Friday, May 18, 2007

Q & A

Just because I don't write back doesn't mean I'm rude. I'm a wallflower at heart, plus Mom told me never to talk to strangers. A sleepless night = a deep desire to bond with my virtual gardening friends. Here's a brave attempt at responding to your questions:*

How To Start a Garden at High Altitude
- Buy a pair of gardening gloves and go nuts! A bit of peat moss helps dry soil conditions. Put your blinders on Memorial Day. Mother Nature just loves to hand us a final deep freeze when we're all out there camping for the long weekend.

Barnsley Babies Lavetera
- These lovely Tree Mallows do very well in High Altitude Gardens, thriving in our dry, low-nutrient soil.

High Altitude Lilac Bushes
- Lilacs love life in the mountains. That's because they are typically over-watered and over-fertilized in normal garden environments. Prune them after they bloom. These big, pretty bushes start working on next year's buds a month after they produce this year's fragrant flowers.

Planting Trees in High Altitudes
- Dig a hole 3 feet wider than your tree. This provides loose soil for roots to easily spread. Hold off on the fertilizer for a couple of years. Young trees are working hard, we just can't see that since most of the action is underground.

High Altitude Deciduous Trees
- Planting deciduous trees in your High Altitude Garden does more than beautify the neighborhood. Decomposing leaves adds vital nutrients to our poor, native soils. Visit Arbor Day and discover a world of tree options beyond the standard Blue Spruce. (Sort by drought tolerance.)

Dry Condition High Altitude Grass Seed
- Jim, please. I agree that Kentucky Bluegrass is lush and lovely. That's why it does so well in Kentucky, where it rains all the time. In the desert Southwest, the cost of a beautiful lawn comes from maintenance, not installation. Water bills are high because we're running out of water. Dwarf Fescue is an equally lush turf grass - drought tolerant, slow growing. We've got better things to do than mow the lawn every weekend. You can also kiss ChemLawn good-bye. Dwarf Fescue requires little to no fertilizer.

Utah Mushroom Hunting
- It might surprise you to discover that Utah has some of the best mushroom hunting in the world. Just don't eat them unless you're really, truly sure they're not the poisonous kind. Grab your trowel and head to the High Uintas. For more on 'shrooms, click here. (And, no, I don't know which ones get you higher than a kite.)

Park City, Utah Hardiness Zone
- According to the USDA we're zone 5. According to the Arbor Day organization, we're zone 6. That's because the USDA hasn't updated their growing zones in 16 years. Zone 6 plants are a fairly safe bet, in areas of your yard where snow drifts create a thermal blanket, keeping plants warm.

Carlton Daffodils
- Chris, you're a gardener after my own heart... All daffodils are happy in our High Altitude Gardens. Carlton and King Alfred Daffodils are two varieties that naturalize, making more daffies, as time goes on. Other varieties are reliable bloomers but the bulbs won't spread over time.

High Altitude, Dry Soil, Flowering Bushes
- Lavender, Honeysuckle, Six Hills Giant Cat Mint, Tree Mallows, Butterfly Bush, Barberry, Boxwood, Juniper, Privet, Sage, Winterberry... to name a few. Do the world a favor and plant varieties that inspire butterflies to nest.

Nurseries Selling High Altitude Grape Seedlings
- Havier, try this place - it's a good resource. Be sure and send us a bottle of wine for this hot tip.

Kelvedon Wonder
- Mary... bless your pea-pickin' heart. This is my favorite, too! Kelvedon Wonder is a sweet, crunchy, quick-growing pea variety, ideal for high altitudes and short-growing seasons. (65 days to harvest.) Start a veggie garden.

- Don't fall for those gloom and doom stories from the local nurseries. If gardeners can grow tomatoes in Russia, you can grow them at 7,000 feet in Utah.

Do Hollyhocks grow at 9000 feet altitude?
- Sabeeh, hollyhocks are happy to grow anywhere you don't want them to. They would probably grow well on Everest if someone would just scatter a few seeds...

Half the fun of blogging is meeting people from France, China, Afghanistan, Russia, UK, Portugal, Hong Kong, Canada... though, in all honesty, I haven't a clue what grows well in your neck of the woods. Oh, and while I do appreciate the compliments, I am not the slightest bit interested in marrying any of you nuts from Brazil.

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