Colorado State Flower

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Browsing through an old garden book that I purchased from a recent auction, I came across a lovely poem.  The title of the poem is “Dear, Old-Fashioned Columbine”.  I thought it appropriate since the Columbine is our state flower.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

“Dear, Old-Fashioned Columbine”

A Sermon Preached By A Flower

Slender stamens, dainty tint,

Sunset rose and sunrise glint,

Bringing reminiscent hint

Of a region half divine,

Where, in happy childhood’s years,

Knew I naught of doubts or fears,

Ah, you bring both smiles and tears-

Dear, old-fashioned Columbine!

 

From the city’s busy street,

From its hurry and its heat,

To a garden cool and sweet,

To a home that once was mine,

You have led my fancy back

O’er the shining, golden track

Which we tread but once, alack!

Dear, old-fashioned Columbine!

 

When you came to me today

From that garden far away,

Did you hear me softly say?

“Oh, I love you, posy mine?”

Can you ever feel or know

Why I love and prize you so,

Why you set my soul aglow-

Dear, old-fashioned Columbine?

 

Frailly fashioned, fragile flower,

Would were mine the magic power

To prolong your little hour,

And to make you ever mine!

Ah, I love you, for you’ve brought

To my heart a helpful thought,

And a lesson wisdom-fraught-

Dear, old-fashioned Columbine!

 

If with simple, silent art

You could do so sweet a part,

I, who have a human heart,

Own a mission more divine;

‘Tis to guide some homesick one,

Toiling on from sun to sun,

Homeward when life’s day is done,

Dear, old-fashioned Columbine!

 

 

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Spring Right Around the Corner

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Spring must be right around the corner according to my garden.  I spotted my first crocus of the year in my garden today which sent my adrenalin to run.  I know it is still February, but the warmer temperatures have started my spring flowers to start to poke their tips up through the soil.  It will be awhile before the daffodils will bloom, but I am always leery about a hard freeze to nip them.   So I am on standby to come to their rescue with mulch.

For those of you who planted springs bulbs in the fall you will soon see the rewards of your hard work.  Every year that I plant bulbs in the fall it amazes me that colorful, beautiful flowers come from those dried and strange looking lumps. 

Here is a quick trivia question for you.  When were the first bulbs introduced to Europe?  The answer is the late 16Th century.  I was totally blown away when I read that in one of my gardening books.  Bulbs first arrived in Europe when trade was established between Europe and the Ottoman Empire.  Now all along I thought Holland was the bulb capital.  Holland is the present world center of the bulb industry, thanks to Charles L’Escluse who had a lot to do with the introduction of bulbs to Europe.  He also developed the “Hortus” which remains one of the most famous gardens in the world.  Our ancestors brought some of the first bulbs to North America around the mid-1600s.

History class is over now, but the next time you stick a bulb in the ground or enjoy its beauty in the Spring think about the journey they have made.

Gardening in the Pikes Peak Region Classes (GPPR)

Are you a novice, avid or master gardener?  Want to learn more about gardening in the Pikes Peak Region?  The CSUExtension in cooperation with the Colorado Springs Utilities are conducting Spring gardening classes beginning February 24th through May 21st at three different locations.

A number of the topics being taught are “Increasing Your Veggie Harvest”, “Perennials for Punch”, “Gardening for Birds/Courting Butterflies” and many more.  Learn about how to encourage butterflies into your garden.  Had trouble with that lawn last year?  Learn the techniques to having a wonderful lawn in our arid climate.  How about you that think since you live at such a high altitude you can’t have a vegetable garden.  It is a challenge, but let one of our Master Gardeners show you how.

The classes from February 24th-April 30th are presented at two different locations.  The Tuesday afternoon classes are presented from 2-4 p.m. at the CSU Extension office.  The Thursday evenings classes are presented from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Colorado Springs Utilities Mesa Facility.  The classes from May 5th-May 21st are held at the Woodmoor Community Center in Monument.  Once again the Tuesday classes are presented from 2-4 p.m. and the Thursday classes are presented from 6:30-8:30 p.m. 

For more information check out the registration form I have attached or call the Master Gardener Help Desk at (719) 636-8921.  The cost is $8.00 per class and can be paid for when you attend the class, but you must “Pre-register”.  Registration can be done by calling the Master Gardener Help Desk (719)636-8921.

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What is an Earthbox?

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Yesterday I had a friend ask me what was that container that you grew those bell peppers in last summer.  I replied an Earthbox.  He said what is an Earthbox?  So I thought that would be a great topic to write about, since gardening season is right around the corner.

For years gardeners have been growing flowers and vegetables in containers.  I have grown vegetables in containers before with some luck, but not enough to continually utilize them.  Ah, but that was before I saw the Earthbox at my local nursery’s garden show last year.  They had tomatoes growing out of this container on wheels and it looked pretty healthy.  Still being skeptical I talked to the rep that was there selling the Earthbox to get more info.  She had a good sales pitch, but I still wanted more information because they cost more than an ordinary container box.  So off to http://www.earthbox.com/index.php I went to investigate.

I scoured over the site devouring the information like a hungry aphid.  I read the testimonials that people had written and sent in.  Briefly, what the Earthbox is, is a container on wheels that also has a built in water reservoir.  You use regular potting soil in it and it comes with wheels so you can move it around if needed.  Here in Colorado we have to move pretty fast if a hail storm is coming.  It comes with a fertilizer strip and a mulch cover to stop weeds and conserve water.  It is designed so the plant only takes up the nutrients and water when it needs it.  I made a command decision and went back to the garden show the next day and bought one. 

To my surprise and delight that was one of the best gardening purchases I had made in awhile.  I grew four bell pepper plants in the box and they just went wild growing in the box.  I must have had 10-15 bell peppers per plant when I started harvesting them.  Plus, what I really liked the Earthbox was almost maintenance free.  The only thing I had to do was to ensure the water reservoir remained full and that required only every couple of days.  I was so happy with it I bought another one in the fall and grew lettuce in it with also great success.  Now I know you are probably thinking how much is the company paying me to say these wonderful things.  Zilch, zero not a dime.  I just want to share a bit of good news about an item that worked for me.  Don’t know about you but I have bought garden things in the past that were supposed to be the best thing since toast, but never lived up to their promotion. 

Now I wished I had taken some pictures of my peppers to post.