When Is the Last Frost?

frosty-tree-home-2009-02-14-lah-253

This last week of gorgeous spring weather has certainly brought out the crowds at the garden centers and home improvement stores. When I visited last weekend, carts full of geraniums, tomatoes, and other tender annuals were lined up at the checkout.

Today, the forecast is for snow. It was 30 degrees when I got up this morning. There was frost on the parked cars. As I type, big flakes are softly landing on the freshly turned soil out my window. I wondered how many of the people I’d seen at the store had gone home and planted their flowers, only to find them blackened after the sub-freezing night.

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Planting Done Right: Part 2

Trees

tilia-x-europaea-linden-cc-2003jul06-lah-003Today is Arbor Day, the traditional day for planting trees. Most of us treasure trees. Planting one is an act of faith, something we do for our children, and perhaps our grandchildren. Sadly, thousands of our nation’s trees now reaching maturity are destined to an early death. They were doomed the day they were planted.

Gardening practices have changed over the years. The days of digging a huge hole for a new tree are over. Research has shown that planting a tree too deeply is a sure recipe for trouble.

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Planting Done Right: Part 1

Shrubs, Perennials and Ornamental Grasses

plants-for-sale-lowes-cs_2008aug02_lah_5106-1It’s spring. I’ve been digging in the garden—at least between snow storms. My back muscles (and knees and shoulders) ache, there’s dirt under my broken fingernails, and a huge smile on my face. In fact, there’s dirt in my teeth—I’ve been pulling weeds and shaking the soil off their roots before piling them into the compost bucket, and I keep forgetting to close my lips.

One of the joys of spring is adding new plants to our garden. What gardener can resist the dazzling displays at the garden center? Forgetting about budgets and the size of our yards, we load up the cart. Then we get home and the work begins. It’s time to start digging holes.

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Creative Containers

Containers @DBG 19sept05 LAH 236A tantalizing spell of sunny, warm weather had me out on my patio last week. It looks so bare. Most of my pots are still safely tucked into the garage for the winter. Repeated freezing and thawing can crack unglazed pottery. Since we were out of town a lot last year, I didn’t plant anything extra, not wanting to overburden our very gracious house-sitter. This year I’ll be home, and I’m already envisioning my containers.

A simple geranium in a flower pot is fine, but I have grandiose dreams. Paying particular attention to the containers at various botanic gardens has inspired me. Here are three tips on planting spectacular pots.

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Berries for the Birds

american-robin-in-russian-hawthorn_xg_20091215_lah_5562xHow would you like to have a flock of robins outside your window? How about other thrushes, waxwings, sparrows, towhees, or vireos? Want to add Western Tanager to your yard list?

Along with finches, grosbeaks, thrushes, some warblers, Northern Mockingbird, Townsend’s Solitaire, chickadees, nuthatches, swallows, woodpeckers, pigeons/doves, jays, and even hummingbirds (who drink the juice), all these birds eat berries at some point.*

Planting shrubs and trees that produce berries is a great way to attract more species of birds. Even better, plant several kinds of berries, since each bird species has its favorites.

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DBG’s New Greenhouse Complex

boettcher-dbg_lah_6645-1Does chaffing wind have you pining for gentle tropical breezes? Do the empty branches of your shrubs and trees leave you starving for bright green foliage? Are you dreaming of the scent of gardenias and orange blossoms?

orchid_dbg_lah_6265You don’t need to buy a plane ticket. Just head over the Denver Botanic Gardens’ new greenhouse complex. Walk through the door and your senses are engulfed by luxuriant growth. Feast on the bright colors and fascinating shapes of plants from faraway places. Inhale the humid air that keeps these exotics healthy and blooming. Pretend you are far, far south of Colorado.

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