Friday, February 23, 2007

It's Finally Here!

My favorite plant catalog has finally arrived: High Country Gardens. This is the mail-order division of David Salman's Santa Fe Greenhouses, Inc. Why is this such a great catalog? It's a wonderful resource for plants, photos of plants, planting design ideas, and maintenance tips, all with a regional slant and a focus and commitment to sustainable landscapes. Although many of the plants offered here are available at local Denver nurseries, if you do decide to mail order you won't be disappointed. I've heard nothing but raves about the quality of their plants and packaging. Access their catalog on line (their web site has even more great info), or order a hard copy, like I do. It's an important piece of my reference library!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Following my Own Advice

Horrors! I found snow mold (see previous post) on my own lawn yesterday! As the big snow drifts in my backyard are finally melting away, I’m beginning to search for any signs of shrub damage or other problems incurred by the long period of snow cover that we’ve experienced here in Denver this winter. So far, so good: no broken branches on any of my shrubs. But that snow mold---ick! I grabbed my rake and gave the lawn a quick fluff-up. It felt great to be working in the garden on a warm (63F) winter afternoon!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Snow Mold

Here in the Denver area we've experienced an unusually long period of snow cover on the ground (60 days and counting!). The moisture is most welcome, but some lawn areas may be susceptible to snow mold. On my lunch-time walk today, I spotted this patch on a neighbor's lawn. As you can see, this grey form looks like a spider web stretched across the grass. The best treatment at this time is to simply rake the affected lawn area to help it de-mat and dry out. If necessary, the area can be over seeded later in the spring when the soil temperatures warm up(about Memorial Day here). For more information on additional treatment, check out this article from the hort experts at Cornell.

Friday, February 16, 2007


I’ve been banished to the basement this week! Not as dreary as a dungeon or cellar, by any means. In fact, the basement is our quite cozy family room and my quilt art studio. Nonetheless, it is disorienting for me to move my tasks and time to other locations within my own home. Silly? Yes. Especially when I prefer to believe that my easy-going, alert nature overrides my need for routines and organization. Ha!

This forced isolation has given me the opportunity to reorganize my blog a bit and provide you with some quick reference labels to topics that may be of interest to you. I hope this new feature will be helpful to you as the gardening season gets into full swing. Soon, very soon!

To encourage us all to keep our eyes open for the first signs of spring, I'm inviting you to participate in my "first flower to bloom in your garden photo contest." Bulb, shrub, perennial, whatever. Mail your digital photo to and include the name of the plant, your location, and the date of the photo. I'll publish the winner here at The Art Garden.
This photo is of the beautifully colorful Winter King hawthorn (Crataegus viridis 'Winter King'). This is a wonderful small tree (30'Hx20'W) with white flowers in spring, and glossy green leaves that turn purple to scarlet in the fall. Another positive: few thorns! This particular hawthorn is not as drought tolerant as some of the other species, so keep it moderately moist.

Friday, February 09, 2007

News Feature

In today's Denver Post there's an article about how this winters' heavy snow will affect our landscapes and gardens, "Snow pack's gifts won't all be green." I'm sited for my concerns about our xeric plants long-term health in water logged soils. Unfortunately, as is sometimes the case, unknowing journalists tend to misstate or confuse the facts. There is a big difference between a plant being "hardy" for our region and a plant that has suffered root rot from sitting in saturated soils for weeks on end. At some point, almost any plant will suffer from soils that are so wet as to become anaerobic (without air). In other words, don't let the possibility of too much winter moisture (a rare occurrence here) keep you from using drought tolerant plants!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

It's Show Time!

The Colorado Garden and Home show continues through Sunday at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver. This annual consumer show draws thousands of people hungry for a taste of Spring. Although the featured gardens, for the most part, are contrived cliches of what a real garden could and should be, you can certainly meet prospective contractors and designers and take a look at potential plants and building materials. It's kind of like going to the circus---a fun and gaudy extravaganza!

However, the show does provide a wonderful opportunity to the citizens of Colorado via its grants and scholarship programs. They are a non-profit organization that gives away hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to individuals and organizations for education and beautification programs; parks, streetscapes, historic site renovations, etc. For this I say "right on!" to the Colorado Garden Show.

Follow this link for more information on scholarships and grants and visit the show --- your ticket is your contribution to horticulture in Colorado!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Too Late to Plant?

I was recently asked if it is still possible to plant some tulip and daffodil bulbs that were purchased a few months ago. The answer is maybe. If the bulbs have been kept cool (not frozen!) and dry, and are still plump and firm, and you can find an unfrozen patch of ground to plant them in, then go for it! You might also consider planting the bulbs in containers outside on your porch or patio. The bulbs now need to stay cold for about six weeks to trigger new growth and flowering. The odds of success are low, but better than simply throwing the bulbs away.

To enjoy flowering bulbs indoors, look to your local greenhouse or garden center. They will be offering potted, blooming spring bulbs like hyacinths, daffodils and tulips very soon now.