Tag Archives: Outdoors

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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Filed under Friday Jones Publishing, Writing

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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Warm Up To Winter: Four Stay-Warm Tips

ColleenSkiShotThe last three days, in sub-zero conditions, I skied Vail, and lived to tell the tale. On the down side, I suffered: frosty fingers and toe and a wind-blown face–that is, where my ski was exposed to the elements.
On the up side, not many people braved the arctic conditions, so I did not wait in any long lift lines.
Even if you’re not a skier, you might appreciate some tips for warming up to winter:
1) Layer up. Under my down coat, I wore a Patagonia Primaloft layer, a mid-layer, and a base layer.
2) Wear a hat. When I ski, I wear a helmet. And under my helmet, I wear a head sock.
3) Sip a cup of something warm. Hot cocoa or tea or whatever you prefer will warm up your insides, but you also can warm you hands on the cup itself.
4) At the end of a cold day–or whenever possible–slip into a warm bath: the quickest way to warm up on winter’s coldest days.  (LINK to my examiner.com article about plants in the bath)

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Filed under Laid-Back Skier