Skip to main content

We had a fairly epic year for this part of western Colorado. Typical for this area, the snow falls starting in December and sticks around, building layers like a cake over the months of January and February.  Then in late February it starts to be a net loss of snow instead of a net gain. It also starts to rain, which helps melt the snow. We are left with the early December snow at the last, big dirty piles which leave behind human detritus in a mini moraine wherever the "glaciers" were. Like most of you, I have spent the winter waiting for the snow to melt and see what survived the winter. Would those snowbanks ever melt?
Snowbank in late winter.

I can always look forward to violets and iris reticulata coming up in early March, with the leaves and buds of daffs not far behind, depending on the microclimates in my yard. That is, if the snow is melted off the garden first, although I'll usually find the daffs poking up through the snow in my warmer spots.

Spring violets

The violets growing wild around my yard are almost weeds but not quite. I'll rip some out now and then, but I still love them.

orchids at a friend's house
The photos of the lush orchids of the Florida contingent of SMGB participants are just beautiful, and I wonder if there is something growing for you Floridian SMGBer's all year round?  What's it like living in Michigan, or Vermont? Kansas? I know we all talk about what we can grow and what the weather is like, but I'd love to know more about the "big picture", so to speak.  

I am a native of Colorado.  I've lived here all my life in different parts of the state, except for maybe three months in Port Arthur, TX when I was a young pup.  Growing up in the north west end of Metro Denver, I remember my parents had snapdragons that re-seeded in masses, a thyme plant that we would trim for spaghetti sauce, and my mother's favorite, Autumn Joy sedum.  I remember the Jackmanii clematis which was in just the right spot. And tomatoes. Always tomatoes.  

in 1989, I met Mr. Light and moved with him to Summit County, Colorado, home of ski areas like Keystone, Breckenridge and Copper Mountain. Then in 1998, we moved here, to the Roaring Fork valley. The Roaring Fork Valley is the Carbondale/Glenwood Springs part of Colorado.  We moved to the RFV because Summit had such a short, cold growing season.  No tomatoes except in a hothouse, and even then grudgingly, because the average altitude of Summit County is 9,500' above sea level.  The RFV is average 6,000' to 8,000', depending if you live in the valley or on a mesa above it.  

Flat Tops blue flower1

In Summit, I could grow native plants if I chose the right ones. Don't get me wrong, there are tons of lovely high country wildflowers like columbines and fireweed - or this beauty. I have no idea what it is, but it's a deep rich blue, just like the photo.  If you want a traditional garden, it's tough.  Certain cold lovers like pansies do grow well, but everything else is a crapshoot if you are growing perennials.

A johnny jump-up in spring
This little jump-up was lurking under the 3 feet of snow in the raised bed garden all winter. I found him when the snow melted, isn't he sweet?

I was so thrilled to move to a lower elevation farther west towards Grand Junction. Living here, I've had to adapt to a new gardening climate, not completely different than what I grew up with in Denver but certainly not exactly the same - their snow usually melts right away instead of hanging on all winter.

Colorado's climate varies, sometimes a lot, by region, elevation and geography.  Which got me thinking, what's your climate like?

Originally posted to Saturday Morning Garden Blogging on Sat Mar 29, 2014 at 06:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Colorado COmmunity.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site