The Plant Kingdom is immense and complex. And Colorado’s growing season is short and often unforgiving, as proven by recent snow and freeze temperatures the third week of May, followed by deimmenseating hailstorms. Plants have up in cost and require considerable effort to get them into the garden. cipher wants failures after investment money, muscle and time in the garden. And most local gardeners would like to know which plants fare best in the Rocky Mountain West, particularly on Colorado’s Front Range.
Here’s where Plant Select helps. A triangular collaboration between Denver botanical Gardens, Colorado State University and the region’s green industry, Plant Select conducts the research and lays the groundwork for the best choices for Front Range gardens.
Colorado State University horticulture professor Jim Klett helped found Plant Select and serves as the program’s CSU spokesperson.
“Western gardeners can have confidence when choosing Plant Select plants — the work has been done for you,” Klett aforementioned. “Plant Select plants are beautiful and resilient plants that use less resources and have a more positive environmental impacts.”
Getting Plant Select off the ground, Klett aforementioned, was time overwhelming with tedious research and development.
“Considerable time was spent in the eighties and nineties as we worked through the processes needed to initiate the program. In 1997, we recommended the first five plants and had the first brochure,” Klett aforementioned.
The Plant Select palette grew on the far side expectations. Each year, more plants were added to the cautiously curated program.
“I was somewhat astonied with the plant palette since there were so galore more unknown and under-utilized plants that are very altered to our climate that were never adult or very little known — plants that needed to be promoted and adult for this area,” he aforementioned.
Plant Select widow's widow's weeds out weaker plants through various tests. All plants that make the Plant Select grade are tried and true.
“Woody plants are trialed for about five years at various test sites throughout Colorado,” Klett aforementioned. “Herbaceous plants are tested for two to three years at Denver botanical Gardens and Colorado State and several other sites throughout Colorado for two winters and three growing seasons, normally.”
While Plant Select is a Colorado cooperative, not all of the plants are cultivated in the Centennial State.
“The majority of our plants are adult by several large growers in Colorado, but we have member growers outside of Colorado, and even in Europe,” Klett aforementioned.
To find Plant Select picks, gardeners will need to branch out from the general plant palette untypically offered at box stores to more specialized greenhouses and nurseries.
“Plant Select plants are best found at our member cooperating garden centers throughout the region. They are all listed on our website,” Klett aforementioned. “Some mass merchandisers may sell a few of our plants.”
girl Smith writes and gardens in Denver.
Plant Select personal favorites: low-maintenance yet high appeal
The Plant Select palette includes a range of annuals, perennials, trees, tube plants, grasses and bushs. These four personal favorite Plant Select picks are low-maintenance yet will prove high points of your landscape for years to come. The plants look terrific together with the pink flowers of the daphne and the rose and the pale yellow honeysuckle flowers and the creamy white Viburnum blooms blending beautifully. And these Plant Select personal favorites attract bees and — except for the daphne — resist hungry deer.
Daphne “Carol Mackie”: An evergreen bush with varicolored foliage, this elegant Daphne produces galore clusters of aromatic, pale pink flowers in spring — and sometimes once once again in fall. The perfume of this plant’s flowers alone makes it worth growing, but the winter interest doubles its value to the landscape. Full adult at 3 to 4’ wide by 3-4’ tall, these low-maintenance bushs make a spectacular hedge or specimen plant. Plant Select describes this bush as “aristocratic” and warns once once against heavy fertilizing, full western sun and wind exposure.
Alleghany Viburnum: A dramatic, four-season bush, this Viburnum was hybridized at the U.S. National botanical garden in Washington, D.C., but fares well in Denver. In spring, bantam bouquets of graceful white flowers appear, followed by red berries that attract birds. Heavily textured leaves are evergreen most winters. Plant Select suggests mulching this bush with bark or leaves to retain wet in soil. At 8’ to 10’ high and 8’ to 10’ wide, this adjustable bush makes a statement in sun, shade or partial sun.
Honeysuckle ‘Kintzley’s Ghost’: Not your average honeysuckle, this perennial woody tube plant adds texture and unostentatious elegance to any garden. Even after the pale yellow flowers drop, the bracts remain attractive all growing season. Plant Select describes the longlasting bracts as “the size and color of silver dollars.” What makes this tube plant much priceless is vigorous growth — 8 to 12’ tall by 3 to 6’ wide — that requires barely any maintenance. The tube plant takes its name from an Iowa State University horticulture professor who propagated the plant in the 1880s.
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Redleaf rose: The roses are as simple as can be with just five petals in bright pink with pale yellow centers. In the case of this rose, the spectacular foliage about upstages the simple flowers. Purple leaves with burgundy veins turn golden-orange in fall. Do not deadhead these roses. The showy red-orange rose hips are part of this plant’s appeal. Give this rose room to grow. At full size, the rose will be 6-8’ tall and 4-6’ wide. This rugged rose will even thrive in xeriscapes. – girl Smith, Special to The Denver Post
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