Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Inviting Daphne to Your Garden by Rebecca Anderson

Daphne in bloom in April, photo by Rebecca Anderson
The daphnes (Daphne sp.) are a group of broadleaf shrubs that add interest to gardens around the world.  There are nearly 100 species of daphne, which are in the same family as thyme (Thymeaceae).  The most common species in the United States are the D. xburkwoodii, hybridized by British brothers Albert and Arthur Burkwood who were accomplished nurserymen in the 1920's.  The 'Somerset' cultivar is the original popular variety.  A beautiful mutation of 'Somerset' was discovered by New Jersey gardener Carol Mackie in 1962.  Since then, the 'Carol Mackie' cultivar has been widely propagated.  It is listed as hardy in zones 5 to 9, although many gardeners in zone 4 have had success.  'Carol Mackie' joined my flower bed in 2007 as an impulse purchase, and has really made herself at home since.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Don’t Miss the Boat: It’s Time to Plant Cilantro! by Amy Bubar

Cilantro, photo courtesy CSU Extension
I had the most delicious soup the other day at my favorite neighborhood eatery.  Creamy and rich, it also had the unmistakable fresh, bright essence of a certain herb, which served as the perfect reminder:  Now’s the time to plant cilantro!

Saturday, April 30, 2016

History of the Tomato by Cherie Luke

Photo courtesy
The best way to get a delicious tomato is to grow it yourself! And many of us must be doing just that: according to the US Department of Agriculture, 93% of home gardens grow tomatoes, making it the most popular vegetable to grow. With 25,000 varieties to choose from, it’s no wonder we are enamored with our tomato plants.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Planting Trees in Colorado for Arbor Day by Carol King

Photos by Carol King

Happy Arbor Day, an annual observance that celebrates the role of trees in our lives and promotes tree planting and care. What better way to celebrate than to plant a tree! 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 UniversityExtension.
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 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Jefferson County Master Gardeners in Service: Community Garden Coaching by Nancy O’Brien

Community Garden Coaching, photo by Nancy O'Brien

You might be wondering, “what is a garden coach, anyway?” A garden coach provides specialized gardening information to manage garden problems. Jefferson County Master Gardeners are available to provide coaching for neighborhood associations, fraternal organizations, schools, businesses or church groups that have or sponsor a community garden. For example, a Master Gardener coach could come to a community garden and work individually with each plot owner to figure out how to get maximum harvest from their space.

Monday, April 25, 2016

How to Read a Seed Packet by Paula Hamm

Photo by Paula Hamm
Growing plants from seed is incredibly rewarding and fascinating but there are a few things you need to know before you get started.  You can find nearly everything you need to know on the seed packet itself.  

First, every seed packet should list the common and Latin name of the seed inside the envelope.  It is not uncommon for more than one plant to have the same common name;  the Latin name can help you figure out whether the seed packet you are holding has the seeds you want.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Recommended Fruit Tree Varieties for Colorado Front Range by Carol King

Photo CSU Extension
Growing fruit trees along the Front Range in Colorado can be challenging but also satisfying.  Late frosts, heavy spring snows, and several pests and diseases make this interesting to say the least!  However, in successful years, the gardener can be blessed with bumper crops of apples, cherries, plums, and often peaches and apricots.

Here are some varieties that are considered among the best for success in Colorado  recommended by J. R. Feucht, former Landscape-Plant Specialist, CSU Extension; and Curtis Utley, Jefferson County CSU Extension.

The more reliable varieties are:
  • Cox Orange. Aromatic dessert apple. Yellow flesh.
  • Red Delicious. A good winter apple and very resistant to fire blight.
  • Golden Delicious. A fall apple of good flavor that bears sooner than most varieties.  Also a good variety to plant with other apple trees to ensure good pollination.
  • McIntosh.  An all-purpose red apple.
  • Johnathan.  A popular apple but fairly susceptible to fire blight.
  • Fameuse.  Old variety similar to McIntosh.
  • Goldrush, Pristine, Liberty, Empire, Honeycrisp, Arkansas Black, Sweet 16, Hazen, Winecrisp, Pixie Crunch, Sir Prize, Williams Pride, Fireside, and Jonafree are also recommended by Mr Utley.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Celebrate Earth Day by Audrey Stokes

Each year, Earth Day marks the anniversary of what many consider the birth of the modern environmental movement which began in 1970. At the time, Americans were slurping leaded gas through massive V8 sedans. Industry belched out smoke and sludge with little fear of legal consequences or bad press. Air pollution was commonly accepted as the smell of prosperity. “Environment” was a word that appeared more often in spelling bees than on the evening news.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Missing Monarchs by Caroline Reardon

Monarch migration, photo courtesy
In mid March, the Monarch butterflies, Danaus plexippus, who’ve overwintered in temperate central Mexico and southern California, mate and then begin their migration northward. Most fly either on a Midwest/Eastern path or along the Pacific coast, but some “strays” do fly through Colorado. 

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Growing Great Celery Video

Thinking about growing celery this year?  This video will help you succeed.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Honey Bee Swarm Season is Here! By Rebecca Anderson

Bee swarm, photo by Beckie Anderson
Spring means honey bee swarm season.  A swarm occurs when an existing hive gets too full and the bees are feeling crowded.  The queen bee produces a couple of princess bees as her replacement.  Then the queen gathers half of the worker bees to move out of the hive with her.  This results in a ball of bees hanging from a tree branch, eave or fence, peacefully humming to themselves.  

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Starting Those Hard to Grow Seeds: Stratification and Scarification By Brooke Colburn

Spring is creeping upon us here in the Front Range, and if you plan to start any of your flowering, perennial, native, or woody plants from seed, they may require some special treatment to overcome dormancy and germinate. There are two general types of seed dormancy: mechanical and chemical. Mechanical dormancy refers to a seed coat that is impermeable to water and or air, and it must be broken by a process called scarification. Chemical dormancy involves chemicals in the seed that must be leached away or broken down by a method called stratification.