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  • Jane Shellenberger

Editor's Letter: June 2016

The winter and spring moisture has really greened up the plains. By mid May I’m usually resenting the fact that I spend more time at the computer putting this magazine together than I do in the garden, but stormy weather has made it easier to be inside, plus there’s no need to water anything.

It has been difficult to complete some stories though. I waited three weeks to visit Growing Colorado Kids at LB Farms in rural Commerce City because we kept getting rained out so I scrambled to finish the piece. But it was worth it - I’ll be visiting the farm again. I learned a few things about what it’s like to be a refugee in Denver and came away in awe of Denise Lines who saw a pressing need and stepped right up to address it.

I usually run stories about gardeners in different parts of Colorado, but this spring the focus has been on Denver, in part because of logistics and the weather, but also because there’s a lot going on in the city. Here’s the rundown for this issue.

James Wieser wrote, “Mushrooms are Nature’s Farmers” in our Harvest 2015 issue. Here he tells you about some fascinating, practical mycology projects. Wieser works with various groups and individuals on harnessing the power of fungi to break down waste material using edible, harvestable mushrooms. He has the largest native culture library (97 species of mushrooms) at the Center for Experimental and Integrated Mycology-Denver.

Dave Ingram and some other Denver Rose Society members collaborated on a piece about climbing roses and fragrance. The photos show you what’s gloriously possible here with the right varieties.

We continue to profile native plants that are good in gardens with a piece on Serviceberries, written by Irene Shonle, knowledgeable Gilpin County Extension agent. Jan Turner, co-president of the Colorado Native Plant Society, tells you about two edible native shrubs: golden currant and Oregon grape. Many non-native were selected for gardens because they are “pest-free.” While they can attract some beneficial insects, field research clearly shows that native plants attract & support far more – in some cases 100’s of different species of bees, butterflies & other insects. Plant more natives! David Salman from High Country Gardens treats you to “Gardening with Hummingbirds: Growing Natural Nectar Plants.” These plants are great in western gardens and a lot healthier for hummers than sugar water.

The astonishingly diverse beauty of another winged creature, the humble moth, will amaze you. As “Bug Eric” Eaton explains, some are more important pollinators than butterflies, but they have an image problem to overcome. National Moth Week seeks to address this.

If you’re a regular reader of CG you know that Penn and Cord Parmenter grow a huge amount of food at a very high altitude near Westcliffe. Penn explains that Cord is the more measured, efficient, unflappable gardener and reveals his secrets in “A Little Every Day.”

Kelly Grummons’ Gardening Q & A offers food-growing tips this month too, specifically for raspberries, eggplant, and sweet corn. And Mary Lou Abercrombie explains why growing tomatoes, the most popular garden vegetable, isn’t always easy.

As an arborist and nursery owner for decades, Mikl Brawner wants you to know why he disagrees with some currently popular recommendations for planting trees, including the one to use no compost or amendment at all in the hole. About 18 years ago I was chewed-out for running an article by an experienced plantsman and Permaculture practitioner who gave the same recommendation - to backfill the tree hole without any amendment. Opinions change. Read what Mikl has to say.

Summer is garden tour season. Check our Calendar and Marketplace Pages for these and other Summer events, as well as garden products and services you probably won’t find elsewhere.

We publish our Harvest issue toward the end of August. As the spring of our 20 th publishing year winds down, I’m starting to think about finding a successor in the not too distant future. I thought I’d plant the seed here and see if anyone out there has the desire and skills to run a successful and fun gardening magazine. If this sounds appealing, please get in touch.

Jane Shellenberger



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