Archives for posts with tag: La jardinera

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and Blue


The Huffington Post posted the top nine quotes about what Memorial Day means, and I thought the first quote was right on.

“You will never do anything in this world without courage. It is the greatest quality of the mind next to honor.” — Aristotle

Thank you to the men and women who have sacrificed their lives for our freedoms.



I have had several ideas and photos for my next post. Instead of doing separate posts, I decided to combine all the photos together. It turns out that all of my topics create a little story. Here we go:

Once upon a time there was a very root bound Aloe plant (Aloe ciliaris).


Magically this one Aloe plant became three…


Tip: Don’t be afraid to break up plants that are root bound. In this scenario, I was able to identify three separate plants. I  carefully pulled the plants apart and potted them up.


One of these Aloe plants made it into one of my custom succulent bowls that I made for a wedding present. My dear friends Nona and Grael recently got hitched in Tucson, AZ. Congratulations you two and super fun wedding! That means this succulent bowl traveled to the desert. A succulent homecoming of sorts.






Nice message.

It rained in Tucson while we were there, and the desert was in bloom.


The bloom on this Prickly Pear caught my attention in the parking lot of a gas station in between Tucson and Phoenix. Beauty is everywhere.


What’s this and how does it connect with the rest of the story? This is Xerochrysum bracteatum also know as Strawflower.  Occasionally you will find a cactus in big box stores that have a Strawflower glued to the plant to make it look like it’s in bloom. Sometimes plastic flowers are glued to Cacti (that’s just wrong).

If you are going to grow a cut flower garden, you need this plant. I grew Strawflower easily from seed, and these blooms are still intact from two seasons ago.



Beautiful cut flower that’s easy to grow. For the seeds, just pull apart the dried flower and this is what you will find:



The end. Happy growing!




I grew this Echinacea purpurea ‘Amado’ from seed two seasons ago. Below is seed that I saved from this plant above. “Amado” is a Spanish word that is translated into English as “beloved”, “loved one” or “sweetheart”. This variety of Coneflower  definitely has the potential to be the sweetheart of any garden.


This is a follow up from when I started ‘Amado’ Coneflower plants from seed. Saving seeds is a rewarding practice and a thrifty way to continue to add beautiful perennials to your garden. It takes some effort, and one of the first steps is to identify which part is the seed.


These pieces are the seed heads of the Coneflower. Many people will leave the seed heads for winter interest and for birds. If you intend to save seed from Coneflowers, make sure the seed head has dried out before you deadhead the plant and bring indoors to continue drying.  The plant should be done blooming before you harvest for seeds. Bring inside and hang upside down and allow the seed heads to continue to dry. I stored my seeds in a paper envelope in a dry and cool location. I avoid putting seeds in plastic containers because of mold issues.


Next, break apart the seed head wearing gloves!  Chaff is the extra stuff that you sift through to find your seeds.


Getting closer…


Here are the seeds that can be directly sown at 1/2″ when there is still a chance of frost.  Remember that some Coneflower seeds need to be stratified before they will germinate. Some Coneflower seeds are sold pre-chilled and ready to be used immediately. Instead of sowing seeds in milk jugs this spring, I have  the seeds in flats outside. Happy Growing!


Today is January 28th, and I went mountain biking last Saturday and Thursday. Our trails are dry and I’m asking myself, “When is the last time it snowed in town?” Snow acts as insulation for our plants and trees. Since we don’t have any snow cover, and we haven’t had any moisture in form of precipitation or snow for at least a month, it might be a good idea to give your trees some water.

Colorado is known for weather that changes frequently. Fortunately we have resilient plants, trees and shrubs that are able to bounce back from dry conditions from stores of food energy in their root systems. Yet, other plants are weakened by dry conditions which result in the spread of disease and insect infestation. Did you plant any new perennials, shrubs or trees in the fall of 2013? Newly planted perennials and trees are especially vulnerable right now. The soil freezes and thaws when we have dry spells, and that opens up cracks in the soil. Herbaceous perennials, groundcovers and shrub roots are exposed to cold temperatures, dry air and wind. Get out in your garden, say hello to your plants and water if necessary. Here are some helpful tips:

When do I water?

Water mid-day when air temperatures are above 40 degrees. It’s important to allow for enough time for the water to soak in which prevents the water from freezing at night.

How much water for each tree?

Here is an easy equation to figure out how much water your tree needs: 10 gallons of H2O for each inch of diameter of the tree. To measure the diameter of a tree, measure six inches up the trunk with a ruler, then measure across the trunk parallel to the ground. For example: A newly planted 1″ caliper tree needs 10 gallons of H2O every time you water.  I use a five gallon bucket to measure out how much water.

green mountain sugar maple

How often should I water?

Twice a month depending on weather conditions.  Please make sure to check the forecast! Remember that I am located in Durango, CO and you might need to adjust your watering regimen according to your specific location.

Do I need to water all my plants and trees?

Not necessarily. Check your beds that receive reflected heat from buildings, walls or fences. These particular microclimates can dry out more quickly than other locations on your property. Keep an eye on south and west exposures because these areas can get nuked by the low angle of the sun’s rays.

reflected heat 2

nuke a rama

south facing bed

Below is an example of a bed I wouldn’t water right now.

snow cover

Trees, shrubs and perennials are an investment and it’s definitely worth the extra effort to make sure that we pay attention to them even during the winter months. Plus, it’s been gorgeous outside, so who doesn’t want to be in their gardens right now? Think snow!





This is my Hoya vine in bloom (H. carnosa). I took cuttings from my boyfriend’s 92 year old grandma’s plant; thanks Gram!  Once I got the cuttings home, I dipped the ends in rooting hormone and then planted the cuttings. There are over 200 species of Hoya plants, and one of the most common is the one that I have, which is also know as the wax plant.  This is a really easy plant to care for, and with minimal watering and some neglect, we are rewarded with beautiful and fragrant flowers like this.

I absolutely love how we can become more connected with our families by sharing cuttings from our plants.

A few fun facts:

~Hoya are tropical vining plants native to Asia, Polynesia and Australia.

~Most Hoyas are epiphytes. An epiphyte is a plant that grows on another plant or tree for support, but is not parasitic. The epiphyte derives nutrients and water through air and rain. Other examples of epiphytes are Orchids and Ferns. So, make sure to let your Hoya plant dry out between watering.

~Hoyas belong to Asclepiadaceae which is the Milkweed family.




May pictures 025




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:



This backyard definitely needed some love.





The objective was to create a xeric space for the family to hang out. Two large, dead Poplar trees were taken down, and cut into stumps for the seating around the fire pit in the pea gravel patio. Red crusher fines fill in the remaining space. Now there is a defined area for future plantings around the pea gravel sitting area.






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.