Monthly Archives: August 2017

Pansies and violas perfect for spring or fall

PANSIES

Photo from Joe Amon of The Denver Post

The wonderful thing about pansies and violas is that they’re perfect plants either for early spring or for autumn. Pansies–many of which are appreciated for their little flower faces–can even weather a winter storm and come out smiling, so they’re ideal plants to perk up autumn containers, borders or beds.
And remember, pansies are edible, too. As long as you’re growing organically, you may add blossoms to salads, deserts or as a garnish.
My article published in The Denver Post has plenty of pansy tips from professional growers.
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End of summer propagation projects: save seeds, take cuttings

seeds

Seed saving and propagation stretches any gardening budget.

As August winds down, many gardens are revved up. Now is an ideal time to collect some seeds for next season and take some cuttings to propagate over winter. Saving seeds and propagating plants will stretch your garden budget and give you a green-thumb fix during the dead of winter.
The Denver Post published my article about propagating plants, and the piece includes lots of tips from the woman known as “the Propagation Queen” at Denver Botanic Gardens. You may read the article here.
Easy seeds to save include hollyhocks, cosmos, marigolds, and many other annuals and bi-annuals. You might want to take cuttings from zonal geraniums, angel wing begonias, succulents, or herbs such as sage and rosemary. All you need is a sunny window or some grow lights, and you’ll have an indoor garden.
The best part is when spring comes and you have plants ready to go outdoors without purchasing them.

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Herbs: Super plants with superpowers

Sage

Wise gardeners grow sage: it’s easy and can be put to many uses | Photo by: Colleen Smith

As a seasoned garden writer, people with self-proclaimed black-thumbs often ask me which plants are easiest to grow. I always answer, “Herbs!” Most herbs grow easy without mollycoddling. What’s more, you can harvest herbs and put them to use in your kitchen–and even your bathroom. Culinary herbs add flavor to food and can cut down on salt intake. Many herbs stand in as medicine or can be made into personal care products such as bath scrubs or balms.

You can grow herbs even if you don’t have a large garden. Many herbs fare well in containers on a patio or lanai.

My article published in The Denver Post features tips from the longtime tender of the herb garden at Denver Botanic Gardens. You may read the article here.

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Orange flowers juice up any garden

Orange Flowers

Dahlias, petunias, hibiscus and many other plants produce juicy orange blossoms. 

When your garden needs a fresh pop of color, consider adding orange flowers.
Orange and green are complimentary colors on the color wheel, meaning that they contrast with one another perfectly. Since most gardens include green foliage, orange flowers stand out beautifully.
You have your pick of plenty of orange flowering possibilities, from annuals and perennials to vines and vegetables. And orange ranges from a pure pumpkin orange to an almost fluorescent orange to a more muted terra cotta, so depending on your garden, there’s a hue for everyone. Think orange trumpet vines, orange pansies and petunias or orange poppies.
My article published in The Denver Post includes tips for using orange flowers in your garden or containers. Whatever the season, orange flowers will juice up your outdoor spaces. You may read the article here.

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Keyhole gardens: why and how to build a hybrid raised bed with compost

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Keyhole gardens originated in Africa, but work well anywhere.
Photo courtesy of Send A Cow. 

Keyhole gardens are the best idea I’ve unearthed in more than two decades of garden writing. The gardens originated more than 20 years ago in Africa, where AIDS and drought took a toll on people and gardens. Keyhole gardens combine the best of raised beds and composting, can be irrigated with gray water, and make the most of garden space.

I first learned of the gardens during a drought in Denver, and gathered materials to build one, but never got around to it because I feared the garden might appear junky in my small back yard. However, landscape architects embracing the keyhole garden concept are building these raised, typically round gardens from handsome stone that makes them an attractive highlight in any garden.

My article published by The Denver Post includes step-by-step tips for building a keyhole garden, properly siting the keyhole, and what to plant in these ingenious gardens. You may read my article at this link.

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Pergolas add form and function

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Photo from Denver Post: Pergola with fireplace and seating area designed by Wendy Booth of Ivy Street Design Landscape Architecture.

Pergolas date to ancient times as some of the first structures in gardens. Pergolas add both form and function. A pergola defines an outdoor space, provides a support for vines and decorative lights, and with modification can provide shade and shelter.

My article in The Denver Post provides plenty of professional landscape designer tips for pergolas. Read the article here.

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