Cheyenne Botanic Gardens : Gardening Tips


Tumbleweeds!

What are they and where do they come from?
TUMBLEWEEDS are native to Ural mountains of Russia. First noted in the late 1800s, they are now found all over the west. They were likely brought in with Russian farmers who settled that region. While tumbleweeds roll they can spread up to 250,000 seeds from one plant. tumble weed snowman jpg Tumbleweeds!

Are tumbleweeds good for anything? Some people spray paint them and stack them as desert snowman. During the dust bowl days of the Depression, immature tumbleweeds were used as an emergency food to feed both livestock and humans alike. They also inspired the rolling robots in Star Wars movies. Researchers have discovered that they can pull depleted uranium from contaminated soils of battlefields. Tumbleweeds also inspired the early NASA landing system for a Mars Rover that bounced and rolled as part of its landing. And everybody knows the song that goes “rolling along with the tumblin’ tumbleweeds.”

Researchers are working hard at finding natural controls for tumbleweeds through the release of beneficial insects and diseases that attack the plant in a young stage.

Christmas cactus care

The biggest mistake people make in growing Christmas cacti is treating them like a desert cactus. Instead treat them like a houseplant, with regular waterings. After they bloom, treat water less frequently watering until summer, when you go back to treating it like a T123 3A Christmas cactus care houseplant. Also they don’t like direct sun. Instead find a bright spot away from direct sun. Also this is one plant that is quite comfortable being pot-​​bound for years. Regular fertilization is also helpful but be mindful that they are slow growers.

If your Christmas cactus has trouble blooming, you can help trigger blooms by doing one of the following: 1) Try setting it in your coolest room or near a cool window. This cool treatment will often trigger blooms. 2) Set your Christmas cactus in a room where you never turn on the lights at night– perhaps a guest room? Uninterrupted periods of darkness this time of year will often encourage blooms.

Interesting Link–

Do we swallow spiders in our sleep?
Click here for more information.

Time to check your gutters

screen1 Time to check your guttersIn late fall, if your gutters are full of leaf debris it can cause water to back up against the house and damage roofing, siding and wood trim. This can be hired out for around $60 to $200 to clean gutters depending your home’s size. (more…)

Accidental melons in Cheyenne

We recently received this note from a supporter: CheyenneMelonsA Accidental melons in Cheyenne
“Last year we bought an electric composter and it really works great. We put virtually everything in it and spread the compost in the garden this spring. Naturally, we had also put all of our cantaloupe and honeydew melon seeds in it too. (more…)

Dehydrating tomatoes

DriedTomatoes2 Dehydrating tomatoesThis year has been a banner year for tomatoes on the high plains and front range due much in part to the warm weather. If you are finding yourself with a surplus of tomatoes either from the garden, the store or farmers’ markets, you can consider a variety of methods for storing them. Among the options are canning, freezing and drying. By far the most simple is to dry your tomatoes. It is hard to believe that something so juicy can be dehydrated, but it can. (more…)

Artichokes in the garden

artichokeflower2 700x525 Artichokes in the garden

Artichoke in flower

Because most of the commercial artichokes come from California, people assume that they won’t grow in our shorter season areas. Actually you can grow edible artichokes here. They are not heavy producers and take up a bit of space but they are still not hard to grow and a fresh artichoke is always tastier than store bought.

(more…)

A tough broadleaf evergreen

nm privet foresteria n 3 250x187 A tough broadleaf evergreen

New Mexico Privet is a drought tolerant, large shrub native to the Rockies. It requires little in the way of water or care and thrives on the High Plains if you don’t over-​​water the plant. It is treasured for its white bark. With some base pruning to expose the bark it can have a similar look to aspen.

Hail Forecaster

CheyenneHailstone 250x186 Hail ForecasterThis is a great site for a quick glance at our chance for hail each day. This is the time of year hail is frequent and devastating. Click here for some strategies for dealing with hail.

Click here to view short video of one of two devastating hail storms in 2011.

Vining honeysuckle

lonicera dropmore honeysuckle1 Vining honeysuckleThere is a vining honeysuckle (relative to the shrub) that is showy, hardy and blooms much of the summer. It needs a sunny spot, rich soil, regular water and a trellis or even a chain-​​link fence. It produces red, yellow or cream colored blooms. “Halls” is the hardiest variety.

grape honeysuckle medium Vining honeysuckle

Kintzley’s Ghost

Kintzley’s ghost vining honeysuckle isn’t much for flowers but it produces showy, large saucer-​​shaped silvery bracts that look like silver dollars. Avoid the fragrant Japanese honeysuckle at altitudes above 5,500′ as it is the least hardy.

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