Greetings to our Gardening Friends,
Our 20th Anniversary year has been remarkable so far! The unusually warm spring weather and the explosion of interest in home food production, native plants and Xeriscape, combined with your loyal patronage and referrals have certainly resulted in a lively season for us. We hope it’s been a great spring for you as well!
We are proud that on April 19th at the Boulder Magazine’s second annual ‘Recognizing Everything About Local’ (REAL) Awards event, Harlequin’s Gardens was honored with the Agriculture/Horticulture award. We were chosen from eight nominees for our years of dedication to sustainability and community support.
This weekend there will be 4 excellent classes at Harlequin’s Gardens. Please call us at 303-939-9403 to pre-register!
Saturday May 19, 10:00 am: Fruit Trees for Colorado with Mikl Brawner. Learn which varieties are successful here, which are not, and which are good flavored: Apples, Cherries, Plums, Pears, Peaches, and learn how to care for them. Mikl’s first orchard was in 1976. $15
Saturday May 19, 1:30 pm: Do-It-Yourself Drip Irrigation with Alison Peck
Drip irrigation can be easy! Drip irrigation is a key part of most water conserving landscapes, but it can be intimidating. Come learn a simple, easy to design and install system which we have been using for years. This drip irrigation system can be connected to an outside hose bib with a battery-operated timer, giving you an inexpensive automatic watering system. Save money, save water, save time, reduce weeds and have healthier plants. We will also talk about new efficient sprinklers which can reduce the water use for lawns and groundcovers. Alison has been using this system in her award-winning landscaping business, Matrix Gardens, for over 20 years. $15
Sunday, May 20, 10:00 am: Gardening for Pollinators with Niki Hayden
Many gardeners don’t realize that most fruits and vegetables, as well as horticultural plants, only develop fruits or seeds by pollination. Our bees, both domestic honeybees and wild bees, hummingbirds, butterflies, moths, and even some bats, are pollinators. Plant a garden designed to attract the pollinators your plants need. You’ll get easy-to-follow instructions on how to choose plants that evolved with native pollinators, plant for a long blooming season, avoid using pesticides. Armed with a list of sturdy ornamentals, native grasses for habitat, and bee-identification information, you’ll be prepared to plant a pollinator’s garden of your own. Bees rarely sting – most stings are from wasps; many important pollinating bees have no stinger at all. Learn how to tell the difference between bees and wasps, and how to protect yourself against wasps without harming bees. It is possible to have a drought-tolerant garden that is beautiful, safe and abundant. $15
Sunday May 20, 1:30 pm: Gardening with Native Plants with Mikl & Eve Brawner. Native shrubs & wildflowers thrive in CO., support native pollinators & birds, save water & have a beautiful, regionally-appropriate Western look. Learn how to choose & grow natives successfully, and see what they look like at maturity in the garden. A tour and talk. $15
We have been noticing that this spring there are many more butterflies than we’ve seen in years! We can support them by growing the plants they need for nectar and larval food. See our SALE announcement below for some ideas of what to grow for the butterflies (there are many more butterfly plants than these, and we would be happy to show them to you).
Many of you have your vegetable gardens well under way, but if you still need plants and seeds, we have LOTS of wonderful selections, including many Heirloom varieties! Now that we are probably past the danger of killing frosts, come in for organically-grown starts of celery-root, peppers, tomatoes, eggplants, cucumbers, squashes, melons, even a few okra. We have kale and Swiss chard starts as well. Many of our carefully selected varieties are rare and hard-to-find; some have been placed on Slow Food’s ‘Ark of Taste’. See the amazing list of our vegetable and fruit varieties for this year on our website.
Mountain gardeners will find that we still have cauliflower and cabbage starts, excellent short-season varieties of tomatoes, peppers, etc., as well as Solar Caps for successfully growing warm-weather veggies.
And our Herb Table is overflowing with many different culinary and medicinal herbs. In a week or two we expect to receive Stevia plants – a very hard-to-find item, and one that can be brought indoors as a houseplant at the end of the summer. If you haven’t yet tried it, Stevia is a wonderful natural sweetener with NO calories and a Zero glycemic rating! Add a leaf or two to any tea, or use to sweeten a curry or other Asian dish, for puddings, sauces, and many other dishes!
Roses are in full bloom! We have an extraordinary selection of own-root roses right now – come and see and smell them! Also, visit the rose garden at the Boulder-Dushanbe teahouse, which is in glorious, fragrant bloom right now.
We have a fully-stocked table (and then some!) of beautiful and interesting annual flowers for garden and containers – unique petunias, pansies, heirloom Marigolds, fragrant heirloom Flowering Tobacco, Zinnias, Cleome, and much, much more. Coming soon – fabulous succulents for containers that can come inside for the winter! And we have some very attractive containers to plant them in!
Speaking of containers, we have a wonderful assortment of light-weight hyper-tufa TROUGHS for sale – great for rock-garden gems, succulents, cactus. Learn to make your own troughs at our CLASS on Sunday, June 10th at 1:30 (Pre-registration is Required). This is great fun – guaranteed!
Harlequin’s Gardens’ 20th Anniversary Sale
Save 20% off Selected Plants, Soil Amendments & Products
on the 20th of every month this season
Our second 20/20 Sale will be this Sunday, May 20th. The ‘theme’ of this sale is planting to attract and support BUTTERFLIES. Come in this SUNDAY for 20% off the following while supplies last:
Book: BUTTERFLIES of the COLORADO FRONT RANGE – On Sale $10.36, regularly $12.95,
The perfect gift for any Front-Range Coloradan (including children) who enjoys butterflies or appreciates the natural world.
We are very happy that we have signed copies of this wonderful new book by Janet R. Chu and Stephen R. Jones, two of Boulder’s most dedicated naturalists and foremost experts on our local butterflies.
This guidebook offers a page for each of the 80 species covered; each includes superb photographs taken in the field by the authors, and descriptions of the butterfly’s appearance, host plants, life cycle, habitat, behavior, identification tips, and descriptions of similar species. The first section of the book concisely presents the anatomy, ecology and life-cycle of butterflies, and great advice on watching and photographing butterflies. Also included in this guide-book are a glossary of terms, an easy-to-use chart of the species, their habitats, their flight seasons, and whether they are abundant, common, uncommon or rare.
This beautiful paperback guidebook is slim enough to slip in the back pocket of your jeans, and has a durable cover and binding.
Limit: 2 books per customer at sale price.
SEEDS: ‘Butterflies & Birds Wildflower Mix’ flower seed mix from BBB Seeds, a local, Boulder-based seed company specializing in wildflower seeds and seed mixes. Limit: 2 bags of sale-priced seeds per customer.
The following selected PLANTS: 20% off original prices:
Eriogonum umbellatum (Sulphur Flower, Sulphur Buckwheat): This superb, compact, dry-land native plant is an important nectar source for many species of butterflies and bees. The dense, compact mats of leathery dark green leaves are evergreen, spreading to 1 to 2’ wide, and it blooms for a solid month. Thin flower stalks to 6-12” tall hold wide, dense umbels of tiny sulphur-yellow flowers that cover the plant, and turn an attractive rusty-red as they dry. It is one of the very few of our native plants that can be used as a groundcover in the garden, and grow easily in poor soils as long as they are well-drained. Deer do not pay it any mind, and it is hardy to 10,000’ elevation!
Liatris punctata (Dotted Gayfeather): This great butterfly favorite is native right here at our nursery and all around us in the dry shortgrass prairies and foothills. The deep-rooted Liatris punctata is the most xeric species of Gayfeather, growing in unamended soils, including clay, with little or no supplemental water once established. Beautiful stiff spikes of purple-pink flowers bloom in late summer, along with Zinnia grandiflora, Aster laevis and Solidago. The compact plant grows to 12” to 18” tall, is very durable and long-lived. After blooming, the feathery seeds look lovely when backlit by the low afternoon sun, and will attract goldfinches and other songbirds. Hardy to Zone 4.
Liatris ligulistylis (Meadow Blazingstar): This is the ultimate Monarch butterfly magnet! We have seen swarms of Monarchs feeding from Meadow Blazingstar in Lauren Springer Ogden and Scott Ogden’s Fort Collins garden, where it grows 3 to 5’ tall. The numerous crimson flower buds open to large bright purple-pink florets that bloom over an extended period of time in summer. It is a prairie native, the Front Range being the farthest western portion of its range. Give it full sun, or sun with late-afternoon shade in loam or clay soil and deep, infrequent waterings once established. And make sure it’s located where you can watch the show! After flowering, the seeds are a favorite food for goldfinches. Hardy to Zone 4.
Liatris spicata ‘Kobold’ (Compact Dense Gayfeather): Many 18” to 24”-tall bold flowerstalks, densely clothed in lavender-purple florets appear late in the season after other Gayfeathers are finished. This compact selection of the prairie native is an excellent attractor for butterflies and hummingbirds, and is easy to grow in full sun in most soils with average watering. Also makes a great cut-flower for fresh or dried arrangements. Hardy to Zone 4.
Asclepias tuberosa (Orange Butterfly Weed): Certainly NOT a weed, this essential butterfly plant is irresistible to butterflies, hummingbirds and people. The very long-lived, tap-rooted plant may be slow to establish and reach mature size, but it attracts legions of butterflies (and hummingbirds) to its brilliant orange flowers, and is an important food source for Monarch caterpillars. Watch for the beautiful Monarch chrysalises dangling from your plants! Best in full sun with low to moderate water. Requires good drainage in sandy or loamy soil.
Asclepias incarnata ‘Cinderella’ (Red Milkweed): Cinderella bears dense clusters of sweetly-scented, dark rosy-pink flowers from early summer to fall on slender, erect branches. The flowers attract butterflies and hummingbirds, and the leaves of Red Milkweed are a preferred food source for Monarch caterpillars. Plant some of this native along ponds and streams, in detention basins or any spot with moist soil, whether sand, clay or loam, and you’ll have a Monarch Butterfly farm! Hardy to Zone 3-4.
Scabiosa columbaria ‘Butterfly Blue’: A profusion of lilac-blue flowers on wiry 12” to 18” stems are produced all summer on this outstanding selection of Pincushion Flower, which was awarded Plant of the Year status by the Perennial Plant Association in 2000. The compact habit does not require staking and, as the cultivar name suggests, the flowers are a great butterfly attractor. Dead-head for continuous bloom. Grows in full sun in most soil types, with moderate or somewhat less water. Hardy to 6500’ elevation.
Scabiosa caucasica: A hardier and larger Pincushion Flower, with lovely 2 ½ to 3” lilac-blue ‘pincushions’ dancing atop slender, 18-24”-tall wiry stems, very appealing to butterflies and to people. Dead-head for continuous bloom through the summer. Makes a great cut-flower, too. Hardy to 8,000’ elevation.
Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower): This lovely 3-4’ tall prairie native attracts many showy butterflies, songbirds and hummingbirds! The large purple-pink flowers with rusty red central ‘cones’ bloom profusely for up to two months in mid to late summer. Echinacea thrives in fertile soil in full sun to part-shade (more drought-tolerant with afternoon shade). In autumn, the ‘cones’ remain attractive, and are full of nutritious seeds that attract songbirds All parts of the plant are also used to make a safe but powerful immune-boosting tea or tincture. Hardy to Zone 4.
Solidago rigida (Stiff Goldenrod): This summer-blooming golden beauty is a Monarch Butterfly favorite! Native right here at the western edge of the prairie, Stiff Goldenrod is widely adaptable and will thrive even in poor, dry soils. The flowers also support bees and many other beneficial insects. The stems serve as perches for songbirds, and the seeds provide important protein-rich late-season bird food. Hardy to Zone 4.
Coreopsis lanceolata (Lance-leaf Coreopsis): Cheerful golden-yellow, 1 ½” to 2 ½” daisy flowers bloom for weeks on end on graceful plants 1’ to 2’ tall and wide, creating a fantastic early-summer display that supports many species of butterflies. Bloom can be extended from June to frost by dead-heading the spent flowers, but the ripe seeds are great food for songbirds in late summer. This very durable, long-lived prairie native grows in full to part sun in any well-drained soil (especially sand or loam), dry to moderate watering. Hardy to Zone 4.
Vernonia fasciculata (Ironweed): Another great prairie native, this one for a tall accent or background in the garden, with magenta-crimson flower clusters topping stout stiff stems that never need staking, standing 4-6’ tall. This late-season butterfly magnet thrives in full sun with little care in clay, sandy, or loamy soils with moderate to low water. Hardy to Zone 4.
Fennel: This familiar hardy perennial herb is the preferred food of the beautiful Tiger Swallowtail Caterpillar. Hollow, jointed stems to 5’ tall bear very finely ferny foliage, and the entire plant has a sweet anise/licorice flavor and aroma. The large flat umbels of tiny yellow blossoms support butterflies, bees, and many other beneficial insects. The plant has very deep roots and can grow in dry, poor soil. Use the foliage in salads and collect the seeds to use as seasoning. We have both the green Florence Fennel and the dramatic Bronze Fennel, with dark, bronze-purple tinted foliage. Hardy to Zone 5.
Buddleia davidii nanhoensis ‘Petite Indigo’ and ‘Petite Plum’ (Compact Butterfly Bush): The name says it all! These graceful, fast-growing woody shrubs bear long cone-shaped terminal panicles of very fragrant flowers on slender arching stems from mid-summer to frost. The flowers are a magnet for butterflies and hummingbirds. ‘Petite Plum’ is regarded as reliably compact (to 4-6’ tall by 4-5’ wide), with plum-purple flowers, each with an orange ‘eye’. ‘Petite Indigo’ grew to 8’ tall in Eve’s garden, and bears bright lavender-blue flowers with an orange ‘eye’. The sweet fragrance of Butterfly Bush carries on the air, even in our dry climate. The narrow grey-green foliage is seldom browsed by deer. Tops may die back to the ground in colder winters, but they are usually root-hardy and will quickly re-grow. Hardy to Zone 5.
Limits: Plants in 2.5” pots: 4 plants of each kind at sale price per customer
Plants in Quart pots: 2 plants of each kind at sale price per customer
Plants in 1-gallon pots: 1 plant of each kind at sale price per customer
20% OFF COMPOST TEA: $4/gallon (regularly $5)
Compost Tea creates fertility biologically. Of course there is nutritional value in the tea, like kelp and minerals, but the main value comes from the millions of microorganisms that inoculate the plants. These beneficial bacteria, fungi and others function as the digestive system of plants, breaking down complex nutrients into simpler forms usable by plants. They also improve soil aeration and structure. You can keep the microorganisms multiplying in your soil by incorporating composts, humates, kelp, molasses, manures and other minerals and organic matter. Our compost tea is made from Biodynamic compost, concentrates with sea minerals, kelp, molasses and sea calcium, while vigorously aerated in our vortex brewer. We sometimes add Age Old liquid fertilizer to the tea we use to give more immediate fertilizing results. Biological fertility is not as fast-acting as chemical nitrogen, but it builds topsoil instead of destroying it. Compost tea must be used within 8 hours of purchase. Limit: 2 gallons per customer at sale price.
The above selected items are discounted only on Sunday May 20, while supplies last.
We hope to see you soon!
Eve & Mikl Brawner, and the Staff at Harlequin’s Gardens