Nothing warms the heart (sometimes literally more than figuratively) more than the first sunburn of the year. The first spring day when the weather is warm enough to start the morning outside, maybe with a hat, scarf, and long sleeved shirt, what a joy. Once you start to work, pulling those persistent winter weeds, raking dead grass or trimming dead stems, you warm up. Off comes the hat and scarf.
Most of us have heard of clematis, morning glory, and passion flower vines, but have you ever heard mention of the Nong Nooch Vine? With so many easy to grow, exotic and beautiful vines out there, no one has an excuse to grow run-of-the-mill climbers in their gardens. Here is a list of 10 vines you should get acquainted with.
In the Rocky Mountains, we have our own brand of challenges when it comes to gardening. With predictably unpredictable weather, cool summer months with intense sun, and wind like you wouldn't believe, gardeners are often tested to their limits with knowledge and patience. Seed starting presents its own trials for which we Rocky Mountain gardeners must be prepared.
Living in the colder areas of the world can sometimes be a strain on your gardening sanity. Planting early emerging perennials is a good way to quell your winter blues as you can watch them pop up before everyone else in the spring. The following is a list of plants that would qualify as early emerging perennials in Zones 4-6, especially areas with drier climates.
The depths of winter are upon us in Colorado. Though this year it seems the depths aren’t as deep as they usually are. Full weeks with highs above 50, multiple fortnights between any traces of precipitation, followed by arctic blasts providing record lows and record low highs; this has surely been a strange season of weather (though how many times is it not?) Surprisingly through the weather though, some hardy perennials have managed to keep up with the blue spruces and pinon pines, providing some much needed green throughout the winter months.
As summer ends, so begins a thrifty gardener’s favorite time of year. The end of the growing season triggers plant retailers to mark deep discounts in their stock to clear out for the coming cold months. If you look around enough, you can find almost every unaffordable plant that you wanted at the beginning of the summer at a price that will make the risk worth it. Try some of these tips for end-of-season thrift gardening:
Large leafed plants can look unique, tropical and add a striking flair to any garden. If you have the space for big leaves, you will add another dimension to your garden that is sure to get people talking. Here is a general overview of some big-leafed plants to try such as Sweet Coltsfoot, Rhubarb, Poor Man's Parasol, and several other plants that will, without a doubt, make your mouth water.
As a water gardener, I hope to support life in my pond whether it is plants, fish, frogs, or birds. I do everything possible to make harmonious conditions in my pond including filtration, oxygenation, a wildlife beach and some, okay a lot, of tender loving care. Imagine my surprise when ten microscopic baby fish ended up in a bucket of hot, swampy water a couple feet away from my pond.
Clematis is a fascinating, antique genus of climbers that adds color and grace to any vertical surface in your garden. This is a brief introduction to some popular as well as lesser known Clematis cultivars you should know.
Gardeners need goals, to do lists and plans in order to focus and streamline their efforts. It is always surprising how often gardeners forget to make goals for their gardens. Hopefully this article will motivate or inspire you to use the last few chilly weeks to set up an enthused to-do list for your garden.
Similar to a birthstone and an astrological sign, we are all assigned a birth flower for the time of year we are born. Each birth flower has a historical or meaningful significance. Some people are surprised to hear that birth flowers exist. Here is a brief overview of the birth flowers and their meanings.
A cup of hot cocoa, a warm crackling fire, and good company. Ah, it must be winter. A fire can be a wonderful source of economical warmth as well as a comforting necessity in colder months. Choosing the right kind of wood to burn, learning how to split it correctly, seasoning and storing it properly will help insure your safety and keep your house as well as your heart warm as the mercury drops.
The Denver Botanic Garden is a wonderful resource for gardeners in Colorado and surrounding areas. The Colorado environment is not an easy one to grow in and having any inspiration or help you can get is welcome. The Denver Botanic Garden has demonstration gardens for all different types from water gardens to tropical gardens. If you don't live close enough for a visit, here is a quick tour.
As gardeners we want what we want, which is generally every plant we come across. As a result, indoor gardeners often end up with a plant on every surface, sill and shelf in their homes. While this look is probably fine in our eyes, it might not strike the fancy of our spouses, house guests, and likely won’t win us any decorating awards. If you would describe yourself as “decorating dumb” or even just need a few pointers, here are a few tips for making that Schefflera look like it was born to sit next to that couch:
No one would accuse a chain-link fence of being beautiful. Likewise, no gardener would purposefully put in a chain-link fence if they had the funds to do something else. But there is hope for those conspicuous silver eye sores. Here’s how to cover one with vines in no time flat: reconsider your chain-link fence as a wonderfully large and blank trellis.
Do you cringe at the word “xeriscape”? Does that mean boring, thin-leaved, un-colorful plants to you? Well think again. Xeriscape gardening can look lush, colorful and be a snap to maintain. To help people learn how to have a beautiful garden while being water consious, Colorado Springs Utilities has created two xeriscaped demonstration gardens for denizens to learn about and apply water thriftiness in their own gardens. The display at these gardens provides a lesson for everyone, even if you don’t live in a drought prone area. Can you imagine not having to water much *at all* between rains?
As your water garden starts to fill in this summer, knowing a few basics about choosing pond plants can help you make the best ecosystem possible. Water garden plants come in five different categories and if you choose plants from each type, you can help boost your biological filtration capacity and the health of your pond.
Olive green, lime green, chartreuse, Kelly green…some of the many wonderful shades of green that can grace our gardens. If you love green, you might want to check out these enviously green cultivars of your favorite flowering florae.
Before winter cabin fever bites you too hard, get your creative juices flowing by preparing your spring plan of action. Whether you need a major overhaul or just want to add an extra perennial bed, planning ahead is your best bet. Get a pad of graph paper, a few good landscaping books, and a sharp pencil and you will be on track for making the next growing season your best yet.
Sometimes trees are planted for shade, sometimes they are planted to serve as a windbreak, and other times yet they are planted for fruit or nut production. But when a small specimen tree is planted for its sheer and petite beauty within the landscape, it can add special interest to a landscape. Following are some suggestions for small specimen tree planting, whether it is for aesthetic or sentimental interest.
In this second article of the Do-it-Yourself Pond series, I will address finishing your pond, water quality issues, and adding plants. You've gotten the hard work done and now it's time to have fun and start enjoying your pond.
Green thumb? Check. Green leaves? Check. Green with zone envy? Often. Green flowers? Say what? I love green flowers because of that very reaction; that and chartreuse is my favorite color. Here’s a few of my favorite green flowers to put in and around your garden to evoke a reaction of your own. Or, why not try a green-themed garden?
Astilbes boast airy plumes of feathery blooms high above deeply cut, glossy foliage. They are perennial to Zone 3 and lend an elegance to moist, partial sun borders or ponds. If you are unfamiliar with Astilbe, delve into their graceful world with me.
While any plant will probably be fine next to a pond, some will do and look better than others. Whether you have major splashing from a fountain or a still water hole, here are some ideas for plants to put around your pond or water feature.
What could be more beautiful than a blooming water lotus above a tranquil pond? Although water lotus plants can sometimes be hard to come by, they are not impossible to start from seed. Why not take on the challenge of starting one from seed this spring?
At the end of this past summer, I set out to build my own pond. I found myself immersed in conflicting research, pricey gadgets and some very confusing directions. In the end though, I came out with a beautiful pond that works perfectly for me. It’s not the fanciest pond and it’s definitely not the end all, be all of ponds, but it works for me. This is the first installment in my guide to building a small backyard pond inexpensively, with some short cuts and some don’t-cuts, and plenty of dumb mistakes to avoid.
If you don’t have Coral Bells (Heuchera) in your gardening repertoire, you are missing out on a vast palette of purples, chartreuses, grays and oranges in your yard. Also known as Alum Root, Heuchera (pronounced HEW-ker-uh) is a beautiful genus of perennial foliage plants that will add a punch of color to any spot in your garden. Heucheras come in all sorts of colors, shapes, sizes and growing needs. Some do well in shade; others can thrive in full sun. They are drought tolerant, very cold hardy (Zone 4), and many of them will even stay evergreen through the winter. Here is a brief overview of some Heuchera cultivars you might want to try.
If a productive garden is just as important to you as a beautiful garden, why not add tea herbs to your inventory? Chamomile, spearmint, and lemon balm are some easy plants to start your tea garden with, while more advanced tea enthusiasts can try their hand at Camellia sinensis and Yerba Mate.
So you’ve done everything right so far this pond season; you did spring cleanup, lifted all your hardy plants, and maybe even added a few beneficial bacteria into the system. Then why on earth do you have impenetrable pea soup!?!?
As you read in my Spring Shopping article earlier in the year, I’ve been anxiously planning visits to several iris farms for quite a while. Well guess what time it is? Finally, time to see iris in full bloom!
Goldfish are a terrific resident for your home water garden because of their ease of keeping, their fast growth, and their range of coloration and forms. Take a look at how many different goldfish types will flourish in your outdoor pond or indoor aquarium garden.
Water gardeners often love their pond plants and animal inhabitants equally. Hobby koi keepers and water gardeners are interested in anything that adds color and life to their ponds. If you've had a hard time understanding koi varieties and jargon, maybe this basic guide can be of help.
Any plant with a name as odd as Egyptian walking onion has to be a pretty interesting plant. Egyptian walking onions, also known as tree onions or topset onions, make a great edible conversation piece in the garden.
The life of a street tree can be tough. It has to put up with car exhaust, salt and sand from winter road crews, heat from asphalt and pavement, and many other things most “normal” trees don’t have to deal with. How can you be sure that you are making the proper choice for a street tree?