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Gardening Carol O'Meara

5/28/2006

Design a successful garden

 I must admit I know next to nothing about designing a landscape. My method of garden design is haphazard at best, involving little forethought or planning. Every bed inevitably takes on cottage garden look, which is a nice way of labeling a mishmash collection of plants that may or may not go well together.

This is because I look at each plant individually rather than considering the design as a whole. I’ll bring new plants home, usually in the middle of planting season when I’m desperate to get them into the ground, and pop them into any available vacant spot in the garden. When I get lucky enough to put two plants together that make a stunning combination, such as pairing white roses with the purple vine of Hyacinth bean Ruby Moon, I dance a victory jig right there in the garden. It doesn’t happen often.

Garden classes and tours

For those who appreciate a well-designed landscape and aspire to learn how to convert their yard into an oasis of beauty, consider attending a mini-conference at Colorado State University devoted to garden design. Composing Colorado Landscapes: Creating a Sense of Place in the Home Garden on June 22 through 24 is sponsored by Colorado State Cooperative Extension and features Jeffry de Jong, an award winning designer and head of Horticultural Education for the Calgary Zoo & Botanic Gardens, as the keynote speaker.

De Jong will host several sessions, including Perennials for the Greatest Impact and Gardening Where You Live. Other speakers include local garden writer Marcia Tatroe; Jim Klett, David Whiting and Zach Johnson from CSU; and local garden experts Dorothy Borland, Tim Buchanan, Marilyn Raff and Scott Skogerboe.

Composing Colorado Landscapes is packed full of gardening classes, workshops and tours for beginning and experienced gardeners. Conference-goers may choose from 16 different sessions on June 23 and June 24, such as High Elevation Plants, Groundcovers and Lawn Alternatives, Drought-tolerant Perennials and Trees for Colorado. If hardscape interests you, join Zach Johnson, assistant professor at CSU, for Decks, Patios and Fences for help in designing the perfect resting spot in a backyard.

The classes promise to be interesting and fun, but the must-see class of the conference is de Jong’s hands-on workshop, the Art & Craft of Home Landscape Design. In three hours de Jong will take the mystery out of landscape design so we who are plan-challenged can whip up beautiful backyards with ease.

Register now

Registration is due now, and the cost is $150 for both days or $100 for one day. Thursday tours are extra. For more information and to register, visit www.ext.colostate.edu and click on Composing Colorado Landscapes. For more information, call 720-733-6935.

Fall Master Gardener classes

The Colorado Master Gardener program in Boulder County is taking applications for the fall Master Gardener class. If you would like to help educate gardeners in our community, join the Colorado Master Gardener team. The volunteers are busy in the community answering questions on garden care and teach classes, write news articles, work with special audiences and maintain demonstration sites.

You could be a part of this dynamic team. If you are interested in helping others, the Colorado Master Gardener program is for you. Classes run October through mid-December and will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday. Contact the Colorado State University Cooperative Extension Office in Boulder County at 303-678-6238 to receive an application.

Carol O’Meara is with the Colorado State University Cooperative Extension office at the Boulder County Fairgrounds in Longmont. Colorado State University Cooperative Extension, together with Boulder County Parks and Open Space, provides unbiased, research-based information, about consumer and family issues, horticulture, natural resources, agriculture and 4-H youth development. For more information, contact Cooperative Extension at the Boulder County Fairgrounds, 9595 Nelson Road, Box B, Longmont, 303-678-6238 or visit <I>www.coopext.colostate.edu/boulder</I>.

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