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Plant tag makes referrals easy
plant-tagIf you have taken advantage of my spring planting service, you may have noticed the plant tag and stake in one of your planters. The tag is split, like a bread-bag tie, so you can just pull it off. This way, when your friends are admiring your pretty flowers, it is easy for you to give them my name and number and you'll earn a $25 referral bonus, too!
 
It's not too late!
Sometimes people feel like they missed the proper planting time and decide it's not worth bothering because they're late. When plants are well cared for, they will easily last through the end of September. Why pass up on having a beautiful patio for the rest of the summer just because you are running a little bit late?  If you still need plants, I'm still planting! (In fact, I'm still working on the planters at my own house.) Please contact me right away.

By the way, if you've misplaced your instruction manual for the hose-end timer, you can find programming instructions on my website.

Now, on to this year's newsletter series: Weeds and Wildflowers.

 
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purslane
 
Weed: Purslane
Remember, a weed is any plant growing where you don’t want it to grow. Purslane (Portulaca olereacea) is a low-growing, spreading plant which thrives in dry conditions and often takes up residence where we don’t want it to grow. Purslane has purplish/red stems with glossy green leaves.  Small, yellow flowers appear in late summer but the seeds are produced in capsules which resemble flower buds throughout the season. This plant is fleshy and succulent. The leaves retain a lot of water so that when you pull it, you find it surprisingly heavy. This is an annual weed – meaning the plants will die at the first frost. Unfortunately, the seeds sprout quickly the next season. In foreign countries, this plant is grown in the vegetable garden! If you have a patch of Purslane which hasn’t been treated with herbicide, you might consider trying this unusual salad.
 
Yogurt and Purslane Salad
1 cup plain yogurt
2 or 3 cups washed and roughly chopped purslane
2 cloves garlic, mashed
Mix together and add a drizzle of oil before serving. If desired, add chopped fresh dill or mint.
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Wildflower: Blue Flax
After suggesting Dandelion was a wildflower last month, I thought I better highlight a plant we can all agree is a wildflower this month: Blue Flax. You may have noticed these dainty blue flowers in some of the open spaces around Fort Collins this year. Blue Flax (Linum lewisii) has good years and bad years depending on the soil moisture. This year the Blue Flax made only a brief appearance in the prairie near my house but in previous years, the prarie looked like a lake of blue flowers! Although the stems of this plant look delicate with narrow leaves all along the stem, they are actually long, tough fibers which Native Americans have used to make cords and fishing lines. A relative of this plant is used to make linen in Egypt. Blue Flax can also be used as a laxative, a salve for burns and a poultice for wounds. It can potentially be fatal to livestock, however, if it is eaten in great quantity. Blue Flax is a perennial wildflower. Although I have tried to grow it in my own garden, I’ve found this plant doesn’t really want to be domesticated and is best enjoyed in the open space near my house.
 
Flax-plant
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Want to know more about weeds? Here are my sources:
 
Gift, Nancy, and Sheila Rodgers. Good Weed, Bad Weed: Who's Who, What to Do, and Why Some Deserve a Second Chance (all You Need to Know about the Weeds in Your Yard). Pittsburgh, PA: St. Lynns, 2011. Print.
 
Whitson, Tom D., and L. C. Burrill. Weeds of the West. Laramie, WY: Western Society of Weed Science in Cooperation with the Western United States Land Grant Universities Cooperative Extension Services and the University of Wyoming, 2009. Print.

Jones, Charlotte Foltz. Colorado wildflowers: a beginner's field guide to the state's most common flowers. Billings, Mont.: Falcon Press Pub., 1994. Print.