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Spring Planting Service begins in May

My Spring Planting Service for container gardens begins on May 16th - weather permitting. I’m starting a little bit later this year because my daughter, Amelia, is graduating from Colorado Mesa University (HOORAY!). We’ll be attending her commencement ceremony and I don’t want to possibly leave any plants unattended, so I’ve decided to wait until we get back to get started. If you would like to be on my planting schedule (and haven’t contacted me already), give me a call or email me.
When the weather is nice, we often get antsy to get the flowers in our containers but I implore you to wait until mid to late May. As we've seen this past week, spring weather in Colorado is very fickle! Just like keeping a chick in the incubator, it's best to keep your little plants at the greenhouse for as long as possible. The nursery provides an ideal climate for young plants ensuring they will grow to be big and beautiful!
Many people have a quaint idea of the tradition of planting their container gardens on Mother’s Day. It seems like such a sweet idea, but often it doesn’t work out here in Northern Colorado. For the past two years we’ve had a freeze on or right after Mother’s Day. Two years ago, we had 6” of snow! This year, Mother’s Day is especially early; it will be May 8th. The plants and flowers we typically place in container gardens are tropical plants. While the provide us with beautiful summer blossoms. they're generally not tolerant of cold weather. Perhaps a gift certificate for plants would be in order this year. On the other hand, if you're planting shrubs or hardy perennials in the yard, feel free to do that when the weather is nice and once the soil is warm and not too muddy. 

I continue to offer Landscape Design Services specifically for the do-it-yourself homeowner. Save money by doing the work yourself and enjoy that sense of accomplishment that comes from a job well done. Contact me to get your plan started!

One final reminder, I still pay for referrals! Refer a friend to Patio Plants Unlimited or for a Landscape Design and receive a $25 discount or nursery gift card.

2016 Newsletter Topic

This year, I’ll be writing about my favorite subject: PLANTS! Each month I’ll feature an annual, perennial and flowering shrub which will be flowering during that month. If you ever want to look back at previous newsletter articles, I keep an archive on my website.

Get to Know These Plants

Pinks / Dianthus

The blossoms of Dianthus are various shades of pink, white, maroon and bright red. Many are bi-colored or have a darker eye. The common name "Pinks" does not come from the color, however, but from the ragged, serrated edge of the petals which look like they were trimmed with a seamstress's pinking shears. Dianthus chinensis is the mound-forming plant most commonly grown in containers and flower beds. It is generally sold in the nurseries as an “annual” but in our area “short-lived perennial” is a more fitting label. Planted in the garden or left to over-winter in containers, Dianthus is likely to return to for several years. Then it simply won’t show up in the spring although it may reseed itself. Pinks bloom all summer long; some dead-heading (removing spent blooms) is necessary to keep the plant looking tidy. Dianthus are not fazed by cold weather and they tolerate the heat of summer pretty well, too.

Creeping Phlox / Phlox subulata

A low-growing, colorful mass of flowers, Creeping Phlox is a nice compliment to spring-blooming Tulips and Hyacinths. Also sometimes called “Ground Pink” or “Moss Pink,” Phlox subulata flowers are shades of pink, white, or a light lavender. The leaves are small and needle-like making the plant difficult to handle. It remains green all year long and forms a dense mat which chokes out weeds. Creeping Phlox is easy to grow and flowers for several weeks. However, it does have a bad tendency to die out in the center or have some amount die-back from the winter. To keep the plant orderly, you can shear it back by up to half right after blooming. Personally, I just brush mine off to remove the dead leaves in the spring and leave them alone. If there’s a dead spot in the center, in short order that will fill in and won’t show. I appreciate a plant that’s not too fussy and Creeping Phlox doesn’t even mind when I occasionally step on it.

Nanking Cherry / 
Prunus tomentosa

Nanking Cherry is a large shrub, growing 10 feet tall and 10 feet wide. It earns its keep for space in the garden with a beautiful floral display in late spring. The buds and centers of the flowers are pink while the petals are white. The flowers cover the stems of the shrub and from a distance it has a pale, dappled pink color. The bright, red fruit which matures later in the season is edible (if you add enough sugar to the pie!), but the cherries are so small most of us are not inspired to harvest them. Fortunately, the birds love them! There are many varieties and cultivars of Prunus shrubs which are similar to Nanking Cherries but perhaps have a smaller stature or sport double-flowers. Similar to the Forsythia I wrote about last month, all varieties of Prunus shrubs should be pruned shortly after the flowers have faded. Thinning and pruning in early summer maximizes the flower show next spring.
Ever wonder where I get my information? Here's my resources:
  • Armitage, Allan M. Herbaceous Perennial Plants, Second Edition. Champaign, Illinois: Stipes Publishing LLC, 1997.
  • Crockett, James Underwood. Annuals. New York: Time-Life, 1971. Print.
  • Ellis, Barbara W. Taylor's Guide to Annuals. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1999. Print.
  • Flint, Harrison L. Ortho's All about Flowering Trees & Shrubs. Des Moines, IA: Meredith, 2002. Print.
  • Gordon, DeWolf P., Jr. Ph.D., et al. Taylor's Guide to Perennials. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1986. Print.
  • Hessayon, D. G. The New Bedding Plant Expert. London: Expert, 1996. Print.
  • Hughes, Megan McConnell, et al. Better Homes and Gardens® Flowering Trees & Shrubs. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2012. Print.
  • Peschke, Donald B., Publisher. 108 easy-going, easy-growing flowers!, a supplemental to Garden Gate magazine. Des Moines, Iowa: August Home Publishing Company. 2006.
  • Whiting, David, et al. "Pruning Flowering Shrubs, CMG GardenNotes #619." Colorado Master Gardener GardenNotes. Fort Collins, CO: Colorado State University Extension, 2011. Print & Online.
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