Friday, February 9, 2018

Art in the Garden

Photo Credit: Linda Langelo - Denver Botanic Garden, Moore Art
Everyone's taste in art is different from modern to classical and anything in between.  Not having a piece of sculpture does not mean your garden lacks an artistic sense.  Statues can be used as focal points in the garden.  In the picture above, a large piece of sculpture was necessary to be in proportion with the open landscape.  It fills the space.
Photo Credit: Linda Langelo - Denver Botanic Gardens, Moore Sculpture
Here is an interesting way to use a sculpture.  The piece is reflected in the pond along with the landscape and a focal piece that is expanded because of its reflection.  Beyond large sculptures, the garden design can draw you down a path. 
Photo Credit: Linda Langelo, Denver Botanic Gardens
Water creates a calming sensation.  With the water jets along this garden wall, it creates a musical quality and a visual quality of dancing water.  Repetition helps unify the design and demonstrate a certain creative expression. 
Photo Credit: Linda Langelo, Denver Botanic Gardens
The picture above is an example of repetition.  The same pots and the same junipers along with the flowers through the entire space.  The flower and shrub colors all complement each other well.
Photo Credit: Linda Langelo, Denver Botanic Gardens
The use of one or two plants can create a dramatic sense of expression in the landscape.  Here in the picture above, ice plants, veronica and ornamental grass are the elements used.  The pots appear as a form of sculpture.  In all these pictures, there is one common thread.  That of simplicity.  Deciding on the type of creative expression for the landscape and following through with it.  

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Participate in Earth Hour 2018

Photo Credit: Wikipedia
Are you participating in Earth Hour on Saturday, March 24, 2018 from 8:30 PM to 9:30 PM? Here is what you need to do.  To show your support for global warming, awareness of climate change and to help the planet, turn off all nonessential lighting for one hour.
From 2007 when World Wildlife Federation started in Sydney, Australia with 2.2 million people participating, Earth Hour has grown to reach 187 countries and territories with 12,000 landmarks and monuments turning off their lights.  The idea is to power a shift to renewables and a more sustainable lifestyle.  We have exceeded our carbon footprint to the point that we are using the resources of 1.7 Earths to meet our energy, shelter and food needs.  This also includes the things we do and the products we purchase.
Beyone participating in Earth Hour, what are some of the things you can do daily to stop climate change?  Here is a brief list below of things to make a positive impact:
  1. Purchase products with a recycled content such as kitchen towels, toilet paper, napkins and handkerchiefs. 
  2. Look for the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) label on timber products such as garden chairs, paper and envelopes.
  3. Purchase energy-efficient appliances and equipment including office equipment.
  4. Purchase biodegradable cleaning products.
  5. Purchase cloth bags for groceries.  Less packaging reduces waste in landfills.  This is a reduction of about 10% for each of us and cuts down on methane gas - a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming.  Of course, buying local and fresh food helps.
  6. Planting natives is a solution to conserving water, stopping the use of pesticides and fertilizers.  Colorado State University has a program called Native Plant Master Program.  Visit the website to learn more about it
  7. Pollinator Highway learn more about that at this link:  Some of you remember Lady Bird Johnson's Scenic Byways achieving some of the same goals as Pollinator Highway.  One of those is a reduction in mowing.  Tensions were high back then and her thoughts were along bringing beauty to the highway medians in part to reduce stress.  Wildflowers and the natural world meant so much to her that she started the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, Texas.
These are just a few tips that you can do along with improving your landscape.  Go to

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

A FireWise Technique

Foundation planting is a thing of the past.  To help save your home from fire, plantings are placed 15 feet from the home's foundation.  Here are a few materials that are more fire-resistive for the foundation:

  • Concrete
  • Gravel beds
  • Cement walls
One note on gravel beds, you need to keep them clean of leaves and weeds.  The picture below shows a terraced garden up against a fairground building.  The beds are gravel mulched and terraced beds could work if they were further from the building.  The plants in these beds are Plant Select Plants.  Some of which are native and fire resistant, not fire proof. 

Photo Credit: Linda Langelo

Here is another example a mulched bed right up against the building.  A fire would move quickly to the top of this bed.  The evergreen trees are very flammable because of their high oil and pitch content and not their water content.  Remove the evergreens and move the bed out to the sidewalk and this would be a safer building.  

Friday, January 12, 2018

Girdling Roots

Photo Credit: Linda Langelo
Photo Credit: Linda Langelo
What are girdling roots?  Lateral roots that restrict the flow of nutrients and water to the tree.  These lateral roots are usually slightly below or at ground level.  
Any girdling root must be removed to minimize the damage to the trunk cambium of the tree below the root.  This should be left to a certified arborist. 
How does this happen to a tree?   In transplanting the tree, this occurs when the hole is not wide or deep enough.  This can also happen with any type of obstruction in the soil.  Soil compaction can cause girdling roots. But these are not the only reasons.   There are unknown factors that can cause girdling roots according to Bruce R. Fraedrich, Ph. D., Plant Pathologist from Bartlett Tree Experts.

Hardy Boy Label

Do you know where and how the Hardy Boy Plant Label originated?  Right here in Colorado!  The CEO of Welby Gardens, Al Gerace thought up the label.

Why?  In 1976, Denver was in drought year.  High water-salinity issues plagued the Front Range of Colorado.  They were producing hardy plants.  Since there were six boys in the family ranging from ages two to ten at the time.  The label Hardy Boy Plants was born.  Plants that landscapers and retailers could rely on for their toughness.  These plants would survive. 

Photo Credit: Welby Gardens

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Winter Lawn Care Tip

Photo Credit:  Linda Langelo

Lawn Tip:

During warmer winters with less snow, it is important to water you lawn lightly so that the crown has sufficient water.  Winter watering can be essential for preventing winter injury or death.  The recipe for disaster is warm, sunny, windy and dry days with low humidity.  The turf isn’t mulched so you cannot give it extra protection especially when there is no snow cover.  Pay particular attention to the south and west facing areas of your lawn.  They will dry out faster.  New sod that is not well established will need some extra water as well. 


Monday, January 8, 2018

Snow Geese

Photo Credit: Wikipedia
Have you noticed recently any of these birds migrating?  Right before the cold weather was ushered in a couple of days before Christmas, these snow geese decided to go south or do they?  They spend their summers on the drier arctic tundra about five miles from the coast.  These are also common breeding grounds. 
According to National Audubon, during migration and winter the snow geese are found in coastal marshes, estuaries, freshwater marshes, and agricultural country. Greater Snow Goose often nests in higher and drier tundra, and in migration and winter is more often in saltwater habitats than Lesser Snow.

Feeding sources differ from summer to winter.  In the summer, the adult geese feed on roots, leaves and wild grasses such as sedges, bulrushes and horsetail. The goslings feed on larvae.  In the winter, the geese feed on berries and waste grain in the agricultural fields.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Photo Credit: Linda Langelo
Are you seeds ordered?  It is a bit early.  But you can start lots of seed 4 to 6 weeks in advance before the average frost-free date in your area.  The average frost-free date in Northeast Colorado seems to be between May 21 and May 31. 
You have plenty of time to start peppers, tomatoes and many more seeds inside.  Starting with the date of May 21 and back up to the first week in April.   I might back that up just a bit more to the last week in March.  Give the seeds time if you transplant from a seed tray rather than directly into pots.  And then give the plants more time to harden off before you just take them out and put them in the garden. 
So get ready.  Order those seeds.  Make sure you have a plan for your garden.  Make sure you are rotating as best you can.  In a small garden space, there is less area to rotate the crops around.  However, you can get used containers and plant some of the crops such as peppers or eggplant in the container.  You could even do carrots or beets in deep containers.  Small spaces do not allow for a lot of successive planting. 
You could get old pallets and raise some of the vining crops by growing them vertically.  Get inventive.  Everybody's vegetable selections differ.  Be sure there is enough space for all your needs. Happy seeding! 

Thursday, December 28, 2017


Photo Credit: Linda Langelo
Vineyards are not very popular in eastern Colorado.  However, a crop of grapes would do very well here.  Grapes are tolerant of drought.  The vines are perennial and can last up to 100 years.  After the first three to four years the vines start producing.  Lots of labor is needed twice a year.  Once for pruning and again when the grapes are ready to harvest.  There are several options before choosing the vines you want.  Grapevines can offer a different product depending upon the variety such as table grapes, juice, jams and jellies and/or raisins.  For more information on grapevines and their care go to Colorado Grape Growers Guide.

Trees In RV Parks

Photo Credit: Linda Langelo
As in the previous post on trees one of the beneficial aspects is providing shade.  In Stratton, Colorado off of I-70 there is a small RV park that provides rest from a long drive.  Each RV site has trees on its island surrounding the hookups. 
This is just one example outside of lining a city street with trees where trees can provide calm to people.  This site helps people reduce the stress of driving.  Being around trees and/or observing a tree lowers a person's heart rate.  The next time you are on the road on a long drive find a place with a lot of trees to refresh yourself.