I’m back at the drawing board, and that’s a good thing. Planning is essential to a garden that you can be sure your client appreciates. Elaine, my current client, is an octogenarian plus, and an excellent plantswoman. She really put me through my paces with this design for a small bed in her front yard. Time of bloom, color, texture, ease of maintenance, light, and water needs, and incorporating favorite existing plants all came into play as we planned this together.
The CSU garden is complete with signage, and ready to help educate consumers! One garden, devoted to new, and smart plant choices highlights the Plant Select program, and shows a few of the new winners from the 2014 CSU annuals trials. The benefit of these plant choices are that they are proven by research to not only survive, but thrive in Colorado’s tough landscape environment with minimal inputs. These beautiful perennials and annuals will be in your local garden center this spring. Our good/poor landscape management choices gardens include research-based recommendations for proper homeowner care of turf and and other landscape plants. The plant diversity quadrant focuses on showcasing beautiful alternative tree choices to ash. And, what we expect to be one of the most popular garden quadrants contains a wealth of information gathered from the Colorado Department of Agriculture and CSU about the current threat of the Emerald Ash Borer to our urban and suburban forests. 20 Master Gardeners and CSU staff worked 2.5 long days installing the garden to showcase the educational themes. Be sure and visit the Colorado Garden and Home Show running from February 7-15, 2015 at the Colorado Convention Center. Your garden will thank you!
Day 2 at the install of the Colorado Garden and Home Show. 8 Master Gardeners, 6 carts of annuals, perennials, forced bulbs and grasses – a beautiful result!
One of the activities I enjoy most as a Master Gardener volunteer is the annual Colorado Garden and Home Show. Every year, the CSU Extension staff work with Master Gardeners to design the Education Garden at the show, which is designed to provide homeowners with research-based information about gardening in Colorado. This year, I was so privileged to help design the garden with good friend, and fellow Master Gardener, Martha Kirk, under the direction of James Klett, Ph.D. Our theme is Proven Solutions for Colorado Landscapes, and we’re covering a lot of ground with this one! We have 6 different gardens within the space, and we will address Tree Diversity, Small Space Gardening, Emerald Ash Borer, Common Turf and Landscape Maintenance Problems, and we will feature Plant Select plants as well as winners from the CSU Annuals Trials. There are a lot of learning opportunities packed into this 30’x50′ space. Tomorrow, we add all the color with blooming annuals and perennials. More to follow!
For the gardener in any zone, the holiday season is a great time to experiment. Relieved from the pressure of maintenance, and upkeep, it’s a great season to enjoy your landscape, and exercise the creative, right-side brain.
We are fortunate in the high plains of Denver to experience mostly mild winter temps in December. I think the golfers I drove past the other day would agree. We can experience terrible freezes, and we are ringing in the New Year with below zero temps. But, by and large, we can extend the gardening season almost 9 months annually, from March to December, depending on Mother Nature.
I appreciate and like to share sustainability tips for home use. So, to make your outdoor holiday decorations beautiful, affordable, and sustainable, here are my best suggestions and tips to create a holiday look to love all through the non-gardening seasons.
1. Fresh greens are available in the discard bin, if you ask nicely, at the big box stores that sell Christmas trees. Often these are the bottom branches of a tree that have been removed, because they won’t fit into the Christmas tree stand. These free items make a perfect base structure for the winter container garden ideas to follow.
2. Search your own garden, or offer to prune some unsightly shrubs at your neighbor’s home. Groundcover junipers that are encroaching on the driveway or sidewalk are great sustainable sources for your display. Here in Colorado, we have juniper varieties ranging from silver to gray-green, as wells a s the bright green variety. A mixed bundle of nature’s colors always looks most pleasing.
3. Find plants with berries or fruits. Any plant provides interesting texture to the arrangement. Add pyracantha, holly, and especially rose hips from your yard. Currently, I’m in love with the Readleaf Rose, a Plant Select item, because of its beautiful winter fruit structure.
4. Ornamental grasses, and other dried plant material – dried hydrangea blossoms, sturdy Rudbeckia, or coneflower can help elevate your container or other exterior design from the mundane green and red. Save a few great specimens from your fall clean-up chores. (When I can, I prefer to leave the fall perennials standing in the garden to benefit wildlife)
5. A trip to your local, independent garden center can yield the finishing touch for your designs. A few sprigs of the unusual will provide the final pop your décor needs. Eucalyptus, magnolia, winterberry, and birch are great options.
6. Extend your holiday decorations throughout the winter season by removing the obvious holiday accessories, (glass balls, bows, candy canes, etc.) and create a pleasing container garden to enjoy until it’s time to work the soil in the spring. An anti-dessicant product applied to the greens will help keep them fresh for longer periods of time.