Thursday, July 16, 2015

Garden Inspirations by Christy Hoyl, Gilpin County Master Gardener

With the abundance of rain this spring and summer my perennial flower beds, shrubs and vegetable garden have exploded in riotous colors and delicious salad delights.  And the carpet of wildflowers is a sight to see at 8,500 feet around my home.  Many perennial plants such as Blue Flax (Linum perenne), Cranesbill (Geranium spp. ‘Johnson’s blue’), Cornflower/Bachelor Button (Centaurea montana), Meadow Rue (Thalictrum aquilegifolium), Catmint (Nepeta spp. ‘Walkers low’), Oriental Poppy (Papaver orientale), Sweet William (Dianthus barbatus) are large and full of color.

Another perennial that has exceeded prior seasons’  height and blooms are my Lupines (Lupinus 'Russell hybrids’).  Thru the years I have amended the soil and fought with voles and pocket gophers not defend the Lupines.  This year they are strong and brilliant with bright yellow, pink, red, violet and white flowers.  A big bonus of enjoyment and inspiration!
Lupine (Lupinus spp. ‘Russell hybrid’)
Small but plentiful in my vegetable garden is the Viola (Viola ‘Johnny jump up’).  These have re-seeded and multiplied from a tiny four-pack I planted a couple of years ago.  I am transplanting them around the house to keep them from taking over the spinach and mustard-green bed. 
Viola (Viola ‘Johnny jump up’)
Shrubs and bushes have shown a burst of blooms this season, especially my lilac.  At 12-feet tall the lilac is profuse with sweet-smelling blooms that last for a few weeks.  It’s great to enjoy them again, as in lower elevations they had bloomed a month earlier.  My roses are looking spectacular.  Especially the Rosa (Harison’s yellow), Red Leaved (Rosa glauca), and the native Pink Rose (Rosa woodii).   
Common Lilac (Syringa vulgaris blue)
A pop of bright pink to crimson red is the Painted Daisy (Tanacetum coccineum).  This perennial is a show stopper and one you can count on.  Native Rocky Mountain Penstemon (Penstemon strictus) has spread throughout the yard and is a favorite along with Black Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta).  The list goes on and on. Mountain gardening is a challenge with our shorter growing season, hail and critter problems.  It comes with the territory; but wow, I am inspired by mother natures bounty!  I think I can say that this summer the plants are extraordinarily prolific!  
Painted Daisy (Tanacetum coccineum) and Harebell/Bluebell (Campanula rotundifolia)
 I have a protected microclimate against the south side of my house where the pink poppies bloom and re-seed every year.
Pink Poppy  (Papaver spp.)
For additional mountain gardening resources go to  Fact sheets from CSU Extension are free to download.  Search for the fact sheet #.
7.244 Colorado Mountain Garden Basics
7.406 Flowers for Mountain Communities
7.413 Ground Covers and Rock Garden Plants for Mountain Communities
7.423 Shrubs and Trees for Mountain Communities

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