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New plants for the season

We all have our favorite things, right? Now that I just recently turned 51 (please send belated birthday presents to the CSU Extension office at the Fairgrounds), I find myself being drawn to the things that I like. For example, the vast majority of my shirts are Wranglers. They are good quality, affordable and only seem to come in plaid, which is my favorite color. At a local restaurant, just down the street from my office, I have only ordered green chile burritos. They burn on the way down, are affordable (sensing a theme here) and if I eat two, I’m full for hours.

So when it comes to plants, I find myself recommending the same plants to those that inquire and consequently find myself looking at the same plants for my yard. But when I started planting more trees in the yard a couple years ago and then took out more than 1,000 square feet of turf last year, I wanted something new. With trees, I immediately turned to David Temple, a grower of amazing specimens, for “something different”: bald cypress and yellowwood. Both are large trees that we do not see often around here. Perhaps there is a reason. But as of right now, they are putting on good growth with no signs of pest pressure or winter damage.

The following list are plants that I have either planted, will plant or should plant. Some may be failures, but that is ok (unless you are talking about trees – trees are expensive). All of these will be good barometers of what we are doing right – or wrong – and what works in our microclimate.

  • Marketmore cucumber: I’m not sure I have ever grown a different type of cucumber. But with this one, the fruit are prolific, do not seem to go bitter and can be eaten fresh or pickled. As an added bonus, I met the breeder that developed it, Dr. Henry Munger, years ago.
  • Scarlet Nantes carrot: I have always grown Bolero carrots and will again this year, but I am going to try this one as well. Nantes indicates that the size is typically around six to seven inches, although in my soil I am expecting shorter than that.
  • Defiant tomato: Determinate in growth, I am excited to grow this red-round tomato for the first time. I have a conundrum: My best growing tomato spot has had an increase in disease pressure the past couple of years, so I want to try a tomato that supposedly has resistance to early and late blight.
Landscape plants
  • Moon carrot: one of my absolute favorite plants, it has silvery-blue foliage and flowers that go from light pink to white. It’s adaptable to different soils and soil moisture and will take full sun to part shade.
  • Red Texas yucca: a new one for me, it is neither a yucca, nor is it red, but it is native to Texas. But it is a great pollinator plant, with flower stalks rising upwards of 5 feet.

I already mentioned the bald cypress and yellowwood, which I have enjoyed immensely.

  • Greenspire linden: If I can find one at a nursery, I would be hard-pressed to not purchase it, even though I am not sure where I would plant it. Mere details … Its pyramidal shape and fragrant flowers are to die for (which may happen if I bring home another tree).
  • Now that I think about it, maybe I am willing to try something new: like defiant tomatoes, Howler shirts and smothered burritos.

Darrin Parmenter is the director and horticulture agent of the La Plata County Extension Office. Reach him at darrin.parmenter@co.laplata.co.us or 382-6464.