Greetings to our Gardening Friends!
We hope you are all enjoying summer – the heat, the thunderstorms, the wildflowers, some lovely cool mornings and evenings, the festivals and special events, the vegetable harvests and some time off.
At the beginning of the month Mikl and I headed for the hills and stayed in the high country on the Western Slope for a few days. We did some hiking and found ourselves amongst lots of stunning wildflowers, including tall red Indian Paintbrush, brilliant cobalt blue Penstemons (identification pending, but our guesses include P. mensarum and P. hallii), scarlet Ipomopsis/Gilia aggregata, and magnificent, towering blooming Monument Plants (Frasera speciosa). Here is a photo of Mikl (6’-1 ½” tall) next to one of many. Monument Plant is in the Gentian family, but unlike the deep blue flowers we usually associate with Gentians, these elegant flowers are green and white. These fascinating plants only bloom in certain years, and when they do, they give it their all and basically bloom themselves to death. Read about Monument Plant at http://www.swcoloradowildflowers.com/Brown%20Green%20Enlarged%20Photo%20Pages/frasera%20speciosa.htm.
On our way home, we also visited Jerome Osentowski at his Central Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute outside of Basalt, where he showed us around his amazing forest gardens and greenhouses. Imagine – home-grown figs, papayas and bananas at 7,200’! And we stopped at the Betty Ford Alpine Garden in Vail, which was in glorious full bloom and quite beautiful. Unfortunately, plants in these rock gardens are not well labeled, with many mistaken labels where happy plants have naturalized and hybridized. But it is definitely worth a visit anyway.
Now can I brag a little about my gardens? I’m sorry, I can’t resist – so much is doing so well this year. Here are a few pictures from my personal garden – I wish I could send you a sample of the fragrance! Regal lilies, Darlow’s Enigma climbing rose, Huldine Clematis, Red Road dahlia, Papaver lasiothrix, Phlomis russelliana.
And the tomatoes! By July 9, when these pictures were taken, all had set full-sized fruits, and all were at least 5’ tall. I start them in Solar Caps in early to mid-May to get an early start, and leave the Solar Caps on all through the season to conserve heat and moisture. My first tomatoes of the year, Galina (a yellow Siberian cherry tomato) should be ready to pick tomorrow.
At the nursery, in October of 2011 we began developing a new display garden on the dry slope along our road. I have placed around 200 plants there, and most have made it! This year it is filling in beautifully and thriving, thanks in great measure to the maintenance efforts of Kyle Katsos and Jody DeSantis of Your Conscientious Gardener, and thanks to our Members, whose annual membership donations help pay for the plants, water and maintenance that make our display gardens possible. Come and have a look!
Here’s some timely advice from Mikl:
To save water and money, let your lawn go dormant – it will come back. I the latest issue of the Colorado Nursery & Greenhouse Association newsletter, Bryant Mecham, a green industry expert in irrigation, stated: “bluegrass is incredibly resilient, meaning it could withstand long periods of no watering…During dormancy it is important to restrict activity on the grass and greatly reduce the amount of mowing and fertilizing. I think the lawn can be in this summer dormancy state for about eight to ten weeks …. However the lawn will need to be worked and revived again in late August ….Just resume normal watering.”
At 5,300’ elevation, especially in July and August, many of us need a sunscreen to protect our skin. But many sunscreens contain chemicals that are actually bad for our skin. Even the mechanical blocker titanium dioxide is too easily absorbed into our cells, and the research has not been done to prove the safety of the nano-particles used in many sunscreen formulas.
Mikl, who has pale, Irish skin and works outside most of the time, has been using our Eco Sunscreen for two ears now, with good results. The active ingredient is zinc oxide, a mechanical blocker which is not easily absorbed into skin cells, and yet it doesn’t leave his face looking whitewashed. Eco also contains shea butter (which has a natural sun-screening effect), organic rose seed oil, green tea and other herbal ingredients to nourish and moisten the skin. It is hypo-allergenic, non-whitening, water-resistant, non-greasy, fragrance-free, contains no nano-particles and has a shelf life of two years. A little bit goes a long way, too.
20/20 SALE – Saturday July 20th
20% OFF SELECTED PLANTS & PRODUCTS for ONE DAY ONLY!
Our 20/20 sale this month offers a 20% discount on some of our most successful low-water plants, some of which are quite unusual and hard to find. Many of them perform beautifully in dry shade, a condition that stumps many gardeners here. Also, at this point in the season, many of us are dealing with insect pests, so we are also offering Oil Pharm, a great non-toxic solution. A great way to add some of the benefits of organic matter to a xeriscape is to add humate, and we have that on sale as well. And there’s a strawberry on top, too.
Dianthus cruentus (Field Pinks, Blood Pinks)
This dryland species of Dianthus is noted for its showy display of bright crimson, densely clustered flowers held high on wiry stems to 12” tall. The distinctive long narrow tufts of blue green foliage are persistent in winter. Field Pink grows easily in most garden soils and thrives in hot, dry, sunny locations. Cold-hardy to Zone 3-4
This large, exceptionally fragrant, double pink hardy carnation was developed at the Cheyenne, Wyoming Experimental Station. The attractive, evergreen, mounding plants to 1’ tall plants have a long bloom period in May and June. Cheyenne Hardy Carnation grows well in sun or part-shade in well-drained soils with average to low moisture. Cold-hardy to Zone 4.
Marrubium rotundifolium (Silver-edged Horehound)
One of our favorite xeriscape ground-covers! Marrubium rotundifolium makes a dense, prostrate, even cascading, evergreen mat of softly fuzzy spoonshaped leaves, pale green velvet with a white edge. It is an excellent companion for brightly colored flowers and the 1”-2” tall foliage mat will grow to 18-24” wide, with flower stalks rising to about 12”. The small cream-colored flowers are inconspicuous, but are adored by bees. Marrubium thrives in well-drained, dry soil, in full sun. Cold-hardy to at least 7,000’.
Geranium x cantabrigiense ‘Biokovo’
Light pink, nearly white flowers grace this amazingly useful and adaptable variety of hardy cranesbill. With a long bloom period from spring to midsummer, the attractive, slightly velvety 6-12” tall spreading aromatic foliage makes an excellent groundcover for dry shade, or sun with average water. The foliage turns wine-red in fall, persists well into winter, and because of its woodsy aroma is highly deer-resistant. One of our favorites – very tough & easy, and cold-hardy to 8000’.
A unique and unusual stonecrop, with an upright, twiggy, shrub-like growth habit, to 15” tall. The succulent, bright green, deciduous foliage resembles small Poplar leaves with serrated edges. Small starry white flowers twinkle among the leaves in summer. This is one of the few Sedums that like a location with at least a little bit of shade. It is super-hardy, to Zone 3. Use it in dry shade, as a miniature shrub, in rockeries, troughs or miniature landscapes.
Sporobolus wrightii (Wright’s Sacaton, Giant Sacaton)
The largest of our native grasses provides a Southwest alternative to Pampas grass. Wright’s Sacaton’s extravagant fountain of foliage 3-5’ tall and airy plumes to 6-7’ tall make a great focal point in the xeriscape garden. This 2006 Plant Select winner is beautiful, long-lived & very adaptable, thriving in full sun or part shade, with low water once established. The attractive wheat-colored winter foliage can be left standing through the winter and cut down in April. Wright’s Sacaton can also be used as a seasonal shrub, fence or windbreak, and as an accent among late-blooming xeriscape perennials such as Willow-leaf Sunflower, Pitcher Sage, Tall Globe Mallow, ‘October Skies’ Aster, and with shrubs like rabbitbrush, fernbush, sumac, and blue-mist Spirea. Cold-hardy to 7000’+
Clematis ligusticifolia (Western Virgin’s Bower)
A wonderful vine, native to Boulder’s foothills and often seen in ravines and stream-side thickets, on wooded hillsides and along rural fences. Clusters of small pretty, lightly fragrant white flowers in summer are followed by attractive feathery white seed-heads. Western Virgin’s Bower is vigorous, potentially growing to 20’, and very tough and drought-tolerant, growing in most soils, in sun or part-shade. Great for arbors, trellises, fences. Cold-hardy to 10,000’!
‘Fort Laramie’ Strawberry
A delicious, super-hardy everbearing hybrid strawberry bred in Cheyenne, Wyoming for our part of the country – heat and cold-tolerant. High-yielding and vigorous, Fort Laramie produces large crops of large bright scarlet berries that are sweet and exceptionally aromatic, great for fresh eating, freezing and preserves. Produces lots of runners. Add organic matter in fall and mulch after the ground freezes. Everbearing strawberries produce an early summer crop and also a fall crop with some berries on and off all summer. Cold-hardy to Zone 4.
Humate is a fossilized carbon concentrate that helps support plant growth and development, and nourishes a healthy soil life. It does this by providing 50% humic acids, many micronutrients and by making nutrients already in the soil more available. Use in conjunction with Yum Yum Mix or other organic fertilizer and best with mycorrhizae.
Oil Pharm is a completely non-toxic pesticide that helps control aphids, spider mites, white flies, mealy bugs, thrips, etc. and also powder mildew disease. The big advantage of this product is that it is made from a vegetable oil (organic soybean oil) and rosemary oil, not from a petroleum oil, and therefore it is better to use on vegetable, fruit and herb plants. It must be sprayed on the pest to be effective. It is not harmful to bees, beneficial insects, birds or pets.
Plants in 2.5” pots: 4 plants of each variety at sale price per customer
Plants in 4” (Quart) pots: 3 plants of each variety at sale price per customer
Plants in 1-gallon pots: 2 plants of each variety at sale price per customer
Oil Pharm: up to 3 bottles at sale price per customer
Humate: up to 2 -10# bags at sale price per customer
Sale prices valid for one day only, Saturday July 20, while supplies last.
We hope to see you soon!
Eve & Mikl Brawner and the marvelous staff at Harlequin’s Gardens
A cautionary note:
I received notification that the company contracted by Boulder County to spray pesticide to kill adult mosquitoes (Colorado Mosquito Control)
will be spraying from 8 pm to 1 am this Friday night in Longmont(or Saturday,if Friday night is rainy), and again next Monday night. I don’t know the schedule for spraying in the other sectors of the county. The pesticide they will be spraying is called Permethrin. The company told me it is water-based and dissipates in one hour, but I have included a link to a fact sheet on Permethrin from Oregon State University that includes accurate and scary information regarding its toxicity, especially to bees, beneficial insects, fish and other aquatic life, and cats. Note also that residues remain on plants (i.e. the vegetables you are growing in your garden) for 1 to 3 weeks. This is Boulder County Public Health Department’s response to the presence of mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus.
I received the call because I had chosen to have our house be a no-spray location. The city has overridden my request, and those of many other Boulder County residents. I have called to protest, as have many local beekeepers and other concerned citizens, but the county still intends to carry out the spraying as planned. Keep your windows closed and your cats indoors during the spraying, and do whatever you can to cover fish ponds and gardens and protect bee hives.
Here is the link: