FCN Blog

We’re hiring for spring!

If you love plants, enjoy helping people, and want to work on a team of friendly, fun, and motivated peers, Fort Collins Nursery has a great opportunity for you! We are a full service retail garden center. We pride ourselves in our energetic and helpful staff and provide paid training to ensure our employees can help customers succeed in all aspects of plant selection and care.  

We are now accepting applications for our 2017 season. We offer a wide array of seasonal employment opportunities, including:

  • Retail Sales
  • Cashier
  • Plant Production
  • Delivery and Planting Crew

For a listing of current job openings, click here

Are You an Obsessed Gardener?

Originally Published on June 28, 2011

Take this test to see if you may be developing a bit of an obsession.

Normal Gardener Obsessed Gardener
You know the Latin names of your plants. You use them in conversations…with the plants!
You know the pH of your soil. ALL your friends know the pH of your soil!
You are proud of your baby carrots. You carry pictures of them in your wallet/purse!
You love to grow and cook your own vegetables. Cook? Who has time to cook?
You have dirt under your fingernails. What fingernails?
You spend more money on plants than clothes. What clothes?
You have a charge account at Fort Collins Nursery. You now qualify for wholesale.
You know the virtues of hand-weeding. You use a headlamp to do it after dark!
You invest in fine quality gardening tools. You keep spare tools in your car for gardening emergencies!
You crush Colorado Potato Beetles with your bare fingertips. You love the sound it makes when you do.
You would never kill a ladybug. You bring them inside for the winter.
You have a compost heap. You take it’s temperature every day.
You won’t leave town when your tulips are blooming. … or your daffodils, lilacs, wisteria, roses, clematis, lilies …
You can name all the annuals in public flower beds. You automatically deadhead the flowers.
You have grown plants in funky containers. You grown plants in anything that hold soil!
You sadly replaced hail-damaged plants. You saved them all with a bucket over your head!

If you took this test at all, chances are you are a “normal” gardener, and what are you doing on the computer, anyway? There are weeds to pull!

Those with the obsession already know it! Come feed your need at Fort Collins Nursery.

 

Holiday Specials

Check out these great Holiday Specials running through January 15th (While Supplies Last):

122316-011517_holidayspecials3

From the Archives: A season for dreaming (TREEtalk Winter 1999)

EvergreenSnowBy Kathy Reid

When you live on a corner lot, you get to shovel lots of snow. The other day, as I scooped my way around the corner and down the north walk, I realized that even in the dead of winter I am tending my garden. As I work, I am carefully directing the shovels full of snow to some of my favorite garden plants. You could call it “snow mulching”, I guess. Certain evergreen plants will survive the long winter better if they are buried in a protective snow mound. So, as I scrape along, I purposefully pile a little extra around my handsome hellebore that will sport its strange greenish-white flowers while neighboring red tulips bloom next spring. Another scoop is directed at the Sarcoxie Euonymus that climbs the fence. I shovel on past a gangly Viburnum and make a mental note that it needs a little pruning. Push more snow, scoop it up. There was a bare spot in the planting here. I stop and consider what new, exciting plant I will add next spring.

I reach the end of the walk. The shoveling is finally done. I take one lap around the pond, just a frozen sheet now except for the small hole where the waterfall tumbles in. I study the tracks left in the snow by visiting birds and squirrels. A Tanyosho Pine stands guard above the waterfall while a huge Ponderosa Pine towers overhead, both looking very dramatic with the white icing-like snow spread over their dark green needles. These beautiful evergreens add such life and interest to our winter landscapes. A large, snowy mound at the pond’s edge catches my attention. It is a seedling aster that tempted me with hundreds of pink flowers in the fall, but it grew much too large in its chosen spot. I make another note that it needs to be removed in spring and replaced with something more manageable, perhaps a new variety of Penstemon for my collection.

My hands and toes are numbing so I head into the warm, cozy house and put on some water for tea. Echinacea tea is my choice these days. What a plant! Also known as purple coneflower, it is one of my favorite summer perennials, blooming for weeks and weeks behind the pond. And in the dead of winter, it makes a tasty tea that helps fight off those nasty winter colds.

My cup of tea in hand, my final destination for the afternoon is a soft, comfy chair near a big window. Outside the birds are feasting on hawthorn berries from the small tree at the corner of the house and sunflower seeds from my strategically placed bird feeder. The small wooden table next to my chair is piled high with magazines and catalogs, each and every one plant-related: Horticulture, Fine Gardening, The Colorado Gardener, and seed catalogs too numerous to mention.

Yes, this is the life of a Colorado gardener in winter. I revel in the contrast of our seasons. Winter is a break from the weeding watering. It is a time to enjoy the special beauty of a frosty landscape but most of all; it is a time to dream. While the plants of my garden sleep, I immerse myself in the pages and pages of colorful gardens at my fingertips. I feast upon the new plant offerings for the coming spring. And I dream, and I scheme, and I plan for next spring’s endeavors in my own little piece of the world.

When Winter Comes, Garden Smaller

By Jesse Eastman
Succulent_Hanging_NLAs plants begin the methodical process of shutting down for winter, color drains away from our world and we are left in a somewhat stark environment. If you’re anything like me, you still need a horticultural fix, and there’s only so much a houseplant can do to scratch that itch. The best cure I’ve found for the winter blues is miniature gardening. Whether succulent dishes, terrariums, bonsai, or fairy gardens, creating a miniature world is an incredible way to immerse yourself in a bit of green escapism and free yourself – however briefly – from the brown and gray outlook November brings.

Succulent Gardens

SucculentPlanter_NLEasily the most low-maintenance approach to miniature gardening is the succulent dish. Succulents are low-water, pest-resistant, and enjoy moderate to bright light. Designing a container with their wildly unique shapes, textures, and colors is more akin to playing with children’s building blocks than gardening. Nearly anything can be used as a container for succulents, as long as you consider the importance of drainage for these drought-loving plants (using cactus and succulent soil can help prevent wet feet). I’ve seen delightful succulent gardens in everything from beautiful ceramic dishes and sea shells to plastic dinosaurs and antique milk cans.

Terrariums

Terrarium_NLTerrariums are an elegant way to grow tender plants. In the exceptionally dry winter air we enjoy here in the Rocky Mountain region, a glass container can help maintain a humid environment around all sorts of moisture-loving plants, including but not limited to: bromeliads, air plants, orchids, ferns, and carnivorous plants. From your basic fish tank to a decorative blown glass bubble to an intricate glass octahedron, there are a multitude of options available depending on your personal style and the size of plants you want to grow. The proper layering of growing media, including soil, activated charcoal, gravel, and moss, ensures your plants will be happy in their self-contained bio-dome with minimal care.

Bonsai

Bonsai_NLTraditional bonsai is an ancient Japanese art form that uses trees to create miniaturized landscapes. By consistently manipulating dwarf varieties of certain trees and shrubs while accentuating their natural growth habits, we aim to capture the strength and permanence of nature in a more controlled environment. Bonsai are often viewed as a meditative or contemplative experience, both for the grower, who must patiently wait for the plant to grow into its potential, and for the viewer, who can imagine enjoy the beauty of majesty of each unique piece as they would view a classic painting or sculpture.

Fairy Gardening

FairyGarden_Bike_NLBy far the most interactive of the various veins of miniature gardening, fairy gardening is a whimsical and fun activity for kids of all ages. Generally open air (as opposed to terrariums), these miniature gardens are filled with accessories such as walkways made from chips of broken pots, tiny little benches and tables, and even diminutive domiciles where one can imagine a fairy taking up residence. If bonsai is an exercise in patience, fairy gardens are a celebration of impermanence, as you find new fun arrangements to suit the needs of your fairies, remove overgrown plants, and introduce new accessories to their vibrant little world.

Beautiful Weekend for Orchids!

Orchid Obsession-2The 2016 Orchid Obsession event is now in the books.  Thanks to Hi-Country Orchid Club and Mark van der Woerd for organizing such an amazing event!  Local clubs, organizations and vendors wowed us with their beautiful displays and hundreds of orchid enthusiasts and curious onlookers strolled the greenhouse to take in the breathtaking sites and exotic fragrances.  We sincerely enjoyed hosting this event and getting to spend the weekend with the orchid clubs, American Orchid Society judges, presenters and guests!

 

Best of Show Awards:

Miltonia Sandy's Cove WoodlandsBest Oncidium Alliance

  • Miltonia Sandy’s Cove ‘Woodlands’ AM/AOS
  • Awarded to Sylvia Budak.

 

 

 

Bulbophyllum Elizabeth Ann BuckleberryBest Miscellaneous

  • Bulbophyllum Elizabeth Ann ‘Buckleberry’ FCC/AOS
  • Awarded to Corey Barnes

 

 

 

Unlabelled DendrobiumBest Dendrobium Alliance

  • Unlabelled Dendrobium
  • Awarded to Roger Stone

 

 

 

Blc Momilani RainbowBest Cattleya Alliance

  • Blc Momilani Rainbow
  • Awarded to Jane Arnold

 

 

 


Vanda Tubtim Velvet 'Perfection'Best Vanda Alliance

  • Vanda Tubtim Velvet ‘Perfection’
  • Awarded to Sherman Harrison

 

 

 

Photo Gallery

Big Time Fun at 2016 Giant Pumpkin Weigh-Off!

Joe with WinnerOur 8th Annual Giant Pumpkin Weigh-Off was a huge success thanks to many awesome contestants from all over the region.  They dedicated their time and energy all summer long to produce some eye-popping entries.  Overall, we received 12 entries in multiple categories including heaviest pumpkin, heaviest squash, prettiest pumpkin and longest long gourd.  The days top honors went to Joe Scherber from Wheat Ridge, CO.  Joe’s 2016 entry came in at a monster 1410 pounds, setting a new contest record for Fort Collins Nursery.  Here is a list of all of this year’s winners:

Heaviest Pumpkin

  • 1st Place- Joe Scherber (1410 lbs)
  • 2nd Place- Joe Notario (941 lbs)
  • 3rd Place- Bill Sahl (821 lbs)
  • 4th Place- Dustin Grubbs (717 lbs)
  • 5th Place- Bill Jr. & Melissa Sahl (514 lbs)

 Heavy Squash

  • 1st Place- Jim Grande (687 lbs)

 Howard Dill (Prettiest Pumpkin)

  • 1st Place- Joe Scherber

 Longest Long Gourd

  • 1st Place- Joe Scherber (107.25″)

 

Press

The Coloradoan

thedenverchannel.com

Tri 102.4

 

Photo Gallery

 

Choose Celebration Plants for Special Events, People, Pets

By Deb Courtner

JapaneseMaple-Monrovia_NLSpecial occasions call for the creation of memories.  What better way to commemorate a graduation, wedding, birth, anniversary, housewarming, holiday or other significant event than by planting or donating a carefully selected plant to be enjoyed year after year?  Alternatively, plants are a deeply meaningful way to pay tribute to the life of a loved one or cherished pet who has passed on.

Flowering trees that convey caring include Autumn Brilliance serviceberry, with its fluffy white blooms, June berries and fabulous fall

color; the fruitless Spring Snow crabapple, with its fragrant white blossoms; Fringe Tree, with its distinctive, fragrant, hanging white flowers that look just like the tree’s name; Eastern Redbud, with its deep pink blossoms set against gray bark; or Hawthorn, with its spring/early summer flower clusters, dark red berries, and impressive autumn foliage.  If you like trees with colorful leaves all season long, consider a Japanese maple in well-protected locations, or Purple Smoke Tree.  If you prefer an evergreen, take a look at the dwarf Alberta spruce, with its compact, conical form, which will fit into almost any garden.

Carol Mackie Daphne-Monrovia_NLAs for shrubs, options include the semi-evergreen Carol Mackie Daphne, with its tiny, sweet-smelling pink blooms and variegated leaves; Tiger Eyes sumac, with its lacy chartreuse foliage, red stems and unparalleled fall color; butterfly bushes, with their heady scent and summer-long blooms; Hedge cotoneaster, with its shiny green leaves, black fruit and outstanding orange fall foliage; viburnums, with their full blossoms, ornamental fruit and pleasing autumn leaves; weigela, with their outrageously showy pink, purple or white flowers; and, of course, many varieties of roses.

Also, keep in mind that Fort Collins Nursery offers delivery and planting services for its trees and shrubs, and a one year satisfaction guarantee.

When selecting a plant for yourself or for a recipient, there are several factors to consider:

  • Where will the plant be installed?  If the plant is a shrub to memorialize a pet, for instance, you might consider planting it in your pet’s favorite resting place.
  • How much room is available for the plant as it matures?
  • What are the growing conditions (sun, soil type, water) in the garden where the plant will be installed?
  • If you’re looking for a flowering plant, do you want it to bloom at a particular time of year in honor of a special event?
  • What are favorite colors or fragrances of yours, the recipient or the memorialized individual?
  • Would you like a plant that symbolizes a particular virtue?  For example, red roses, hibiscus and wisteria symbolize love, whereas an oak tree represents strength and endurance.
  • Do you want a plant with a name similar to that of a recipient?  Examples include daphne, holly, and rose of Sharon with its feminine-named cultivars.  Or do you want a plant that has a name relating to the event, such as Peace rose or Livin’ Easy rose?

The staff at Fort Collins Nursery will be happy to help you choose a suitable plant for your special occasion.

Deb Courtner is a garden designer and writer who creates low-maintenance environments for busy homeowners.  She owns and operates Blossoms and Blueprints, LLC, a design and consulting firm in Fort Collins, Colorado. 

Low-growing Plants Keep Weeds From Gaining Ground

GroundCoverBlog-AngelaSedumBy Deb Courtner

Pity the poor groundcover; it gets no respect.  While trees, shrubs and taller perennials bedazzle gardeners, lowly groundcovers just quietly do their jobs–spreading steadily, preventing weeds, and providing a stage from which taller plants can emerge.

Groundcovers typically grow one foot high or less, although there are some taller ones, such as spreading roses.  These plucky plants add color and beauty to a garden, in addition to performing their regular jobs.

If you currently use wood or rock mulch around your plants, why not create a living mulch instead by planting attractive, low-maintenance groundcovers?

No matter what your lighting or moisture conditions, you can find a groundcover that will thrive in your garden.

If your garden is sunny and dry, for example, it’ll provide an ideal home for prairie winecups, with their lush, purplish goblet-shaped flowers and deep-cut, geranium-like leaves; orange carpet hummingbird, with its neon orange, tubular flowers that hummingbirds crave; Angela sedum, with its plump chartreuse spikes that turn orange-red for fall and winter; Pawnee Buttes sand cherry, with its white spring blossoms, outstanding red fall color, and black cherries that birds love; and soapwort, with its abundant pink or white blooms and evergreen leaves.  Incidentally, orange carpet hummingbird and soapwort are quite rabbit resistant.

Low growers that favor sunny, moister conditions are woolly speedwell, with its spring indigo flowers and evergreen foliage; cranesbill geraniums, especially the showy, long-blooming Rozanne, which can be drought-tolerant once established; and June-bearing strawberries, with their delicious fruit and bright green leaves;

Options for dry, shady gardens include pigsqueak, with its broad, cabbage-like leaves and upright pink blooms; some drought-tolerant varieties of heuchera, with its delightful foliage available in many colors; and dead nettle, which is anything but dead with its green or white/silvery variegated leaves and delicate pink or white blossoms.

GroundCoverBlog-PlumbagoShade lovers that perform well with average moisture include plumbago, with its startling blue flowers and copper seed heads set against dark green leaves; ajuga, with its beautifully variegated foliage and whorls of tiny flowers on spikes about four to six inches tall; sweet woodruff, with its delicate, scented white blossoms and small, umbrella-like leaves; and, of course, periwinkle, whose dark green leaves and purple blooms contrast nicely with those of sweet woodruff.

Once you familiarize yourself with groundcovers and their uses, you can create a more beautiful garden with fewer weeds and lower maintenance.  Then, perhaps, groundcovers will receive the respect they deserve.

 

 

How to Control Yellowjackets without Harming Bees!

European Paper Wasp_NLBy Daniel Laucher

Yellowjackets are a nuisance around the garden and home, and can be caught in a variety of traps using baits that bees and other wasps are not attracted to.  They are scavengers that seek out any food source, including your garbage and your pets’ food.  Yellowjackets are aggressive and will sting repeatedly if they or their nests are disturbed.

Yellowjackets nest in holes in the ground, unlike most other wasps, which build hanging nests made from chewed wood fibers.  These paper wasps, such as the bald-faced hornet and the European paper wasp, will defend their nests if threatened, but they are not otherwise aggressive.  You may find paper wasp nests hanging in trees or bushes, or in the rafters or on the sides of your home.  They should be left undisturbed, if possible, since paper wasps are pollinators and also prey on undesirable garden insects.

Honeybees and bumblebees feed on pollen and nectar, and will therefore avoid yellowjacket traps.  Many commercially available yellowjacket traps use heptyl butyrate as bait, which bees are not attracted to.   It is safe and effective to use such traps around your home and garden.

Homemade traps will also work to control yellowjackets.  To make one, mix some dish soap into a bowl of water and place the bowl in the problem area.  Tie a small piece of meat or fish to a short piece of string, then tie the string to a stick.  Place the stick in the ground by the bowl so that the meat hangs about half an inch above the water.  Yellowjackets fly very erratically; when they touch the soapy water, they will sink and drown.

Yellowjackets nest in the ground.  Locating and destroying nests will help keep their numbers down.  However, they will forage up to 1,000 feet from their nests, so the yellowjackets in your garden may have come from somewhere else entirely.

Prevention is important in controlling the yellowjacket population around your home.  As scavengers, they are attracted to garbage, standing water, and will even eat honey and larvae from beehives.  Make sure your trash cans are covered and tip out any standing water you find around your home or garden to limit their possible food sources.  Place traps around your patio, grill, mulch pile, hummingbird feeders and anywhere else you observe yellowjackets foraging for food.

Get rid of those pesky yellowjackets early with prevention and traps, and keep those honeybees humming.   Happy gardening!