Saturday, January 30, 2016

Landscaping With Colorado Native Plants Conference

Pulsatilla patens, photo courtesy Donna Duffy
Come to Loveland on Saturday March 12th for the first conference of its kind in Colorado! It's the perfect antidote to a gardener's winter blues.  Here are the details:
8:00am - 5:00pm
The Ranch Event Complex
Larimer County Fairgrounds, Loveland

Breakout Sessions include information on:
  • Designing with Natives
  • Construction of Native Landscapes
  • Micro-Climates
  • Edible and Medicinal Native Plants
  • Native Plants for Every Situation
  • Habitat Gardening
The Keynote Speaker, Susan Tweit, will present "The Ditch and the Meadow: How Native Plants and Gardeners Revived a Neighborhood and Changed the Culture of a Town."
Click here for more information and to register. See you there!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Master Gardeners in Service: A New Blog Series

Engaging a new generation of gardeners!
In 2016, the Jefferson County CSU Extension Colorado Master Gardeners are proud to be celebrating our 40th anniversary of service to Jefferson County residents.  Jefferson County has one of the largest cadres of Master Gardeners in the state – over 100 currently. These volunteers utilize research-based information to foster successful gardeners, develop partnerships and build strong communities. 

To celebrate our 40th anniversary, we are publishing a series of blogs titled Master Gardeners in Service. We will highlight the many ways that Master Gardeners interact with Jefferson County residents and offer opportunities for you to engage with us individually or at a community event.

We invite you to click on our Master Gardeners in Service series link often! We will be adding articles every month during 2016. Join us in celebrating our 40th anniversary!



Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Pruning the Trees in Your Landscape by Peter Drake

Photo courtesy thegardenerseden.com
Accustomed, as we are, to regard trees as an integral part of our home landscape, we would do well to remember that the trees we commonly enjoy usually need our help to continue their life here. 
Beyond the willows and cottonwoods that have found homes along the rivers, streams and irrigation ditches, our Colorado Front Range foothills region is not generally hospitable to the varieties of shade and ornamental trees we’ve come to enjoy so much.  This broader climate zone still wants to be what it was before Euro-American colonization and settlement: a high plains desert, covered with durable grasses and low shrubs, and intensely vulnerable to climatic extremes which can split bark and easily kill top-growth, both new and old—as was graphically demonstrated in the November, 2014 and Mother’s Day, 2015 hard freezes.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Cleaning Your Garden Tools by Donna Duffy

Photo courtesy country file.com
Gardeners tend to get the mid-winter blues this time of year. Summer seems so far away! We nourish our gardening souls by looking through seed catalogues, feeding the birds, reading our garden journals from last year. But there are some gardening tasks that can be done now so you'll be ready when the ground thaws and the first shoots of spring appear.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Flowers Succesfully grown on the International Space Station By Joyce D’Agostino

Astronaut Scott Kelly's Twitter Post
This week some exciting news came from the International Space Station. An experiment to grow zinnia flowers was successful and resulted in the plants sprouting, growing and then producing bright flowets.  
Here on earth, Zinnias are know as one of the easiest and hardiest flowers to grow. But according to the following article, there were some challenges including  too much and too little humidity and of course trying to get plants to sprout and keep stable in the absence of earthly gravity.
Unlike some of the vegetables they have successfully grown such as Romaine Lettuce, the flowers needed more attention to get them to grow as a healthy plant without disease or other problems. The flowers also took more time to grow and develop compared to lettuces. An additional interest with this flower is that it is edible.
The “Veggie Lab” is planned to be an ongoing experiment onboard the Space Station with goals to be able to produce fresh food for the astronauts.
This is the second flower to be tested and grown on the ISS, the first was a small sunflower. The variety of the Zinnia grown on the ISS is Zinnia hybrida “Profusion”. The seeds are readily available from a number of seed companies.


Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Successful Seed Storage by Rebecca Anderson

Photo courtesy Rebecca Anderson
I confess, I'm a seed saver. Not necessarily seeds that have been harvested from plants I've grown, but I save leftover seed packets from year to year. Most years I don't need 30 zucchini plants, but it seems like such a waste to toss a nearly full packet after only using four or five seeds. I learned recently that this may be a heritable trait. My mother has cut back on her vegetable gardening over the past few years, and during a recent visit she bequeathed me with her stash of seed packets. Some of them date back to the twentieth century!  

Friday, January 15, 2016

Jefferson County Master Gardeners: The Past and Present Come Together by Lorrie Redman


Photo courtesy of Duane Davidson, Pictured: Char Gottlieb and Mary Kirby  
Jefferson County’s thriving master gardener program started in the early 1970s, by Dr. James R. Feuchts, the Jefferson County Horticulture Agent. Extension agents wanted to reach more residents in the gardening community and the landscaping industry. Today the Jefferson County Master Gardener program supports over a 100 volunteers utilizing research based education to foster successful gardeners, develop partnerships and build stronger communities. 
1970s
  • It began with 17 volunteers who finished 36 classroom hours at the Denver Botanic Gardens and reached 4500 Jefferson County residents. 
  • A telephone recording system was implemented to disseminate information for the public.
  • The first Demonstration and Research Garden was created on the Jefferson County Fairgrounds.
  • Master Gardeners participated in solar energy tours and drought tolerant plant classes. 

1980s
  • A Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic was started and is still a unique resource available for Jefferson County residences. 
  • A Speakers Bureau was created to reach garden clubs and Green Industry professionals.
  • 74 master gardeners participated in research projects including alternative mulches, pheromone trapping and season extenders. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Snowflake Wonder by Elaine Lockey, former Jeffco Master Gardener

http://weather.thefuntimesguide.com/2009/01/the_snowflake.php
If you get caught outside finishing up gardening tasks when it begins to snow, chances are you aren’t too interested in stopping to admire it.  But when you have the opportunity, “snowflake watching” will transport you right back to your childhood sense of wonder.

Snow crystals are single crystals of ice while a snowflake is one or more crystals stuck together. Water molecules create a hexagonal lattice that is formed when water vapor condenses directly into ice in clouds when the temperature is freezing or below. There are several factors that influence the shape of snowflakes: humidity, temperature, and air currents.  Colder temperatures create more intricate shapes – sharper tips and more branching.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Jefferson County Master Gardeners Celebrate 40 Years of Service by Cherie Luke


Jefferson County's 2015 Class of Master Gardeners (left to right): Kerry Poppe, Lynnea Ossello, Shawn Dadisman, Bonnie Kaake, Kom Lee, Kathy Kramer, Cindy Gibson. Not pictured: Peter Drake, Michelle Morris, Megan Morris

In 1972, Dr. David Gibby, a Washington State University Cooperative Extension Agent, could not keep up with the public’s demand for basic gardening information. Dr. Gibby and other extension staff came up with the idea to train amateur gardeners. The plan was that Washington State University Cooperative Extension faculty would train the gardeners to answer home gardening questions. In return for this education, the gardeners would become volunteers. The Master Gardener program now exists in all 50 states and nationally the extension Master Gardener volunteers answer millions of questions every year. This year the Jefferson County Master Gardeners are proud to be celebrating their 40th anniversary of service to Jefferson County residents. 

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Tips for Winter Watering by Donna Duffy


Colorado winters are unpredictable and it isn't unusual to have an extended dry period before the spring rains begin. Following are tips for winter watering of turf, trees and shrubs from Dr. James Feucht, CSU Cooperative Extension Landscape Plants Specialist.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year!