It’s been a very busy week around here. We had plant people visiting us to check out the farm  from Germany and New Zealand on two different days. It has rained, rained, rained every afternoon and evening and so far for the month of July we’ve received nearly 10.5 inches! Since our annual average is usually around 15 inches, you can only imagine how surprised we are to have so much moisture this month. Everything is very green and the weeds are growing like crazy!

The food garden is starting to give us fresh produce now, both inside and outdoors. The raspberries are starting to kick in, which makes me smile A LOT, since I absolutely adore raspberries.

Below is a picture of my fig plant, which is getting little figs now. The pomegranate, lime tree, tumeric and ginger are also getting fruit and rhizomes.

Above is a baby fig and below is my tumeric plant.

I’ve been picking a lot of variety of peppers lately too. These are Jimmy Nardello Sweet Fry peppers – one of our favorites.

The Aunt Molly’s Ground Cherries are also starting to come on in mass. I’m picking squash, little fingers eggplants, butterhead salad lettuce, strawberries and more. I love the harvest season and having fresh produce is the best thing ever.

As I’m writing this blog, I’m looking out my office window at 2 little fawns eating fallen pears under the pear tree. They are about a foot away from me, but of course the window glass is between us. They are precious, still with spots, and feeling frisky.

The picture below is of three fawns last night getting soaked in the rain. We have so far counted 9 fawns in the deer herd that visits the farm twice a day. They treat the farm like a giant playground and they are a great deal of fun to watch. They are welcome on this farm. We have tricks up our sleeves for protecting plants they may like to eat, but for the most part the herd of 44 plus (counting this year’s crop of fawns) doesn’t cause us too much trouble. It’s all about co-existing in a peaceful way that allows them to be here and us to earn our living on this small farm. It can be done, for those of you that are skeptical, and it can be done in a positive way. If you are interesting in learning more about wildlife-friendly gardening, check out my book The Wildlife-Friendly Vegetable Gardener by Storey Publishing.

Last night we went for a walk up at The Banks, which is BLM land near our farm. Below are a few of the native plants we enjoyed as we went on our stroll.



Native Clematis

And this is the stretching routine that Chris and Shrek do every morning. Each morning Chris begins to stretch before going to work and Shrek thinks he has to do the same.

Sometimes Pal the cat participates too, but not this morning. That gets really interesting when Chris has Shrek stretching on one side of him and Pal stretching on the other side. All in the name of avoiding stiff and aching muscles, aye!



Another hot and busy week here at Desert Canyon Farm and our homeplace! Starting tomorrow it is supposed to get a bit cooler and we are really looking forward to that. We have been getting some lovely monsoon rains each late afternoon or evening and that truly makes all the difference this time of the year for the seed crops, orchard and other trees, and the gardens.

We had some young visitors this week and Shrek was absolutely delighted…Chris and I were too. Lyli and Gabe picked currants, played with Shrek, saw frogs and grass carp in the pond, and had a tasty milk shake while they were here. It was a fun day for all of us.

As for farm work, it is always on-going.

We are currently planting up fresh stock plants, as with the mint mother plants above, transplanting plants into bigger pots for next spring’s Farm Stand sales, harvesting seeds from the gardens to plant later this year and in the early months of 2018, taking cuttings and root divisions, and all manner of other greenhouse work. Believe me, Lizz and I have been very busy. Lizz is taking a well-earned vacation this week, but when she gets back it will be more of the same.

Chris, Gina and Sean have been keeping up with the flower field and starting to harvest a lot of seed crops now. With all this glorious rain we’ve been getting the weeds will soon be growing on a mission to overtake our farm world, and it will be interesting to see if we can hold our own against the weed community. Sean and Gina have already been digging up thistle and queen ann’s lace from the yerba mansa crop to make sure these invasive weeds don’t start getting a foot-hold here on the farm. That would never do!

I’ve finally been getting some tiny amounts of time in my gardens – a little bit in some of the evenings to weed and to start planting all the plants I’ve set aside for my personal gardens. Above there is still a large portion of a greenhouse bench-full of plants waiting for me to find them a new home in my gardens. So, I still have plenty to do in that regard.

On Sunday, I’ll be speaking at the Perennial Plant Association’s 35th Annual Symposium. Here’s the link if you want to check it out  http://ppadenver.com/sessions/perennial-inspiration-star-showcase-perennial-experts/ . My talks is Perennial Herbs to Attract or Deter Wildlife and it will be at 1:00pm this Sunday.

Chris and I have been spending some time this summer with our parents. This time always makes us realize just how special these four people are in our lives!

I hope you will have time to spend with people who are special in your lives too, whether they are family, friends or neighbors.  Our families and extended community is so important to a rich life I think, so make the most of it if you can.

With Green Thoughts, Tammi


I’ve spent the entire day enjoying the company of a pair of twin fawns. They have been hanging out on the farm today while their mom is off foraging for food.  I’ve watched them play tag in the flower seed field, nibble around in the front yard, rest under the honey locust tree in the back yard, and watch them watching Shrek and I as I went about my farm chores. They are nothing short of delightful!


Well, it’s still July, but we are well into thinking and planting for spring 2018. We are harvesting seed from plants in the garden, working on the stock plants, doing some cuttings and transplanting perennials and shrubs that need to be moved up into slightly larger pots. Below are some strawberry patio containers that will be for sale next spring in the Farm Stand Store.


It used to be that this was the slow time of the year. Though there were things to do, we had to look around to see what they were and then leisurely work on them. Those days of a slow time have been long gone for years now! Instead, we just move from the list of one season’s tasks to the next. The work of building up plant inventory for the following spring’s busy season begins right as we are ending the current year’s busy spring season.

It’s good to have work to do, but I wouldn’t mind having a week or two of looking for things to do, instead of working my way down the long list of tasks always waiting for my attention.

A week from tomorrow, Sunday July 23rd, will be the opening day of the Perennial Plant Symposium in Denver. This will be a week-long event filled to the gills with all things plant related. We have so many friends that will be attending and we can’t wait to see them. The presentations and field trips are going to be fantastic!

On Sunday, July 23rd, I will be one of the speakers on the opening day. This day of the conference is open to the public as well as people registered to attend the whole conference event. Below is the line-up for the day. Perhaps you’ll want to register and join the fun.

As usual, there seems to always be a glitch in my pasting in something to my blog post. This time the information below came through fine, but the photos are missing…yikes! Here is the link to the page if you want the full color effect with photos and all. One of these days I’ll get this computer mastered I hope. In the meantime, it’s a source of humor, aye.



EXPLORE THE GARDENS: Gain complimentary and exclusive early admission to the Denver Botanic Gardens at 8:00 am to explore the garden in the cooler temperatures and morning light. (If you are staying at the PPA headquarters hotel (Doubletree in Denver), buses will begin shuttling at 7:45 am to the Denver Botanic Gardens, a short 10 minute ride.) Local attendees or those wishing to drive, may park at the gardens at no charge.


9:30 AM10:30 AM

Mike Bone


Michael Bone, Curator of the Denver Botanic Garden Steppe Garden

In 2016, Denver Botanic Gardens opened the Steppe Garden, based on the plants and ecology of the four great steppe regions of the world: South Africa, Patagonia, Central Asia, and North America. Learn how plants from similar climates have adapted to look the same, and/or fill the same ecological niche. These selections are wise choices for your home garden.


10:30 AM – 11:30 AM

Lauren Springer Ogden


Lauren Springer Ogden, award-winning landscape designer and author of Plant Driven Design

Things are different in Colorado. We’re blessed with inspiration: big skies, bold landforms, thousands of native plants and a wondrous diversity of ecosystems and plant communities. There is limited water, cold winters, hot summers, hail, wind, mineral soils, invasive plants, and exploding development and population growth. Award-winning author and landscape designer, Lauren Springer Ogden, shares how to weave all these factors into public and private designs.



1:00 PM – 2:00 PM

Tammy Hartung


Tammi Hartung, Certified organic grower and owner of Dessert Canyon Farm 

Tammi will share a great many ways that perennial herbs add beauty, yet a useful function in our gardens. Herbs are a perfect choice for attracting a diverse array of pollinators and beneficial insects. They are fantastic as part of a wildlife habitat landscape, and can serve to improve harvest yields, sometimes flavors, of vegetables in the food garden. Likewise, herbs serve a tremendous role in managing wildlife challenges such as deer, elk, wild rabbits, even rodents. Tammi will even share how to grow specific herbs as a “living planted” insect repellent near patios and courtyards to protect against mosquitoes and no-seeum gnats.



2:00 PM -3:00 PM 

Brie Arthur


Brie Arthur, professional garden communicator and author  

Foodscaping, Brie’s signature sustainable landscape practice, embraces both beauty and utility and encourages thinking “outside of the box.” The technique pairs edibles with traditional ornamental landscaping. It increases bio-diversity and purpose for everyday spaces. She features the best edible and ornamental plants and insights to organic growing and sustainable practices.


3:00 PM – 3:30 PM BREAK

3:30 PM – 4:30 PM

Pat Hayward


Pat Hayward, renowned perennial expert and owner of Phytologic Horticultural Services

Nature offers an abundance of diverse, beautiful plants in the wild. But which are the best choices for our regional gardens and landscapes? Pat Hayward, former director of Plant Select®, will share some of the program’s best selections from the “wild west.” Discovered and developed by local horticultural professionals, these truly unique, resilient and beautiful plants have proven to succeed in our challenging environment because of their native “roots.”


4:30 PM – 5:30 PM

Debi Borden-Miller


Debi Borden-Miller, Welby Gardens

Debi will share how to create beautiful container planters using perennial flowers. Learn which perennials to choose for long blooming times, colorful foliage or interesting textures. We will also discuss how to put them together for best results and how to care for them during and after their life in the container.



Enjoy your week and happy gardening!


The seed crops are beautiful right now. I’ll put in some photos of the various crops below for you to enjoy. We are going to have a visit soon from Georg, from Jelitto Perennial Seed Company, which is the seed company we grow all these seeds for. We love having Georg visit us, as it is a time to catch up with a good friend, a chance to talk about plants a LOT, and often it is inspiring too.

Recently, I did a podcast interview with Urban Farm U. It was so much fun talking with Greg, the host, who is also a grower/farmer. The podcast went live this week and I hope you will check it out. They have a lot of interesting podcasts you can listen to on their website, but I hope you listen to the one I did with them first ;=}   Here are the links, depending on what is your social media venue of choice. Enjoy!!

Urban Farm U Podcast: Tammi Hartung on the Versatility of Plants | UrbanFarmU

Looking to the west side of the flower seed crop field.

Salvia dagastanica (purple) and Echinacea paradoxa (yellow)


Mongolian Bells Clematis with a bumble bee pollinator.


Chocolate Flower – which really does smell like hot chocolate chip cookies in the morning!


Echium ‘Red Feathers’

Desert Zinnia – Zinnia grandiflora


All for now.

With Green Thoughts, Tammi


Solstice Greetings,

Much has been happening since I last wrote a post. Chris and I had our first half day off in months, and we felt like celebrating! We took a hike to Megan Lakes with Shrek. This was our afternoon snack break in a high mountain meadow. Shrek and I were sharing an apple.

Then Chris was getting a sticker out of his sock, when the grand “sock thief” snatched the sock and ran, which caused a short game of keep-away before Chris was able to coax his sock away from Shrek.


Lizz gave Gina and Sean a lesson in bee caretaking. She opened the honey bee hives, and showed them how to identify the bee eggs, young brood and bee larvae (baby bees), and what newly capped honey cells look like.


Our official farm greeting staff have relocated away from the Farm Stand store (which is closed now for the season until next spring).  Our farm greeters have found other places on the farm to linger and visit with folks.


Really…if you were greeted by this fellow, wouldn’t it just make you want to smile!

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This week I’m working away from the Farm and homeplace and I’m being hosted by Willowtail Springs in Mancos, Colorado. This is the most lovely Nature Preserve and Retreat Center, along with Bed & Breakfast you could ever imagine!

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The owners and caretakers of this amazing piece of land are Peggy (above) and Lee (below) Cloy.

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Yesterday, we had a full day of plant adventures here. In the mid-day I gave a Nature & Plant Walk-About. There was a wonderful group of people that came out for the day to enjoy talking “plants” as we took a walk on the property.

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We shared insights about milkweeds and other native wild plants, naturalized plants like alfalfa, a few weeds, loads of beautiful garden dwellers such as lavenders and mint, and trees both native (Pinon Pine) and domestic (sour cherry).

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It was such a delightful and gracious group. I enjoyed myself greatly.

Then last night I gave a lecture on some of my favorite native North American plants and all the ways that people have been in relationship with them during past, present and future. The Mancos Public Library hosted us for this event and it was such a lovely way to close the day.

I’d like to thank everyone who spent the day with us and an extra thanks to those who bought my books while they were here. You are each amazing!

Late in the afternoon today I will be doing another garden plant walk-about and book signing event in Durango at the Ohana Kuleana Community Gardens at 5:30-6:30pm. This plant walk is being hosted by The Garden Project of Southwest Colorado and Maria’s Bookshop. If you want to join us, we’ll be at 564 E. 30th Street.

Normally, when I visit Willowtail Springs, I visit for peace and quiet and relaxation…a time to read, stitch and take walks. This year my visit is a bit different as it is a working visit, but there is still plenty of peace and quiet here. This place is a sanctuary of nature and one cannot help but be nurtured by it to your very core. If you ever want a place to stay that will provide you with a beautiful nurturing and peaceful place and experience, consider making a reservation at Willowtail Springs.  https://www.willowtailsprings.com/

This year I’m here to share my knowledge about plants with others, but there is still quiet time during my stay, and I’m finding some time to work on my needlework too. I’m very nurtured by the Cloys and this really beautiful piece of land.

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This mornings while I was out for a walk in the gardens, I came upon Peggy and Micael. Micael works here as one of the grounds keepers tending gardens and helping with any other projects that need doing. She is an amazing young woman and I’ve enjoyed meeting her.

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Steve, I met last year when I was here for my stitching retreat. He also helps care for this amazing place and adds his touch to all sorts of projects. When I came upon he and Lee this morning they were creating a plan to customize this old canoe with beautiful wooden seats.

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Anyway, that’s all for today. My stitching is calling me and soon it will be time for me to go to the Community Gardens in Durango for the garden plant walk.

Enjoy your day and do something really good with your time today…like this bumblebee working the Woolly Lamb’s Ears flowers outside my garden cottage door!

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This past weekend was the final days of our Open Farm Days and our retail Farm Stand store. As of June 4th, we are closed for retail sales until next spring. We want to thank each of you that visited our farm during this spring’s Open Farm Days! For those of you that are not close enough to visit, but gave the information to others who do live close enough to visit or maybe you sent us messages of support and encouragement, we give you our thanks too!

Chris gave a tour of the desert garden here at the farm. I taught a class on making your own salves, ointments, creams and lip butters. We had our annual farm tour walk-about and a fragrance herb workshop. It was all great fun and so nice to have time to visit with our visitors.

Now the Farm Stand store has been emptied of all remaining plants, which have been moved to other greenhouses so that they can be available to sell to wholesale customers. Lizz, Sean, Gina and I worked hard this week to get this accomplished. Now Lizz and I will begin to pot up new stock plants for vegetative propagation needs. There are gardens badly in need of weeding and lots of plants that are waiting to be planted in those same gardens. I have presentations to prepare for upcoming events this summer that start in another week. Then in two short months, Lizz and I will begin to propagate seeds, divisions and cuttings for next spring’s plant inventory to be ready for Open Farm Days in spring 2018. No rest for us, but the next 2 months will have a slower, more normal and sane pace. Everyone on the farm is smiling and happy, but we are bone weary from the spring busy season. We are looking forward to that more normal pace.

There are a few upcoming events I want to share with you.

On June 17th, Saturday, at noon, I will be giving a presentation at Tagawa’s Garden Center in Centennial, Colorado. The name of this presentation is “Tammi’s Favorite Herbs” and it’s going to be great fun! Please visit the Classes & Events page of this blog for information on this presentation and the other upcoming ones that will happen this summer through 2017 and into 2018.

willowtail presents

These links will take you to the flyer and information for my June 20th events at Willowtail Springs Nature Preserve & Education Center


Tammi Hartung – class June 20th

My intention was to put the actual poster on this blog, but for the life of me the proper technology steps to accomplish this simple task have completely eluded me, and I’ve spent more than an hour trying to do just that with no success. So, if you will kindly just click on the links above, they will take you to the poster and the webpage that tell you all about my Willowtail Springs Nature Walk-About and later the Evening Cattail Moonshine & Milkweed Medicine lecture that is happening at the Mancos Public Library. At both of these events, I’ll have copies of all of my books available to purchase and if you would like me to sign them, I’d be honored to do so.

I’m so excited about being at Willowtail Springs to do these events. I’ve been going to Willowtail Springs for several years now for my own personal writing and stitching retreat time, and it’s a beautiful and magical place where nature rules and Lee and Peggy Cloy (the owners and managers) are the most amazing caretakers of this piece of land. I’m thrilled to give back some of the joy they have shared with me when I’ve been there in the past. They are hosting me again and it’s going to be an amazing time to share about plants and nature. Please join us if you can.

While I’m visiting Willowtail Springs, I will also be giving a garden talk and walk hosted by the Ohuna Kuleana Community Garden and Maria’s Bookshop in Durango, CO. Below is the information about this event.

June 21, 2017    Ohana Kuleana Community Gardens & The Garden Project of Southwest Colorado, along with Maria’s Bookshop hosts Tammi for

Homegrown Herbs Garden Walk and Talk followed by a Book Signing

Location: Durango, Colorado at the Ohana Kuleana Community Garden     For more information visit 2017 Conservation Education Workshop Series – The Garden Project  or call The Garden Project at 970-259-3123 or Maria’s Bookshop  at 970-247-1438 or visit http://www.mariasbookshop.com

Other Events that are upcoming!

There are other upcoming events to know about too. At the end of June or early in July, there will be a podcast that goes live that I did for the group Urban Farm.org. As soon as I know the exact date the podcast will be available, I’ll post it up so that you can listen to it if you like. In July, I’ll be speaking at the Perennial Plant Symposium in Denver, Colorado on July 23rd. In August, I will be visiting the United States Botanic Garden in Washington DC to give a presentation. I will be presenting for the Denver Botanic Gardens Herb Guild on October 11th and I’m going to the Kansas Mother Earth News Fair in October too.

Again, if you go to the “Classes & Events” page of this blog, you can get more details about all of these happenings.

What else is happening?

Well, Chris and I are really worn out from the spring busy season. Of course there is always farm work to be done, so that never changes, but as the work days become a more normal pace, we are looking forward to that. We’ve been working 14-17 hour days for months now. I haven’t had a day off since the end of December and Chris has been working 7 days a week too since early February. We are planning to begin this weekend our once a week hikes with Shrek when we will do our farm chores in the morning and then go somewhere beautiful to hike the rest of the day. This will be our day off each week and we cannot tell you how much we are looking forward to that!

Shrek stealing Chris’ hiking hat and playing keep away.

A moment’s rest at a mountain stream.

So, as our friend James would say….

Happy Trails & Green Thoughts, Tammi


This past Monday there was a great hot air balloon launch at the Abbey here in town and as I was opening up the greenhouses at the start of the day and doing my watering chores, I was able to watch 15 balloons sailing through the sky. So colorful and they just give you such a feeling a joy and calm. It was a nice way to start a very busy Memorial day Monday.

This weekend is our final Open Farm Days! On Sunday at 4:00 pm we will close the farm again to the public and return to wholesale business only. If you are still hoping to stop by and enjoy the farm and do some shopping for plants in our Farm Stand Store, you can visit us this Saturday and Sunday from 9am to 4pm and we’ll be very happy to see you! We still have loads of good plants to choose from in the Farm Stand Store. There are great workshops and farm tours happening on Saturday and Sunday (see the classes and events page of this blog for specific details). The gardens are absolutely stunning right now, with so much blooming happening and there are baby birds everywhere on the farm learning to fly and live life without their parents taking care of them completely.

Farm Stand Liz and Beki will greet you in the Farm Stand with their cheerful smiles and helpful tips.

Their last days of work here for the season will also be on Sunday and then they will be off to do other things. We’re going to miss them both very much!

The wholesale part of our business has also been extremely busy and Chris has been spending way more time driving his truck than anything else. Even at that, this week we had more deliveries then Chris could accomplish, so Mom and Dad to the rescue. We loaded their PT cruiser full of plants headed to Westcliffe and they took the delivery for us. Shrek was disappointed that there wasn’t any room in the car for him to ride along with them.


This week also brought with it the official beginning of the flower seed crops field work farm season. We have an awesome pair of folks to help us out this summer. This is Sean. Sean is a college man, who has convinced his professor he should do his farm work this summer as credit for college.

Meet Gina! Gina comes to us as an experienced farm crew person. She’s taking the summer off from her PhD work and we are the lucky ones.

We are thrilled to have them both working with us. They are fun and efficient and we’re delighted!!

The gardens are stunning right now. Iris, catmint, california poppies, fairy rose baby breath, penstemons, and so much more is blooming.

The Desert Garden in the driveway is more beautiful and nice than we’ve ever seen it and Chris will be doing a tour of this and some of the other gardens this Saturday at 10:00 am. Join him if you can to learn about these special regional native plants.

All through the garden the lavender plants are about to burst into bloom. They look so close to flowering that I won’t be at all surprised if they are blooming this weekend.

We have many kinds of poppies blooming all through the gardens right now. These are Brilliant Oriental Poppies, and there are three different varieties of oriental poppies in bloom, but there are also Flore de Pleno poppies, california poppies, orange and yellow horn poppies flowering too.

And then there are the mischief makers that come in the night. Most of the time the raccoons visit at night and we hear them chattering among themselves through our open window, but they usually don’t cause trouble. This week there was a night when they knocked the bird feeders out of the Manchurian Apricot tree. No real harm was done however. We picked up the feeders, refilled them and hung them back up for the birds.

Well, all for now. I still need to prepare a plant list handout for this weekend’s tour of the Desert Garden.

With Green Thoughts, Tammi