Thursday, August 6, 2015

Photo by Linda Langelo, CSU Program Horticulture Associate
We did it again!  The Burlington Garden Club chose the Burlington Community Garden as garden of the month.  Recently we put fabric down for our paths around the raised beds and then pea gravel to cover the fabric.  It is easy for folks to garden in a 4 x 4 foot square.  Some folks have more than one square while others have one square they manage.   We are getting ready to place new covering on the greenhouse. 

Cultivated plants turned aggressive

Photos by Elizabeth Thomason
Plants like Bouncingbet, Saponaria officinalis, where once used in our gardens.  A seemingly wonderful plant with its great attribute of exceptionally hardy and drought-tolerance has become a nightmare to control.  Still sold commercially as seed and still making its way into landscapes.  This European plant once used as a soap substitute is now aggressive and disruptive to our natural habitats in many states other than Colorado. 
To think that this plant along with many others was sought by gardeners to have as a prized specimen in their landscapes.  Another prized specimen is Lythrum salicaria, Purple Loosestrife.  The seeds of these pink flowering plants can wash easily into waterways.  The root system of Purple Loosestrife will resprout from any remaining root fragments.  This makes it even more difficult to control. 
For Colorado you can go to the following link and look to see if you have any of these plants in your landscape:

Monday, July 27, 2015

Is this happening to your trees?

Photos by Linda Langelo, CSU Horticulture Program Associate
The condition in the above pictures is an iron deficiency.  Along with the iron a leaf scorch is sure to follow.  There are many reasons for an iron deficiency among which is compacted soil, soil that is too wet or too dry.  If  the pH of the soil where the tree is planted ranges above 7.0 into 7.2 and 7.5, then this condition begins.  Take a soil test before you decide which type of tree you can plant in your landscape.  Along with crabapples, maple trees are also very susceptible to iron deficiency.  Without adequate iron, the tree cannot complete the photosynthesis cycle.  So the tree ends up not getting a good supply of sugars and starches.  Applying chelated iron is helpful. 

Thursday, July 23, 2015


Pictures by Linda Langelo

Aspens that are planted on the eastern plains of Colorado do not usually live very long.  They do not do well with the drought and the extreme weather on the plains.  But this aspen has been around for almost 50 years.  It is in good health.  Not far from where this tree exists a small grove of younger trees.  It is amazing to see what some trees can live through over the years.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Judge or Be Judged

Picture by Linda Langelo
Sometime around January when you are in your recliner looking through all those new seed catalogues you start planning what you want to grow.  You see all those wonderful new plants, but you don't have enough room in your yard to plant them.  No one is thinking about fair or what to grow to exhibit.  But the really experienced exhibitors do along with the professional exhibitors who might professionally exhibit roses, dahlias, iris or some other flower.  It is not a bad idea while still rustling through those catalogues to decide what you might want to exhibit for fair. While you are ordering add extra to your list of what you are going to grow to exhibit for fair.  You order extra because what if one plant gets a disease or something else happens to it.  Once you have made your plant list, you might want to stop and plan the appropriate locations for everything in your landscape thinking about sun, water, soil, exposure and fertilizer requirements.

A good grower or gardener will have a great deal of good material to exhibit because of course you plan for hail, drought, wind and flooding, right?  So its fair time.  Once you have a fair book do the following to make fair seamless: 
  1. Read the rules carefully.
  2. Decide what you want to exhibit   (Remember you have already done this in your recliner in January.) 
  3. Follow the rules.  If your entry calls for 3 miniature marigolds, do not enter six.  This will get you disqualified. Naturally pick extras in case something happens along the way to fair.
  4. If possible, prepare the entries the night before or the day of your exhibiting. 
  5. Pack and carry all the entries you wish to exhibit that preserves the freshness of your flowers. 
  6. Be on time and have fun.
  7. If you are permitted, be present when your entries are being judged.  You can learn alot.  Sometimes, the most successful exhibitors are those who have the most experience. 

Here are some tips for selecting the best flowers to show:

1) your flower should be free of insects.
2) your flower should be free of disease.
3) your flower should not be malformed.
4) your flower should be free of mechanical damage and soil. 

The idea is to bring in foliage and flowers in their prime condition.  Do not polish any of your specimens.  In order to understand what is meant by prime condition you need to familiarize yourself with the flower(s) you wish to exhibit.  Know what is typical of the flowers form, maturity and color.  Many exhibitors pick coneflowers which are past their prime with slightly faded flower petals that are pointing downward to the ground.  When wanting to bring three flowers of a particular specimen, they must be at the same maturity, as close as possible to the same true color of the flower for that specimen and all three the same size or very close. 

It is always best to grow a lot of one specimen so that when fair time comes you have a lot to chose to fit the requirements.  Here is yet another list to keep in mind about how your flower(s) will be judged as you are picking your flower(s):

1) Form: Uniformity, Maturity and Shape.
2) Stem and Foliage: Strength and Straightness
3) Color: Intensity and Clarity
4) Size: Typical to Variety
5) Condition: Free from Blemishes. 

You might think this is a lot to remember, but I am confident you can do it.  If you have any questions, you can always call your local Horticultural Extension Agent.  If you are really interested in exhibiting further, there are plant societies for almost every flower on the market.  Many are professionally judged such as roses, daylilies and irises. These plant societies have guidelines on how those specific specimens are judged.  

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Creative Front Yard Landscaping

When you have no use for your bike, here is a creative way to use it.  This way it is not taking up space in the garage and looks a whole lot better decorated in the front yard.  See what you can do this year to spruce up your front yard.  Another way to recycle.

Picture by Linda Langelo


Knock Out Roses

As with many other perennials, shrubs and trees this year, of the five Knock Out roses that we placed in the 4-H Clover garden in Julesburg, Colorado were just that, three were knocked out.  The November cold snap created significant dieback on Knock Out roses.  Normally they are late to leaf out because they like warmer temperatures and spring has been cold.  We have had temperatures here anywhere from the upper thirties to the low fifties with rain and more rain.  The picture posted below shows what a Knock Out rose should look like if it survives the winter. 
Normally Colorado is a great state for growing roses because of the vivid colors produced.  Roses in Colorado do well if they get full-sun and good air circulation.  On windy sites, they need to be protected from the prevailing wind.   Better luck next year!
Picture by Linda Langelo

Picture by Linda Langelo

Monday, January 12, 2015

Damaged White Pines

Photo: Courtesy of Carrie Shimada CSU Horticulture Associate
These white pines are located in Weld County, Colorado.  This white coloration on the pines is a result of the November cold snap.  The temperatures went from being in the 70's to below freezing in a matter of hours. Then in the next couple of days afterward came the minus wind chill, these plants had to endure.

Photo: Courtesy of Carrie Shimada, CSU Horticulture Associate 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Why a garden?

Gardens are the essence of self-expression.  For every gardener there is a different style for their garden.  Some like it formal.  Some like it informal.  Some like it wild.  Some like art.  Some like texture. Some like color.  Gardens are as unique as you and I. 

A garden allows us to create.  It allows us to learn life lessons like responsibility and timeliness when we forget to water or care for a plant.  It teaches us to nurture ourselves and our world.  It teaches us about change.  Nothing is stagnant in a garden as the seasons change.  It teaches us to believe in things we thought were impossible when something finally blooms or germinates.  It teaches us to grow new things and expand our horizons as we add a new introduction into the garden.  It builds confidence in ourselves because we keep getting the chance to try again. 

Gardens are not just for solitude, but for sharing.  Gardens are also best at giving us time away from the hectic world.  Gardens are healing.  Gardens ground us.  Now is the time to meander through the garden and take a look at structure to decide if we wish to change anything.  Even when gardens offer us nothing but the bare structure, they are healing and we are still interactive with them in our stillness and observation. 

The garden below happens to be a famous public garden and one shared by many, Denver Botanic Garden.  The picture below was taken during the glass art exhibit of Chihuly.  During this winter visit other gardens and get ideas.  Gardens have an ever changing beauty throughout the year.

Picture by Linda Langelo



What is Christmas without a poinsettia?  This is a wonderful, easy care winter plant.

A few quick tips when shopping for a poinsettia as follows:

  • When selecting a poinsettia be sure the leaves are dark green and the bracts are in portion with the plant size. 
  • Make sure the plant is not wilted when you purchase the plant.
  • Wrap the plant well when taking it home from the store.  Short periods of cold temperatures can damage the bracts and leaves.
A few quick tips once the plant is home as follows:

  • Water only after the soil is dry
  • Water thoroughly and let the water drain out and dump any excess water from the pot
  • Keep the daytime temperature at 60 to 70
  • Keep the nighttime temperature at 55 to 60
  • Keep the plant away from warm or cold drafts