Posted on Jan 20, 2017

Greenhouses are available in all sizes, shapes and degrees of strength. They can be bought in unassembled packages, assembled on site and ready to set on foundations, or custom designed for a specific need. Most greenhouse structures fall into three types. The attached lean-to greenhouse has one sidewall as a part of a house, garage or other building. The lean-to is less expensive to operate and construct, but there may be some drawbacks in cooling or ventilating this type of greenhouse.

The window design greenhouse is attached outside a conveniently located window and may be an economical solution for some homeowners. It's very challenging, however, to maintain a uniform temperature in this type of greenhouse because heat is dependent on the interior home heating.

The free-standing greenhouse is the most versatile, when maintaining a good greenhouse environment. This type of greenhouse is easy to ventilate all year long, and can be easily expanded if necessary.

When considering where to place the greenhouse, consider the exposure the greenhouse would receive from a certain location. An eastern or southern exposure is the best for the lean-to greenhouse. Locate the greenhouse out of shade, especially in the winter months.

Materials for the framing of the greenhouse may be composed of untreated wood, aluminum alloy, steel stone or brick. The material you may decide upon will depend on the budget, durability, types of plants to be grown and aesthetics of the structure. If a wood framework is chosen, use a type without wood preservatives, such as Penta or creosote. The most popular woods, western red cedar or Douglas fir, resist rotting and are a good choice for greenhouses. Aluminum and steel are generally colder than wood but in small greenhouses the amount of heat loss due to this factor is limited. Aluminum generally requires less maintenance than a wood structure.


Houseplants: Temperature & Humidity

Light, temperature and humidity are the most important factors for houseplant health. Many plants typically grown as houseplants are native to the tropics where environmental conditions are much different from those of a Colorado home. To improve their chances for survival as a houseplant, it may be necessary to provide supplemental humidity or light or to place the plant in a cooler or warmer area of the home.

Although houseplants tolerate temperatures that are slightly lower or higher than ideal, less than optimal environmental factors affect growth and quality. The temperature preferences of indoor plants are categorized as cool, intermediate or warm. Cool is 40 to 50° Fahrenheit, intermediate is 60 to 75° F, and warm is greater than 75° F.

Humidity, the level of moisture in the air, affects a plant's need for water and its health. Plants routinely move water and nutrients from their roots to the stems and leaves using a process called transpiration. When the water reaches the leaves it is released into the atmosphere through tiny openings. High humidity slows this water loss. Plants grown indoors with low humidity or in a draft lose more water through transpiration, so their root systems require more water.

During colder months, heating systems circulate dry, warm air throughout the house and in summer, air conditioning systems circulate dry, cool air. Both of these conditions often create an environment that has less than 10 percent humidity, well below the 70 to 90 percent relative humidity levels found in the native climates of most tropical plants. In addition, plants located near heating or cooling vents are subject to increased air movement that increases transpiration. Many develop leaf spots or brown tips as a result of the lack of humidity.

Misting plants may help alleviate this condition. However, it must be done frequently to be effective, and it may promote some foliar diseases. A better solution is to group several plants together on a tray filled with gravel and water. The evaporating water provides the humidity the plants need. The bottoms of the containers should stand above the water so the soil will not become water-logged and cause root damage. Using humidification devices around the tropical plants will also help.

In contrast, many cacti and succulents native to arid, desert conditions adapt well to the low humidity conditions in our homes and are great candidates for houseplants.



Posted on Dec 15, 2016

Here in the Rockies we pretty much know what to expect and the people who live in the mountains know what to do about being ready and getting prepared. There are a number of folks that have come from somewhere else and still have ties there, so here’s some forecasts for around the whole country.

Though some will experience above normal temperatures this season, many parts of the country that saw a lack of sustained winter weather last year should endure more frequent storms and bouts of arctic air in 2016-2017. Exactly where will the flakes be flying, and who can look forward to a dry and mild season? Read on for all the details on the next three months, in our 2016-2017 Winter Outlook.

Below normal temperatures will dominate this winter across the north-central US, including the Great Lakes and upper Midwest. Now that last year’s El Nino has given way to a weak La Nina event, we expect the door to be open for frequent shots of arctic air into the middle of the country, some of which may bring extended periods of bitter cold.

If there is a silver lining to the forecast, it’s that we should see a more progressive pattern this season. That means there will be periodic breaks in the cold, leading to an occasional thaw. However, overall we expect below normal temperatures for the season for cities like Minneapolis, Chicago, and Detroit.

Frigid temperatures may be more persistent across the north, but a large swath of the country east of the Rockies will be susceptible to waves of arctic air this season. This will bring the return of more typical winter weather from the east coast down through the Ohio Valley and into the heartland.

Across the middle of the country, arctic air from the north will battle it out with milder southerly flow. This will contribute to an active winter storm season – more on that in a moment – but also lead to frequent back-and-forth temperature swings this season.

Cities across the country that were mild last winter will see more persistent periods of cold this year, leading to overall temperatures near normal for the season. This includes the major northeastern metros of Boston, New York, and Washington D.C., as well as cities across the lower Midwest and South such as St. Louis, Oklahoma City, Nashville, and Atlanta.

If you’re looking for milder temperatures east of the Rockies this season, head to the southeastern coast, where warmer than normal conditions should dominate for parts of the Carolinas, Georgia, and the Gulf Coast.

Aided by warm water temperatures and a favorable jet stream pattern, the southern coastal regions of the US, including Charleston, New Orleans, and Houston should resist the influence of arctic air for the most part this season. A dry and mild pattern is great news for snowbirds, though on occasion strong fronts will lead to periods of below-normal cold even for the deep south.

The most persistent warmth to be found this winter will be out west, where a resilient ridge of high pressure will sustain the influence of mild Pacific air. This will bring above normal temperatures to places like Los Angeles, San Francisco, Salt Lake City, and Phoenix.

Temperatures are one part of the seasonal story, but precipitation – and especially snowfall – plays a key role in how severe a winter feels. Here’s a look at the precipitation pattern, which highlights an active winter storm season for much of the northern US, but unfortunately spells bad news for some of the country’s most drought-stricken regions in the south.

An energetic and variable storm track is expected across the northern tier of the US this winter. This will be driven by an amplified jet stream pattern, with frequent intrusions of arctic air from the north battling against milder conditions entrenched in the south. An abundance of storm systems should produce near normal precipitation across a broad swath of the country, including much of the Plains, lower Midwest, and Mid-Atlantic coast.

Coupled with the expected swings in temperatures, a wide variety of storm tracks also means a wide range of precipitation types will accompany this year’s storms. For any given city along a storm’s path, that could mean rain, snow, ice, or all the above. Also, keep in mind that it only takes one significant storm to make a winter memorable, and even areas in the “Near Normal” precipitation region may see a significant wallop or two this season.

East of the Rockies, the territory most likely to see above normal precipitation this winter is the Great Lakes and northern New England. We expect numerous storm systems here, and with cold air in place, that means abundant snowfall. This will be particularly true in the lake effect snowbelts, where warmer than normal waters should keep the lakes active deep into the season.

In the west, the storm season got off to an early start this year, with frequent systems and a nearly constant stream of Pacific moisture impacting the Northwest through the fall. This active pattern will continue through the winter, bringing overall precipitation totals to above normal in what is already the climatological rainy/snowy season for this region.

Near normal snowfall is expected for much of the Mountain West this year, particularly the northern ranges. This should be good news for skiers, despite the warmer than normal pattern.

Unfortunately, this pattern offers little good news for Southern California, which will likely see a continuation of extreme drought conditions into 2017. In fact a dry winter is likely across the entire southern tier of the country, including the Southeast, which has seen its own drought problems deepen in recent weeks. The driest territory in Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and eastern Tennessee are likely to see their rainfall totals lag even further behind average in the months ahead.





Home Sweet Home Landscaping and Snow Removal


Posted on Nov 4, 2016

Indoor Herb Garden

Do you want herbs year-round? Plant an indoor, winter, herb garden.

Select a container that will hold several plants with similar water requirements, and provides good drainage. Clay, wood or ceramic pots work well. Or, use multiple containers, each with a different kind or herb.

If you have herbs in your garden, fall is a great time to divide or relocate them. Tender perennials such as bay, rosemary, pineapple sage and others will be killed by a hard frost. These are best grown in pots year round. Bring plants indoors prior to frost and set them where they will get maximum sunlight to encourage growth. Perennial herbs such as parsley, sage, mint and chives can be divided in the fall. When dividing these plants, place some back into the garden and pot one or two for your indoor herb garden.

To plant your indoor herb containers, soilless mixes are the best growing medium. Incorporate controlled release fertilizer at planting, and apply water-soluble fertilizer during watering every week or two to insure good production.

Container herbs need maximum sunlight to thrive, which can be accomplished by placing them by a west or south-facing window. Alternatively, using grow lights will assure the plants needs will be met, or suspend two 40w fluorescent bulbs 6-12” away from the plant, lit for 14-16 hours a day. Containers should be rotated periodically to encourage even and healthy growth on all sides.

It is important to monitor indoor containers in order to avoid overwatering that can attract pests and lead to developing diseases like powdery mildew or downy mildew.


African Violet

African violets are a favorite flowering house plant. They are easy to grow, they adapt well to home growing conditions, they are easily propagated from a leaf cutting and they bloom continually all year.

African violet cultivars range from miniatures (plants six inches or less in diameter) to large (over 16 inches in diameter). Flowers come in many colors including bi-colored and multi-colored forms. Flower shapes come in single, double, semi-double, fringed, and ruffled, and leaves come in types including ruffled, scalloped, quilted, and variegated

African violets require the proper amount of light for good bloom. The plants often will retain normal color when they don't get enough light, but they will rarely bloom, and leaf blades will become thin, with elongated petioles (leaf stems). When the light is too bright, growth slows and leaves become pale or yellowish green and leathery.

Eastern and northern exposures provide ideal light conditions, but filtered light in south or west windows also is acceptable. In addition, African violets grow well under artificial light, often blooming more profusely than in natural light. If fluorescent light is the only light source, you will need approximately 600 footcandles of light for 15 hours per day. Two 40-watt fluorescent tubes suspended 12 to 15 inches above the plants will provide enough light. For best results, use the wide spectrum fluorescent tubes. However, regular tubes plus one or two incandescent bulbs will also provide enough light.

Night-time temperatures for African violets should be between 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, and day-time temperatures should be between 75 to 85 degrees. At low temperatures, the leaves on the plants turn dark, appear water-soaked, and eventually die. Plants grown on a window sill can be easily damaged by low temperature conditions, and may freeze if they touch the glass.

African violets appreciate high humidity. Use of a humidifier or placing plants on a metal or plastic container filled with gravel, perlite, or sand with a shallow layer of water in the container bottom will provide necessary humidity. Be sure you do not set the bottom of the pot directly in the water.

When repotting African violets, use potting soils specifically blended for these plants. Soils for growing African violets need to remain loose and well-drained for several years. African violets can be grown in nearly any container as long as it has drainage holes. Position the plant crown slightly above the rim of the planter. If using a clay pot, use foil or some tape along the rim of the pot to keep the leaf petioles from rotting.

As a general rule, water African violets only when the soil surface feels dry. Never wait until the soil becomes hard or the plants begin to wilt. Apply enough water each time to thoroughly saturate the soil, and be sure to discard any excess water collected through the bottom of the pot. To prevent spotting, avoid splashing cold water on the leaves.

Most water-soluble house-plant fertilizers are suitable for African violets. Apply fertilizer according to the manufacturer's recommendations. As a general rule, plants should be fertilized every four to six weeks. If the leaves become pale green and the plant begins producing fewer and smaller flowers, it's time to fertilize. Over-fertilization is usually a bigger problem than under-fertilization.

To propagate African violets, use one of the following methods:

cut off a young leaf with its stalk and immerse the stalk in warm water. New roots will arise from the stalk and can be planted immediately

Break off a healthy leaf at the stem of the plant. Place the petiole (stalk) into a rooting media of coarse sand, vermiculite, or half vermiculite and half sand. Firm gently and water thoroughly. Cuttings root best at 65° to 75°F with a high relative humidity.

To divide old plants with multiple crowns, cut the crowns with a sharp razor blade so that each has a portion of the original root system. Enclose the plant in a ventilated plastic bag to maintain high humidity and prevent wilting until the new root system develops.

Be sure that all tools and working surfaces are clean to prevent disease transmission. A solution of 5% chlorine bleach (i.e. 1 tsp bleach in 2 cups of water) can be used to clean tools, pots and potting benches.

Posted on Oct 3, 2016

Snows here and snows here to stay again, what have you done to keep your peace of mind. Hiring the right people to do the right job will take the worry away from you.

You don’t have to get any equipment. When you hire pros to do your commercial snow removal, you’re hiring a fully equipped team.

Reduced risk of accidents. Securing your professional snow removal service ensures that cleanup is taken care of in the proper way and in the appropriate time necessary on time.

The safety for all is probably at the top of your list of winter concerns. Slippery conditions can cause falls and injuries. No one wants to see someone hurt, especially from something that could be avoided. Besides the injury, legal matters could arise from lack of responsibility.

We have seen this year after year, where somebody’s relative and or friend could do it for them, and then when it came time, they didn’t show in time, or didn’t show at all, get a contract and that will never be an issue.

Avoid fines, some cities and or counties have heavy fines for home, business and property owners who do not clear their sidewalks and driveways.

With an annual snow removal contract, you know a snow removal expert is on the way after every snowfall.

Professional snow removal experts have the experience to know how to work safely during even the heaviest winter storms.

Get fast snow removal with the right equipment: By hiring a professional snow removal crew for your home or business this winter, you can rest assured that an experienced team is using the latest tools and products.

Your snow will always get cleared quickly and efficiently.

If you own a business, having a snow removal contract could be a sound investment.

With a professional team working at your property, your business can stay open even in the harshest weather.

Maybe you don’t need a snow plow with your property, but do need shoveling, remember your health and well-being when attempting to shovel snow, heavy snow for long periods of time. This is when most winter heart attacks occur. Most snow plow companies offer snow shoveling services.

Just for your information:

One cubic foot of newly fallen snow in calm conditions weighs 3.12 to 4.37 pounds, while 1 cubic foot of damp new snow weighs 6.24 to 12.49 pounds. The density of snow varies with its dampness and other conditions.

A cubic foot of settled snow weighs 12.49 to 18.73 pounds. A cubic foot of wind-packed snow weighs 21.85 to 24.97 pounds. A cubic foot of firn, which is snow that has endured through a summer's melting season but has not yet turned to ice, weighs 24.97 to 51.82 pounds. When the snow becomes glacier ice, it weighs 51.82 to 57.25 pounds per cubic foot. A cubic foot of solid ice weighs 57.43 pounds.

Even if you’re only looking at the snow that lands on your roof, that can be enough to cave it in. Just consider the 20 or so homes that collapsed under the weight of a east coast snowfall last year.

Snow earns this mass by being made out of water, of course. Scientists have a measurement called snow water equivalent (SWE) that expresses the amount of water contained in a snow pack. It tells you how much water would be left behind if the snow were to instantaneously melt — it’s a product of depth and density. More snow means more water, which means more mass. Water weight is real.

Dry, fluffy snow is the least concern with respect to weight. This kind of snow will weigh around 7 pounds per cubic foot. If the snow is dense and wet, however, a cubic foot of it can weigh 20 pounds or more. Depending on snowfall depth and the surface area of your roof, it may very well behoove you to shovel the roof as well as your driveway.





Posted on Sep 19, 2016

Composting yard waste recycles nutrients back into the yard and saves landfill space.

Composting reduces yard waste volume by 50 to 75 percent.

Compost made with manure is questionable for use in food gardens due to newer strains of bacteria that cause food-borne illnesses.

The microorganisms that break down plant wastes require favorable temperatures, moisture and oxygen.

Compost can be used as a soil amendment and a mulch.

All yards produce waste from pruning, lawn mowing and other routine plant care activities. Composting is a way to reduce the volume of organic wastes and return them to the soil to benefit growing plants.

Organic matter improves the drainage and aeration of clay soil. Compost can be thought of as a separator that “shoulders apart” tightly packed clay particles to allow water and air to enter. Composting helps sandy soil hold water and nutrients. Compost holds moisture “like a sponge” and releases fertilizer nutrients slowly. It also increases the activity of earthworms and other natural soil organisms that are beneficial to plant growth. Note: Compost is a soil amendment, not a fertilizer. It contains limited plant nutrients.

Making Compost

To make traditional compost, alternate different types of shredded plant materials in 6- to 8-inch layers. Layering helps compost reach the correct nitrogen balance. Use equal parts by volume of dry and green plant materials in the overall mix. Use caution when you add layers of fine green plant wastes such as grass clippings. Grass mats easily and prevents water from moving through the mass during the composting process. Use 2-inch layers of fine materials or process them through a machine shredder. Alternate fine materials with woody plant prunings to prevent clogging the machine and to create an equal balance of dry and green materials.

Traditional composting includes soil as one of the layers. While soil can serve as a source of microbes to “inoculate” plant wastes, research has found that the microorganisms that break down plants also are present on the surface of the leaves and stems. It’s natural for some soil to cling to pulled weeds and uprooted vegetable and flower plants. When you add large amounts of soil, you increase the weight, which makes composting difficult and less efficient. Large amounts of soil also can suffocate microorganisms. Soilless composting is often practiced.

Add water to the compost after every few layers of material. If the plant materials are dry and no green material is available, add a small quantity of blood meal or a commercial nitrogen fertilizer free of weed killers. One-half cup of ammonium sulfate per bushel of material is sufficient. Livestock manure also can be added and supplies some nitrogen. Like soil, manure adds weight and bulk. The space devoted to manure could be used to compost yard wastes.

There is no advantage in adding compost starters or inoculum to the compost. The microbes that cause decomposition multiply just as rapidly from those that are naturally found on the plant waste.

Materials to Use and Avoid

A variety of materials can be composted, but most gardeners want to recycle collected yard waste. Plants lose between 50 and 75 percent of their volume in composting, so a lot of plant material can be processed effectively.

Composting can be effective on most yard wastes such as leaves, vegetable and flower plant parts, straw, and a limited amount of woody prunings, grass clippings and weeds. Woody twigs and branches that are greater than 1/4 inch in diameter should first be put through a shredder-chipper. Avoid highly resinous wood and leaf prunings from plants such as junipers, pine, spruce and arborvitae. The resins protect these materials from decomposition and extend the time needed for composting in comparison with other plant materials. High tannin-containing leaves (oak and cottonwood) have similar problems but can be used in small quantities if chopped well and mixed with other materials. The easiest way to handle grass clippings is to leave them on the lawn. Research shows that they return valuable nutrients back to the soil. Some grass clippings can be used for compost if other green plant material isn’t available.

Many, but not all, plant disease organisms are killed if the compost reaches 122 degrees F. Temperatures will vary throughout the compost. Outer layers stay cooler than the center and cause uneven kill of disease organisms. If a plant is severely diseased, it is better to dispose of it in the trash.

In general, avoid plants treated with weed killers. Small amounts of herbicide-treated plants may be mixed in the pile as long as you allow for thorough decomposition. Weed killers and other pesticides break down at various rates. If you use treated grass clippings, the breakdown of these chemicals should be at least as fast as breakdown in the soil. Plants killed with weed killers that are soil inactive (glyphosate products such as Roundup or Kleenup) should present no problem when composted in small quantities.

In addition to yard wastes, many people compost kitchen wastes, such as vegetable scraps, coffee grounds and eggshells. These materials compost well and usually are not produced in large enough quantities to displace yard wastes. Animal wastes (meat, bones, grease, whole eggs and dairy products) may cause odors and attract rodents; they are not recommended. Human, cat or dog feces may transmit diseases and should not be used. Some animal products that can be used as organic sources of nitrogen include blood and steamed bone meal and livestock manures from plant-eating animals (cows, sheep, rabbits and chickens).

Manures may contain new strains of E. coli and other bacteria that cause human illness. The use of manures added directly to the food garden is questionable, although use on ornamental plantings is still recommended. Research shows that 2 to 10 percent of bacterial pathogens survive the composting process. If manure is composted for food gardens, a two- to four-month curing process following composting is necessary to reduce pathogens. Favorable moisture and temperature conditions during curing allow microorganisms to develop and outcompete the pathogens. Thoroughly wash all fruits and vegetables and peel according to safe food handling practices to minimize the possibility of bacteria-contaminated soil being carried into food prepared for human consumption.

Black and white newsprint is best recycled through recycling collection operations rather than converted to compost. If paper is composted due to a shortage of dry materials, add no more than 10 percent of the total weight of the material being composted. Do not use wood ashes or lime for composting in Colorado. Both increase salt and alkalinity, which leads to a loss of nitrogen in the form of ammonia gas.




Summit and Eagle coutnies

Posted on Sep 5, 2016

In a recent study published in the journal Clinical Research in Cardiology, scientists tried to ascertain whether the link was real or exaggerated. So they reviewed patient records from two winter seasons at Kingston General Hospital in Ontario. The scientists pinpointed 500 patients who arrived at the hospital with heart problems during the two winters.

Over all, roughly 7 percent of the patients were shoveling snow when symptoms began. About two-thirds of them were men — average age 63 — and they were highly likely to have had a family history of premature cardiovascular disease.

The authors called the 7 percent significant and said the number may be much higher, since many patients may not have mentioned that they were shoveling snow at the time their symptoms began.

In a smaller study published in a Journal of Medicine, researchers found that most heart attacks from shoveling snow result from heavy physical exertion causing trauma to coronary arteries, which ruptures plaques that cut off blood flow. One way to lower the risk, particularly in people who smoke or rarely exercise, is to reduce sudden exertion. Experts recommend shoveling early, when snow is lighter, and taking breaks.

The exertion involved in shoveling can rupture plaque and cause heart attacks, particularly in those with a family history.

Why risk yourself and your loved ones, when you live in an area that snows more than half the year and the snow needs removing! Hire the professionals to do the job and it won’t kill your health, literally!

This winter season will bring cooler temperatures and ice and snow for some. For most people, shoveling snow may not lead to any health problems. It’s important to know how cold weather can affect your heart, especially if you have cardiovascular disease.  Some people who are outdoors in cold weather should avoid sudden exertion, like lifting a heavy shovel full of snow. Even walking through heavy, wet snow or snow drifts can strain some people's heart.

How does cold weather affect the heart?

Many people aren't conditioned to the physical stress of vigorous outdoor activities and don't know the potential dangers of being outdoors in cold weather. Winter sports enthusiasts who don't take certain precautions can suffer accidental hypothermia.

Hypothermia means the body temperature has fallen below 35 degrees Celsius or about 95 degrees Fahrenheit. It occurs when your body can't produce enough energy to keep the internal body temperature warm enough. It can kill you. Symptoms include lack of coordination, mental confusion, slowed reactions, shivering and sleepiness.

The elderly are at special risk because they may have limited ability to communicate or impaired mobility. Elderly people may also have lower subcutaneous fat and a diminished ability to sense temperature so they can suffer hypothermia without knowing they're in danger.

People with coronary heart disease often suffer angina pectoris (chest pain or discomfort) when they're in cold weather.

Besides cold temperatures, high winds, snow and rain also can steal body heat. Wind is especially dangerous, because it removes the layer of heated air from around your body. At 30 degrees Fahrenheit in a 30-mile per hour wind, the cooling effect is equal to 15 degrees Fahrenheit. Similarly, dampness causes the body to lose heat faster than it would at the same temperature in drier conditions.

To keep warm, wear layers of clothing. This traps air between layers, forming a protective insulation. Also, wear a hat or head scarf. Heat can be lost through your head. And ears are especially prone to frostbite. Keep your hands and feet warm, too, as they tend to lose heat rapidly.

To help make snow removal safer, here is a list of practical suggestions.

Give yourself a break. Take frequent rest breaks during shoveling so you don’t overstress your heart. Pay attention to how your body feels during those breaks.

Learn the heart attack warning signs and listen to your body, but remember this: Even if you’re not sure it’s a heart attack, have it checked out (tell a doctor about your symptoms). Minutes matter! Fast action can save lives — maybe your own. Don’t wait to call 9-1-1

Don’t drink alcoholic beverages before or immediately after shoveling. Alcohol may increase a person’s sensation of warmth and may cause them to underestimate the extra strain their body is under in the cold.

Consult a doctor if you have a medical concern or question or if you are experiencing symptoms of a medical condition (such as heart disease or diabetes), prior to exercising in cold weather - especially if this is a substantial increase over your usual level of activity.

Be aware of the dangers of hypothermia. To prevent hypothermia, dress in layers of warm clothing, which traps air between layers forming a protective insulation. Wear a hat because much of your body’s heat can be lost through your head.

Learn CPR. Effective bystander CPR, provided immediately after sudden cardiac arrest, can double or triple a victim’s chance of survival. Hands-only CPR makes it easier than ever to save a life. If an adult suddenly collapses, call 9-1-1 and begin pushing hard and fast in the middle of the victim’s chest until help arrives.





Summit County/Eagle County,

Posted on Aug 21, 2016

There is something quite amazing about a miniature landscape of alpine plants. Not only is it a unique visual feature, but it also can be an effective way to deal with difficult areas of your site. As the name suggests, alpine plants are native to high-altitude climates, where extreme sun exposure and nutrient-depleted rocky soil are abundant. Some alpine plants require very specific growing environments, which can make them difficult to grow.

Thankfully there are many options available at nurseries that provide maximum effect with minimum maintenance. Their drought tolerance and ability to cope with poor soil makes them well suited to the areas of your site that receive large amounts of sunlight and little water — giving you a landscape that largely takes care of itself.

Alpine gardens are often composed of a mix of true alpine plants and plants that benefit from the same growing conditions. There is a vast array of plant choices, including low-growing perennials, dwarf trees, grasses and sedges, succulents, ground covers and bulbs. By combining different textures and colors and placing plantings between outcrops of rock, you can create a striking alpine garden that will provide interest year-round.

When planning an alpine garden, pick an area with full sun exposure that doesn’t have overhead trees competing for light. Good drainage is paramount; standing water around the roots of plants isn’t good for alpine plants.

Alpine gardens can vary in size and style. There are many options to explore in the world of alpines, including complementing your existing landscape and filling a container garden on a sunny patio.

Rock walls. The crevices and cracks between stones in a rock wall are perfectly suited for an alpine garden. Fill planting holes with a small amount of soil (making sure that water will drain freely through) and top-dress with a layer of gravel.

Choose trailing plant varieties in small pots (4-inch pots are perfect) for ease of installation and maximum effect. Artemisia schmidtiana ‘Nana’ (with delicate, silvery foliage that will creep over the wall in mounds) and Aubrieta (with prolific bright purple blooms in spring and fall) are some of my favorite trailing alpines.

Planting in containers. A versatile solution for alpine gardens (especially in small spaces) is container planting. You can easily obtain sufficient drainage and select the size and style of the containers to suit your specific garden configuration. Stunning displays can be created by combining a collection of potted alpines or mixing and matching several varieties in a single container. Gardens with a classic or modern aesthetic equally benefit from the contrasting colors and textures of alpine plants.

Make sure the pots have drainage holes and add a bottom layer (a couple of inches will suffice) of rubble, stone chips, broken pot pieces or something similar to allow for optimal drainage. Add several small plants and top-dress with gravel, and you’re done.

As with any plant, pay attention to the growth rate before selecting a site. Vigorous growers, like Sedum rupestre ‘Angelina’ are better used on their own in a container to prevent their overtaking surrounding plants.

The contrast of the intricate, brightly colored foliage and clean modern lines of the bowl in this example would make this arrangement right at home in a modern landscape or patio garden.

Many Sempervivum varieties (a popular succulent alpine plant available in a vast array of colors and sizes) are better behaved and a good choice for mixed alpine container arrangements. Their growth rate is much more manageable, and they create a carpet effect across the surface of the container. Mix and match varieties with different-size rosettes to create an undulating surface that comes to life with summer blooms.

Green roofs. Alpine plants are also perfectly suited to green roof applications, because of their drought tolerance and low stature. Sedum varieties (shown here) vary greatly in texture and color, creating a detailed carpet of plantings that will add interest to an otherwise static surface.

Hypertufa troughs. A hypertufa trough (like the one shown here) is another great option for a miniature landscape of alpines. It has the appearance of stone but weighs much less, as it is constructed from concrete and perlite. The rustic texture of hypertufa emulates the natural environment of alpine plants and allows for suitable drainage.

Troughs can either be purchased premade at many garden centers or easily constructed following instructions found online.








Summit County, Colorado