There are few things in life more rewarding than cultivating a beautiful summer garden. Meals al fresco with fresh ingredients grown yourself brings a satisfaction that fills the soul in ways even your favorite bistro cannot. So whether you are a seasoned green-thumb or a fresh sprout, here are the latest gardening trends and tips to help them grow best here in Colorado.
A lot of attention has been given to the decrease in our country’s natural pollinators due to widespread development. The front range is no exception. One of the most positive things we can do to alleviate habitat loss is to grow a pollinator garden where bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds can stop for fuel and say hello! Here are five plants our pollinators and climate will love:
Native Bee Balm White Coneflower Dwarf Garden Sage Sunset Hyssop Rocky Mountain Beardtongue
The immersive and natural wild garden hasn't always been viewed as a must-have design element, but has gained a massive amount of popularity recently and is set to be a trend for years to come. In Colorado, that means incorporating western and mediterranean drought-tolerant plants along with native wild flower species, which are great for maximizing our resources and our water bills. Western fescue grasses along with large succulents like yucca pair well with perennials like common yarrow and harebell.
Many of us urban Denverites do not have a backyard with ample space for a garden. Don’t let this limitation hold you back from enjoying our limited growing season. Large pots that can handle multiple plants are a great way to maximize patio space and mix edible with ornamental flora. For those limited to balcony space only, you can build your own garden of culinary herbs and vegetables with railing planters or mini greenhouses to keep the kitchen fresh all summer.
The high elevation, semi-arid desert climate of Denver makes for a unique growing environment that poses its own challenges and benefits. The most important factor to consider is the intense Colorado summer sunshine created by our thin, dry air and frequent blue skies. Plants normally classified as “full sun” still need precaution. When you have a garden plot in mind, observe it periodically for a weekend and note how long each area is in direct or indirect sunlight and full shade.
When it comes to watering, high elevation means that water evaporates quicker. To help keep your plants healthy in our high desert climate and look out for our precious resources, water in longer periods but less frequently. This delivers moisture to the deeper levels of the root zone where it won’t evaporate as quickly. Avoiding raised beds and adding a healthy layer of mulch around your plants will also help to retain moisture for longer. But leave some native soil available for our pollinators and insects to utilize!