The Q&A Archives: First House in Colorado

Question: Would you please give me some ideas on what will grow well in my area? Some of my favorites are roses, hollyhocks, gerberas and begonias. I also need some climbing sort of thing to hide the RV area. Thank you so much!

Answer: You'll want to choose reliable, durable plants for your somewhat harsh environment. You may want to plant windbreaks and other landscape features, depending on the position of your house and surrounding vegetation. I can only give you a few suggestions for plants, but I'll add some good reference books too.

Hardy perennials that thrive in dry regions include: yarrow, corepsis, penstemon, butterfly weed, false indigo (Baptisia australis), globe thistle (Echinops), coneflowers (Rudbeckia spp.), and daylilies. Vine choices include trumpet creeper, Virginia creeper, grape (Vitis spp.), and clematis.

Hollyhocks will need some pampering, and probably frequent watering. Gerberas and begonias can be grown as annuals--mulch beds to help keep soil moist. Rosa rugosa is a very hardy, reliable plant and might be your best choice. Less forgiving roses like hybrid teas will require more pampering.

Two good books are: The Sunset Western Garden Book, by Sunset Publishing Corp, Menlo Park, CA and Xeriscape Gardening: Water Conservation for the American Landscape by Connie Ellefson et al, published by MacMillan. Also, your Cooperative Extension will have good resources; their phone number is 719-583-6566. Good Luck!

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