Western Mountains and High Plains

September, 2004
Regional Report

Favorite or New Plant

Meadow Saffron
With the right planning, the autumn garden can hold many surprises. Just as sure as daffodils and tulips emerge in spring, the late-summer and fall garden can come alive with meadow saffron (Colchicum autumnale). It is perhaps the showiest of fall bloomers, with luminous pink blossoms that are especially lovely amidst a ground cover of santolina or dusty miller. The wispy, goblet-shaped flowers are borne on 6- to 8-inch-tall stems in late summer and fall. Often mistaken for crocus, which is related to iris, colchicum is a member of the lily family. A single bulb can produce up to 10 flowers in bunches that will add dimension to the perennial garden or border. Plant them close to garden pathways and walkways where the emerging flowers will invite passsersby to stop and admire. Plant bulbs now and enjoy the show this year and for years to come.

Clever Gardening Technique

Invite Birds to Your Garden
Attract birds by providing a source of food and water. If you don't have a birdbath, use a shallow dish filled with water and set on an old stump or a flat moss rock. Just remember to keep the water clean. Don't make the birdbath too deep, as most birds won't go in water deeper than a few inches. Add some stones to the deepest part to make the birds feel more secure. Be sure to keep the vegetation around the birdbath low and sparse so predators won't have a place to lurk. If there is an overhanging branch from a shade tree nearby, it will provide additional security and a place for the birds to roost and watch for cats.

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