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Pinedale Online > News > June 2012 > Water-wise Gardening
Water-wise Gardening
by Sage & Snow Garden Club
June 13, 2012

Dear Gardeners,
I don't know about you, but I'm overcome with all the wonderful gardening opportunities around me! The sights and sounds of this time of year are amazing, so I try to spend every waking minute outside. "Gardening" (my excuse to let my wonderful husband fix supper if he wants to eat before 10 pm) for me covers strolling with a cup of coffee around the yard, stopping to watch and listen to all the birds, and digging a few (!!) dandelions. Anyway, part of gardening is ensuring your plants have adequate water. This month's column includes advice on water-wise gardening.

Happy Gardening,
Flora

Dear Flora,
I live alone and need advice on my flower and vegetable gardens. I also have lots of plants to share. How can I meet other local gardeners?
Signed, Julie Harvestman

Dear Julie,
The Garden Club meets the third Tuesday in the month, so the next meeting will be June 19. We get together at the Sublette County Weed & Pest Office at 12 South Bench Road, Pinedale (307-367-4728). Social time starts at 4:30 P.M., followed by a short business session at 5:00 P.M. To find out more about the Garden Club, go to our website at www.sageandsnow.org.

Dear Flora,
I drove to Big Piney the other day and noticed some beautiful purple flowers along the way. Can I plant them in my yard?
Signed, Nancy Native

Dear Nancy,
The flowers that you notice are native penstemons. They can be grown in our flowers gardens here in Sublette County and are considered a water-wise planting.

Dear Flora,
I have a friend that grows a flower at her house that is yellow and blooms in the evening. Do you know what this plant might be - I want some!
Signed, Jeanne Jealous

Dear Jeanne,
My best guess is that it was an evening primrose. Some varieties have large yellow blooms that open in the evening and last just one night. Wyoming has many native species in the primrose family and they can be great water-wise additions to your flower gardens. Other species have pink and white flowers.

Dear Flora,
I am tired of mowing my lawn. I want some recommendations on how to have a pretty yard that is lower maintenance?
Signed, Larry Loafer

Dear Larry,
There are many plants that you can use instead of grass. Water-wise planting replaces high input sod with shrubs, trees, forbs and grasses that require less water, fertilizer, pesticides and maintenance. You can have lawn grass just where you want it for your children or pets to play. By grouping species with similar water requirement together you can reduce water use. There are many native species and improved varieties of plants that are suitable for our Sublette County conditions that make nice additions to your home and yard.

Dear Flora,
I need a perennial (plants that grow year after year) that can be used to fill in an area that has partial shade. I do not have a green thumb. What do you suggest?
Signed, Too Busy To Garden

Dear Too Busy,
Snow-in-winter (Euphorbia marginata), also known as snow-on-the-mountain or mountain spurge, is a very hardy perennial that tolerates shade and is highly deer resistant. It is very invasive and will spread rapidly to cover a garden bed. Do not plant snow-in-winter with other plants as it quickly dominates the space. The variegated leaf makes a showy green display and requires very little assistance from the gardener to flourish.

Dear Flora,
What ornamental grasses can be used in a landscaping bed that need little water and tolerate full sun?
Signed, Betty, the Meter Reader

Dear Betty,
Ornamental grasses provide a showy spray of green from early spring through late fall. The large mounded clumps of grass and long seed heads add interest to the winter landscape, as well. There are two ornamental perennial grasses that can be successfully grown in Zone 3 and are deer resistant and drought tolerant: Blue Avena (Helicotrichon sempervirens) and Blue Fescue (Festuca glauca). Blue Avena grows two to three feet tall with an 18-24 inch spread. Blue Fescue grows six to ten inches tall with a 16 inch spread. In early spring, trim the clumps of grass to a rounded mound and watch them grow!

Dear Flora,
I am having trouble with keeping plants alive during our hot, dry summers. Is there anything that you could recommend for Sublette County?
Signed, Dried Out

Dear Dried,
The ideal plants for our climate are those which tolerate our dry conditions; this kind of gardening is often referred to as "Water-Wise" or Xeriscape gardening. As well as minimal water requirements, these plants require less maintenance and donít require fertilizers. Many of these plants, shrubs, and trees are native, well adapted to our area and provide wildlife habitat. Many of the plants can be found at local nurseries and include such plants as columbine, catmint, Mexican hat, Russian sage, penstemon and Echinacea. A complete list can be found at http://eartheasy.com/grow_xeriscape.htm.

Dear Flora,
Is the Sage and Snow Garden Club going to present Garden of Beauty Awards again this year? May I nominate a garden?
Signed, Patty Penstemon

Dear Patty,
Yes, the Garden Club appreciates any nominations for this prestigious award. To nominate a garden, call Bettina at 307-859-8606.

Dear Flora,
When will the town flower barrels be planted this year?
Signed, Barry Bloom

Dear Barry,
The barrels will be planted by teams of volunteers the morning of Saturday, June 16th. If you would like to help (or even just observe) contact Jeanne at 307-367-4212.


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