Monday, February 28, 2011

Force Blooming Spring-blooming Trees and Shrubs

Buds will be swelling soon on our spring-blooming shrubs. It is always fun to rush the season and bring some inside to force bloom. Here's a great article from Horticulture Magazine

on the best way to do just that!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sowing Seed in the Snow!

Here's a cool technique to sow seeds outdoors in the winter by using miniature green houses made of recycled containers.  It looks like it will work in Colorado!

See the slide show and read the how to here!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Tobacco Plant Helps Detect explosives

 So the next time you travel, you may not only have to have a body scan, you may also have to walk by planters full of Nicotiana!  Dr. June Medford of Colorado State University published a recent study in the journal PlosONE detailing her team's work with the tobacco plant to help detect explosives.  They have engineered the plant to turn from green to yellow when it detects explosives in the air.

Read the whole story here!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Where Did the Flowers in My Bouquet Originate?

Photo by Carol King
Did you receive a bouquet from your Valentine this year?  Did you ever wonder where the flowers come from?  More than likely the came from Columbia in South America.  Why Columbia you might ask?

Gardener Dave shared this article about why so many of our flowers come from there.  In 1967 David Cheever, a graduate student in horticulture at our very own Colorado State University, wrote a term paper titled “Bogotá, Colombia as a Cut-Flower Exporter for World Markets.” After graduating, Cheever put his theories into practice. Cheever’s paper and business efforts started an economic revolution in Colombia.

Read the whole story here!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Presidential Gardening

 In honor of President's Day, I am posting this video that gives a quick history of Presidential gardening!  Presidents have been gardening since day one.

The Garden of Eatin': A Short History of America's Garden from Kitchen Gardeners on Vimeo.

Happy President's Day!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Westminster High School Horticulture Program Awarded Grant

The Denver Post had an interesting story about Westminster High School's  horticulture program. It is one of the few left on the Front Range, has been awarded a $100,000 grant, the largest amount given out this year, from the garden show's nonprofit organization.

Read the whole story here!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Great Plant Ideas at the Garden and Home Show by Duane Davidson

When you visit this year's Garden and Home Show, be sure to stop by the Educational Garden presented by Colorado State University. The CSU garden offers plant suggestions for every exposure in your landscape: north, south, east, and west. The center island in CSU's garden is divided into four sections, one for each type of sunlight and weather exposure. In each section are samples of plants suggested for that location. Many of the plants are in early bloom, as well, so you can get a better idea of how well they might fit into your yard.

On the sides of the CSU garden are plants for shady locations, plus a sampling of the many plants selected for the Plant Select program (which identifies plants that do well in our area), and a colorful display of spring-flowering bulbs.

The garden is staffed by Colorado Master Gardeners from the Denver area, who answer questions about the various plants and any other horticultural problems that visitors pose to them.

The show continues through Sunday, February 20. It is open noon to 8 p.m. on weekdays, 10 a.m. to8 p.m. on Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

Here's a slide show for you to enjoy!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

14th Annual Great Backyard Bird Count

Photo from National Audubon Society
The Great Backyard Bird Count is an annual four-day event that engages bird watchers of all ages in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of where the birds are across the continent and in Hawaii. This is a great event for citizen scientists and their families help the researchers at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society learn more about how the birds are doing—and how to protect them and the environment we share. You can report your findings at  This year the event will be held from February 18 - 21, 2011.

Read this for the whole story.

Friday, February 11, 2011

African violets –not just foliage plants! by Elaine Lockey

It seems that you either have luck with African violets blooming or you don’t. I was in the no-luck category for many years. I had one particular African violet for more than 5 years with one tiny little flower the entire time. I guess I was keeping it for the cute fuzzy foliage as I’d given up on flowers. What was the secret of my non-gardener friends who could produce gorgeous blossoms on theirs?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Did the Cold Kill the Pine Beetles?

The recent cold, cold temperatures has everyone talking and hoping that it was cold enough to kill the mountain pine beetle.  Sadly, the answer is no. "We need it to be sustained, at least two or three weeks" with temperatures of minus 20 or lower, U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Janelle Smith said. "These short cold snaps will not do the job."

On a positive note, if it had occurred to you to put your wool garments outside during the cold snap, it would have kill any moth egg larvae that might have been present!

Read the whole story here.

This fact sheet discusses Mountain Pine Beetle in detail.

Monday, February 7, 2011

All-America Selections Announce 2011 Winners

All-America Selections, is an organization dedicated to testing and recommending plants for gardens in North America . Their mission statement says it all:

“To promote new garden seed varieties with superior garden performance judged in impartial trials in North America.”

The 2011 Winners have been announced and here they are.

There's a pumpkin named "Hijinks" and a "Glamor Red" ornamental kale. What's not to love?

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Wow Caterpillars Whistle!

The next time, Dear Gardener,you are out and about in your garden and hear a wolf whistle, it just might be a caterpillar! Scientists have discovered that caterpillars apparently can whistle, letting out squeaks that can fend off attacking birds.

Read the whole story here.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Fluxuating Temperatures Wreak Havoc in the Garden by Heather Hodgin

Heather Hodgin, Guest Blogger
A Garden Affair
Endless Summer Hydrangea
Baby its cold outside, and you’re not kidding. According to the National Weather Service, the last time that Denver had a high of minus 1 or lower was January 12th and 13th in 1997. Maybe like me, when you heard the prediction for the metro area sub zero temperatures, your thoughts flew to your (insert name of perfectly lovely, but only semi-hardy plant here). With dread, you worried what that naked spot in your garden would look like next year and fell into a deep pit of despair.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Shattuck Chemical Land for Garden

Here's an interesting article from the Denver Post about neighbors who once fought to clean up a radioactive site in south Denver and now hope to cultivate a community garden on the land.  They propose to do soil testing through CSU to be sure the site is clean.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Weather – Workin’ the Swing Shift by Patti O'Neal

What is a plant to do?  It is late January and all but a few plants should be peacefully enjoying the delicious dormancy of winter.  In the restful sleep of hibernation each plant sends good thoughts to its root zone where precious nutrients are stored, to be called on when the the sunshine of spring and early summer tease them to life by warming the soil and sending messages of new growth.  That’s in a perfect world.  But this year we are experiencing anything but perfect. 

Temperatures have fluctuated from 70 degrees to below 0 in a span of 3 days.  This has happened several times since December.  Then we go back up to high 40’s for a week at a time with lows only at freezing, creating a freeze thaw situation in the soil.