These dwarf irises come every year with little care and they each year they come back more plentiful than before. They bloom through the unpredictable weather of spring and do fine in the snow and cold of early to late March. They can be planted in a lawn (even dandelion killer won’t hurt them) or a in bed. These dwarf iris go by the fancy name of “Iris reticulata,” for the bluish/purple ones and “Iris danfordiae,” for the yellow ones. They’re among the first to bring color to the garden at the beginning of spring.
They come from small bulbs planted in late summer or early fall and you can often find them sold as a mixture of yellow, blue, dark purple and light blue. Look closely at the bluish shades and you’ll see an intricate little pattern that attracts bees like a lit airplane runway.
If you had planted the bulb, ‘snow drop,’ in a sunny spot in your yard. You would have blooms today.
The snowdrop flower that comes from a small bulb is always the first flower to bloom in High Plains gardens (usually you see the first flower in mid-February through early March), even under a blanket of snow. While it is quite small, looking like three drops of milk hanging from a stem, it does wonders for the spirit when it blooms in the snow. It’s Latin name is appropriately “Galanthus” which means “milk-white flowers.”
These are not common bulbs to find but most good garden centers will carry snowdrops. They are also readily available via mail order. They are commonly sold in the Fall and should be planted prior to winter setting in. Make a note on your calendar now for to purchase them in late September. They bloom best and earliest in a sunny location.
The next flower to bloom in Cheyenne will be the early dwarf Iris reticulata (blue) and Iris danfordiae (yellow).
It is the time of year when the seed catalogs arrive. What are your favorite catalogs and does it make sense to do mail order or just buy seeds at the hardware store?
We would urge you to order seeds from catalogs because it gives you much more in the way of choices. For instance you might find one early tomato variety on a seed rack and five choices in a catalog. Here are a few of our favorite catalogs that are worth considering: for flower and vegetable seeds, try Johnny’s Seeds (www.johnnyseeds.com), (more…)
If you have an interest in medicinal, culinary or useful herb plants, seeds or books, you can’t do any better than Richters herb catalog. There you will find an extensive listing of both common and unusual herbs. For instance they offer over 40 different types of basil. (more…)
True orange petunias are rare until now. The new petunia variety “African Sunset” wowed the judges of the All American Selection organization. They found the African Sunset petunia to be superior to similar colored petunias currently available. Gardeners are always looking for a petunia that grows evenly and uniformly in the garden while producing a prolific number of blooms all season-long and this beauty certainly fills that need. (more…)
When potatoes are exposed to excessive light, a green skin color forms from chlorophyll development. The green chlorophyll increases the production of a toxic substance in the fruit called solanine.
A bite or two isn’t harmful but if eaten in quantity, it may cause illness. You don’t have to waste these potatoes as you can remove the solanine by pealing the potato below the green, back into the white flesh. To prevent green potatoes always store potatoes in the dark and avoid buying greenish potatoes in the grocery.
Culinary herbs are easy to grow given the right environment. First, select a location that receives close to 6 hours of sunlight. A typical winter home temperature of 68 degrees is perfect for growing most herbs. (more…)
It is the time of year when the weather changes at a rapid pace. Sometimes it easier to understand graphically rather than in words. It is especially helpful to view a graphic if you are traveling. This web site provides a graphic forecast for the next 12, 24, 36 and 48 hours. (more…)
The mother-in-law plant a.k.a. the snake plant, also known as the sword plant, is among the toughest houseplants you can grow. It’s Latin name is “sansevieria,” is named after the Italian Prince of Sansevieria, a horticulturist in the 18th century. They resemble swords and are related to agave. Sansevieria leaves are very fibrous and are used to make rope in some parts of the world. They also tolerate most any conditions in the home with ease. They rarely flower, but when they do they have a wonderful fragrance.
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.
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.