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How to create a Pollinator Garden

Most people in the Denver Metro area know the Butterfly Pavilion as a great place to take the kids. You get to see amazing butterflies, insects, and Rosie the tarantula. The Butterfly Pavilion also happens to staff some of the world’s leading experts in pollinator habitats, bees, biodiverse garden design, and the global bee crisis. The Butterfly Pavilion’s Science and Conservation Services staff are available to offer support and consultations to individuals, organizations, and municipalities all across the state. The Pavilion was recently featured on a PBS special on the global bee crisis.


The Pavilion’s services including:

  • Bee Keeping: hive installation and maintenance
  • Habitat Garden consultation and design
  • Pollinator Corridors
  • Pollinator Habitat Gardens: consultation and restoration
  • Aquatic gardening systems
  • Integrated pest management
  • Open Space restoration: native plants and ecosystems
  • Biodiversity
  • Plant-Insect Interactions
  • Public Habitat Gardens

All of these services range in price from $75 to $250.

Join the Pavilion’s PACE program: The Pavilion’s Pollinator Awareness through Conservation and Education (PACE) program promotes habitat and species conservation and restoration. They have classes for children and adults and families, networks, etc.




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Who is Joe Swift? Chelsea Flower Show co-host, garden designer and Gardeners’ World TV presenter

JOE Swift is back on our screens to present the RHS Chelsea Flower show on BBC One.

But what do we know about the author and designer who regularly presents Gardeners’ World?

Joe Swift (pictured) will be heading up the coverage of the Chelsea Flower show, alongside Sophie Raworth (pictured) and Monty Don

Joe Swift (pictured) will be heading up the coverage of the Chelsea Flower show, alongside Sophie Raworth (pictured) and Monty Don

Who is Joe Swift?

Joe Swift is an English garden designer, TV presenter and journalist.

He was born on May 25, 1965 to father Clive Swift, who is an actor in Keeping Up Appearances, and mum Margaret Drabble who is a novelist.

His brother Adam is an academic, and his sister Rebecca is a poet and founder of the Literary Consultancy.

Joe is the co-founder and design director of Modular Garden, which is a garden design and build company

Joe is the co-founder and design director of Modular Garden, which is a garden design and build company

How did Joe Swift get into garden designing?

After leaving school, Joe went to Art College, before travelling and working abroad.

He started landscaping in North London, before taking his skills to Sydney and Melbourne.

He then studied garden design at The English Gardening School and launched his own landscaping company at the same time.

Joe Swift (far right) has presented Gardeners World since 1998, with hosts Rachel De Thame (left), Monty Don (centre left) and Carol Klein (centre right)

Joe Swift (far right) has presented Gardeners’ World since 1998, with hosts Rachel De Thame (left), Monty Don (centre left) and Carol Klein (centre right)

What TV shows does Joe Swift present?

Joe is famous for presenting Gardeners’ World on BBC2 alongside lead host Monty Don since 1998.

He has also presented coverage of RHS Tatton Park Flower Show, BBC’s Small Town Gardens and Hampton Court Palace Flower Show.

On Monday May 22, Joe and Sophie Raworth hosted a live show of Chelsea Flower Show on BBC One showing a preview of the highlight of the horticultural calendar.

In addition to this, Joe is also co-founder and design director of Modular Garden, which is a garden design and build company.

What has Joe Swift had published?

As well as being a regular face on TV screens in the UK, Joe has also had several books published.

These are called The Plant Room, Joe’s Urban Garden Handbook, and Joe’s Allotment.

He has also written several newspaper columns and has featured in Gardeners’ World Magazine on the subject of home gardening and landscaping.

The Sun triumphs at The Centenary Chelsea Flower Show


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Prairie first-graders’ garden design a winner





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Wasco Nursery offers tips for colorful landscaping from Spring through Fall

With careful planning, you can have beautiful, colorful landscaping from early spring until the middle of fall. By choosing trees, bushes, and flowers that have a variety of blooming periods, you can give your home terrific curb appeal and a delightful backyard to enjoy.

The growing season for northeastern Illinois is generally March through November for trees, April through October for perennials, and May through September for annuals. “Early bloomers that do well here include Magnolia, Redbud, and Ornamental Pear trees,” said Cheryl Monzingo, Marketing Manager for Wasco Nursery. “Dogwood, Smoke Tree, and Lilac trees bloom in mid-summer, and there are many trees that offer outstanding fall foliage.”

Other popular early bloomers include Forsythia and Rhododendron shrubs; Lenten Rose, Bleeding Heart, and Bluebell perennials; daffodil, tulip and crocus bulbs; and annual pansies and violas. For mid-summer blooming options, consider Rose, Hydrangea, and Rose-of-Sharon bushes, and Coneflower, Daylily, and Black-eyed Susan perennials. For fall, plant Asters, Chelone, Grasses, Sedum, and Mums. Evergreens, like Boxwood and Yews, provide greenery all year long, and provide a nice backdrop for flowers.

For color ideas, Monzingo recommends visiting Wasco Nursery’s garden center regularly, and exploring your own neighborhood and town, to see what’s in bloom at various times. “At Wasco Nursery, we offer Creative Landscape Design options to fit the scope of any project,” said Monzingo. “Our knowledgeable staff can offer recommendations, and we present seminars throughout the year. We also offer online assistance through the Plant Finder section of our website.”

Common mistakes include planting only spring bloomers without room to add additional plants that bloom later, incorporating too many plants with similar foliage, and planting only one of many varieties of plants. “It’s best to plant larger groups of one type of plant for maximum impact,” said Monzingo. “We can help our customers create a lovely, colorful landscape that lasts for months!” For more information, please contact:

Wasco Nursery Garden Center

41W781 Route 64

St. Charles IL 60175

Ph: (630) 584-4424

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10 outdoor ideas for boosting the value of your home

Photo courtesy of Zillow

Spring is the season to get head outdoors and enjoy the smell of freshly cut lawns and blooming flowers. As many homeowners get ready to spend their time and hard-earned cash on improving their landscaping for a fresh start, it’s also a great time to think about which outdoor projects provide the best return on investment (ROI).

There are many outdoor features that can help owners enjoy living in their homes, but not all of them will add value for all future buyers. For example, swimming pools might be fun for families who aren’t afraid of consistent maintenance and added costs, but they could send some buyers running. Investing in curb appeal, however, almost always pays off.

“First impressions are everything,” said Jessica Lautz, managing director of survey research and communications with the National Association of Realtors (NAR). “Even in landscaping, we want to attract the homebuyer.”

These days, that initial impression often comes in the form of an online listing photo. According to a recent NAR report, viewing homes online is the first step for buyers, with the vast majority of people saying that photos were the most important part of their online research. If a home doesn’t have the most well-kept and well-photographed exterior on the block, online shoppers could be more likely to move on the next online listing.

Another part of keeping up with the Joneses, of course, is understanding the outdoor trends that are popular in a particular area.

“In Miami, homeowners want to live outdoors equally as they live indoors,” said landscape architect Deena Bell Llewellyn, president of Bell Landscape Architecture and president-elect of the Florida Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects. In South Florida, where she works, Llewellyn said homeowners are looking to open their homes completely so that the line between interior and exterior is erased.

“Landscape architects really get into the ‘hardscape’ design for the exteriors,” she said. “Specific things clients really want are outdoor kitchens — very sophisticated outdoor kitchens that might have the same types of appliances they have indoors, outdoor televisions with full sound, and lighting outdoors and outdoor fireplaces or conversation pits that act as part of an outdoor living room.”

Thinking of taking the plunge on an outdoor improvement this year? Check out these 10 projects that could add value to your home today and in the future.

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Tips and trends for today’s smart gardening

Tips and trends for today’s smart gardening

• Try xeriscaping. Instead of turf grass, integrate plants that require less water in your landscape, such as yucca, sedum, salvia, hens and chicks, and some ornamental grasses.

• Have a small city lot? Plant flowering dwarf shrubs. Popular varieties are ‘Spilled Wine’ and ‘My Monet’ weigelas, and the Seaside Serenade series of hydrangeas, which require little pruning.

• Plant pollinator magnets to attract bees, butterflies, hummingbirds and insects to your urban and suburban landscape. Pollinators need food throughout the seasons. Plants such as ‘Blue Yonder’ veronica, ‘Midnight Prairieblues’ indigo, ‘Trevi Fountain’ lungwort and ‘Miss Kim’ Korean lilac can provide it.

• Succulents are hot. The water-retaining, fleshy-stemmed plants are exotic eye candy in beds and containers. Now there are more varieties, colors, shapes and sizes available than ever before. Echeveria and hens and chicks are especially popular this spring, said Jessie Jacobson, owner of Tonkadale. “Succulents are easy-care once you get the hang of it.”

• Get kids excited about gardening with fantasy fairy gardens. (Tonkadale offers a variety of accessories, houses and plants to create the whimsical mini-landscapes.) “Fairy gardens are an activity kids can do with grandparents,” said Jacobson.


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Diarmuid Gavin to offer gardening tips at Lime Tree Theatre

BOTH seasoned and beginner gardening enthusiasts will have the rare chance to learn from the best in the business this week, as Diarmuid Gavin offers a glimpse into his life in landscaping at a Limerick event.

Fans of the celebrity gardener will be pleased to discover that he is kick-starting his national tour in Limerick’s Lime Tree Theatre this Thursday, and is set to spill the beans on his experiences at some of the most prestigious flower shows in the world.

An Evening with Diarmuid Gavin on May 25 will see the celebrated gardener present an evening of fun on all things beds, borders and the world of gardening.

“I am very excited to be launching the national tour in Limerick, a great city in a great county,” said Mr Gavin, who will also be revealing some mischievous antics at the Chelsea Flower Show and talking about the history of outdoor design.

Audiences will be treated to a wide range of gardening tips and advice, in the first of a national tour of shows for the landscaper to the rich and famous.

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Master Gardener: Garden tips for May | Features |

Susan Moore Sevier is part of the Tulare-Kings Master Gardener program. Visit, email or write UC Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners, 680 N. Campus Drive, Suite A, Hanford, CA 93230.

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Garden expert: How to turn city plots into peaceful, leafy sanctuaries

Garden expert: How to turn city plots into peaceful, leafy sanctuaries

Chinese star jasmine trained against a fence makes the most of vertical space, and unfussy topiary provides focal points.

Chinese star jasmine trained against a fence makes the most of vertical space, and unfussy topiary provides focal points.

Rachael matthews of Hedge Garden Design Nursery has clients lining up for her particular brand of structured, soothing green and white gardens. 

Although Rachael has always loved growing things (in her student days she carted hordes of pot plants between flats) she spent 12 years in corporate law, until the arrival of her first baby prompted a career change. 

She started growing structural plants at her Levin nursery – hedges, topiaries and standards, arranged as if they were in a garden so customers could imagine how they’d look at home. From there a garden design business flourished. 

Rachael Matthews of Hedge Garden Design  Nursery.

Rachael Matthews of Hedge Garden Design Nursery.

Gardens are all about structure, says Rachael. Get your hard landscaping right first and all else will follow. “For a formal garden with hedges, your hard landscaping needs to be square and flat or nothing will look right.” 

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Garden expert Julian Matthews takes solace in plants that look in the wet 

A strong structure will keep the garden looking good year-round, and then owners can add personal touches to make the garden their own. “So I might help them choose the right-sized, beautiful pots; then they can add whatever plants they like.” In the garden beds Rachael also likes to leave room for people to experiment with favourite plants and flowers. 

“People love impulse and seasonal buying at garden centres and this gives them spaces to play with. Sometimes the plants won’t last, but people still love them and that’s fine. I’m not a plant fascist – people need to connect with their favourite things.”


A buxus hedge punctuated by topiary domes; pots allow gardeners to add colour.

A buxus hedge punctuated by topiary domes; pots allow gardeners to add colour.

Arrivals: When designing a garden, I always think about how it looks when you’re coming and going. When you come into your garden you want to feel as if the world is lifting off your shoulders.

Focal point plants: Strong, symmetrical features, such as topiary balls or cones will give your garden focal points. I’ve moved away from more decorative topiary shapes.

If it’s little, look up: Pleached trees and columns are good for small gardens, because they’re narrow and don’t take up too much room. Their height will quickly give you privacy.

Go large: It might seem counter-intuitive, but big elements work best in a small garden. If you have a whole lot of little things, your garden can seem cluttered. For example, a few large, sculptural pots are better than many little ones.

Lighting: Light up your garden so that you get to see it at night too. There are so many different options (I like the new warm candle-like LED lighting) that it’s wise to get a professional involved. Make sure it’s balanced so you light up the whole garden without any black holes, but it shoudn’t look like an airport runway!

Layer it: In a small garden think about all the surfaces and air space. Layers are important – you can use hedges, pleached trees and climbers to make the most of vertical space. The backdrop to your garden is important too; I love Boston ivy, with its lovely shaggy texture, as well as ficus and Virginia creeper.

Bare branches: Don’t rule out deciduous trees – go for evergreens at ground level and deciduous trees up higher. They keep you in touch with nature as they change with the seasons, let in light in the winter and cast beautiful shadows.

The low-maintenance myth: There is no such thing as a low-maintenance garden. Every garden needs a maintenance cycle, including pruning and fertilising. I like to build a relationship with the owners of gardens I design and develop a maintenance plan. Then you can keep improving the garden; with a new design you’ll only get it right 80 per cent of the time. It’s ideal to keep adjusting.  

 – NZ House Garden

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Recipe: Easy fruit and nut oat slice

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Elements of Design



One of the most common questions I receive from gardeners and plant shoppers is for help in selecting plants that combine well together in the garden. Whether for sun or shade, or both, many gardeners assume that they have no skill or talent in combining plants. The truth is, however, most gardeners excel at this without even realizing it.

There is no right or wrong way to combine plants that you love in your garden. By selecting the plants you enjoy and working with a few simple garden design elements, you can create spectacular beauty to grace the garden all season long.


When I’m helping gardeners design combinations large or small, texture becomes more important, in many cases, than color or bloom.

There are many varieties of textures to choose from in the garden. Some plants have extremely lacy or fernlike foliage. Others have sward like foliage or blades, such as irises and grasses.

Plants like hostas often feature extremely corrugated or steer suckered foliage that is attractive year long.

Some suggestions for plants with wonderful texture in the garden include ornamental grasses, ferns, hostas, coral bells, herbs, native wildflowers and succulents,

Combining a variety of textures creates instant beauty and interest in the garden, especially when enhanced with flowers and foliage.



Once you begin to pay close attention to foliage, you may just find yourself completely forgetting about blooms.

Foliage can come in a variety of different colors, forms, and patterns that last throughout the entire growing season, providing rich, lush beauty.

Examples of excellent foliage plants for the garden are coleus, elephant ears, caladium, ferns, hosta, coral bells, grasses, calla, canna, irises and many colorful shrubs and trees.


A garden wouldn’t be a garden without colorful blooms to provide a parade of color throughout the seasons. Designing with color can be as simple as choosing plants in one color scheme. It may be combining a few colors together, or, it may mean an array of colorful blooms to create a rainbow of color, cottage garden style or prairie style all season long.

Annuals and perennials are available in every color of the rainbow. Find your favorites and design your dream garden.


Vertical interest

Often overlooked in the garden, vertical interest is an important aspect of design. Plants that provide height in the garden draw the eye skyward, adding a new dimension to the blanket of color below.

Plants that provide vertical interest in the garden are ornamental grasses, cannas, trees and shrubs in columnar form, delphinium, hollyhocks, blazing star, sunflower, lilies and vining plants, both annual and perennial.

Seasonal characteristics

When designing your garden beds and containers, keep in mind the seasonal characteristics of plants that will define their placement throughout the season. For example, what does the plant look like once it has completed flowering? Does the foliage still provide interest for the rest of the season?

Some plants also change color throughout the season, becoming more or less vibrant, depending upon the time of year. Other plants provide interesting fruit or berries once flowering has completed that maybe even more interesting than the blossoms.

Sometimes, the seasonal characteristics of plants may come as a complete, unexpected surprise, thrilling us as gardeners as we explore and deepen our knowledge of plants.


Growth form of our plants is also important to consider when designing a garden or container. There are plants that are low growing and sprawling, or creeping. Other plants may be mounding or ball like in shape. Others are wild and airy.

In container gardening, this is often referred to as thrillers, fillers and spillers. Your thriller is your accent plant, often dominant in shape and form. Fillers are used to create a lush and fall luck. Spillers or trailers are designed to extend the beauty horizontally or vertically.

By combining plants of different growth forms together in the garden, instant beauty and interest is created.

Find Rob Zimmer online at On Facebook at Listen to Outdoors with Rob Zimmer, Saturday mornings, 7-8 AM on WHBY.

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