Monday, March 18, 2013

Gardening in a Time of Water Restrictions by Donna Duffy

Penstemon cardinalis
It’s that time when gardeners start wandering around their yards and pondering what to plant this year. We’ve been forewarned that watering restrictions are coming, and they will be significant. Knowing that, it will be helpful to narrow your list of plant possibilities to those that are more xeric and likely to fare better in a hot, dry summer. Don't fret! There are hundreds of readily available, beautiful xeric plants to choose from – many of which are Colorado natives.

Besides being more drought resistant, native plants have other benefits: they attract native bees and butterflies; they are less fussy because they are naturally adapted to Colorado’s environment; and they require less soil amendment and fertilizing. Local nurseries are starting to carry more and more native plants, shrubs, and trees. A great resource for more information about native plants is CSU Extension – particularly Fact Sheet 7.242, Native Herbaceous Perennials for Colorado Landscapes

Friday, March 15, 2013

The History of the Shamrock by Carol King

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, the day when everyone in the world is Irish for a day! And the shamrock is the most recognized symbol of the Irish.

The Irish shamrock (spelled seamrog) is thought to be the white clover (Trifolium repens). What we consider to be a common lawn weed, is a native of Ireland. It has been symbolic of many things through the years. It was considered to be a sacred plant to the Druids of Ireland because its leaves formed a triad, and three is a mystical number in Celtic religion as well as many other religions. Supposedly, St. Patrick used it to illustrate the Holy Trinity to help convert Irish peoples to Christianity.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Growing Grapes for Wine? It's Time to Prune! by Donna Duffy

My neighbor, John Crawford, is a fourth generation vintner who has been growing grapes for about six years in Colorado, and making wine since 1979 using the private label “Crawford Castle. John was previously co-owner of Colorado’s oldest winery, Colorado Mountain Vineyards – now Colorado Cellars. Here's John's advice on pruning vines for maximum grape production.