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Colorscapes is closed for the season.
Thanks! To all of our gracious customers who made this a successful season for us. We appreciate your continued support and look forward to seeing you at the Everything Elko Expo in September. Our In The Gardens Page will be posted in August with advice on maintaining your gardens and landscape.
Colorscapes Greenhouse and Nursery specializes in garden and landscape plants for Northern Nevada and has been proudly serving Elko, Spring Creek, Winnemucca, Carlin, Wells, and all points in between since 1991.
Lacewing adult and
at larval stage.
Dragonfly and Mantis
Precious pollinators: Honeybee and Swallowtail Butterfly
Beneficial insects thrive in healthy gardens, keeping pests in check, and adding to the sensory pleasures of being outside. A commitment to stop spraying persistent, non-specific insecticides in the gardens and landscape is the first step to ensuring the safety of beneficials. Once they return, providing food (including pollen and nectar from flowers), water, and shelter will nurture them and their offspring for generations. Planting a diversity of flower types increases the number of individual species attracted. Birds, including the ever-favorite hummingbird, are voracious feeders and will also do their part in a healthy ecosystem to keep pests in check.
As we move into the warmer summer months, gardeners need to be aware of three pests; Thrips, Aphids, and Weevils, that can cause damage to their garden and landscape plants.
Thrips are microscopic insects with a long, narrow body and fringed wings. Young nymphs are yellowish in color and do not have wings. They feed by scraping cells and sucking out the contents, causing the foliar tissue to turn white. As they feed, they leave behind tiny black droplets of excrement, characteristic of this insect. Heavy feeding leaves a silvery cast to the leaves. Plants can usually tolerate moderate feeding, but serious infestations can become unmanageable. At Colorscapes, we use a product called Conserve® SC, a specialty insecticide that is an excellent choice for nursery and greenhouse operators, as well as arborists, and lawn care operators and golf course superintendents. Spinosad, the active ingredient in Conserve, is derived from the fermentation of a naturally occurring organism, uniquely combining the efficacy of synthetic insecticides with the benefits of biological insect pest control products.
Young thrip and eggs
Thrip damage on foliage
Adult lady beetle
Lady beetle larva
Female aphids do not require a male to reproduce, they reproduce asexually. Females give birth to live young instead of laying eggs for most of the summer and because of their rapid development time, the rose aphid is able to complete up to 15 generations during the growing season!
Winged forms of aphids develop when populations increase and plants become crowded. At Colorscapes, we use Endeavor® insecticide that belongs to a new class of chemistry that safely eliminates sap-sucking aphids and whiteflies. As the aphid begins to "tap" into a plant treated with Endeavor, its sucking mechanism is immediately and irreversibly paralyzed-the aphid pulls out its stylets. With no harm to beneficial insects or mites, and no further harm to the plants, the aphid dies within 2 to 4 days.
The Language of Gardening: Everything Elko
Article for June 2014
Hobby enthusiasts, including gardeners/growers, often use terms that get bantered about which may be unfamiliar to those just getting started. This is a short list of some of those frequently used terms that may help clarify some questions most often asked by people stopping by the greenhouse and nursery.
Acclimate; Acclimating plants is the process of allowing plants time to become accustomed to their new growing environment prior to planting. Plants from the greenhouse have no experience with wind, direct sun, high daytime temps or low nighttime temps, so their tender growth needs time to toughen up, literally, to the conditions they will face once planted. We suggest at least 3-4 days and nights.
Genus; Along with variety, cultivar, and species are words that are often used interchangeably in reference to the botanical name of a plant. We usually opt for genus since most plants that reach the mainstream trade via growers are from, but not the same as, plants found in the wild. Example: Echinacea purpurea 'Ruby Star' is the genus, species, and cultivar of the Purple Coneflower we offer. Echinacea purpurea 'Cheyenne Spirit', same genus and species, different cultivar. There are also plants that are patented or branded, for example Proven Winners. Some series of plants are registered names, for example, Wave® Petunias.
Amendment; A broad term which can include organic matter such as composted manures, wood mulch, peat moss, or kitchen compost that can be incorporated into the soil. I think of incorporating amendments as feeding both the soil and the plants. By improving/amending the soil, plantings are better able to develop a vigorous root system. This applies to intended lawn areas, beds, borders, hedges, and vegetable gardens. When you are ready to amend the soil prior to planting the area, the tiller's tines need to be brought up since amendments do their best work when limited to the top 4-6 inches of soil. Organic amendments break down as they are used and need to be replaced seasonally.
Mulch; Literally defined, means a protective covering spread on the ground to reduce evaporation and suppress weeds. Mulches include, chipped or shredded bark, clean gravel, ground fabrics, rubber (yuck!), and given the creative forces behind gardening, the list goes on. We don't use ground fabric in the gardens, but we do use it under the washed gravel in the outdoor retail areas and under bark in the gazebo area. Gravel as mulch in the gardens is preferred by xeric plants and designs that include rock gardens. I include small bark chips in my "mix" and use it between perennials and shrubs in the gardens after cutting back the perennials in late fall. So, you might be asking yourself, "What's the difference between adding an amendment, and using mulch?", short answer, not much. Typically, amendments are incorporated before planting, and mulch is used after.
Water-wise; A term that refers to the plants, not the people who water them. It's a favorite listing because there's such a wide variety of plants available to choose from and because, let's face it...we live in a high desert and water-wise plants are a smart choice. I believe that most mortalities in the landscape can be directed to the amount of water a plant needs vs. the amount of water a plant gets. Water-wise plants have adapted over many years to hold the water they need in their roots and foliage. Pubescent foliage with its fine hairs, traps moisture, narrow leaves also tend to require less water. An example of a xeric (zir-ik) plant with both characteristics is Cerastium 'Snow in Summer'.
Xeriscape; Landscape principles that make a low-maintenance, water-wise landscape both attractive and attainable: Thoughtful planning, Improving soil conditions, Limiting turf areas, Mulching, Grouping plants with similar water needs, Efficient irrigation, and Maintenance including weeding, pruning, and scheduled fertilizing. Consider this, whether to water depends on the weather.
Aeration; Via aerators for lawn areas and via incorporating coarse materials including sand, bark chips, perlite, etc. into the soil to allow for water and nutrients to flow evenly through the root profile and to reduce soil compaction.
Fertilizer; N-P-K: Percentage of Nitrogen-Phosphorous-Potassium. A balanced fertilizer is suitable for most plants. Water-soluble fertilizers dissolve easily in warm water and can be applied through a sprayer for foliar feeding or a nozzle applied directly to the roots. Slow-release fertilizers have prills with small amounts of water-soluble fertilizer that release small increments of fertilizer each time the plant is watered. The more often you water, the more often fertilizer is released.
article for May 2014
Annuals, and Perennials, and Shrubs...OH MY!
Annuals are a gardener's best friend when it comes to all summer color in beds and containers. We usually start with those cold-hardy varieties including pansies, violas, and snapdragons that can breeze through those inevitable, late-spring cold snaps that would nip other annuals. Then there are those tender perennials (AKA cold-hardy annuals) that are up next for planting including salvias, coreopsis, and assorted others that can take below freezing temps through spring. We've given up on marigolds, zinnias, portulacca and the like since they have zero tolerance for even a hint of frost in the air. What's equally nice about cold-hardy annuals is that they are also the last ones to freeze out, when our early-fall frost first strikes, lasting well into September and even into October. Petunias, calibrachoa, and verbena can also be trusted to tough out some chilly spring weather and will also hang in there through early-fall, but we usually hold off until early-May to consider taking them out for acclimating. I'm a creature of habit, and have planted our display garden containers on Earth Day, then start to acclimate for my personal containers and in ground planting no sooner than early-May. By then, the picnic table is out and I can shove them under there if snow strikes late. A light cotton sheet works best for needed covering since it can be left on through the day.
Perennials are my choice for nearly all in ground planting since they come back every year providing me with a better value and a one-time bed prep prior to planting. As I explain to my newbies, some perennials are short-lived (3-5 years), like the coreopsis, delphinium, and shasta daisies while some live for generations including peonies, daylilies, and iris. Some spread vigorously within two seasons, and some take 3-5 years to get settled in. Some will spread their seeds here, there, and everywhere while some are sterile and will stay neatly where planted. Our website is a hybrid between a catalog and a newsletter. I try to provide information about the individual plants, but go a bit further and share some things I've learned about gardening in Northern Nevada. I get a range of people stopping by, from those who have forgotten more than I'll ever know, and those that are just getting started. Both have found our website helpful and I suggest at least looking over it prior to making plant selections.
Shrubs will always be an important element to any landscape. Available in a wide range of sizes, leaf texture, foliage color, and branching habit, shrubs fill needs for either a city lot or large acreage designs. Used in landscape designs for...ever, shrubs are a structural element used to divide areas/rooms in the same way that walls serve the interior design. Also referred to as screens, garden backdrops, and vertical elements, shrubs provide privacy and a sense of enclosure as we avoid views and noises from intrusive surroundings by creating spaces to relax and enjoy being outdoors. Using a mix rather than a single variety planting creates diversity especially when accentuated by groupings of colorful perennials. Shrubs that turn to shades of yellow, orange, and red continue their seasonal interest into fall as gardeners spend the last warm days of the season out in their gardens. They also provide a vertical element to an otherwise one-dimensional view as gardens are viewed from indoors looking out.
article for April 2013 'Container Gardening'
As it is with any design, the best starting point is to have the intent/purpose of the container garden in mind prior to shopping for a DIY container and plants, for plants to fill a container you all ready have, or for an all ready assembled container garden from the greenhouse.
Examples of intent/purpose for your container garden.Screening: Don’t underestimate the value of vinyl lattice panels since they’re easy to install and maintain and can be left up through the changing seasons. A formal design could include mirror, vertical plantings on each end. Another screening tactic is the use of short walls to divide areas. They can be topped with windowbox style containers using medium height plants down the center edged with slightly trailing varieties.
Wide steps can be flanked on both sides with mirrored plantings while narrow steps only need a set on either side. A deck or patio area with steps can also be an opportunity to include a threesome of pots. Threesome designs usually have a large, medium, and smaller pot with at least one of the same plant variety and color in each pot to provide continuity.
Table top containers are often bowl-shaped with varieties that bubble rather than being tall or vigorous trailing varieties. Bubbles are easier for guests to chat without view obstruction.
Growing vegetables and herbs in containers has lots of advantages over in ground planting, but there are some guidelines to follow. Tomato plants get big and have equally big root systems, so they need big, 20”+ pots to thrive. Peppers, though smaller, also benefit from the space for roots to thrive. Flowers and vegetables that need pollination are a natural and beautiful combination. Most herbs flower, so they provide for all the senses.
Size, color, shape, and what the container is made from, all affect the ease of maintenance along with the number of and varieties that will be the best fit.
Plastic containers are inexpensive, durable, light-weight and available in an array of shapes, colors, and sizes. Wood and pottery both look great, but otherwise, have limited attributes; consider using an insert or liner. Large containers, 20”+, hold more water and will need to be watered less frequently. Though costly to fill initially, keep in mind that a quality container mix can be left in the pot and re-used for several years. Whichever type of container you choose, all containers need to have drainage for excess water to escape.
Pot colors affect the color of the flowers and foliage used. Dark green foliage stands out visually when planted in a light colored pot, likewise white and pastels are more dramatic when planted in pots with dark shades. There will be color combinations you find yourself drawn to and those you avoid, this is strictly a personal preference, but one to be aware of.
Tall, narrow pots look best with tall, narrow plants towards the back or center framed by a ring of fillers or in a threesome pattern that flows from top to bottom. Pots with equal height-to-depth, look great with upright, medium height plants. Pots that are bowl-shaped, look good with plants that bubble rather than vigorous trailers. While container garden plants can be closely spaced, each will need some space for the root system.
Choosing the right plants for your container garden.
Plants with similar light, soil, and water requirements are a starting point. Shopping with a list of possibilities from our website Availability List or with a picture from a magazine or catalog that appeals to you are also ways to increase your chances of finding the right plants. Whether using annuals or perennials, bloom and foliage colors are by personal preference, but your choices should be guided by the container attributes mentioned earlier.
The number of plants you’ll need is a simple math solution determined by the size of the container garden and the size(s) of the pots your choices are growing in. Though the plants can be planted fairly close together, remember that the plants, especially those that grow vigorously, will need room around each root ball for optimal growth.
Plants will have increased root development with the use of a light, porous, quality potting mix formulated for growing plants in containers.
Quality mix has two major components: Peatmoss, to absorb and release water and nutrients, and Perlite, to evenly distribute water from top to bottom and provide needed oxygen to the roots. Amendments may include: Compost, finely chopped bark, or coir, all intended to increase the tilth and structure of the potting mix. Additives may include: Soil Moist polymer gels that absorb and release water and nutrients, Osmocote polycarbonate prills filled with a small amount of water-soluble fertilizer, Roots mycorrhizal fungi that produce root-filaments that increase absorption of water and nutrients.
Planting your container garden.
Acclimate plants coming out of the greenhouse prior to planting so they are conditioned to better handle high and low temperatures, windy conditions, and a change in light conditions. One week is optimal, but even a few days/nights out will make a difference. Continue to water the plants and reduce fertilizer which promotes tender, new growth.
We use a pot in place method on all container gardens that leave the greenhouse: Remove the plants from their pots and set the plants aside. Put enough mix in the bottom of your container so that the tops of the empty pots, that will soon be set inside the container, are just below, not level with, the top of the container. Add more mix and firmly fill in around the empty pots (now is a good time to topdress with slow-release fertilizer). One pot at a time, gently rock the pot back and forth then lift it out. Now place the root ball, intact, into the space created by lifting out the empty pot. Gently press in on the corners and “water in”.
Maintaining the container garden.
Always be prepared to cover newly planted container gardens should the weather take an unexpected turn for the worst. A light bed sheet works best for a light frost. Such measures can also be taken if deer tend to move in on your gardens through the night.
By keeping the potting mix evenly moist from top to bottom, you’ll have the best assurance that your plants will not wilt due to lack of water or rot due to too much. Plants need fertilizer. Whether provided as a slow-release fertilizer topdressing, via water-soluble fertilizer applied with every third watering, or as compost tea, all plants benefit from replacing nutrients on a regular schedule through the growing season.
Colorscapes Greenhouse and Nursery