Thursday, September 14, 2017

Trivia about Flowers

Did you know.........?

That Saffron, a spice, comes from Crocus sativus, aptly named Saffron crocus.

That juice from bluebell flowers was used to make glue.

That the powder named arrowroot comes from Maranta arundinacea, Maranta or Arrowroot.

That the rose was adopted as England’s flower emblem during the Civil War (1455-1485).  Hence, the War of Roses with Lancaster represented by Red roses and York by White roses.

That Daisies acquired their name because of the yellow center, thought to represent the sun.

That there are between 1,000 and 2,000 Begonia hybrids.

That Iris means "rainbow" in Greek, and Iris was goddess of the rainbow in Greek mythology.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Rudbeckia 'Denver Daisy'

Photo credit: Linda Langelo, CSU Horticulture Program Associate

As quoted from Plant Select: The Denver Daisy was "created for the commemoration of the City of Denver sesquicentennial. DENVER DAISY has parentage from Rudbeckia hirta, a daisy native to Colorado when the pioneers founded Denver 150 years ago. It was hybridized with Rudbeckia ‘Prairie Sun’ by Benary Seed."

Photo credit: Linda Langelo

This arid loving often short-lived perennial makes a bold statement in the landscape for those living in a semi-arid desert in Colorado.  Not surprising from a parentage of Rudbeckia hirta.  As with most Rudbeckia, once you have one, they spring up in other places in the garden.  Give them a try!

Friday, June 30, 2017

Benefits of Hydroponics

Here is a brief list of the advantages of Hyrdoponics:

1)   Space requirements and growing times lessened
2)   No tilling -- so less heavy work
3)   Conserve water
4)   Pests and diseases are better controlled
5)  Weeds lessened
6)   Nutrients recyclable
7)   Better Control of environment
8)   Crop Rotation
9)   Higher Yields
10) Transplant Shock is reduced
11)  pH and salt toxicity is easier to control in the root zone
12)  Electro conductivity - molar conductivity-concentration of nutrients in water

Start looking into it today!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Tree Planting Tip

Photo Credit: Linda Langelo

This Maple tree has a root flare.  Be sure you see a root flare.  That is the best tip for properly planting a tree.  The root flare is the structural roots at the base of the tree.  If you go in the forest and see how Mother Nature plants her trees, you will always see a root flare. 

Most tree problems occur because a tree is planted too deep or too shallow.  So keep this tip in mind and you will have a healthy tree. 

If you have a tree that comes in a container, make sure you spread the roots apart.  Containerized trees can have roots circulating around the bottom of the container.  They will remain that way when you plant.  This can create girdling roots and years later choke your 30 foot tree which falls over in a high wind.  All that time and all your resources gone because of a simple fix early in the planting process. 

If you have a tree in burlap with twine and a wire cage, then remove or rip the burlap and remove the twine.  Remove the top third of the wire cage.  If you leave the burlap it will not disintegrate quickly and it will wick water away from the root system.  If you leave the wire cage, it will constrict roots.

Happy tree planting! 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Mini Veggie Container Gardening

Don't have much garden space?  Or little time to devote to gardening this year?  Or are you getting older and a large garden is more difficult to maintain?  Well here is an opportunity to try your favorite vegetables in miniature size.

You have a wide selection of possibilities.  Tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, squash and more are all available for growing in a small container.  In containers which are no larger than 24 inches high you can grow a number of tomatoes:

  • Tiny Tim is 45 days to maturity with red round fruits 3/4 inch.
  • Window Box Roma is 70 days to maturity with 2 inch red fruits and has a longer shelf life than regular tomato varieties.
  •  Elfin is 60 days to maturity with red fruits about one and a half inches which are crisp.

Next, you may want some cucumbers to go with your tomatoes:

  • Baby Cucumber with 52 days to maturity that makes a bushy vine.
  • Baby Whooper with 55 days to maturity that has no runners.
  • Midget with 50 days to maturity that has 2 foot vines.
For some of the bigger fruits such as cantaloupe:

  • Early Super Midget with 60 days maturity has a medium vine.
  • Minnesota Midget with 63 days maturity has 4 inch melons.
There are watermelons if you like those better:

  • Sugar Lumps with 78 days to maturity with melons that are 8 to 9 inches in diameter.
  • Lollipop with 70 days to maturity with melons that are 3-5 pounds.

Butterfly Gardening

Butterfly gardening is a different style of gardening. It is not as neat and manicured as some gardeners would like their garden. Gardeners need to know that to accommodate butterflies the plants that are offered must meet the requirements of their complete lifecycle. Food must be provided for the caterpillar stage and the adult stage.

To further understand how to design your butterfly garden, you need to know what butterflies will possibly visit your garden. Colorado State University has a fact sheet on Attracting Butterflies to the Garden (5.504). Here is a brief list of butterflies that come to northeast Colorado from Opler and Cranshaw's CSU fact sheet:

  • Western Tiger Swallowtail
  • Mourning Cloak
  • Clouded Sulfur
  • Checkered Skipper
  • Black Swallowtail

Here are some plant suggestions as sources for caterpillar food:

  • Hackberry
  • Milkweed
  • Wild licorice
  • Locust
  • Cottonwood
  • Chokeberry

Here are some plant suggestions as sources for nectar for adult butterflies:
  • Bush cinquefolia
  • Lilac
  • Sweet pea
  • Butterfly Bush
  • Zinnias
  • Cosmos

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

FireWise Landscaping

By Linda Langelo, CSU Horticulture Program Associate


Fire can happen on any landscape, at any time.  Incorporating preparation and prevention can assist with lessening the threat of fire.  

A fire on the plains can be effected by three things:

·        Surface fuels

·        Fine, fast-burning fuels

·        Usually driven by high wind

Photo Credit: Colorado Forest Service, Boyd Lebeda
What can you do when faced with a grass fire that travels quickly?  What preparations do you need to put in place around your home, long before a wild- fire? 
Aside from all of the above information, before fire season, stand back and look at your landscape differently can help prevent disaster to your family’s home.
First, according to the Colorado Forest Service when renovating your landscape around your home, this requires a defensible space.  This space serves as a buffer between your home and the trees, shrubs, perennials, grass and any wildland area that surround your home.  Do you have an evergreen planted up against your home? Does the ground slope away from your home?  What types of are established vegetation on your property?  All are factors to your ability to mitigate fire damage to your home.  CSU Forest Service recommends keeping your defensible space clean of trash and debris.
Second, everyone’s home has weak spots and hardening your home means using construction materials that can help your home withstand flying embers and shore up those weak spots.  Do you have a wood deck that attaches to your home? Are there garden tools with wooden handles or brooms or other highly flammable materials under the deck such as pine needles or leaves?  How often do you clean your gutters of debris? 
Third, have a Family Disaster Plan that has evacuation routes in place in case your family is asked to evacuate, a meeting area outside the fire hazard area and a Disaster Supply Kit.  This kit needs to last for at least 3 days and contain your family’s and pets’ necessary items.  Some of these items might be prescription medicines, cash, water, clothing, food and first aid.
Preparation goes a long way towards the success in a fire disaster or any disaster.  Disasters can put people in a panic mode.  If you have a plan, having a disaster supply kit insures that you may not forget medicine or something equally critical and the plan helps save lives. 
Now that you have an idea of what fuels a fire and what you need to do, you can add fire-resistant plants to your property and still have a beautiful landscape. There is a factsheet listed below which I have referenced in this article.  There are some wonderful native plants such as some of the perennial native forbs(wildflowers):
·        Echinacea purpurea, Purple Coneflower
·        Ratibida columnifera, Prairie Coneflower
·        many different species of Penstemon. 
Beyond these there is a wide list of non-native perennial choices from the FireWise Plant List on the FireWise Plant Materials Factsheet:
·        Ajuga reptans          Bugleweed
·        Lamium spp.            Dead nettle
·        Armeria maritima   Sea thrift
There are a number of shrubs and trees from which to choose from the same factsheet:
·        Prunus cerasifera               Flowering plum
·        Amelanchier alnifolia        Saskatoon alder-leaf serviceberry
·        Shepherdia argentea         Silver buffaloberry
·        Crataegus spp.                    Hawthorn
Here are some CSU links for Fire-Resistant Landscaping and FireWise Plant Materials that you can access for guides also used as references for this article:
CSU Quick Guide Series – Protecting Your Home from Wildfire: Creating Wildfire-Defensible Zones formerly CSU Extension Factsheet 6.302 –link:
CSU Forest Home Fire Safety Factsheet 6.304
CSU Fire-Resistant Landscaping 6.303
CSU Fire Wise Plant Materials 6.305

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Fairy Gardens

Photo Credit: From Pinterest
Feel creative?  Try your hand at a fairy garden.  The sky is the limit!  Some folks use all natural materials and make things from scratch while others purchase miniature doors, windows and furniture. 
There are no rules about creating a fairy garden.  If you want the natural look, search in your back yard for bark and moss.  If you want stones and live nearby a river, lake or beach collect them for the look you want. 
Wooden popsicle sticks and toothpicks come in handy to use for fences, bridges or window frames.  Use your imagination.  Take a look at the picture below:
Photo Credit:  Nature Fairy House
Art in any form helps everyone from little children to adults mentally, socially and emotionally.  So start the New Year spending time reenergizing yourself and take time to create.  Express yourself. 
There is no right or wrong when expressing yourself.  Go for it!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Plant Select 2016 Top Performers

According to Director of Plant Select Pat Hayward, fifty three public gardens in Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Idaho and Montana participated in the Plant Select Demonstration Garden Partner performance surveys in 2016.  These gardens display Plant Select winning plants, providing communities with educational opportunities to discover the plants that grow best in their local environments.  To qualify as a partner, each garden must do the following:

  • Display good garden design with regular garden maintenance
  • Have a well-planned educational program
  • Provide clear and legible signage with proper plant names
  • Be open to the public year round
  • Be at least one year old before applying
Plants were evaluated on winter hardiness, bloom and foliage quality, and overall appearance and performance on a scale of 1-9.  The results are as follows:

Grand Winner: Top Performer Overall
This  year's overall winner is Blonde Ambition blue grama grass (Bouteloua gracilis 'Blonde Ambition' PP22,048).  Introduced in 2011, this ornamental selection of native blue grama grass was developed by David Salman, founder of High Country Gardens, and owner of Waterwise Gardening, LLC.  It received an overall score of 8.3 and was evaluated in 82% of the gardens reporting.  This is the second year in a row for Blonde Ambition as grand winner. 

Photo Credit: Plant Select

The following are the top performers in each of three elevation ranges.  Scores are based on reports from a minimum of half the gardens in each range.  Score and number of gardens reporting follow the winning plant name. 
Top performers in the 3000-5500' elevation range
  1. Blonde Ambition blue grama grass: 8.8/25
  2. Hot Wings Tatarian maple (Acer tataricum 'Gar ann' PP15,023): 8.1/21
  3. Red yucca (Hesperaloe parviflora): 8.1/19
  4. Turkish veronica (Veronica liwanensis): 8.1/19
  5. Orange Carpet hummingbird trumpet (Zauschneria garrettii ' PWWG01S): 8.1/18
Top performers in 5501-7000' elevation range
  1. Hot Wings Tatarian maple (Acer tataricum 'Gar ann' PP15,023):8.4/11
  2. Turkish veronica (Veronica liwanensis): 8.3/12
  3. Little Trudy catmint (Nepeta 'Psfike' PP18,904): 8.2/12
  4. Blonde Ambition blue grama grass (Bouteloua gracilis ' Blonde Ambition' PP22,048):8.1/15
  5. Apache plume (Fallugia paradoxa): 8.1/13
Top performers over 7000' elevation
  1. Fernbush (Chamaebatiaria millefolium ): 9.0/2
  2. Cheyenne mock orange (Philadelphus lewisii 'PWYO1S'): 8.7/3
  3. Winecups ( Callihoe involucrate ) : 8.5/2
  4. Kannah Creek buckwheat ( Eriogonum umbellatum v. aureum 'Psdowns'): 8.5/2
  5. Denver Gold columbine ( Aquilegia chrysantha ): 8.3/3
For more information about the Demonstration Garden Partner program:
High resolution images of the top winners can be found here:
Credit for this article goes to Plant Select.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Click Beetles

Adult Click Beetles, Photo Credit CSU Forest Service

What do wireworms and click beetles have in common?  Wireworms are the larval stage of click beetles.  So where can you find wireworms? 
  • They inhabit the soil
  • They feed on the roots of plants
  • They are found in decayed wood
What is the lifecycle of a click beetle?

  • First the adults can be found in abundance in mid to late spring.  The adults lay their eggs in shallow soil.
  • Then the larvae become active and tunnel into seeds, roots and other underground structures.
  • Next, the pupation occurs in small cells constructed in soil.
Click beetles host on root crops.  They also host on a wide variety of plant roots and seeds.  These beetles are very memorable once you have seen them.  They are among a large group of insects titled root, tuber and bulb feeders.  They are in good company with billbugs and weevils to name a few.