s Workshop. And I do mention Hemingway’s short story “Hills Like White Elephants” in my forthcoming novel, “Only Wild Plums.”

And his house and garden: Oh, my! That veranda! Those cats with their abundance of toes. I looked at a black-and-white photograph of a series of headstones, and read a caption below noting that Ernest Hemingway buried all his cats and dogs. I knew he couldn’t be as macho as I once imagined. He had a heart for his pets.

And his wives, I trust. His many marriages also turned me off the writer, but I listened as the tour guide introduced the three Hemingway women whose portraits hung together in the museum house. The name Hadley Hemingway stuck in my imagination.

Then one of my fellow Book Babes picked “The Paris Wife” as our club’s read-of-the-month. I’m almost finished with the book, and I’m understanding Papa in new light. The author, Paula McClain, presents readers with a fully drawn character in her novel, and my sympathies lie both with Hadley and with Hem.

With about 30 pages to go, I can’t help but think ahead to what I know about Ernest Hemingway’s life and death. And what sticks in my craw is that maybe Hadley would have reigned as Mrs. Hemingway had she not lost those manuscripts so early in the marriage, so early in the novel.

Maybe only another writer would fully understand the depth of despair that unfortunate incident must have caused the poor writer.

With deepened sympathy for Hemingway, I now appreciate him more knowing that he was not only a hunter and a fisherman, but also an alpine skier.

Once I finish “The Paris Wife,” I’d like to pick up a copy of “The Old Man and the Sea” or “A Moveable Feast.”

Hemingway seems new again, thanks to a peek into Hemingway’s home and studio and Paula McClain’s page-turning novel of which I cannot help but think Papa would approve.

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