New Addition to the Garden


Recently Planted


How I hope it looks in the future.

My garden family has a new member as of March 21, 2009.  I have been contemplating on a small shade tree to give my azaleas and rhododendron some more shade.   I finally decided on a Tatarian Maple, Acer tataricum, that met my requirements of: deciduous tree, medium size, drought-tolerant and fall color. 

I had made my decision weeks earlier, but none of the local nurseries had received their Spring stock.  When I finally found out that Phelan Gardens finally received some, off I went full of excitement like a young boy buying his first car.  Phelan Gardens had a wonderful selection of Tatarian Maples.  Reflecting back on what I had learned on how to select a good tree during a recent CSU Ext. class, I chose a beautiful specimen to place in the garden.

The methodology of planting a tree has really changed over the years.  Some methods were to dig a hole 2-3 times the size of the root ball.  Plant the the tree at the same level as it was in the container.  Then finally pack down the soil with your hands and feet.  Research has shown that those type of planting methods has led to an epidemic of landscape trees dying because they were planted too deep.  Trunk girdling roots accounts for 57% of landscape tree deaths.  Continue reading


Faces of Spring in My Garden


Which season do you like out of Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter?  Spring is my favorite of all the four.  Each season has its on attributes, but Spring I feel stands above the rest.  After a long winter nap the earth begins its awakening with small crocus popping their head up through the cold earth saying look I am here.  Little by little the shrubs, flowers and perennials shake off the snow that my be lingering around and also announce their presence. 

Spring is a rebirth of nature.  It gives us hope for the future with the regeneration of life in our plants.  Just like life we experience, some of the plants do not make it through winter.  Whether by our neglect, the cold wet winter or the plant’s life cycle has been completed, each entity on earth must cease to exist.

Venturing out in my garden today I saw numerous signs that Spring is upon us and the moment to begin planting is coming closer by the day.  I know some of you in other parts of the country are already doing some planting.  Here in Colorado we can start our cool weather plants in about 3-4 weeks.  Our tender vegetation we must wait until at least the 15Th of May.  I know there are a lot of you out there that want to plant that tender vegetation earlier, but listen to someone who has learned the hard way, DON’T!

Here are a few of my early risers for your enjoyment.  I would love to see what is emerging in other parts of the country.  So please send those photos.







The Unfortunate Loss of Habitat


This past Sunday was a beautiful sunny, warm day here in Colorado.  Unfortunately, it was a tragic day for our surrounding wildlife and nearly a catastrophic one for humans as well.  An approximate 40 acre ravine/marsh land caught fire Sunday afternoon and sent plumes of black smoke soaring into the air.  The area was a hideaway for local birds, rabbits, foxes and whoever else took up residence huddle away within the thick tall grasses and scattered number of trees.

The location was significant, because it was located right behind one of local high school and surrounded on three sides by homes.  Our dry winter made this particular fire dangerous since the ravine was very dry except for the banks of the small stream that meandered through the grasses.  The close proximity (two blocks) of private property and the school had fireman from around the city and county heroically fighting the fire.  Twenty five acres burned before the fire was contained.  The cause of the fire still in unknown.  Continue reading

Visitors to my Garden

A lot of the other gardeners in my area that I talk with always mention the different animals that visit their garden.  Some are welcome visitors like birds and butterflies.  There are also the unwanted visitors like the deer, voles and rabbits.  Those type of visitors I can do without in my garden and luckily where I live I don’t get them. 

I would like to have a more variety of birds and butterflies come and visit my garden.  This year is the first time that I have had Northern Flickers visit the garden.  I have been trying to get a photograph of them, but every timeI get within camera range they take to the sky.  I guess I am going to have to camp out in the garden.  I am determined though to increase the amount and variety of visitors by creating a better habitat for them. 

I would like to share the few visitors I have been able to take capture on film.  I will update this posting with photos of new visitors, if my Jack Russell Terrier doesn’t scare them off, as they appear.




Spring Has Arrived In My Garden


Spring is here, well not officially, but my Forsythia bush has announced Spring’s arrival.  Today I noticed bright blooming yellow flowers on my Forsythia bush in my Meadow Garden.  I know soon my wife will be asking me to sacrifice some branches so she can put them in a vase for her Easter decorations.

I love this time of year.  Winter is hanging on for dear life, while Spring is beginning to show her presence with new growth and crocus popping out of the ground.  Along with blossoms on the Forsythia, my daffodils are arriving on the scene from their winter sleep.  I also have a variety of tulips making their presence known.  So far it looks like my fall planting has been a success.  I just hope we don’t get a hard freeze or a heavy snowfall when the flowers come totally into bloom.  Granted we need the moisture bad, but I’ll take a good old fashion rainfall over the heavy snow.

Going  out into the garden each day is like a child looking for Easter eggs.  I check every flower bed for new arrivals of tulips, daffodils and crocus.  Gardening is the best form of medicine around.  If I am feeling tired, depressed or stressed I just walk out into the garden.  Without having to take any medication, I feel instantly better when I see all the beauty growing in my garden.  I hope you fellow gardeners are experiencing Spring in your garden.



Colorado Springs Horticultural Art Society (HAS) Spring Plant Sale


Looking for that special shrub, perennials, or annual?  Come to the annual Colorado Springs Horticultural Art Society’s  (HAS) Spring Plant Sale.  The plant sale will be conducted from May 15-17 2009, Friday and Saturday 9:00-5:00 PM and Sunday 10:00-4:00 PM.  The location is the HAS Demonstration Garden at Cache la Poudre and Glen Ave. 

If you are looking for a bargain, and who isn’t these days, check out the Dug and Donated plants.  These are plants that fellow gardeners have dug up out of their gardens, repotted and donated to the HAS to sell.  You will find wonderful established plants at a great price.  For more information on the plant sale check out the HAS website at  The photo is from the HAS website.  I will see you there.

Mite Alert, Mite Alert!!!


                                                                 Clover Mite

You know Spring is getting closer when we start to talk about bugs.  Our El Paso County Horticulture Agent asked all the Master Gardeners to disseminate the word about possible problems with grass mites.  The warmer weather we have been experiencing has started the Kentucky Blue Grass to come out of dormancy.  This is a prime-time when turf can be killed by mites.  We have had a very dry winter here so far and without proper winter watering of our turf grass, there is the possibility of damage done by the grass mites.

There are three major mites that damage our turf-grasses here in Colorado and they are Clover mite, Banks grass mite and Brown wheat mite.  Mites thrive during a dry environment like we are experiencing now.  I can’t say enough, but winter watering is vital to ensure our turf-grasses are not attacked by these mites.  A large number of our phone calls to our Master Gardener Help Desk last Spring were turf related.  Complaints were, grass is not greening up even after I watered and fertilized.  The major cause was winter dessication and or mite damage.  Now is the time for prevention, not after the turf has already sustained some damage.

Mite damage is commonly mistaken for turf winter kill.  The mites become active as the temperature warms and begin to attack areas that are drought stricken.  Mites are hard to see with the naked eye since they only the size of a pin head.  For more information on mites and how to control them check out  The photos you see came straight from the CSU fact sheet.


                                                                     Banks grass mite


                                                              Brown Wheat Mite


                                                             Damaged turf grass