Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Growing Bee Balm by Joyce D'Agostino

In the last couple of years, I had focused most of my garden space to vegetables, however this year I decided to once again dedicate some of the space to flowers. Adding flowers to your landscape not only brings their beauty and fragrance, but they can also attract important pollinators.

There is such a wide variety to choose from, I decided to grow some that not only have flowers, but fragrant foliage as well. In addition to lavender and hyssop, I also grew Bee Balm (Monarda hybrida), also known as Lambada. The showy flower heads come in red, pinks and lavender and their tubular flowers hold nectar that attracts butterflies, bees and hummingbirds.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Tomatillos, Part II By Amy Norwood

This is a sequel to the excellent post on growing tomatillos by Elizabeth Buckingham dated September 6, 2011,  a post I wish I had read before I planted my single tomatillo this spring.  Elizabeth warned us about single tomatillo plantings.
Tomatillo Plant

As of this writing , my tomatillo plant is a beauty, big and full with lots of wonderful flowers that have so far not started a single fruit.  I recently grew concerned about the lack of fruit and tried to find an explanation.  I was surprised to learn that there’s little consistent and definitive information on the subject of growing tomatillos on the Internet, in print, and in the knowledge base of seasoned gardeners.  What I concluded from my research is that, to maximize your odds for producing a tomatillo crop, you should plant two plants of the same variety next to each other.   I’m an amateur gardener, so I hesitate to offer what sounds like an authoritative an explanation for this, but here goes:  tomatillos and tomatoes are in the same family and are often discussed interchangeably in the literature.  But, unlike most tomatoes, tomatillos don’t self-pollinate.  Two plants are required to make fruit. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

How to Begin a Garden Project by Kate Sullivan-Sisneros

Author's Garden After Planning
If you have never done any gardening before or have never seen it done, getting started can be a little intimidating.  Where does one begin? 

Step 1:  Begin by asking yourself a few questions: 
What do I want to accomplish?  Do I want to grow vegetables, herbs, flowers, shrubs or some combination of all of these?
How much time am I going to have to tend the garden once it is planted?  What is my budget?  Am I willing or able to irrigate my new plantings?  Am I limited by space such as living in an apartment or patio home?  Answering these questions will provide you with some direction.

Step 2:  What do you like?  When I got started, I began by looking at pictures of different kinds of gardens.  What was I drawn to?  What are you drawn to?  Everybody’s tastes are different.  The library and internet are great sources for the budding gardener.  “Lawnscaping” by Scotts was one of the first gardening books I bought at Home Depot. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Creating a Backyard Pond by Rich Haas

Have you dreamed of having a second home where you can privately enjoy a gentle waterfall and babbling brook leading to a cool, relaxing pond?  The trouble is, most of these great places are many miles away and most often have been turned into multi-million-dollar resorts! 

Why not create that paradise at your existing home?  It is easier than you think!

A little history: I enjoy gardening.  I turned about 95% of my property into a perennial garden.  That is why I signed up to be a Colorado Master Gardener. Then I happened to go on a “Pond Tour”.  I realized then that this was what I was searching for in a second home!  Why incur the trouble and recurring expense (2nd mortgage?) of a faraway destination when you can bring it right to your home?

All it takes a little planning, effort and some expense but think about how wonderful it will be to enjoy a cool, peaceful waterfall at a moment’s notice simply by walking out your back door!