Friday, June 21, 2019

Gardening Power to the People: Insect Hotels Pt. 1-Getting Started (Video)

Insect hotels are all the rage in gardening now in honor of National Pollinator Week. don't you want to make one? Jefferson County CSU Extension Colorado Master gardeners show you how! Here's a link to part two: https://youtu.be/RBrTiZ8Doso

Happy Summer Solstice 2019! by Carol King

Photo Paintless Dog
Welcome to the longest day of the year!  Friday, June 21, 2019 at 9:54 am in Denver. In terms of daylight, this day is 5 hours, 38 minutes longer than on December Solstice. In most locations north of Equator, the longest day of the year is around this date. 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 Midsummer’s Day as it occurs in the middle of our summer. Summer Solstice is considered to be halfway through 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! Here’s more information: Astronomy Facts About June.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Gardening Power to the People: Insect Puddles (Video)

In honor National Pollinator Week, Here's how to attract beneficial insects to your garden by providing a water source.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Host Plants for Butterflies by Joyce D'Agostino

Painted Lady

Swallowtail
We are all aware of the need to support pollinators in our gardens and this includes butterflies. Butterflies are part of the ecosystem of beneficial insects that helps promote a healthy and balanced environment. Providing the necessary food, shelter and water for these insects helps attract more into your yard.
Often butterfly gardens focus on growing the plants that provide nectar for butterflies. While these plants are important food sources, it is essential that host plants are also included. A host plant is one that will allow the mature adult to lay eggs which emerge into caterpillars. These caterpillars use the host plants for food and shelter as they develop. 
Many host plants are native plants but some are readily found in garden centers as transplants or easy to grow from seed. For example, black swallowtail butterflies will use common kitchen herbs such as parsley, dill and fennel as hosts for their caterpillars. 
Providing both the host and nectar plants that are available in succession over the season will help bring more butterflies (and other pollinators) into your yard and garden.  Recording which butterflies visit your garden will also help you know the host and nectar plants that each need. 
The fact sheet and link below provide an excellent chart and detailed information to help you know what to plant to attract butterflies and support them all summer. 

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Rose: The Official Flower of Father's Day by Carol King

Father's Day Patio Rose
The rose is the official flower for Father’s Day and became so because of one of the founders of Father’s Day in the United States.  In 1910, Sonora Smart Dodd, from Washington State,  recognized the need for a Father’s Day after hearing a Mother’s Day sermon in church. She lost her mother at the age of 16, was reared by her father and became very passionate about the need for a Father’s Day. At the first Father's Day celebration, young women handed out roses at church, with attendees encouraged to pin on a rose in honor of their fathers– red for the living and white in memory of the deceased. Hence the rose became the official flower of Father’s Day. 
It wasn’t until 1972, during the Nixon administration, that Father’s Day was officially recognized as a national holiday.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Spittlebugs in the Garden by Carol King

Photo Media Space
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 Spittlebug Oregon State University
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!

Here’s more information:
 http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/GARDEN/VEGES/PESTS/spittlebugs.html

Sunday, June 2, 2019

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.