One of our favorite end of summer walks takes us through the Colorado State University test garden in the center of Ft. Collins. It is truly a gardener's delight that displays exactly what we can grow in gardens here in northern Colorado. Filled with beautiful perennials and amazing annuals that are heat tolerant and not quite as thirsty as zones that receive more rain and have higher humidity, the garden features both established plants and tests newly developed varieties. Each plant has a label that includes where the plant be purchased.
I am one of those gardeners here in Zone 5 who seeks to grow the perfect English garden, but with our daily 90+ degrees summer temperatures and freezing cold, dry winters we have to be creative and selective to get that desired look and grow plants that thrive under such conditions.
|A panoramic view fo the gardens all laid out in perfect rows in some what of circle, with nary a weed to be seen.|
I came home with a nice, realistic wish list of plants that I want to add to the Garden Spot, which begs the question: Where to plant them? In years past, I've wandered around the end-of-season plant sales at our favorite garden centers only to bring home gangly, aged plants that either sit on the patio until they aren't viable or if they are lucky enough get planted, they don't set enough of a root system to survive the winter. So this year, no bargain shopping for plants; instead, a plan of action for next spring.
The flower beds all need to be cleaned, weeded, and thinned; so once it cools down and the Head Gardner is done with archery hunting, we will dig into the gardens to clear spaces for new, exciting plants.
A Good Plan Begins with a Wish List
The test garden has a variety of mature hibiscus. I love this dinner plate size beauty. We have one hibiscus in the garden, but I teased the HG about planting a row of them along a 6 ft. privacy fence that blocks out the neighbor. Oddly, he didn't blink, but began to come up with an irrigation plan. But, no. There won't be a dozen of the giant plants ordered for next spring. It would be spectacular, though.
|Saffron-winged Meadowhawk: Sympetrum costiferum|