Thursday, May 11, 2023

Ready to take the pledge Gardeners? by Vicky Spelman

"So, by now you have all your seed starting gear cleaned and ready. You have your seeds and sterile growing media and you have even filled your containers and watered them in so the media is moist and ready. Great job!

Next step…BEFORE you even dare to open a seed packet…. is to create name markers for each planted cell. Never ever think you will remember which is which. You will not. Your sprouts can all look alike at plant out in May! Save yourself some anguish and make your labels ahead of time! It’s a good idea also to write your starting date on the back. You won’t remember that either!

Thursday, May 4, 2023

Blue Mustard by CMG Brenda Sterns

Photo:  Brenda Sterns

Purple Mustard, Blue Mustard or Crossflower Chorispora tenella  

With the arrival of spring, the days are getting sunnier and warmer, and the trees and ground are showing tinges of green.   Excited to see what’s growing, you stroll through your yard and come across a petite, four-petal flower in shades of purple or pink. Perhaps you've seen it before, or maybe it's your first time noticing it. 

Intrigued, you decide to take a closer look and find that it has a musky smell. Chances are, you have Purple Mustard growing and enjoying the season's warmth and sunshine. 

The plant is native to Eurasia, and has become an invasive weed throughout most of North America.  Purple Mustard is hardy and can grow in various soil types including disturbed areas, pastures, fields and alas your flower beds.  Purple mustard, which is a winter annual, starts out as a rosette, and then elongates as it actively grows to produce a single stem with multiple flowers. The petite flowers form a distinctive cross shape.  In my gardens, I notice new plants germinating in February or March then blooming around April.  Unfortunately, the seeds are viable for years, and will wait out drought years before germinating.   

So, what do you decide to do?  Pluck it out (easy to do as the plant has a weak root system) or let it grow?  That can be a tough decision to make as some people enjoy the smell and don’t mind seeing the purple flowers across the fields.  A natural bonus for such an early blooming plant is that bees can find nectar that they need after hibernation. 
Photo: Brenda Sterns

For me and my pasture, I find the plant to be invasive and can choke out other native plants like grasses.  Even my llamas avoid eating this plant.  Currently, the musky smell is noticeable in my neighborhood as the plants are coming into bloom.  I have already pulled out my hula hoe a few times and started hoeing out the thick patches of Purple Mustard. 
If you are interested in various control methods beyond pulling out the plants, check out the PlantTalk article:  

Thursday, April 6, 2023

Easter Cactus by Sally Blanchard

Move over those Easter lilies and forced bulbs and welcome the regal Easter Cactus!

Unlike its Thanksgiving and Christmas cousins, the spring blooming Easter Cactus sadly receives very little praise or publicity. All three are Brazilian native epiphytes and actually live in trees, similar to orchids. 

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Forcing Cut Branches to Bloom by Nancy Shepard


Photo: Nancy Shepard

To help celebrate spring, I usually search the grocery stores for live pussy willows. This year they were hard to find. Yet on an accidental trip to Trader Joe’s I bought some reddish brown twigs with buds with no label. White or pink blooms or something else?

After measuring the branch length for my vase, I cut the bottoms on an angle then slightly smashed the cut bottoms and stuck them in water. The angled cut and smashing helped the branches take up water. In three days I had dainty pink flowers. Maybe cherry? Or plum? They have lasted over a week and are now sprouting leaves.

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Sweet Potato Vines in the Garden by CMG Pam Hill

Photo:  Pam Hill

I love lime green ornamental sweet potato vines (lpomoea batatas) for my planters and had a surprise this year.  I pulled the vines after a frost and found I had a crop as well!  

Thursday, March 9, 2023

How about a moon garden? by Vicky Spelman

Silver mound wormwood (Artemisia schmidtiana 'Silver mound')
Courtesy Wilson Bros Gardens

Are you planning this year’s garden envisioning plants bathed in daylight?  How about a moon garden too?

What is a moon garden?   Simply… a moon garden has primarily white (or silver) plants that are meant to be enjoyed by the light of the moon.  Moonlight causes the flowers to reflect light differently during these hours than they do in the daytime. They are designed to shine when bathed in the moonlight.  

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Scientific Reasons You Should Resolve to Start Gardening in 2023 by Nancy Shepard


Professor Jill Litt (right) checks on a plant with colleague Erin Decker (left) at a community garden next to Regis University. Photos by Glenn Asakawa/CU Boulder, 2017

We’ve all heard the anecdotal evidence of gardening improving people’s health but up until now, few studies have scientifically tested gardening’s effects on disease risk factors. Our own University of Colorado did that and the findings were published Jan. 4 in the journal Lancet Planetary Health and Science Direct.

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Wrap up from the 2022 high altitude growing season! by CMG Ed Powers

All Photos by Ed Powers

We were OK last year - but what a growing season!  My worst since moving here in 2012.  First of all, I planted my vegetables and flowers late.  Then we were going through a dry spell which slowed down any growth. 

However, I did not let this deter me - I decided not to plant as many vegetables.  Also, we planted and bought more drought tolerant flowers.  Mainly petunias, alyssum and verbena.  Plus, my marigolds volunteered for the 4th season in a row and these along with our mixed flower pots were stunning. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

The Green Wall - Central Park Building by Glenda Sinks

Photo by Glenda Sinks
One Central Park Building—Sydney, Australia

What a spectacular building!  In fact, it is so spectacular that it received the award for Best Tall Building in the World in 2014.  The construction began on it in 2007 and was completed in 2013.  Now, ten years later the green wall concept is still going strong and is growing more important as the effects of climate change continue to take its toll.  As you can imagine, this multi-use building (offices, apartments, & a hotel) does not reflect as much heat as non-green wall buildings. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Enjoying the Flora in New Zealand by Glenda Sinks

Photo: Glenda Sinks

The snow is hanging on this year, and most of us are probably dreaming of summer.  I was fortunate to experience summer the last few weeks on a trip to New Zealand and Australia.  This first blog features flora in New Zealand with a blog to follow featuring flora in Australia.  

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Are Gnats in Your Home Making You Nuts? By Amy Norwood

Adult fungus gnat showing the distinctive, curved “Y” fork in the wings. 
Photo Credit: B. Schoenmakers, via Wikipedia.

Do you have tiny flying insects in your home?  These insects don’t pose a health risk to people or animals, but they are very annoying.  They can be controlled if you know which tiny flying insect you have.

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

My New Favorite Houseplant! by Pam Hill

Photo: CMG Pam Hill

This is my new favorite houseplant because it grew so quickly and is already blooming!  

Oxalis triangularis or false shamrock is a delightful houseplant in Denver.  A native of South America, it is a rhizomatous ornamental garden or houseplant, hardy only to zone 8.  Plants can be green, variegated, or deep maroon with small white or pink flowers.  The leaves close at night or when disturbed.