Planting in Autumn is a good idea.
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Fall is Great for Planting

Perhaps you've always thought the best time for planting is in the spring and although you've probably heard that fall is great for planting you're not sure you believe it. Here's why fall really is a good time for planting:
  • Autumn's cooler temperatures are easier on the plants and the gardener. The soil is still warm which allows roots to grow until the ground freezes. In the spring, the plants' growth is often hindered by cold soil temperatures.
  • In addition to cooler temperatures, the weather is more predictable. Remember how we had a late snow storm last May? The ground was so muddy, it was nearly impossible to plant then!
  • Most pest and disease problems are reduced in the fall. The colder night time temperatures hinder insects and microbial diseases allowing the plants to become established before they must fight off an infection. Rabbits and deer, however, are hungry and can be menacing to your plants at this time of year. 
  • Deciduous trees and shrubs are naturally focused on root development at this time of year. Fall is really ideal for trees and shrubs - in the spring they are already set in place and ready to go when it gets warm. Evergreens will require supplemental watering over the winter if you plant them now and if you plant a tall tree, it will need careful staking to withstand winter wind.
  • Spring-blooming bulbs and many biennial plants need a period of cold dormancy. We plant them in the fall so they have a cool-down period.
  • One more good reason: bargain time at the garden centers! Because they'd rather sell it than have to nurse it along all winter, the garden centers mark down much of their remaining stock.
My ideal is to have everything I'm going to plant in the ground by September 30th; bulbs by October 15th. This gives the plants just enough time to settle in before the soil freezes hard.

I expect several more weeks of nice weather. When the weather turns cold enough to freeze, you can expect to get a frost warning email from me. In the meantime, if you have questions about your plants, please contact me or call me at 970-988-3808. 
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For the 2017 gardening season, I'm highlighting flowers and plants of each color of the rainbow. 

Color of the Month: Blue

True blue flowers are hard to find in nature. More often, the plants are called "blue" but they're really purple. Don't trust the name of the flowers in a catalog; judge the color yourself.
In containers...
Covered with small, dainty flowers in hues that might be called blue, Lobelia prefers some shade and suffers through the heat of summer. If it looks scrappy, cut it back hard and hope for a happy return.
Sutera Gulliver Blue
Sutera 'Gulliver Blue'
I think the flowers are more purple than blue. Regardless, I like Sutera  (formerly called Bacopa) because it blooms faithfully all summer long.
"Blue" Petunias
The worst offenders for naming a plant blue when it isn't blue are Petunia breeders. Purple is a nice color, why don't they call them purple?
Blue Easy Wave Petunia
Blue Easy Wave Petunia
Double Wave Blue Velvet Petunia
Double Wave Blue Velvet Petunia
Blue Sky Petunia
Blue Sky Petunia
In flower beds...
These flowers are truly blue, so much that sometimes horticulturists describe other plants as being "Gentian Blue." Gentian are small, groundcover plants that do well at high altitudes in acidic soil and are commonly seen in rock gardens.
Coral Bells
In shades of blue and purple, Delphiniums grow to be 4 feet tall or taller. The flower heads get heavy and staking is often required. Grow Delphiniums at the back of the bed, near the fence for easy staking.
False Forget-me-not / Brunnera 
Petite blue flowers rise in clumps above the leaves of False Forget-me-not in early summer. Truthfully, this plant's foliage is so pretty the flowers are just an added bonus. Forming neatly rounded clumps, Brunnera prefers shade. Resistant to slugs, deer and rabbits, it is a nice alternative to Hosta.
In the yard..
Blue Mist Spirea
Blue Mist Spirea / Caryopteris x clandonensis 
Once again, it's debatable whether the flowers are blue or purple, but when viewed from a distance the blue-green hue of the leaves certainly lean the argument in favor of calling it blue. Blue Mist Spirea will bloom best if given a good, hard pruning every other year -- cut the branches all the way down to about 8" above soil level in late winiter/early spring.
Blue Oat Grass
Blue Oat Grass / Helictotrichon sempervirens
The seedheads of Blue Oat Grass are tan, but the blades of the grass are a pretty blueish-green all summer long. Cut the entire clump back to about 6-8" tall in late winter (March) before new growth emerges.
Blue Spruce
Blue Spruce / Picea pungens 
Blue Spruce add interest to the landscape year around. Some varieties are short, globular shapes and others can reach 50+ feet tall. Read the tag carefully to get one that fits into your planting space.
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