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Our Blog

Houseplant Appreciation

Here are some benefits of keeping indoor plants that can help you get nature fix until spring returns.

Houseplants

During the winter months, indoor plants can help you get your nature fix until spring returns. January 10 is Houseplant Appreciation Day, so let’s take a moment to recall some benefits of the plants you keep inside your home or that you’ve brought indoors for the season.

They look great.
Indoor plants make great décor. Whether they are flowering plants like poinsettia or cyclamen, hardy succulents, or leafy green trees, plants can make your house look stylish.

They help you relax.
Studies show that having plants in your home can have a soothing effect. Multiple studies demonstrate that seeing plants helps reduce stress and has a calming effect. They can help with acoustics too: Put enough plants in a room, and they can have a similar effect to installing carpet!

They help you focus.
Looking to hunker down and get some work done? Make sure there’s a plant or two in your work area. People working with plants around were shown to have increased productivity, improved memory retention, and better concentration.

We recommend that you use that improved focus to contact a landscape professional now to make plans and to get on the schedule for the warm weather months.

So while you’re waiting for spring, why not give some love to the plants inside? They’ll love you right back.

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2020 Plants of the Year

Checkout for some trendy plants that grow well in the state’s unique growing conditions this year.


In these cold winter months, you can imagine warmer days as you consider what to plant this spring. To help you decide, National Garden Bureau (NGB) has announced their “Year of the” crops for 2020. Trend-watching Colorado gardeners will be happy to learn that several of the plants can grow well in the state’s unique growing conditions.

Year of the iris
Irises are a beautiful, relatively low-maintenance plant that enjoys sunny Colorado days. It can thrive in the state’s dry, alkaline soil and at higher elevation. There are even natives—Rocky Mountain iris—for those interested in having more native plants in their landscape.
Fun fact: The name iris comes from the Greek word for rainbow, and irises grow in nearly every color of the rainbow except red.

Year of the lavender
This drought-tolerant, fragrant plant produces beautiful flowers and can grow as a shrub. Whether you harvest it for food (be sure to buy food-grade lavender plants for your herbs de Provence or lavender lattes), floral arrangements or aromatherapy, it will add striking color and scent to your landscape.
Fun fact: Some folks recommend lavender oil to soothe anxiety, to help with sleep or as a bug repellant.

Year of the corn
NGB always includes an edible plant among their recommendations. This year they’ve chosen corn, which is a delicious crop worth the effort.
Fun fact: Each ear of corn will have an even number of rows and one strand of silk for each kernel.

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Don’t Stress Your Lawn

Here are winter care tips to protect your lawn in winter.

lawn care

Your irrigation system should be shut down for the season, but you still need to give the lawn a drink. You’ll need to drag out the hose and sprinkler.

You may have seen—or still see—snow on the ground, but don’t count on that snow to be enough to get your lawn through the winter. Snowfall usually provides far less moisture than rain, so you’ll need to supplement that with some winter watering—though not while the ground is frozen.

Don’t just spritz the grass—water long enough so that the soil is thoroughly soaked without run-off. Be sure to water areas in high sun exposure which tend to suffer winter kill. Water sloped areas using cycle-and-soak: several shorter periods of watering let the moisture soak in without running off. Dry winter conditions can also attract turf mites, but proper watering can deter them.

If you aren’t able to water your landscape this winter, hire a landscape pro to do the work for you. It’s a good investment in the long-term value of your property.

Follow these guidelines from CSU on when and how to water this winter:

  • Water when air and soil temperatures are above 40 degrees with no snow cover.
  • Water mid-day so that the water doesn’t freeze overnight and cause damage.
  • Watering one or two times per month, depending on conditions, is usually sufficient.

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Celebrate the Blues

Upgrade your lawn with classic blue. Talk with your garden center/landscape professional about plant select today!

For 2020, The Pantone Color InstituteTM has chosen Classic Blue (PANTONE 19-4052) as its Color of the Year. This classic color is meant to evoke thoughts of the night sky and a feeling of dependability.

Right now, you might not see a lot of bright color in your landscape, but why not think about how to incorporate this trendy hue into your environment next spring? Talk with your garden center or landscape professional about Plant Select©, which develops plants that can thrive in Colorado’s Rocky Mountain and high plains conditions. They offer a number of plants that can give your garden the blues—in a good way. Here are just a few:

  • Smoky Hills Skullcap (Scutellaria) – This “true blue native wildflower” can handle dry or xeric conditions, is deer resistant and attracts pollinators.
  • Grand Mesa beardtongue (Penstemon mensarum) – Deer-resistant, pollinator-friendly, and brilliantly blue, this North American native perennial blooms from April to June.
  • Blue jazz dwarf piñon pine (Pinus monophylla) – If you want a deer-resistant, low-water plant that provides color year-round, give this “everblue” a try.

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Containers Can Add Winter Interest

Do not leave outdoor containers looking sad and empty, lets add some creativity!

Containers

You don’t have to leave outdoor containers looking sad and empty. Nor do you have to put them in storage until spring. Your dormant landscape might need a pick-me-up for the winter, and that’s where those containers come in handy.

If you choose a colorful container, that alone can add a pop of color. Use it to add some interest to your porch or stoop.

Follow the same guidelines (thriller, filler, spiller) that you would in summer to combine materials. For a “thriller,” use long branches like dogwood. Fill spaces with pinecones, artificial flowers, or holiday ornaments, and position evergreens or garland to spill over the sides.

If you don’t already have pinecones or branches in your yard to use, visit your local garden center for some natural elements—or even some weatherproof decorations—to add interest to your container.

Be sure to remove any ornaments or other holiday décor as you transition into simpler winter interest. You’ll keep your containers and your patio or window boxes looking good until it’s time to plant flowers again.

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Look Out For Winter Birds

Help the winter birds, leaving meal for them in yard.

Look Out For Winter Birds

Now that your own Thanksgiving dinner is finished, consider leaving a meal for the birds in your landscape.

There are many birds that overwinter in Colorado, including chickadees, juncos, crows, and the striking cedar waxwing (pictured above). Help them this winter by providing a bird feeder for them.

Try to identify a few of them in your yard before choosing the food source you provide. Not all birdseed is created equal; you’ll want to choose a mix that your local birds will eat. According to CSU Extension, black oil sunflower seed is a safe bet that many wild birds in Colorado enjoy.

You might also choose a suet bird feeder, which will bring around nearby chickadees and woodpeckers. There are special feeders available that hold a block of suet—or you can go the old-fashioned route and use a pinecone coated with peanut butter or fat.

Keep an eye out for other wildlife or house pets that might seek out the tasty snacks in the feeder—seeds, fat or even birds. Adjust the location of your feeder to help keep the birds safe. If squirrels frequent your landscape, you might need a special “squirrel-proof” feeder.

Don’t forget to provide a beverage with that meal. Give birds a water source with a bird bath or shallow tray of water. Replenish it daily and clean it weekly to be sure your feathered friends have a clean place to take a drink.

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Upgrade Your Holiday Lights

Few things to take care if you are planning to upgrade your holiday lights.

Holiday Lighting

In the past, holiday lighting could be a complicated, even dangerous undertaking. But improved technology has made lighting up your landscape and home for the holidays safer and more energy-efficient.

LED lights use a fraction of the energy that traditional incandescent bulbs use, and they often last 30 times as long, according to the US Energy Information Administration. They don’t get hot like incandescent bulbs either, which lowers the fire hazard.

Check your lighting at home to see if the cords are worn or damaged, or if the bulb connections are loose. If that’s the case, or if you’re looking to lower your energy bill, then it might be a good year to trade in your old lights. Some municipalities offer free recycling programs for holiday lights, while some retailers might feature a trade-in offer that gets you a discount on new, energy-efficient lights.

If your lighting plan is DIY, play it safe with a telescoping light-hanging tool. Some models can reach more than 20 feet or come with clips to help you attach lights to your gutters. Those clips are handy—you are less likely to damage cords with clips than with nails. Of course, you can avoid the hassle altogether and hire a professional to create a beautiful display and to do it safely.

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Recycle Your Yard Waste

Here are a few tips to recycle your yard waste.

Recycle yard waste

While the word recycling may make you think of soda cans, plastic bottles, and electronics, don’t forget that recycling can happen in your landscape, too.

As we’ve mentioned before, you can mulch your leaves and use them on your roses and garden beds to help soil retain heat and moisture. But pinecones, twigs, and branches can become rustic décor for your home. Instead of buying them in a craft or home decorating store, save money by collecting them during fall cleanup chores. Then, bring them inside in a number of ways:

  • Leave them as-is or add some spray paint for a pop of color.
  • Make a wreath.
  • Decorate an empty patio container garden.
  • Add texture to an arrangement.

For the remaining yard waste that you can’t reuse or add to your compost bin, look for resources in your area that accept materials for drop-off. Find some collected resources at www.alcc.com/recycle.

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8 Pro Tips To Have The Best Yard in Your Neighborhood This November

This guide tells “how and when” to create a beautiful lawn this November…the envy of your neighborhood…

And to prepare it to survive our harsh winter, and thrive next spring.

For homeowners with professional services and DIYers.

1.  Fall Color

Up Your Fall Wow Factor.

Take your fall containers and beds a step beyond traditional mums and sunflowers (not that those aren’t great fall flowers—they are a couple of our fall favorites!).

Consider these 10 additions:
– Lady Godiva™ Calendula
– Purple Fountain Grass cultivars Pennisetum setaceum
– Graceful Grasses® Toffee Twist Carex flagellifera
– Sunsatia® and Innocence® Nemesia
– Supertunia® Petunia
– Bright Lights™, Soprano® and Symphony Osteospermum
– Dolce® and Primo® Heuchera
– Fun and Games® Heucherella
– Prairie Winds® ‘Cheyenne Sky’ Panicum
– Rock ‘n Grow® SedumFall Color

Sunsatia® and Innocence® Nemesia, Supertunia® Petunia, Graceful Grasses® Toffee Twist Carex flagellifera


2. Prepare your bulb garden

Autumn is a good time of year to plan ahead for your spring bulb garden.

Choose the right location in your landscape, preferably an area that gets full sun—at least six hours each day.

Think about which flowers you’d like to see next spring in your garden. In addition to tulips and daffodils, consider some less-common bulbs for variety and interest, like the dramatic snake’s head fritillary (fritillaria Meleagris), shown top left, or early-blooming snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis), shown bottom left.3. Winter Fertilizer

Apply an Early Winter Fertilizer between October 15th and November 30th.

Because your lawn is recovering from a grueling summer it is more vulnerable to winter damage.

Most of lawn care experts agree that the early winter application of fertilizer is the most important one for lawns.

It promotes a healthy, thriving root system, store vital nutrients for the winter and early spring, and aids the cold hardiness of your turf from winter damage.

 4. Winter Mites

Apply a Mite Control Application in November to Mid-December.

Do this if your lawn or your neighborhood had mite damage in 2018.

This is one area where an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure.

Mites can cause considerable damage to your lawn if left undiagnosed and not treated in 3 weeks or less.

Almost all serious injury by grass mites are related to winter drought stress.

Winter Mites

South-facing hills with sun exposure are typical areas where turf damage can be expected.

Tony Koski, Turf Specialist at Colorado State University, says, “fall watering of lawns that were damaged by winter mites (clover mites, Banks grass mites) is essential for discouraging mite activity this upcoming winter and reducing potential mite problems.”

5. Thanksgiving Decor

Add to your Halloween pumpkins to make a have the best Thanksgivng decor to welcome family and friends and be the envy of the neighborhood.


6. Fall Clean Up.

Do a Fall Clean Up in November to mid-December.
Take time to put your yard and landscape “to bed” in fall, your lawn will reap the rewards.
Give your lawn a healthy start next spring by managing these fall tasks.

  • Trim shrubs and ornamental grasses
  • Divide plants. If your perennials are overcrowded, fall is an ideal time to divide the root ball and replant. Cutting back the plants prior to transplanting can help reduce shock.
  • Plant fall bulbs. Plant in fall to enjoy spring’s first blooms – crocus, daffodil, tulip. The best time to plant is after the first frost so the bulbs will stay cool all winter. Dig holes for bulbs and fertilize before replacing soil.
  • Pick up leaves. Fall cleanup will save time for gardening come spring, and clearing your lawn of leaves and sticks will prevent the heavy, wet foliage from suffocating the turf. Dark, moist environments are breeding grounds for disease.
  • Clean up. Wash down the patio furniture and store it for the season. Make sure to pick up toys so they don’t get buried or lost.

7. Winter Mulch.

Mulch after Fall Clean Up in November to mid-December.

Add an inch-thick layer of fresh mulch in plant beds and around trees, but don’t let the mulch touch tree trunks.

Mulch insulates roots and retains water during the winter. It adds organic matter to the soil as it decomposes.

A great lawn is like a nice dress, or a well-fitted suit. But what is a dress without shoes? Or jewelry, or a purse?

If you want to make everything come together, and look perfectly finished, you want mulch.

Click Mulch Secrets for more information.

8. Christmas Lights

Do you want to transform the outside of your home into a holiday wonderland?

The holiday season is a time for family and friends.

Enjoy the holidays with dazzling displays that will create memories that last a lifetime.

See our Christmas Video.

Christmas Lights

Browse our Christmas Online Catalog.

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