Archive for March 2007

Bloomin Patio!

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My friends at Kevin Robb Studios have created a versatile, durable patio that is a great transition from the garden to their work area. It’s the perfect setting for entertaining their clients. The patio was formed up on site, with 6 inch wide strips between the 4’x 4’ concrete pads. The gaps are planted with crocus bulbs and creeping thyme, which stays green year round. Party on!

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Treasure, not Trash!

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I’ve been very busy in the garden during the past few weeks doing the annual “Spring Clean-Up.” This included pruning some woody shrubs and trees, cutting back all of our ornamental grasses, cutting back shrubs that flower on new wood such as butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii) and blue mist spirea (caryopteris clandonensis), and cutting back all of the perennials, including the shrub-like Russian sage (Perovskia artiplicifolia). Hopefully, you have been able to take advantage of our nice weather this month and have been attending to some of these garden chores as well. (If not, then aim for a deadline of April 10th!) But now, what to do with all of the waste? Please, please, please don't put it out for the trash guy!

There are better alternatives than sending all of this organic matter to the landfill. One option is to compost it. Check out this excellent website for complete instructions and troubleshooting tips. I compost garden waste and kitchen scraps on a regular basis, but my spring clean-up overwhelms my system and storage space. Therefore, I’ll go to Plan B…

The other option is to take it to a recycler that will use it for their compost making business. Gather up your branches and bags of debris and head to Mountain States Wood Recyclers at 2300 W. Radcliff Ave (303-789-3356). There is a minimum fee of $15.00, or $7.00 per cubic yard (just like taking it to the dump, but cheaper!). But, hey, it’s worth it knowing that all that stuff will be recycled and “reborn” as compost, the gardener’s best friend!

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Chengdu...Part 2

A Western style fountain.

More of my daughter's photos from Chengdu, China. Today's photos feature blooming flowers in containers and how they’re used in park settings. All of the flowers you see are grown, placed, and maintained in their pots either on the ground or in topiary frames.

Kale, it’s not just for dinner!

Celebrate the year of the pig!

Pansy time.

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Chengdu Spring

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My daughter just returned from a vacation to Chengdu, China. She came home with hundreds of photographs, including the ones that you see here. Chengdu has a cool, humid climate--think coastal northern California--the opposite of ours here in Denver. I do recognize a few plants though…Isn’t that flowering quince (Chaenomeles), above, stunning?

The saucer magnolia, below, can be grown here if you have a protected spot and deep, rich soil. How about a whole grove of magnolias?

Isn’t this courtyard charming? I believe the dark pink flowers on the right are camellias—definitely not a Colorado plant.

Our own trees and shrubs will be blooming before we know it!

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"Spring Fling"

Yesterday I attended the annual mini-trade show called "Spring Fling" thats put on by a local wholesale distributor of landscape materials, CPS. They specialize in irrigation products, but also sell such diverse things as low voltage outdoor lighting, gas fire pit components, weed barrier fabrics, and steel edger.

One of the interesting vendors I met is a woman named Susan Thayer, the president of Maxijet, Inc, and their retail division, Mister Landscaper. She purchased the business from her father in 1972. They specialize in the design and manufacture of low water volume irrigation products for both professional landscape contractors and do-it-yourself homeowners. The Mister Landscaper products are a bit unusual in that they are made to adapt to a regular home water spigot. Check out their website or look for them at better hardware stores including Lowe’s, Ace and TruValue.

I also enjoyed the free BBQ lunch! Thanks, CPS!

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Guitar Orgy

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OK, this has nothing to do with gardening whatsoever. I had a great experience last night listening to some of the best guitarists in the world. The guitar is one of my favorite instruments--I love jazz guitar and classical too. To hear Eric Clapton, Robert Cray, the young Derek Trucks (and more!) lettin' 'er rip was pure joy. My husband has a number of Eric Clapton albums, one of my favorites is titled "The History of Eric Clapton" produced in 1972! Well, a lot of "history" has happened since then, and Clapton is still one amazing musician!!

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After dealing with the "brilliant" technical staff at Earthlink for a week now, I finally got a real person to come here and fix my DSL line. To celebrate, some recent photos from the garden. The crocus image was taken Feb 26.

Some of my favorite early spring visuals are those of newly emerging perennials. This sedum (Sedum spectabile 'Autumn Joy') looks like tightly bundled ruffles just waiting to explode!
I'll admit that the tall sedums in my garden did not look their best this year. Usually they are a reliable source of winter structure, texture and color, but this year they were smooshed by an early, heavy snow. There are several great varieties of tall sedum, another of my favorites is 'Frosty Morn'. It has stunning variegated foliage and light pink flowers mid to late summer. Plant in full sun with dry to moderate soil moisture.
Welcome spring!

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Happy March 1st!

I always like to think of March 1st as the first day of spring. Wrong! Five inches of snow yesterday and a cold, blustery day today. But the warm days are more frequent now, and it makes sense to get out into the garden. My chores this month include cutting back all of the old stems from my perennials, and cutting back all of my ornamental grasses as well. I leave all my leaf debris/mulch until April to help insulate my plants during this, our snowiest month of the year.

Hopefully by next week my internet access issues will be resolved---I'm doing a "remote" post today---and I can post some photos of my first blooming flowers of the year.

Those of you in the Denver area: tune in to Channel 7 on Saturday morning (March 3). I'm slated for a quick three minute chat about planning for spring.

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