Featured

From the kitchen to the garden

By Kathy Reid
Originally published October 2014

istock compost 4webI learned the phrase from my mother: “Garbage is gold.” The garbage she refers to isn’t just any old thing that ends up in the trash can. Her “gold” is the scraps that accumulate in the kitchen from the not-so-perfect leaves of lettuce to the stringy orange carrot peels and the used coffee grounds.

Yes, my mother is a composter and has been since long before it became a fashionable thing to do. As far back as I can remember, there was always some sort of receptacle under the kitchen sink filled with her soupy, sour-smelling accumulation. How often did she tell me over the years, “No, no. Not down the disposal. That garbage is gold!” For my mother is also a vegetable gardener and she learned long ago the magical power of the rich, black compost that she created from things that so often end up down the disposal or in the trash can.

As I washed the dishes the other night in my own kitchen, I contemplated the half-gallon milk cartons that line the space along the back of the sink, stuffed with banana peels, potato skins and apple cores. Nothing is wasted, for I, too, have learned the secret potential of what another might see as mere trash.

I don’t know where my mother learned the skill of turning kitchen refuse into a wonderful soil amendment, but I would guess it was from her own mother. The skill, no doubt, is as ancient as cultivation itself. Whatever the source of the knowledge, I am happy to carry on the tradition.

My mother has taught me so many things, among them the precious nature of garbage. I will think of her next spring as I marvel at the tender seedlings pushing up through the dark, rich soil of my garden. Thanks, Mom!

 

Proven Winners® ColorChoice® Flowering Shrubs

The Proven Winners® plant brand has introduced some of the best, most unique, and high performing plants since 1992.  Their plants are well-known for flowering, growth habit, disease resistance, and garden performance.

The Proven Winners® ColorChoice® series is one of the most recognized brands in flowering shrubs and produces many of our personal favorites.  Come in and check out our awesome new selection of ColorChoice® shrubs including several varieties available for the first time at Fort Collins Nursery.  Here are a few recommendations to get you started:

Pugster® Blue Butterfly Bush

This jazzy little beauty is true blue and sturdy too!  A true color of blue can be hard to come by in the garden but this lovely shade evokes feelings of cool waterfalls and chilly breezes.  Thanks to its thick, sturdy stems, the Pugster® series offers vastly improved hardiness and winter survival over other types of dwarf butterfly bush. Although Pugster® Blue Buttefly Bush is a compact plant that reaches just 2 feet tall, it has large, full sized flowers normally seen on a much larger plant. The Pugster® series butterfly bush are also available with white, pink, and periwinkle flowers.

  • Height: 24”
  • Spread: 24”-36”
  • Hardiness Zones: 5-9
  • Flower Color: Blue
  • Light Requirement: Sun
  • Water: Low
  • Maintenance: Easy
  • Bloom Time: Summer through Fall

Invincibelle® Ruby Hydrangea

The dark burgundy red flower buds of the Invincibelle® Ruby hydrangea open to a two-toned combination of bright ruby red and silvery pink. The foliage is extra dark and the stems are strong, making this new hydrangea a gem in any garden. Invincibelle® Ruby is a strong rebloomer that flowers on new growth and blooms every year without fail. It works great in mass plantings, landscapes, cutting gardens and mixed borders. The Invincibelle® hydrangea series is also available in other varieties including the Wee White® and pink blossomed Spirit.

  • Height: 36”-48”
  • Spread: 24”-36”
  • Hardiness Zones: 3-9
  • Flower Color: Pink, Red
  • Light Requirement: Partial sun
  • Water: Average to High
  • Maintenance: Easy
  • Bloom Time: Summer

Oso Easy® Urban Legend® Landscape Rose

Looking for a bright red landscape rose with non-stop blooms? The Urban Legend® landscape rose is the newest disease-resistant addition to the best-selling Oso Easy® series. Its true-red, semi-double flowers bloom in early summer and continue through the first hard frost. A crown of lush yellow stamens in the center add interest and contrast. Because it is disease resistant, it is easy to care for and there is no need to spray or fret about black spot or powdery mildew.  The Oso Easy® series features many other varieties including Cherry Pie, Hot Paprika®, Italian Ice®, Lemon Zest, Mango Salsa, Paprika, Peachy Cream, Strawberry Crush and Honey Bun.

  • Height: 30”-40”
  • Spread: 30”-40”
  • Hardiness Zones: 4-9
  • Flower Color: Red
  • Light Requirement: Sun
  • Water: Average
  • Maintenance: Easy
  • Bloom Time: Summer through Fall

Tuff Stuff Red Mountain Hydrangea

Tuff Stuff Red, the newest edition to the Tuff Stuff series of mountain hydrangeas, is colorful, beautiful, and reliable. These unique hydrangeas fare better in cold weather than big-leaf hydrangeas, making them the perfect choice for landscapes and gardens in zones 5 and 6. Their large, lacecap flowers are a deep pink-red color which is set off by lustrous, deep green foliage. Tuff Stuff Red is a reblooming hydrangea that begins blooming in early summer and continues to produce flowers through autumn. Its small, rounded shape gives Tuff Stuff Red extra versatility in the landscape and works great in masses or as a solo planting.   At Fort Collins Nursery you will also find the original Tuff Stuff mountain hydrangea with lacy pink flowers.

  • Height: 24”-36”
  • Spread: 24”-36”
  • Hardiness Zones: 5-9
  • Flower Color: Green, Pink, Red
  • Light Requirement: Part Sun
  • Water: Average to High
  • Maintenance: Easy
  • Bloom Time: Summer through Fall

Inspired White Butterfly Bush

The Inspired White butterfly bush has purer than pure white flowers and blooms from early to late summer. It is a wonderful, compact variety that plays nicely with everyone in the garden. Inspired White has a nice fragrant smell that attracts hummingbirds, butterflies and bees but turns away those pesky deer. The Inspired butterfly bush also come in Pink and Violet varieties that are available here at Fort Collins Nursery.

  • Height: 48”-96”
  • Spread: 48”-96”
  • Hardiness Zones: 5-9
  • Flower Color: White
  • Light Requirement: Sun
  • Water: Low
  • Maintenance: Easy
  • Bloom Time: Early through Late Summer

Mums & Asters

Looking for some late-summer, early fall perennial bloomers? Add a colorful chrysanthemum to your flower bed or fall container garden! Hundreds of these prolific, hardy and beautifully bushy perennials were grown with love right here by our production team and are available now.

Mums come in a wide variety of colors, from yellow, pink, magenta, red, lavender, and more. Blooms on mums typically last for weeks providing a late-summer boost when other flowers have given out. We also have a great selection of colorful asters, also a hardy late-summer and fall bloomer. Small, abundant, star-shaped flowers tower on 2-3 foot plants,
providing a nice backdrop in perennial beds.

Asters_NLBoth mums and asters appreciate full sun, and a good dose of compost when planted. They also prefer water at their base (avoid overhead watering to discourage powdery mildew).

Stop in soon to see our great selection!

Oh Hail!

We garden in Colorado! We know the heartbreak of the 5 or 10 minute storm that can undo 500 hours of hard work.

When hail strikes—what’s a gardener to do?

  • Wait a day or two. Let the sun shine and the anger subside. The damage will be easier to evaluate after some time has passed. This is a good time to work on a new margarita recipe!
  • Remove debris that could encourage the onset of disease.
  • Prune selectively. Remove broken stems and leaf parts. Even parts of leaves can be removed. Make angled cuts for a more natural look.
  • Feed your plants with a gentle nitrogen fertilizer. We recommend Age Old Grow liquid fertilizer.
  • Watch for insect infestations. Bad bugs tend to pick on weakened plants.
  • Try Fertilome Triple Action, a blend of naturally occurring pesticides for your garden, or OMRI approved Safer Insect Killing Soap.
  • Re-evaluate plant choice and positioning. Fine-leafed plants generally tolerate hail better than those with large leaves. Many natives are well-adapted to hail. Position plants prone to hail damage under trees or on an east facing wall or fence.
  • Have a plentiful array of patio pots. Those that are spared can be moved into place while others recover.
  • This is why God invented ANNUALS. They can be purchased in full-bloom-and put in areas that need instant color and give INSTANT gratification!
  • Conclusion….Keep a hail-thy attitude, and say “What the hail-where are those margaritas?”

 

Perennial Hibiscus

Perennial Hibiscus is one of our summer favorites and back in stock at Fort Collins Nursery.  Also known as Rose Mallow, these plants are large, fast-growing, and cold hardy.  They are valued by gardeners for their huge exotic flowers and showy foliage which make for a perfect addition to any perennial border.  Because of their size, they are a great choice to plant against a large fence or wall, or as a showy substitute for many small and medium shrubs. Most varieties produce beautiful bloom colors in white, pink, red and bi-colors, with individual blooms lasting for one or two days. Hibiscus start flowering in July and last until frost so now is a great time to pick one up!

Come in today and check out these beautiful varieties!

Berry Awesome

The “Berry Awesome” Hibiscus has lavender pink flowers and a red eye, with contrasting deep midnight green foliage. The plant gets nicknamed “dinner plate Hibiscus” because the flowers on this plant are a whopping 7”-8” wide. The flowers are produced from the top to the bottom of the plant, rather than just at the top like some other cultivars. The foliage forms a rounded habit and will be ready to show off from midsummer into early fall. ‘Berry Awesome’ is the perfect backdrop or centerpiece for sunny borders. Use it in place of a shrub in your garden.

  • Height: 4’
  • Spread: 4.5’-5’
  • Hardiness Zones: 4-9
  • Flower Color: Pink/Red
  • Foliage Color: Green
  • Sunlight: Full to Part Sun (minimum 4-6 hrs. Direct Sun)

Cranberry Crush

The ‘Cranberry Crush’ Hibiscus has a short but full, compact habit and scarlet red flowers. Flowers are produced all along the flowering stems rather than just at the top like some other cultivars. The buds are near-black and open to glossy, scarlet red flowers that are 7”-8” inch wide with heavily overlapping petals.  These dramatic blossoms cover the plant from midsummer to early fall and are set against a perfect backdrop of glossy deep green leaves with slight purple overtones.

  • Height: 4’
  • Spread: 4-5’
  • Hardiness Zones: 4-9
  • Flower Color: Red
  • Foliage Color: Green
  • Sunlight: Full to Part Sun (minimum 4-6 hrs. Direct Sun)

Perfect Storm

The ‘Perfect Storm’ Hibiscus features dark foliage like the beloved ‘Summer Storm’ Hibiscus but grows to a much more manageable size of 3’ tall.  Perfect Storm’ has huge, 7”-8” white flowers with pink edged petals and a bright red eye that radiates out the veins. The flowers bloom from midsummer into early fall. 

  • Height: 3’
  • Spread: 4.5-5’
  • Hardiness Zones: 4,5,6,7,8,9
  • Flower Color: Pink shades
  • Foliage Color: Green shades
  • Sunlight: Full Sun (>6 hrs. Direct Sun)
  • Part Shade: (4-6 hrs. Direct Sun)

Plum Fantasy

This incredibly heavy bloomer sets buds on the upper sections of the stems. Lipstick-red buds open to vibrant, large 8”-9”magenta red flowers with a deeper red eye and red stamens.  The distinctly puckered and crinkled texture of the flower petals is very unique among perennial hibiscus, giving them added dimension. The dramatic flower color really pops against the super dark green, maple-like foliage which takes on a tint of greyed purple late in the season.  ‘Plum Fantasy’ forms an upright rounded clump in the landscape and makes a fantastic specimen plant for sunny landscapes.

  • Height: 4.5’-5.5’
  • Spread: 4.5’-5.5’
  • Hardiness Zones: 4-9
  • Flower Color: Purple/Red
  • Foliage Color: Green
  • Sunlight: Full to Part Sun (minimum 4-6 hrs. Direct Sun)

Pest Control Products

Warning!  Garden pests are out there and will destroy your plants and veggies if given the opportunity. At Fort Collins Nursery we take pests seriously and have solutions for all your common pest related problems.

When it comes to garden pests, prevention is always the best option and there are several things you can do to keep them from showing up in the first place. Keep your foliage dry by watering the base of the plants and build healthy organic soil. Remove weak and dying plants and clear the garden of weeds and organic debris.  

If your garden is already under attack, the first step is identifying the problem by spotting the destructive culprits or the damage they have caused. Our knowledgeable staff will be happy to look at your plant samples or photos to help with diagnosis.  Once you identify the problem we can help with the control process.  Here is a list of several popular products we offer to combat some of the more common problems:

 

  • Live-Ladybugs & Lacewings- Ladybugs and lacewings are beneficial insects that naturally feed on garden pests like Aphids, mealybugs, spider mites, thrips, and other soft bodied insects.  To put them to work, simply tap them out of the cardboard container around your garden in the morning, evening or on an overcast day. They move slowly during those times and will go straight to the food source. They will stick around as long as they find a good food source but will otherwise fly away and seek food sources elsewhere.  (Sorry, we do not sell miniature leashes to keep them from moving on!)

 

  • NOLO Bait- NOLO Bait is a safe, biological control that protects your yard from voracious grasshoppers.  This biological control causes an infection that exclusively harms grasshoppers. When used as long term control, it is most effective when grasshoppers are young, killing them within 2-3 days. More mature grasshoppers are not as prone to infection, and the NOLO Bait might take much longer to kill them, or may simply make them lethargic. When used year after year, this can be one of the most effective controls on the market today, and has the added benefit of not harming beneficial insects, pets, children, or plants.

 

  • Nematodes- Nematodes are beneficial microscopic organisms that live naturally in soil throughout the world and are parasitic to insects that have a larval or pupal life stage that occurs in the soil. They are particularly effective against cutworms, beetles, and root weevil larvae.  Nematode eggs are microscopic and come in a small sponge a million at a time. These are mixed with water and applied to the soil, where they hatch and go to work.

 

  • Monterey B.t.- B.t. is used to combat caterpillars & worms that munch on your beloved fruits, vegetables, ornamentals and shade trees. B.t is a biological insecticide and OMRI listed for organic gardening.  B.t. comes in an easy to mix, ready to use liquid concentrate and may be applied up to and on the day of harvest.

 

  • Diatomaceous Earth- Diatomaceous Earth is a natural contact insecticide that works by causing abrasions on insects as they come in contact with product, resulting in loss of body fluids, then dehydration. It is very effective in controlling snails, slugs, cockroaches, ants, earwigs and other listed crawling insects.  Diatomaceous Earth is digestible by earthworms and will not cause them any harm. To use, simply use hand duster or bulbous duster to apply light coating of dust to areas where crawling pests are found or may hide. Because it is a non-chemical control that does not harm mammals,  it is safe to use around the house, including around pets and children.  
  • Fertilome Triple Action Plus- Triple Action Plus is used to control insects, diseases, certain fungus, and mites on vegetables, fruits, nuts, herbs, spices, roses, flowers and shrubs. Triple Action is a combination of pyrethrin (a naturally occurring insecticide extracted from certain chrysanthemums) and neem oil (a plant extract that acts as an insecticide and fungicide). This product kills eggs, larvae and adult stages of many pest insects including whiteflies, aphids, spider mites, beetles, fungus gnats, ants, fleas and many others, as well as controlling powdery mildew, black spot, and rust.  Triple Action Plus comes in a ready to use spray and in concentrate.
  • Safer® Brand Insect Killing Soap- Safer® Brand Insect Killing Soap kills soft bodied insects including aphids, mealybug,  and mites on contact.  Safer® soap utilizes the power of potassium salts of fatty acids to weaken the insect’s waxy protective outer shell.  It is a biological insecticide and OMRI listed for organic gardening and breaks down into its natural elements within 7-10 days and will not persist in the environment.  Apply every 7-10 days when insects are present or as needed to prevent further damage.

 

We all know that gardening takes a lot of work, sweat, and sometimes tears to achieve the success we strive for.  Don’t let garden pests spoil your fun!

 

Clematis

Clematis vines are a real jack of all trades when it comes to planting uses and their adaptability and beautiful flowers have made them a favorite of gardeners everywhere.  Their affinity for vining makes them a perfect choice for filling in vertical spaces on fences, porches, arbors and trellises.  Some varieties can also be trained to spread horizontally along the ground to provide cover and spread in horizontal spaces.  Shorter varieties can fill in gaps around trees and shrubs and provide bursts of beautiful color.  Many varieties can even be successfully grown in containers.

Clematis prefer a moist, cool soil and like to have their roots shaded via a groundcover or some sort of mulch.  The plant and flowers can take full sun and generally require at least 6 hours per day.  Because clematis are deep-rooted, it is important to water thoroughly and regularly.  They are a relatively easy plant to grow and will get larger and stronger each year.

Fort Collins Nursery has a great selection of clematis in stock and here are a couple of great varieties for you to check out:

Boulevard Fleuri Clematis

  • Height: 3-4 ft.
  • Width: 2-3 ft.
  • Traits: This prolific, compact climber offers large purple flowers over a long season. Ideal in containers or in a border where it can grow through a shrub.  Its deep purple color make it a must for a sunny location.
  • Water: Moderate
  • Bloom: Late Spring/ Early Summer
  • Zone: 4-9

Nelly Moser Clematis

  • Height 8-10 ft.
  • Spacing: 4-6 ft.
  • Color: Produces an amazing display of flowers; pink petals with dark pink bar in center, and reddish-brown stamens. Woody vine with leathery textured, dark green foliage.
  • Bloom Time: Spring-Summer.
  • Water: Moderate.
  • Zones: 4-9

Vancouver Danielle Clematis

  • Height: 6-8 ft.
  • Traits: A cross between The President and Violet Charm. This compact variety has deep purple blue 6-8” flowers with striking red tipped stamens.
  • Water: Regular
  • Bloom: Spring and Fall
  • Zones: 4

Cherokee Clematis

  • Height: 3-5 ft.
  • Spacing: 2-3 ft.
  • Traits: Cherokee (aka ‘Ooh La La’) is a compact vine making it a good choice for containers or smaller gardens. The large single blooms are dusky pink with a darker pink bar, blooming in late spring and again in late summer.
  • Water: Moderate
  • Bloom: May-June
  • Zones: 4-7

Hummingbird Feeders

Why attract hummingbirds to your yard? Not only are they fun to watch, they’re also beneficial in pollinating flowers in your garden. As they feed, they rub their forehead against the stamens and pistils and collect pollen before moving from flower to flower.  Hummingbirds also love to eat many garden pests like aphids, gnats and mosquitos!

Fort Collins Nursery has a great selection of hummingbird feeders to help lure these quick and colorful creatures into your yard.  The feeders are easy to use and clean and provide the hummingbirds with much needed nourishment for a busy day of darting around. We have custom blown glass, dish, vintage styles, hand-held, hanging and stake-mounted feeders.  We carry ready-to-use nectar bottles and nectar concentrate or make your own with 4 parts water to one part white granulated sugar.

In addition to feeders, we have dozens of perennial and annual flowers that are great for attracting hummingbirds such as hyssop, penstemon, foxgloves, bee balm, lilies, snapdragons and petunias. We also carry a wildflower seed mix that is blended with varieties especially apt for attracting hummingbirds.

Tomatoes

This year we have over 40 tomato varieties that were diligently grown for you by our talented production team right here at Fort Collins Nursery.  Each plant was started with high-quality, organic seeds and re-potted into a 1 gallon container.  By the time our tomato plants are ready to sell, they are more mature than most store bought starts, so they’ll require less time between planting and producing tomatoes.  While the value is great, your favorite thing about our tomatoes will be how good they taste!  Look for the Fort Collins Nursery labeled containers to spot one of our own!

The following varieties are unique and delicious and recommended by our Production Manager himself:

Pink Berkeley Tie Dye

Unique appearance with heirloom-quality flavor.

8-16 oz. fruits are dark pink with green striping, and the flesh is pink with yellow streaks. The flavor is outstanding – sweet and complex like the finest heirlooms. The vigorous indeterminate plants performed much better than average under disease pressure in Johnny’s Selected Seeds Albion trials. Indeterminate. 70 Days to Maturity.

 

Moskvich

One of the most appealing extra-early tomatoes.

Fruits are early, deep red, and cold tolerant. Rich flavor. Smooth and globe-shaped, 4-6 oz. with a small stem scar. Indeterminate. 60 Days to Maturity.

 

 

 

Pruden’s Purple

Early Brandywine type.

Large to very large (many over 1 lb.) fruits are flattened and smooth (except for shoulder ribbing on some), and resist cracking. Vivid dark pink skin with crimson flesh. Medium tall, potato-leaf plants. Indeterminate. 67 Days to Maturity.

 

 

Black Cherry

Sweet and robust.

Bred in Florida by the late Vince Sapp, the round, 0.5 to 0.75 oz fruits are almost black in color. The flavor is dynamic – much like an heirloom. High yielding. Indeterminate. 64 Days to Maturity.

 

 

 

Tomato ‘Fiaschetto di Manduria’

Fiaschetto is a regional treasure of Puglia in Southeast Italy. These small 2-3 oz plum shaped tomatoes hang like grapes from the bushy plants in prolific quantities.  In Puglia it is preferred even over the more famous San Marzano for its freshness and fruitiness. The perfect size for halving and dehydrating for enjoying in the winter months on your pastas and pizzas. Extremely early harvest for a paste type and conveniently concentrated for processing purposes. Determinate. 65-70 Days to Maturity.

Hibiscus & Mandevilla

Create a tropical atmosphere for your patio this summer with beautiful and exotic Hibiscus and Mandevilla plants from Fort Collins Nursery. 

  • Hibiscus and mandevilla are both relatively easy to grow and are prolific producers of colorful, trumpet-shaped flowers over a long blooming season.
  • In our colder climate, these tropical plants need to be grown in containers, allowing them to be easily moved from outside to inside as the seasons change.
  • Both plants require sun and do best outdoors in the summer or near a south facing window while inside during the colder months.
  • When watering, the soil should be kept evenly moist. Be careful not to let it dry out.
  • Both plants should be potted in containers that aren’t too much deeper than the root system to ensure consistent production of flowers. Deep pots are not bad for the plants, but they will invest more energy building root systems than flowering.