Thursday, May 28, 2015

Spring Planting? Add Some Natives to Your Landscape! by Donna Duffy

Aquilegia caerulea (Colorado Columbine)
There is a growing trend among Colorado gardeners to incorporate native plants, trees and shrubs into their landscapes. Indeed, in some areas, native plantings may be required by law, covenant or policy. There are so many good reasons to include native plants in the landscape! They attract pollinators, butterflies and birds, they are adaptable to poor soil, and they typically require less water. 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Planting Trees in Colorado by Carol King

Photos by Carol King

Spring is typically tree and shrub planting time in Colorado.  The garden centers and big box stores are offering a huge assortment to choose from.  How does one know which tree to choose?  Choosing the right tree is essential to tree health and success. Don’t just go to the garden center and take whatever you can find.  Put some study into it. 

Ask yourself some questions. What is growing well in your neighborhood? What varieties are suited to Front Range Colorado and are most resistant to common insect and disease pests? What is the purpose of my tree?  Shade? Fruit? Windbreak?  This can be a daunting decision so here are some resources to help:

Front Range Tree Recommendation List, from Colorado Nursery Grower's Association, American Society of Landscape Architects Colorado, the Colorado Tree Coalition, and Colorado State University Extension.
Recommended Trees for Colorado Front Range Communities, from Colorado State Forest Service,
Read more: Colorado tough: Great trees for your Western garden - The Denver Post 

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Memorial Day and Poppies by Carol King

Photo by Tina Negus
The Memorial Day Organization tells us that Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service.  Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No.11, and was first observed on 30 May 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.
In 1915, inspired by the poem "In Flanders Fields", Moina Michael conceived of an idea to wear red poppies on Memorial day in honor of those who died serving the nation during war. She was the first to wear one, and sold poppies to her friends and co-workers with the money going to benefit servicemen in need. Thus a tradition was born.

In Flanders Fields
John McCrae, 1915.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Why not plant a poppy bed in honor of Memorial Day?     Poppies are easy to grow in Colorado.  They are drought and pest resistant.  Many varieties grow easily from seed.

Here's an article that will help you have success with your planting. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Gardening Power to the People: The Power of Mulch

It's time to mulch! In this short video, Jill Knussman, Jeffco Master Gardener, gives you tips for using mulch in your garden.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Edible Flowers by Betty Cahill

Photo courtesy
Nothing sparks an "oh, my, how lovely" response more than beautiful, edible flowers in, on, or around food. It's a splendid presentation! Kids think it's cool to eat flowers (but only the ones you plant).

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Spring-planted Bulbs, Corms and Roots by Donna Duffy

Photo courtesy

As you are thinking about your summer flower garden, don’t forget to include spring-planted bulbs, corms and roots. Some examples include gladiolus, dahlias, canna, lilies and tuberous begonias.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Gardening Power to the People: Growing Tomatoes in a Container

Did you know you can grow great tomatoes in containers? This video will show you how.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Successful Strawberries by Rebecca Anderson

Photo courtesy PlantTalk Colorado
Fresh strawberries are a sure sign that summer has arrived. Strawberries (Fragaria ananassa) do well along the Front Range, even at higher elevations, making them a crop that can be rewarding for home gardeners. When establishing a new strawberry bed, try to pick a site that has not had raspberries, cherries, tomatoes, potatoes or eggplants growing in the past 5 years. These plants carry diseases that can infect and decrease the productivity of the strawberries. Select a site that gets at least 8 hours of sun during the summer. A soil test prior to planting is ideal so the soil can be amended according to the pants' needs, but if not possible, work one to two inches of compost into the bed one month before planting. 

There are many strawberries varieties to choose from. They all fall in one of three categories: June bearing, ever bearing and day neutral. June bearers produce the earliest fruit that is the largest and some say the sweetest.  However, they bloom the earliest and are prone to blossom damage from our late frosts. Ever bearers are considered the hardiest for the Front Range. They produce a spring crop and a fall crop and a few berries in between main crops during the summer months. The day neutral varieties produce berries for 6 week intervals 3 times during the summer. For gardeners who are going to pick one variety, ever bearers are recommended. Varieties that do well here are Ogallala and Fort Laramie. Some gardeners like to plant a few of each type to hedge against any failures of a specific variety. June bearing strawberries recommended for this area include Guardian and Honeoye. Tristar and Tribute are recommended varieties of day neutral strawberries. 

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Hardening Off Seedlings by CJ Clawson

Photo by Judy Sedbrook, CSU
Most of us are in Colorado because we love the sunny days but the cloudy, overcast weather in our current forecast is really a gift for gardeners at this time of year because it's the perfect time for hardening off.  This is the process of acclimating your seedlings to the outdoors - an important step in gardening success.

You spent hours looking at seed catalogues and carefully selecting the vegetable varieties you wanted to grow.  You've babied your seedlings with the best possible care and now they are beautiful!  Please don't skip hardening off!  

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Onion Decision Tree by Rebecca Anderson

Photo courtesy PlantTalk Colorado

Onions are a good crop to plant when the weather is still cool and the garden is calling for some sort of action. Take a tour of any garden center or seed catalog and you will find a plethora of onion selections. How does a gardener decide which is best for a Front Range garden?

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Plant a Perennial for Mom by Audrey Stokes

Coral Baby Penstemon photo Plant Select©
Mother’s Day is May 10 this year -- just around the corner!  All moms like to be given flowers on their special day. This year why not give a gift that “keeps on giving” and plant a perennial for Mom? Perennials may not have as great a visual impact in the container or immediately after planting as traditional horticultural species. Over time, however, they will reward Mom with their natural beauty.
A few of the many reasons native perennials are the ideal choice for a home landscape are:
  • they are naturally adapted to Colorado’s climates, soils and environmental conditions. 
  • they require less external inputs such as watering, fertilizing and other cultural factors when the planting site mimics the plant’s native habitat. 
  • they create habitat and attract a variety of wildlife including mammals, birds, butterflies and other native pollinators.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Spring Pruning of Roses by Donna Duffy

Hybrid Tea Peace Rose before pruning

Sharpen your pruners and grab your gloves – it’s finally time to prune the roses! In Colorado, the best time to prune roses is around the end of April, after the danger of frost. By now, the roses have broken dormancy, and have lots of green growth.