Archive for June 2007

Fountain Pots

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The July issue of Sunset magazine features an elegant fountain of glazed ceramic containers. Illustrated instructions for the project here show how easy it is to bring water to an entry or patio garden. However, if you want your fountain to be more mobile (temporary), or you want to use it on a patio or deck, you can use my "cheap ‘n easy" method:

1. Use a ceramic pot without a drain hole, or seal the hole with a cork and silicone calking. Place pot on a level surface (mine is on a slab of flagstone) and fill with water.
1. Use a small, recirculating pump. Add a rigid pipe extension (minimum 8”) to the outlet. Put the pump in the pot so that the pipe is just below the surface of the water (you may need to use some stones or bricks to bring the pump to the right height).
1. Plug the pump in to a GFI electrical outlet and, voila!

Of course, the electrical cord is exposed, but can often be screened with potted plants etc. I sometimes add floating plants such as water hyacinth or water lettuce to my pot as well.

Believe me; adding just a bit of water to your garden will make you feel more serene and cooler, too!

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Lotus Leaf Lift Off

When lotus (Nelumbo) leaves lift off the surface of the water, it means that the flower buds can’t be too far behind---that’s my story anyway! I love the huge round leaves of this hardy water plant. They make a wonderful contrast to linear foliage, such as the white bulrush (Scirpus), shown, as well as the smaller leaf pads of hardy water lilies (Nymphaea). Another beautiful characteristic of lotus leaves is their ability to capture water into beadlike drops that pool and break like liquid mercury.

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Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day

giant crambe
horned poppy

Japanese tree lilac


The 15th of the month means it is time once again to share what is blooming in my garden. For expediency I am using common names only. (s) indicates multiple species or varieties in bloom.

Japanese tree lilac


Blue fescue
Blue avena
Overdam feather reed grass


Red & white valerian
Hardy water lily(s)
Pink maltese cross
Missouri evening primrose
Giant crambe
Self heal
Crater Lake veronica
Creeping thyme(s)
Creeping potentilla
Lamb’s ears
Yellow ice plant
Whirling butterflies
Partridge Feather
Poppy mallow
Pincushion flower
Texas red yucca
Himalayan sage

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Meet. . .Centranthus!

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Red valerian and Jupiter’s beard are two common names for Centranthus ruber. Centranthus is in full bloom right now, and will continue to flower, off and on, throughout the summer and fall. Deadhead it regularly for the best repeat blooms and also if you don’t want it to reseed. Ideally, each flower head should be cut back to a leaf node, but when I’m in lazy gardener mode (often!) I just whack it back with hedge shears! Centranthus has a tendency to wander, although I don’t consider it truly invasive---it’s very easy to control. Centranthus is very accommodating, adapting to full or partial sun and moderate to dry growing conditions. It looks great with blue flowers or silver foliage. Combine it with Rocky Mountain Penstemon, May Night Salvia, or cat mint (Nepeta), and lamb’s ears (Stachyz). Centranthus alba is a white flowering form that is wonderful for brightening up a lightly shaded garden.

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More Garden Tours

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The previous post mentioned a garden tour this Saturday, June 9th. Here is a list of additional garden tours in the Denver metro area that I’m aware of. These should keep you busy through the month of June!

June 10 & 24
Colorado Federation of Garden Clubs Tours

June 16
Greater Park Hill Garden Tour

June 16
Annual Washington Park Garden Tour

Thanks to blog reader, Erin, for the idea for this posting. Any comments, questions or input for content and topics are always welcome.

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Garden Tour Season

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Garden tour season has begun! Now through August you can enjoy visiting gardens around the region on almost any weekend. I love garden tours! I always get inspired by the show of personal creativity expressed in each setting. It’s fun to see different plant/color combinations and to oooh and aaah over the plants I love but can’t manage to grow in my lean, sandy soil; like viburnums (I love viburnums)! And nothing beats a really great shade garden, except maybe a really great xeriscape. See what I mean?

If you love wandering through old neighborhoods, and if the terms “quirky” and “funky” have a positive appeal, then don’t miss the 7th Annual Enchanted Gardens of Northwest Denver tour next Saturday, June 9th. This is a fun one, folks! Be sure to stop by the Victorian home on Shoshone Street. I designed the landscape just a few years ago, but it’s really filling in nicely. I'll be there in the morning to answer questions and talk about gardens and design. See you there!

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