Monday, January 18, 2021

Year of the Hyacinth by National Garden Bureau

Jan Bos Hyacinth
A tried and true performer that's big, bright and sweetly fragrant.
Longfield Gardens

Hyacinths are spring-flowering bulbs that are treasured by gardeners for their heavenly fragrance.  The blossoms open in mid-spring, at the same time as daffodils and early tulips and they come in rich, saturated colors.  

Friday, January 15, 2021

Year of the Monarda by National Garden Bureau

Jacob Cline Monarda
American Meadows

Monarda is a member of the mint family and consists of multiple species, most of which are hardy perennials and all of which are native to certain regions of North America. Summertime flowering on all these species is quite attractive to humans and pollinators.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Recording My Garden by Nancy Shepard

Photo: Nancy Shepard

I’ve been keeping various journals about my adventures in gardening for about 10 years. Before that, I just relied on memory and whatever they were selling at Home Depot. If they sold those plants at the local hardware stores, those must be right for my garden I reasoned back then. When I started writing down my mistakes and successes, gardening became a more serious endeavor.  My journals have evolved over time as I grew in my knowledge and saw more success. I can now see there are constant ingredients that have proven most helpful to me in making records about my garden. Here are some of them.

Monday, January 11, 2021

Spider mites on my houseplants – yuck! by Vicky Spelman


Close-up of spider mites
University of Maryland Extension

How are your houseplants doing?  See any webbing or discolored leaves?  You might have spider mites.  

Spider mites are tiny eight-legged arthropods that are related to spiders and ticks. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Your trees and shrubs could use a drink by Vicky Spelman

Image Credit: Denver Water

Prolonged dry periods and high winds can dry trees and soil. Watering your trees and shrubs will help ensure their optimum health. Water only when temperatures are above 40º F during the middle of the day so it has time to soak in. 

Monday, January 4, 2021

How Do Birds Survive The Winter? By Cornell Lab of Ornithology - Bernd Heinrich

                                                                              Illustration by Megan Bishop

<<It seems logical that most birds flee the northern regions to overwinter somewhere warmer, such as the tropics. Their feat of leaving their homes, navigating and negotiating often stupendous distances twice a year, indicates their great necessity of avoiding the alternative—of staying and enduring howling snowstorms and subzero temperatures.

Friday, January 1, 2021

Carol O’Meara: Garden gazing ball predicts busy 2021


As a little girl, I thought the ornaments in my grandparents’ garden were old-fashioned to the point of being fogey, for example… the green gazing ball nestled in the roses didn’t inspire my preteen mind to anything other than an eye-roll.

Now that I’m older I have more appreciation for garden tchotchke and the gazing ball has made a comeback, and I admit, I can see why.

Monday, December 28, 2020

Where To Recycle Your Christmas Tree This Year by Vicky Spelman


Many municipalities across Colorado have free tree recycling or composting programs for holiday pines that have served their festive purpose.  

What happens to the trees? In most cases, the trees are chipped and made into a mulch which is usually made available, free to city or county residents. 

Important: Never burn your Christmas tree in a fireplace or wood stove. Burning the tree may contribute to creosote buildup and could cause a chimney fire.

Here are four cities in Jefferson County that have Christmas tree recycling or composting programs.  Trees must be stripped of all ornaments, hardware, strings of lights and tinsel. 


Arvada: The city will accept trees for recycling anytime through Jan. 19.

• Lake Arbor Lake Park, 6400 Pomona Drive

• Stenger Fields at West 58th Avenue and Oak Street

Golden:  Christmas Tree recycling is provided by the City of Golden Forestry Division. Program details are distributed every December in the Golden informer.  Drop off your trees now through January 27 west of the intersection at Highway 93 & Golden Gate Canyon Road. Please place your tree near the sign posted for tree recycling. For further details, contact the City of Golden Forestry office at 303-384-8141.

Lakewood:  Tree recycling from 7 am to 3 pm., December 26th, through Sunday, January 12, 2020. Tree drop-off will take place at Lakewood's Greenhouse, 9556 W. Yale Ave. The greenhouse is located between Estes and old Kipling streets. Please follow posted signs and drop trees in the designated area. Tree recycling is free for Lakewood residents. Mulch will be available upon request.  For more information, please call 720-963-5240.

Wheat Ridge: The city has a free tree recycling program for residents that runs through the end of February. Drop sites are open from sunrise to sunset:

• Prospect Park, 11300 W 44th Ave.

• Panorama Park, W 33rd Ave & Fenton St.

For additional cities and counties in Colorado:




To recycle your old Christmas and Holiday Lights:  RecycleLights

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Mistletoe – Everyone’s Favorite Holiday Parasite by Vicky Spelman

Photo Courtesy Pexels

The Christmas Holidays have a rich association with plants and a couple of favorites are the Christmas tree and mistletoe.  In winter when many trees and plants are bare, mistletoe stays green.  

Monday, December 21, 2020

Celebrate the Winter Solstice by Donna Duffy (a past Master Gardener)


Photo BlueDotMusic

It feels like the days just can’t get any shorter, and it’s true. Today we celebrate the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year. 

December Solstice (Winter Solstice) arrives at 6:30am in Denver, today December 21, marking the moment that the sun shines at its most southern point (in case you are counting, the sun is about 9,473 million miles from earth today).   The winter solstice occurs in December, and in the northern hemisphere the date marks the 24-hour period with the fewest daylight hours of the year. To the delight of many of us, this means that the days will start getting longer, however incrementally.

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Why is my Christmas tree beginning to grow? ~Michigan State University Extension

Decorated Christmas tree with new growth
Photo by Doug Thalman

In some years, species prone to early break bud like Concolor fir, Douglas fir, Balsam fir and Black Hills spruce are likely candidates to possibly break buds once displayed.

It may seem like a miracle when your Christmas tree breaks bud and begins to grow while on display, and it is, the miracle of nature.

Often, Michigan State University Extension educators receive calls from homeowners in December because their Christmas tree has broken bud and started to grow while in the house. To understand what is going on, we need to talk about how conifers develop and survive the winter. Each year, trees follow a cycle of dormancy in the fall. This process helps them survive through winter until spring when they will come out of dormancy, de-harden and resume growth.

The two most critical environmental factors that trigger the dormancy process are the reduction of light, or photoperiod, and low temperatures. Conifers will stop growing and set terminal buds as days become shorter even though the day temperatures are still relatively warm, but the nights are cool in August and September. The dormancy process first begins because of decreasing photoperiod, but continues as trees respond to low temperatures around or just below the freezing point. This dormancy or chilling period is needed before normal growth will resume in the spring.

As a general rule, most conifers need to accumulate at six to 10 weeks of exposure to temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit in order to meet their chilling requirement to overcome dormancy. The chilling requirement is an evolutionary adaptation that protects trees from starting to grow anytime they experience a brief warmup during the winter. It’s the same reason bulbs don’t start to grow as soon as you plant them in the fall. 

Close-up of a Christmas tree breaking bud. Photo by Doug Thalman.

Some tree species require a relatively short chilling period to overcome dormancy. If we have a cold fall and early winter, trees may accumulate enough chilling hours to satisfy their dormancy requirement before they are harvested from their field or during shipping and display at the tree lot. Once the chilling hours are met, the only thing keeping the tree from growing is that outdoor temperatures are too cold. Once trees are placed in a warm, favorable environment, they can and sometimes do begin to grow like it’s springtime. This can seem like a miracle, but it is just the miracle of nature.

Article: Bert Cregg, Michigan State University Extension, Departments of Horticulture and Forestry, and Jill O'Donnell, Michigan State University Extension - December 10, 2020

via Extension Master Gardener

Monday, December 7, 2020

Tips for Care of Cut Christmas Trees by Vicky Spelman

Christmas Tree Farm Photo credit: Penn State Extension Master Gardener Program

Is your Christmas tree up? Did you get a fresh one?  Whether you cut your own tree or bought a pre-cut tree, here are some tips to make the most of your fresh tree.