Not too much to write about this week. Lizz is planting for next spring in the greenhouses and Kaila and Nate are helping Chris pick a boat-load of perennial seed every day now in the flower field. I’ve been mostly stuck in the dungeon (what I call my office) working on computer work, of which I have several very big office tasks to get accomplished before September 1st, so I’m trying to stay focused. That’s hard to do when I’d rather be outdoors doing things. Oh well…

The Winter Redflesh Apple tree is loaded with little apples. This is one of my favorite apple trees in our orchard. The apples are a large-sized crabapple with purple skin and pink flesh. They are tart and delicious and make incredibly tasty applesauce!

I did have a great visit with my friend Ro and her dog Nani yesterday morning. It has been a couple of months since we have been able to visit, so we both enjoyed it very much.

This week is going to be very full of tasks and visitors. I will be doing a radio show on Thursday morning at 9am on KRLN our local radio station. It’s the Brady’s Garden Show and I’ll be their guest. We’ll be talking about growing herbs in your garden.

Then on Friday, the Cheyenne Mountain Garden Club will be visiting our farm for a Farm Tour.We are looking forward to their visit.

On Saturday, I will be giving a Plant Walk-About on Weeds and Wild Plants and ways to use them. There is still room in this class if you’d like to register. It will be from 10-12noon on the 17th August here at Desert Canyon Farm. You can register at dcfhomeplace@gmail.com by sending your name, email and phone number for yourself and every one that will be attending in your group. The cost is $15.00/person. There is more information on the “classes & events” page of this blog.

Finally, on Saturday evening Chris will be playing Gypsy Jazz with his fellow musicians Drew and Frank for the FARm to Table event at the Abbey Winery. I will be there with a booth filled with information for Desert Canyon Farm.

All for now. I expect that next week I will have more to share.

With Green Thoughts, Tammi



About 2 weeks ago, I showed the field crew how to make St. John’s Wort infused oil. Every year I make this oil and then later turn it into skin cream to use as a sun screen. Every year, I’m just as much in awe of this wonderful medicinal plant as I have been for more than 40 years running!

Below is one of my propagation logs, which I have kept every year since 1985. Inside the cover is all the information about the seeding and vegetative propagation that I or the farm crew has done for each and every plant grown here, and before that when I was the plant propagator at Paulino Gardens in Denver, CO.

These propagation logs are so helpful when I have questions about something I have grown or just want to take a look back in my history as a plant woman.

Speaking of being a plant woman…for me that started at a very young age, maybe even at birth…who knows. Below is my first Herbarium of plant specimens that I created when I was 7 years old in the 2nd grade!

It’s filled with specimens of leaves, dandelions and goldenrod, even sage! I pulled it out of its safe-keeping place today to look through it and also to use it for a project related to the children’s plant book I’m working on with Cornelia Funke.

I also welcomed 3 amazing women to the farm this past Tuesday night for a Plant Walk-About for Trees and Shrubs. We had a blast! It was extra special because these are 3 special women in my life. Rebecca with black hair and Karen with the gray dress came into my life nearly 20 years ago as herb students. They have been dear friends ever since those days. Many of you know Liz, in the white top, as we lovingly call her Farm Stand Liz during our Open Farm Days when she and Stephanie take care of the Farm Stand store. She and I share a passion for plants and wildlife and our cats ;-} , and that has created a wonderful friendship.

We also have a new field crew person. Welcome to Nate! We are enjoying his company and his help already and he’s only been here a couple of days so far. He has definitely passed Shrek’s affection test, as has Kaila.

Sadly, Michael, our field Intern, left this week to go back to college in Kansas. We’ll miss him greatly.

Hannah and Gretel wanted to say hello too!

Our hike this week took us up Horn Creek Trail and the wildflowers continue to be incredible.

I always hike with a walking stick and this is a cedar walking stick made for me many years back by a dear friend, Jon Morganson. Over the years, I’ve added my own bits of important “stuff”, all with their own bits of stories, to my walking stick. It is very special to me.

We have more baby birds living in the cow skull on the Little Garden House.

And just to make sure I leave you with one more good smile for the evening…

Another wonderful hike in the Sangres with good friends (Marc, James, Brad & Jan)

Shrek and Chris and I so enjoyed everyone’s company. The mountain stream was cold and loud and wonderful. The wildflowers also were incredible and so many different ones are blooming right now. What an outrageously beautiful place!

The fawns are getting bigger, but still with spots.

Every morning one of the does is in charge of fawn daycare. These little ones were darting all around the orchard, playing chase, and just having a grand time.

In that same orchard, I started picking the first peaches. This is the first year that this little peach tree has produced fruit. They are beautiful and delicious.

In the desert garden, so many things are blooming in their glory, especially this yucca.

I’m trying to remember the species spelling…I think it is Yucca rostriflorus. There is also a Yucca elata blooming right behind this one. You can see the flower stalk in the background. Anyway, I’ll remember soon enough, but just look at how gorgeous this flower stalk is.

I saw hummingbirds working the flowers, which actually surprised me that they would be the ones attracted to these blooms since they are not brightly colored, but there they were going in and out of the flowers drinking nectar.

I’m writing this post from California, where I am enjoying the most amazing company of 4 lovely women (Cornelia, Tallia, Eleanor and Gudula). Last night we had a beach picnic to celebrate Cornelia’s new book release and it making #1 on the Spiegel bestselling list! It is also on the New York Times bestselling list and it is only just released!!!! The title is Pan’s Labyrinth The Labyrinth of the Faun. It is going to be wonderful to read. Check it out!!

Part of my time here is working with Cornelia on a plant book project that we are writing for children.

Such fun!

So, soon I will be back at the farm and will see what has happened while I have been away. Back in touch soon, my friends!

I thought I would give you an update on the hardy figs. This is the 4th year that the hardy Violet fig has been in my garden and it does great! It is always late coming up and doesn’t really come out of the ground until very late in May or early in June. Now it is jammin’!

And for those of you who read my post 2 or 3 times back, when I showed you a picture of the same fig growing in a pot on my back porch, and remember that it looked like sticks in a pot with just the inklings of new leaves sprouting….well, as a recap, the reason it dropped all it’s leaves to begin with is because I brought it outdoors in mid-April from night time temps of 65 degrees to having to endure a snow storm the 2nd night it was on the porch. That really wasn’t very kind of me and I should have waited a week or two longer to bring it outdoors from such warm indoor temperatures, but it is hardy and I knew it would be fine.

So, after the snow event, the plant dropped every single leaf it had and looked miserable for quite a while. Then, about 2 weeks ago it began re-leafing out and now look at it! It is gorgeous and getting more leaves and new growth every day.

You can also see that it is beginning to get baby figs! Soon I’ll be picking fresh figs to snack on. I love them so much!!

Because we have had such a nice spring and early summer so far, the gardens and the flower field, the orchards, and everything look great! We have had nice moisture and until recently the temperatures were mild. The past two weeks it has begun to get hot, but it is July after all, so that is to be expected. The flower seed crop field looks amazing.

Everything is blooming like crazy and we are starting to harvest seed now too. This morning, Chris and I harvested the rest of the Shangri-la Sage seed crop and started harvesting some of the Gaillardia. The Turkish Sage (Salvia dagastanica), which is the low purple flower you see in this picture, is starting to have some seed ready to pick, and on it goes. Every day there is more seed to be picked than the day before and that will continue until late November when we will finish up the last of the seed harvesting. We are only just getting started at this point.

Speaking of harvesting, I’m also picking from the food gardens now. I dehydrated a giant sack-full of cherry tomatoes and several purple beauty bell peppers. I put herbs and garlic on the tomatoes before I dried them and now they are delicious and ready to be eaten as hiking snacks, put on flat bread pizzas, into sauces or tossed into pasta. Yum!!

This is the first year I really got a harvest of tart cherries. There were about 4 giant cups of cherries, so they are now pitted and frozen until this winter when I will bake them into pie. This is the first year that the tree was really old enough to produce, so going forward I will expect to pick a lot more from this wonderful cherry tree.

I cut the scapes off my garlic and we will cook them in butter and put them over top of noodles, maybe with some summer squash too or a bit of fresh rosemary. It was also time to begin harvesting the red lake currants, which I love so much. This is a huge mixing bowl filled with currants and there are probably 2 more bowls worth that are not quite ripe that I will harvest later this week. These will go into the freezer to bake into fairy bread and some will be eaten fresh in our daily breakfast of yogurt, fruit and nuts (with a sprinkling of chocolate chips of course to make it gourmet).

The harvest season is in full swing now and I’m a very happy woman.

I’m also quite happy because this past week brought my first weekly mountain hike of the summer. We hiked the Megan Lake trail, which is one of our favorites.

The water in the creek is roaring and very high due to the huge winter snow pack. In fact, there was still some snow along the trail as we got up higher in elevation, but it wasn’t enough snow to prevent us from getting up to the lake. We did have to take off our hiking boots and socks and wade the creek because the log crossings were under water.

Once we got to the lake, Shrek had to do a thorough check to see if the trout were awake yet. He does love communing with the trout! I’m not sure they are very interested in him though.

On July 4th, I found myself all alone, and in peace and quiet, working in my garden. Shrek, Chris and some guy friends (Jay and Mike) went hiking. I trimmed some whiley grape vines, picked the currants and strawberries, planted the butterfly garden near the front porch, and enjoy doodling around in the White Rabbit Garden. The day was delightful and I even got a half hour nap (that’s pretty much un-heard of for me).

The gardens are very beautiful right now. This is a nearly wild rose, but which I call Professor’s rose. We used to have a huge Maine-coon cat named Professor Longhair. Sadly, Professor has been passed for several years, but when he was alive he loved to be in the garden with me and this rose was his favorite place to hang out. He even enjoyed eating the roses! I think he was a little bit of a flower kitty child at heart.

The hollyhocks are gigantic this year from the spring and early summer moisture and are easily 6-8 foot tall. I have about every color and they are just so beautiful around our little casita home. The Belen hen greets people at the entrance of the White Rabbit Garden standing between a yellow and white hollyhock with dark and pale pink hollyhocks in the distance near the porch railing.

From the Belen Hen and all of us here…hope you are enjoying your summer!


The flower seed production field is jammin’ these days and Michael and Kaila are keeping it tidy and beautiful.

I snapped a couple of shots of them weeding the Helichrysum italicum (above) and picking the Tanager Gazania seed (below).


Finally! Now that Open Farm Days are past and with June the wholesale orders begin to slow just a wee bit, I have some time to think about planting and caretaking for my own gardens. I got most of the food garden planted last Saturday.

Some of you know that I have been planning to put a new fruit garden in place, expanded to include a lot of fruit varieties that we haven’t already planted here. Last week while I was doing our deliveries, Chris gave me a wonderful gift and planted much of our new fruit garden. This garden is located in the back orchard where the ducks live, near the big pond, and it now includes wild plums, Juliet shrub cherries, dwarf mulberries, blackberries, loganberries, hardy figs and hardy kiwis. I still have black walnut and sea buckthorn trees to plant.

In addition, we planted a brand new raspberry bed. We’ve always had raspberries here and they do great, but the old bed was worn out and over rooted, so Chris dug up a new large bed and I planted it on Sunday. We still have a couple of areas with the pre-existing raspberries in place for this year, because you can never have too many raspberries in my opinion, but once the new bed is at full production, I may remove the old plantings and use that space for something else.

Today, we hosted the Denver Botanic Gardens Herb Guild for a Farm tour. These women were wonderful visitors and we all enjoyed ourselves. After the tour, they stayed a while to enjoy their own picnic lunch. Thanks for coming ladies!

Since they had scheduled their Farm tour so near to when our Farm Stand store had closed, we re-opened it for an hour today to give them a private shopping experience. They had fun and a few of our plants are now headed to new garden homes.

While we were watering in the new fruit garden, the ducks decided to do a bit of sprinkler sitting. As soon as the sprinklers were turned on, they made a beeline to stand in the water spray.

So, does your hardy fig look “leaf-less” and ugly? If so, don’t loose heart…it is just reacting to going from a warm greenhouse climate in early spring to outdoors in unsettled spring weather. I put my indoor fig out on my back patio in mid April and then it snowed and was really cold for several days. These are hardy figs, so they are normally not troubled by this kind of spring weather, but that is if they are planted in the garden soil! Being brought outdoors from a nice snug greenhouse, with 60 degree night temps, to night temps outdoors in the 20’s and freezing rain or snow, is not fun if you are a pampered fig.

My fig, when exposed to those type of spring conditions, dropped all it’s leaves and has been sitting on the back porch branch-naked since April. I wasn’t worried though, because this has happened before and they are hardy afterall. Now that the summer has arrived and the plant is used to being outdoors, the temps are warm and settled, it has decided it is safe to put out new leaves and has started that process. by next week it will be clothed in a covering of newly sprouted leaves and will be gorgeous as ever.

So, be patient if you have a branch-naked hardy fig in your life too. This too will pass and soon it will look like a respectable fig once more.

As a last reminder, I will be giving an intensive herb class on Saturday at Majestic Moon Ranch and I’ll be speaking at the Botanica Festival on Sunday morning. Next week, on June 29th, I’ll be teaching at Phelan Gardens in Colorado Springs. You can find all the details about these classes and events on the “Classes & Events” page of this blog.

Just a quick post, with more to come later this week, but I wanted to let you know that today was our last Open Farm Day and Farm Stand Plant Sale day for 2019. We are now closed to the public for the season. Thank you for your support! We sure appreciate it!!

We are open by appointment for tours. To schedule a group farm tour, email dcfhomeplace@gmail.com

We are also part of the Colorado Division of Wildlife’s Birding and Watchable Wildlife Trail and we welcome you to come to the farm to do some birding and such. Please read the page on this blog about the Colorado Birding Trail for all the details on how to visit for this purpose.

I’ll be back to writing my regular post later this week.

With Green Thoughts, Tammi

2019 Summer Plant Walk-Abouts

with Tammi Hartung

These walk-about classes are held at Desert Canyon Farm

at 1270 Field Ave in Canon City, CO. No pets please…thank you.

You must register for these classes. You can register by email at dcfhomeplace@gmail.com or by phone (719-275-0651) between the hours of 8am and 5pm (please do not call at other times…thank you).  We need your name(s) and phone number, plus email address. Our phone is a land line, so we cannot accept text messages.

The Class fee is $15.00 per person 12 years old and older. Well-behaved children accompanied by a supervising adult are welcome . Children 11 and younger attend free of charge. Payment will be collected beginning 30 minutes before class begins, so please arrive 20-30 minutes early. Fees can be paid by cash, debit or credit card – no checks please.

Classes will be held outdoors and will include walking around the farm to see the plants and talk about their growing needs, their uses,  and when/how to harvest them. Please bring your own pen and paper and something to drink. Be prepared to be outside (rain or sunshine) for these classes…dress appropriately for the weather.  I’m sorry, but the farm is not wheel-chair or walker friendly and those using a cane or walking stick must use great care as the ground here is uneven and dirt.  If you have a mobility disability, please consider whether or not these are the right classes for you to attend.

            July 27, 2019, Saturday             10:00am  to 12:00 noon

          Herb Walk-About

                Tammi will share their growing needs, their uses and how/when to harvest them.

            July 30, 2019, Tuesday          6:00 to 8:00 pm

          Trees & Shrubs Walk-About

                Tammi will share their growing needs, their uses and how/when to harvest them.

            August 13, 2019, Tuesday          6:00 to 8:00 pm

          Desert Plants Walk-About   

                Tammi will share their growing needs, their uses and how/when to harvest them.

            August 17, 2019, Saturday             10:00am  to 12:00 noon

          Wild Plants & Weeds Walk-About

                Tammi will share their growing needs, their uses and how/when to harvest them.

Space will be limited, so you are encouraged to register early for these classes.