Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Mail Time

No matter how comfortable I am with electronic media, news and connecting socially, there's still nothing that compares to receiving mail from the friendly uniformed person wearing blue. Maybe I speak more for those over a certain age, then again, maybe not - what grandchild doesn't like receiving a birthday card with a check (or iTunes gift card) from Grandma? And what gardener doesn't like the flood of seed and plant catalogs that arrive in January - some come in December amid the holiday cards and Harry and David fruit. Two more catalogs arrived at my house today. Heaven, joy...turn off the T.V. computer, cell phone, pour a cup of tea and wake me in the morning - I'm going to be busy this evening (and all week) dreaming and dog-earing catalog pages.

What about you, are you getting catalogs by snail mail? No criticism if you're new school and prefer to save resources by only subscribing to on line looking. Please don't hold it against me, I recycle. 

So, where does one go from here after the catalog items are circled, the pages are bent or drooled on, "sorry if that is too graphic, maybe I should leave out this reference, too late." Do you have decision fatigue over what to purchase or are you totally in control and stay within budget which in fantasy could be anywhere from $5.00 to $500,000. "Wouldn't it be great if the publisher clearing house van arrived right after the mail carrier?"

Here's why it is so hard to choose - many of the descriptions sound so wonderful...a la J Peterman Style from Seinfeld.

Description from Tomato Growers Supply Company, just an example and no endorsement intended:

'Stellar VF Hybrid' 
"What a fitting name for a beautiful round, red tomato with greater yields and high resistance to late blight plus intermediate resistance to early blight and Septoria Leaf Spot. Stellar gives gardeners who experience high disease pressure (THAT'S ME) a slicing tomato they can count on. Smooth, lovely fruit is medium-sized at 5 to 7 ounces, perfect for tucking into sandwiches or cutting up into salads."  

Forget diamonds, give me 'Stellar' tomatoes!

What I do is order a few seed packets (well under $500K) and shop my local garden centers. The key is getting an early jump. Some of the new seed introductions or plants sell out early, so get your on line orders placed (they'll ship when it is planting time, now or later for seeds). Get out to the garden stores soon because their 2017 seed racks are filled to capacity. Grab some other supplies too, new seed trays, potting soil, and if you have some dollars left over from the holidays, trade out your old fluorescent shop lights for higher efficiency full-spectrum or LED bulbs. For the thin T-5 bulbs you may need new fixtures. Here are two quick grow light primer videos - how to choose a grow light and wikiHow to grow vegetables with grow lights.

I need to close now, there's a lull in the wind, no snow predicted (except in the mountains) and the stores open soon. Happy shopping!


Sunday, January 1, 2017

Front Range Garden Class Resources - 2017

In my experiences New Year's resolutions are rarely kept, at least for the long term - not that a person shouldn't give it a go. This year I'm going to try very hard to keep thrips away from the tomatoes. In truth a more attainable pursuit might be inventing a new fangled dandelion picker. No, that's already out there - a straight edged screw driver. For all of us, a new garden year means a fresh start, a clean palette to dream, design and do. Resolve to sign up for some classes or workshops and get the brain energized and filled with the right stuff. Happy New Garden Year 2017, let's enjoy it together!

Denver and the Front Range is very fortunate in having many free or low cost outlets for garden classes and seminars. Below is a list with links for ones that I know of right now. The first group - seminars, workshops and conferences charge fees, unless otherwise noted. Public and botanic gardens also charge for classes. Garden center classes are often free so check their websites for more information. Also consider attending or joining a garden society, group or club. You will meet other friendly people. Most meet monthly, have low cost dues and offer educational seminars, garden tours and trips, plant sales and judged shows through the year. Obviously if you don't reside in this area, check out what's offered in your neck of the woods. Please check back often for updates to the lists.

Denver Rose Society Educational SymROSEium

Growing Great Garlic January 17, 2017 Denver

Soil, Fertilizers, and Soil Amendments for Home Landscapes and Gardens January 19, 2017 Colorado Springs 
The Language of Flowers  January 26, 2017 Georgetown (free of charge)

Agritourism Workshop - New Insights, Opportunities and Barriers January 27, 2017 Littleton 

Spring Gardening Symposium - Jump Start Your Garden January 28, 2017 Golden

Cottage Food Safety Training, January 28, 2017 Longmont OTHER Dates and locations along Front Range available, check Eventbrite

Lawn and Garden Insects February 2, 2017 Colorado Springs

Landscaping with Colorado Native Plants Conference February 11, 2017 Loveland

Native Plant Master Program for 2017  For the complete list of classes and events beginning February 11, 2017

Turf Management, February 16, 2017 Colorado Springs

Adams County Extension Spring Vegetable Gardening Classes, February 18, 2017 Brighton (additional classes offered through the spring, info. on the link)

High Plains Landscape Workshop  March 4, 2017 Ft. Collins

Weed Management for Lawns and Gardens, March 2, 2017 Colorado Springs

Vision Course for Aspiring Urban Farmers, March 11 and 12, 2017 Centennial

Wyoming Bee College Conference, March 18, 2017 Laramie, WY

Denver Rose Society Educational SymROSEium April 1, 2017 Denver

Wild West Gardening Conference, April 22, 23, 2017 Laramie, WY

Vegetable Gardening Seminar April 25, 2017 Colorado Springs 

Basic Botany April 27, 2017 Golden

Wildflowers of Green Mountain May 14, 2017 Lakewood

Basic Botany May 16, 2017 Golden

Colorado Plant Families May 18, 2017 Golden 

Painting the Native Landscape May 24, 2017 Evergreen

Discover Colorado Wildflowers at Lookout Mountain Nature Preserve June 18, 2017 Golden 

Native Plant Master Course on Wetland/Riparian Plants June 19 to August 7, 2017 (3 outdoor field sessions) Littleton

Plant Field Sketching Class June 27 and 28, 2017 Golden

DIY Native Plant Landscaping Installation June 30, 2017 Littleton

Discover Native Shrubs for your Landscape July 21,2 017 Littleton  

Wetland/Riparian Plants of the Front Range July 24, 2017 Littleton

Butterfly Pavilion Westminster

Denver Botanic Gardens
The Gardens on Spring Creek  Ft. Collins

Growing Gardens Boulder 

The Hudson Gardens  Littleton

Pikes Peak Urban Gardens Colorado Springs

AREA GARDEN CENTERS:  too numerous to mention, so call around or check their websites or Facebook for their 2017 classes.


Colorado Cactus and Succulent Society
Colorado Native Plant Society
Colorado Water Garden Society
Denver Field Ornithologists
Denver Orchid Society
Denver Rose Society
Front Range Organic Gardeners
Ikebana Denver Chapter
Rocky Mountain African Violet Council
Rocky Mountain Chapter of the North American Rock Garden Society 
Rocky Mountain Koi Club
Rocky Mountain Unit of The Herb Society of America

January 2017

Happy New Year !