Monthly Archives: June 2011

Going, Going, Gone

Joe starts cutting down the tree
Almost done with the trunk
Wow.  That was fast!

Thanks to our neighbor Phil for lending us his electric chainsaw.  It sure made easy work of cutting down our sick hawthorn.  After the trunk was completely removed, there was still no sign of damage.  I’ll start digging out the root ball in the next week or so to see if I can finally figure out what happened to the King.

Farewell to the King

I am a tree lover.  I love all types of trees and I include many varieties of trees in my garden designs and my own yard.  I do what it takes to keep them healthy which includes planting them in the right spot, watering deeply and fertilizing during the growing season.  I even apply systemic insecticide on trees that have problems with bugs.

Even with all of that love and attention, I have a very sick tree in my own yard that I have decided to cut down.  In September of 1999 I planted a very small but beautiful Crataegus viridis ‘Winter King’.  Better known as the Winter King hawthorn.

Healthy 5 year old Winter King Hawthorn

This tree is known for its beautiful white flowers in Spring, reddish-orange berries in Fall and beautiful exfoliating bark year round.  In the last few years, the leaves have become smaller and very little growth has occurred.  Flowers and berries were abundant but the leaves would turn yellow by mid summer.  

I even had Susan Rose and the master gardener diagnostic team out last summer to see if they could find out what was causing this tree so much distress.  They could find no evidence of bugs or disease.  Every tree and shrub around it was healthy.  Even the grass was healthy around it.  No obvious signs of the culprit.  
I sprayed the foliage with Miracle-Gro and the leaves I could reach turned green for a time but went back to being yellow in a month or two.  This year, same story.  Lots of beautiful white flowers followed by small leaves that are turning yellow.  
Sucker growth at base is normal for this variety of tree.  Notice the  striking exfoliating bark
So, after years of struggling, it’s time to put it out of its misery.  I am going to cut the ‘King’ down this week.  I also plan to dig out the root ball to find out if there is a problem with the roots.  Its driving me crazy that I don’t know what happened to this tree.

I will document the process and post as soon as I can.  Wish me luck as I say Farewell to a friend.

Colorado Lavender Festival is almost here

The first annual Colorado Lavender Festival is almost here.  July 15, 16 and 17 we will be celebrating the emerging lavender industry in Western Colorado.  Tickets for the bus tour and seminars are available on our website at

We also have a few festival items for sale on our website.  Beautiful commemorative posters and organic cotton t-shirts featuring the original batik artwork by local artist Susan Metzger.

See you in July!

The last day of Spring

This morning we woke up to 50 degrees, rain and clouds.  Not what we usually have in mid-June.  It is welcome however.  Any rain is good rain when you only get 8-9 inches per year.  We have had an unusually cool and wet spring and that has the plants at least two weeks behind schedule.  My english lavenders are now just coming into bloom.  No full color yet, just small blooms.

I should be enjoying that sublime chore of harvesting the lavender stems in the early morning while the color and oils are at their best.  Then I would put them in bunches and hang them in my crawl space for a week or two to dry.  I guess I’ll have to wait another couple of weeks.  Sigh…….
One thing I can harvest now is my beautiful berggarten sage.  It is very different than the basic culinary sage plant and that’s a good reason to consider it for your garden.  The leaves are large and a beautiful shade of silver.  They have a stronger flavor than the basic culinary sage so you use less of it. 
Berggarten sage leaves
The plant never blooms so there is no flower stalk to cut off.  The
plants stay very compact and tidy.  If I didn’t use this sage for 
cooking, I would consider it for my landscape because of its
growing habit.  The only pests I have noticed are earwigs which
are minimal.
In the photo below, there are three plants which are approximately 4 years old.  Very hardy and a great addition to any garden.
Berggarten sage plants (3)
Looking forward to warmer weather soon.  Our farmers markets are beginning to have lots of early fruits and veggies.  Cherries will begin to show up this week.  Can’t wait for that.