Tag Archives: Rosedale Garden

The Irises of Rosedale Garden

The Irises of Rosedale Garden


As the last frost, hail and unexpected late May snows bless our spring crops with moisture, the irises of Rosedale Garden burst into a symphony of color.   The blooming irises last only a few weeks but are magnificent.   If we’re lucky, some of the flowers will still be blooming when the planting of warm season crops commences around Memorial Day weekend.

Over the years, irises have been split and spread throughout the garden and many new varieties have been introduced.   When the young son of one of my garden partners eagerly snipped some blooms from my neighbor Marilynn’s garden, his mom apologized profusely and as a goodwill gesture, gifted Marilynn several bulbs of multi-colored varieties from a local iris nursery.   For years, those special irises decorated the border of Marilynn’s beautiful corner plot.

Another spring, my mother came to visit from Wisconsin and marveled at the beautiful yellow blooms in Millie and Theresa’s garden.   Millie graciously allowed me to split her irises and share them with my mom who planted them along the side of her home in Wisconsin.  She loved those irises so much that I would bring her more every chance I could.  When Mom passed away several years ago, my sisters and I dug up her favorite irises and planted them in our gardens in Wisconsin, Kansas and Colorado.  Irises are a wonderful plant to share!

Here are some photos I took of the irises at Rosedale in 2018 and 2019.   I just love how beautiful the garden is in late May.  Come visit!!

May 2018

May 2019


Iris Love

Iris Love

Yellow irises in my community garden

I’ve had a love affair with irises for a long time.   They are easy to grow, easy to trade, and their colorful blooms signal the end of spring and the promise of hot summer days to come.   When my mom would come to visit in the spring, we’d visit the local iris nursery and appreciate the blooms scattered around my community garden.   She especially loved the yellow ones growing in Millie’s plot.   She LOVED it when I brought splits to her on my trips to Wisconsin.   She lovingly planted them around her home and over time, amassed quite a collection of those yellow blooms!   When she passed away last fall, her spirit came back to one of my sisters talking about yellow flowers and I knew that she wanted us to have her yellow irises.   We dug them up and split them among her four daughters to grow in our gardens.  I will always think of my mom when I enjoy the irises of spring!

After this afternoon’s sudden hailstorm – a relatively common spring occurrence in Denver, I rushed back to my community garden to check for damage to my newly planted tomatoes and was struck by the vast array of blooming irises all around.   Despite the rain, I couldn’t help but walk around and take photos of the beautiful blooms.  Here they are:


Deep purple and yellow in Brenda’s Garden. May 28, 2018

Carol’s garden


Jackie’s Garden

The Herb Garden

Millie and Theresa’s Garden

Charlie’s Garden

The south border next to the orchard and Brad’s Garden.

The east border along the fence.

I love how gardeners at Rosedale settle in and plant beautiful perennials for all the enjoy.   After looking at all the possibilities, I would love to expend my collection and just might be offering to help people split their irises in the spring.

Spring in My Gardens, 2018

Spring in My Gardens, 2018

Photos from March 30:  Lillian planting peas with her grandma, Terry.   Turning the soil in the raised beds.

Although its early May, I’ve already been working in my gardens for nearly two months.  Often the first trip to the community garden occurs on a warm day in late February or early March and snow may still be on the ground.  Many times, we’ve had to brush aside snow and chisel away at the soil to get our St. Patrick’s Day peas planted.  But not this year.   We had a rather mild winter in Colorado so the soil was uncharacteristically workable in early March.   My garden pals and I were thus at Rosedale digging early in the season and the peas went in like butter.

Photos:  Toasting St. Patrick’s Day with my mom’s Waterford goblets, picking up free compost and burlap bags at Allegro’s Coffee’s Earth Day Celebration, me posing in front of our robust garlic patch with Marilynn’s garden behind me.   She was my neighbor for 17 years and sadly died of lung cancer the day before this visit to our garden on March 16.

By March 16, we’d planted our first round of peas and spinach.   A few weeks later, we planted more peas with the help of Terry’s grand daughter Lillian as well as other cold crops including lettuce, carrots, beets, broccoli and more.   I was also surprised to find that many crops that typically don’t make it through the winter, survived — cilantro, rosemary, kale, chard, parsley.

Photos from March 16:  Ana,Terry and Susan getting ready to plant peas on a very windy March afternoon, our tomato cages all lined up where we plan to plant tomatoes in late May, the garlic patch growing between planks of wood for walking.

We’re off to a good start and busily prepping all the beds for the big warm season planting in just a few short weeks.  Although the weather can be deceptively nice in May, we still must restraint ourselves from planting our precious tomatoes, peppers and warm season crops until we’re safely past May 22.   Last year, we had about 6 inches of snow around May 20!

Photos from March 31:   Free tomato seeds earned as a volunteer at DUG free seed distribution, tomato seedlings planted on March 31, two trays of 12 6 packs of tomatoes and peppers growing under lights and on heat mats.

Timeline of Chores

  • March 9:  Map the garden
  • Order or shop for seeds
  • March 12: Volunteer at Denver Urban Garden Seeds Distribution — earn free seeds
  • Visit the plots and make plans for prepping the soil
  • March 16: Plant peas and spring crops
  • Fill milk jugs with water and pack in back of car
  • March 30:  Start seedlings — tomatoes and peppers in early April
  • April 7:  Attend Rosedale Community Garden Spring Meeting, pay fees and network with fellow gardeners
  • Turn soil, pull weeds, lay down burlap on paths
  • April 20:  Visit Allegro Coffee for Earth Day Celebration — pick up burlap bags and free compost
  • April 23:  Flower garden consultation at home with Shirley at http://www.mindful-gardener.com (More later!)
  • April 25:  Transplant seedlings to larger pots
  • April 26:  Scored 6-packs of broccoli and cabbage seedlings at King Soopers for $3.49/pack
  • May 1:  Plant spring bulbs, broccoli and cabbage; plant cover crop in the pumpkin patch
  • May 2: Plant broccoli and cabbage at St. Philip Donation Garden with Jennifer

Photos from April 25:  Susan working on repotting the tomato seedlings, tomato seedlings ready to transplant, individual seedlings in peat pots.

Photos on May 2:  Newly planted broccoli and cabbage with Jen Drews at St. Philip Donation Garden.


2017 Harvest Sale at Rosedale Community Garden, Denver, CO — September 23, 2017

2017 Harvest Sale at Rosedale Community Garden, Denver, CO — September 23, 2017

The Rosedale Community Garden Harvest Sale is on Saturday, September 23, 2017 from 9 am to 1 pm.   Featured at the sale will be organic vegetables, heirloom garlic and herbs grown in the community garden.   Fresh cut flowers, homemade jams and jellies, bakery, roasted kale chips and gently used garden books and supplies will also be for sale.

Rosedale Community Garden is one of the largest and oldest community gardens in Denver with over 100 plots.   It is located on Logan Street just south of Iliff Street and across from Harvard Gulch Recreation Center.

Falling Head First Into The Garden — The Usual Early Season Psychosis


April is a heady time of year for me.   Passionate discussions about all aspects of gardening (in-person, on the phone, via text message), frequent visits to local nurseries, intersecting projects and conversations, early morning inspirations and a parade of dirty shoes, gloves and digging clothes littering my floors are all signs that my brain and energy are focused on one subject – THE GARDEN.   Fortunately, the days are getting longer, I have time to work on a myriad of projects and garden geeks eager to talk and share surround me at every turn.

Making Lacto Bacillus Serum – organic fertilizerIMG_9452

  • Contacted John Swain, the horticulturalist for the Denver Golf Courses and designer/planter/co-manager of the donation garden at Harvard Gulch Golf Course and passionate home gardener.   A winter has come between our last fact filled gardener conversation so we had a lot to talk about.   As always, he is a fountain of enthusiasm and information and turned me on to two important sources as well as the benefit of using lacto bacillus serum in the garden (labs for short):
  • The Unconventional Farmer:   http://theunconventionalfarmer.com/
  • Build a Soil:  https://buildasoil.com/blogs/news/8634877-gil-carandang-lactobacillus-serum-recipe
  • Labs are a workhorse of beneficial bacteria (which is edible) and has multiple applications including — speeding decomposition in the compost pile, unclogging drains, treating powdery mildew on squash plants, eliminating odor in animal bedding and most importantly,  “Improves growth of plants when applied as foliar spray and soil drench. Improves their efficiency in uptaking nutrients so naturally, growth is enhanced. With the use of these microorganisms, the nutrients you spray or drench to feed your plants become more bio-available and easily absorbable by the plants. Technically, you can say that plants do not use organic nutrients directly. Microorganisms convert organic nutrients to their inorganic constituents which the plants utilize. Utilizing microbes, you will notice better plant growth and health.”   -The Unconvential Farmer.
  • Labs recipe:  I mixed myself up a batch and its still incubating.   Its easy to make and the recipe can be viewed on the link about from the Build a Soil website.   Basically, you wash rice and take the water and fill a Ball jar about 75% full and cover with a paper towel — make sure air can get in.   Store it on top of the refrigerator and after a few days, the liquid will separate.   Siphon off the center layer adding 1 part serum to 10 parts milk and put in another container, cover tightly and let sit for another few days.   Once curds appear, you can strain the liquid with a cheesecloth (the curds can be fried up and eaten).    You add 1 part serum to 20 parts water to spray in the garden.   Store in the frig or add molasses to store at room temperature.  Stable for about a year.

Garden Hacks

IMG_9482 (1)

  • Strawberries and asparagus grow happily together; plan to add strawberries to my new planted asparagus patch
  • Used my mole cages to sift compost into my cold frames
  • Sprinkle carrot and beet seeds together every few weeks to have a continuous crop
  • Marijuana growers have to dispose of growing mix are harvesting the plants; the vermiculate and soil less mix is great mixed into raised beds and helps lighten the soil
  • Dryer lint can be put in the compost pile
  • I used paint stirrers for marking seeds and plants.   Pick them up for free every time I stop at Home Depot or Lowe’s.

Progress at Rosedale Garden – my 19th year in this community garden!IMG_9438

  • Planted purple and green asparagus in two 8 inch deep trenches this week; once sprouted will cover with 3 inches of dirt
  • Peas planted on March 15 finally sprouted, planted a third row on April 7
  • Prepped more beds and mapped out where everything is going
  • Seeded pumpkin bed with winter wheat; won’t be planting there for two months
  • Garlic planted in frozen soil in late December is up and growing; looks like its going to make it!
  • Susan has been making videos of me at the garden and I am learning how to edit them!

Opening up the St. Philip Donation Garden

  • Scheduled a work day for this Sunday to get started prepping the beds at St. Philip.
  • One volunteer came and we cleaned up two beds, added fresh compost and planted peas, onions and a variety of cold crops.   Watered and talked about plans.
  • Three plots are spoken for with another two gals potentially interested in volunteering in the donation beds.
  • This is our third year and I’m sorry that I’ve lost my partner of the first two years, Lerae Schnickel to another church ministry.   She was great to work with and its hard to move forward without her support.

Helping at a Jovial Gardens Neighborhood ProjectIMG_9480

  • Jovial Gardens is a really cool Denver-based organization that helps build gardens in neighborhoods.   One of their goals is to decrease food scarcity in the urban environment and  grow food for local food banks.  The group originally started in Edgewater, a suburb on Denver, and organized gardens in more than 40 yards in the neighborhood.   https://jovialconcepts.org/about-us/
  • My friend and master gardener, Teri Connelly is working with Jovial to install gardens in the yards of a number of her neighbors in Arvada.   Today, I had the chance to visit on a work day and saw work in progress in at least 6 yards.   The enthusiasm and excitement of the neighbors and volunteers was awesome.   Teri shared that in one front yard garden they harvested almost a 1000 pounds of organic produce last year.   I would love to start such a program in my neighborhood (Trailmark)  in Littleton.

Seedling Update on the Home Front

  • My experiment of seeding tomatoes and peppers for the first time has had mixed results.   All but one of the 12 varieties of tomatoes I planted has sprouted.   It took less than a week.   I learned that they need a heat mat and lights!IMG_9484.JPG
  • 8 of 11 peppers sprouted this week.   More time needed?
  • The tomatoes are very leggy but John Swain told me that they need grow lights and that its not too late for them to stabilize.
  • I only have one grow light so I’ve set it up for 14 hours alternatively above the trays of peppers, then the tomatoes.   Ordered a 4 foot rack with light from Amazon yesterday so hope it arrives this week.
  • Nothing has sprouted in the milk jugs I planted last week.  Time will tell






My Heirloom Garlic Stash

My Heirloom Garlic Stash
Talking About Heirloom Garlic and Its Health Benefts for the Smith Club of Colorado

Talking About Heirloom Garlic and Its Health Benefts for the Smith Club of Colorado

In preparation for a garlic talk I gave for my local Smith Alumnae Club, I was lucky enough to get one of each type of heirloom garlic grown at my community garden this year — freshly harvested, cleaned and dried.    There are 13 different types and I am determined to get to know the unique qualities each one offers.   Most of them are hardneck varieties which are very flavorful and have a shelf life of 4-6 months.   I will plant some of these and eat the rest.   Rosedale Community will have all these varieties for sale at their annual sale in September.   The garden is also planning a garlic tasting event for October.  For more information, check out the website at http://www.rosedalegarden.org.

Although I am a garlic lover and use it frequently in my cooking, I am not yet an expert on which varieties to use for what dishes.   Like wine, there is a whole frontier of garlic variation to explore.   Right now, I do know that Thermadrone is very popular in French cooking for its mild Dijon flavor.   And, Spanish Roja is very popular in the U.S.

As a start, I have been growing heirloom garlic in my garden for several years — although the tags on my 2014 planting faded during the winter so I am not sure which is which.   I will attempt to compare my newly harvested bulbs to the ones I got from Rosedale and if possible, make a taste comparision.   In any case, growing my own organic garlic is a step up from buying the usual California Late and California Early available at the local grocery store.   Its my mission this year to move up into the ranks of garlic afficionado and share some of my new found knowledge with my friends and family.   I would love to hear about your experiences growing and eating different varieties of garlic.   Go!!

Here is what the individual varieties look like close up:


IMG_4878                  IMG_4879

IMG_4881                IMG_4880

Making Clay Pot Ollas to Irrigate My Garden

Making Clay Pot Ollas to Irrigate My Garden

IMG_4434[1]Two years after first hearing about using clay pot irrigation to conserve water in my community garden, I finally had the opportunity to learn hands on how to make them myself.   Syd Uphoff, the gardener who first introduced this concept to Rosedale Community Gardener in 2012 agreed to show me how to do it myself.   We met this morning at his home and after an hour, I am now ready to roll.

Syd had all the supplies ready:  terracotta pots (6-8 inch), sand paper, silicon caulk #1, 1.5 inch tiles, a sunny bench and non latex gloves.   The cost of making one pot is very low — approximately 3 dollars.   We completed several steps today and after drying, will complete the final steps tomorrow.

IMG_4435[1]Step One:  Sand the circular hole in the bottom and the bottom of the pot.

Step Two:  Spread silicon caulk around the hold in the inside of the pot.   Spread from the center to about 1/2 around.

Step Three:  Gently place 1.5 inch tile on top of caulk and gentle jiggle.   Don’t push down.

IMG_4436[1]Step Four:  Spread bead of caulk around top edge of the pot and make sure to catch the outer edge.

Step Five:  Invert second prepared pot (no tile covering the bottom hole!) and place on caulked rim.   Match up edges and flatten caulk around outer seam.

24 hours later:

Step Six:  Add another layer of caulk to cover seam between two poIMG_4439[1]
ts.   Spread with finger — gloves come in handy here.

Step Seven:  Fill hole above tile on the outside of the pot with caulk and spread around the entire bottom of the pot to the outer edge.

Step Seven:   Using primer or white paint, paint the top of the pot with open hole and 1-2 inches around the top edge.

Dry for 24 hours.

IMG_4440[1]Bury in ground up to painted line, fill with water every 2-3 days, cover hole with rock.   Plant 8-15 inches around the pot.   Store inside during the winter months.

The First 6 Weeks in the Garden



Even when winter seems to be at its zenith, St. Patrick’s Day is the time I start thinking about planting my peas and other cold crops.    On the warm days, I drive up to my plots at Rosedale Community garden to access, clean up the fall clutter and start planning for the season to come.    Since I am also involved on the leadership team at Rosedale, I am often in the city attending steering meetings,workshops or helping with events so I frequently stop in the garden for short periods of time during the early days of spring.   This is the first time I’ve kept track of my spring gardening schedule and it amazes me how much I am there.

After months away from the community garden, I am always so happy to start gardening again.   Its wonderful to see my gardening friends again, meet new gardeners and talk about our plans for the season.    When I started gardening at Rosedale 15 years ago, I lived in the mountains and was busy with my growing family so this process didn’t happen until mid-May.    But more recently, I’ve committed myself to starting earlier, despite the spring snows, so I can maximize my harvest and experience the joy of harvesting spring crops in June.   So, here is what spring looks like at my community garden.

Tuesday, March 12

Visit garden plot for first time since November; lots to clean up with large piles of dry plants, leaves, torn up paths, tomato cages, hoses, stakes and stuff cluttering the picketed area

Thursday, March 14

Rosedale Steering Meeting

Sunday, March 23

Meet garden partners, Susan and Natalie at Panera for garden planning; draw map, discuss plant wish list; changes and updates

Wednesday, March 27

Wash pots and trays in bleach water for seedlings, set up table by window and fill with planter’s mix,  sort through seeds and make selections, Rosedale Garden Spring Meeting at Daz Bog Coffee

Friday, April  5  

Put wheel barrel full of compost from Rosedale pile along fence post and salad bed, plant peas; till salad garden and plant spinach, radish, leeks with Susan, bags up large dried plant material — sunflowers, broccoli, brussel sprouts, tomato vines; take home metal trellis for repair

Saturday, April 6             

Plant seeds at home:  pumpkins, squash, zinneas, marigolds, basil, parsley, gourds, etc.

Thursday, April 11 

Rosedale Steering Meeting, Lunch meeting with new gardener Terry and Susan at Park Burger; visit plot

Saturday, April 13 

With Natalie, clean up  garden in the afternoon; 2 hours; Natalie plant onions, etc.

Monday, April 15            

Fill up 5 black bags with dried tomato plants, garbage, large compost, and sunflowers, put in dumpster, dig up corn stalk roots. Take up ripped fabric; 2 hours

Thursday, April 18          

Clean up paths, pick up burlap, hang up, put down compost and newspapers, water peas with jugs of water, 2 hours; purchase horihori at Birdsall’s

Tuesday, April 23

Assist with  Rosedale garden workshop on Basic Organic Gardening at Daz Bog

Wednesday, April 24

Attend Master Gardening Session at Denver Botanic Gardens, teach mini class on Putting Your Garden to Rest

Thursday, April 25

Rosedale Steering Meeting

Friday, April 26

Measure Garden and Map online, 2 hours; plant carrot seeds in salad garden

Saturday, April 27           

With Natalie, dig up rhubarb and place in wheel barrel to share, plant more seeds in salad garden, clean up compost veggie debris, clean up compost trench, work on paths with old compost, check irrigation, attend olla workshop

Sunday, April 29

Dig in rabbit fence, plant more peas, learn how to use broad fork with Syd, plant more seeds at home, Susan Y. brings compost from freezer down to bury in garden

Tuesday, May 1

With Susan, plant more salad garden, weed grass out of compost, bring up fabric from pumpkin patch, put 3 buckets compost on mounds, pull up raised beds by playground

Wednesday,May 2

Go plant shopping with Terry, snowing, obtain seed donation from Jareds for Project Angel Heart Meeting at garden, purchase seeds and broccoli, cabbage; visit Home Depot too

Friday, May 3

Pick up 10 ollas at Amy’s house, plant broccoli and cabbage, water

Saturday, May 4

Terry – bury 3 ollas by east hose bib, plant purple onions, transplant some iris, transfer some compost from trench to paths in pumpkin patch, turn compost heap

Sunday, May 5

Plant more seeds at home; start to repot some seedlings