News, Tips and Updates from the Blog2020-11-29T21:46:53-07:00

No-Mow, Low Water Lawns for the Mountain West

Rainwater Harvesting, Water-Wise Landscapes|

This is the second installment of a 2 part series.  The first part was released in November, entitled Pollinator-Friendly Lawns.  Click here to catch up.   Evidenced by the titles the two installments have different foci. I’m thrilled to share part 2 and offer useful information on how to cover your ground with no-mow, low water lawns for the Mountain West.  You’ll discover suitable plants in a lawn-like fashion for consistency and simplicity in an


Pollinator Friendly Lawns

Gardening Tips|

The standard Kentucky Bluegrass (KBG) lawn can stand up to a lot of foot traffic, and a lot of water. In fact, many lawns are commonly significantly overwatered even here in the arid southwest. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked across a clients’ lawn and heard the telltale squish of flooded turfgrass - even during drought. It’s hard to stomach. Especially when it’s been proven that KGB is a surprisingly drought tolerant


How to Protect Your New Trees from Winter Damage

Gardening Tips|

Young trees with trunks smaller than an average human’s arm should be wrapped for the winter to prevent sunscald, also known as southwest injury. This problem occurs in the winter from the dramatic temperature difference between day and night and affects the tree’s trunk on the southwest side where the sun is the hottest. The heat of the sun can rupture cells which causes the damage and damages deep into the trunk, into the heartwood.


Lasagna Lawn Removal: How to Passively Get Rid of Lawn Over the Winter

Gardening Tips|

As you may or may not know, there is quite the movement toward removing lawns underway, and we are proud to play a part in this revolution. In 2020 alone, we have removed 7800 square feet of lawn so far, and replaced it with water-wise landscapes (aka XERIscapes, not zeroscapes). There are many reasons to consider replacing a lawn with flowers and shrubs. Perhaps the most readily acknowledged are decreasing the energy and inputs required

  • Perennial plants

The Best Time for Planting

Gardening Tips, News and Updates|

Fall is right around the corner and is my favorite time for planting. The cooler temps help avoid transplant shock and the roots can really focus on getting established as the plants draw down their energy to prepare for dormancy. Perennial plants - ones that come back year after year - can be planted any time the ground is not frozen. This includes trees and shrubs. Annual flowers and vegetables are the plants that will

  • Passive rainwater harvesting landscape

What is XERIscape & is it the same as ZEROscape, Drought Tolerant & Water-wise?

Gardening Tips, News and Updates|

Good question. And great time to ask, given how dry it’s been this year. If you’ve heard different things and are confused, you aren’t the only one.  Defining xeriscape is a slippery slope.  The root word, xeri comes from the Greek word for dry, and scape, of course is in reference to landscape.  I like to emphasize the pronunciation as zairy-scape to clarify that it is not ZEROscape. Beyond that, I’ve been on a quest


5 Steps to Embracing Biophilia at Home

Gardening Tips|

Start with any one of these 5 steps as you embark on your journey of embracing Biophilia, and bask in the beauty and wellness you have available to you right here in Durango, right here at home. Expand the foundation planting The foundation planting is the traditional builder’s answer to landscaping: add a narrow strip of 18-24” between the house and lawn and cram some plants in there. They always look crowded to me, and


What is Biophilia?

Gardening Tips|

Biophilia is a term that was coined in 1984 by renowned naturalist E.O. Wilson and was defined by him as “the urge to affiliate with other forms of life”. It is used to refer to the innate draw humans have to nature: water, flames or smoke from a campfire, animals, etc. When we allow ourselves a regular connection with nature incredible things happen.  Some of the many profoundly beneficial effects on us modern humans include


Revolutionize your Landscape and Hydrate your Land

Gardening Tips|

How much should I be watering? As a landscape professional in Durango, this is a question I get asked regularly. The answer is generally the same, and that is, “stick your finger in the soil at root level to gauge moisture”. There’s no quantifiable magic formula otherwise. There are so many factors - like aspect, wind exposure, type of soil, type of plant - that truly, the only way to know whether the soil around


What is chop and drop?

Gardening Tips|

Chop & Drop refers to dropping all green waste that's been pruned and weeded from the landscape into the basins after chopping it into smaller bits. Because the basins hold moisture, the green waste breaks down more quickly and adds organic matter back to the landscape as it does so. It also functions as mulch to hold moisture in the basins for longer and deter weeds from growing. To the glory of the garden! Eva


Spring Clean Up: Why it’s Important

Gardening Tips, News and Updates|

It’s such a joy to see the fresh new growth emerging from your perennial beds at this time of year; it looks fresher when all of last year’s brown dead foliage has been removed so the flowers can readily burst forth. Ornamental grasses decorate the winter landscape but need to be cut back before new growth emerges so the fresh leaves aren’t hampered by the old growth Spring is the time to prune for naturally

  • Thrive with us!

Thrive with us!

News and Updates|

Greetings! Goodness what a summer! What with all that moisture through June, when we don't normally have it, and that nary a trace of monsoon rains when we are used to getting them in July and August. And my, were those last 2 months HOT! So happy Autumn is upon us. THRIVING Columbine Landscapes is pleased to announce that we have been certified by La Plata County Thrive! Living Wage Coalition as a Living Wage Employer!


Weed Mat Sounds Like a Good Idea, but…

Gardening Tips|

WEED MAT SOUNDS LIKE SUCH A GOOD IDEA BUT... With all the moisture this lovely spring has brought, I've been getting more questions and requests lately for weed mat aka landscape fabric. Well, it's no secret that I hate the stuff and I tell everyone I can why.  My mentor who I had the pleasure of working with back in 2001 when I was just learning the trade wrote an informative article that sums up


Drought as the Norm, Update

Conservation Tips, Gardening Tips|

Drought in our region is the norm, not the exception. With thoughtful planning it doesn't have to be a calamity.   Look at how and when you water. On average we use 5-10 times more water than necessary for a healthy landscape. Irrigation must be fine tuned for the site - talk with your irrigation company now as they turn on your system. Adjust according to exposure: Fully shaded areas often need up to 30%


The Durango Outdoor Exchange

News and Updates|

Check out our work at the Durango Outdoor Exchange on North Main We're proud to announce a rainwater harvesting landscape you can check out in person! Our latest landscape installation is at the new location of Durango Outdoor Exchange at 3677 Main Ave (the old Pizza Hut). It features passive rain water harvesting earthworks to direct runoff from the roof and paved surfaces to the landscape where the plants will be watered naturally,


Happy Spring!

News and Updates|

We've been blessed with so much moisture this year so far; what are your plans to make the best use of it? Such a nice question to have the opportunity to ask! Gratefully the weather has done a 180 since I was crafting this newsletter a year ago and announcing the talk I gave with FireSmart on Fire Mitigation. What a year! WHY CARE ABOUT RAIN WATER HARVESTING? Typically we expedite the flow of rainwater


Durango Herald – Is Durango Doing Enough to Conserve Water

Conservation Tips, Stories|

We are proud to have been recently featured in the Durango Herald, in an article about our Passive Rainwater Harvesting Landscapes! In March, Eva and Colleen travelled to Tucson, Arizona for an intensive 7-day course about passive rainwater harvesting and how to maximize the ability to collect rainwater in a landscape. They are now both Certified Water Harvesting Practitioners.


Winter is Upon Us – Yay!

Conservation Tips, Gardening Tips|

After hardly a winter last year, I am feeling enthusiastic about it this time around. I had to laugh thinking about this the other day. I know some of you will understand and I hope it brings you a smile too.  In sharp contrast to my midwestern upbringing, being a Coloradan means: you just might shovel snow with sandals on, there's good reason to wear a wide brimmed hat in the winter time, you get giddy talking with friends and strangers alike about how great it is that's going to precipitate in the winter, and the sun is so intense you can feel hot when it’s only 20 degrees Fahrenheit outside.


For the Most Engaging Landscape

Conservation Tips, Gardening Tips|

Hello and happy fall! It's finally cooling down a bit which makes this is my favorite time of year with cool nights and warm days. And it's a great time for planting! New plants planted in the fall are afforded the opportunity to focus all their energy on getting roots established in their new home without having to put any effort into pushing out new leaves, flowers or fruit above ground. Fall planting gives plants a real jump start on establishment...


Rocky Mountain High; Touring Colorado in Garden Celebrity Style

Conservation Tips, Gardening Tips|

My new friend Kit Strange and I toured the state with plants, gardens and trucks as our focus. Oh yes, I did say trucks. As Kit explained, she is fascinated with anything on wheels and that I witnessed as we crossed the state: semis, old, new, and small, she loved them all. Oh, but back to the botanical aspect that makes Kit a celebrity. Kit was introduced to me as an alpine bulb specialist for Kew Royal Botanic Gardens; if you don’t know, the premier botanic garden of the western world. My friend and mentor Panayoti Kelaidis, of Denver Botanic Garden fame, called me up and explained that he was organizing a month-long speaking tour for Kit starting in Alaska and ending in Denver. Sure, they could fly her from Durango - her second to last stop - to Denver, he explained, but then she’d miss the entirety of the Rockies.


Drought as the Norm

Conservation Tips, Gardening Tips|

Drought in our region is the norm, not the exception. With thoughtful planning it doesn't have to be a calamity. Look at how and when you water...With thoughtful planning it doesn't have to be a calamity.Look at how and when you water. On average we use 5-10 times more water than necessary for a healthy landscape

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