Springtime in the Rockies

I thought the calendar said Spring, but Old Man Winter has not released his grip on us here in Colorado Springs.  We received a good reminder last night when the snow started to fall and the wind began to howl.  When I awoke this morning I looked out to the backyard and behold a winter wonderland.  My scientific measuring on our patio table showed almost 7″ of snow had fallen overnight.

Anyone who has lived here through a winter and a spring knows that come March and April is when we get our heaviest amount of wet snow.  I thought we were going to make it through March without that coming true.  Boy was I ever wrong!  Here in Colorado we try not to complain too much about our erratic weather this time of year.  We know that the snow that falls now ends up in our reservoirs high in the mountains for our drinking water.  But could it not smash my crocus and daffodils one year? Continue reading

The Economic Affect on Garden Shows

I love going to garden shows this time of year, because there is not much else to do.  It is too early to start my plants and too cold to do any digging.  I look forward to them to get new ideas for my garden and see what new plants are on the market.  Yesterday my wife and I went to our annual Home and Garden show like we do every year.  We were sure glad we had received free admission passes because I think they forgot about the “Garden” half in their Home and Garden show.

The total show was nearly half the normal size of the past years.  Additionally, there were only three garden displays and they were really small.  The total show was made up of roofing companies, decorators, spa representatives and  remodeling companies.  I guess the economy is affecting everyone these days evident by the lack of participation.  I assume that the cost of entry to the show and putting up their displays was just not economically feasible this year.  It seems like all we hear anymore is that this company is laying off employees, this store is closing and another bank is in trouble.  I view my vegetable garden as a wise investment more and more.

The nurseries that we normally would see were absent.  The big elaborate landscape displays with all kinds of trees, shrubs and  flowers, no where to be found.  I had brought my camera to take pictures and a notepad to take notes in anticipation of these wonderful displays I had seen in the past.  But my enthusiasm for the show was quickly fleeting.

The only two booths of the show which did catch my eye was one on building a water feature and the second was on solar heating.  My wife and I had always wished solar heating would become more affordable since we get around 350 days of sunshine a year here.  So I was remarkably surprised that the prices are coming down and the tax incentives are going up.

I did manage to  take a few pictures of the few garden displays which you can view here.  I hope next year’s show is better or they just might as well call it the Home Decorating Show.  Oh I almost forgot, yes the people with all the vacuum cleaners were there also wanting to come into your homes and show how dirty your carpets are.  Well it is back to web surfing for new ideas and plants.

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Happy New Year from Colorado

I know a lot of you are asking where did 2008 go?  Hopefully, to all you gardeners it was spent enjoying your flowers, vegetables and whatever tickles your fancy.  Didn’t do anything exciting tonight, went to a movie and then dinner afterwards.  I guess my big party days are long gone.  Just wanted to wish you all a HAPPY NEW YEAR and great 2009 worth of gardening. 

                                                                                                                    

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Wind aftermath

It is a lovely day today here in Colorado Springs, but I thought I was Kansas yesterday with all the wind we had here.  We had wind gusts up to 60 mph which had everybody and everything outdoors holding on for dear life.  Today I got out of my nice cozy bed and went outside to check out the damage.  Luckily there was no real big damage just a lot of trash from everyone else yard.  I did have to finally get the leaf blower out, which I had been putting off, to collect all the leaves that was blown up against the fences. 

Walking around the yard I noticed other things I have been putting off also.  It is amazing how you tend to forget about chores in the garden when Old Man Winter arrives.  I was supposed to get a bale of straw to cover the garden beds, oh about two months ago.  Well the dog paw prints in the beds and the digging of our neighbor’s cats made it clear I have to get it done.  Not only will get stop the cats from digging but here in Colorado the lack of moisture, high winds and abundance of sunshine will dry out those beds before we know it.

I love Colorado in the wintertime.  I was raised in PA., and there in the winter time it so deary, cold and the snow stays around forever.  Here when it snows it only stays around for a few days.  Our abundance of sunshine makes quick work of the snow.  It may be 10 degrees outside but the sun is shining and you don’t have that cloud of gloom hanging over your head like back East.

Forcing Garden Bulbs Indoors

Soon it will be Christmas and then New Years, but right after the holidays is when I start thinking about the Spring garden.  I know it is too early to do anything in the garden, but if you are like me you want to do something resembling gardening.  One of the things I have done for years is forcing bulbs indoors.  There are many ways to force bulbs and a number of bulbs that can be forced.  Today I started forcing four Hyacinths that I kept when I was planting bulbs in the garden back in October.  It will be a while before the outdoor bulbs will bloom but you can have some of that beauty indoors

So what I did I took my four Hyacinth bulbs and put each one in a glass vase designed for hyacinths or crocus.  The vases are filled with water just so the bottom of the bulb touches the water.  Once each vase is filled and a bulb is placed in the vase place them in a cool darkened room (preferably 50 degrees F) for 4 to 8 weeks until the roots develop and the top elongates.  Once this happens put the vases in a bright window and watch as magic appears before your eyes as the stem grows and the flowers form.  Before long you will have beautiful, fragrant flowers inside to tied you over till your outdoor gardens starts to bloom.

Once the flowers are done discard them, clean your vases and have them ready for next winter.

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Out in the Garden today

The recent snow we received has helped the moisture content in the garden.  But along with that we received some cold north winds which can play havoc on our plants if not properly protected.  If you have planted new shrubs or trees this year continue to water them, even if they are classified xeric, as some of them take can take up to two years to become established.

If you have a bird feeding station make sure you fill it regularly due to our recent snow and cold temperatures.  We can’t forget our bird friends during the winter.  We want to make sure they survive and come back in the Spring to eat our unwanted bugs.  Also make sure they have fresh water.  A heater for the birdbath is a great addition to keep the water from freezing.

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