Cheyenne Botanic Gardens : Gardening Tips

Waterspouts need pruning

Suckers, also known as “water sprouts,” are notorious for sprouting from the base and crotches of some trees. They grow fast and straight. These succulent shoots are more susceptible to disease and insects. Prune these suckers on a regular basis. They occur most frequently on Canada Red Cherry, crab apples, and many other trees. Over-​​fertilization may trigger the production of sprouts.

Don’t give these suckers a break!

Cut Flowers From the Garden

One of the joys of having a flower garden is cutting your own bouquets. When you look at the price of store bought bouquets a cutting garden can also save you lots of money.

There are many great choices for cut flowers for the High Plains including dahlias, sweet peas, zinnias, snapdragons, sunflowers, black-​​eyed Susan’s, lilies, daisies, roses, and gladiolas. Cut flowers last longer if you harvest them in the morning and cut the stem at a slant. For hollow stemmed flowers, hold the flower up side down and fill the stem with water. Flowers with milky sap are best preserved if burnt at the cut end before placing in a vase of water. Roses are best cut as soon as a second petal unfurls. (more…)

“Cheyenne Spirit” name of award-​​winning flower

Echinacea ‘Cheyenne Spirit’
AAS Flower Award Winner
All-​​America Selections (AAS) is a non-​​profit organization founded in 1932 to test new flowers and vegetables for home gardening.
This stunning first-​​year flowering echinacea wins the AAS award and captures the spirit of the North American plains by producing a delightful mix of flower colors from rich purple, pink, red and orange tones to lighter yellows, creams and white. (more…)

A solution for slugs

Slugs eat small holes in the leaves and feed mainly at night. Slug damage can disfigure a plant fast. They tend to be happiest in the overwatered garden. Besides cutting back on water, there is a slug solution in your laundry room: dryer lint. Slugs will not crawl over dryer lint. Simply remove the lint from the dryer and roll it into a rope and circle it around the plants that are more prone to slug damage for simple, organic protection. Besides slug control you can save your drier lint year-​​round for your summer garden for use as a mulch or add to your compost pile.

Carrots need room

Carrots will not produce edible roots if they are grown too closely together. Each plant needs a minimum of an inch between seedlings. One of the best ways to thin carrots is to use a small set of scissors rather than pulling them out. Simply snip the unwanted carrots at the soil line leaving one plant every inch. By being ruthless now, you can insure an abundant supply of homegrown, sweet carrots at the end of the season. (more…)

Lawns for shade

Need turf to grow in a shady spot?

Most garden centers sell lawn seed mixtures formulated just for shade. These are selections of grasses composed of shade tolerant “fine fescues” which are combinations of sheep’s fescue, red fescue, chewings fescue and other special varieties.

Now is a good time to sow lawn seed. Lightly rake the seed in for good soil contact. Keep the area moist until you see germination. It may take up to three weeks before you see a lot of green.

Click here for other plants suitable for shade.

Houseplants communicate with Wifi

It was bound to happen. Even your houseplants can start using the internet to communicate with you on their status with this new invention. Can the cat and dog be far behind?

Read more here.

Plant Select ® announces new hardy plants

2012 winners announced
Each year, the Plant Select® program chooses a selection of plants that are worthy of promoting because of their adaptability, uniqueness, performance and durability for western gardens and landscapes.
Some are completely new to horticulture, others are simply underused and deserving of more recognition. A variety of perennials, groundcovers, trees, vines and shrubs are considered for trialing, and each summer the winners are chosen by invited evaluators.

For more information click 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.

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.

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