Western Mountains and High Plains

October, 2004
Regional Report

Favorite or New Plant

Blazing Star
Blazing star or gayfeather (Liatris spicata) is a hardy, dependable perennial with dense spires of small purple flowers. They are long-lasting in a vase and in the garden and can be dried for indoor arrangements. Butterflies and other beneficial insects find the blooms inviting, too!

This is a rugged plant with its origin in the American prairie. It does best in well-drained, sandy, fertile soil. Once established, it develops a strong, tuberous root system that will store water to survive extended drought periods. Gayfeather does best when planted in full sun. It is hardy to zone 3.

Clever Gardening Technique

The Amazing Cordless Bulb Drill
Do you spend hours planting spring-flowering bulbs? Transform your cordless drill into a bulb planter to save time and energy. With some different-sized drill bits and a cordless drill, you can plant bulbs with the speed of Superman! A 2-1/2-inch bit works well for tiny bulbs like crocus, snowdrops, winter aconite, grape hyacinths, etc. For larger bulbs like daffodils, tulips, and hyacinths, use a 3-1/2-inch bit. This bulb drilling technique works very well in sandy, loamy, or prepared soils. Be cautious in rocky, gravel-based, or compacted soil. It helps to make holes with a mini-mattock in these types of soils.

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