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Hardy Iceplants Make a Beautiful Addition to the Garden!

Now that spring is definitely here and sunshine is happening every day, it reminds me of hardy Iceplants and the stunning color and beauty they bring to a hot sunny dry garden! These are plants that can hold up and look beautiful to areas that may not get much water, have soil that is not rich or loamy, and has exposure to hot sun all or most of the day, which only makes them bloom all the more.

Iceplants are hardy succulent plants, but unlike cacti, they don’t have spines or sharp points like agaves or yuccas do. They will thrive if you plant them in full sun or even in part shade, but they must be somewhere in the garden where they get a good amount of sunlight, as the flowers only open when the sun hits them. At night, or on cloudy days, the flowers will stay closed. The flower colors are amazing….usually very bright and intense and often they shimmer! Here are a few varieties I think you would like:

Purple Iceplant is the one most people have seen and is a spreading variety with intensely purple large bright and shimmering flowers.

Desert Canyon Red Iceplant is our special variety of a robust spreading Iceplant that blooms large red shimmering flowers that fade to orange as each flower ages. It is amazing and good for places where you need a larger Iceplant to cover space.

Tiny Pink Iceplant is a smaller leaf spreading variety with purple-green foliage and bright, but small, purple flowers.

Lesotho Pink Iceplant is from Lesotho, Africa. It has soft pink shimmering flowers and is a spreading variety.

Yellow Creeping Iceplant has bright green foliage and large yellow shimmering flowers. It covers ground quickly and looks beautiful.

Beaufort West Iceplant is a clumping variety that doesn’t ramble. It has soft pink delightful flowers…perfect in rock gardens or even fairy miniature gardens.

Oberg Iceplant is another clumping Iceplant that has white flowers…very pretty!

Compact Yellow Iceplant has large yellow shimmering flowers, but grows as a clump rather than spreading.

Some other favorite varieties include Red Mountain Iceplant, which has apricot shimmering flowers with a purple ring at the center. This Iceplant spreads, but not as much as some of the others. There is Sutherlandi Iceplant that has large magenta pink shimmering flowers and stays as a clump, along with its cousin Peach Star Sutherlandi Iceplant with soft peach flowers. Finally, we have one called Shrubby Trailing Iceplant, which grows more upright with weeping branches and tiny bright pink shimmering flowers.

If you have a xeric landscape, a rock garden or miniature garden, or want something stunning in a flower garden or near walk-ways, consider the hardy Iceplants as a great option. We have quite a collection of these varieties here in our Farm Stand store during Open Farm Days, so stop in and see what you think.

Open Farm Days and our Farm Stand Plant Sale are Saturdays to Thursdays, thru June 9th (closed on Fridays). Hours are 9 to 4. We hope you’ll visit our Farm Stand and do some shopping for garden plants or my books while you’re here. We also have free workshops happening each Saturday and Sunday during Open Farm Days.

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Our pond was very nearly empty two weeks ago.

And thankfully, the first delivery of our irrigation water arrived. Yay…All the gardens and trees got a much-needed drink and the pond was filled. The ducks were very happy about all of this!

James has been teaching workshops again this spring during Open Farm Days. He is teaching tomorrow (Saturday, May 4th) on gardening almost anywhere and in any kind of container. He will also be doing an heirloom fruit tree workshop in the afternoon tomorrow. On Sunday, Monica will be teaching us about butterflies and other pollinators. Check out the classes and events page of this website for the specific details.

This is one of the fairy gardens Lizz planted this spring that we will be giving away as part of our annual raffle to raise money to buy fresh produce for our local food bank.

This is the second fairy garden that we will be raffling off at the end of Open Farm Days. Come and check them out. They are cute as can be and raffle tickets are only $1.00 each.

This is the fairy garden I planted last spring in the Farm Stand store. Everything in the fairy garden came thru the winter just fine. It is planted in an old bird bath that cracked and no longer holds water.

Stephanie and Liz spend a lot of time keeping all the plants happy and tidy in the Farm Stand. These women are amazing and we love them dearly!

Our friend, a different Stephanie, stopped in to do a bit of shopping and settled on a Cape Aloe plant.

This was exciting! We had a small group of Willets land in our pond on the ducks island. These were beautiful water birds. We’ve never had them here before, so we enjoyed getting to know them a bit.

We have a very old agave that has been a houseplant. Actually, this agave was Chris’ before we got married. Now it has decided to bloom and is growing a flower stalk. The flower stalk is so growing so quickly, that it had to be moved outdoors where there wasn’t a living room ceiling to stop it.

Shrek discovered a toad in the White Rabbit Garden  two days ago. Toads are good luck and they eat a lot of bugs, especially slugs, so they are always welcome here.

The nasturtium baskets in the Farm Stand are beginning to bloom and they are incredibly fragrant and so beautiful!

A flock of yellow headed black birds arrived and has been hanging around. They are gorgeous and a racus bunch.

 

This looks like Willow, our cat, is outside ready to pounce on the birds, but he is actually sitting in the windowsill in our house watching them out the window. One of his favorite pastimes.

Meanwhile, Shrek was in the garden checking to make sure the Belen Hen  is in her proper place in the White Rabbit Garden.

Sorry this post is sort of scattered and brief. We are in our two busiest weeks of the entire year, so I decided this was the best I could mange today. More to come soon.

With Green Thoughts, Tammi

Before I tell you about planting a Climate Victory Garden, I would like to remind you about this weekend’s free workshops, with the hope that perhaps you can join us for one or more of them. Here are the workshops we will be having.

April 27, 2019, Saturday

Growing Tomatoes & Peppers in Your Garden                                                  10:00-11:00am     teacher:  Tammi

Growing & Using Native Medicinal Herbs                                                           1:00-2:00pm     teacher: Tammi

April 28, 2019, Sunday

Companion Planting in Your Garden                                                                      1:00-2:00pm     teacher: Monica

Landscape Design Strategies for Wildfire Prone Areas                                   2:30-3:30pm     teacher:  Lizz

Remember, there is no need to pre-register…just show up with pen and paper and something to drink. Be prepared to be outside, rain, snow or sunshine, for these workshops…dress appropriately for the weather. If you have a lawn chair to bring – wonderful, as we have limited chairs available. If it’s cold, a lap blanket is a good idea! Our free workshops are held at Desert Canyon Farm during Open Farm Days and we are located at 1270 Field Ave., Canon City, CO

Now…let me share with you the idea of planting a Climate Victory Garden!

Many of you will remember when, during World War II, the Secretary of Agriculture asked everyone to plant a Victory Garden to help provide fresh food for their families during the war when food was rationed so troops overseas would have enough food to eat. Once again we are putting out the cry for people to plant a Victory Garden, this time it is for an equally important, but different, emergency…Climate Change. Please join me to do whatever you can in a small, but hugely important step, supporting your family’s health and the health of this Earth.

A Climate Victory Garden has several simple and easy parts to its creation:

  1. It can be grown in any space, from a plot of earth on your property, in containers on your patio or doorsteps, indoors near a window on a tabletop. It doesn’t require a lot of space, being as small or large as you desire.

  1. It includes edible plants – fruits, vegetables, herbs. These might be fruit trees and small fruits like strawberries or raspberries, asparagus or garlic, plus vegetables like carrots, lettuces, and cucumbers. Herbs are easy to grow and you might enjoy basils, thymes, cilantro, or parsley to name a few.

  1. Use organic soil and compost in your garden. Consider starting your own compost from yard trimmings and plant-based kitchen scraps.

4.  Keep it pollinator and beneficial insect friendly by not using chemical pesticides or weed killers.

  1. If you absolutely must use a pesticide, use only organic or OMRI registered ones made from plants or minerals and not synthetic chemicals. These include soap or oil sprays and neem oil.

  1. Use people power to care for Victory Garden spaces. Planting, weeding and harvesting are all best done by hand by people, providing a chance to relax, get exercise, observe nature, and reap the rewards of your efforts, knowing you are doing good for the health of people and the earth.

Encourage public places like schools, government offices, store fronts and eating places to plant Climate Victory Gardens anywhere they can from raised beds, containers or gardens around  entrances to these buildings, areas along street curbs and sidewalks referred to as hellstrips. Everywhere is a possibility, even rooftop  gardens could happen.

In a time when climate is changing and people are contributing to that situation, it’s important we all do whatever we can to help. Growing a Climate Victory Garden is one way to help and bringing  joy besides. We rallied during WWII when there was a need to help by growing our own food! Now we can rally again to help by growing some of our own food! Please join me in this effort!!

If you are interested in exploring possible edible plants you might include in your Victory Garden, come by our Farm Stand during Open Farm Days to see what we have to offer. There are hundreds of edible plants available for your consideration.

Open Farm Days and Farm Stand Plant Sale are Saturdays thru Thursdays, April 13th thru June 9th (closed on Fridays). Hours are 9 to 4. We hope you’ll visit our Farm Stand and do some shopping for garden plants or my books while you’re here.

Free Workshops this Weekend

We’d like to invite you to join us this weekend during Open Farm Days and our Farm Stand Plant Sale for our free workshops. Here is the schedule and topics…

Saturday, April 20, 2019
Gardening: Prepping, Planting & Caretaking 10:00-11:00am
A Recipe for Building Healthy Soil Starts with Humility noon-1:00pm
Gardening Tips, Techniques, Tools, Etc. 1:00-2:00pm

Sunday, April 21, 2019
Natural Rabbit Raising 1:00-2:00pm
Growing Fruit in Container Pots 2:30-3:30pm

No need to register…just show up with pen and paper for taking notes, dressed for the weather as classes are outdoors, and bring a lawn chair if you want as we have limited chairs, but there is always grass to sit on .

We’re located at 1270 Field Ave. in Canon City, CO. Visit desertcanyonfarm.wordpress.com for more information and directions.

Meet this spring’s crew of the most amazing women you are likely to ever know!

If you have been here during Open Farm Days, you will recognize Farm Stand Liz (going left to right) and Stephanie. They are the women that keep the Farm Stand beautiful and running smoothly during our Open Farm Days. In the middle is Kaila, than Susan and Lizz. These gals work with us in the greenhouse and gardens. They are the seeders, transplanters, order processors. All five of these women are nothing short of incredible, helping with anything and everything that needs doing on this farm.

They have been coming up with a theme for each day of the week and it has been great fun. We’ve had Muffin Monday, Tie Dye Tuesday and in these pictures…Western Wednesday.

I can’t wait for you to meet all of them if you are visiting the farm during Open Farm Days. Kaila will also be helping out in the Farm Stand. Susan and Lizz are teaching workshops this year.

In fact, on Sunday afternoon, Lizz will have a beekeeping workshop from 1:00-2:30pm. On Saturday, I will be teaching a workshop at 10am on Growing & Using Culinary Herbs and at 1pm, I’ll be giving some guidelines on how to Prepare Herbal Tinctures, vinegar & Honey. Join us if you can. No registration is needed, just show up with pen and paper to take notes, dressed for the weather, since we hold these workshops no matter what the weather is like. If it is really cold and snowy outdoors, we might find our way to the garage for class on Saturday, but expect to be outdoors normally under the workshop tent.

We can’t forget to mention Chris and all that he’s been doing to prepare for Open Farm Days. He has been mulching orchard trees, getting the Flower Seed Crop field in order, repairing our irrigation pond and endless other tasks, always with Shrek working at this side (actually the truth is more like Shrek supervising at Chris’ side :-} )

We have been stocking the Farm Stand with loads of plants of all kinds, all grown certified organic on site here at Desert Canyon Farm. This whole week, everyone has been making things tidy, getting all the plants labeled, putting up the plant information signs and all the other things that must be prepared for you, our visitors, when we open the gates to the farm to the public for our annual Spring Open Farm Days beginning this Saturday. Open Farm Days are April 13th thru June 9th. We’re open Saturday thru Thursday (closed on Fridays) from 9am to 4pm. Workshops are help on the weekends and are always free.

So, I have more plant signs to laminate tonight, so I’m going to keep this post pretty short. Visit the Open Farm Days and Classes & Events pages of this website for all the specific details and directions to the farm. We’ll look forward to seeing you this spring!

With Green Thoughts, Tammi

Shrek, Chris, Lizz and I have been at it all weekend, trying to make some sense of the Farm Stand by putting plants in their places and getting things ready! Shrek thought you might enjoy getting a sneak peek at some of the plants in the Farm Stand, along with some of the other work that has been going on this week.

Most of the perennial herbs and other hardy plants have found their bench home in the Hygge Greenhouse and are ready now to be labeled.

We will have 10 different kinds of Scented Geraniums this year.

The hanging flower baskets continue to grow and get more beautiful with each passing day.

There is a pretty awesome selection of tender succulents that will be perfect for succulent container gardens, houseplants or patio plants during the warm months of the year.

The bay laurel trees are looking great.

There are hundreds of varieties of herbs like these Rosemary’s. We will have culinary, tea, fragrance, medicinal, textile and personal care types of herbs for sale, so you are sure to find many different options for your herb garden.

The hardy succulents and cacti will go out into the nursery area this week now that the night-time temperatures are going to be back in the 30’s.

Pepper row includes so many varieties of sweet and hot peppers that it is mind-boggling. Once they are all labeled, I’ll have to count and see how many different kinds of peppers we will have available, but I know it is in the neighborhood of 40 varieties more or less.

The carrot boxes and the garlic seedlings are in place and ready for your inspection on April 13th when we open.

My own garlic bed in my food garden is also quite happily growing.

Remember we said we would have a lot of hardy figs available this year? Well, we have loads of them, both Violet de Bordeaux and Chicago Hardy Figs. These will be hardy for most gardeners, although probably not mountain gardeners. My fig in the garden will be 5 years old this spring and it does really well. For mountain gardeners, we encourage you to grow them as a patio container plant in the summer and indoors the rest of the year. There just isn’t anything better tasting than a fresh fig. Last year we had only about 8 plants and they sold out in about 15 minutes, so this year we have grown a lot more plants.

See all those plants on the floor…they go outside this week to the nursery area. They’ve been growing at night temps in the 30’s for weeks now, but I didn’t want to put them outdoors until this last cold spell passes so that they wouldn’t slow down their growth too much. After tonight, night temps are supposed to be back in the 30’s, so all these plants will find their place in the outside nursery area of our Farm Stand.

Chris has been getting it all ready for the plants. He’s got the benches in place. The lattice is up, where we will attach the plant information signs. Lizz got the fruit trees in place and on it goes.

Our collection of heirloom varieties of fruit trees will include several kinds of apples and plums, a few peaches and some apricots. We also have mulberry trees, elderberries and loads of different kinds of berry bushes and strawberries.

There are 5 kinds of hops, including several varieties favored by beer brewers. We also have seed grown species hops that herbalists often prefer for medicine-making. They have all been overwintered outdoors and are now beginning to sprout. By the time we open in two weeks, I think they will look very nice indeed.

For those of you who like old-fashioned roses, we have many different kinds of them. They range in sizes from 1 and 2 gallon pots to small plants in quart pots. Perfect for the gardener who loves these heritage and species varieties of roses for their gardens and hedgerows.

Chris has been spending quite a bit of time making the flower seed crop field tidy. All the ornamental grasses are cut back and many of the other perennials are starting to poke out of the ground now. The green you see are two different types of alliums. One is called Tibetan Mountain Onion and the other is Fragrant Flowering Garlic.

The Mahonia (Mahonia repens) is in full flower now and gorgeous!

Bulbs are blooming everywhere in the gardens.

These pink Hyacinths smell so wonderfully fragrant as we go in and out the back door.

Oh, and did I mention that the Thumbergias are putting on quite a flower show in the Farm Stand these days!

So, as Shrek and the rest of us work hard over the next 2 weeks to get everything in place and finished, and ready for our visitors during Open Farm Days, enjoy the first part of the spring season. It’s time to be outdoors enjoying all that nature has to greet you with!

With Green Thoughts, Tammi

 

The dwarf iris bloomed today and proved that spring is officially here!

The Mahonia has been budded up for a couple of weeks now, and it is finally thinking it is time for the flower buds to start to open. I bet by the end of the weekend, they will be bright yellow and fully open.

The Mad Hatter (aka: my name for our Honda Element) pipe express delivery from the lumber yard. Chris has been working on the irrigation system this week, in the hopes that irrigation water will soon be delivered to us. One of the pipes that carries water into our pond had cracked, so off he went to purchase a new “stick” of pipe. No need for a truck to bring it home, when you have the Mad Hatter Express at your service.

Last week we had very special company when our nephew, Andrew, and niece, Missy, and our two great nieces, Camryn and Emersyn, came for a visit. Of course, Chris and Shrek had to take them on a hike in Red Canyon Mountain Park near our farm.  It’s hard to tell in this picture, but they climbed up to the top of a big red rock formation for this picture and they are standing high on top of the rocks way above the trees.

It was a chilly day, but when your hiking and having fun, who notices the cold temperatures!

The girls helped out in the greenhouses, which was great!

They harvested 4 planter boxes of baby carrots, which we all enjoyed snacking on. There is just about nothing sweeter than a freshly harvested baby carrot.

Emersyn helped me label a lot of flats of peppers so that they are ready to go out on wholesale orders now.

And of course we had pizza while they were here.

This week, we started the process of getting the Farm Stand and nursery ready for Open Farm Days. Lizz and I uncovered all the perennials and shrubs that have been wintered over outdoors underneath white frost blanket. The plants look great for still being half dormant. They are beginning to start to grow now with the longer days beginning to happen.

Kaila and Susan started the very big task of putting labels into all the individual pots.

They were labeling iceplants on Thursday.

In April, our Farm Stand crew will come back to work, Liz and Stephanie, and they will be helping us get all the plants ready for opening day on Saturday, April 13th. Check out the Open Farm Days page of this blog for all the details.

I will be spending the better part of this weekend moving plants to the Farm Stand that are going to be for sale when we open. You know, musical plants is what we do best around here, and I’m an expert at moving flats of plants from one place to a different place trying to get everything where it needs to be to grow ;-}

Have a great weekend!