With all this moisture the flowering bulbs have been spectacular this year – that is, if they didn’t get smashed by snow. The species tulips are always lovely no matter what. And as long as you’re willing to accept daffodils and early hybrid tulips as cut flowers you’ll never be disappointed in Colorado. It remains to be seen which trees will produce fruit this year.
My sister in Connecticut says the entire state was under a fire watch in April. Many of the daffodil festivals were cancelled due to a dry winter and erratic spring weather more typical of the West. All I can say is, “Welcome to my world.”
All the shredded leaves and compost I added to my vegetable beds last fall has been transformed into rich, loose soil loaded with worms and ready for planting. The hay flakes I put on top have kept weeds and grass from springing up. Out here the pasture grass is very strong, especially this year. If I had to till or double dig my garden and fight the grass every spring I’d never get around to planting. I prefer the path of least resistance and least toil.
Some gardeners are fortunate to have family or household members who love, or are at least willing to dig holes, mend fences, move dirt around, or maybe even build a greenhouse. If you are so blessed, never ever take these folks for granted. In this regard, Penn Parmenter is one lucky gardener, though there’s more to it than luck. In this issue she tells you how it works in her family in “Gardening With Men.”
There’s been good news this year about monarch butterflies. Populations have increased after years of abysmally low numbers. Gary Raham tells you about all the little critters that call milkweeds home – or dinner – in “Saving the Milkweed Universe.” For those who want to attract and sustain butterflies in yards and gardens, Amy Yarger, Horticulture Director at the Butterfly Pavilion, explains what they need in “Butterfly Gardens and the Big Picture.”
Are you frustrated with your strawberry patch? Fruit growing expert Joel Reich explains why this may be and offers strategies to avoid disappointing fruit production specific to our climate.
Larry Stebbins and Sean Svette from Pikes Peak Urban Gardens have created an unusual partnership with the chef and staff at Penrose Hospital. It’s unusual yet it seems like a no-brainer. All the pieces were right there but skillful administering was needed to seal the deal and make it work. Read about it in “Hospital Food? Take Another Look.”
Niña Williams and I share a friend who, from afar, has tried to get us together for many years. When we finally did meet a few weeks ago, it was connection at first sight. It started with Niña’s peony photo (on our cover) and soon there was a story too. Niña founded and was Editor and Editor-at- large of Country Living Gardener during its 1993-2006 run. She moved back and forth from New York to Denver during her publishing career, while also creating gardens, renovating houses, raising daughters, and even decorating an “Illustrated Cottage” based on her fantasy of Provence that also became a book. Read her story in this issue.
The impressive corpse flower at Denver Botanic Gardens didn’t live up to its smelly reputation last fall and Marcia Tatroe didn’t line up to find out. But it did give her the idea for a story on “Stinky Plants.” She covers plants that may be less visually dramatic but, if it’s putrid scent you’re after, will knock your socks off.
Kenton Seth proposes that Xeriscape and Rainwater Harvesting get married. Read his piece to find out what he means and also check out the standard 7 Principles of Xeriscape on page 23. Xeriscape gardens need durable, waterwise, beautiful plants so Mikl Brawner tells you about several.
Finally, spring is the season when sap is rising so Paula Ogilvie picks up her Botany column with a piece on “Plant Plumbing: Sticky Situations.”
Lots of plant sales, garden tours and other events are coming right up so check our Calendar and Marketplace Page for details.
Have a merry month of May!