Plan now for summer flowers!
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The Plants are Coming Soon!

Today we are getting some much needed rain, but we've had some lovely, warm spring weather this month. When the weather is nice, we are eager to get the flowers in our containers. My Spring Planting Service for container gardens begins on May 13th this year (weather permitting). I still have space on the calendar. If you're not scheduled already, contact me to pick a date! 

You may have noticed some plants are available at the grocery stores, big box stores and at the nurseries. You may have also noticed that the selection of annual plants is very limited; for example, there are no Petunias available. In the greenhouse business, growing plants is a calculated science mixed with art. Plant data is collected by the growers so that we know that it takes 8-10 weeks to grow Marigolds from seed to flowering; whereas, Geraniums can take up to 25 weeks. Counting backwards, the greenhouse manager determines when the flowers should be ready for sale and starts the seeds accordingly. Although there is some variation, the plants simply are not ready 4 weeks early. They'll be arriving in mid-May, which is just around the corner.

Don't forget, spring weather in Colorado is very fickle! We had freezing temperatures on Mother's Day in 2014 and 2015. The nursery provides an ideal climate for young plants ensuring they will grow to be big and beautiful!

Refer a friend to Patio Plants Unlimited or for landscape design and receive a $25 discount or nursery gift card. 
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Each month of the 2017 gardening season, I'll highlight flowers and plants of each color of the rainbow. Last month I highlighted some pink flowers, this month I'll cover red, then move on to orange, yellow, green, blue and purple. 

Color of the Month: Red

In containers...
Red-Geranium
Geranium / Pelargonium
What could be more nostalgic than bright red Geraniums? 'Ivy Geraniums' tend to be sprawling and do well in hanging baskets. 'Standard,' 'Zonal,' and 'Regal' Geraniums will grow upright. New and continued work in breeding and cultivating keep the Geranium interesting and popular - look for new colors every year at the garden center!
Crimson-Phlox
Annual Phlox / Phlox Drummondii
When I think of Phlox, I generally think they will be pastel shades of pink, purple and white. However, the variety '21st Century Crimson' of Annual Phlox is a true, dark red color. There are several types of Phlox which are hardy here in Northern Colorado (Phlox subulata, Phlox paniculata, etc.) and while Phlox Drummondii won't survive the winter, they bloom abundantly with bright colors.
Irisine
Bloodleaf / Irisine
This plant doesn't provide noteworthy flowers but the bright red veins on the leaves and the stem provide season-long color. Bloodleaf can reach 24" tall so plant it at the back or in the center of the container.
In flower beds...
Penstemon
Beardtongue / Penstemon
Growing on upright spikes, the 'Firecracker' variety of Penstemon is particularly stunning. Beardtongue prefer the soil to be on the dry side, and they tend to be short-lived (3-4 years). Don't be too quick to dead-head; allow the plants to reseed themselves.
red-salvia
Furman's Red Salvia / Salvia greggii
Similar to the red Beardtongue, Salvia provides spikes of small red flowers and is equally drought tolerant. Salvias, however, return faithfully year after year and are good at naturalizing/spreading.
Crocosmia
Crocosmia
The somewhat odd flower clusters of Crocosmia make it an interesting addition to the perennial garden. It also holds up well as a cut flower. However, Crocosmia prefer slightly acid soil (our is generally alkaline) and are marginally winter hardy in Northern Colorado. Be sure to amend the soil substantially with peat moss and consider lifting the corms (bulbs) each fall for winter storage.
In the yard..
Red-Roses
Shrub Roses 
Of course, Roses come in all colors and bi-colors but red Roses are a timeless elegance. Shrub roses are considered easy care and drought tolerant. The 'KnockOut' and 'Meidiland' series are both hardy and prolific. Look for a rose that is grown on it's own root (not grafted).
Red-Switchgrass
Red Switchgrass / Panicum virgatum ‘Rotstrahlbusch’
This tall, clump forming grass is a great substitute for Japanese Blood Grass. It might not be quite as red as the Blood Grass, but it is much better suited to our dry climate. Once established, Red Switchgrass requires only minimal watering. It grows up to 3 feet tall and 3 feet wide.
Dogwood
Redtwig Dogwood / Cornus baileyi
Although the spring flowers are not particularly showy and Dogwoods are simply green shrubs all summer, the bright red stems brighten the landscape in the winter. The brightest stems are the young, new growth. Prune out older stems in early spring.
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