Friday, April 29, 2011

Adding Raised Beds to Your Garden By Joyce D’Agostino



Those of us who live in the front range of Colorado know that our compacted clay soils are a true challenge to having a successful garden.  In addition to the hard clay, the high pH of our soil

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Evergreen Earth Day Festival By Grace Olson

Apprentice Master Gardener Judy Huckeby and Master Gardener Laura McReynolds (right)
    Saturday, April 23, rung in the Evergreen Earth Day Festival with a dusting of snow across the shores of the town’s lake. Volunteers from the Colorado Master Gardener program braved the weather with other non-profit organizations in order to represent the Jefferson County Extension at this popular annual event.

    “It’s important to let the community know we’re here,” said Master Gardener Laura McReynolds, who has been volunteering at the event for the past three years. “It gives us exposure, and lets people know we are always here to answer their questions.”

    And the slushy, April snowstorm outside made it clear that there are plenty of questions for the gardeners of Evergreen.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Peeple's Community Garden by Caroline Reardon


Here's a little left-over Easter whimsy!   Inspired by the Denver Post Peeps contest, Master Gardener  Caroline Reardon  set up a Peeps "diorama" on one of the straw bales that's getting ready for planting in a couple of weeks.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Northern Sea Oats – a great match for your garden


Northern Sea Oats would make a great personal ad: pretty, flexible and low maintenance, likes relaxing in the sun or reclining in the shade (not sure about long walks on the beach), not over-bearing and not attractive to deer.  Sound appealing?

Most ornamental grasses do best in full sun but Northern Sea Oats grass, Chasmanthium latifolium, is very adaptable to a wide variety of growing conditions including shade. It’s a really unique grass with interesting seed heads.  Looking at the seed heads you are immediately reminded of fish skeletons hanging in clusters from each stalk or also flattened oats but I prefer the fish comparison. 

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Pest Problems Abound After a Dry Fall and Winter by Mary Small

We’ve sure had a dry fall, winter and early spring! And alas, as I write this, I can hear the wind roaring outside.  Our persistent dry, warm, windy weather has stressed plants and this will make them susceptible to disease and insect pests in 2011. Many tree care specialists think there will be a lot of damage this year.

Here are a few problems we can expect to see:
CSU Extension

Winter burn on evergreens. 
In fact, you can see it now. Look for brown needles, particularly on the south or on the windward side of the plant. Needles will be uniformly brown from the tips inward.  It’s the result of our dry, warm, windy weather that promotes transpiration, water loss through the needles. This isn’t a problem until there’s not enough water in the soil to replace what gets lost. Sometimes, though, water loss happens so fast (like on windy days!) that plants  cannot keep up with it. Needles lose so much water so fast, they dehydrate or “burn”. 
Little can be done at this point, except to water plants and hope for rain or snow! This spring’s new growth will mask most of the brown needles which will eventually fall off. Winter burn does not usually kill established plants, but may seriously damage younger ones.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Care and Feeding of Outdoor Wooden “Chain Saw” Bears and Other Critters by Stan Ames

For those of us that enjoy these whimsical sculptures, there are some definite guidelines for their care and preservation.

When you buy your critter ask the sculptor what brand and color of spray paint was used to add the contrasting colors to it. Buy the same paint for your own application in current or future maintenance to your new or existing critters.

Where do you buy these sculptures? You can “Google” for them using “wooden chainsaw garden animals” as your search request, or there are several vendors just outside of Manitou Springs or in Nederland.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Cutting and Disposal of Tall, Dry Ornamental Grasses by Gardener Dave

Many ornamental grasses grow quite tall, to 5 feet and even much taller. They can remain quite attractive during the winter in their erect dry state, unless the snow breaks them down. Then they become messy. However, they can be cut down and disposed of after they are dried, in the fall, winter or early spring.

Handling these long dry grasses once they are cut off can be very messy, as the dry blades are pesky to chase and pick up, especially if it’s windy. Why chase loose blades when there is a better way?

Friday, April 8, 2011

Plant Select Announces 2011 Winners

Avalanche White Sun Daisy
Every year, Plant Select® chooses new and underutilized plants to promote to regional gardeners and landscape professionals. New plants are evaluated on their ability to thrive in a broad range of garden situations in the Rocky Mountain region, their resilience to the region’s challenging climate, uniqueness, disease and insect resistance, ability to flourish in low water conditions, long season of beauty in the garden, and noninvasiveness.


You might want to take this list with you to the garden center!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Catkins Cometh! by Carol King

I  know that spring has “sprung” when the street in front of my house becomes covered with cottonwood catkins. Our neighborhood in North Lakewood has many cottonwoods, poplar, willows, birches and aspen trees: all catkin-loaded!  And spring is definitely here.

The catkin is is a strand of tiny unisexual flowers, blooming on many species of trees. The flowers are tiny and inconspicuous, but the blooming catkins are lovely, though very short-lived.  Catkins rely on wind to spread their pollen, and we have certainly had the wind helping out. After the female flowers are fertilized, the male catkins wither and drop.

Each species of tree has its own habits and forms, which are interesting to contemplate. The brief beauty of the catkin-bearing trees hearlds early spring, a welcome sign of greenery to come!

The word catkin is derived from the Dutch katje, meaning "kitten", because it resembles a kitten’s tail. Enjoy this brief display which hints of Springtime!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Choosing Healthy Plants at the Garden Center by Carol King

Garden centers and big box stores are starting to be filled with tempting plants for your garden. How do you choose the healthiest plants; plants that will be successful in your landscape? Here are four steps to help you do just that!


1. Inspect the leaves.  Look for foliage that isn’t discolored, spotted, dried out, wilting or curling.  Spots can mean insect damage or  viral or fungal diseases. Curling, crispy or brown leaves can mean  drought stress or disease or insect damage.    Wilting plants indicate either too much watering or not enough.  Discolored foliage can mean that the plant hasn’t been receiving proper nutrition.  Check the back of the leaves also.  Don’t purchase if there is white fuzzy fungus or rust colored spots on the back.