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Time Saving Native Plants January 26, 2009

Posted by liajo in garden thoughts and ideas.
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clock_screen01I could stay in the gardens forever.  But there are a few other things that I do need do sometimes.  Planting a lot of native plants helps me get out of the gardens quicker when I need to.

Once native plants are established, a season or two at most, they can pretty much take care of them selves.  Even vegetables that are suited for your region take less time than those that are not.

A little weed pulling, mulching and composting a couple of times a season and you should be good to go. 

Native plants will certainly cut down on the amount of time you spend watering.  Unless it gets very dry, most natives are okay with what mother nature gives them.   If it does get drier and hotter than normal watering once or twice a week should get them through.

So if time spent in the garden is an issue, then go native.

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Native Benefits January 25, 2009

Posted by liajo in garden thoughts and ideas.
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vegetablegardens_1There are definite benefits to growing native and it doesn’t matter if you prefer to grow flowers, vegetables, shrubs or trees.

While the benefits are numerous they fall into three general categories, water, time and energy.

I’ll look at water today.  If the plant is native to the region then more than likely it has had time to adjust to the water conditions.  That’s why mesquite bushes grow in the Southwest and not the Southeast, they need very little water.

You could always water the heck out of plants that come from a wetter region than yours and they might live.  But is it worth it, watering can be costly and time consuming.  It’s much harder if you plant something from the desert in a more tropical area.  The plant will surely die.

There will always be drought and rainy years when even the native plants struggle a little.  You can also use containers for small plants that are not from your region and make an environment that they can survive in.

But your best bet is to go native.

Most Unusual January 22, 2009

Posted by liajo in garden thoughts and ideas.
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Most people think of native plants as being kind of plain jane’s.  And let’s face it, we all like the shock effect every now and then.  Who wouldn’t want to have the most unusual plants on the block.

But think before you order and plant.  One of my seed catalogs has a most unusual flower called the Bat flower and it is different.  It’s almost black which is different and has bracts that look like whiskers on a cat that almost reach the ground.  Most unusual.

There are a few problems though, the plant is native of China, which is a long way from Colorado.  It’s zones are 10-11 and prefers high humidity, so about the only place it would do well is my bathroom.  The cost isn’t unreasonable at about $10, but that’s still a lot when it’s a pretty sure bet the plant won’t live 6 months.

So as much as I would like to be the first on my block to have a Bat flower, I’ll take a pass and look for some of the plain jane plants that will not only do well in Colorado but thrive for years to come.

Go Native January 22, 2009

Posted by liajo in garden thoughts and ideas.
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barrow__garden_decoration_I look at amazement at all of the exotic plants pictured in the seed catalogs.  Beautiful things I have never seen before.  And it is so tempting to order some of them.

But, no matter how beautiful and exotic they are I’ll leave them off the final order list. 

Why, because when ordering seed and plants it’s best to go native and stick with something that will actually grow and thrive in your area. 

I’ll continue later posts with benefits of native and negatives of exotics.