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More Backyard Nature: Milkweeds!

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More Backyard Nature: Milkweeds!

In a previous post I described some interactions between plants and insects that can make for interesting observation.  This week I’ll add another plant group that makes for some fun—the milkweeds (genus Asclepias). Many species of Asclepias can be found in North America and can make good garden plants provided you can provide the space that they’re roving growth form requires.  Milkweeds have highly specialized floral structures, and they also bear...

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July is Smart Irrigation Month

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July is Smart Irrigation Month

July – the month we celebrate America’s independence… and efficient irrigation? While the second occasion may not get as much attention as the first, there are plenty of ways to mark Smart Irrigation Month this July. The Irrigation Association (IA), which represents manufacturers of irrigation products, first declared July to be “Smart Irrigation Month” in 2005 to draw attention to the need to use earth’s most precious resource wisely. July typically sees...

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Suburban Serengeti

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Suburban Serengeti

Safaris are expensive.  So why not trade the very large for the very small?  Stay away from tourist traps and take a trip into your back yard for action worthy of television special—you won’t even need to pack a lunch. Even if at first glance the average home’s yard and garden might seem virtually free of animal life, a closer look shows how wrong first glances can be.  Arthropods—members of the...

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So Your Garden is Rusting

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So Your Garden is Rusting

As we swing into high summer and garden plants kick into overdrive, the fungi, bacteria, and viruses that rely on them start making appearances too.  These plant pathogens manifest themselves in many ways, from the elegant to the grotesque. Rust fungi are one common pathogen that show up with warmer temperatures.  These fungi—along with a related group known as "smuts"—are some of the most destructive plant pathogens. Rusts and smuts...

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Plant Conservation Day

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Plant Conservation Day

Join us in the Gardens on Saturday May 19 to celebrate Plant Conservation Day. The third week in May holds many opportunities to celebrate our rare and native plant species in Colorado.  Not only is it Celebrating Wildflowers week, a week to get out and enjoy wildflowers in bloom on public lands in your area, but Endangered Species Day and Plant Conservation Day fall within the week as well. We invite you...

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It's Euxoa Time

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It's Euxoa Time

  Plants aren’t the only thing becoming more active this time of year.  Warmer weather triggers a lot of invertebrate activity, and you may be noticing that your home is suddenly (apparently) some sort of transcontinental superhighway for arthropods. Which is just one of the reasons that I love springtime.

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Timing is Everything

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Timing is Everything

Few things signify spring like trees covered in blossoms.  Spring so far has been on the early side, thanks to our warmer than usual temperatures through March.  Many species that would oftentimes only be beginning to bloom at this time of year are already finished flowering—they seem to think it’s already May in Colorado.  Still other species haven’t broken bud, and look as though we’ve had a month of today’s...

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Do Plants Grow Old?

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Do Plants Grow Old?

At first glance it seems obvious that plants age right along with everything else on planet earth.  Everyone can recognize an old tree. But is ageing really the same as being weather-worn? Compared to human ageing, where progressive deterioration of physiological function eventually leads to death, plants can hardly be said to age at all. Plants are organized differently than animals. Usually animals complete all their major structures and organs while...

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Cherry Blossom Blitz

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Cherry Blossom Blitz

With the beautiful, warm weather recently I have spent a lot more time outside and have enjoyed watching the first signs of spring every where I look. My chives are coming up in the garden and my lilacs are leafing out. Here at the Gardens there are so many plants starting to bloom, from the daffodils to the magnolias. Observations like these make up the science of phenology.

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