Bringing Your Garden to Life

Posted by on Apr 22, 2013 in Colorado Native Plants, Welcoming Wildlife | 0 comments

As I am patiently waiting for spring to arrive…, I am thinking about this upcoming year in the garden.  Interesting climate patterns have caused concern about the availability of water for this season and there seems to be a new interest in utilizing native plants in the home garden.

Over the next several weeks, I want to share with you clips from Bringing Your Garden to Life:  Using Native Plants to Attract Birds, Butterflies and Beneficials, a presentation I did this spring in Ft. Collins, with a friend and fellow designer Sally Guthart.

Bringing Your Garden to Life 1

Colorado offers great opportunity to spend time outdoors.  As a Landscape Designer and Native Plant Master, I believe our gardens should be beautiful habitats for both people and wildlife, supporting a variety of life and creating a place to enjoy and interact with nature.  These habitats nurture the spirit, enhance our well-being and enrich our lives.  I want to encourage you to spend more time outdoors and tell you a bit about Birds and the Bees

Bringing Your Garden to Life Birds and Bees

So why the emphasis on native plants?  Native plants offer us many benefits, they have co-evolved with the native wildlife and are adapted to our local soil and climate conditions.

  • Native plants create beauty through the seasons in the landscape
  • Native plants provide food and habitat for the birds, butterflies and beneficial insects
  • Native plants celebrate the beauty of where we live
  • Native plants foster biodiversity in our environment

In  Doug Tallamy’s book; Bringing Nature Home:  How to Sustain Wildlife With Native Plants, he offers the following insight:

  • We must rebuild local food webs, nothing lives in isolation
  • It all starts with plants, all animals get the energy they need by eating plants directly or by eating other animals that eat plants
  • Natives support nature best…

Bringing Your Garden to Life Why Native Plants


So what exactly is a native plant?  A native plant is a plant species “that occurs naturally in a particular region, state, ecosystem and habitat without direct or indirect actions of humans” Federal Native Plant Conservation Committee.  The Rocky Mountain region is home to many wonderful native plants that can be used in the home garden, and I intend to introduce you to some of my favorites.

Stay tuned for more…



2013 Landscape Inspirations

Posted by on Jan 20, 2013 in Landscape Inspiration | 0 comments

I was at the Progreen Expo this week to check up on the latest trends and newest products to enhance our outdoor spaces.  I am itching to play in the dirt…

P1020218 wl

My favorite new product I came across was metal panels from ParasoleilP1020225 wl

I can imagine all kinds of fun things to do with these panels, overhead, screening panels for a hot tub, or panels along a deck railing.

Patina and Patterns

Patina and Patterns

There are some fun new options in ceramic pottery…

The Pottery Patch

The Pottery Patch

Interesting Evergreens…



Ever beautiful Evergreens

Ever beautiful Evergreens

And for those who can’t dig in the dirt yet, a new HGTV show featuring great annual plant combinations for pots featuring our local grower Botany Lane Greenhouses…I love their new brand label!

Just Dig It

Just Dig It

And last but not least Hardy Boys takes the cake with their Blast From the Past display of color…

Blast From the Past

Blast From the Past

Be Inspired, Dream big, Think outside your home, Happy New Gardening Year 2013!


2013 Drought will Persisit: What’s a Gardener to do?

Posted by on Jan 12, 2013 in Landscape Inspiration, Xeriscape & More | 0 comments

A new year prompts us to reflect on the year past and look forward to the new, and that is what I do for my garden too.  In 2012 Colorado experienced severe drought and devastating fires.  According to the National Weather Service in Boulder Colorado, the Drought will persist through 2013.  At my home in Loveland, we received less that 9″ of precipitation for the year in 2012.

Lake Loveland Fall 2012

So whats a gardener to do?  Here are 3 things you can do now to prepare for the season ahead.

  1. Evaluate:  Take some time to evaluate how your garden is working for you or not, and identify problem areas or plants.  I have developed a Site Inventory and Planning Worksheet to help walk you through the process.
  2. Educate yourself:  There are some great upcoming classes in the local area to give you tools to make changes for success in which I will be speaking at.  The Gardens of Spring Creek in Ft. Collins is sponsoring a workshop On January 19th called Landscape for Life which teaches homeowners how to create and maintain beautiful and sustainable landscapes that will benefit their families and the surrounding community.  The High Plains Landscape Workshop at the Ft. Collins Senior Center held on February 23rd, is a one-day workshop  is designed to promote high-quality, sustainable landscapes that reflect a sense of place in Colorado’s northern Front Range.
  3. Apply: think  about small changes that can have a big impact.  I just released an eBook  Tips and Tricks for Successful Xeriscaping that you can download for free that gives detailed examples of xeric principles and professional tricks for planning and designing drought-tolerant landscapes.

    I am looking forward to what the new year will bring and wish you Happy Gardening in 2013!


Tis the Season…Time to Winter Water

Posted by on Dec 3, 2012 in Caring for Your Landscape, Landscape Inspiration | 0 comments

Garden of Lights at the Gardens on Spring Creek

Garden of Lights at the Gardens on Spring Creek

What a festive reminder to winter water our gardens in Colorado. This season has been exceptionally dry and warm and we are likely to stay in drought according to the NOAA’s climate prediction center. Our intense sun and drying winds coupled with drought make supplemental water crucial for our plants especially our conifers and broadleaf evergreens to survive and thrive.

Here are some Fall and Winter Watering Guidelines

  • water only when air temperatures are above 40 degrees F
  • apply water at mid-day so it will have time to soak in before freezing at night
  • soak to a depth of about 12″ around the drip line of the tree or shrub
  • water about once per month if we are not receiving any moisture, remember 1′ of snow = 1″ of water so a dusting is not enough
  • new plants will require water about every 2 weeks
  • plants with south or west exposure that receive reflected heat from buildings are more subject to damage

I drag a hose around with a little square spray sprinkler on the end and move it about every 15 minutes. You can also use soaker hoses or water by hand but it takes a bit to get enough water around the root system to make a difference. The goal is about 5 gal of water per shrub and 10 gallons of water for each diameter inch of the tree trunk per watering.

For a fun evening out and Christmas inspiration, check out the Garden of Lights at the Gardens on Spring Creek

Gardens on Spring Creek, Ft. Collins, Colorado

Gardens on Spring Creek, Ft. Collins, Colorado

Cutting Back Ornamental Grasses

Posted by on Feb 28, 2012 in Caring for Your Landscape | 0 comments

Now that the snow is gone, and spring is just around the corner, its time to cut back your cool season ornamental grasses.  These grasses start growing very early in the spring season, and should be cut prior to the new growth.  Along the front range in Colorado, this is around March 1st (weather permitting).  Don’t know which ones are cool season?  Here are a few of the common ones found in our gardens:  The Feather Reed Grasses, including Karl Forester, Blue Oat Grass, Northern Sea Oats, Tufted Hair Grass, and the Blue Fescue’s.

Avalanche Feather Reed Grass

Blue Oat Grass

Use a sharp hedge shears or a sickle and cut approximately 6″ above the soil line (Blue Oat Grass can be left a bit taller,), and gently rake out or comb through with your fingers to remove dead leaves in the center.  To make cutting and clean up a bit easier, tie the grass up with a bungee cord or twine about 2 feet up from the ground in a tight bundle before you start to cut.  This will make for easy cleanup.  This is also a good time to evaluate weather or not your grasses need dividing.  Our warm season grasses such as Miscanthus, Pennisetum, Switchgrass, and Little Bluestem are best divided in the spring before growth resumes.

Colorado Native, Little Blue Stem ‘Blaze’

As you can see, these grasses add great texture and interest in our gardens as well as providing seeds, a food source for birds in the winter. So if you don’t have any grasses to trim, then its time for you to make a plan to add a few to your garden this year.

If Rocks Could Talk

Posted by on Feb 15, 2012 in Landscape Inspiration | 0 comments

Happy Valentines Day!  I wonder if the person placing this rock on the wall was thinking the same thing, maybe a surprise to a special person in years gone by…..

If Rocks Could Talk

This interesting rock is found on the side of an old cistern on a friends property near New Braunfels, Texas (my old stomping grounds).  The property was part of a large ranch probably in the early 1900’s and the cistern collected water and pumped via a windmill to storage tanks, and on to water troughs probably to provide water to goats.  Hidden and over grown, these rocks tell a story of days of old.

So… if rocks could talk what do you think this one would say?


Colorado Progreen 2012 – Trends for the new year

Posted by on Feb 12, 2012 in Landscape Inspiration | 0 comments

Progreen always marks the beginning of the season for me, and gets me excited for opportunities to inspire you and to share ways to spend time in the beautiful outdoors.

Progreen 2012

This outdoor fireplace and pizza oven comes already assembled from Belgard, or can be custom made to your specifications.

Outdoor Fireplace with Pizza Oven

Ideas to incorporate might be a courtyard with pavers, a seating wall, or a water feature.

Belgard Water Feature

Then there are the trendy colors…Tangerine Tango.  This Yucca is not only beautiful, it is drought tolerant and attracts the hummingbirds to your garden.

Breaklights Red Yucca

Native plants are the in thing, our Gumbo Lily or Tufted Evening Primrose is a Colorado native that blooms in the evening, is scented and attracts the Sphinx Moth which flies so fast it looks like a hummingbird.  Evening entertainment in the back  yard, along with some wine and cheese?

Oenothera caespitosa – Gumbo Lily

We must take responsibility in caring for the land and creatures, so organic choices are a must.  (much better for our health too!) Ask for them at your local nursery.

And if you are worried about not having enough space to garden, never fear, they come in miniature too.  Something for everyone and aren’t they so cute!

Fairy Gardens


Accessories galore

Personally, I love interesting pots and succulents, so this is one of my favorites.

Captivating combinations

So, what are you waiting for?  Start planning now, start small, take one idea and run with it. Implement, take notes and observe.  Take time to smell the flowers and enjoy the fresh air.  And of course if you need help, you know where to find me.  Don’t worry – Plant happy

Color for the Garden – Tangerine Tango 2012

Posted by on Jan 31, 2012 in Landscape Inspiration, Welcoming Wildlife | 0 comments

Signs of spring just around the corner, I have been pouring over plant catalogs and devouring inspirational garden blogs.  I came across a post about the Pantone 2012 upcoming color for the year and it stopped me in my tracks…Tangerine Tango…hmm… bright orange

Tangerine Tango

Now at first thought, bright orange is not my favorite color, you won’t find this color hanging around in my closet.  But as my thoughts often do, they rambled on and I realized that many of my favorite plants I was including for an upcoming presentation; It’s a Bird…Its a Bee…Its Biodiversity – Welcoming Wildlife to Your Colorado Garden, were bright orange.  A recent post by Genevieve at North Coast Gardening listed the designers favorites of orange deer proof plants, so I thought I would add my take on that and give you a few of my favorite butterfly and hummingbird plants, bright orange of course!

Hummingbird Trumpet – Zauschneria garrettii ‘Orange Carpet’

Trumpet Vine – Campsis radicans

Pineleaf Penstemon – Penstemon pinifolius

and a couple of our Colorado natives;

Scarlet bugler – Penstemon barbatus

Wood Lily – Lilium philadelphicum

So it seems that bright orange is welcome in my garden, The hummingbirds love it, and it brings great joy watching all the activity.  Here’s to an outrageous orange year!

Beauty in the Winter Garden…Tis the Season

Posted by on Dec 11, 2011 in Landscape Inspiration | 0 comments

Tidings of great joy!

Winter is approaching and we are preparing to celebrate Christmas.  The doldrums of winter do not apply in my Colorado garden, God continually amazes me with His beautiful creation.

Colorado winter landscape

Weather with snow or not…I see beauty

Clark yard winter interest

When I stroll through my yard this time of year, I am continually amazed at the array of colors and textures that greet me, as well as the wildlife that comes to visit for a taste of some left over berries.

Russian Hawthorn with winter berries

Weeping White Spruce & Mexican Feather Grass

When creating your landscape plan, you want to consider what it will look like in all seasons.   Think about including elements that provide interest like weathered wood and boulders, they really stand out in the winter months, and create shelter for wildlife.  Repeating a certain form throughout the landscape with plants and features creates cohesiveness,  the texture of the foliage of ornamental grasses sets the mood, and the many shades of evergreen are dynamic and strong in the winter.

For a real winter treat, visit the Garden of Lights at Northern Colorado’s very own botanical garden ‘The Gardens on Spring Creek’  in Ft. Collins.  Here is a sneak preview and a link for more information.

The Winter Garden in Lights

Winter Water Reminder

May you find  beauty in not only in winter, but in reflecting on the reason for the season, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Merry Christmas!

July 4th – Celebrate our Freedom

Posted by on Jul 1, 2011 in Landscape Inspiration | 0 comments

Oh say does that star spangled banner yet wave….Over the land of the free, and the home of the brave.

Freedom Flag Colorado Style

Thank you to those who have dedicated their lives to keeping our land free!  We must never loose site of what freedom stands for and truly means not only to us but to the future generations to come.

I hope this weekend finds you celebrating with loved ones, outdoors in our beautiful Colorado scenery.