Thursday, January 17, 2019

Become a Citizen Scientist!

Rain gauge, photo courtesy cocorahs.org

Citizen science is the involvement of the public in scientific research – whether community-driven research or global investigations. The Citizen Science Association unites expertise from educators, scientists, data managers, and others to power citizen science. By becoming part of a citizen science project, you can help speed innovation by sharing insights across disciplines. Following are two citizen projects that might be interesting to Jefferson County gardeners.

Monday, January 14, 2019

How Insects Overwinter by Mary Small



Bees Huddling to Keep Warm, photo courtesy CSU Extension

All insects have developed strategies for surviving the winter.  Some migrate to warmer climates, but most stick around.  How do they do it? 

Honeybees really do huddle together…in a ball, with those on the outside of the ball (acting as insulators) gradually exchanging places with the bees on the inside of the ball. The bees on the inside of the ball generate heat through shivering. No helmets or jerseys, though.

Friday, January 11, 2019

House Plant Problems: Rosemary and Powdery Mildew by Carol King


I received a nice little rosemary Christmas tree as a gift.  I was cooking chicken and decided to add some when I noticed it was covered with some white powdery dust.  It seems that my little tree had powdery mildew.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Houseplant Problems: Fungus Gnats

Photo courtesy Organic Gardening
What are those annoying tiny black insects that hang out in your houseplants and fly around when disturbed? Most likely, you have fungus gnats.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Houseplant Problems: Mealy Bugs



Photo courtesy Gardencorner.net
If you are noticing small, white puff balls on your houseplants, you may have the dreaded Mealy bug. Mealy bugs are white, soft-bodied insects that suck plant juices, causing leaves to turn yellow and drop. You’ll normally find them along leaf veins, or where the leaf joins the stem.

Monday, December 31, 2018

Happy New Year!


Friday, December 28, 2018

Choosing the Best Seeds and Plants for Your Garden by Joyce D’Agostino


For gardeners, this time of year brings exciting arrivals to your mailbox – the new seed and plant catalogs. Sometimes the selections are so tempting that you might want to break your budget to buy as many of the wonderful varieties as possible.

Before you begin placing your orders or making the visits to your garden centers, an important rule is choosing the “right plant for the right place” which will bring more enjoyment and success. Even if you are an experienced gardener in our climate, there may be some plants that you want to try and not certain if they are appropriate for your region.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Help! I Got An Orchid for Christmas!

Photo courtesy urbangardensweb.com

Help! I got an orchid for Christmas! If that sounds like you, relax. That beautiful orchid is relatively easy to care for if you attend to its light, humidity and watering needs. Planttalk Colorado provides in-depth information on four orchids commonly grown indoors in Colorado. Another great resource is the Denver Orchid Society.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Merry Christmas!


Saturday, December 22, 2018

Holiday Plant Lore: Mistletoe

Photo courtesy Botanical Accuracy
Where did the ritual of kissing under the mistletoe at Christmas time come from and what's so special about it? 

Before there were any Christmas trees, the custom to kiss beneath it most likely originated in pre-Christian Europe where it was believed that mistletoe possessed life bestowing properties and was associated with fertility. Along this line of thinking, mistletoe was also used as an aphrodisiac and, if that were not enough, it was used as an antidote to poison and to witchcraft as well. Hence, the custom of hanging mistletoe over a doorway to ward off evil spirits from crossing your threshold.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Celebrate the Winter Solstice


Photo BlueDotMusic

It feels like the days just can’t get any shorter, and it’s true. Today we celebrate the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year. 

December Solstice (Winter Solstice) arrives at 3:22pm in Denver, today December 21, marking the moment that the sun shines at its most southern point (in case you are counting, the sun is about 91.473 million miles from earth today).  This day is 5 hours, 38 minutes shorter than on June Solstice. In most locations north of Equator, the shortest day of the year is around this date. To the delight of many of us, this means that the days will start getting longer, however incrementally.

The Winter Solstice is celebrated in many cultures around the world. It is a major pagan festival with rituals of rebirth having been celebrated for thousands of years. In the northern latitudes, midwinter's day has been an important time for celebration throughout the ages. Nova Scotians celebrate the Winter Solstice as Children's Day to honor their children and to bring warmth, light and cheerfulness into the dark time of the year. In pagan Scandinavia the winter festival was the yule (or juul). Great yule logs were burned, and people drank mead around the bonfires listening to minstrel-poets singing ancient legends. It was believed that the yule log had the magical effect of helping the sun to shine more brightly.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Holiday Plant Lore: Christmas Tree

Photo courtesy today.com
Germany is credited with starting the Christmas tree tradition as we now know it in the 16th century when devout Christians brought decorated trees into their homes. Some built Christmas pyramids of wood and decorated them with evergreens and candles if wood was scarce. It is a widely held belief that Martin Luther, the 16th-century Protestant reformer, first added lighted candles to a tree. Walking toward his home one winter evening, composing a sermon, he was awed by the brilliance of stars twinkling amidst evergreens. To recapture the scene for his family, he erected a tree in the main room and wired its branches with lighted candles.