Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Deadhead Flowers for More Blooms by Carol King

Midsummer can be an exciting time in the garden. The results of all the hard labor in the spring are beginning to be evident: lots of blooms, especially monarda, black eyed susan, shasta daisy, day lilies, lavender, Russian sage and yarrow; the annuals are looking great and the grass is still green enough!

It’s time for deadheading, pinching, cutting back, and disbudding. I know this sounds like torture techniques performed on some poor wretch in a medieval novel, but these actions are just what most blooming flowers need. These methods will increase and provide continuous blooms throughout the season. They also help to keep the garden tidy; flowers compact and help you get that special blossom you want to win the prize in the county fair!

Pinching: Use your fingernails and pinch the plant before blooming. Pinching achieves a bushy, compact, shorter plant; one with lots of blossoms that won’t fall over as readily as an unpinched plant. Flowers that benefit from pinching include: asters, ageratum, browallia, calendula, coleus, annual chrysanthemum, verbena, zinnias, petunias, and chrysanthemums. Pinch fall blooming perennials any time but stop on the Fourth of July so you will have fall blooms.
Deadheading: This is the act of removing spent flowers. Most annual and perennial flowers need to have the old blossoms removed in order for new ones to bloom. Not doing so allows the flower to go to seed and they will soon stop blooming. Flowers that benefit from deadheading include: pansies, day lilies, geraniums, rudbeckia, echinacea, coreopsis, yarrow, veronica, and roses.
Cutting back: Cutting back certain plants after they flower will cause them to bloom one more time later in the season. Cut the flower all the way to the leaf on lady’s mantle, catmint, sages, salvia and sea hollies and the like. You’ll get another session of blooms.
Disbudding: Want a show stopping dahlia or a prize winning rose? Disbudding is the key to those prize flowers. On dahlias, remove the two side buds next to the central bud at the end of each lateral branch. The flower that develops will be larger and will grow a longer and stronger stem. On hybrid teas, remove or pinch the secondary buds by the main bud; on floribundas and grandifloras, remove the terminal buds.
Encourage those blossoms! Pinch, deadhead, cut back, disbud!!

Monday, June 26, 2017

It’s Time to Arm Yourself Against Yellow Jackets - An Update By Joyce D’Agostino


Photo courtesy CSU 
Update: Recently I assisted another Master Garden at an information table at a public event. One of the people attending the event stopped by our table and saw materials about bees. She stated that she didn’t like bees and wanted none of them in her garden. One of her friends told her she was very mistaken, we all need bees to help with pollinating our gardens. This person insisted that the “bees” were very bothersome and she was concerned she could get stung. After talking with her for a few moments and asking her to describe what she was seeing, her description matched the Western Yellowjacket. Despite me telling her it wasn’t a bee, she still felt that it was part of the “bee family” and she wanted no part of any bees around her garden.
It may explain why people do mistake these aggressive hornets with our friendly honey bees and bumble bees and why so many of the beneficial insects are sprayed with insecticide. 
We are repeating this blog from April to help you see what a Yellow Jacket looks like compared to honey bees and bumble bees. Trying to control them earlier in the season is the best way to reduce or eliminate the Yellow Jacket population but proper identification will help so that you don’t use insecticides on the bees visiting your garden. If you have any questions about bees and yellow jackets, contact your local Extension Service office.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Growing Healthy Tomatoes by Joyce D'Agostino



Photo courtesy Old Farmer's Almanac

Tomatoes are one of the most often grown garden vegetables. For the most part, tomatoes can be easy to grow and give you a nice bounty of fresh tomatoes for eating and cooking.

But occasionally problems can occur such as disease, insect issues or growth problems. Having some tips early on may help you avoid problems so you can enjoy your tomato crop throughout the season. Tomatoes benefit from being spaced so that there is good air circulation.  Giving your plants some room and not touching each other if possible helps to avoid the foliage staying damp or transferring diseases. Remember when you plant a small tomato, it can grow into a much larger plant, so refer to the seed packet or the information included if you bought a plant to know how far to space your plants.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Gardening for Pollinators by Donna Duffy

Pollinators on Opuntia bloom, photo by Donna Duffy

June 19th - 25th is National Pollinator Week! It's never too late to add pollinator-friendly plants to your landscape. Following are landscaping tips from the Colorado Native Plant Society and the USDA Forest Service to help you get started.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Summer Solstice 2017 by Carol King

Happy Summer Solstice!


Welcome to the longest day of the year! Sumer Solstice is June 20, 2017 in the northern hemisphere and in Jefferson County, Colorado, arrives at 10:24 p.m. MDT.

The Summer Solstice is an astronomical event that happens when the sun is directly above the Tropic of Cancer. This day has more hours of daylight than any other day of the year. In the Northern Hemisphere, Solstices occur on June 20th or 21st each year.

It is also known as Midsumer’s Day as it occurs in the middle of our summer. Summer Solstice is considered to be halfway throught the growing season for gardeners above the Equator. It marks the 1st day of summer and is celebrated by various cultures, and customs around the world.

Celebrating Summer Solstice dates backs thousands of years. It was celebrated by the Ancient Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, and the Celts. Summer Solstice is associated it with good harvests and fertility, and abundance in your garden.

Happy Summer Solstice to one an all and here’s to an abundant harvest!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Save Our Pollinators: What You Can Do by Patti O'Neal

Photo by Donna Duffy
Do you enjoy any of these foods?  Avocados, Blueberries, Apples Cherries, Chocolate, Coffee, Peaches, Vanilla?  What if you did not have them any longer?  What would your world look like then? 
Did you know that insect pollinators – primarily social and solitary bees – are responsible for pollinating 35% of the world’s crop production, increasing outputs of 87 of the leading food crops worldwide as well as many plant-derived medicines.  At least one third of the world’s agricultural crops depends upon pollination provided by insects and other invertebrates.  

Monday, June 12, 2017

Save Our Pollinators Day!


Thursday, June 8, 2017

Spittlebugs in the Garden by Carol King

Image Purdue University
While weeding near my bee balm (Monarda), I saw several patches of  a frothy white substance on the leaves.  Upon further study, I discovered that I have a small infestation of the spittlebug (Cercopidae: spp)  Aptly named, the white froth is what the immature spittlebug or nymphs surround themselves with as they feed on plant tissue.  Adult spittlebugs are inconspicuous, often greenish or brownish insects, about 0.25 inch long. 

While spittlebugs suck plant juices and can distort plant tissue and slow plant growth, they do not seriously harm plants. As they don’t cause significant damage, just wash them off with water if their appearance bothers you.  Otherwise, enjoy yet another fascinating bug in action!

Monday, June 5, 2017

Pollinator of the Week: Monarch Butterflies by Caroline Reardon

Monarch migration, photo courtesy worldwildlife.org
In mid March, the Monarch butterflies, Danaus plexippus, who’ve overwintered in temperate central Mexico and southern California, mate and then begin their migration northward. Most fly either on a Midwest/Eastern path or along the Pacific coast, but some “strays” do fly through Colorado.