Native plants specialist eager to teach |

Native plants specialist eager to teach

Kathy Heicher

There’s a new go-to person for valley residents who have questions about their vegetable and flower gardens, or want some information about managing the vegetation on their rural mountain land.Laurel Potts recently joined the Colorado State University Cooperative Extension Office in Eagle County as an extension agent specializing in horticulture and small acreage management.Potts, who is coming to Eagle County from Silt, spent the past few years working as a sales manager and restoration specialist for Rocky Mountain Native Plants Company in Rifle. She has worked in green houses, as an organic farm certification inspector, and as an agricultural chemist. Potts holds a bachelor’s degree in plant and soil sciences with an emphasis on sustainable agricultural from the university of Maine; and a masters degree in horticulture with a concentration in ecology and botany from Colorado State University. She is a certified native plant master.”Extension work has always interested me – it’s a bridge to disseminating information. I like that information outreach and research,” Potts says.One of her passions is native plants, she says. She recently taught a program on mountain-adapted plants and sustainable landscapes. Potts has published some articles in Native Plants Journal. She’s enthusiastic about helping people to use mountain adapted, native plants, she says. In her work with small acreage owners, Potts can offer qualified advice on topics such as fire-wise landscaping and control of noxious weeds. “Resource conservation and caring for land are the core principles we wrap our work around,” Potts says, adding she hopes to offer a future lecture series for local gardeners and land owners.As a county agent, Potts will lead the master gardener program, an 11-week education and training program taught by top-notch specialists from Colorado State University. The master gardener program is open to both Eagle County and Garfield County residents. This summer, locally trained master gardeners will offer gardening tips at their booth at the Minturn Market Saturday mornings. Potts is also working with gardeners at the Brush Creek Park community gardens in Eagle. One of the plots is a demonstration garden featuring native plants.She has the ability to research questions and find the experts who can offer qualified opinions.”There is a great information network,” she says.Gardening adviceLaurel Potts can be contacted at the County Extension Office, 328-8633; or by e-mail at Information is also available via the county web site at

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