getting my xeriscaping on

April 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

A week ago I knew little about gardening much less about xeriscaping, but as a resident of Colorado it’s pretty important to learn about as you plan a garden. Xeriscaping was a term that was coined by the Denver water department and refers to landscape design that minimizes water use. It’s pretty important living in an area that’s as dry as it is here.

When I always used to think about dry climates, I would always think of muted barren desert plants, but when we lived in LA I was introduced to a whole new world of succelents that had a wide range of colors & textures. My husband planted a garden for us off our back balcony looking out over Palos Verdes & Catalina Island (and power lines).

To learn more about the xeric plants I could get locally, I paid a visit to a local nursery called Sturtz & Copeland where Todd showed me around, pointing out everything from hearty groundcover to beautiful flowering shrubs. They also offer a range of classes at the nursery that teach you how to create your own xeric garden.

Beyond the hens & chicks (2nd from the right) which are great for rocky terraces, flax, Spanish Gold Broom and Sage (left to right) are great water-saving choices that still yield beautiful flowers. On High Country Gardens’ website they have a xeric garden package you can buy for $124 that includes 22 plants that are not only beautiful to look at but smell amazing as well (except to deer and rabbits apparently). They include lavender, flowering oregano, licorice mint and lemon thyme (left to right below). The agastache rupestris (licorice mint) also has the benefit of attracting hummingbirds. Who doesn’t love those little guys?

I feel the same way about gardens as I do about furnishing a house. I like when it looks natural and lived in vs perfectly manicured & stuffy. The woman whose garden is pictured at the top of this post writes in her blog: “the scent of the garden in the morning feels like vacation”.  I love the idea of creating a natural garden half as beautiful as hers that I could enjoy walking out to in the morning.

With a xeric garden I’ll be able to do just that vs slaving away everyday watering & I’ll also find myself with a much lower water bill each month.

Oh Colorado

April 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

After a month of no snow, little rain and 60+ degree temperatures I thought it was safe to do gardening week. I guess the bad weather yesterday and today is ultimately a good thing because it has gotten me to slow down and realize I may need to do a little more planning vs just doing when it comes to gardening. My husband will be saying “I told you so” right about now as he reads this…

The expense can add up quickly, so I’ve spent yesterday and today thinking about what I want to accomplish with the garden. In the front of the house I’d like to do a xeric + local wildflower garden and then on our deck off the second floor I want to do a potager with a mixture of tomatoes, herbs, roses and small potted trees. I’ll be covering both of these projects in separate posts to come.

starting small

April 12, 2011 § 1 Comment

I lived in Boston for 6 years and one of my favorite things was seeing all of the window boxes fill up with flowers after the long winters were coming to an end. Especially in Beacon Hill, where gardens are scarce, people really went to town.

We’ve had a sad, smelly window box that’s been empty for a year now other than in its use as a litter box for one of the local cats. Just what you want when you walk out your front door. In my attempt to become a gardener this week I figured it would be a good spot to tackle first.

In doing a little research on window boxes, I really liked one I found on a blog called Brooklyn Roof garden. I love the Spring tulips combined with the natural looking ivy hanging down.

Alas, I live in Boulder and flowers are not so easy to come by just yet. I get it, Mother’s Day really is when I need to plant and when plants become more readily available. I went to McGuckin Hardware, Sturtz & Copeland and finally Home Depot, where I did find some bright, cheery narcissus and a few white tulips. The English Ivy will have a ways to grow, but all in all it’s a huge improvement. I also planted some cerastium to cover up the concrete wall by the front door.

After the Spring flowers are done, I will likely replant the bulbs in the front and turn the window box into an herb garden. There were a couple of natural looking herb gardens I liked from Smith & Hawken whose products are now being sold through Target. I’ll also be better about remembering to water it if it’s right by the front door.

If you don’t want to take on a whole landscaping project, window boxes really are pretty rewarding and not too hard to do.

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