Big and Bold Plants

Dogwood trees are not large, so what is one doing as the lead off in an article on big and bold plants?  Cornus kousa ‘Venus’ has enormous flowers, and that’s how it makes the cut.  Compared to other dogwoods, ‘Venus’ has flowers about twice as large.   Compare the size of the flower against one of… [Continue Reading]

Bristlecone Pine

The Bristlecone Pine (Pinus aristata) is the oldest tree on earth.  The oldest tree is located in the Methusala Grove within the larger Schulman Grove at the Bristlecone Pine Forest in California.   The oldest tree is not specifically marked to help guard its safety, but there are a handful of contenders, and all are over… [Continue Reading]

Certified Arborist

A certified arborist is one of the “big guns” for a garden.  As a garden designer, when I see a property one of the things I evaluate is  the need for services of an arborist.  If you need extensive removals, or extensive reshaping or the removal of any large tree, then an arborist is suggested…. [Continue Reading]

Gold Conifer: A new variety

Tower Perennial is home to a magnificent collection of specialty and dwarf conifers. A gold conifer is hardly something we see every day in nature. People sometimes ask me, where do these grow? There are not any Montana hillsides loaded with gold conifers, unless you count the fall display of the larch. These gold conifers… [Continue Reading]

Red Twig Dogwoods

In winter, we become much more aware of the reason that red twig dogwoods have been given that name.  In summer, the twigs are a standard gray/brown with a slight red twinge, but in winter the color shines.  Not only are there red twig dogwoods, but also yellow twig and coral twig.  In the picture… [Continue Reading]

Evergreen Shrubs

Selecting evergreen shrubs is a task that is crucial to the garden’s appearance.  These shrubs comprise the primary color for the winter garden as well as the structure for the garden year round.  If your garden has been lackluster this winter (look out the back window to check) then this is the article written for… [Continue Reading]

Drought Tolerant Winter Beauty

There are many plants that help make winter beautiful, so I am going to focus on a few that are exceptionally lovely and quite xeric (drought tolerant).  My trips to the Southwest high desert have helped me find many of these plants, as has my relationship with Denver Botanic Gardens.  The desert has many areas… [Continue Reading]

Fall’s warmth

Autumn is such a rich season.  Though the light fades quickly here, and clouds often steal what remains, the colors of fall are so warm and vibrant that we simply don’t notice.  I’ve written about red foliage, but in truth, I am probably most fond of the many tones of gold.  Among my personal favorite for… [Continue Reading]


Let’s face it, when we think of red fall color we think of burning bush (Euonymus alatus ‘Compacta’) and maples (such as ‘Autumn Blaze’).  Of course, these are brilliant fall performers.  But my favorite fall performers come from many corners of the plant kingdom.  Let’s start with a couple of viburnums. Viburnum trilobum ‘Redwing’ is  the… [Continue Reading]

The Useful Hornbeam

The European Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus)* is a decorative and versatile stem in the garden.  This tree serves well as a street tree due to the narrow habit that won’t tangle with vehicles.  It is gaining popularity locally for use in commercial plantings as well, so those are the most likely ways that you will recognize… [Continue Reading]