As I write, the ground and rooftops are blanketed in snow, and the sun is streaming in the windows. Gotta love the Colorado winter! In less than a month, we’ll be open for our 32nd year as a nursery and garden center, and we are quite excited!
I don’t think we’ve ever had an easy year, but ‘easy’ isn’t an option in this business. So many aspects of running a nursery have never been predictable, and we’re always relating with thousands of details and challenges.
BUT we have a great crew and there are many things you can always count on finding when you visit Harlequin’s Gardens, and we hope you will appreciate the value you receive when you shop at our big little nursery.
For 31 years, we have always been committed to non-aggression, health and environmental stewardship in horticulture and all other spheres of Life. And this commitment will always continue!
We’ll never use toxic pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, or chemical fertilizers.
We are the best source for Colorado and regional Native Plants on the Front Range.
We have and will always specialize in Water-Thrifty plants, Native and Colorado-adapted plants and Pollinator-Supporting plants.
We are always broadening our plant offerings, often bringing into cultivation wonderful local wild plants that were previously unavailable in commerce. (*see below for examples)
Our staff, e-newsletters, classes, and hand-outs offer empowering, cutting-edge organic and environmental gardening advice and education gained from our 31 years of research and experience.
Our customer service team is exceptionally knowledgeable, helpful and accessible.
We grow most of our own plants and supplement with plants from other local and regional growers that never use neonicotinoids.
We grow our plants in our own carefully formulated potting soils that grow healthier, stronger, more resilient plants that will establish successfully into your garden.
Our pest management products are always non-toxic, child-safe and pollinator safe.
We compost and make our own powerful Compost Tea.
We aim to be a zero-waste business: we bag compost and mulches in returnable plastic bags that we reuse to reduce plastic in the environment. We also reuse nursery pots, and sell our compost tea in returnable/reusable jugs.
We offer superior, CO-specific resources and advice for supporting bees, butterflies, birds and other pollinators and beneficial insects.
We test and evaluate our soil products (composts, organic fertilizers, mulches and other amendments), and most of them are sourced locally.
We recycle and use recycled materials for our building projects.
Our greenhouses don’t use fossil fuels; our heat and energy come mostly from the Sun, with a little electricity from renewables. And this year we are installing a heat-pump system for our store!
We are located in unincorporated Boulder County, where sales taxes are only about half the rate of those in Front Range cities.
We support local growers, artists, artisans and musicians as well as non-profit environmental efforts.
We connect our customers with events and other educational and activist opportunities related to environmental, agricultural and horticultural issues.
Wild Plants we are Propagating in 2024. We have our fingers crossed that good germination and growth on the unique native plants described below will allow us to bring them to you this season.
The plants we offer will contribute to a beautiful, thriving garden that will be a joy to behold, but they can also provide so much more than a pretty picture to look at. The ecosystem services that our plants provide add much more value to your gardens.
Celtis reticulata, Netleaf Hackberry
You may be familiar with the larger Celtis occidentalis or Western Hackberry, which makes an excellent long-lived, water-wise deciduous shade tree. Netleaf Hackberry is substantially smaller, fairly slow-growing to 15’ to 25’ with a spreading canopy, interesting sculpted bark, an attractive twisting branch pattern, rough green leaves and reddish brown or purple berries. The leaves support the caterpillars of Mourning Cloak and Hackberry Emperor butterflies and a number of moths, which in turn, along with the sweet berries, attract and feed many birds. In Colorado, Netleaf Hackberry occurs in the wild in the Front Range foothills and on the western edge of the plains. It is rarely available in nurseries. We’ve seen some handsome specimens growing around Lyons. Cold hardy and highly adaptable to many soils, moisture levels and exposures, it can be grown as a small to medium-sized tree that will not require any supplemental watering after initial establishment.
Mertensia lanceolata, Prairie Bluebell, Languid Lady
Dropping way down in scale, we are hoping for good germination on this lovely local spring wildflower that inhabits a wide range of Rocky Mountain habitats and elevations, from the plains to alpine habitats, in dry partial shade under deciduous shrubs and trees, on north-facing slopes, near rock outcroppings and in sunny meadows. In mid to late spring (May and June in Boulder) the delicate bell-shaped flowers nod from slender stems, opening from plum-colored buds and maturing to blue. The leaves are blue-green due to a waxy coating, with a prominent center vein. Prairie Bluebells are in the Borage family, prized for its many striking blue-flowered constituents. The plants can produce sizeable colonies, several feet across and can range from 6 ” to 14” tall. Prairie Bluebell goes dormant by early summer, dying back to its substantial roots.
Argemone hispida, Rough Prickly Poppy
This is one of my favorite local wildflowers. It took me awhile to notice that it was different from the Prickly Poppies I had met before (Argemone polyanthemos), being more stout and shrubby, with grey-green foliage and much more dense, numerous and slender golden prickles on all parts, from stem to bud to seed-pod. The fabulous silky white flowers are just as big (4” wide) and just as stunning as the more commonly found Argemones, but the plant is more compact, up to perhaps 15” tall where I’ve seen it growing. They both grow in the same habitat, so Rough Prickly Poppy is also happy growing dry and hot, and blooms at the same time – May to August. Found in Colorado, New Mexico, Kansas, South Dakota and Wyoming.
Astragalus utahensis, Utah Milkvetch
Utah milkvetch is in the legume family (Fabaceae). One finds quite a few plants in this family in the arid west. They are probably making life better for themselves and the plants around them by fixing nitrogen from the air and transferring it to their roots and the soil. Native to Utah and several adjacent states, this very pretty spring-blooming milkvetch is particularly abundant in the Wasatch Mountains. Its typical habitats include rocky hillsides, sagebrush openings, and pinyon-juniper areas. A rock garden, crevice garden, or the front of a Xeriscape garden with excellent drainage will suit it well. The plant is lovely even after bloom, with its wavy silvery pinnate leaves.
Yours in support of abundant Life,
Eve Reshetnik Brawner & Mikl Brawner