Gardening in Denver is the best way to reduce stress that I have ever found. But, the Denver climate can be a real challenge. Denver is an arid zone which requires some attention to the plants you choose.
I was never a gardener until we moved into our current home. At that time, my husband was working at the Denver Botanic Gardens, and I began to get interested. We also bought a home in Littleton that had nothing but grass and trees, so it was a blank slate. What I never thought about when we planned our first gardens, was that over time, the plants that I needed would change. The trees grew taller, giving more shade, we put up a new fence, cutting down on some of the sun, and things died. I took the dying personally at first, but then discovered that plants just get old and die, it wasn’t my fault. Every year something is different, which is part of the fun. Every year I add something new. Sometimes it grows, and sometimes it doesn’t.
I love January and February when it comes to thinking about summer gardens. Looking though all of the seed catalogues is inspiring. I look forward to the first catalogues arriving in the mail. Not only is it fun to dream, but it means that summer is just right around the corner, and I like spring green better than winter brown!
These catalogues give you a wealth of information. They tell you how the plant grows best, sun/shade, whether it is an annual or perennial, which zone it is best suited for – Denver is in Zone 5 – when it blooms, etc. However, all yards have mini-zones, some warmer, some colder. So, you need to know your yard.
Make sure to plan your garden before you start buying seed and arranging for seedlings to be delivered. When you think about plants, make smart decisions and choose drought tolerant and pest resistant plants. Check out the CSU Extension Site for ideas. Each year they have a new plant that works well in Colorado. Use graph paper to lay out your garden plans. I get out my layout each year and decide what I need to replace, transplant, or just give away.
Choose plants that require the same amounts of water and group them together. Think about your yard and where the sun and shade areas are. A plant that is sun loving requires at least 6 hours of sun a day. Shade plants do need some type of sun, even it is indirect.
Vegetable are a great way to smart living. Growing and eating your own produce is a wonderful experience. Vegetables that flower like squash, tomatoes and peppers need more sun than the leafy green vegetables. Use organic pesticides to control bugs. Add ladybugs to your garden.
So, sit down and plan your future – green and growing!
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