Outdoor activity was in the offing for the July gathering of the Plant & Dig Garden Club. Members and guests headed for the Grand Mesa and our annual outing to view Mother Nature at her best: the wildflowers of this beautiful area.

Even our drive to our starting point at Land's End showed us sights of larkspur, wild yarrow, and many other flowers. Jude Kieka joined us once again, this time as our official guide and information source, adding greatly to our enjoyment and knowledge. Jude helped us identify many varieties growing around this rocky site. We spent lots of time with our eyes glued to the terrain, trying to find new specimens for her to explain. We even turned up one that she said she had never seen before. Pretty cool!

After surveying this site, we headed to another area that Jude particularly wanted us to see where a huge field of tall, white-stalked gentians were blooming, offset by purple penstemons -- a truly beautiful site. Jude explained that gentians bloom once, and then die, so we felt very fortunate to see this huge field so full of them. It was a sight we will all carry in our memories.

Club members and guests then headed to lunch at Grand Mesa Lodge. Rose, the co-owner, explained to us some of the history of the lodge, the recent renovation which unified the existing piecemeal structure into one cohesive unit, and the problems that the 12 feet of snow accumulation during last winter caused -- mainly with the roof which had to be shoveled twice to assure it did not collapse from the extra weight. She talked about the "tunnels" dug to the entrances of the cabins for access and the booming snowmobile business that was created because of the deep snow cover. Members and guests also browsed the gift shop, enjoying that experience along with the nice lunch provided by the kitchen staff. Thank you, Rose and your staff for your hospitality, and thank you, Jude, for sharing your knowledge of wildflowers with us once more. Both added greatly to making this another extraordinary day.

Club members continue to keep our two Pioneer Town flower beds beautiful. We are also working during the month of August at Horizons Care Center to keep the many flowering pots along the walkway of the courtyard, and the courtyard itself, looking spiffy. It is fun to hear comments from visitors at Pioneer Town and the residents, guests and staff at Horizons tell us how much they enjoy the fruits of our labor. That makes us smile.

Our August activity holds yet another field trip. This time we are off to the Paonia area where we will visit The Living Farm, owned by Elaine Brett, and hear about her experiences at this facility.

August, the "dog days" of summer, also brings us time to enjoy our gardens and reap the rewards of our labor. It is a good time for reflection and enjoyment -- things that are an integral part of our experiences as gardeners. These things also makes us smile.

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