Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Garden Event Update

Summer is here and we still have some great waterwise classes. Best of all, they’re FREE! Visit http://conservationgardenpark.org/events/ for more information and to register.

Waterwise Plants for Summer
Saturday, July 9, 2011
10:00 a.m.
Kathryn Brown, Conservation Garden Park
Come to the Garden to find out which plants are at their peak during the summer. This is a tour, so please bring your walking shoes and sun protection.

Improve your Lawn
Thursday, July 14, 2011
6:30 p.m.
Clifton Smith, Conservation Garden Park
Do you have lawn envy? Learn how to turn the tables on your turf, improve the color and health of your grass and become the envy of your neighborhood.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Weekly Plant Spotlight

Sundancer Daisy (Tetraneuris acaulis)



The sundancer daisy used to be called “perky Sue,” until some actual Sues took exception to the name and changed it, for the better I think. A low-growing perennial, the sundancer daisy is a perky little plant, forming small mounds of almost grass-like foliage that are covered with miniature bright yellow, daisy flowers. The cheery blossoms grow on thin stems that hold them above the foliage starting in May until frost hits in the fall. It needs very little maintenance and can be left untouched without diminishing its good looks. Better yet, it is native to Utah and prefers to live off of natural precipitation alone. My sundancer daisies worked well in a parkstrip and even began to lightly reseed making new clumps that were welcome in my yard.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Creature Feature

Fire Blight

Like people, plants can get bacterial infections. Though not a creature, fire blight is the name of a disease caused by the bacterium Erwinia amylovora. Despite its wimpy sounding scientific name, it is a menace to all plants of the Rose family and is a significant disease of apples and pears.

 The symptoms of fire blight are easy to identify and begin with the wilting of leaves and stems in the affected plant. It will usually not infect the whole plant at once, but will begin on one or two new branches or stems and spread over time. After wilting, the leaves and blossoms turn brown and the stem ends curl in a characteristic shepherd’s crook shape. The dead leaves often stay on their stems well after they would normally have fallen. As a human’s nose might start oozing when they get sick, fire blight infected trees will ooze out of infected tissue. Cankers, or open wounds, will appear on branches. Infected trees will begin to lose branches and may die, though it usually takes more than one season to perish.


University of Wisconson-Extension

The best way to combat this disease is to plant trees that are resistant. Nurseries should stock apple and pear varieties that are resistant. You can also prevent fire blight by avoiding rapid, succulent growth since it prefers to spread onto new branches. This means you should avoid over-fertilization and extreme pruning, both of which will cause a tree to grow faster.

Once you spot fire blight, it’s not too late. Remove infected branches as soon as possible. Prune well below the infected portion and dip pruning tools in a water-bleach mixture to disinfect between cuts. Remove and destroy all pruned branches promptly. Foliar sprays are available and vary between antibiotics and copper solutions. However, sprays are preventive only and should be used before symptoms are seen.

Although it may seem like a lost cause, treatment applied early can stop the onset of the disease. If you’ve lost your plant, look on the bright side, now you can choose something new! May I suggest: http://www.starkbros.com/products/trees/apple-trees/disease-resistant-apple-assortment-3-trees.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Succulent Gardening Class/ Volunteer Opportunity

We need your help! The first annual Conservation Garden Park Gala will be held on August 27th, 2011 here at Conservation Garden Park. The d├ęcor for the sustainability-themed event will include 32 succulent wreath centerpieces! While I'd love to horde the fun for myself, we decided it would be a great opportunity for hands-on learning and we’re asking for volunteer help to create these unique works of garden art!

This is an exclusive opportunity for our Facebook friends, Twitter followers and blog readers- it is not part of our regular class offerings.

CLASS DATE: Tuesday, June 28th, 2011
LOCATION: Conservation Garden Park, South Parking Lot
TIME: 10:00 am- Noon
BRING: Sunscreen and your creativity
INSTRUCTORS: Cynthia Bee, Brent Erkelens and Susan Carbonell




Wreath by Topiary Art Works- suppliers of the wreath forms we'll be using.

In exchange for your labor, we will teach you everything you need to know to grow your OWN indoor or outdoor succulent gardens here in the Beehive State. We’ll cover soils, propagation and the amazing array of projects that can be created from these most interesting plants!






Succulent living wall and topiary created by class instructor, Cynthia Bee

Even the non-hardy, Mediterranean succulents are waterwise. Using a few basic techniques, they also make fantastic container gardens for those of us who tend our containers with a bit of benign neglect!

In addition to cultivation information, we will have two top floral designers, Brent Erkelens and Susan Carbonell, on hand to help guide you through the process of creating succulent wreaths and help you develop your floral arrangement skills.

While we can’t let you keep your arrangement, please know that they will be used to raise money for the garden and help maintain it as a free public resource. Any unsold arrangements WILL be available for sale after the Gala Event on August 27th, 2011. We hope to see you on Tuesday, June 28th!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Weekly Plant Spotlight

Diabolo Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Diabolo’)



Speaking of botanical names, this medium sized shrub’s name means “bladder fruit,” which may also make a good name for a rock band. However, the botanical name is not really descriptive of the ninebark, which is so called because of its exfoliating bark which reveals several light-brown to red layers underneath. Diabolo is a purple-leaved cultivar that produces clusters of pinkish-white flowers in the spring. The leaves of this variety will lose their purple coloring in the summer heat, turning a dark-green. Ninebarks are happy in a wide range of soils and don’t mind a bit less water.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Garden Event Update

These classes and events are coming up soon. Visit http://conservationgardenpark.org/events/ for more information and to register for classes.

High Country Gardens
Saturday, June 18, 2011
10:00 a.m.
David Salman, High Country Gardens
Find out about the best ornamental grasses for your landscape from David Salman, owner of High Country Gardens, one of the premier waterwise nurseries in the West. Admission is free, but seating is limited so sign up now to reserve your seat.

Waterwise Plants for Summer
Saturday, July 9, 2011
10:00 a.m.
Kathryn Brown, Conservation Garden Park
Come to the Garden to find out which plants are at their peak during the summer. This is a tour, so please bring your walking shoes and sun protection.

Improve your Lawn
Thursday, July 14, 2011
6:30 a.m.
Clifton Smith, Conservation Garden Park
Do you have lawn envy? Learn how to turn the tables on your turf, improve the color and health of your grass and become the envy of your neighborhood.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Weekly Plant Spotlight

Blue Oat Grass (Helictotrichon sempervirens)
I have a fascination with botanical names and helictotrichon always sounded to me like a good name for an alien planet. Its latin meaning is “twisted hair,” which sounds like a good name for a rock band. The blue oat grass is not related to oats, but it is bluish-green in color and retains some of its green in winter as suggested by sempervirens (evergreen). The blue oat grass excels as a foliage plant and provides an excellent backdrop for most flowering perennials. It is much larger than the similar blue fescue and much more uniform in color and shape, it also lives much longer before dying out. The leaves of the blue oat grass are long and slender and it creates a very even mound of foliage.
Although somewhat evergreen, much of its leaves will turn brown in the winter. Instead of cutting it all back, as is normal for other ornamental grasses, it will look best if, in the spring, you rake your hands through it, pulling out the dead leaves and leaving the green behind. Be sure to wear gloves as the leaves have sharp edges that will cut your hands.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

What to Do With Your Deadheads

If you aren’t an avid gardener, the term deadheading may conjure up some strange images. Something to do with zombies or classic rock-and-roll fans maybe? In a horticultural sense, however, deadheading means the removal of spent blossoms from your landscape plants.

The colors and scents that flowers add make them an important ingredient in most successful landscapes. Unless you are an unforgivable grouch or someone with severe allergies, you enjoy seeing the blossoms appear with warm spring weather. If you’ve created a good landscape design, the flowers continue to bloom in your yard all the way through summer and maybe even into early fall. Yet every flower fades away sometime, and something should be done with the dead blossoms.

After flowers bloom, plants put energy into seed production. Most of the time this effort is wasted, since many plants will not reseed true to form and, even if they do, might end up making gardening harder with hundreds of new plants in the wrong places. The energy they put into seed production is better spent in growing new leaves and better roots so that the flowers look better next year. Plus, some people just can’t stand leaving unsightly dead flowers on their plants.

Lavender before deadheading.


That’s where deadheading comes in. Wait for the flower petals to fall and then, using garden shears or even scissors, cut off the seed head. In most cases, you’ll want to cut back the flower stems as well, so that the plant retains a pleasing form. This process takes an artistic eye. When you leave the plant, it should appear as if the flowers were never there. The deadheading process can be monotonous, but you can find ways to speed up the process by removing more than one stem at once.


Lavender after deadheading.

Not all plants need to be deadheaded. Many plants, whose flowers are; small, held close to the plant and inconspicuous when dead, don’t need to be deadheaded. Basically, if the plant looks as good with dead flowers as it did with living ones, then don’t waste your time.

A note for men:
Avoid using string-trimmers or lawn mowers for this process. No matter how steady you think your hand is, once you’ve used your equipment on them, they’ll never look the same. Trust me. I’ve tried. And I have a pretty steady hand.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Weekly Plant Spotlight

Berggarten Sage (Salvia officinalis ‘Berggarten’)


Sage is a well-known herb and used by most serious cooks. This variety of the culinary sage is not only useful as an herb, but is also an attractive plant by its own right. Although not really known for their flowers (they are present but not my favorite characteristic), Berggarten sage has a stunning “sage” green color and larger leaves than the species. It is not only suitable in your backyard herb bed, but it will also hold its own in your borders as a foliage plant. Not only does this extraordinary herb offer these amazing features, but it is also very waterwise, requiring irrigation only once a week in the summer. If this were a sales pitch, this is where I would offer a two for one discount if you call now!!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Wild About Utah Wildflowers

The excessively wet spring we've endured this year has been a huge boon to our native wildflower populations. Traveling the back roads and open spaces in this State has never been more beautiful!

As my family headed to Eastern Utah near Moab this past week, we were treated to some fabulous roadside color. If you have the opportunity to drive, bike or hike the 'back 40' this spring, make sure to enjoy the amazing beauty of our native wildflowers- the original 'waterwise' plants!


'Claret Cup' Cactus (Echinocereus triglochidiatiatus)

Penstemon (not sure which one- Eastern Utah is home to more varieties of Penstemon than any other place in the world).


Utah Milk Vetch (Astralagus utahensis)- lovely fern-like gray leaves host vivid purple, sweet pea shaped blooms.



White Primrose (Oenothera caespitosa)



Scarlet Globemallow (Sphaeralcea coccinea) We saw TONS of Scarlet Globemallow plants in full bloom along Highway 191 and I-70 between Green River and the Colorado border.



Have YOU seen any places in Utah where the wildflowers are particularly beautiful right now? I'm thinking I might want to do a little more plant hunting before the blooms fade!


















Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Garden Event Update

These classes and events are coming up soon. Visit www.ConservationGardenPark/events.aspx for more information and to register for classes.

Barney’s Perennial Picks
Saturday, June 11, 2011
10:00 a.m.
Barney Barnett, Willard Bay Gardens
Learn from an expert about colorful and hardy Utah-friendly perennials and how to care for them.

David Salman of High Country Gardens
Saturday, June 18, 2011
10:00 a.m.
Find out about the best plants for your landscape from David Salman, owner of High Country Gardens, one of the premier waterwise nurseries in the West. Admission is $10 and seating is limited so sign up now to reserve your seat.

Waterwise Plants for Summer
Saturday, July 9, 2011
10:00 a.m.
Kathryn Brown, Conservation Garden Park
Come to the Garden to find out which plants are at their peak during the summer. This is a tour, so please bring your walking shoes and sun protection.

Improve your Lawn
Thursday, July 14, 2011
6:30 a.m.
Clifton Smith, Conservation Garden Park
Do you have lawn envy? Learn how to turn the tables on your turf, improve the color and health of your grass and become the envy of your neighborhood.

Attend two classes in 2011 and receive a $10 gift certificate to a local nursery. Our special thanks to Glover Nursery and Cactus and Tropicals for sponsoring our classes.

(one certificate per person, while supplies last)