The Rocky Mountain Region is stretched over 10,000 feet in elevation change and nearly over the full longitude of the Continental United States. Within this massive spread fit more than six biomes, ranging from the grasslands and prairie edges of northern New Mexico to the alpine of Montana. Despite the impressive diversity in soil and climate, many people in the area garden on our region’s namesake: rocks.
Often, rocky soils are quite young. Their presence indicates that not enough time has passed to weather parent materials (yes, rocks) into the complex that is soil. I often see gardeners trying to shoehorn leafy, traditional garden plants into these indisputably western landscapes. A better tactic, however, is embracing flora already adapted to such areas, which offers a simpler and less labor-intensive solution.
Size: 24 to 30 inches tall and 36 inches wide
Conditions: Full to partial sun; well-drained soil
Native range: Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona
Among regionally adapted plants, a few groups stand out as obvious choices. With more than 250 species recognized, there is a penstemon for every garden—especially those with gravelly soils. These plants abhor the competition encouraged by richer media. Your part of the Rockies likely already has its own suite of these gorgeous plants that will be well-suited to your garden. If you speak to a local garden center or consult a regional wildflower book, they can help you find these species.
If a deep dive into the species isn’t to your taste, consider growing Rocky Mountain beardtongue. This penstemon blooms in early summer. You can expect numerous 2-foot royal purple or cerulean blue spikes of tube-shaped flowers above
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Taking our ecosystem for granted is no longer the norm, and thinking people the world over spend part of every day making choices that can help the planet. While there are no easy solutions to the damage human kind has done to nature, small decisions – like what kind of tree to plant in the garden – can make a difference in creating landscapes that enhance local ecosystems.
Are you wondering if you’ve spotted the notorious cannabis plant, or are you mistaken? You’re not alone! Many plants out there bear a striking resemblance to weed, and knowing the difference can save you a lot of headaches and explaining. Here’s an exclusive list of Plants that Look Like Marijuana!
There’s nothing like a beautifully planted pot to bring life to the garden in late winter. Planted in early February and positioned near the back door, colourful containers give us something to focus on and appreciate, whatever the weather.
If you don’t have a sprawling garden, then don’t let that kill your dreams of growing your own food for the family. Here are some delicious Edible Plants for Hanging Baskets that can also double up as stunning colorful additions!
Isn’t every plant great in a group? Well, the answer is no. Some plants are too vigorous in their growth habits to share the stage, while others are better if put on a pedestal all their own (i.e. the focal point plants of the landscape). Today’s episode we talk about plants that are great in masses—that is to say—in groups of three or more. We have options for shade, choices for sun, and selections for those in-between exposures situations. We’ll also feature some great plants that we’ve seen grouped to perfection in gardens featured in Fine Gardening. And you don’t have to be a millionaire to group plants. Many of our suggestions are easily divided after just a year or two, providing you with multiple plants for the price of just one.
When my budding interests in horticulture started developing in junior high school, I came across Hortus Third, an encyclopedic tome of horticulture compiled in the 1970s. Learning about plants from my dad while working on landscape installations, and then looking them up in Hortus Third after hours, I developed a sense of wonder about plant diversity both in the natural world and in cultivation in our gardens and landscapes. How could a genus described in Hortus Third such as Michelia (later reclassified as Magnolia) have “about 50 species of evergreen trees and shrubs” but only eight listed? What about the other 42 species? Were they unworthy of cultivation, or had we simply not tried the other ones yet? With many genera, the latter often proves to be the case. It turns out that the world of horticulture often overlooks many worthy plants.
Softening tall or craggy surfaces are situations that seldom come up in my design practice, as I work in environments that are typically rather flat. There are times, however, when level changes happen to occur on the land or are created during a construction process. I get excited when there is the opportunity to use plants that naturally cascade. This is an entirely different aesthetic from plants that climb and is more interesting than plugging in some ivy. The next time you find yourself needing a plant to spill over a wall, rock, or some other elevation change, consider one of these great cascading plants.
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