As you’ve probably noticed, the landscaping philosophy at BackCountry is one that works with nature, instead of fighting against it. In the common areas you’ll see lots of native flowers, like blanket flower and yarrow, that require less water—instead of thirsty, East Coast interlopers like hydrangeas or gardenias.
Native plants (and compatible, low-water imports) aren’t just an eco-friendly and budget-friendly choice, they’re gorgeous and perfectly complement our natural foothills-close setting.
So when it comes to planting your own Colorado-inspired garden, you might want to consider going with water-savvy choices, too.
If you have a new home and are seeking the long-term relationship of perennials, you might consider a native groundcover like the butterfly-attracting silver lupine, or the abundantly blooming prairie yellow primrose. The choices are many, and here’s a descriptive list of them all, including bloom time, moisture requirements, and planting tips from the Colorado State University Extension. Find more suggestions and great photos at Plant Select.
Think of annuals as casual dating. No commitment after fall’s first frost—just a summertime fling where you can play with color combinations, heights, textures, and densities. If you have a hot, dry exposure, consider vibrant California poppies and zinnias, and the perky and practically un-killable moss roses. If you have a bit of shade, try pansies and lobelia. Get more ideas here.
Tips for planting
Besides their natural beauty and economy, another reason to try native plants is that they create a fantastic habitat for birds, butterflies, bees, and other helpful insects. Also, you’re simply not going to have to work as hard to keep them thriving because they’re in a naturally supportive environment. Here are some more tips from the CSU Extension:
- Get your weeds under control before planting.
- If you plant from seeds, you’ll need supplemental watering until the plants are established. Seeds can be planted from early to late spring or early fall.
- If transplanting nursery purchases, a spring or early fall planting is best.
- Native plants may not need amended soil—in fact, nutrient-rich soil can be harmful. Some plants will, however. So read up on each plant or seek advice from your gardening center on the soil, water, and fertilizer needed.
- If you need to amend a clay soil (which clumps together and doesn’t drain well), add 10 percent compost and 15 percent small aggregate (i.e., pea gravel) by volume and incorporate into the root zone.
- To amend sandy (overly fast-draining) or rocky soils, add 3 percent compost by volume.
Want more information? If you live in BackCountry, there’s a lot of help right at hand. Before heading over to nearby garden centers, be sure to check out planting guidelines at backcountrylife.org. You’ll also find information on tree zones listed there.
Residents are welcome to chat with Maintenance Manager Paul Mennigan—whose office is at the Sundial House—as he can provide valuable information to homeowners or their landscapers before they submit their plans to the Architectural Review Committee (ARC). The ARC meets every Friday throughout the year to review submitted residential landscape plans.