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Top Plants & Flowers for Butterfly Gardening

It’s hard to imagine a sunny garden scene without the ephemeral flutter of butterfly wings. In fact, it’s impossible. Without butterflies, which are very important pollinators, many of our favorite blooms would never grow in the first place.

Introduce Plants and Flowers That Attract Butterflies & Other Pollinators

The benefit of adding butterfly-friendly plants is that you will also attract a host of other pollinators, including honey bees, bumble bees, and birds. It transforms your garden into a veritable playground for winged creatures, and you and your guests will delight in the additions.

Keep in mind that butterflies prefer a break from the wind and open, sunny spaces so creating these environments will also help to attract them. Organic gardening practices are also very important since insecticides kill pollinators.

Here are suggestions for plants and flowers that attract butterflies and do well in our Rocky Mountain climate.

Asters (Asters, spp.) . These cheerful flowers are in the same family as sun flowers or daisies. They bloom towards the end of summer and well into fall, which make them an attractive candidate for gardeners who want to add a bit of interest when other blooms are beginning to fade. They are drought-tolerant and prefer sandy, well-draining soil – another boon for our area.

Source: Wikimedia

Source: Wikimedia

Butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii).  Every yard is enhanced by this robust species of plant that blooms with white to purple flowers. They grow six to 15-feet tall and can withstand temperatures below 20° F. Butterfly bush also remains evergreen during the winter months, which is another bonus.

Source: Wikimedia

Source: Wikimedia

Rabbitbrush (Chrysothamnus nauseosus). Those interested in a Xeriscape may recognize this plant species. Rabbitbrush grows wild throughout Colorado and much of the Southwest. A desert and high-desert plant, it is decidedly drought-tolerant.

Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca). This is another native Colorado plant and it serves a very important role; Milkweed is a host for Monarch butterfly larvae. These are an endangered species, so adding milkweed to your garden is a wonderful way to support their comeback.

Other plants that attract butterflies, hummingbirds and bees include Culver’s root, blue sage, bee balm, and purple prairie clover.

Contact Lifescape Colorado to design a landscape that includes the plants, flowers, and other landscape features that attract butterflies.

2015 Garden Trend: Bedhead Gardens

Twenty years ago, it was unheard of for women to get out of the shower, tussle their hair with a little product, and walk out the door. Nowadays, low-maintenance, mussed up “bedhead” hair is all the rage. Gardens seem to be following suit, and formal landscapes are taking second stage as bedhead gardening trends take root.

Source: Lifescape Colorado

Source: Lifescape Colorado

Enjoy the Low-Maintenance Bedhead Gardening Trend for 2015

What’s a bedhead garden you ask? It’s one that lets the plants have a little room to grow and “do their thing” without all the regular pruning, trimming, and precise edges we find in formal English gardens or more traditional landscape designs.

Here are some bedhead garden traits:

They’re a little more random. A more traditional garden will use plants in repetition, create geometric shapes, and lines and will have a precise feel about them. It’s like there is a place for everything and everything in its place. Bedhead gardens, on the other hand, will have a more random and wild approach. Think mountain meadow as opposed to a golf course or formal English garden.

Native and drought tolerant. Typically, bedhead gardens are landscaped with mostly native plants. These will include native grasses, drought tolerant shrubs, and perennial flowers that can withstand the climate changes here in Colorado. These plants grow on their own in nature without any help from a gardener, and they can do almost the same thing in your garden.

Color with wild abandon. Rather than selecting purples for this corner and reds in that corner, your bedhead garden will combine a riot of colors to mix things up a bit.

Source: Pixabay

Source: Pixabay

Casual without being overgrown. While bedhead gardens do require less maintenance, they aren’t completely overgrown. Planting trees, shrubs, and flowers in areas that allow them to reach their medium to highest heights and widths simply means you have to groom them less often. Curved pathways, rather than rigid walkways, allow plants to stretch and bloom with their own personality.

Contact Lifescape when you’re ready to free up some of those warm weather weekends and embrace the bedhead gardening trend for 2015.

Spring Ready: Simple Garden Projects for Planting

This time of year can feel like Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride when it comes to the weather patterns in the Colorado Rockies. Warm, spring-like days that have gardener’s hands itching to get in the soil are followed by unexpected storms and freezing temperatures. In other words, your garden isn’t ready to be planted just yet.

7 Simple Garden Projects to Get Your Garden Spring and Planting Ready

Even so, there are plenty of simple garden projects that will satiate your desire to work in the garden without jeopardizing the lives of innocent plantlings.

Photo: Anne F Walters Company via Houzz
    1. Clear drainage ditches. Snow melt and spring rains need a place to drain. If your drainage ditches are full of fall and winter debris, that water will flood your yard and can do damage to existing plants and plant beds. Clear drainage ditches and expand or rebuild them as necessary.
    2. Repair trellises and fences. These aren’t killed off by frosts and freezes, so the good work you do now on trellises and fence lines will last through the growing season.
    3. Weed and mulch. Get those early weeds out of there while they’re still young and easy to pull. Then mulch bare and freshly weeded spots to enhance soil and prevent new weeds from emerging.
    4. Test your soil. Colorado doesn’t have the richest soil quality, so have it tested to determine which amendments are needed this year.
    5. Prune and thin dead foliage. If you wait too long to clear dead foliage from ornamental grasses and other perennials, you risk doing damage to the new shoots. Use a few good weather days to prune the dead stuff from trees and plants, and rip out any skeleton plants left in your vegetable garden.
    6. Prepare your lawn. Start raking the lawn to get dead plant materials and debris out of the way. It will aerate the soil and let more sunlight in. Your lawn will be ready for re-seeding soon.
    7. Make plans with a landscape designer. If you plan on using a landscape designer this year, make your appointment now as the calendar fills up quickly this time of year.
Photo: Lifescape Colorado. via Houzz

Would you like a little help with spring landscaping and planting? Have a few ideas you’d like to run by a professional? Contact Lifescape Colorado to schedule a consultation.

Cheerful Spring Container Gardening Designs & Ideas

Are you itching to start your spring planting? We understand, but you’re rolling the dice this time of year since we’re still too far out from the official start of spring; future snow storms and freezes are a given. The good news is you can still put those green thumbs of yours to work by creating container garden designs and layouts that will add early spring cheer to your porches, plant beds, and patios.

Tips for Achieving Beautiful Container Garden Designs and Layouts

Container gardens are becoming quite the rage. They are versatile, easy to manage, and portable. That latter quality is especially desirable in a climate where having the wherewithal to move containers in and out, depending on the weather report, allows you to enjoy early and late landscape interest when the rest of your neighborhood is surrounded by a sea of winter grays.

Use these tips to create cheerful spring container gardens, even while the snow flies.

Keep containers consistent. It’s easy to get carried away with the myriad of container designs, textures, and colors out there. However, if you go too crazy, it can look like a big mish-mash, rather than a well-designed landscape arrangement. Try to keep your containers consistent, especially within the same grouping, so the plants and blooms remain the same.

If, on the other hand, you have a few prized containers that you want to show off, consider keeping a pot or two empty altogether this year, or plant them with a single tree, grass varietal, or other plants with upward movement, so the plant and container aren’t in competition.

Use a color wheel. If you aren’t naturally creative or artistic, choosing your flowers and plants can be daunting. Grab a color wheel, and use it to assist you. Complementary colors lie directly across from one another on the wheel, and analogous colors lie side by side in groups of threes.

Skip the groupings altogether. If you’re planting your containers in a pinch, forget the idea of using multiple plants in the same pot, and keep it simple by using one plant per container.

Photo: Lifescape Colorado. via Houzz

Then, when you have a minute, you can play around by grouping the containers together to create monochromatic or colorful displays and to yield the variations in height that will make your container garden more interesting. Looking for new ideas for your containers this year? Call on Lifescape, and our design team will be happy to create and maintain your container gardens for you.

Essential Tips for Incorporating Water Sounds Into Your Garden

A well-designed garden is a balancing act. You want to balance landscaping selections with water availability. You will balance color, plant heights, and seasonal interest. Hardscaping installations are balanced with plants to create focal points and functional spaces. In most cases, landscapers get so focused on the visual aspects of their garden that they forget how a garden can please the other senses as well. Incorporating sounds into a garden is a wonderful way to enrich your outdoor experience.

Ideas for Incorporating Sound Into Your Garden

Thinking of your landscape as a soundscape will be particularly satisfying for those who live in more urban settings or near noisy neighbors. By adding sounds – or working with natural materials to buffer sounds – your outdoor spaces will feel more like a wild sanctuary and less like an urban garden.

Harness the wind. Think about how certain plants respond to wind. Aspens rattle and click, tall grasses whisper, ornamental trees may sigh, and a stand of conifers may mimic the sound of ocean waves. Pay attention to how wind moves on your property, and then plant trees, shrubs, and grasses accordingly to make the most of it.

Think about your ground cover. The way a foot falls on concrete is much different from the way it falls on soft bark, mossy ground cover or gravel. Analyze how your family, guests, and pets move in your outdoor spaces. What do you want to hear? What do you not want to hear? These thoughts can help you design walkways, stairways, and pathways that contribute to your outdoor soundscape.

Design water elements that produce the sound you want. The sound of water flowing through a fountain or mock stream will be very different depending on the type of pump you use, the container the water flows into, and the objects in that container. For example, place a rock at the base of a waterfall, and you’ll hear the roar of the water with a brighter splash. Take it away, and the effect is entirely different. Design water features, so they yield the sound you desire.

Lifescape Colorado takes a well-rounded approach to landscape design. Contact us to schedule a consultation, and we’ll show you what a difference incorporating sounds into a garden can make.