Editor's Letter: June 2018
In this issue we feature several plant and plant family profiles.
Amaranth, on our cover, is a nutritional powerhouse grain alternative. An annual in Colorado that’s easy to grow, it has many different growth habits. Some are extremely beautiful in the garden. Brigitte Mars tells you about its history, medicinal and nutritional qualities, and how to grow it in “Amazing Amaranth.”
Thea Tenenbaum discusses Tulsi or Holy Basil, a plant she and her husband have grown for decades. It’s considered one of the most effective healing herbs known to mankind. Bees love it and it’s very easy to save the seed each year.
Goldenrod is often blamed for seasonal allergies, but as Irene Shonle points out, ragweed is the real culprit. Several Colorado and southwestern native goldenrods offer huge benefits for pollinators, butterflies, other insects, and birds. There are beautiful garden cultivars as well.
Another, often overlooked plant family with several gorgeous Colorado natives are the Oenetheras or Evening Primroses. You may be familiar with the overplanted Missouri Evening Primrose (O. macrocarpa), but Bryan Fischer describes several other garden-worthy species.
In “Plant This, Not That” Jennifer Bousselet wants you to try Rocky Mountain beeplant and prairie coneflower as native alternatives to tall garden phlox and marigolds. Natives are adapted to our natural rainfall and use far less water than traditional garden plants.
Kim Gravestock’s 15-year old garden in Colorado Springs has changed and evolved over the years, but it remains a plant collector’s dream. Cheryl Conklin profiles Kim’s “Treasure Box Garden.”
Does your dog stress out during road trips, thunderstorms, or fireworks? You might consider herbs for stress or other ailments since they work so well for animals. Certified herbalist Sara Stewart Martinellini tells you about growing the best herbs for your canine companion and how to use them.
As entomologist Eric R. Eaton explains, many of us think of insects as “good bugs” or “bad bugs.” But such oversimplified assumptions are colored by fear mongering in the media about “pests” and examples from large-scale agriculture. “Why You Cannot Choose the Insects in Your Garden” will expand your awareness of what constitutes a healthy ecosystem.
Botanist Maggie Gaddis focuses on pollination in this issue. As she points out, the whole essence of a flower is designed for attracting pollinators to do the work of reproduction for plants.
This May has been a moist one, great for gardens – and for weeds. Penn Parmenter tells and shows you how to reap their many benefits (yes, they do have benefits) in the compost pile.
Once all our gardens start producing delicious and nutritious vegetables more quickly than we can eat them, we’re faced with the question of how to keep them from spoiling. We can freeze, can, make sauces, or give some to friends, neighbors, or food banks, but another idea is to create a simple cold storage unit where produce will store and stay fresh much longer. William Dagendesh tells you how to do it.
Almost every rural (or suburban) property, no matter how small, yields an abundance of branches and sticks, especially after pruning, or big winds, or storms. Efficient wood stoves and Hugelkultur planting mounds are solutions but that still leaves plenty more to deal with. I’ve often felt the fort builder’s urge to create semi- artful structures with all the woody material that accumulates here – grapevines, branches, sticks, and scrap wood. But lacking familiarity with tools, I hesitate, not knowing where to begin.
Tom Lopez works wonders with sticks, plus a few screws and rebar wire twists. At Lone Hawk Farms he repurposes them to make simple gates, fences, tables, settees, and arbors that dot the landscape. He says it’s easy with the right tools and he showed me how. Now I know what tools I need (nothing fancy) and I have the inspiration too. Maybe you’ll be moved to try it after seeing what he does. As always, check our Calendar and Marketplace page for upcoming events. Summer is Garden Tour season and there are lots to choose from. Get inspired!