Monthly Archives: April 2012

Walk as one at 1:00

World Labyrinth Day
Walk as One at 1:00 May 5th, 2012
at the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens Labyrinth

World Labyrinth Day is a day that brings people together from all over the planet in celebration of the labyrinth as a symbol, a tool, a passion or a practice. The Garden Labyrinth, located at the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens, will celebrate Walk as One at 1. Gather at 12:30pm on May 5th at the Botanic Garden’s Peace Garden to learn more prior to the 1:00 pm walk.

Frequently asked questions –

FAQ’s about the proposed renovation and expansion of the Botanic Gardens Greenhouse

Q. If the vote passes, will my taxes go up?
A. No. This tax has been part of our county’s revenue for many decades.

Q. What happens if it doesn’t pass on August 21st?
A. The greenhouse, at taxpayers added expense, will still be required to accommodate the handicapped standards as grandfathering is no longer allowed. The greenhouse will still have to widen aisles (causing the greenhouse to grow 40% fewer plants), add an elevator and expand the restrooms. The Botanic Gardens grounds and city plantings will forever be reduced by 40%.

The greenhouse will still need major repairs and renovation will likely be shutdown for a year while repairs occur. This risks the loss of many volunteers, and a year without cultivated grounds or city flower beds being planted. Expansion will not occur.

Q. If it doesn’t pass on August 21st what happens to the $750,000 renovation and expansion design and construction drawings that voters approved back in the 2008 6th penny.
A. Sadly, the design and construction drawings will basically go into the trash.

Q. $16 million seems like a lot of money
A. $12 million is for construction of both renovation and expansion of a greenhouse addition
$2 million is for safety improvements Lions Park roads, intersections and sidewalks.
Another $2 million covers future operational costs for up to 10 years.

The expense of the greenhouse construction is high because the renovated greenhouse and the new greenhouse expansion will both be solar heated and cooled with renewable energy. While this type of energy is more expensive to build, it is much cheaper to operate. Also the building must be waterproof and immune to effects of humidity and condensation. Finally, construction costs have sharply risen while the dollar has lost 40% of its value since 2004.

Q. Is it a menu style ballot with the Greenhouse by itself?
A. Yes. You can vote for none, some or all of the projects on the ballot.

Q. Why not just renovate? Why is expansion needed?
A. Expansion makes up for the 40% loss of growing space that would occur when the old greenhouse gets widen aisles for handicapped access. Additional space has been added to the expanded greenhouse to allow for future needs and because the greenhouse can’t meet current requests for city flower plantings.
Expansion also creates revenue generating spaces including a museum store and plant-filled public spaces for weddings, conferences, meetings, retreats and classes. This revenue greatly lessens  the need for taxpayers dollars for the future operation of Botanic Gardens.
Expansion also provides space for an educational exhibit featuring a real Navy Submarine Periscope along with microscopes and telescopes enhancing the Gardens role as the community science center.

Read more about the proposal here

You could be eating home grown salad by now

Granted this has been a very warm spring, but even in a normal spring you could be harvesting fresh grown greens today in a simple structure known as a cold frame.

You can build them out of recycled materials including old windows, plastic and used lumber. The frames must be relatively airtight but have openings for ventilation. There are also many easy to setup cold frame kits available commercially and vary greatly in price.

Cold frames are great for starting transplants or growing longer season crops that require more heat. Start seedlings for the outside garden in your cold frame in late February through early April.

For salad greens simply sow your seeds in late February or early March and you be picking your harvest from early April into May. They can also be used to allow for late season salads for over a month past the first fall frost.

Here is a good link to learn more.

The trickiest thing about growing in a cold frame is overheating. Be sure to allow for ventilation on sunny days. This can be as simple as propping a window up or open in the morning and shutting it in the evening. There are also heat triggered openers that require no electricity and automatically open cold frame windows as the temperatures rise.

Director receives national award

The American Horticultural Society (AHS) has recently announced that Director, Shane Smith is a recipient of one of their 2012 Great American Gardeners Awards. According to the AHS, Smith has been honored with the Professional Award, which honors a “public garden administrator whose achievements during the course of his or her career have cultivated widespread interest in horticulture.” (more…)

April Gardening Q & A

Q. The seed racks are already out in the stores selling a wide variety of seeds. Are these seeds O.K. for growing in our short growing climate?

Most leafy and root crops are fine. But where possible go for the early varieties that seed racks and catalogs offer. This is especially important for seed for tomatoes, peppers, cucumber, eggplant and pumpkins and other winter squash.

Q. I have seen some Pansies for sale in some stores for planting outside. Can they really go out now?

A. Yes they can but keep a watch on the weather. If we dip into the teens you might want to pile some straw, pine needles or a plastic cover over them. They will bloom quite well until the real hot weather starts and are a great addition to a front planter or tub to add a lot of early season color.

Q. What is snow mold on lawns and how can it be prevented or cured?

A. Remember where the snowdrifts sat last winter? The lawn under a snowdrift is more susceptible to a grass fungus disease called “snow mold.” This area sometimes develops into mats of dead grass. To help prevent this, now is a good time to core aerate and rake this area. Go lighter with fertilizer where the snow sat as fertilizer can encourage fungus growth and cause dead patches. In bare spots consider re-seeding with a quality grass seed or take grass from areas where it is invading a flower bed and transplant it into the dead spots.

Housing needed for Summer Interns

The Cheyenne Botanic Gardens has a long tradition of employing college interns who come from out of town for the summer to work and learn about working in a public garden.

These students have gone on to become public garden professionals, run commercial nurseries, college professors, market farmers and horticultural therapists.


Gardening doesn’t have to be expensive


Wild way to view wind in the US

Gardeners like to keep track of the weather. In Cheyenne, the wind is something we are very much in touch. Could it have something to do with being the 4th windiest city in the nation?

Now there is an amazing new graphical representation of the daily wind direction and speed. It almost resembles dog hair moving and changing. You won’t believe it until you see it here.