December 2015
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Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Gardening with Larimer Master Gardeners, June 10

Gardening Resources at CSU

By: Susan Perry
Colorado State University Extension Master Gardener in Larimer County

Gardeners who are fortunate enough to live near Fort Collins are surrounded by an abundance of gardening resources. First and foremost are the resources of Colorado State University (CSU). These include the CSU Annual Trial Gardens, the Plant Environmental Research Center (PERC) gardens, the CSU Arboretum and CSU Extension in Larimer County. Besides being just a short walk, drive, or phone call away, these CSU resources are available to the public at little or no charge.

CSU is a great resource to all Coloradoans. Rooted in the movement toward sustainable landscaping, water conservation, and articulation and application of the principles of water-wise landscaping, CSU performs on-going research in many areas of interest to the home gardener. This information is available in a variety of venues.

First, one can visit the CSU Annual Trial Gardens where research on flowering annuals is performed every summer. Located east of College at the intersection of College Avenue and Lake Street, visitors can stroll among more th

an 1,400 varieties of annuals submitted for evaluation by some of the largest plant propagators in the country. Detailed records of maintenance, weather and performance are kept for each plant evaluated. Each year, a list of “Best Annuals” is compiled at the end of the summer. This information and much more, is located at

CSU also operates the Plant Environmental Research Center (PERC) gardens (630 W. Lake Street), where research on herbaceous perennials is conducted to determine those best-suited to Colorado growing conditions. Located near the intersection of Shields and Prospect, these gardens are devoted to education for CSU students and for the public. Visitors can see different varieties of ornamental grasses and flowering perennials each season. One of the many benefits is the ability to visit in person to see what a plant will look like at its mature size, during the winter, when it’s in full bloom, or during the heat of the summer. For more information, check

In addition to the information available on the PERC website, Best Perennials for the Rocky Mountains and Plain States was written by Dr. James Klett and Celia Tannehill to summarize 20 years of perennial research at PERC. The book provides the following information for the best performers: landscape use, height, foliage, color and fall effect, winter injury, ornamental fruit, disease and insect problems. It also identifies plants that attract butterflies and hummingbirds, and includes 5 bloom-time charts for white, yellow/orange, red/pink, and blue/purple flowers. The book can be purchased through the University Resource Center ( for $19.95.

The Arboretum at CSU is located adjacent to the PERC gardens. Containing woody trees, shrubs, dwarf conifers and evergreens, it provides residents with opportunities to see what shrubs or trees you are considering for your home will look like year-round. Plant growers around the country send their specimens here for evaluation. Containing over 1,100 different taxa, the Arboretum has the largest collection of woody plants in the region. In addition to performing research on plant performance, the southeast corner of the Arboretum contains a Plant Select® demonstration garden. Plant Select® is a joint plant introduction program between Colorado State University, Denver Botanic Gardens and the Green Industry of Colorado that is tailored to introducing plants specifically for Colorado. For information on the Arboretum, check; for information on Plant Select®, visit

Finally, CSU Extension in Larimer County is a valuable resource. The Master Gardener program is one of many available to the public through Extension. Other Extension programs are 4-H, food safety, agriculture and natural resources, family and consumer sciences and nutrition. Master Gardeners are located in 34 counties in Colorado to respond to inquiries from the public. They do not provide landscaping or design services, but may be able to assist with questions or problems regarding turf, trees, shrubs, perennials, insects or plant diseases. For research-based gardening information, public can speak to a Larimer County Master Gardener Monday through Friday, from 9am-1pm, by calling 498-6000 or can do their own research at the CSU Extension website at

Gardening Tips

By: Anne Wuerslin
Colorado State University Extension Master Gardener in Larimer County

Borage officinalis is a common Mediterranean herb which can be directly seeded under tomato plants. It can reach up to 2-2 ½ ft tall, and the nodding blue flowers attract pollinators. Marigolds are also good companion plants for tomatoes.

Seascape strawberries are wonderful in hanging pots. Interplant with annuals such as alyssum to provide color as the strawberries mature.

Dig and divide old clumps of chrysanthemums now and enrich with compost. Fall flower heads will be more vigorous. Pinch back to half the original height to encourage bushier plants.

Fennel, dill and parsley are the larval host plants of the swallowtail butterfly. Allowing these striped caterpillars to feed on host plants result in beautiful flyers later.

Gardening Q&As

By: Susan Perry
Colorado State University Extension Master Gardener in Larimer County

Q:   I’d like to plant raspberries in my garden.  Is it too late?  If not, can you recommend a good variety?

A: Spring planting is recommended for raspberries, but with our cool spring, there is still time to plant. You should not expect any fruit the first year — plants two to four years old are the most productive. There are two types of raspberries: floricane (often called summer-bearing), or those that bear fruit on canes from the prior year (2nd year canes) ; and primocane (called ever-bearing or fall-bearing), which bear fruit on first year canes. It is important to know which type you have, so you can prune correctly.

Floricanes produce a large harvest in July/August, while primocanes produce fruit from mid-August until frost. By having plants of both types, you can extend the raspberry season considerably. Recommended summer-bearing raspberry varieties include Nova, Killarny, Latham, and Boyne. Ever-bearing varieties recommended for the Front Range include Heritage, Autumn Britten, Fall Red, and Fall Gold. Red and yellow raspberries tend to be the hardiest in Colorado. Regardless of what type and variety you select, choose a well-drained sunny location with some protection from wind and winter temperature fluctuation. Avoid planting where you have previously grown tomatoes, peppers, or potatoes to prevent disease transmission. Raspberries require moist soil during their growing season, and the occasional winter watering. For more details about growing raspberries in Colorado, refer to fact sheet 7.001 “Raspberries for the Home Garden” at

The authors have received training through Colorado State University Extension’s Master Gardener program and are Master Gardener volunteers for Larimer County.

Larimer County is a county-based outreach of Colorado State University Extension providing information you can trust to deal with current issues in agriculture, horticulture, nutrition and food safety, 4-H, small acreage, money management and parenting.  For more information about CSU Extension, Larimer County, telephone (970) 498-6000 or visit

Visit PlantTalk Colorado ™ for fast answers to your gardening questions! PlantTalk is a cooperation between Colorado State University Extension, GreenCo and Denver Botanic Gardens.

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