Western Mountains and High Plains

February, 2007
Regional Report

Favorite or New Plant

Old-Fashioned Geranium
No matter what the new garden trends are, old-fashioned geraniums (Pelargonium x hortorum are still among my favorite blooming plants. They'll bloom in a sunny, cool window indoors and then easily transplant outside when danger of frost has past. I like to take cuttings in late January for the outdoor planters. There are so many geraniums to pick from, let your individual tastes lead you to colors you like best. Plant groups of the same color for a bold display.

Scented geraniums are prized for their fragrant foliage. Peppermint, lemon, rose, nutmeg, and apple are a few tempting possibilities to try in your garden. Plant them near the patio or deck where you can brush up against them to release the charming fragrance.

Clever Gardening Technique

2-Liter Plastic Whirling Bottle
To keep birds and other critters at bay in a newly planted garden, craft homemade whirlygigs from 2-liter plastic soda bottles. Make vertical slits around each bottle, about 2 inches apart, starting about 4 inches down from the narrow bottle opening and ending about 3 inches from the bottom of the bottle. Then make 1-inch horizontal slits to form a series of flaps that you'll bend outward.

The bottles will fit upside down over round garden stakes placed throughout the garden. When there's the slightest breeze, these will spin, reflecting sunlight and making noise to keep birds and other nuisance pests away from new seedlings.

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