What’s blooming now?

The garden is still looking good.  The nights are getting cooler again and it’s starting to feel like Fall.  Ok, not every day.  It was 90 a couple of days ago but soon the air will be cool and the sun will start pulling away.  Every time we meet up we all exclaim “wow, it looks so good”.  It’s amazing what the right soil, right plants, some air, water and light will do.  Right now there are lots of Cone Flowers, Clematis, Agastache and Hyssop blooming.  Some of the Ice Plants are spent but there are still a couple of varieties that are still blooming.  The evergreens and bushes and grass always add year round interest.  The foliage from the plants that are finished blooming also keep interest in the garden.  The variegated foliage is always nice as it adds interest whether it’s blooming or not.  Here’s a  tour of what is in bloom now:

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Speaking of taking a tour.  If you visit our garden, make sure you check in the kiosk for a Plant List of everything in our garden.  If there is something you like you can check if on your list so you can remember what it is that you like, what is blooming when, or what you can’t live without in your garden.  It’s also a good list for when you visit the nursery and some things are by common name and some are by scientific name.  The list has both names so you will always be able to find the plant you want.  Remember to mark if you found it in the sun or shade.  Come on down and check it out.

What’s blooming in your garden now?

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We’re ready for the Greeley Garden Tour

The Greeley Garden Tour is coming up this weekend on June 22nd, from 8:00 am to 2:00 pm.  Our Weld County Extension Demonstration Garden is on the tour this year.  There are still tickets available.

Master Gardeners were out today fluffing and puffing up the garden to get it ready for the tour.  We took down the roping, did some deadheading, weed pulling, pulled all the old flags and tags out and added a couple of plants.  The garden is looking spectacular if we do say so ourselves.

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We planned the garden so we would have blooms all season long.  The Spring bulbs are gone now but the next round of bloomers have started.  The Columbine, Coral Bells and Salvia are beautiful right now.  The Ice Plants have spread out in luscious carpets of green and are just getting ready to bloom.  The plants that are not in bloom yet all have very interesting textures to them.  As you look through the photos take note of the different shapes, sizes,  textures and colors of the leaves.  As you plan your garden, what textures and colors would you like in your garden?

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The Garden In A Box gardens along the front sidewalk are really filling in and many plants are in bloom.

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To get the full effect, please come visit us on the tour this weekend.  For the gardens on the tour this year, and ticket information, please visit:  https://greeleygardentour.org

Our Weld County Extension Demo Garden is listed on the tour as The Island Grove Demo Garden.  It is located in Island Grove Park in front of the Weld County Extension Office which is on the 2nd floor of the Exhibition Building.

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Spring has Sprung

It’s exciting times in the gardens right now.  The Master Gardeners have been out in the garden already.  We had a pruning and clean up day and we got all the dead stalks that were left behind and we also had a mulching day and mulched the whole garden. It’s fun as we do clean up to see the new little green growth starting to come up.  If you haven’t cleaned up your garden it’s not too late.

On April 5th this is what the garden looked like.  We had already had our clean up day and mulching.

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This is what the main garden looks like today.  Wow, in just a couple of weeks it’s really changed.  It’s starting to green up and the plants are already getting large.  The daffodils are gone but the tulips and other Spring bulbs are out and looking beautiful.

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This is the garden along the walk way where we planted our Gardens In A Box.  If you want to see what a Garden In A Box is visit:   Garden In A Box You need to hurry.  They’ve been on sale for awhile but there may be a few left.

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We had a session and checked out the gardens to see how things were doing and see if we need to move and transplant anything.  Some plants get larger than expected and are too close or when they get full size will hide and crowd other plants so we did a tour and took some notes.  There are a couple of Giant Sea Kale and some grasses we will move because they will be too close to other plants.  We’ll swap them out with some smaller ones at the back and move the smaller ones to the front or perhaps we will just remove a plant or two because sometimes there’s too much (really, can there be too much?).  Take a look around your garden and see if you need to move anything.  Or maybe you need to add some plants where something didn’t do so well and is not coming back.

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We will be having a transplanting day soon and will add more plants to our garden.  Stay tuned for what’s happening next and watch our garden as it continues to grow and bloom.

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The Future is Now

Hurray – our new demo garden is officially open. Sunday at the 100th Annual Weld County Fair we had a ribbon cutting ceremony to open our new garden.  It’s looking great despite the two hail storms that pummeled it.  A testament to the plants selected for the garden.  Hardy enough to come back and look lovely after a brutal storm.  Two weeks ago we did do some extra planting in a couple of small areas that were hit especially hard so it wouldn’t look too bad, but the original plants really rebounded and are doing quite well.

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The ceremony was held at the garden in front of the Exhibition Building in Island Grove Park.  This is where the Weld County Extension office is and where you can bring in samples of any garden troubles you are having for the Master Gardeners to help resolve your gardening or lawn problems.  You may also call in or e-mail and ask your questions and a Master Gardener will answer them as soon as possible.  Contact information and our address are included on the right hand side of this blog page.  Please check it for this and other CSU extension information.

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Invites went out to our sponsors and many attended from Weld County and the City of Greeley.  Thank you to the county commissioners and the other city officials who attended.  Thanks again to Island Grove Park, City of Greeley, and the Colorado Garden Foundation, and Master Gardeners for all of their support and contributions to the garden.  In March this space was full of weeds and not much else, and without everyone’s time and effort it would have been impossible to pull this off in five months.

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Noel Johnston, one of our Master Gardeners introduced Amy Lentz, the Agricultural/Horticultural/Master Garden Program Agent for Weld County.  For a detailed description of how, and why this garden came to be, please check out the ABOUT section of this blog.  It gives the history of this space, and what it used to be before its transformation and what we hope to achieve with this space.

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After Amy’s speech, Mary Jansen-Hedrick cut the ribbon.  Mary is one of our Master Gardeners that was instrumental in getting this garden going.

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Master Gardeners were on hand to give tours of the garden.

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This is no longer THE FUTURE home of the Weld County Master Gardeners Demo.  It’s time to stop calling it that because it IS NOW officially open.

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We encourage you to stop by Island Grove Park and check it out during park hours (or when you stop by the extension office to come and see us).




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Looking Good

The Master Gardeners were out volunteering at the Weld County Fair this week.  While out there a few volunteers worked in the garden to get it ready for our ribbon cutting this coming Sunday, the 29th at 1:00 pm.  It’s looking so nice.

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Recently someone asked why there were so many weeds in the garden.  It had recently hailed.  One of those close your eyes and hope for the best type hails.  Lots of plants were damaged and shredded.  It takes at least two weeks to determine what is a weed and what is a plant in some cases.  The plants were just recovering and so were the weeds.  Fortunately the damage to the garden was minimal.  All of the weeds are gone now and it’s looking lovely.

Here’s a  PlantTalk article about hail.

Hail damage

We hope to see all of you at our ribbon cutting Sunday, July 29th at 1:00 pm in front of the exhibition building at Island Grove Park.  It’s the last day of the fair so come on out and check out all the exhibits and join us for the ribbon cutting.  Parking and admission are free.






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Welcome to the Garden

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The Master Gardeners of Weld County invite the public to the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony to celebrate the official opening of the Weld County Extension Demo Garden.  The event will be held on Sunday, July 29 at 1:00 pm.  Funded by the Colorado Garden Foundation and the City of Greeley Water and Sewer Department, the garden will be a central location for educational opportunities for community members to ensure successful gardening practices in their own backyards. The demo garden gives Weld County Master Gardeners a space to put their skills to work, and a space where they can learn more about gardening. The garden is in front of the Weld County CSU Extension office, located at Island Grove Regional Park in Greeley.  

From renovation to maintenance, the garden will serve several purposes ranging, from hands-on classes for all ages to demonstrations on a variety of topics. There is also an information kiosk featuring an assortment of gardening pamphlets. The garden showcases water-wise plants, selected for their drought-resistant qualities, which align with the local climate and soil conditions.  Plants were selected specifically for Colorado and recommended by Colorado State University for Weld County and this climate zone, demonstrating the need to use the right plants in the right places. Ultimately, the demo garden will beautify the Weld County Extension Office, and increase visibility and awareness of the free gardening programs available to the community and visitors to the fairgrounds. 

There are two beds: One features the “Garden in a Box” program, which is designed for the novice gardener or anyone hoping to avoid the hassle of designing a garden from scratch. “Garden in a Box” is a professionally designed do-it-yourself xeric (low water) perennial flower or vegetable kit. This bed, near the extension office, displays five “Garden in a Box” options, including Purple Reign, Butterfly Bounty and Colorado Native Plants.

 The layout of the other bed was planned by the Weld County Master Gardeners design team. There are shade plants and sun plants, plants that will bloom and overlap in all the seasons, plants that are Xeric and water-wise, plants that match a color scheme in each section and blend in with the next section, and plants that are available for sale locally. There are nearly 90 different plant species in the garden, and almost 1000 total plants.,

 Please join the Weld County Master Gardeners to celebrate the Weld County Extension Demo Garden at Island Grove Regional Park! The Grand Opening ceremony begins at 1:00 pm on Sunday, July 29th. 

For questions regarding your garden, turf or trees, or the Opening Ceremony, please give us a call at 970-400-2066. A Weld County Master Gardener will return your call as soon as possible.

Article by Cathy Kellogg – Apprentice – Weld County Master Gardener

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It’s looking good!!

The plants are doing well.  They are getting established and growing new roots and there are lots of blooms already.  We’re excited everything is doing well.  We also got some plant donations from Treasure island, so thanks to them for some Day Lilies.  They were planted with the grasses on the north side of the building.  That’s looking much better now with more plants in it.  We also got some ice plants from Plant Select that were placed amongst the garden.

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Plans for the garden are moving along.  Now that it’s tested, amended, prepared and planted and the irrigation is in the next step is to put signage in the garden.  We are in the process of having name plates made for each variety of plant.  We will have a Weld County Demo Garden sign placed and also a CSU Extension sign in the garden.  We are also planning a grand opening with a ribbon cutting ceremony during the Weld County Fair – Stay tuned!!

Thanks to Master Gardener Noel Johnston we have an information kiosk.  We will keep it full of Weld County Master Gardener information as well as garden brochures etc.  Noel built it and his wife painted it and it was installed last week.  Thanks Noel.  Looks great.


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If you are near the Island Grove Fairgrounds come take a peek at the garden.



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We have plants!!

It was major excitement the day the plants arrived.  The people who ordered plants had them scheduled to arrive in two shipments over two days so we were prepared to go and unload and plant one shipment and the next day plant the next shipment.  Well, of course nothing ever goes exactly as planned.  We had a big storm move through the night before so we went to Plan B.

Prior to the planting day the design ladies were busy labeling the garden so everyone would know what goes where.  They started out making flags for every plant that was to go in the garden.  Oh boy, they soon realized that would take forever.  They were all like, yeah, let’s do this.  It will take a couple of hours at the most.  They soon decided they should just make one flag and write the quantity of plants in that area which greatly cut down the time.  Even doing that it took them six hours to make all the flags and put them throughout the garden so all the planters would know what goes where.  Easy peasy right?

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Delivery day arrives.  The first truck is unloaded and since it’s so wet this is sorting day.  More flags were made to put in each plant variety with the quantity of how many there should be.  The Garden In A Box plants were sorted, flagged and staged by the different gardens.  The rest of the plants were sorted by plant type.  Easy, right?  Well, it would be if we all knew the scientific names of all the plants.  Plants were ordered by scientific name so had to be flagged by scientific name, and the hunt was on.  OK, what is this plants common name so I can find it or have some idea of what I’m looking for.  It was quite the education trying to look at a flag, find the plant by the scientific name, and sort them out.  It took a lot longer to have to go pull the little plastic label from the pot to read what it was so we could get the right flag in it.  We decided since some flats had to be divided into more than one place in the gardens and we didn’t have all the plants for some areas of the garden as they weren’t arriving until the next day that it was a good thing to stage all the plants by garden area and then the second delivery day we would have all the plants before trying to place them where they belong.  So, all in all the rain was a good thing.

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Oh boy!!  We actually get to plant the second day.  Again, with the scientific names.  Some fun with everyone outside asking what is this and where does it go, is this the right amount, which direction do they go around the rock, where exactly in this area?  No, those are sorted, don’t touch them yet.  A big THANKS to all the design team members for being at the planting.  They worked so long on the design they could almost tell us where each plant was supposed to be.  Without them being there, even with the great flag system, it would have been chaos.  The first day we worked about 4 hours unloading and sorting out plants.  Day 2 was a huge day.  All those plants had to get in the ground.  It took about 15 of us (dwindled down to maybe 10 at the end of the day) seven hours to plant all the plants.  It was interesting to see all the different plantings styles, sitting with bent knee, sitting with straight lets, just bend over, kneeling, and even laying down!  A long day but the task accomplished.  After planting we turned on the new irrigation to give them a soak and all worked great.  And then we all decided we all needed to go home for a long soak as well.

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A couple short discussions of what and where?  It was really no small task.




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We have irrigation

First of all, thanks to the Timm family for donating their time, energy and parts to our garden.

It was an interesting adventure finding out what water lines were there and which were in use or which were old.

There was a lot of digging and searching going on.  They found one line that went nowhere and determined it wasn’t being used and there were other places where they knew there had to be heads but couldn’t find them.  They found some of them buried about six inches down.  Eventually they found the lines and heads that were working. One huge pipe was busted and should have been working so that was repaired and new rotor heads were installed.

It was decided to not use drip line because there are lots of squirrels that would chew them so all of our lines are buried.  Water efficient heads were installed but the water savings really come with the type of plants we use.  For the first couple of years the plants will need a little more water to get established and then after that won’t need as much watering.

Water usage will be monitored for the next two years to see how much water is needed and will be adjusted accordingly.

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For some different types of irrigation and uses and water saving tips check out these links:

Irrigation Tips for Homes

Drip Irrigation for Gardens




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We have a design!!

The design team has been busy for weeks designing the gardens, selecting the right plants for the right place, and finding and ordering the 785 individual plants chosen for the design.

After the design was complete they compiled a list of all the plants names and quantities.  Next, a member of the team did a cost analysis using the cost from various nurseries on size (gallons, or flats if needed, etc.)  The design team got back together and went through the list plant by plant and compared prices at each nursery.  Based on size/availability they determined where they would buy the plants.  Part of the process was to find the plants locally so there won’t be frustration or disappointment when someone sees a really cool plant they want and then find out they can’t get it anywhere locally.  So, in the end if you see it in our garden you should be able to buy it from a local nursery.  The plants have been ordered from Ft Collins Nursery, Little Valley Nursery (Brighton), Eaton Grove, and Flowers for 3 Greenhouse (Milliken).

The team took the design and presented it to the Island Grove Park board of directors and they enthusiastically approved the design.

Let’s start with the easy side first.  These are the gardens that will be on the northeast side of the entrance to the building where we pulled out some old bushes and left the lilacs and the trees.  They have chosen to use this space for the Garden In A Box program.  This is a great program if you don’t want the hassle of designing a garden and looking up all the plants that would be right for the garden space you want to plant.  It comes with the design and all the plants you need. If you live in certain perimeters in Colorado counties you will get a discount on the gardens you select.  Click here to check out the Garden In A Box 

Here are the gardens that have been selected from Garden in a Box.   (Hint:  If you click on the pictures they will enlarge and you can read the plant names – or you can click the link to Garden In A Box and review the plans and plants for the selected gardens).

The other side of the garden was all designed and plants selected by the design team.  Here is the design plan and the plants they selected.  Hopefully you can read the plant names on the board.  The design has a key at the bottom showing there will 42 different plants used and the total of plants used will be 785.  Some of the plants used:  Turkish Veronica; Sunset Sonoran Hyssop; Denver Gold Columbine; Cheyenne Spirit Coneflower; Regal Torchlily; Hummingbird Trumpet Mint; Nearly Red Pineleaf Beardtounge; Colorado Gold Ganzania; Corsican Violet; Red Creeping Thyme; Mongolian Bells Clematis; Prairie Lode Sundrops; Snowmass Phlox; Giant Sea Kale; Windwalker Royal Red Salvia; Carol Macke Daphne; Alan’s Apricot Ice Plant; Narbonne Blue Flax; Dwarf Beachead Iris; Snow Angel Coralbells; Goblin Blanket Flower; Bijou Blanket Flower; Engelmann’s Daisy; Red Yucca, Moroccan Pincushion Flower; Tall Bearded Iris; Northern Lights Pansy; Turquoise Tails Blue Sedum; Starburst Ice Plant; Golden-flowered Prairie Zinnia; Fire Spinner Ice Plant;  Remembrance Columbine; Blue Velvet Pansy; and Trumpet Daffodil Mix.

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Now, we should have shade and sun plants; and plants that will be blooming and overlapping all the seasons.  Plants that are Xeric and water-wise.  Plants that match a color scheme in each section and blend in with the next section.  Plants that will live in our planting zone.  Plants that you can find locally if you like them.  Whew.  Thanks design team!  What a HUGE job and excellently executed.

The plants should be installed in May and be looking great for the ribbon cutting during the Weld County Fair.

We’re excited and can’t wait to see what it’s going to look like.  We can’t wait for you to see it too!



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