WLSlogorectangle.JPGThe 2014 Western Landscape Symposium happens on March 15 in Pueblo with a super line-up of sessions for this year.

Once again, registration is a bargain at $18 per ticket in advance. **Tickets are ONLY being sold in advance, not at the door.** This event has sold out the last two years well in advance and is expected to do so again, so if you are thinking of going, do not put off buying your ticket.

This year’s schedule promises sessions by Panayoti Kelaidis, Charles Mann, Susan Tweit and more. A full schedule and registration information can be found here:
www.coopext.colostate.edu/Pueblo/hor/WLS.shtml

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Xeriscape Demonstration Garden in winter

Every winter is different (thank goodness!), and this year, we’ve had a pretty good solid winter with somewhat consistently cold temperatures and periods of decent snow cover. Some of those cold snaps have kept many of us indoors, getting a little stir crazy. We gardeners gaze out our windows, looking for that “winter interest” we hear so much about. If we happen to be houseplant people, we can put our gardening attention there. If not, maybe we peruse the seed catalogs again and again…

It seems mid-February is when I notice many of my fellow gardeners starting to get a bit tired of being indoors and itchy to be doing something, anything, to jump start their green thumbs for the upcoming season. If you’re one of this group, may we suggest the following five things you can do to ride out the end of winter into early spring: (more…)

Ponytail Palm_LAH_9915Q: What houseplant can I grow that isn’t fussy about food, water, light, or much of anything else, is ignored by pests, and looks good year round?

A: Amazingly enough, the perfect (or nearly perfect) houseplant does exist. Meet the Ponytail Palm: not fussy, not buggy, and eternally good looking. Granted, I have yet to see flowers, but with all its good points, who cares about flowers?

While “Ponytail Palm” is the most widely used common name, you might also see these plants labeled as Elephant’s Foot, Monja, or Bottle Palm. This is a case where the botanical name (Beaucarnea recurvata) comes in very handy. At least that way we know which plant we’re talking about!

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cattle.jpgPurchase hormone and antibiotic-free manure for a small donation to Project COPE.

This is a joint venture between Colorado Springs Utilities and Ranch Foods Direct to benefit Project COPE. Project COPE provides utilities payment assistance to families and individuals struggling financially due to a personal crisis or emergency. Project COPE is the only local organization that dedicates its entire funding to utilities payment assistance year-round.

Here are the pertinent details:

When: Sep 28, 2012 – 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. – while supplies last
Where: Summerland Gardens, 124 E. Cheyenne Rd, Colorado Springs, 80906 (map)
What: 75 tons of aged, antibiotic-free manure from Ranch Foods Direct and Callicrate Cattle Co.
Cost/Donation: $20 per half yard OR $5 for two bags. Cash, check, and credit cards accepted.

How: Bring a truck, trailer, bags, or five gallon buckets to get as little or as much as you would like.

Why: Organic manure, like the material found on Callicrate’s Kansas ranch, is an excellent addition to soils, providing the nutrients needed for healthy, sustainable gardens and landscapes. Manure increases the soil’s water-holding capacity and promotes healthy populations of soil-building microorganisms.

For more information (including reserving manure), visit http://ranchfoodsdirect.com/event/poopapalooza/

And for information on using manure in your garden, see Colorado State University Extension’s Garden Note #242: Using Manure in the Home Garden

Submitted by Carey Harrington, Certified Colorado Gardener

hail2013.jpgWelcome to our third annual hail post! Why bother writing about hail AGAIN? Well, interestingly, the way we try to work in our gardens after a major hail storm can vary depending on the timing of the storm – when, in the growing season, it occurs. Looking back, the 2011 hail post was written in early July; last year’s was in mid-June. And here we are, in late August 2013, just starting to toy with the idea that we might have escaped major hail this year. But no……

Parts of central Colorado Springs saw quite a bit of hail early last week (on Aug 12), leaving my garden with the tell-tale scent of shredded cilantro and mint, and then a very large, serious thunderstorm yesterday dropped hail as large as golfballs in neighborhoods to the north (my garden, luckily, was spared). And in between those two dates, many smaller storms dropped hail over several places in Colorado Springs. (more…)

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Dead green ash trees (July 2013)

All through our (usually) dry winters, we’ve been beating the drum to get people to winter water their turf AND their trees. With our ongoing drought and irrigation restrictions, we find ourselves in the surprising position of having to remind people to “summer water” their trees.

Most of the trees in our area have been introduced and can have a tough time thriving even when we are not in drought. After several consecutive years of drought, super late hard freezes this year, and watering restrictions, our trees are having a tougher time than ever surviving. Many trees that have been on the edge of survival for the past few years have finally died this year and others are very close (like those trees in the downtown medians with about a quarter of their normal leaf cover). (more…)

sprinklertimer.jpgAutomatic sprinkler systems can make irrigating our landscapes (especially lawns) much easier, and they can also help us water more intelligently. In our area, we are usually encouraged to water lawns early in the morning or late at night. This is simple with a sprinkler system timer that can be set for any time of the day or night. Consistent watering is also important, especially during drought (a.k.a. now), and the timer easily takes of care of making sure your lawn is watered when you are away on vacation. In a previous post, I described rain sensors that can be added to your system so that it won’t run during or immediately after a storm. You can even find sprinkler controllers that incorporate weather sensors that turn the system off during high winds and incorporate local ET data to set sprinkler zone times. (more…)