Thursday, July 12, 2018

Got Beetles - Japanese Beetles?

You're one lucky gardener if Japanese beetles haven't moved in for a 24/7 buffet of your landscape. Our yard isn't quite the Golden Corral that other gardening friends have with scores of plants for their unfussy munching palettes. But we have a good amount of silver lace vines that keep them well occupied. I often ask myself why these half-inch sized iridescent green-orange beetle trespassers never seem to get bored or gain weight. I guess when your personal mission in life is to chew, screw and destroy there's never a dull moment plus lots of calories being burned having....well you know.

If you're open on Saturday, July 14, 2018 you have two free opportunities to learn more about Japanese beetles. The two-hour morning outside event, aptly named "Beetle Bash" is sponsored by the Denver Rose Society starting at 9:00 am at the Littleton War Memorial Rose Garden. They have a great line up of horticulture experts to talk about management practices, plus there will be lots of interaction with other gardeners who are seeking answers and solace. For all the details, please click HERE.

Saturday afternoon I'll be teaching a ninety minute class called "Battling the Japanese Beetle" 2:00 pm at the Eugene Field Public Library in the Bonnie Brae neighborhood - Ohio and University. Parking may be tight, so plan on an early arrival and bonus, you can head to Bonnie Brae Ice Cream before or after my talk. I'll cover what battle plans are available - all based on the research by the horticulture experts who have been studying and managing Japanese beetles since their hitchhiked arrival to Riverton, New Jersey in 1916. It only took the beetles one hundred years to make it to Colorado and as you can imagine, they were hungry upon arrival. 

If you can't make either Saturday event, please mark your calendar and plan to attend my next Japanese beetle class, August 2, 6:30 pm at Denver Botanic Gardens, low member fee of $26.00. Read more HERE.

Hope to see you Saturday!  

Thursday, June 28, 2018

How Hot Is It?

My pop culture age is showing again. The title of this blog is a phrase often used by one of the greatest talk show hosts of all time - Johnny Carson. In case you weren't on the planet between 1962 and 1992 when his show ran, click on the link to get a feel of his late night humor. How Hot Is It? Johnny used this expression often over the years with funny, witty responses. This is the only video I found online. You know what I'm talking about if you used to watch the original The Tonight Show.  

Right now as I'm writing - it's 103 degrees and perhaps a degree or two hotter at the airport where they keep the official record for temperatures in the Denver area. I heard on the news that we were warmer today at noon than they were in Phoenix or Vegas at the same time. Yikes!  

During the gardening season there's nothing we can do about the weather but remain hydrated when we're outside, cover up with sunscreen and a hat. I was in and outside very early this morning for about thirty minutes to putz and water the ornamental containers and the raised bed of seeded cover crop. I'm giving all five raised beds the summer off from warm season crops. It was time, they were needing a break and so was I. Three of the five are growing a red clover cover crop, the other two are happily breaking down a thick layer of composted leaves and grass so they'll be ready for the fall garlic planting. I'm still growing plenty of basil in Smart Pots® and a couple of tomatoes in the herb bed. I think my decision to take this summer off was a good one, it's been so hot and so dry already. Have I mentioned the heat? 

Stay on top of deeply watering your vegetables, new plantings and young trees. Mulch goes a long way to keep soils cool and moisture in. Our tomato plants are covered with a perforated shade cloth that reduces temperatures by five to eight degrees. Tomato blossoms easily drop or abort with temperatures over ninety, so fruit obviously can't or won't develop. With just two plants, we're hoping for enough tomatoes to have a few BLAT (bacon, lettuce, avocado, tomato) sandwiches later in the summer.

Once temperatures cool back down tomatoes, pepper and eggplant will resume flowering and all will be well my friend. In the meantime, take a look at the next three month weather maps from NOAA - temperatures and precipitation. They have been spot on in their predictions this entire year. Looks like the heat will continue, hopefully not with many days in the hundreds.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Last Week in June - Don't Miss these Garden Events

'Tis the summer vacation season but if you're not hiking another fourteener or relaxing in a resort endless pool, check out the three following outstanding garden events in the Denver area. And don't forget your hat and sunscreen - the heat is on.

Donna's WONDERFUL Habitat Hero Garden
1) Thursday, June 28, starting at 5:30 pm. Check out this bird and pollinator-friendly central Denver garden at Audubon Rockies’s Habitat Hero Fundraiser.

The event will be emceed by -
- Danielle Grant, 9NEWS meteorologist
- Marcia Tatroe, author and gardener
- Rob Proctor, author, gardener, and host of "Proctor's Garden" on 9NEWS

The party will also include
- Tour of Donna Baker's award-winning Habitat Hero garden
- Silent auction
- Photo booth
- Garden scavenger hunt
- Hors d'oeuvres and drinks

Tickets are $45. Click HERE to purchase. "All funds raised will support Audubon Rockie's Habitat Hero program, which helps communities across Colorado and Wyoming create bird-friendly habitat. By planting gardens with native species, not only are we creating more beautiful and water-efficient communities, we're connecting people to nature."

2) Saturday, June 30, Denver Rose Society Rose Show 7:00 am to 4:30 pm at Denver Botanic Gardens 
FREE with paid entrance to DBG
The public and Denver Rose Society members are welcome to enter their roses, arrangements and rose photography for judging in many categories. The theme of this year’s show is “Around the World in 80 Roses.” Registration will be accepted through the morning of the show. The show will be held in Mitchell Hall at Denver Botanic Gardens. Staging and getting your roses and entries ready will take place in Gate’s Court, outside of Mitchell Hall.

Volunteers will be on hand to assist first time exhibitors.

Entries accepted for exhibitors: 7:00 am – 9:30 am.

Judging: 10:00 am – 1:00 pm 

Show open to the public: 1:00 pm – 4:30 pm. Awards presentations at 3:00 pm. Please note that there is no charge to view the winners, just the entrance fee to Denver Botanic Gardens if not a Denver Rose Society or DBG member.

Click HERE for the official rose show schedule.

With questions on exhibiting or attending click HERE.

3) Saturday, June 30, Native Plant Garden Tour, 8:00 am to 2:00 pm

Internet Photo from High Plains Environmental Center
Visit five area private gardens. Gardens may be toured in any order.

CoNPS Member $20; Non-Member $30 Sponsored by Terra Foundation

Marcia and Randy Tatroe: This small 30-year old suburban garden is a Humane Society wildlife, Audubon bird and Xerces insect habitat. With an emphasis on water conservation and sustainability, no pesticides or herbicides are used and all waste is recycled into the garden. A collector’s garden with hundreds of native wildflowers, trees, shrubs, cacti and succulents and edibles, there are at least two dozen mature specimens of native trees and shrubs taking advantage of the diverse microclimates even a small property provides.

Donna Baker-Breningstall: Two log cabins sitting on a half-acre in Observatory Park. All the gardens were created from scratch 5 years ago by the owner who is a Colorado Master Gardener. There is a wildflower meadow with native and non-natives plus a small orchard in this same area. Fruits include blackberries, strawberries and rhubarb. There are currently 15 vegetable beds that grow almost exclusively for the local food pantry. These beds by tour time may become 3 large raised beds. There is a substantial variety of perennials, both native and non-native, in various beds around the property. Mason bee/native bee homes are a feature on the property.

James Marquez and David McCreedy: James and David's little urban yard packs a lot of variety into a small space.  This all-season garden provides year-round interest with well over 1000 different species and cultivars (with around 10% being Colorado natives).  Because it's just seven years old, some plants have yet to bloom.  James has indulged his interests in container and rock gardening throughout the yard.  His 35 handmade troughs highlight some of the smallest and most easily missed plants.  Transition gardens, using space gladly on loan from the next-door neighbors, line the driveways.  Blue Vietnamese pots and David's stained glass stepping stones add color and tie the various areas together.

Jim and Dorothy Borland: This primarily Colorado native plant garden was installed in the summer of 1997 and immediately decimated by hail. The entire garden has been watered only once since that time.  Perennials and annuals move of their own free will even though they were originally planted where it was thought they would do best. The major theme of the garden has evolved somewhat by including plants from similar climates around the world, including 4,000+ Tulipa, Allium, Calochortus and Colchicum species. Visitors are welcome at any time. Enjoy!

Kelly Grummons: Kelly’s garden is a testing ground for new varieties of xeric plants: trees, shrubs, perennials, grasses and annuals. You’ll see numerous Arctostaphylos species in evaluation, over 100 species of western, native cacti, Agaves and Yuccas and many of Kelly’s hybrids and horticultural selections of native and exotic perennials. The garden is dominated now by Dog TuffTM African dogtooth grass which is under evaluation and going through maintenance protocols for commercial production. This location is also the home of the mail order website Kelly has three (soon to be four) greenhouses to produce cacti for the mail order operation.

MORE information and Purchase Tickets HERE

Have a great week!