December 2015
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News for Norther Colorado and the world

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Tips and Answers from Master Gardeners

Gardening Tips

By: Mitzi Davis
Colorado State University Extension Master Gardener in Larimer County

1. The CSU Annual Trial Gardens at College Avenue and Lake Street in Fort Collins are in full bloom! Don’t just drive by; take a walk through the gardens to see the latest in bedding plants, shade-tolerant flowers and plants that look wonderful in containers. Check out the new perennial beds, by the Center for the Performing Arts Building. For the best photos, plan your trip early in the morning or early evening.

2. Later blooming perennials like Rudbeckia (Black-eyed Susan), fall Asters, Chrysanthemums, Helianthus, Helenium and Heliopsis will add great color to your fall landscape.

3. Use a slotted plastic laundry basket when harvesting root crops like beets, carrots and turnips. You can wash them off outside with a garden hose before bringing them into the house.

4. Beans require more frequent watering than other vegetables and use the most water during the blossom and fruit growth stage. Blossom drop and reduced bloom mean the plants have been too dry at some time.

5. Every weed that flowers and goes to seed can mean more problems next year. Control weeds by mowing, hoeing or using herbicide. Do not add ripened seed heads to your compost pile. Weed seeds can remain viable for years and may germinate next year when you add your compost to garden beds.

Gardening Q&A

By: Trudi Manuel
Colorado State University Extension Master Gardener in Larimer County

Q: I planted a few French lavender plants in my garden last summer. They did great last year, but are not growing this year. Can I plant another variety that will thrive in our Colorado climate?

A: Lavender is a versatile semi-woody perennial herb that can do well in our Zone 5 climate. It originates from the Mediterranean region of Europe and is a good choice for Colorado gardens when planted in full sun. It has few pests, often blooms twice in one season, and is highly regarded for its fragrance, medicinal values and beautiful colors: violet, purple, white, pink and blue. French and Spanish lavender are generally not cold hardy in northern Colorado. The two types that grow well here are English lavender and a hybrid, lavandin. Lavandin blooms once in late summer and produces sterile seed. While lavandin produces a large quantity of essential oil, it is not as high quality as English lavender. For more information on growing this showy and useful herb, visit and read CSU Extension Fact Sheet #7.245 on “Growing Lavender in Colorado. ”

The authors have received training through Colorado State University Extension’s Master Gardener program and are Master Gardener volunteera 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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