Colorado Master Gardeners: Masters in the garden on the Strings Kitchen and Garden Tour | SteamboatToday.com

Colorado Master Gardeners: Masters in the garden on the Strings Kitchen and Garden Tour

Master Gardeners participated in a pre-tour of the homes and gardens that will be featured in Saturday's Kitchen and Garden Tour.

The annual Strings Kitchen and Garden Tour is Saturday and once again, volunteer Master Gardeners will be on site to share their passion for gardening in Routt County.

The Master Gardener program

From early spring to late fall, Colorado State University Agriculture Extension Office's volunteer Master Gardeners are strategically placed throughout the community with one purpose in mind: educating locals and visitors about our extensive plant kingdom.

This hard-working group is a wonderful resource, keeping office hours — from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursdays — for plant-CSI problem-solving, conducting in-home site visits, supporting the botanical, cemetery, community and the Nature Conservancy's gardens and running the Junior Master Gardener program. Each year this team grows a little bigger with a new class of eager beavers, and this year, over 50 active volunteers will donate 24 hours each — 50 for the newbies — to our community.

Master Gardeners and the Strings Kitchen and Garden Tour

Currently, Master Gardeners are teaming up with the annual Strings Kitchen and Garden Tour to benefit the prestigious Strings Music Festival. While tour attendees browse through seven of the finest homes in the valley, 16 Master Gardeners will be available to answer questions about the surrounding flora and fauna.

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A variety of gardens will be showcased: some are wilder than others, some are newly landscaped and some are well-established, and, as all the homes on the tour this year will offer gardens to view, attendees will gain more insight into what grows in our beautiful mountain environment.

This year's tour includes two unique homes in Sidney Peak and Blacktail, two gorgeous homes in Dakota Ridge, two more beauties up Anglers Retreat and the last lovely home up Fish Creek Falls Road.

Two small groups of Master Gardeners toured these homes over two days last week to formulate a comprehensive plant identification list for all homes — a new addition this year — as well as selecting "Top 10" plants that will be flagged at each home for further study, which is also new.

In addition, all 16 Master Gardeners will visit the homes on a pre-tour to get a closer look at their respective gardens and prepare for the barrage of questions from the hundreds of attendees visiting the homes throughout the day.

Many of the Master Gardeners have been with the program for over a decade, some are professional landscapers, and all have a thirst for plant knowledge and research. Their extensive knowledge is nothing to sneeze at, and I encourage you to make use of this affordable fundraiser to spend some quality time with them in the gardens.

Andy Kennedy is a Washington, D.C. native, transplanted to the Yampa Valley in 1998. With a background in both sustainability and photography, she takes a close look at plants all year long. Because of her love for travel with her husband, Craig, she calls herself the "absentee gardener."

The Strings Kitchen and Garden Tour will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, July 15.

In addition to the highlighted kitchens and gardens, there will be musicians and artists on site rounding out the day in Renaissance style.

The tour starts at with a continental breakfast at the Strings Tent and continues either as a self-guided tour ($45) or in a group on the VIP bus ($75) with a Master Gardener aboard, stopping for lunch at Catamount Ranch and Club.
Visit http://www.stringsmusicfestival.com to purchase tickets.