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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More action in the garden

The garden is almost prepped and ready to be planted.  We are getting so excited.

The Master Gardeners have had two work days to till amendments into the soil.  Based on our soil tests and what our garden needs we chose an organic plant compost. **  We got our compost from Eaton Grove nursery (Hwy 74 & CR 31).  We made it a goal to support and purchase from our local nurseries.

March 22nd was the second work day.  We dug holes to transplant the grasses from the front to the back southwest side of the building.  We cut and cleaned up the area where there are grasses now  We used some weed killer to get some grass that is being persistent and was popping up in one area.  We spread and tilled the compost into the area along the sidewalk where the trees and shrubs are.  Gary brought an electric tiller that was much smaller than the previous used tiller.  He was able to get around the tree roots and get the compost tilled in rather than using a fork and having to hand turn it all.  Thanks Gary!

Mary, Linda, Gary and Patty all pitched in to dig the holes, spread the amendments and get them tilled in.

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We also had our boulders delivered.  We had a stroke of good luck.  A child was playing around and removed the tags from the boulders we had tagged for our garden.  On delivery day they couldn’t find the ones we had tagged and brought others.  We think they are a little bigger than what we had selected so good for us!  Hmmm, the design had rocks in a lime green color.  That would have been cool.  Oh well, these are nice big boulders so we’ll just go with the flow.  Thanks to the county workers that came and helped position the boulders.  They couldn’t get a skid up into the garden so they just plopped them down best as they could.  Of course, they weren’t in the right place so county workers came and put straps around them and pulled them around.  “Just a little more to the left please.”  “Wow, you sound like my wife”.  I think the county guys feel just a little more attached to our garden now.  One of the guys declared “this is my rock.”  Thanks again guys!!

 

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The irrigation installation should be set in place as soon as the weather cooperates.

Oh boy, I think we are almost ready to plant.  Stay tuned for the next blog to see what the design has cooked up.  They’ve been busy designing, presenting the plan and getting plants ordered.  Fun times ahead!!

**Soil Amendments – what should I use?

 

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Thanks!!

 

March 3, 2018 CSU Extension – Weld County received a grant from the Colorado Garden Foundation.  This is our main funding for the new demo garden.  The award was presented at the Colorado Home and Garden Show in downtown Denver.  Many thanks to the CGF for this wonderful grant.  The grant money must be used during this year and the Master Gardener teams are working fast and diligently to get the garden ready in time for the Weld County Fair where we will have our garden opening ceremony.

Amy Lentz, Horticulture/Agriculture Agent for Weld County Extension and Mary, one of our Demo Garden Managers, drove down to Denver to accept our grant check from the foundation.

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Funding is one of our biggest hurdles and we would like to also thank our other main sponsor.  City of Greeley Water Conservation.  We will receive funds and will work in partnership with them on water conservation and plant water-wise Xeriscape low-water plants that will grow in our soil and climate conditions.  These funds may be used over the next four years.

We also couldn’t do it without some hard work and sweat.   Thanks to In-Kind donations from these organizations and families.

In-kind Donations:

Weld County Colorado Master Gardeners    – garden development, design, maintenance, and provider of educational classes

Weld County Master Gardeners-CSU Extension   – educational literature donations

City of Greeley Forestry   – stump removal, disposal of brush

City of Greeley Water and Sewer   – consultation on water-wise plantings and garden design

Timm Family –irrigation consultation and labor for updating the irrigation system

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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