Even if the dog hasn’t bitten and the bee hasn’t stung (as the song goes), it’s always nice to think on your favorite things. Here are a few of our favorites.
Stephanie’s Favorite Flower:
If I had to choose one flower to be my all-time favorite, I think it would be Pincushion Flower. I love this plant because it has a lovely, rounded growth shape; it blooms continuously for months without any intervention from the gardener; it produces an abundance of flowers; it doesn’t mind dry soil; and it also attracts butterflies and bees. The puffy flowers are either pink or purple and are held up on thin, wiry stems about 12” above a mound of basal foliage. If you look closely, the stamens look like tiny pins stuck into a pincushion. The plant looks nicer if you remove the spent flowers down at the base of their stems, but since the plant is covered with flowers, that isn’t really required.
Chesney’s Favorite Flower:
Whirling Butterflies/ Gaura lindheimeri
This native perennial not only looks like white and pink butterflies dancing around your garden, but it attracts butterflies (and other pollinators) to your yard as well. It grows to be around two to four feet tall and spreads about one or two feet. Gaura lindheimeri is a good choice if you are looking for a perennial that is drought tolerant and deer resistant. The best part about this plant though is the low maintenance requirement. Whirling Butterflies plants are happiest in full sun with low water, once established. It is also recommended to deadhead the spent blooms to keep it blooming all summer. At the end of season, if you want, you can prune it down about three inches above the soil to help keep the size of the plant itself a little more manageable and to help prepare for the next summer.
Chesney’s Favorite Soil Amendment:
My favorite soil amendment is actually tied between two: Sheep & Peat Pro and Cotton Burr Compost. They are very similar in that they both help break down and loosen Colorado’s alkaline-clay soil. This helps the oxygen, water, pH, and nutrient levels and help the plants spread their roots. Sheep & Peat soil amendment is a blend of 50% Sphagnum Peat Moss and 50% composted sheep manure and created by an organics company called Permagreen. Cotton Burr Compost from Back to Nature is also great for breaking down the clay soil we struggle with and help lock in moisture. Cotton Burr is made 100% from the “leftovers” of a cotton plant like the seeds, stems and leaves which, like manure, makes this compost coarser than most other types. You can also get an “acidified” version that is great to help even out our alkaline soil. My only issue with the Cotton Burr compost is that it smells SO bad because the anaerobes in the bag create a gas that smells terrible and makes your garden smell for the rest of the day.