Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Loving Low Water

Join me at 10:00am this Saturday, February 3, at Denver Botanic Gardens as I present a lecture on planning and designing a water-smart xeriscape for existing landscapes. Whether your home is three years old or 100 years old, there are probably opportunities for redesign and renovation that will help you conserve water in your landscape. During this 2 hour class I will teach you how to analyse your current situation, recognize potential problems, and implement solutions.

This lecture is just one of an 8-part series being co-sponsored by Denver Water and Denver Botanic Gardens. To register, call Denver Botanic Gardens at 303-628-6330. $10 advance/$12 door per seminar.

Stay tuned for more information on upcoming garden events this Spring!

Monday, January 29, 2007

ProGreen Expo---landscape trends

Last week I attended ProGreen Expo, Denver's annual trade show and conference for members of the "green industry". The show features five full days of classes and seminars, and a three day trade show with hundreds of suppliers introducing new products and selling their wares. I always learn something new, and enjoy seeing old friends---many of whom work in other parts of the region and only come to town for this event.

I particularly enjoyed a couple of lectures by Panayoti Kelaidis, rock garden curator and horticulturist extraordinaire at Denver Botanic Gardens. Panayoti travels the world to find new plant introductions for dry, high altitude gardens like our own. He advocates creating a truly regional garden style that echoes our native high plains and foothills aesthetic. His comment that the typical xeriscape or water smart design is merely "Midwestern light" stung a bit, I'll admit. But I strongly believe that my role as a professional garden designer is to help my clients create the landscape/garden that reflects their vision, not mine. I think it's far more important to promote regionally appropriate plants than a regional design style.

This environmentalism is a key landscape trend now. Tagged "Eco-Chic" for it's broad appeal, the other buzzwords that reflect this movement are sustainable and green. Site appropriate plants, water conservation, organic fertilizers and pesticides, and recycled building products all fall into this trend. This will be a huge shift in the way we create and maintain our landcapes.

Other landscape trends are more ongoing: outdoor retreats, entertainment/kitchen areas, container gardens, and water gardens.

Monday, January 22, 2007

I Wish!

So what do you do in Nebraska when it's 22F below zero - as it was one morning during my visit last week? You bird watch! The cardinals are always a treat to see --- although the first time I saw a female I mistook it for a cedar waxwing! They tend to flock together in multiple pairs, so they really create a lot of visual drama. Another bird I enjoyed watching, that I never see here in my garden, were the nuthatches. They're so comical running down the tree trunks head first! Thanks to Google Image for these photos.

Another of my favorite travel activities is to visit local art museums. Omaha's Joslyn Art Museum is a gem. The fabulous art deco building includes a center courtyard and fountain constructed entirely of colorful, hand made tiles---worth the price of admission alone. There is also a soaring Dale Chihuly installation that uses components that are similar to those in his tremendous chandeliers, but with a different construction technique. We specifically went to the museum to view a traveling exhibit called "Legends of the West." It was an opportunity to view five paintings by one of our favorite painters, Maynard Dixon.
Dixon tends to emphasize the huge sky of the western landscape. And although his subject matter is somewhat romanticized, his flat, graphic style give his images a more modern look as opposed to, say, Charles Russell's hyped melodramas. Google image of Dixon's "Clouds on the Mountain".

For me, travel is always a time of awakening and rejuvenation. Absolutely the best cure for cabin fever!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

A New Vista

This is the view to the East off of my mother-in-law's deck in Nebraska. Yes, Nebraska! The rolling hills and endless skyline always entrance me. I'm just back from a week long visit to the "Cornhusker" state. Very cold, very quiet, very peaceful.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Poinsettia Care

Have you have been enjoying a poinsettia plant for the past few weeks? If so, then you are probably doing all of the right things to care for it, because they can be a bit fussy. Bright, indirect sunlight, coolish temperatures (70 degrees F), and moderately moist soil (never let it dry out!) are the recommended cultural practices. The poinsettia "flowers" --- specialized leaves called bracts --- may actually last well in to March, but then what? I typically pack mine of to the compost bin, but if you'd like to try "reblooming" your plant for next year you will need to follow these tips, exactly.