As the year is drawing toward a close and much of the garden and natural landscape is dormant, we can still appreciate the beauty and interest of plants: the silhouetted structure of our leafless trees and shrubs, the textures and colors of their bark, the berries and seedpods ornamenting their branches, and likewise the colors and textures of dry grasses, cattails and sedges. We can also admire the color and form of our evergreen trees and shrubs, and realize how many of our favorite perennial flowering plants and groundcovers provide evergreen (or red, or silver, or purple) foliage through the winter!
The Winter Solstice season is a time for celebrating the return of the light, both literally and figuratively, and as our daylight hours increase in the outer world, we will also try to keep our inner light burning for love, justice, and compassion for all life on earth. It’s a time for generosity, opening hearts, kindness, sharing, and spreading good news. Here are a couple of our suggestions for valuable gifts you can share:
Harlequin’s Gardens Gift Certificates can be purchased online at your convenience. They make perfect gifts to give to any gardener, new or experienced, that can come out to our North Boulder nursery. We’re only a 10 minute drive from downtown Boulder, 15 minutes from Lyons, 20 minutes from Longmont, Superior or Louisville, 30 minutes from Denver or Golden. And hundreds of our customers come to us from as far away as Colorado Springs, Fort Collins, Sterling, Centennial, Highlands Ranch, Evergreen and Estes Park because they know that we specialize in gardening success!
Harlequin’s Gardens Memberships are excellent gifts for gardeners who also want to help our nursery keep improving our offerings, our service, and our display gardens. In return, Members will receive discounts and other perks throughout the season. Learn more here.
Here are a few of the plants we’re very excited about for 2024:
‘Greyrock’ Mountain Ninebark (Physocarpus monogynus ‘Greyrock’ NEW!
This must-have native shrub was found in the Cache la Poudre Canyon by our friend, celebrated plant explorer/propagator Scott Skogerboe. He recognized that its showy, especially abundant clusters of large, light pink flowers in late spring, bright red seed heads throughout summer, brilliant red and orange fall colors, attractive peeling white bark, compact mounded form, and value to native pollinators and beneficial insects make this selection a new plant of special merit for dry partial shade or morning sun in home gardens and landscapes. 3-4’H x 3-4’W. Cold-hardy to Zone 3.
‘Silver Totem’ Columnar Buffaloberry (Shepherdia argentea ‘Totem’)
Buffaloberry is a very valuable, hardy and adaptable, xeric, western native shrub for the Front Range and beyond. This upright, columnar form was discovered and propagated by Little Valley Wholesale nursery in Brighton, CO. and after years of trials was featured by the Plant Select program in 2023. ‘Totem’ maintains a narrow, columnar form 8-12’ tall, with strongly ascending branches and silver-green foliage, and performs beautifully as a specimen plant, hedge or screen. Tiny, inconspicuous blooms appear in April, before the leaves emerge, providing important forage for native bees. Silver Totem is a female form of Silver Buffaloberry, so in the presence of a male buffaloberry plant it will have the added feature of providing tart, fleshy, berry-like red fruits that can be made into pies and preserves, or left on the shrub to be eaten by many native bird species. Like the species, ‘Totem’ has rhizomatous roots which can result in suckering, but in drier landscapes, suckering is reduced.
Harlequin’s Silver Germander (Teucrium ‘Harlequin’s Silver’)
We are honored and excited that this stunning, xeric, ever-silver spreading germander, our own discovery, has been elected to join the ranks of the Plant Select program’s introductions for 2024! Harlequin’s Silver Germander originated as a chance silver-leafed seedling we spotted in a pot of green Teucrium we had sown from seeds labeled Teucrium majoricum. We separated it from the others, and when it was big enough, took cuttings to grow more. It turned out to be one of our all-time favorite xeriscape groundcovers, looking fabulous throughout the year, attracting hordes of honeybees and small native bees in early summer when its tight clusters of purpley-pink flowers open, and requiring almost no supplemental water beyond the first year. Just 4 inches high, it will form a bright carpet of silvery, dissected foliage up to 36” wide, and when rubbed or pinched, emits a lovely scent similar to pineapple. Native to the Mediterranean Balearic Islands, it thrives in full sun on alkaline, rocky, well-drained soils, but is very adaptable. It has proved reliably hardy in USDA zone 5. Plant Select recommends pairing Harlequin’s Silver (Ever-SilverTM) with Prairie Zinnia or Mediterranean herbs like hardy rosemary and lavender, and we grow it next to gold-flowered Genista lydia (Dwarf broom), Delosperma cooperi, Silver Heels Horehound (Marrubium rotundifolium) and Mojave Sage (Salvia pachyphylla).
Winter seems very brief to us, as we are busy continuing our work ordering seeds, plants and products, cleaning seeds we’ve collected from our gardens and from the wild where we have permits. We are also always working on growing, improving and restructuring the nursery, looking for new ways of helping our customers, our community, our planet, and our fabulous staff!
But we hope you will enjoy some vacation time and renewal of your inner light.