Win a Beginners Guide to Gardening

Are you a new gardener–or know someone who is? Here’s your chance to win a copy of the new book called “Beginner’s Illustrated Guide to Gardening” by Katie Elzer-Peters.

Have you ever wanted to learn how to read a fertilizer label, fix a problem in the lawn, plant a perennial or prune a tree? Are you new to the wonderful world of gardening and have lots of questions?

Then you need this new gardening guide.

“Beginner’s Illustrated Guide to Gardening: Techniques to Help You Get Started” offers how-to tips for dozens of gardening tasks. This is a great book for anyone who is just starting out and has questions about what to do in the landscape and how to to do.

Katie Elzer-Peters wrote this book to help any gardener who has gardening questions, especially first-time homeowners.

Cool Springs Press sent me an extra copy of Katie’s book to give away to someone who could use a comprehensive gardening guide.

Win Dirr’s Encyclopedia of Trees and Shrubs

Do you love trees? Adore shrubs? If so, you could win Michael A. Dirr’s new book, Dirr’s Encyclopedia of Trees & Shrubs (a $79.95 value).

All you have to do is leave a comment with Timber Press, the book’s publisher, before Friday, December 2, 2011, at 4:00 p.m. Pacific time.

The contest is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada. A winner will be selected at random from all entries and announced by Timber Press on Friday.

After reading the introduction to Michael Dirr’s new Encyclopedia of Trees & Shrubs, I just have one thing to say: I want this guy as a neighbor.

I’d get the rare opportunity to watch a genius at the work of “garden-making” and see how some of his new tree and shrub introductions perform in the landscape.

Thank You Birds for the Golden Currant

I didn’t plant this Golden Currant, but I sure appreciate the birds who did.

One of my favorite shrubs in the backyard is one I didn’t choose at the garden center or buy at a garden club plant sale.

Every spring it blooms with brilliant yellow tubular flowers that have a fresh spicy scent and these flowers grow into berries that birds love.  Which is only fitting.

A bird must have stopped by for a drink at the birdbath several years ago and “planted” the seed for this broad-leaf native shrub. Golden Currant (Ribes aureum) is a member of the rose family, it has a nice upright habit and can grow to 6 feet tall.

Even though I didn’t plant this shrub, I might have if I had known how easily it would grow in my garden. And I might have planted it in that exact spot, too. When it’s in full flower it practically glows in the afternoon sunlight.

Bare Trees Provide View for Spring Planting

Winter is the best time to help you really see where to focus your spring planting efforts.

Several years ago, I had the chance to talk with Suzy Bales about her book called “The Garden in Winter.” She said the best time to plan for winter color is during the spring.

The opposite holds true, too.

Because the leaves are off the trees and shrubs during winter, it makes it easy to see the “bones” of a landscape. With no greenery or flowers to distract the eye, the yard can be seen more objectively.

Taking a close look now will help you get ready for spring planting.

You can follow some of Suzy’s  advice for finding areas of the yard to add a spot of winter color. Just take a look outside any of your windows and really observe the view.

  • Are there any bare areas that need filling with a flowering shrub?

Dry Garden? Time to Water

winter-watering-blog2All Western landscapes benefit from winter watering.

If your landscape and garden are as dry as mine, it’s definitely time to water. Even if it seems too early to pull out the hose, trees, shrubs and lawns need winter watering. The general rule for winter watering is to apply water twice a month from October through March, especially if there has been no measurable precipitation and the temperature is above 40 degrees.

The temperature today is well above 40 degrees here in Denver and other parts of the West. In fact, we’re coming off our driest February on record. Even if you’re trying to conserve water in the landscape, it’s important to give plants a drink to prevent permanent damage.

To make the most of your water budget, you can prioritize your watering zones.

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