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Community Garden at the Phillips County Extension Office

CSU Relentless Gardener Podcast


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CSU Engagement & Extension, The Relentless Gardener web site

The year 2002, didn’t feel like a “normal” drought year in Colorado. Tree leaves wilted on branches, as trees succumbed to stress. Flower gardens shriveled in the heat. In many areas, bluegrass lawns, which typically go dormant in the summer, dried up beyond a point of return. Municipalities declared water emergencies, some going as far as to limit watering to no more than two hours per week.

In the early 2000s, nearly all of Colorado faced severe or extreme drought conditions. In 2002, for example, much of the Front Range received less than 8 inches of annual moisture—a significant drop from average precipitation of about 14-16 inches. With gardening essentially banned, jobs in the green industry dried up too, leaving hundreds without work.

At the time, Plant Select, a plant introduction program that shares smart, new plant choices inspired by the Rocky Mountain region, was still in its infancy. Plant Select is a nonprofit collaboration between Colorado State University (CSU), Denver Botanic Gardens (DBG) and the western horticulture industry.

Even in those early days of the 2000s, the program had already proven that it’s possible to have a beautiful, low-water garden with plants that don’t need to be on life support.

25 years on

Now, as Plant Select reaches its 25th anniversary, the program has become a form of drought insurance for the Colorado green industry and the broader West. It has introduced more than 170 water-wise trees, shrubs, turf alternatives, herbaceous perennials and annuals. Just as important, it’s redefining how the public thinks about the western landscape—often behind the scenes.

“Plant Select has invented a unique style and whole, new categories of plants—like Agastaches [hyssops], Delosperma [ice plants] and cold-hardy Salvia greggiis [western salvias],” shares Panayoti Kelaidis, director of outreach and senior curator at DBG.

This new western style embraces the region’s native landscape and flora, as well as its demanding climate. It shows that, yes, it is possible to have a garden that’s in harmony with the natural environment.

“Our gardens no longer have to be a glaring contrast to the western environment in which we live,” Kelaidis adds. “This program’s plants are teaching people to return to their native landscapes. We’re rewilding our cities, so our landscapes are more like the nature we’ve displaced.

Click Here to download the complete report.

Lois Woodward Paul Award

The Golden Plains Area Extension Horticulture Agent, Linda Langelo has been awarded the Lois Woodward Paul Memorial Award for outstanding horticulture achievements in her horticulture career.

The award is given by the Professional Gardener Program started by Pierre DuPont, the founder and creator of Longwood Gardens.  The alumni of the program vote on nominees to decide who should receive the award based on their horticulture achievements. 

The Executive Director, Patti Tingle, of the Holly Foundation located in Salisbury, Maryland nominated Linda for the award.  Here is some of what she had to share with the alumni:

“Known to me for over 30 years, Linda Langelo is an exceptional example of who has devoted their life interest and career to making the field of horticulture accessible to others. I first became acquainted with Linda when she volunteered her time to educate youth and adults with physical disabilities and cognitive delays in gaining hands-on experience and understanding of the world of plants and their care. She shared freely and patiently with each and later developed a Landscape Manual for our facilities with a one-acre therapeutic garden before relocating out of the state – a great loss to our programs.”

“In addition, Linda has volunteered on various boards including the American Community Garden Association where she was active in raising funds and helping to increase membership; Prairie Family Resource Center where she provided oversight on grant writing to increase their success; Phillips County Arts Council which implemented a fund raiser that included garden tours; Holly Foundation with technical assistance and training on garden care, and she volunteered in the community gardens she helped implement with Colorado Master Gardeners across the Golden Plains Area to engage various organizations,  which resulted in her receiving the Community Engagement Award from the CEO of State University Extension in 2013.”

“Currently, Linda engages with people through multiple media platforms.  She created “Garden the Plains” Website and Facebook Page with assistance from Colorado Master Gardeners, and actively contributes through personal guidance and support for those facing horticultural challenges via email. She is the trainer of Golden Plains Area Master Gardeners and the author of a garden column in a local newspaper entitled The Relentless Gardener. In her free time she is an advocate in support of learning.  Linda is nearing the completion of her first book on the many mysteries of plants.”

Becoming A Colorado Master Gardener

By CSU Horticulture Agent, Linda Langelo

This fall is registration time for those wanting to become a Colorado Master Gardener (CMG).  Just what do Colorado Master Gardeners do? They assist Colorado State University Extension in disseminating and educating on the topic of horticulture. 

What sort of projects does a Master Gardener do?  Over the years, CMG volunteers help with community gardens, demonstration gardens, teaching children gardening, teaching adults gardening and more.  Other types of projects include help with the Burlington Seed Library, building Little Free Libraries, doing fundraising, helping with grant writing, writing articles and doing Facebook posts.

If you are interested in applying for the program, see the link below:

•  Initial training will be January – April 2022 and cost $200 for CMG Apprentices.

When a potential applicant applies, I will be notified. The program is 100% remote. Golden Plains Area applicants can opt for getting together for some labs and/or social events.

If you would like to contact CSU Horticulture Agent Linda Langelo for any further details or questions, please call (970)474-3479.

Colorado Reforest Grant Program

Tree Care and Planting

This webinar demonstrates key points in tree care and planting instructions and tips for new trees.

This webinar was a requirement to those receiving a new replacement tree through the Colorado Reforest Grant Program in Akron and Haxtun.  Donna Davis of the Regional Education Coordinator of the Colorado Forest Service is the presenter with CSU Horticulture Agent Linda Langelo hosting. 

Click here to watch the Zoom webinar.

Launch of the Holyoke Special Needs Gardens

Funding for a special needs fruit and vegetable garden has been approved at Holyoke High school. This garden will provide an afterschool activity for students enrolled in exceptional student education (ESE) programs. The program will promote food security within the community as well. General education students are invited to help the ESE students to earn volunteer hours as well.
The gardening program will launch with a distribution of starter plants to be grown independently over the summer. These plants will be germinated in the high school’s greenhouse this spring. ESE teacher Nancy Miles, FFA sponsor Shauna Strecker, and Principal Angela Powell will be the key personnel from HHS. Area Horticulture Agent Linda Langelo, Area Agronomy Agent Todd Ballard, and Logan county director Brian Kailey will be the active participants from CSU. Special thanks to the sponsors who allowed for the launch of this garden. The Heginbotham Trust has provided financial support and Bomgaars Supply has provided seed.

To find more information click here

Burlington Community Garden & Dynamic Dimensions Special Needs Garden

From left to right:
Glenda Gross – volunteer for Dynamic Dimensions, Ginny Hallagin – Executive Director of Dynamic Dimensions,
Ron Hielscher – client of Dynamic Dimensions, Wayne Rungee – client of Dynamic Dimensions, Steve Poet – FFA Advisor – Seibert,
Elaine Wright – Dynamic Dimensions Case Manager, Linda Langelo – CSU Extension, Todd Ballard – CSU Extension,
Denise Marostica,- Dynamic Dimensions Case Manager, Tina Weisshaar – Dynamic Dimensions Case Manager

Community Garden Projects

The Garden the Plains website serves as a resource for gardening best practices. Through research and experience, our aim is to support those who explore sustainable gardening on the Golden Plains. Click here for more information.

Beekeeping in the Golden Plains Area

Check out more information at the Colorado Beekeepers Association web site

The Sweet Smell of Victory

How Gardeners Are Drawing on History to Help During the COVID-19 Pandemic

With many people staying close to home during the coronavirus pandemic, gardening has become popular, specifically vegetable gardens. COVID-19 has led to high unemployment, causing food banks to be overwhelmed, so people are growing food not only to feed their families but also to help their communities. It’s an old idea reborn to meet the moment.

Check out the interview with Grow and Give gardeners in the Golden Plains Area following a macroburst event in June, 2020.

Let’s Grow Together

Learn to grow food and donate extra locally. The resources below are designed to help you grow your own food this year and beyond. You got this, Colorado! Colorado State University Extension & Master Gardeners are here to help every step of the way. More resources are added weekly and will change with the season. Learn more about the history of victory gardens.

Check out Plant Talk Colorado

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