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Glimpses of Spring Growth

Have you ever been walking around your yard and stumble across something you forgot you planted the previous year?  Last fall I was super gung-ho to plant elderberry bushes.  I had been buying elderberry syrup for years to boost my daughter’s immune system and to  help with coughs, but wanted to have my own bushes after discovering how well they grow in our area.  On a snowy afternoon last fall, I bought two pots of Sambucus nigra ‘Madonna’ with light green verigated foliage, and two pots of Sambucus Canadensis ‘York’Allium-1 from Harlequin Gardens.  On impulse as I was making my purchase, I threw in a small bag of Allium bulbs.

At 7600 feet in thAllium-2e Arapahoe National Forest, I live where intentional  landscape is also known as putting out a critter salad bar, but heard that deer and chipmunks would avoid these onion genus bulbs.  I was surprised and delighted in early April to discover that all five bulbs were up!  With that unexpected  joy came a new worry….will the elk and deer leave them alone?   Is it better to know they are growing and look out for them daily, or was it easier to be blissfully unaware of their existence?

A small herd of elk cows started hanging out in our Meadows towards the end of April.  Late May to early June is the time elks give birth, so I thought these soon-to-be mamas may have been looking for a safe haven.  I should have known better, they were looking for some veggie canapes.  photo-4Two plants got munched down to the ground.  Oh well I thought, share the yield, at least there are three left.  To my surprise, the two plants made an amazing comeback and proceeded to send up a flower stock.  Then a week later, some  mule deer were passing through and one of them just had to sample the allium. It appears that the bulb was yanked from the ground like a prize, only to be spat out as the intense onion flavors were released.  I rescued the half eaten plant and tucked it into a soil filed a pot on my deck.

Allium with bud

The saga continues as the rain falls this first week of May. It got me thinking about the lessons I learned in permaculture training about companion planting.  Even thought the critters tried to eat the allium plants, clearly they found them distasteful.  Instead of five bulbs, I really should be planting 50!  I imagine fences of showy purple allium globes, protecting  their fellow shrubs and perennials, so much prettier and fragrant then a metal fence! ~Karina Z

Hello Spring!

Welcome to Ecoscape’s blog, a place where we plan to share sustainable ideas, gardening tips, environmental issues facing our local community, permaculture ethics, and landscape design inspirations.  We are also passionate about plants!  So you will find posts on specific herbs, edible and flowering shrubs, native perennials, ornamental grasses, trees, and even turf grass and weeds (yes, turf and weeds are plants too!).

Bill Melvin, the one doing the heavy lifting with the boulder, is our company founder and managing director.  Since 2000, Bill  has developed Ecoscape Environmental Design to be a full-service landscape company with a strong ecological focus.  It’s no accident that big boulder is on his shoulder, environmental responsibility is a weight he carries seriously.  He’ll step in to share some of the projects he’s working on, and his perspective as a father, permaculture designer, and community business leader. Bill Moves LARGE boulder

You’ll also hear from other Ecoscape voices…each person on our staff brings a unique body of landscape experience, knowledge, and stories from the field.  Boulder County is also known as an epicenter for localized food, innovative start-ups, good music & culture, and healthy lifestyles, so we’ll be sure to blog about some of these interactions as it relates to our work on the land.  Check back to our Ecoscape blog frequently, we are committed to writing with gusto!                        ~Karina Z