Western Mountains and High Plains

March, 2005
Regional Report

Favorite or New Plant

Creeping Oregon Grape
One of my favorite shrubs that will provide year-round interest in the woodland garden is creeping Oregon grape (Mahonia repens). It will produce clusters of yellow blooms followed by bluish purple berries for the birds. It grows from 8 to 24 inches in height and will spread 18 to 24 inches. The broadleaf foliage resembles holly and will generally stay green or reddish green throughout the fall and winter. It will thrive in partial sun to shade. It creates a nice undercover in the woodland garden or beneath ornamental trees.

Books

Organic Gardening in the West
Since I began my career on the farm/ranch as a avid organic gardener, I've used this little book as a reminder. Organic Gardening in the West, by Robert F. Smith, Jr. (The Sunstone Press; 1976), gives ideas for raising vegetables in a short, dry, growing season. It covers soil cultivation, depressed-bed planting to protect plants from the elements, and directions for growing everything from asparagus to zucchini. It's out of print but you can find used copies on the Internet.

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