Volume 3, Issue 3
From the Ground Up A Gardening and Native Plants Quarterly
Colorado State University Extension-Pueblo County 701 Court Street 路 Suite C 路 Pueblo, CO 81003 路 719-583-6566 路 email@example.com GARDEN WALKS
HORTICULTURE ADVENTURE IN THE TWIN CITIES by Victor Boley, Colorado Master Gardener, 2012
My wife and I took a road trip for our vacation in June, which took us through Minneapolis, Minnesota. During our stay there, and having a strong interest in gardening and horticulture, we looked for somewhere to entertain our interest. We discovered the Cowles Conservatory and Sculpture Garden (located at 726 Vineland Pl, Minneapolis, MN) and the College of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS) located on the University of Minnesota St Paul Campus, which is also the location of the Department of Horticultural Science Display and Trial Garden. If anyone with an interest in horticulture finds themselves spending any time in the Twin Cities, he or she would most certainly find a visit to these attractions to be very enjoyable and rewarding. The Cowles Conservatory is a giant, luscious greenhouse that takes up more than a full city block of vivacious tropical plants, trees, flora and a large aquarium. Cowles Conservatory (above) and When visitors enter the conservatory, they can walk thermometer at trial garden (left). through several sections along pathways and ponds and Photos by V. Boley through all types of palm trees, vines, orchids as well as an uncountable number of flowering plants. All these plants are labeled, which gives specific information as to how each plant is used, such as a spice or as a medicine. There is also an audio tour, where guest can obtain headphones and listen to information about the plants displayed as they make their way through the jungle of greenery. While in Minnesota, we also braved the extreme heat the area was experiencing and visited the CFANS Department of Horticultural Science Display and Trial Garden. The campus dedicates a great deal of resources to agriculture, with acres of test fields of various types of crops. The Trial Garden is a public display located on the north end of the campus, which is managed and worked by interns on a variety of vegetables, fruits and flowers. Continued on page 2
INDEX Garden Walks 1&2 Interesting Insects 2&3 Garden Solitude 3 Perennial People 4 Hole Story 5 Harmonious Hardscapes 6 Fabulous Families 7 2013 CMG class 8
CMG Program 8 Landscape Planning 9 Advertisements 10 Prairie Restoration 11 & 12 Wicked Weeds 12 Know Your Natives 13 & 14 Agastache 14
Garden Walks continued from page 1
During this visit, I took a picture of a thermometer on the wall of a gazebo showing the temperature topping out at just over 110, which, sadly, shortened our visit. Our friends who live in the area promised us this was unusually hot weather for the area. Another location our friends suggested experiencing , but we decided to save for our next visit, was the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. The University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum is part of the Department of Horticultural Science within the College of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resource Sciences at the University of Minnesota. The Arboretum features more than 1,000 acres of magnificent gardens, model landscapes and natural areas from woodlands, and wetlands to prairie with extensive collections of northern hardy plants. The University of Minnesota and CFANS have web site loaded with information and is a great resource for any gardener: http://www.cfans.umn.edu/index.htm. INTERESTING INSECTS
JOIN THE BATTLE AGAINST JAPANESE BEETLE by Linda McMulkin, CSU Extension-Pueblo County Horticulture Coordinator Japanese beetle, Popillia japonica, has become a big problem in Pueblo. In the past three years, the numbers of adults have increased significantly and have been reported in more neighborhoods. As the name implies, this insect is originally from Japan and was reported in the United States in 1919. The insect has spread throughout the eastern US in the decades since introduction, and made its first major impact in Colorado in the late 1990s, when it was reported in Palisade on the western slope. In 2004, the citizens of Palisade began an eradication program, aimed at protecting the vital agriculture component of their economy. Within 5 years, the number of adult beetles trapped was reduced by 99%. Control measures included monitor trapping, chemical control of grubs, Left: Japanese beetle adult, photo courtesy and drying down irrigated turf. of D. Cappaert, Michigan State University, http://bugwood.org/. More recently, the insect has become established Below: damage to grapes in Pueblo yard, in the Denver metro area, with the epicenter located photo courtesy of C. Meserve. around Cherry Creek. In 2009, we verified an overwintering population in Pueblo, with City Park and Elmwood golf course the likely epicenter. The Japanese beetle is a very pretty insect, with a metallic green head and thorax, copper-colored wing covers, and 5 tufts of white hair on each side of the abdomen. The larvae are one of the white grubs that feed on the roots of turf grass, with irrigated turf being their favorite place to live. In the past 2 years, the number of adult insects found in and around city park has grown, as has damage to desired landscape plants. This year roses, Virginia creeper, grapes, elms, and linden trees were hit hard. The beetle feeds on the interveinal tissue, skeletonizing the leaf and reducing photosynthesis. A group of adult beetles can strip a Virginia creeper in a matter of days. Of course, they are also mating, and the females lay eggs in irrigated turf in the late afternoon. Control measures for the grubs include July and August applications of chemicals that kill the larvae while they are young and near the surface. Parasitic nematodes, genus Heterorhabditis, can also be used to control grubs and are recommended for lawn areas near water or for homeowners who prefer to avoid chemical pesticides. Unfortunately, high Japanese beetle populations and large expanses of irrigated turf go hand-in-hand. The most effective control measure for Japanese beetle larvae is to Continued on page 3 2
Interesting Insects continued from page 2
cut down on turf irrigation from late June and through August during egg laying, since the grubs don’t survive in dry soil. But cutting turf irrigation from 3 times per week to once every 7 to 10 days will result in dormant, dead, or damaged turf, which is rarely popular with homeowners and never for golf courses and parks. On irrigated lawns, chemicals or nematodes are a viable option. For those who have limited turf or who have xeric landscapes, the grubs may never be an issue. But as the insects continue to spread throughout Pueblo, more and more landscapes will be damaged by the adults, since the adults will feed on up to 350 different landscape species, including vegetable crops. This year, the Pueblo Parks Department, in cooperation with the golf course and Pueblo Zoo, has begun a control plan that includes applications of parasitic nematodes and chemicals that target the grubs in late summer, drying down some turf areas, spot spraying adults, and using systemic insecticides on the most targeted trees. All of this is expensive and time consuming on such a large property. For the 2012 Japanese beetle larvae, a 1 inch long growing season, the parks department has allocated funds and time to start the white grub. Photo courtesy of Mike process. But as seen in Palisade, the battle must be continued for several years Reding and Betsy Anderson, USDA Agricultural Research Service, before we know if we have been successful. http://bugwood.org/. The battle against Japanese beetle must be one we all engage in. Homeowners in affected neighborhoods (generally the southwestern quarter of Pueblo) need to become educated on control options and determine the best control method for each individual yard. Only by working as a community can we hope to get control of this problem insect. Links to CSU Extension fact sheets and Colorado Department of Agriculture publications are posted at http://pueblo.colostate.edu. If you choose chemicals or nematodes as your control measure, purchase or order products so that you can apply them at the proper time, apply according to the label directions, and water them in properly. If you choose the dry down option, spend time this fall and next spring increasing the root health of your lawn. Then prepare yourself for less than ―green carpet‖ turf next summer. CSU Extension staff is available to discuss Japanese beetle control options and help you plan your attack against this damaging insect. Give us a call at 719-583-6566.
Garden Solitude by Greg Nolan, Colorado Master Gardener, 2009 Lately I have been reading about the health benefits of having a rich social life. Likewise, I have also been reading about the many health benefits of solitude and personal space for introverts. Interestingly, on MRI scans, introverts tend to have minds that are more active than extroverts so an introvert naturally seeks solitude to calm a very active mind. An extrovert, on the other hand, seeks social endeavors to further stimulate their calm mind. Most, if not all of us, are not entirely reclusive or social; entirely introvert or extrovert. Introverts certainly need and enjoy a social life and extroverts certainly need and enjoy time alone; apparently it just a matter of scale. I suspect all of us have come home frazzled from time to time to the point we don’t want to make one more decision, we just want some emotional and personal space. Of course this conversation is best taken up with ourselves in a garden. A garden provides many people, introverts and extroverts alike, a place of solitude, of regeneration, and renewal. Gardens provide us a place of solace and refuge where our minds are free to wander the landscapes covered by Thoreau, Dickenson, Mohammad and Jesus, a place where Einstein, Confucius, Gandhi, Buddha, Dali Lama, pondered deeply. Gardens provide a place where ideas are pollinated, where good intentions germinate, where notions sprout, where love is tended, where well-being is harvested. For many, garden solitude is the sun they bask in, the water that bathes them, and the food that nourishes them. A garden needs tending, and so do you. Tend your garden well, as a garden is nothing without you. 3
DON BARNETT—CACTUS ENTHUSIAST by Cheryl DeLong, Colorado Master Gardener, 2008 They bite! Are you kidding? From a distance, thank you. These are responses I’ve gotten when asking friends if they had considered growing cactus. I found that cacti are underappreciated plants and I was having trouble finding gardeners that deliberately include cactus in their selection of plants. I’ve always been intrigued by cactus and have been seeking out winter-hardy varieties over the past couple of years to include in my xeriscape garden. My knowledge was limited to prickly pear and barrel cactus, so when I learned about the Colorado Cactus and Succulent Society, I began attending meetings. The president of this group is Don Barnett, an incredible source of knowledge who has a cactus garden that reflects his passion. I considered myself very fortunate to interview him and visit his cactus garden. As a young boy, Don often spent time with his dad fishing and hunting. As part of those outings, he spent time observing and collecting cactus. Today, Don has an incredible garden which includes over 600 cacti representing about 120 species. Fifteen years ago he was determined to have all 20 of the native Colorado cacti in his garden and accomplished that goal several years ago. As we walked through the area, he pointed out many endangered and unique species as well as showed me the characteristics that made each special and unique from similar-looking cacti. Don carried a pretty good-sized pair of tweezers that he used to pull weeds and grasses, and demonstrated the harvesting of the cacti seeds. I learned that transplanting cactus should be done after the scar from cutting has dried. Don’s potting soil mix consists of inexpensive top soil and pumice. Cactus requires little water but Don does give his garden a good dousing in the early spring. I always thought cactus bloomed in the spring but there were two species that had glorious blossoms in the early days of August. I’ve learned there are many winter hardy cacti beyond prickly pear. I’ve also come to realize that the interest in cacti is growing, and there are varieties that are perfect for Pueblo and other hot, dry climates. The colorful blooms attract a variety of birds and wildlife and provide protection for nesting. Don’s passion for cacti extends to his son, Donnie. Donnie is a horticulturist and biologist for the Southern Nevada Water Authority. Permits allow them to find and harvest species that most of the general public would never see. Both men actively seek out the unusual cactus, develop gardens, and share their expertise with others. I encourage you to attend the Colorado Cactus and Succulent Society —Walking Stick Chapter— meetings. They are held on the second Wednesday evening of each month at CSU-Pueblo, often in the library. There are wonderful presentations and rooms of people that appreciate cactus and succulents. Contact Don for information about upcoming meetings. Below are resources that Don shared that you, too, might find useful. Colorado Cactus and Succulent Society: Walking Stick Chapter, CDBarnett3@q.com Timberline Gardens, Arvada, CO, http://www.timberlinegardens.com/ Sunscapes Rare Plant Nursery, Pueblo, CO, http://www.sunscapes.net/index.htm Mesa Garden, Belen, New Mexico, http://mesagarden.com/ Miles’ To Go, web based catalog sales, http://www.miles2go.com/ Garden Tip: Fall Lawn Fertilization Mid-September to mid-October is the best time to fertilize your Bluegrass or fescue lawn. Fall lawn fertilization helps it to recover from summer stresses, stimulates healthy root growth and promotes early greening in the spring. This is also the best time to Core aerate the lawn. Make sure to irrigate turf well a day before core aerating to help facilitate deep plug cultivation. 4
Garden Tip: Vegetable Garden Clean Up Summer vegetable gardening will soon be done for this year and much of the debris from the garden can be used in the compost pile. It is a good horticultural practice to clean up the beds as this removes cover and habitat for many pests. Any vegetable debris that is not from diseased plants may be added to the compost pile. Don’t forget to water your compost periodically during the winter.
The Whole Story of the Holes by Georgi Lipich, Colorado Master Gardener, 2007 There was HOLE in my front lawn….not just any hole, but a very deep dark hole. Letting our dog lead me out to collect the morning paper we paused to sniff the hole….well, I didn’t, but the dog did. Ears and tail up, nose to the ground and dragging me along, she followed the scent to the other side of the front yard. ANOTHER HOLE! And, another….and another and another…… SIX HOLES! No dirt mounds… very little dirt piled up….JUST HOLES! (Where did the dirt go??) Our dog was ecstatic….NEW FRIENDS! Me….not so much. The lawn had already been showing signs that it was probably beyond saving. We had made up our minds to re-sod and put in a sprinkler system after years of dragging hoses around. A new expensive lawn with holes? Husband comes home….dog explains the ―hole‖ story to him which gains her another trip to the front yard. We decide to watch the holes for signs of activity. For a week nothing happens. No critters….no new holes. Dog loses interest. Weather warms up and we decide to try running a hose down the holes, water on full blast. In five places the water runs down for a couple of seconds and then gushes back out, obviously having hit bottom. But the 6th hole is different. A strong stream of water shoots down the hole…….and doesn’t come back at us. Where on earth is it going? With help from the dog we search the front yard….no puddles. We search our lot to the south of us….no puddles. Across the road? Nope. Finally, after running the faucet full force for about 30 minutes, we decide that in the interest of preventing a budget-breaking water bill, we better turn it off. After hours and hours spent at the computer trying to identify the maker of the bottomless holes, we were ready to give up. Whatever it was had probably put on bright-colored water wings, goggles and flippers and had moved on to China by now, riding on the waves caused by our watering hose (I had this picture in my head of a furry little guy with big round eyes jumping belly first onto an underground waterslide!). What I did find out through this experience is that there are many, many critters that might dig holes in your yard. Big furry ones (skunks, raccoons and groundhogs), little furry ones (rats, prairie dogs and squirrels), feathered ones of many species, and long thin ones (snakes!!)…..the list goes on and on. Most, according to my on-line research, leave telltale signs on the surface…dirt mounds big and small, scratch marks, etc. But obviously our holes were not caused by one of these creatures… or maybe our villain was smarter than the usual hole digger. The day our old sod was removed we watched the landscaper as he very carefully peered down each hole. I was kind of hoping something would pop up out of one…we could bang it on the head like the groundhog game at the arcade. But no such luck. The holes remained a mystery. I offered to write this article with the intent of educating readers on how to identify those holes. I was sure, with enough dedicated hard work, that I’d come up with some intelligent answers. But, Dear Readers, I must admit I’ve been beaten. Embarrassed and defeated. I must give up in shame. I hope some of you have better luck than I have had. For now, the new sod is looking beautiful, ready for the wriggling toes of our young grandchildren. If some morning, however, I hear the faint sound of ―Ni Hao!‖ coming from a new hole in my yard, I’ll know he’s on his way back from his long trip to the other side of the world….the war will begin anew! 5
2012 Yard and Garden Classes Fall Into Spring: Preparing the Garden for Winter, Tuesday, September 25, 6-9 p.m. Introduction to Organic Food Production, Saturday, October 6, 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. For more information or to register for classes, please call 719-583-6566 or visit the CSU Extension website at http://pueblo.colostate.edu. Cost is $15 per class or $25 for couples sharing materials.
BUILD SHADE INTO YOUR LANDSCAPE by Elizabeth Catt, CSU Extension-Pueblo County Horticulture Assistant
Shade is the answer. In this summer’s inferno of a season, that is my mantra. If you are like me and have more years behind you than in front of you, building shade is a viable option. I am not discouraging anyone from planting trees, but planting trees is always undertaken with future generations as the beneficiary. Plant trees for your grandchildren, and in the meantime, build yourself a lovely grape arbor to dine under or an elegant pergola to walk through in the garden. Pergolas and arbors are very common in hot climates in both urban and rural settings and the names have become almost interchangeable. The term pergola is taken from late Latin pergola, pertaining to a projecting eave. Arbor refers to an ancient custom of planting trees in a circle to form an overhead canopy and forming an outdoor room with a green ―ceiling‖. Now, it refers to an outdoor structure with vines growing overhead. The main reason for either of these is shade, plain and simple. Building a structure with posts or pillars for the side and as uprights to hold cross beams to grow vines on allows for air circulation and shade. Pergolas were originally built While the structures differ, with large stone pillars and timbered crossbeams. During the Renaissance, willows the goal of creating shade remains the same. or hazel were often ―planted‖ and tied together at the top and woven with slats to A pergola is shown above form green tunnels. What could be cooler and dreamier than strolling through the and an arbor below. Drawings by Terry Riley. garden under a shady green tunnel? Many formal gardens use arched metal structures on which to train vines and pliable woody plants. These are often serene pathways that lead to a dramatic garden feature, or the next great view in a landscape. Allées and avenues of trees are planted for the same purpose, to channel the view and provide an overhead shady canopy on a larger scale. In the southwest, native materials are used to create ramadas. Historically, these were simple open-sided structures built by Native Americans for shade. They are traditionally rustic structures typically built of peeled logs and roofed-in latillas. They are very pleasing around southwest style homes and gardens. Arbors, pergolas, and ramadas all provide shelter in the garden, and there is a style and a material to enhance any architecture or garden style. There is a wide array of building materials, from stone, timber, and metal, to vinyl, and construction can be simple or as intricate as taste or skills allow. To beat the heat, do as the ancients did and build some shade.
Subscribe to this quarterly horticulture newsletter by contacting Carolyn at 583-6574. Available in paper and electronic formats. 6
Garden Tip: Storing Fertilizer Synthetic fertilizers have a tendency to cake when stored for long periods. But the products are still useable --just break up the clumps with a hammer before mixing with water. To reduce the caking problem, store any unused product in the original bag placed in a 5 gallon bucket with a tight-fitting lid.
FAMILY CARYOPHYLLACEAE: THE PINK FAMILY
by Marilynn Chambers, Colorado Master Gardener, 2000, and Native Plant Master, 2007
They are called pinks, and many of their flowers do bear this color as well as shades of white and red. While this common name specifically refers to a few species of dianthus, it is also used to encompass the entire family, Caryophyllaceae. The name comes from a Greek word meaning carnation, which is probably the showiest member of this family and is valuable commercially in the florist trade. Because of their spicy scent, carnations are also known as clove pinks. The carnation (Dianthus caryophyllus) is one of the oldest cultivated flowers. This family consists of 80 genera with 2,000 species (most easily recognized) of mostly flowering herbaceous plants with a few shrubs. They are distributed throughout the temperate zone, but most live in the northern hemisphere. Although there are a few evergreens, the majority die back to a crown in winter. Flowers bloom singly or in branched clusters or in cymes. There are 5 sepals, either free or united into a calyx. Petals are usually 5, slender at the base and may be fringed or toothed at the ends. Stamens number 5 or 10 and pistils 1 to 5. All parts are attached at the base of the superior ovary. Leaves are simple, opposite, occasionally whorled, and either lance shaped or threadlike. The ovary consists of 2 to 5 united carpels (except for Silene) and develops as a dry capsule, usually with numerous seeds. An interesting member is common chickweed (Stellaria media), an alien weed of European origin that has made itself at home in most parts of the United States. Chickweed is edible, high in Vitamin C and contains many other nutrients. It is used commercially as an ingredient in skin care products. This prostrate, cool season annual has earned its common name by being a favorite food of chickens. Many genera contain varying amounts of saponin, a group of amorphous toxic glycosides which have the ability to Above: Saponaria officinalis, Bouncing bet, a Colorado form an emulsion in watery solutions. Those plants with noxious weed. generous amounts of saponin have been used as soap substiLeft: Gypsophila paniculata, Babyâ€™s-breath, an alien plant on tutes. The most notable is Saponaria (soapwort), the name the Colorado watch list. being derived from Latin meaning soap. S. officinalis is on the Drawings courtesy of the USDANRCS PLANTS Database / Britton, Colorado noxious weed List B. There are other species not so N.L., and A. Brown. 1913. An invasive that are used as garden ornamentals. illustrated flora of the northern United States, Canada and the Many members of Caryophyllaceae are familiar British Possessions. 3 vols. Charles Scribner's Sons, New York. occupants of our flowerbeds. Gypsophilia, the airy background Vol. 2: 73 of flower arrangements and Cerastium tomentosum, the gray-green groundcover known as Snow-in-summer, are well loved ornamentals. Not as well known are Paronychia spp. (nailwort) a little creeper once thought to cure a disease of fingernails, and Arenaria spp., the little sandworts used in rock gardens. Silene is a food source for Lepidoptera larvae. Its common names include campion (shared with the related genus Lychnis) and catchfly. Catchfly, which is not carnivorous, secretes a viscid substance on its stem and calyx that will sometimes trap small insects. Other species of Dianthus include cottage pinks (D. plumarius) as well as Sweet William (D. barbatus), an herbaceous biennial or short-lived perennial that attracts butterflies and bees. 7
Become a Colorado Master Gardener! Colorado Master Gardeners learn in local gardening classes, at state-wide seminars, while attending field trips, by answering questions from clients and by doing it themselves. The majority of CMG training courses will be taught via CSU’s well-developed Distance Education Program. All classes will have local staff as facilitators and experienced Colorado Master Gardeners will be available to answer questions and assist with hands-on activities. Course Schedule: Note: This is an 8-week evening course. Dates: January 29—March 21 Days: Tuesday & Thursday Evenings Time: 6-9 p.m. Location: CSU Extension/Pueblo County 701 Court Street, 2nd Floor Pueblo, CO 81003
Training Options To be considered for the Colorado Master Gardener Volunteer Option:
Complete and submit application Complete background check References and Interview Pay fees (cash/checks only)—see volunteer fee option Sign volunteer commitment agreement Must attend 80% to complete Reduced fee + 50 hours volunteer time $210 Fee Paid Before January 4 $240 Late Fee Paid Jan 5-11
To be considered for the Colorado Gardener Certificate Option:
There is no volunteer commitment. Complete and submit first page only of application Include $575 fee
Applications available online at: http://pueblo.colostate.edu/hor/hort.shtml Participants receive a nationally recognized, ring-bound gardening manual compiled by CMG State Coordinator, David Whiting. Space is limited and is open on a first come (pay) basis. Minimum of 18 participants.
Masters of Plant Appreciation by Greg Nolan, Colorado Master Gardener, 2009 I have, for years, considered myself the most inept gardener in Pueblo County. I call my yard the Killing Fields. After killing many plants and wasting untold tens of dollars, I decided I needed help, so I enrolled in the Colorado Master Gardener Program through Colorado State University Extension. I am so glad I did. Master Gardener classes are open to the public and an evening class series will be offered this winter. People from all walks participate in the Colorado Master Gardener program. In my classes, I met many retirees, teachers looking for recertification hours, teachers that want to start a school garden, business professionals, community gardeners, people from outside Pueblo County, and many homeowners that simply wanted to care better for their yard and gardens. What I have found by becoming a Master Gardener is that I abhor gardening. I have also found that I love plants; evidently, I just don’t like maintaining them. I also learned the importance of selecting the right plant for the right place, plants that do best for a minimalist gardener such as me, plants that are native to Pueblo County and plants that adapt easily to the climate and environment of Pueblo County. You can get more information about programs offered from the Colorado State University Extension office at 719-583-6566. 8
Landscape Planning for Your Home Environment by Marge Vorndam, Colorado Master Gardener, 1997, and Native Plant Master, 2008 Abundant Earth Gardens (http://xeriscapegardens.com/) from Durango offered an engaging lecture series online in the spring of 2012. One of the featured talks was about ―How Good Design Simplifies Garden Tasks and Enhances Enjoyment of Outdoor Spaces‖. This talk addressed Rocky Mountain home landscaping, and was presented by Robert Littlepage, a landscape architect whofounded and directs the California School of Garden Design. What he presented was equivalent to what you can expect a local landscape designer to do, but gives you the tools to do your own landscaping, if you desire the challenge. Tips were included for both new landscapes and existing landscapes that need renovation. Littlepage pointed out that homeowners should expect to spend as much for a landscaper and outdoor work as you would to remodel an interior room. If the home is new or new to the owner, wait to reorganize it until you have lived there for a year. Homeowners should walk their property, learning the terrain and climate, and how the site works with the local environment. List the advantages and disadvantages of what you have now to know what you would like to change. A landscape should be a combination of paths, focal points such as community meeting places, water features that draw in wildlife, and drainage that feeds to your plants and disperses water to your landscape plants. Think of your landscape as divided into ―rooms‖, just as your home space is. How do you wish to use your garden as an extension of your home? Develop your ideas for changes on paper before buying any plants. Use graph paper or a drafting program (―SketchUp‖ is free online) to draw the features of the property and to diagram how you want the landscape to look. Include features that currently exist, such as location of windows, fences, property lines and trees. Consider how the landscape will appear both from outside and inside the home. Think of removing the mono-view of a lawn with shrubs and forbs (perennial plants) that can frame your internal views via windows. Think of complementing your view using ―step-ups‖ or elevation changes to break up the environment grades. A ―common area‖ can provide a place for people to meet and enjoy the garden. Your ideas for the landscape will change as you go through this process. Littlepage says that determining your soil texture is important in dictating how much irrigation you might need to do, so become familiar with the soil in your landscape. If you don’t know how to determine this yourself, you can send a soil sample to a lab (like the CSU Soil and Plant Testing Laboratory, http://www.soiltestinglab.colostate.edu/). Good design leads to easier maintenance, so select plants that are sustainable for our environment with minimal supplemental water. Make the planned garden functional to minimize care before you purchase plants. Your design should include: An irrigation that provides needed moisture to landscape plants. Group plants by their water needs and tailor the amount of irrigation to your shrubs and grass type. Use mulches to shade the soil and conserve water in shrub and flower beds. Make sure to redirect rainfall runoff to supplement irrigated areas. Lighting can highlight features in the evening. Think local. Consider native plants or species from similar climates, which may require no or minimal supplemental water after establishment. Use native stone/rock to provide texture. Native stone complements the landscape and provides a thread into the wider landscape. Provide attraction for wildlife, such as birds, butterflies and plant pollinators. 9
Extension has a lot to offer…. The CSU Extension Family and Consumer Sciences program has many interesting upcoming classes. You’re sure to find something that’s up your alley!
Pressure Canning: Sept. 18, 2012, 6:00-8:00 pm. Fee: $5.00. Deadline 9/12. Dining with Diabetes: Sept. 12, 19 and 26, 10:00 am-12:00 pm. Fee:$20.00/$30.00 per couple. Deadline 9/6. ServSafe® Certification Training: Oct. 17, 8:00 am-5:30 pm. Fee: $120.00. Deadline 10/3. Food Safety Works-Safe Food Handler Training: Sept. 20, 1:00-3:00 pm. Fee: $5.00. Deadline 9/14. Get Stronger Live Longer– Morning sessions (3 days a week) will begin Sept. 5 and will run 12 weeks. Fee: $15.00. Deadline 9/4. For times, locations, and registration information, call 583-6566.
For more information on these programs, check out the full flyers on the web at http://www.coopext.colostate.edu/Pueblo/fam/fami.shtml or contact CSU Extension at 719-583-6566. Garden Tip: Ever Been To A Corn Maze? Last year, I went to my first corn maze. The huge maze at Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield (near C-470 in Littleton) was a blast, with multiple ways to get lost and found. After solving the maze, take a hayride, grab a snack at one of the food carts, visit the beautiful demonstration gardens, take the kids to the playground, or have a picnic by the creek. The 2012 corn maze will be open on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from September 14 to October 28. Fridays are less crowded but the big festivals are on the weekends. For more information, see the schedule at http://www.botanicgardens.org/corn-maze.
If you need any special accommodation(s) to participate in any Colorado State University Extension event, please contact CSU Extension-Pueblo County at 719-583-6566. Your request must be submitted at least five (5) business days in advance of the event. Colorado State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture and Pueblo County cooperating. Extension programs are available to all without discrimination.
Garden Tip: Fall and Winter Watering Remember that landscape plants need water even in the winter. It has been exceptionally dry this summer and the long-range forecast suggests that the drought will continue into the dormant season. Lawns and young plants need irrigation every 3-4 weeks and established woody plants monthly. Irrigate when the daytime temperature is above 40 degrees, allowing time for water infiltration before sunset. For more information on winter irrigation, see CSU Extension Fact Sheet 7.211 at http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/garden/07211.pdf.
Restoring Native Prairie In An Urban Landscape by Greg Nolan, Native Plant Master, 2011 With the emergence of water wise gardening, right plant right place, and xeric gardening, a natural progression is restoration of natural habitat. In most of Pueblo County, that means short-grass prairie restoration. There is simply nothing that creates a low-input, sustainable yard better than restoring the natural landscape. Before humans began changing the prairie, grasses made up 90-95% of the prairie vegetation. So, when planning a prairie restoration, the first plants to consider are the grasses. They have fine root systems that spread widely, catching the water that falls in the landscape and holding the soil in place. Consider planting both warm and cool season grasses for biological and aesthetic diversity. Lawn grasses in a prairie restoration might be buffalo and blue grama. Around the edges of the lawn, add Indian rice grass, little blue stem, sideoats grama and purple/red three awn. These are bunch grasses and do not form a lawn-type turf but can be ornamental and add interest to a prairie landscape. There are many other grasses you could consider, but Blue grama, Bouteloua gracilis, the state grass these are the major native players of the short grass prairie around Pueblo. of Colorado. Drawing The three pillars of restoration are weed management, soil preparation and water courtesy of USDANRCS PLANTS Datamanagement. / Hitchcock, A.S. Weeds must be controlled both before seeding and until the natural native grasses are base (rev. A. Chase). 1950. established, which may take a couple years or more. Time spent controlling weeds before you seed grasses will save time and effort later. While the grasses are becoming established, consider hand weeding and mowing. The method you select will depend on how large an area is restored, the age of new grasses, the amount of native grasses already present, the extent of weed infestation, and available water (fewer weeds in dry years). Remember, many of the weeds you will be dealing with are annuals and the grasses you will be planting are perennials, so use this to your advantage. Keep the weeds cut to prevent reseeding and allow the grasses to spread over time. Grasses can be seeded, paper-mulch seeded, plugged, or simply encouraged. For any of these methods, some soil preparation is necessary. Prairie grasses are used to living with grazing animals that disturb the soil surface with their hooves. Since our landscapes rarely get help from grazers, you can break up the soil with a rototiller, rake, or core aerator. If the soil is the same soil that once contained prairie grasses, there is no need to amend. When reseeding, rototill to loosen the soil, rake the soil out to level it, cast the seed, and rake the seed in. To insure good contact with the soil, roll over the seeded area with a heavy lawn roller. Another method I have used with good luck is to rototill the soil, cast the seed into the rough soil, and water it. The seed seems to go into the natural crevices and protected areas of the roughened soil. The water seems to level the soil and cover the seed with soil. The rough texture provides protection from wind and the crevices containing the seed seem to stay wet longer, although the top may dry out. Rough surfaces may remain for several seasons, so turf-installation professionals are more likely to recommend the first method. For smaller areas, plugging may be the way to go. Some plant outlets sell flats of plugs or you can simply take a shovel full of sod from another part of the yard or prairie and simply start pulling it apart and plugging the area to be planted. Plugs need water to set roots, but once they have, you can let them spread naturally, or continue watering them to speed things up. For other areas, encouragement may be all that is needed. This may mean one or many methods to encourage the grasses that already exist to thrive and spread through runners Continued on page 12 11
Prairie Restoration continued from page 11
or seed production. To encourage growth of sparse grasses, loosen compacted soil, keep weeds under control, over-seed without rototilling, and water to encourage the grass that is already there to thrive. Water is a big issue in establishing new grasses. It is important for seed to have good contact with the soil and for the soil to stay wet until the seedlings germinate and set roots. You can back off on watering as the plants mature. In a large restoration, it becomes obvious pretty quickly that a mere mortal cannot apply enough water to keep it wet enough for seeds to germinate, take root, and set roots deep enough to sustain the plant through a dry period. In a wet year, seeding warm season grasses in June prior to the monsoons might seem odd, but the monsoons may prove to be your best hope of success. Spread weed-free straw on the surface and cover with landscape netting to keep the soil from drying out. The two keys to prairie restoration are patience and water. It might take a couple years to see your restoration take hold, depending on how water is managed and how much natural rainfall occurs. In the meantime, keep weeds controlled to prevent reseeding. Avoid chemical weed control until after the grasses have established themselves. Details on seed germination requirements (depth below the surface, soil temperature) for different native grasses can be found in seed catalogs from Colorado companies such as Pawnee Buttes Seed Company (http://pawneebuttesseed.com/guide_to_grasses.htm) and Sharp Bros. Seed Company (http://www.sharpseed.com/index.php). Although initially daunting, a successful prairie restoration may mean years of having a landscape that requires less maintenance. WICKED WEEDS
FALL MANAGEMENT OF TUMBLEWEEDS by Marcia Weaber, Colorado Master Gardener, 2005, and Native Plant Master, 2007
Weâ€™ve fought these weed all spring and summer and now it is fall and we are still at it. Kochia (Kochia scoparia) and Russian thistle (Salsola tragus) are common annual broadleaf weeds that become "tumbleweeds" in the fall. Both Kochia and Russian thistle came to the United States from the Russian steppes area in the 1870â€™s. Kochia was brought as an ornamental for its fall color and Russian thistle came in with flax seed into South Dakota. In drought years both are considered emergency forage for cattle and sheep when the plants are fairly young. These plants can be problematic in many areas where the soil is disturbed. Each annual plant can produce thousands of seeds, which are spread as the dry plants tumble across the landscape. The key to control is to keep them from going to seed. If populations are intensively managed for two to three years to prevent seed production and no new weeds blow in, the weeds can be eradicated because seeds are shortlived. Mowing can be effective on smaller plants or use specific herbicides (e.g. 2,4-D) that do not harm grasses. Tillage and hand hoeing can control both seedling and larger plants Pre-emergent herbicides can provide some season-long control. Post-emergent applications are also effective if made when plant canopy is small, less than 4 inches in diameter. But by late summer, the plants are less susceptible to herbicides and seeds are already mature. Please remember, the most important preventive measure is to keep annual and biennial weeds from going to seed, because that is the only way they reproduce. By late summer, when the plants and seeds are mature, pull or chop off the plant and dispose of the whole plant. Do not leave it on the ground or place in the compost bin. Pick up and dispose of any dry plants that tumble through this winter. Plan to be ready with the pre-emergent and post-emergent products and your hoe for the spring season. Labeled post-emergent products include 2, 4-D and combinations, dicamba, glyphosate, triclopyr, and pendimethalin. Often post- and pre-emergent herbicides are used together to provide control of annual weeds and repeated flushes of seed germination. Planting desirable plant cover will assist in the prevention and reintroduction of weeds. 12
KNOW YOUR NATIVES
GARDENING AND COOKING WITH NATIVE SHRUBS by Elizabeth Catt, Native Plant Master, 2010
Several of our Colorado native shrubs can be grown as ornamentals in our gardens and bear edible fruits. If placed in the garden in conditions that mimic their native habitats, they are not only beautiful but delicious! They could easily be mixed into a shrub border if you know their cultural needs i.e. dry shade, damp shade or sun. Previously (2010 spring issue), I wrote about edibles in the rose family, referring to the mostly domestic crops of that family. This list consists mostly, but not completely, of genus from the Rosceae family and many are lovely spring flowering shrubs. Some are easily recognized landscape plants such as Prunus bessyi, Sand Cherry and Shepherdia argentea, Silver Buffalo Berry. Others will only be found in the wild, but all make for good eating especially when cooked or preserved in some manner. All of the species listed would also be good wildlife gardening choices, so if you want the chokecherry jam, you need to be quicker than the birds (or bears) to collect the fruit. Prunus americana, American plum, can grow into a small tree under ideal conditions but is typically a large shrub with beautiful, 1’’ pure white flowers in spring. Its branchlets are often thorny and would make a good background plant in a border. The yellow or red fruit is ¾‖ or larger. Prunus angustifolia, Chickasaw plum, can grow to 16’, and is found in the far southeast corner of Colorado in and around Baca County. Its fruit is also yellow or red and it has very thorny branches. Prunus rivularis, Creek plum, is found in shaded streams and has pink flowers and Prunus americana, an early blooming native shrub. Photo few thorns. It is rarer than the previous two mentioned. Prunus gracilis, Prairie courtesy of Ernie Marx, cherry, is another SE Colorado native that typically grows in sandy soils. This easterncoloradowildflowers.com shrub has a densely branching pattern and its fruit is red with a blush. Prunus besseyi, Sand cherry, is found in the eastern side of the state and makes great pies, jams and jellies. This is a good low-growing shrub for a sunny bed with moderate water. It blooms all along the slightly arching branches and is only 3’ tall at maturity. Prunus virginiana, Chokecherry, is found in almost every county of Colorado and there are several cultivated varieties available. Chokecherries are found in 90% of the United States and Canada. Chokecherry can be a small tree (with a tendency to root sucker) or a large shrub. Its racemes of white flowers appear just after the plants leaf out. Its fruit is somewhat astringent until cooked. Although I have not personally experienced eating chokecherry jam, I am amazed by the number of nostalgic testimonials I have read by those who have. Amelanchier utahensis, Utah serviceberry, is an upright multi-trunked shrub to about 15’. It has pretty single-petal flowers in the spring and red fruits later in the season. It is native to many western states. Amelanchier alnifolia, Saskatoon serviceberry, is a colony-forming shrub with erect stems to 15’. It is tolerant of alkaline soils to 8.4. This fruit is very desirable as pie fruit. Amelancheir alnifolia Photos courtesy of Al Schneider, Several members of the Grossulariaceae, the Currant or swcoloradowildflowers.com Gooseberry family, are native to Colorado. Ribes cereum, Wax currant, is a low-growing (to 3’) shrub with a bright red berry often used to make wine. Ribes leptanthum has greenish white flowers and glossy black fruit. It is a spiny shrub that grows to 6’. Ribes montigenum, Gooseberry currant, is a low (to 2’) prickly plant with pink flowers and red fruit. This species has good fall color. Continued on page 14 13
Know Your Natives continued from page 13
Ribes aureum, Golden currant, is found in moister areas near ditches and streams. It has very fragrant, clove-scented flowers and the fruit is almost black. It will tolerate dappled shade and can grow to 10’ under ideal conditions. Ribes americanum, American black currant, is often planted by birds. It has graceful drooping racemes of pale yellow flowers and black fruit. American black currant matures to 5’. There are a few Sambucus that are native to Colorado. They belong to the Caprifoliaceae family and are related to honeysuckle. Sambucus caerulea , Blue elderberry, is a large Ribes aureum. shrub or small tree. Its creamy flowers are in umbel-like cymes Photo above courtesy of and the fruit is black with a waxy blue coating; hence the easterncoloradowildflowers.com. Below courtesy of common name. Sambucus canadensis, American elderberry, is swcoloradowildflowers.com. a multi-stemmed shrub that grows to about 8’. In spring, it has 10‖ wide umbel-like cymes and produces purple black berries. It is a much sought after fruit for pies, wine, jams and syrups. Sambucus melanocarpa, Black elder, has flowers that are creamy 6‖ long ovoid cymes and the berries are black. This elderberry grows to about 6’ tall. Elderberries appreciate regular moisture. NOTE: do not eat RED elderberries as these are inedible. Shepherdia argentea, Silver buffaloberry, a member of the Elaeagnaceae family, can be used as a drought tolerant alternative to forsythia in gardens. It blooms with the pale yellow flowers held tight along the branches very early in spring and is a great food source for honey bees when nothing else is blooming. The fruit is bright red and makes delicious sauce or jam. This is not a complete list of edibles from native plants, just a few of our natives worth growing and eating. Here are two links with wonderful recipes for the fruits and berries listed above. Jams and Jellies from Native (Wild) Fruit, J. Garden-Robinson, North Dakota State University, 2009: http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/pubs/yf/foods/fn1423.pdf. Kiowa Conservation District, Colorado: http://www.kiowacd.org/Tips_Links/recipes.htm.
Agastache – a Drought and Heat Tolerant Winner by Edith Brideau, Colorado Master Gardener, 2007
The continued drought and unseasonably hot summer remind us of the advantage of gardening with native plants. Many non-native perennials survive in our gardens when we have average temperatures and precipitation, but they have struggled this year even with supplemental water. It’s time to face the fact that some of them don’t belong here. A perennial that does belong here is Agastache, commonly known as hyssop or hummingbird mint. Agastache (ag-ah-STAK-ee) is a genus of more than a dozen species of aromatic, late-summer blooming perennials, most of which are native to North America and hardy in Zones 5 to 9. They are easily grown in well-drained soil with low to moderate moisture in a sunny spot. They are not susceptible to disease or insect infestation and are easy to care for. Their long-lasting flowers are usually white, pink, mauve or purple. Their foliage releases a variety of pleasant fragrances (mint, anise, root beer) when touched by passersby and their nectar is irresistible to butterflies, bees and hummingbirds. If you are enlarging your garden or replacing less-suitable plants, consider this beautiful performer.
Agastache is a favorite of the Plant Select® program, which has introduced four colors in twelve years. Local demonstration gardens contain many reliable Agastache varieties. Photos courtesy of Plant Select, http://plantselect.org/