There is certainly no shortage of advice when it comes to gardening. Everyone has an opinion, and when that fails, there’s the Internet. When you garden in Colorado, however, you quickly learn that much of the advice available doesn’t apply. It’s aimed at gardeners on the coasts, or the Midwest, or even the south—but not a place with harsh winters, false springs, sudden freezes, minimal rainfall, hail, gale-force winds… the list goes on and on. No wonder so many people give up and plant rocks!
We hear that it’s better to choose native plants over exotics for a variety of reasons. They’re perfectly adapted to the soils and climate. They host native insects that provide food for birds and other wildlife. They fit into the landscape, providing a “sense of place” that exotics can never match. But what is a native plant?
In the year we’ve lived in our new house, the first on the block, we’ve gained a number of neighbors. Now that the growing season is officially underway, these new yards are being landscaped. And I’m reminded all over again of why, back in 2000, I signed up to become a master gardener.
You see, when we first moved here, I quickly noticed that the major landscaping theme was composed of lawns, junipers, and rocks. Lots of rocks. I became a master gardener volunteer to help people grow more attractive and interesting landscapes. But in spite of all that advice, apparently nothing has changed in the last 23 years.
We have plants! No more mud, no more growing chasm in the backyard where the runoff was carrying our dirt away. The landscapers finally arrived and we now look a lot more finished.