Coral Canyon Twin Spur.jpeg

Coral Canyon Twin Spur, a Plant Select plant. Photo by Jan Trimble, Colorado Master Gardener

Winter is a great time to research and plan for next year’s garden. And Plant Select is a fabulous resource for ideas. You’ve likely seen plants at the nursery with a tag proclaiming them to be a Plant Select plant.

Plant Select is a nonprofit collaboration of Colorado State University, Denver Botanic Gardens and professional horticulturists that formed in 1997. It seeks to identify and promote plants that are highly suited to gardens in the high plains and mountains of Colorado.

Plants go through a rigorous three-year vetting process before being introduced as Plant Select. They are evaluated on these seven points: thrives in broad range of conditions, flourishes with less water, resilient in challenging climates, uniqueness, disease and insect resistance, long-lasting beauty and non-invasiveness. One example is the ever-blooming, cold-hardy Coral Canyon Twinspur, originally from the Drakensberg mountains of South Africa. Two North American natives that make great companion plants are Windwalker Royal Red Salvia (a hummingbird magnet) and Giant Sacaton ornamental grass.

Plantselect.org includes numerous features to help in planning a garden. With the Plant Finder feature, you can filter a search by plant type, sunlight requirements, size, foliage colors, bloom colors, bloom times, fall colors and attributes — drought tolerance, deer resistance, attracts bees, hummingbirds or butterflies, etc.

Peruse the site’s extensive Design Gallery for inspiration or check out the Garden Notes for ideas on creating a native pollinator garden, prairie garden, xeric garden border or rose and grass borders. Each garden is accompanied with a plant list and ideal cultural requirements.

The site, which lists local and online retailers that carry Plant Select plants, also has downloadable landscape plans for a variety of gardens, such as Xeriscape Rock Garden, Dry Shade Garden, Watersmart Native Border, Waterwise Cottage Garden, Butterfly Hummingbird Garden, Prairie-Inspired Garden and Four-Season Sensation Garden.

Plans with solutions for small spaces include Driveway Xeriscape Border, No-Low Maintenance Patio Garden, Between the Houses Partial Shade Garden, Fragrant Courtyard Garden and Corner Lot Curb Appeal Garden.

The experts at Plant Select have published “Pretty Tough Plants,” a book that would be an excellent addition to a garden library or a great Christmas gift for gardener friends. It can be purchased at local bookstores or online. The Pikes Peak Library District also has copies.

If you have gardening questions, submit them to csumg2@elpasoco.com. For more gardening information, find us on Facebook at facebook.com/ColoradoMasterGardeners.EPC. To register for classes, visit epcextension.eventbrite.com.

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