Wow, spring in Colorado has actually been… well, spring…an honest to goodness spring! All the moisture has made our dry, arid, short grass prairie resemble a tropical paradise. I keep expecting Tarzan to come swinging through on a vine whisking me off to become the matriarch of his jungle family, “Wait! I’m not done weeeeeeeding!” But let’s face it, aren’t we deserving of all this lushness? Gardeners, rejoice and be amazed by the glory of it all! Remember this spring always, because hot, dry times are sure return… “Aahuaaa uaaa uaaaaaaaaaa” Yes, you can ask Siri how to spell Tarzan’s yell!
And speaking of wonderment… my 82-year-old neighbor has a dream… a dream that fills one with wonder… a dream where summer days are filled with fresh black-eyed peas and okra. Cloth bags were purchased, two hoop houses were installed and I was called in to assist with an accelerated seed germination challenge termed “Project Eat’in Goober Peas”. I was given a window of 5 days to get the seeds germinated, sprouted and ready to plant… mostly because my neighbor’s dream was a little late in getting started… anyway, I learned that you can jump start germination of hard coated seeds by presoaking 24 hours in milk which allows the acids to break down the hard outer shell… the rest was easy… heat mats and grow lights… the little darlings were outside in 4 days! Both crops have now been planted and with the heat in the hoop houses reaching almost 100 degrees, good old southern anticipation has begun…
Amidst all this garden glory though, I am currently and most patiently waiting on the fate of Gary the Ginko and Rose, of Rose of Sharon. Gary, as you may remember, took a hit due to extreme temperature swings two years in a row and looked to be quite expired this spring. With a heavy heart, I yanked him up from his prominent position in a garden bed and unceremoniously plunked him in against a fence just to see if any resuscitation would occur… the will to live is strong with this one… I am happy to report that tiny green leaves appeared so I yanked him up again… poor Gary… and he now resides by the front walkway where I can keep a close eye on him.
Sharon, of Rose of Sharon did not have an opportunity to shed her dry, brown leaves last fall so I helped her out by bringing up the shop vac from the basement and… well.. vacuuming her! Then I trimmed and trimmed and trimmed and now Sharon has a very sculpted appearance… poor Sharon… I sort of think she may recover…
Breaking plant news… I stumbled across a couple of new plant discoveries while out and about this spring. First on the list is the Frilly Heuchera from Growing Colors. This is the first Heuchera with heavily ruffled leaves. A sturdy, dense plant with weird little leaves that are supposed to change from caramel to red… hmmm…we shall see… The Frilly Heuchera has been given the Award of Garden Merit New for 2021 with official introduction being given at the rescheduled fall Chelsea Flower Show… take a moment to be impressed by this… I’ll wait… The talk on the internet is that this Heuchera is a game changer! Nursery people in the UK are salivating over the millions that can be made… all from a 2016 sport taken from a Heuchera called “Tangerine Wave”… which leads me to the question, “Why haven’t any of my 100’s of Heucheras “sported” in my garden… ingrates! This crazy Heuchera was found at Front Range Garden Center and the pop-up garden market in Old Town Erie.
The second find is the Buddleia ‘Pink Micro Chip’ Butterfly Bush from Proven Winners. This little bush is touted to be the smallest butterfly bush in this galaxy and beyond! With a height and spread of 24” by 24” this little cutie can be planted anywhere! The shrub is supposed to flower all summer with enticing vibrant pink blooms attracting all matter of bees and butterflies to the garden… we shall see… this little sweetie was found at 3M Farms in Erie or at Loveland Garden Center.
So much to appreciate this spring! I wish you a magnificent growing season… because after last summer, we deserve it!