In the Garden:
Western Mountains and High Plains
April, 2012
Regional Report

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Enjoy the early blooms of apricots. Hold high hopes of no late spring frosts to reap a bountiful harvest.

Joys of Rocky Mountain Gardening

This has been an erratic spring causing confusion for plants and gardeners alike. The old apricot trees growing in a droughty natural setting are blooming profusely on southern slopes. These 60-year-old apricot trees are testimonials to their tenacity to grow and produce.

This can be a tricky season especially if cold weather arrives during the bloom period. It's not usual to have the beautiful blooms killed by a frost. Regardless of the outcome, enjoy the beauty that surrounds us in the early spring.

Gardening in a cold, unpredictable climate with many varied soil conditions offers challenges: a shorter growing season, fluctuating temperatures, wind, a more modest palette of plants, slower rates of annual growth, unpredictable late spring or early autumn frosts, and competition from a variety of critters.

Growing annual and perennial flowers, vegetables, and herbs allows us to enjoy the beauty that a garden provides, plus it allows us to have a greater appreciation of nature. It's a wholesome way to spend time outdoors with the satisfaction of knowing that we had a hand in growing our own food. If we prefer, we can choose to grow plants without chemicals -- the organic or natural way that nature intended. Yes, we will have to accept a few blemishes on our vegetables and fruits now and then, but you just can't beat the flavor of fresh, organic vegetables, herbs, and fruit.

Gardening can be a family activity, involving your children. Kids not only benefit from spending more time outdoors, they also learn valuable lessons from growing plants. The fascination of watching seeds germinate and grow into flowering plants, the anticipation of the first pumpkin in late summer, and picking the first ripe tomato in July -- all make gardening a fun adventure for people of all ages.

Grow a garden to be environmentally friendly. Gardening helps us understand how to treat the environment, the importance of conservation of natural resources like water and soil, and how to create an ecosystem that will benefit humans, plants, and animals alike.

Regardless of why you like to garden, one thing is for sure: it's time to get ready to start growing. Behind every successful garden is the desire to grow plants, experience nature, and plan for both success and failure. As Gertrude Jekyll once stated:"The love of gardening is a seed once sown that never dies."

Care to share your gardening thoughts, insights, triumphs, or disappointments with your fellow gardening enthusiasts? Join the lively discussions on our FaceBook page and receive free daily tips!

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