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Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangea

Sometimes on the Front Range we struggle with figuring out a plant palette that can survive our harsh environment but adds interest to our landscapes. This can be especially true in situations other than full sun. One genus of plants that has really started to see a lot of improved variteis that can be a show stopper in your landscape is Hydrangea. Generally speaking there are two different species of Hydrangea that thrive on the Front Range: smooth hydrangea and panicle hydrangea.  Both these species of Hydrangea would prefer at least partial shade on the Front Range to perform the best.

The summer heat is always a time where supplemental irrigation is important in Colorado landscapes; however this year it is as apparent as ever. With the abnormally wet spring that we had, our plants grew faster and larger than they normally would have because they had the water available to support it. Now that the summer monsoons have passed, these large leaves and extra new growth that was put on is having a hard time being supported by our normal irrigation schedules. Here are some tips to help your landscape beat the heat this summer:

Rose of Sharon for Big Summer Color

On the Front Range of Colorado we sometimes find ourselves envious of all the big, beautiful, colorful plants that grow elsewhere but can't survive in our unforgiving climate. We often make up for this by planting a lot annuals to get bold color into our landscapes in the summer. We do have some options of shrubs that are cold hardy in the Front Range that can provide us with that color that we so desparately crave. One of these options is Rose of Sharon or Althea, which is a very unique shrub for our area. Rose of Sharon produce very tropical looking flowers in the summer.

Attracting pollinators

With national pollinator week wrapping up this past Sunday we’ve got pollinators on the mind. I know that the word pollinator brings to mind an image of bees immediately, however they’re only a small portion of the image. There are about 200,000 species of animals and that aid in the act of pollination ranging from bees and butterflies to bats and mice. Us as humans depend greatly upon the act of pollination that these animals and insects make happen. Pollination not only secures our food sources, but is also critical in production of medicine, fibers, spices and more.

All this rain has left our northern Colorado planting beds a muddy mess. Soil saturation is typically not something we have to worry about too much in such an arid climate. But this spring has been atypical, to say the least.

Your first instinct is probably to grab a shovel to dig out this over-saturated soil. But turning the soil will likely compact it more than it already is. This will prohibit roots from spreading properly and create extra run-off.

By User AdamRetchless on en.wikipedia (by Adam Retchless) [CC SA 1.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

With all the rain we’ve had, weeds are starting to take over yards, gardens, and planting beds all over Northern Colorado (or will be soon). Dandelions, bind weed, and thistle are some of the more common culprits.

Here are some tips to give you the upper hand:

The many benefits of plants

With all the recent rain we have had, things are really greening up. Here in Colorado, this also means the growing season is quickly approaching. It’s time to get planting!

Plants not only beautify our homes, but have many other health, financial, and environmental benefits. Here are some fun facts:

winter plant damage, brown needles

With the recent rain, everything is starting to green up here in Northern Colorado. Well, almost everything. As we move further into spring, you may notice that some of your plants and trees may have sustained damage. This is likely due to the drastic temperature drop we had in November. Remember that balmy 80 degree day that gave way to zero degree temps overnight? That sudden freeze occurred before many plants were able to harden off for the season.

Keep your eyes peeled for the following signs:

In our area, the average last frost date is between May 10th and May 15th. But there are some cool season vegetables that like the chill in the air, like lettuce, carrots, radishes, broccoli, and spinach. These will yield a harvest early in the season and then the temperature should be right to get your warm season vegetables in the ground, including tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and squash.

Planting bare root can save you a lot of money, but many people are unsure about bare root because they can look intimidating. The good news is that you don’t need to be a master gardener in order to take advantage of all that planting bare root has to offer.

Here are some of our most frequently asked questions regarding bare root plants:

What is a bare root plant and why are they so much cheaper?