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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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Four Spring Gardens Last Week across Denver

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I didn't realize until now that I visited four public gardens last week.  Naturally, I saw something different at each, and more remarkably, I had my camera with me.  I hadn't planned to compare the four, but why not?  Four Gardens in different places between central Denver and the Chatfield area really illustrate how different spring appears in different places all across the front range.  The challenge is that spring...

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Ah, Spring! The North Takes a Deep Breath

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Ah, Spring!  The North Takes a Deep Breath

One of my earliest science class memories (and maybe one of yours, too) is learning that people and other animals “breathe oxygen” and plants “breathe carbon dioxide”.  I carried this gem all the way to AP biology in high school, when things got complicated.  As it turns out, plants need and use oxygen for all the same things that we do, and they exhale carbon dioxide to boot!  So what’s going...

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Morning Rain Brightens Gardens for Spring

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[gallery link="file" orderby="title"] Rain may not brighten your day, but I was positively enthusiastic about it this week.  After enough winter, it seemed like a sign of spring and a chance to step into the Gardens.  My shoes clomped across wet pavement and I relished the sensation.  When I hit a patch of ice, I nearly went down: even looking directly at it I couldn't see it.  If it hadn't been for...

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The Importance of Being Ephemeral

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The Importance of Being Ephemeral

The first daffodils are peeking through the soil, and some of the earliest bulbs—crocus and galanthus—are finishing up their flowering cycle.  As spring progresses we will watch the annual parade of our favorites:  tulips, allium, eremurus, and others will flower and vanish before the worst of summer heat.  Denver is a great place to grow ephemeral plants of many kinds because the harsh seasonality it experiences annually is the sort of...

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Reviewed: "Waterwise Plants for Sustainable Gardens"

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Reviewed: "Waterwise Plants for Sustainable Gardens"

The following review comes to us from Maggie Lee, a New Mexico-based garden designer quite familiar with drought-tolerant plants. In their new book, "Waterwise Plants for Sustainable Gardens," Lauren Springer Ogden and Scott Ogden offer a unique resource of 200 adaptive plants ranging from trees to cacti. Accompanying the introductory page to each section, the authors’ beautifully-photographed garden vignettes illustrate accomplished examples of textural tapestries and well-proportioned compositions; gardens rich in species and relationships. I...

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Better Red than Dead

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Better Red than Dead

The classic explanation of winter reddening is that red pigments protect plants from the effects of too much light.  This makes sense in observation--plants in full sun in the winter often turn red, while shaded members of the same species stay green.  It’s initially perhaps a bit of a stretch to imagine that plants can suffer from excess light—after all, we’re taught from a young age that plants adore the...

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On Giving Roses

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On Giving Roses

  A lot of people will send or receive a bouquet of roses today, and they will be continuing a very long tradition. Roses are one of the oldest of cultivated flowers—they have been grown across Asia for many centuries.  Roses first came to Europe from Persia and were already extremely popular in Greece by the time of Herodotus (5th century BC), who recorded his visit to the famous rose garden of Midas, son...

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