Now that many of our spring and early summer flowers are finished blooming, it's time to clean up around those beds by deadheading spent blooms (unless you want them to reseed your garden in places) and removing dead foliage.
Between grasshoppers and the hail storm we experienced a couple weeks ago, gardens in parts of Routt County are in a shambles. Plants and trees have been stripped of their leaves and many plants were so beaten down or chewed up it appears they might not recover from the damage.
Now that things seem to be getting back on track with the economy locally, more development is occurring in neighborhoods throughout the county. And more development often means less space and privacy in our yards and outdoor spaces. Trees and shrubs in your yard and garden can help you achieve a sense of privacy and personal space.
Recreating a wildflower palette in your yard isn't as simple as strewing a packet of wildflower seeds on top of your soil, as most gardeners who've tried this will tell you. But the rewards of a wildflower patch are worth the work involved to create this informal, natural landscape.
When I was a little girl, I had to be careful going outdoors barefoot in the summer because our yard had sharp plants in it that I called "pickers." Now as an adult and a Master Gardener, I've learned that these weeds are thistles and they are not simply a problem for tender feet, they're actually harmful to our environment and our animals.
Rhubarb is a cold hardy plant that thrives in our mountain environment. It grows best in a southern exposure with minimal shade.
Even though our growing season is pretty short here in the Yampa Valley, there are many vegetables that can be grown from seed. This includes most root vegetables, many leafy vegetables, some herbs and a few others.
The United States Department of Agriculture updated its map of the country's planting zones two years ago — the first update since 1990. The map, originally published in 1960, looks at every state, including Hawaii, Alaska and the territory of Puerto Rico, and classifies them into planting zones by 10 degree differences.
The melting snow has given way to lushness here in the Yampa Valley that many homeowners would like to capitalize on and maintain throughout our hot, dry summer.
If your soil has been well-tended by the addition of compost and mulches, there may be no need for supplemental fertilizer. This is especially true with ornamentals since you also can recycle the spent plant materials back into the soil providing all the necessary nutrients for the next growing season.
Almost all of the trees and shrubs that grow here in the high mountains, as well as many plants, can become infested with aphids.
The entrance to the house of my friends, Kathleen and Rocco, was left in its natural state. There are some gambol oak, serviceberry and chokecherry trees and native grasses, but what I especially love about their entrance in the springtime is a merry drift of daffodils that pops up through the grasses.
With hints of spring in the air, many of us who enjoy gardening are itching to get out and start working in the garden. Should we? Not yet, unless you want to do a little clean up and pruning of trees that haven't leafed out yet. It's too early to start digging around in the soil.
If you’re looking for a great shrub for your Steamboat Springs area garden, look no further than Ribes spp, commonly called the currant bush.
I like to relax by reading in the evenings before going to bed, but some nights, I spend more time chasing down and swatting moths attracted to my reading lights. Is this happening at your home, too?
Pumpkins are warm weather plants that grow best at elevations below 5,000 feet. They need a long growing season with warm and sunny days. However, you can extend our short growing season by starting seeds indoors.
The pesticides we use in our home gardens are designed to be specifically deadly to some pests, but improper use of the product can harm other creatures as well as the environment.
When selecting a tree for your Steamboat area yard or garden, there are several considerations to take into account for a successful experience.
Of area hiking trails, the one on Rabbit Ears Pass in July is the most colorful and diverse I've found in terms of the wildflowers that proliferate there. In a single field, you'll find spires of bright red Indian Paintbrush surrounded by the blues of lupine, yellows of sunflowers, white yarrow and delicate pink-veined Richardson's geranium.
Propagating flowers and vegetables by seed is very satisfying as well as a great way to inexpensively fill in bare spots in your garden.
An old-fashioned favorite, the large white, pink and purple funnel-shaped blooms of hollyhocks (alcea rosea, can be seen in gardens throughout Routt County this summer. Towering as high as 8 feet tall, these spires of crepe-like blooms can grow in most any soil, including our clay.
In areas around Elk Mountain, along Routt County Roads 44 and 129 and along Twentymile Road, the grasshopper infestation is as bad as I've seen it in my more than 13 years here.
If you visit the farmer’s market Saturdays or have gone on the Strings Garden Tour any of the past few years or read this column regularly, you’re probably aware that Routt County has a cadre of knowledgeable gardeners in our community who are here to share their expertise with local home gardeners.
When the sun goes down over the Sleeping Giant and the moon rises above Mount Werner, a certain serenity descends upon our valley.
Many current drugs that we know as conventional medicine originally were derived from plants.
The most beautiful profusion of wildflowers I have seen this spring so far was all along the Soda Creek Trail up on the road to Buffalo Pass last week.
Master Gardener Camille Fischer, who went through the county Extension’s Master Gardener program with me in 2000 and since has moved away, came to Steamboat from the same part of Michigan I did where we had mild temperatures, tons of humidity and rain … and hostas that grew to enormous sizes. She did some research on growing hostas in Routt County and shared her findings with us.
Now that we’re nearing our official planting date for Routt County gardens, many of us are searching for annuals to add instant color and interest to bare spots in the garden as well as on the porch, patio and deck.
Many gardeners design their home landscapes specifically to attract certain birds. This is accomplished through plantings as well as birdhouses, birdfeeders and sources of water.
Often, we gardeners call a weed anything that we don’t like in a location we planned for something else.
If you’re looking for a vine that will cover a fence, arbor, trellis or other support system, consider hops (Humulus lupulus). The hop plant vines grow fast reaching a height up to 25 feet by midsummer.
With such short, but spectacular, summers here in the mountains of Colorado, we need to make the most of the days we have in the garden. Perhaps one way we can extend our enjoyment of the plants we grow is to capture them in pencil and ink.
If you’re at all like me, you didn’t get the garden fully cleaned up before the snow came last fall. That means when it melts, we’re going to have a bit of work to do before it looks presentable.
Certain trees are better for windbreaks than others. Some trees are much better at providing shade. Others are great attractors for birds. Some flower and produce fruit. Others flower without producing fruit. Some have trunks and branches with wonderfully vibrant color and shapes that look great against the white snow.
As we drool over the beautiful flowers in the garden catalogs that are cramming our mailboxes, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by choices. One way to narrow down what you might want to add to the garden this year is to consider planting pairings that will look good together in different areas of your garden.
Most of us know that our houseplants need air, water, sunlight and nutrients in order to grow.
Whitney Cranshaw, one of Colorado’s foremost entomologists, or bug experts, was in Routt County in late February to teach the garden insect portion of our local Master Gardening course. Always entertaining, Whitney spent a good portion of the morning discussing lady beetles, one of our favorite garden insects.
The other night I attended a cooking class at City Cafe put on by chefs Nicolette and Olivia.
One of the prettiest colored-foliage plants that is growing in popularity for the indoors is the polka-dot plant, Hypoestes phyllostachya. It’s a compact, bushy plant that prefers bright light and as much humidity as you can generate.
Dieffenbachia maculata, commonly called Spotted dumbcane, is a popular home or office plant that is readily found in local garden centers in a variety of leaf patterns. With a spread of 2 to 3 feet and heights of as much as 8 feet, it makes its presence known in most any room you place it.
At the grocery store last week, I bought tomatoes even though I knew they wouldn’t add much flavor to our salad, just some color. Why are tomatoes from the store so tasteless in the winter?
Some people say we gardeners are consumed by our plants. I don’t think they mean it literally, but there is a group of bizarre plants that obtain nourishment from consuming animals ... not necessarily gardeners.
Want to learn about gardening in the high country? Or brush up on your knowledge of plants that grow at our altitude? Sign up for the 2013 Master Gardener class that starts Jan. 31 and runs through April 11.
When the ground gets hard around the Steamboat area and there’s no easy way to take food scraps out to the compost pile, consider worm composting indoors.
Although Steamboat Springs does not have a local chapter of the Colorado Native Plant Society, this organization offers some valuable benefits to local gardeners via newsletters, workshops, field trips and the Internet.
Each year around Christmas, you start seeing advertisements for one of the funniest gardening plants: Chia Pets.
Plant Select® is a cooperative program of the Denver Botanic Gardens, Colorado State University Cooperative Extension and the Green Industry.
As you look out into the garden at this time of year, it’s easy to see where you might want to add some winter interest and green color outside the regular growing season.
While it’s unlikely the “Patent Police” are patrolling the gardens of Routt County to make sure we’re not illegally propagating plants, it behooves us to know which of our plants we’re allowed to propagate and which ones it is illegal to reproduce.
Our really cold, windy winters and intense daily sunshine here in the mountains can damage the trees in our gardens, especially young ones that haven’t yet developed a thick, rough bark.