Sunday, March 25, 2012

Finally, Flowers

Prunus armeniaca, apricot

I'm thrilled to finally, finally have some flowers blooming in my garden. The weather has been more like May than March but, luckily, plants are blooming at their "normal" pace.  The little minor bulbs (below) are under the apricot tree and blooming fast on the heels of the snowdrops, crocus, and dwarf iris.  I hope that over the next few years they'll colonize and create a bigger impact.  The sweet woodruff (Gallium odoratum) is also coming to life and will cover the area with white flowers very soon.

Scillia or Puschkinia?

Puschkinia scilloides var. libanotica  (I think!)

Plus the first tulips of the season...

I hope your world is getting more colorful these days, too!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Happy Spring!

And it will be especially happy for the winners of the Sunset book giveaway! I used Randomizer to pull five lucky winners from the comments.  Deb, Tess, Siamjade, Jill, and Liz. will be receiving copies of The New Sunset Western Garden Book. (Please contact me promptly: jhcstudiosATyahooDOTcom)  Congratulations to our winners and many thanks to all the participants and the good folks at Sunset!

In other news, the second season of Jocelyn's Garden Forum begins tomorrow, March 21st, and will run each Wednesday evening through May 9th. The Forum is an informal gathering for people who enjoy gardening, plants, design, and making the most of their home's outdoor environment.  Each one hour session will feature a mini-lecture and interactive discussion period.  Timely topics will provide up to date information and inspiration for a successful gardening season. Tomorrow we'll kick start the year with the top Garden Trends for 2012. 

For all of the details, click on the Forum tab at the top of this page.  Hope to see you there!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Book Review & Giveaway: The New Sunset Western Garden Book

 When I was asked to review an advance copy of the newest edition of Sunset’s classic Western Garden Book, I jumped at the chance.  This book is an icon among gardeners living on the west coast, and I wanted to see how helpful it could be to gardeners here on Colorado’s Front Range, the eastern outpost of Sunset’s territory. I’m happy to report that this book is a winner!

First and foremost, The New Sunset Western Garden Book gets the science right. The information on gardening, from soil prep and planting, to fertilizing, to pest and weed control, is spot on. I appreciate that most topics are presented with options so that I can make an informed choice.  For example, the section on weed control discusses various methods of non-chemical controls, natural herbicides, and chemical controls. The information is well organized and the clean graphics make everything easy to read.

And then, of course, there are the plants.  The Plant Finder section has multiple lists of plants for specific growing conditions, i.e. “wind-resistant” and “deer resistant,” while the Grow section features informative articles on gardening with veggies (love the big warm season/cool season crops chart!), succulents, herbs, trees, native plants, and more.  The Western Garden Book has always been known for its plant encyclopedia. The new edition has been updated to include in-depth descriptions and care tips for 9,000 plants (with at least one color photograph for every genus represented).  Wow.

The unique asset of The Western Garden Book is their plant hardiness zone system. Sunset has established 32 planting zones that take into account multiple climactic and environmental factors (as opposed to the USDA hardiness zones which are based primarily on winter cold tolerance) which are fully described and mapped out. This can be a bit confusing at first glance, but the concept is critical in the quest for creating regionally appropriate and sustainable landscapes. A word to the wise:  their zone system is still not site specific enough to be an exclusive factor when choosing plants. For example, Denver’s zone 2B rating would qualify us for planting a number of species of witch hazel (Hamamelis spp.), none of which grow well here. However, a quick check of the plants’ native origins – also included in each plant’s description – is helpful. In our example, we find that witch hazel is native to Japan, China, and eastern North America; not a good match to our dry steppe region. The plant encyclopedia certainly provides all of the tools you need to make great choices for your gardens.

But wait, there’s more. A complete glossary of gardening terms and a name pronunciation guide are also included in The New Sunset Western Garden Book, as well as inspiring landscapes and garden projects from across the West. This publication deserves pride of place in your reference library – or desktop!

Now, for the fun part, Sunset has kindly provided five (5!) books to give away!  Leave a comment letting me know why you love gardening in the West and I’ll announce the winner on March 20th (Yes, the first day of SPRING!).  

We have our winners:  Deb, Tess, Siamjade, Jill, and Liz! Please contact me ASAP with your full contact information, including mailing address. Thanks to all who participated!!

The winner will be randomly chosen by midnight March 19, 2012, and contacted within 24 hours. If the proposed winner forfeits or does not claim the prize by March 26th, the prize will be re-awarded based on the sponsor’s sole discretion. All prizes will be awarded. Please provide your name and email to enter this contest, so I can immediately contact you if you win. The winner agrees to allow his/her first name to be mentioned in conjunction with this giveaway.

The number of eligible entries will determine the odds of winning. This giveaway is limited to U.S. residents only, who are over the age of 18 years old. No purchase necessary to win. This sweepstakes is void where prohibited by law.  By entering this giveaway, you are agreeing to these conditions.

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post and the product was provided for me to review. All expressed opinions are my own.  

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Wordless Wednesday 3.07.2012

Sedum rupestre 'Angelina'
 Sorry for the blurry photo, but I wanted to share this wonderful winter color. A great succulent for a sunny, dry, and windy site.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Is it Spring Yet?

This lonely snowdrop is the only flower in my garden.

The first day of March is the first day of spring, as far as I'm concerned (despite the fact that we're expecting snow tonight).  The days are noticeably longer, and warmer, too.  I'm ready to banish the brown and bring on the green!

If you are suffering from spring fever, then join me this weekend at the biennial Echter's Gardening Echxpo (click on Coming Events and Classes)  where you can get a big dose of the colors, fragrances, and excitement of spring.  Meet local vendors, hear inspiring lectures, and see gardening how-to demonstrations at one of the country's biggest and best independent garden centers. Stop by my booth, I'd love to meet you!

Echter's Garden Center, 9170 W. 52nd Avenue, Arvada, CO  303-424-7979