In mid-August when many plants are mature and looking their best, it’s a great time to explore nearby gardens and take stock of plants you might want to get into your own garden before the growing season ends. There are still some weeks ahead of us when we can plant to get perennials established for a faster start next spring. End-of-season bargains at garden centers and nurseries are just ahead, too, and can add more value to late-season planting.
Start noticing plants you love in neighbors’ yards and elsewhere. And keep your phone out to snap a pic of the ones you might not recognize but want to remember. If you don’t plant them this season, they could start your plant wish list for next spring.
A valuable resource in this process is Plant Select plants. Because they have been developed for Colorado’s altitude, severe climate and other growing conditions, they can be mainstays for stellar and sustainable landscaping. Plant Select demonstration gardens are great for gardeners looking for fresh inspiration and plants that can thrive in our climate.
There are nearly 90 public gardens throughout the Rocky Mountains that feature Plant Select. They can be found at CSU Extension offices, libraries, fire stations, xeriscape demonstration gardens, public parks, etc. A few of these gardens at higher altitudes may be found along the Interstate 70 corridor. All of them are open to the public and allow visitors to view plants in real-garden situations.
Here are four high country locations you might want to visit:
• Colorado State University Extension Office Eagle County: 441 Broadway, Eagle.
• Betty Ford Alpine Gardens: 183 Gore Creek Drive, Vail.
• Colorado State University Extension Summit County Sue Cruth Memorial Garden: 37 Peak One Drive, Frisco.
• Breckenridge Alpine Garden: 150 W. Adams Ave., Breckenridge.
Results oriented gardens
Annual plant evaluations conducted at these gardens also yield a list of best — and worst — plants.
As a result of last year’s evaluations, for example, the following five plants earned top scores as the best plants for planting above 7,000 feet elevation: Little Trudy catmint, remembrance columbine, Cheyenne mock orange, sea foam artemisia and Kannah Creek buckwheat.
Becky Garber is a member of the Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado, of which Neils Lunceford, a landscaping company, is a member. You may contact them at 970-468-0340.