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February 13, 2008 | Matt Cole, Director of Education

Rocky Mountain Gardening is just that--gardening through the length of the Rocky Mountains, which means that the climates are vastly varied. Denver is a mile above sea level and seems dry and windy, but compare that to the top a fourteener (that’s a mountain reaching 14,000 feet)! I’ve already heard stories about gardening in idyllic mountain towns, in sheltered valleys, in urban college towns, and on windswept steppes. So it’s a very diverse experience and books (or blogs) should be crafted to the challenges here and avoid recycling untested information from other parts of the country. I think for many of us moving into the Rocky Mountains the challenge is adapting to new gardening, growing and best-use assumptions. The palette of sustainable plants is totally different if you’ve moved here from elsewhere! Plus there are new plants and techniques brought in to use every day.For me, the opportunities to fill in my own gaps come from other Rocky Mountain gardeners and their writings or classes. One class that caught my attention is Panayoti Kelaidis’ “Don’t Buck the Buckwheats”. The buckwheats are not just a source of pancake flour; they include host of high-altitude dwellers and Rocky Mountain compatible plants. Come prepared to see many, many plants backed up by Panayoti’s lifetime of Colorado gardening knowledge.


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