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Old 02-12-2008, 09:52 AM
 
Location: Denver, Colorado U.S.A.
14,174 posts, read 23,295,360 times
Reputation: 10428

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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueWillowPlate View Post
They do add interest.
But do you plant new banana trees every summer, or bring them in when the cold comes? No way will they make it through a Denver winter.

Charles, you'd be surprised at just how much color you can get at higher altitudes. One of the most beautiful gardens I've seen is the Betty Ford Alpine Garden in Vail.

Some people call xeriscaping "zero" scaping.
One thing I used to do was try to go for color and contrast with different foliages, not just flowers.
I got some great ideas from Colorado horticulturalist Lauren Springer:
5 Great Garden Designs
but if you like blooms:
Flowers such as echinecea (coneflower) and penstemon (lives at high elevations) can take drought, and will come back year after year.
Alyssum smells good and will re-seed. And of course there is the state flower, columbine. Other Colorado flowers: liatris, flax, sages and poppy mallow.
For the bananas, after the first light frost, I chopped of the leaves, dug up the stalks, let them dry a few days in the garage and then bagged them up and stored them in the basement. They actually go dormant. Then in May, I'll put them back in the ground and they take off again, getting larger each year. I may put the stalks in pots indoors next month to get them going before planting outside. It's a lot of work, but it's my hobbie.

Regarding hight altitude, I heard that flowers actually get deeper color at higher altitudes for some reason.
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Old 02-12-2008, 09:59 AM
 
Location: Denver, CO
5,608 posts, read 20,725,122 times
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Wow, I love your gardens, Denverian! That is drop down gorgeous-- very colorful! I noticed you have no rock, but a lot of mulch. Do you live in Denver itself or the suburbs? In a lot of neighborhoods the HOA's would go berserk on you if you planted anything other than bluegrass lawn. How do those plants hold up when they get buried in the snow?
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Old 02-12-2008, 10:17 AM
 
Location: Denver, Colorado U.S.A.
14,174 posts, read 23,295,360 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vegaspilgrim View Post
Wow, I love your gardens, Denverian! That is drop down gorgeous-- very colorful! I noticed you have no rock, but a lot of mulch. Do you live in Denver itself or the suburbs? In a lot of neighborhoods the HOA's would go berserk on you if you planted anything other than bluegrass lawn. How do those plants hold up when they get buried in the snow?
I live in Stapleton, so you can do whatever you want. The builders put in xeriscaping, but then I've added to and changed it over time. The only grass is a little in the back yard and then between the sidewalk and street, although you could xeriscape that if you wanted to. This is my 3rd winter in this house and everything has held up under the snow with no problems. I think it's all melted at this point though.

I've added many broad-leaf evergreens, like the 3 boxwoods in the background of the pagoda picture above, varieties of holly, euonamous, and inkberry. Below are the three Inkberries (I got them from Home Depot but I've never seen them in Denver anywhere else - more common on the East Coast) They're as green today as in this picture - same with all the holly and boxwood. The Inkberries seem a little more fragile and I knock the snow off in the winter when they get weighted down. The idea is that they'll grow up and create an evergreen screen for the fence. Below that you can see canas. I have to dig up the bulbs in fall or they wouldn't come back, although I want to try mulching a few next fall real well to see if that works. I'm not sure what temperature kills the bulbs. My parents have some planed up against the south side of their house and they come back every year on their own.



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Old 02-12-2008, 11:19 AM
 
Location: on an island
13,382 posts, read 40,928,266 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by denverian View Post
. It's a lot of work, but it's my hobbie.
I completely understand (and respect) such labors of love.
Quote:
Regarding hight altitude, I heard that flowers actually get deeper color at higher altitudes for some reason.
I've heard this too, and sometimes it sure seems this way, and when you look at things such as raised beds, it makes sense.

It's all what approach you are taking: someone who wants to save water will tend to choose native perennials. Gardeners whose hearts easily break will either go to a lot of trouble, put in only really tough plants, get creative, or perhaps all three.

I used to hate and detest having sod between the sidewalk and the street; the grass would die during droughts, but it seemed like folks thought putting anything else there was unthinkable. I love seeing those little strips used more imaginatively, it does not have to be "zero" scaping but it certainly does not have to be grass.
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Old 02-12-2008, 09:43 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 22 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
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I've had a hard time getting Columbines to grow; they really are a high altitude plant. But I keep on trying!
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Old 02-13-2008, 04:09 AM
 
Location: on an island
13,382 posts, read 40,928,266 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
I've had a hard time getting Columbines to grow; they really are a high altitude plant. But I keep on trying!
The ones I had came back year after year. They were a dark purplish blue hybrid variety developed after the Columbine tragedy.
I also had a white columbine that came up year after year.
It is important not to overwater columbines; they will self-sow too and create new columbine babies elsewhere in the garden.
Another plant that I had a lot of success with was Lupine.
It too would self-sow.
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Old 02-13-2008, 07:13 AM
Status: "Summer!" (set 22 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
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My lupines did great for several years, then quit coming back.
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Old 02-13-2008, 07:45 AM
 
Location: on an island
13,382 posts, read 40,928,266 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
My lupines did great for several years, then quit coming back.
Well I guess gardening is a never-ending process, both in learning and doing.
Sometimes in Denver it can be especially frustrating, but every climate has its hassles. Colorado sun can be really harsh, but it certainly is appreciated in the dead of winter. I liked doing container gardening because if hailstorms came, I could move the tomatoes etc out of harm's way.
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Old 02-13-2008, 07:52 AM
 
Location: Denver, Colorado U.S.A.
14,174 posts, read 23,295,360 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueWillowPlate View Post
Well I guess gardening is a never-ending process, both in learning and doing.
Sometimes in Denver it can be especially frustrating, but every climate has its hassles. Colorado sun can be really harsh, but it certainly is appreciated in the dead of winter. I liked doing container gardening because if hailstorms came, I could move the tomatoes etc out of harm's way.
I worry every time it hails! Especially as my banana trees leaves became bigger and bigger- although they shoot out a new leaf every week. I have a big jade plant that got very nicked up last year from hail, but recovered. It's obviously inside now, but the older leaves still have the nicks.
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Old 02-13-2008, 09:24 AM
 
Location: Denver
138 posts, read 548,320 times
Reputation: 42
Is it difficult to have vegetable gardens in Denver?
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