Thursday, April 30, 2015

More Cold Snap Fall Out

In my previous blog I talked about some of the plant damage to my landscape from the 2014 November freeze.  Below I've linked a helpful blog written by Jane Rozum from the Douglas County Extension office. 

Frozen III: The Cold Snap Story Continues...

Here are some photos I've seen around my neighborhood lately. 

Low Growing Euonymus, not sure of the cultivar

20-year old 'Manhattan' Euonymus

Tip die back on boxwood, easy to prune out

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Count your Losses, Prepare to Shop

My neighbor's groundcover ivy has some life, not much
Much has been written about the adverse affects on plants following the 2014 November flash freeze event and many more articles are sure to follow.  Let me join in with my outcomes and observations.  First, no need to panic, even though some very important plants may have said bye bye this year.  They are replaceable despite the financial losses to your landscape budget. You'll have fun choosing new plants (the same or something new) and watching them grow and enhance your yard. 

'Limemound' Spirea

Please consider supporting your local independent garden centers this season, they greatly appreciate the business and you'll get way more reliable information from their staff, many have a full time garden expert on hand to assist you. Second, if you're in doubt about whether a plant, tree or shrub is alive, give it a couple more weeks to push new growth or take a finger nail and lightly scratch a stem, if it's alive you'll see green. You can also snap a stem in half - brittle, dry stems are most likely gonners. Obvious dead on evergreen branches require careful pruning (easy to cut off brown tips on yews, but careful on junipers), see fact sheets below for helpful information. 

Again, no need to be hasty on shovel pruning your plants, it's still too early to plant most things. Start shopping and researching on line to get ideas and information on replacement plants.  And if you're concerned about planting the exact same plant that was lost, 'Manhattan' Euonymus, for example, think about the fact that the '14 November freeze was a freak event and may not happen again.  BUT, it's Colorado and gardeners need to expect the unexpected.  Next time it could be a different plant or group of plants that are affected.    

'Nana' Burning Bush
As for my yard, I was surprised to see the 'Nana' Burning Bush shrubs take it so hard, but they are euonymus shrubs and this group saw a lot of damage. One of three shrubs seems to be okay, the other two are pushing new bottom growth, I'm waiting.  Roses, oh dear, not so much my shrubs, but many other gardeners have sung woes about possible losses, they are still holding out for any sign of upper growth from the roots before grabbing the shovel.  Most likely any improperly planted grafted rose (graft not buried or buried deeply enough) didn't make it unless it was heavily mulched or protected. 

Rose 'bud union' or graft should be planted 2-3 inches below ground
Other plants in my yard - 'Green Velvet' boxwood, (a little tip die back, but they are very protected), and cotoneaster - may have lost up to 15 'Coral Beauties', which will be a tough loss, but I'm giving them a bit more time to show life.  Other affected plants that I've heard or read about include weigela, fruit trees, ivy, privet, holly, buckthorn, hibiscus and spirea.  The 'Limemound' spireas shrubs are struggling big time.  I've pruned back upper dead and am hoping the base growth is strong enough to bring them around.

To close on a pleasant note, three 'Mini Man' viburnum shrubs that I planted last summer are doing very well this spring.  They didn't blink an eye after it's leaves were frozen in place last November.  They are blooming now and I'm looking forward to red fruit following the blooms and burgundy fall foliage. BTW...this new cultivar is from Fort Collins Wholesale Nursery (call your local garden center for availability).  It's a dwarf form of 'Manchurian' Viburnum, so size will be 3-6' tall and wide.  I've been told that this outstanding new shrub has been selected as a 2016 Plant Select® plant.

'Mini Man' Viburnum
While considering replacement plants, check out the newly updated Plant Select website.  It's easier than ever to search for plants that are smart choices for your garden, along with new videos with plant stories, design ideas and where to shop to find these plant gems.  

Flowering Herbaceous Plants 
Plant Select
Planting Trees and Shrub Fact Sheets 
Pruning Evergreens 
Pruning Flowering Shrubs 


Monday, April 13, 2015

Let the Planting Begin...for Some Plants

March and April warm weather along the Front Range has confused and possibly tricked us into thinking it is time to plant outdoors, even tomatoes.  In a word, no, it's not time to plant tomatoes unless you're using cloches, wall-o-water or some kind of method that will keep the plants warm at night - above 55 degrees.  All warm-season vegetables and ornamentals need to be treated this way. This may be too much "minding" if you're the plant and go type of gardener and just don't want to mess with covers or warming huts.  

Shopping for warm-season plants is fine, but if you buy, you'll have to keep them happily growing until well after the average frost date, usually some time in May (but there's no way of knowing the exact date).  And "by happily growing," the plant needs light, water and fertilizer.  My best advice...wait and buy warm-season plants in late April or May when the plants are at their best and content from garden center tlc.  But go ahead and purchase pansies and osteospurmum for early season container or outdoor planting. They can take some chilly nights as long as they are well hardened off before planting. However I still recommend covering them for severe cold and snow storms. 

You can direct seed ornamental sweet peas and many cool-season vegetables outside right now - lettuce, spinach, radish, beets, kale, arugula, Swiss chard, and onions.  You can also plant potatoes, perennial bare root horseradish, rhubarb and asparagus crowns (shop now, supplies are going fast for these perennial veggies).  Transplants of cabbage, Brussel's sprouts, cauliflower and broccoli can go out, but don't delay too much longer, they need time to get established in the ground and growing.  If nights are down in the low 40s cover with floating row cover to keep seeds and transplants from getting too cold.  Remove the covers the next day when the temperatures are out of the 30s or low 40s. 
For a helpful Colorado State University fact sheet on what vegetables can be planted now check out - Vegetable Planting Guide.

Read more about growing potatoes from Carol O'Meara, Boulder County Extension Agent.

Always use quality seed potatoes


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Take a Walk
"Fairmount Joan's Pink Perpetual" photo from Fairmount

That is...a walk in a cemetery. This year marks the 125th anniversary of Fairmount Cemetery in Denver, Colorado.  Why stroll there...easy, it's a hidden gem, plus a peaceful place to walk and gawk. Surprisingly there are several more reasons to visit - the wildlife (tours below), the plantings (their roses and trees are outstanding), the history and stories, even the monuments are worth a look. Three structures have been named as official historic landmarks by the City of Denver including the Gate Lodge, the Little Ivy Chapel which were both built in 1890 and the Fairmount Mausoleum built in 1929.
Wildlife at Fairmount, photo from   

Mark your calendar for these upcoming events at Fairmount Cemetery this spring-

April 8th, 22nd, May 13th and 29th

Join the Fairmount Heritage Foundation for the “History, It’s What’s For Lunch” walking tours. Tour begins at 12pm, at the Gate Lodge and last 50 minutes. Click here for more information.

April 18th
Join the Fairmount Heritage Foundation for a free Bird Walk with Denver Field Ornithologists, 8-11:30am. Reservations required as space is limited. Click here for more information.

April 25th & 26th
Fairmount is participating in the 11th Annual Doors Open Denver as an Insider Tour location. Join for history tours at 10am, 12pm and 2pm on both Friday (4/25) and Saturday (4/26). Check back for more information on how to register in advance for a tour.

125 Things to do at Fairmount click here.

A short list of interesting people buried at Fairmount are mentioned below. Read additional life stories at Fairmount or Riverside Cemetery - Fairmount Who's Who and Riverside Who's Who
  • Lou Blonger (1849-1924), Saloon keeper, gambling house owner and Denver underworld kingpin
  • Charles Boettcher (1852-1948), Businessman, philanthropist
  • Frederick Gilmer Bonfils (1860-1933), co-founder of the Denver Post
  • Helen Bonfils (1889-1972), businesswoman, philanthropist
  • Henry Augustus Buchtel (1847-1924), Colorado Governor
  • Temple Hoyne Buell (1895-19900, Architect
  • William Newton Byers (1831-1903), founder and editor of the Rocky Mountain News in Denver
  • Helen Worden Erskine Cranmer (1896-1984), journalist and author 
  • John Elitch (1851-1891), founder of Elitch Gardens
  • Mary Hauck Elitch-Long (1856-1936), founder of Elitch Threatre
  • Emily K. Griffith (1868-1947), Educator
  • Samuel Hartsel (1834-1918), Colorado ranching pioneer
  • Robert Lee Howsam (1918-2008), co-founder of the Denver Broncos
  • Lloyd J. King (1908-1960), Founder, King Soopers supermarket chain
  • Lieut. Francis Brown Lowry (1894-1918), WWI Officer
  • Elizabeth Iliff Warren (1845-1920), businesswoman, Iliff School of Theology

Fairmount Cemetery is located at 430 South Quebec Street (Quebec and Alameda). Riverside Cemetery is located at 5201 Brighton Blvd.  For more information about both cemeteries, visit Fairmount Heritage Foundation.