Archives for posts with tag: CO




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I’m not a complete hater of the genus Juniperus because there are many different species that enhance landscapes. Yet, this particular garden bed had space for more interesting colors, shapes and textures. I planted Calamagrostis acutiflora (Karl Foerster grasses), Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage), Cerastium tomentosum (Snow-in-Summer), Coreopsis verticillata ‘Moonbeam’, and Salvia nemorosa (Meadowsage). A beautiful peace pole sits behind the Karl Foerster Grasses; very cool message. If you are interested in the story behind the peace pole, here is a link to their website:



Sometimes it’s a picture of an inspiring garden that sets the stage for a clear idea of how to makeover a space with a lot of potential. In this case, Betsy found her inspiration from a beautiful “Farmer’s Market” style garden featured in Sunset Magazine.


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The vision:

betsy's raised bed garden vision




I rebuilt the rock wall, and put in the steps up to the raised beds.


Steve Bach built the raised beds, and Derek Vaughn with Mountain Oasis installed the drip irrigation system. I filled the raised beds with “Mel’s Mix” =vermiculite, compost and peat moss. Mel Bartholomew, who started the square foot gardening movement, created his own mix. Here is a link to the mix:


Betsy's garden

With a clear plan, Steve’s carpentry skills and Betsy’s green thumb, the transformation is complete.

This is a garden that I take care of, and the mid-summer bloom is quite nice. If you are needing a boost of cheerful color, maybe a variety of Coreopsis might do the trick.

‘Moonbeam’ and ‘Tickseed’ Coreopsis varieties are planted in this particular garden bed. I love the combination of these two with English Lavender.

I leave the Oriental Poppy seed heads for texture and interest. The Goldenrod is about to burst into golden color, while the pretty Larkspur offers splashes of purple and pink. The Lamb’s Ear contrasts with its blue-gray foliage. And who says that Hollyhocks are just alley plants? These Hollyhocks add height and different hues of pinks to the palette.





‘Moonbeam’ Coreopsis offers this beautiful display of yellow flowers.


Pretty, Pretty.




What exactly are aphids? Aphids are small, soft bodied insects that feed on the sap from plants while leaving behind a shiny honeydew (aphid poo) Normally when I see plants with curling, yellowing and distorted leaves I know that the plant has aphids. Many times aphids can be found on the underside of leaves.

The thing that fascinates me most about aphids is their reproductive capabilities. I remember learning in my master gardener class that aphids are born pregnant…huh? This is by far the best explanation of how aphids reproduce:

“Female aphids give birth to other live female aphids that are already pregnant with yet more female aphids.”

The key to this reproduction is “parthenogenesis” and “viviparity.” Parthenogenesis means that an egg can be developed without fertilization. Also, the aphids are viviparous which is the ability to give birth to live young rather than laying eggs. Wow, talk about fighting a losing battle. Yet, there are safe and effective ways to slow down an aphid infestation, and get rid of one all together.

For more info on the reproductive cycle, check out this blog solely dedicated to all things aphids:

NIPM- Nikki’s Integrated Pest Management

1. Before anything, try to spray off as many aphids as possible with a strong stream of water. Many aphids will not be able to get back on the host plant. Let the leaves dry.

2. I am a neem oil kind of gal. Neem is an organic oil that is a pesticide, fungicide and miticide all in one. The fruit and the seeds of the Neem tree are pressed to make the oil. I keep a specific spray bottle just for neem oil. Follow the directions and labels to make up your own batch and spray affected plants, shrubs and trees.
Please note that Neem oil will kill other beneficial insects. If I see lady beetles on a plant, I try to just spray with water.

Here is a helpful link for making a spray with dish soap:

3. Clean your snips! It’s super important to clean your tools if you encounter something nasty in your garden: aphids, powdery mildew, scale etc. I keep bleach wipes with me, which work well. Or you can mix up a batch of bleach water and keep that in a spray bottle.

I love taxonomy. Here is the taxonomic breakdown of aphids:

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hemiptera
Suborder: Sternorrhyncha
Superfamily: Aphidoidea

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The other afternoon there were seven deer inside the hedge at the Gable House Bed and Breakfast. I had a flashback of last spring when I came home and all of my Tulips that were just about to bloom were eaten by the neighborhood deer pack. Luckily, I had just sprayed the Tulips, and I managed to herd the deer out of the yard. Many of my clients, friends and Durango residents understand and have experienced the same disappointment that I am talking about. Most people have just given up on Tulips all together because of our local deer issue.

Yet, there is still hope! I have been spraying a very stinky and effective deer spray on everything in the Gable House landscape. There are several deer spray brands on the market, and I have used two brands: “Bobex” and “Deer Fencing.” Both brands are quite effective, but are expensive. Consistency is the name of the game when it comes to spraying your landscape to prevent the deer from munching on your plants. So, instead of buying the spray, make youre own.

My friend and a woman who I garden with, Marybeth Jarrosak, makes her own version aptly named “Bad-Ass Deer Spray.” Visit Marybeth’s website for the recipe! Do it, it’s worth the effort.