Thursday, February 27, 2014

Dogwood Bushes Bring Some Bright Winter Color by Joyce D’Agostino

Winter branch color

Summer foliage

If you are looking for a “four seasons” plant to add to your landscape, a good suggestion would be dogwood bushes that feature colored branches.
Dogwood bushes are very hardy for the Colorado climate and relatively easy care with few pests or problems.  They provide green leaves and white flowers in the spring, the flowers turn to blue color berries which birds enjoy and then in the fall, the leaves drop to reveal the colorful branches. 
The two dogwood that we have planted in our yard are Cornus sericea ‘Cardinal’ for the red and Cornus stolonifera ‘Flaviranea’ for the yellow variety. These bushes can grow to 3 – 5’ tall shrubs and can become very full which work well for use as hedges but ample room should be allowed when planning their location so that they don’t block sidewalks and driveways. 
The bright stems give a nice pop of color especially when contrasted against snow when often other trees and shrubs have neutral tones for their trunks and stems. 
They are not a high maintenance plant and require simple pruning and removal of any dead wood after the winter is over. The foliage, flowers, berries and color of the stems in the winter makes it a valued landscape plant to be enjoyed each season.
For more information, refer to the following fact sheets:

Monday, February 24, 2014

Colorado State University Extension Education Exhibit 2014 by Duane Davidson

If you missed the 2014 Colorado Home and Garden Show and Jefferson County CSU Extension  Colorado Master Gardener Volunteers' display,  watch this great video created by Duane Davidson.

Watch. Enjoy. Learn!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Does Your Landscape Have Winter Interest? by Donna Duffy

It's pretty easy to have an interesting garden from May through October while flowers, trees and shrubs are growing and colorful. Winter? That's a different challenge. If your winter interest consists of some lighting and evergreens, you can do better! The American Society of Landscape Architects offers these suggestions to add interest to your winter garden.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Colorado Garden and Home Show 2014: Educational Garden Exhibit Shows How to Use Mulch in the Garden by Duane Davidson

When you visit this year's Colorado Garden and Home Show, which opened February 15, be sure to visit the CSU Extension's Educational Garden on Aisle 1600. It was designed and built by Jefferson County's Colorado Master Gardeners.

Its theme is "Mulches for Every Garden." Six sections of the exhibit show how different kinds of mulching materials can be used effectively in the home landscape and garden. In one section, representing a home landscape with evergreen trees, flowering shrubs, and perennial flowers, both pine needles and recycled bark/wood chips are used to unify the planting and retain moisture moisture in the underlying soil. Informational signs note that a pine needle mulch doesn't blow away, that it protects soil in sloping areas from runoff, that it decomposes over time, and that it doesn't change soil acidity.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Our Hearts are in the Garden: Happy Valentine's Day! by Carol King and Donna Duffy

Photo courtesy
Legends and lore abound on why we celebrate Valentine’s day by giving flowers to our loved ones.  Here’s one of my favorites. This one involves the lore of forbidden love and has been favored over other stories by hopeless romantics.

Emperor Claudius II issued an edict forbidding marriage because he felt that married men did not make good, loyal soldiers to fight in his army. They were weak because of the attachment to their wives and family. St. Valentine was a priest who defied Claudius and married couples secretly because he believed so deeply in love. Valentine was found out, put in prison, and later executed.

The law of irony then came into play, as St. Valentine fell in love with the daughter of the Emperor. Prior to his beheading, St. Valentine handed the lady a written note and a single red rose - the very first valentine and the very first fresh flower.  From this, the gifting of flowers for Valentine's day began.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Selecting Tomato Varieties by Rebecca Anderson

Winter is a great time to research tomato varieties
The seed catalogs are filling my mailbox, making me anxious for spring. I've been trying to narrow down my favorite tomato varieties, but it's tough. All the pictures are beautiful and the descriptions are amazing. How is one to choose?  Modern hybrid or heirloom?  Determinate or indeterminate?  To help with the decision process I've been looking at a study by Tom Fowler, Horticulture Specialist with the University of Missouri Extension Service.  He conducted a field trial in 2013 measuring the production 47 different varieties of tomatoes.  Although one year's worth of data from one state does not provide much opportunity to study tomato varieties in multiple environmental conditions, when considering varieties by classification, Mr. Fowler did come to some useful conclusions.