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.
If you’ve been hiking the forests around Steamboat Springs this fall, you might have noticed a wide variety of mushrooms that are poking their heads through the leaf litter and conifer needles at the base of our Alpine trees despite this year’s low amount of moisture.
Well, we’ve had our first frost and the plants are retreating into their shells, so to speak, to weather our cold winter. While plants that grow here generally are pretty hardy and designed to withstand our cold winters, we can make the winter easier on them by providing a blanket of mulch.
One of the prettiest shrubs you see in the autumn forest across Routt County is the Mountain Ash (Sorbus scopulina) with its scarlet foliage and brilliant orange-red berries. It’s a favorite of many local gardeners.
Horseradish is a herb from the mustard family and thrives in high altitude climates such as ours. Horseradish has nothing to do with horses nor with radishes.
So you had a great year in the garden and have more fruits and vegetables than you possibly can eat. What can you do with the excess?
One of my favorite end-of-summer wildflowers is the beautiful pink plumes of fireweed, also known as rosebay willowherb and part of the evening primrose family, found throughout the mountains around Steamboat Springs.
In answer to almost every question about plants asked of Master Gardeners, one part of our reply often deals with improving the soil.
With water restrictions in place throughout Routt County because of the drought this year, many gardeners are wondering how their trees will fare without much rainfall.
Just outside my kitchen is an herb garden I’ve been cultivating for several years now. It’s heaven to be able to step out and snip some fresh basil leaves for a salad or a few stalks of chives for a pasta sauce.
Many of us Master Gardeners, as well as the Routt County Extension Office staff, have been getting a lot of questions lately from local homeowners asking what they should do about their parched lawns during this hot, dry and windy summer.
Have you ever noticed that if you don’t watch it, some of the perennials in your garden bloom and die before you really get a chance to enjoy them?
With the growing season starting out so warm and dry, we might be in for a year that is tough on our plants. This will be true especially if the lack of rain continues and we adhere to requested water restrictions by limiting the added moisture we give to our garden.