Tag Archives: Colorado native plants

Panchito Manzanita

Panchito Manzanita (Arctostaphylos coloradoensis) is a Colorado gardener’s dream plant. It’s evergreen, low-growing, and thrives in our dry climate. And an added bonus is that it’s a Colorado native plant, originating in the Uncompahgre Plateau near Grand Junction. Panchito Manzanita is a natural hybrid of two other native plant species, Kinnikinnick (Arctostaphylos uva ursi) and Greenleaf Manzanita (Arctostaphylos patula).

If you’re looking for an evergreen shrub that’s ultra low-maintenance, and is not a juniper, Panchito Manzanita is for you.

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Source: Plant Select

You’re in luck!

Until relatively recently, Manzanitas were difficult to propagate. Landscape designers and enthusiastic gardeners were relegated to Manzanita envy while hiking or visiting the Denver Botanic Gardens. Fortunately, dedicated nursery enthusiasts were able to create the ideal environment for wide-scale Arctostaphylos propagation, and they’re now available via most local nurseries and plant growers.

Growth rates

It will take your Panchito Manzanita about three to seven years to grow to its full height (12- to 24-inches) and width (18- to 48-inches).

Watering requirements

One of the greatest threats to this species of Manzanita is root rot from overwatering. It will require slightly more watering than normal to be established. After that, it requires very little watering and is xeriscape-friendly.

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Source: Lot Lines

Soil and sun

These plants require well-drained soil. If you’re natural backyard consists of the crumbly, granite-based soil our area is known for, you may not need any soil amending at all. However, if you have natural clay or a poor draining yard, you’ll need to make some changes before you plant your Panchito Manzanita. This plant loves full sun, but it can also handle partial shade.

Aesthetics

Everything about these Colorado native plants is attractive. The broad leaves are a deep green and can turn a deep red or purplish in the fall. The stems are also a vibrant reddish-purple. In mid-spring, expect to see an abundant burst of small white and pale pink flowers.

Contact Lifescape Colorado to learn more about incorporating Panchito Manzanitas in your landscape design. We offer full-service landscape design and maintenance services.

Spanish Gold Broom

Winter is the season for planning landscape changes and garden additions for the upcoming year. Here at Lifescape Colorado, we encourage clients to grow native plants for a hardy and successful landscape. Native plants are able to withstand hot, dry winters and freezing, cold winters without a struggle. They are also less maintenance-intensive than their non-native counterparts. If you’re looking for a new plant to add to your landscape repertoire, we recommend Spanish Gold Broom.

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Source: Colorado Tree Farm Nursery

Spanish Gold Broom (Cytisus purgans) is originally a native of the Mediterranean, but has adapted to areas with a similarly arid climate, such as our own. It is a medium-sized shrub and naturally maintains a rounded shape, requiring very little pruning. Another benefit is its stems, which remain green all year long. Even after the plant’s leaves begin to fall off in the mid-summer, your landscape will benefit from winter interest.

Some additional benefits of Spanish Gold Broom include:

Color. In addition to the aforementioned evergreen stems, Spanish Gold blooms will reward you with a dramatic and beautiful display of fragrant and bright yellow blossoms. They will begin to bloom in the spring and will remain vibrant through the spring season.

Soil adapted. Our area has some tough soil for plants to contend with. We suggest you amend your soil accordingly. Even so, Spanish Gold Broom has been able to adapt to our native soil amazingly well, which is one of its “hallmark” qualities, according to CSU.

Drought tolerant. In a perfect world, this shrub prefers moderate watering. However, it can withstand a dry season or two and continue to thrive.

Versatile locations. Spanish Gold Broom is only averse to one location – those that are full shade. Otherwise, they do well in partial-shade, filtered sun, partial sun and full sun. In this environment, they will grow between three to five feet high, and from four to six feet wide.

Would you like assistance with your 2014 landscape planning or maintenance? Contact the experts at Lifescape Colorado for recommendations regarding other native plants, and to learn more about our design and maintenance services.

5 Edible Plants of Colorado

The simple act of driving to a grocery store and choosing luscious red tomatoes (native to Central and South America) or sweet, tangy oranges (originally from southeast Asia) is a luxury we take for granted. Even so, we’re fortunate to live in a climate that supports a host of edible plants.

The following are examples of five edible plants in Colorado. Keep an eye out and consider using one or two on your dinner table this year.

Source: satit_srihin via FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Bergamot (Oregano de la Sierra). This herb is often used in teas, but can also be added to seasoned meats and other dishes. Bergamot provides the aromatic flavor in Earl Grey teas. It was also used as a substitute for tea during the Boston Tea Party.

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Source: Billy Goodnick via Houzz

Wild Onion (Allium cernuum). Wild onions grow in subalpine terrain and are found on moist hillsides and meadows. They can be pulled up by the root and chopped into your foods, or roasted with meat and root vegetables for an earthy, spicy flavor.

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Source: Anna Looper via Houzz

Cattails (Typha latifolia or Typha angustifolia) These plants grow by creeks, rivers, ponds and lakes. Cattails are edible from top to root. The leaves can be boiled like spinach, the bases can be chopped into soups and the roots can be boiled and eaten like a root vegetable.

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Source: Santa Rita Landscaping, Inc. via Houzz

Prickly Pear (Opuntia phaeacantha). Once the spines of the prickly pear are removed, you have a very edible plant. The flowers can be eaten raw in salads or used as garnish. The meat of the cactus can be eaten raw, but is often made into jams and jellies.

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Source: Sage Ecological Landscapes and Nursery via Houzz

Wild Strawberries (Fragaria virginiana). You’ll have to wait for spring and summer, and then head to moist ground to find these sweet, delicious wild strawberries.

These and more edible plants in Colorado can be incorporated into your landscape. Contact the design team at Lifescape Coloardo to grow edible plants in your backyard garden.

 

Mojave Sage

Year-round color, aroma and height. These are just a few of the benefits your garden will gain from growing the Mojave Sage. This sub-shrub perennial thrives in full sun, well-drained soil, high altitudes and extremely dry conditions. Guaranteed to be a standout in xeriscape designs, the Mojave Sage is not only drought-tolerant and low-maintenance — it is also semi-evergreen, which empowers even winter landscapes with beautiful interest.

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Source: Plant Select

Mojave Sage blooms all summer long and into late fall with gorgeous textures and hues. Plant Select describes the show-stealing xeriscape perennial as having “beautiful, intensely aromatic silvery-green foliage, topped with densely whorled bracts of lovely smoky mauve-purple that surround delicate violet-blue flowers.”

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Source: Waterwise Landscapes Incorporated via Houzz

What’s particularly striking about the Mojave Sage flowers is the slight color variegation of the outer petals and inner petals, which dawn slightly different shades of purple, blue, lavender, mauve and rose. Because its big, bright blossoms are beloved by birds, bees and hummingbirds, the Mojave Sage also carries common names like Blue Sage, Mountain Desert Sage, Rose Sage and giant-flower sage.

The soothing fragrance of the Mojave Sage is an archetype of the plants overall laid-back way of life. This xeriscape plant requires little watering and pruning. On top of this, the sage is rarely phased by heat or cold. Therefore, xeriscape gardeners join birds, bees and butterflies in a special fondness for this hardy plant.

Benefits go beyond garden design too. Wonderful natural remedies can also be enjoyed by growing Sage, also called Salvia, which is Latin for “to save, redeem or heal.”

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Source: Waterwise Landscapes Incorporated via Houzz

After a couple of growing seasons, the Mojave Sage can reach up to 36 inches in height and width, making it a perfect plant for creating a pretty backdrop. Lavendula, Penstemon, Coreopsis and creeping Veronica are some recommendations to plant in conjunction with Mojave Sage to create a full and vibrant garden design.

Let the passionate experts at Lifescape Colorado help you achieve a xeriscape that will improve not only curb appeal and property value, but also your quality of life. For a natural therapeutic beauty that can be enjoyed all year long, contact us online or call 303-831-8310.

Protect Your Winter Garden from Frost

The first frost of the season can be devastating for a backyard gardener, as you bid favorite plants a final farewell. The following Denver landscape maintenance tips can protect your winter garden from the ravages of frost.

Source: gracey via morgueFile

Go native. One of the most proactive things you can do to protect your landscape from a killer frost is to grow native plants that are uniquely adapted to our high-elevation climate. Some plants produce hormones that make them resistant to freezing and sub-freezing temperatures. Our landscape design team can help you select plants that have a higher resistance to cold weather snaps.

Source: gracey via morgueFile

Use conscientious garden design. Study the hardiness of your plants carefully, and strategically select their planting locations. Place sensitive plants in more protected areas and save wide open spaces for hardier varieties.

Source: Simon Howden via FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Water. This may seem counterintuitive, but watering releases heat-retaining moisture. If a cold snap is predicted, thoroughly soak the ground beneath your plants, with the exclusion of succulents.

Source: Simon Howden via FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Cover them from top to root. Just as the sheets and blankets on your bed trap your body heat to keep you warm under the covers, your plants can be kept warm by ambient ground temperatures. When a cold snap has been predicted, cover your winter garden bed with old sheets and blankets. Make sure they drape all the way to the ground. Then, remove them once the sun is up in the morning. You can also use newspapers, cardboard, or plant-specific covers.

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Source: Genus Loci Ecological Landscapes Inc. via Houzz

Cover the roots. Use a healthy layer of mulch to help insulate roots. Non-man-made mulch, such as wood chips, work best.

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Source: Glenna Partridge Garden Design via Houzz

Move containers. While plants in containers are more prone to freezing, you have the freedom to move them into the house, garage, or against a wall/wind barrier, which provides great protection.

If you’re worried about frost protection or need assistance with your Denver landscape maintenance, contact the experts at Lifescape Colorado.