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Show #24/1611
Cheyenne Garden Tour


History of Cheyenne
CHEYENNE WAS FOUNDED when the railroad got here in November of 1867. At that point it went from zero people to about 4,000 very quickly. Many of the people that came were wealthy Americans and wealthy European landed-gentry - dukes, barons, second and third sons that were sent her to establish family fortunes and settle huge ranches, some 100,000 acres or more. A ranch that size produces a lot of money and the ranchers would look at the ranch and the little home that accompanied it and decide that was a great place for the manager to live but they were moving to Cheyenne where there was civility and a nice lifestyle. Even at that time Cheyenne was a beautiful town, it had lots of money, so the ranch owners had plenty to do.

Click here for more info

Front Yard Of The First House
Bart and Salli start in THE FRONT YARD. Bart feels that Salli's home and garden work well together. The home was built in 1936, obviously an English Tudor style, and has a lot of history. There have been some wonderful families that have lived here and made many contributions to the community. But, English Tudor homes tend to be angular. Salli wanted to soften the lines of the house so they added trees which also provide a lot of shade and cooling for the home. It's a south facing house and does get rather warm in the summer, thus the trees help tremendously. They then added curvilinear lines with the flower beds which also soften the lines of the house.

Click here for more info

The Backyard
THEY NEXT LOOK AT THE BACKYARD. Originally, when Salli had small children, she had a more typical backyard with grass and a swing set. But, as the kids got older and weren't playing here anymore Salli ripped out the backyard. The thought was to turn it into an entertaining area, to put down flagstone rather than grass. At first they didn't have gardens, they evolved over time.

Click here for more info

Creek Bed
Bart realizes that often when installing hardscape on top of a previously grassy area, when removing the plant material it can cause some water management problems. Salli found that to be the case but incorporated some novel solutions. Since they don't have the grass and soil to absorb the sudden torrential rainfalls, they tend to get, they put in a dry creek bed. THE DRY CREEK BED has really solved that problem. They don't get the flooding they initially had. And, it is attractive and effective. It started out purely as an aesthetic creek bed but as time went on they realized it was functional as well. Since Cheyenne gets about 12-13 inches of rain a year, and it seems that they get that rainfall in 2 rainstorms, when it rains it can be torrential. Thus they really did need to channel the water away from the house so they wouldn't get water in their basement. Many think a dry creek bed is very difficult to construct. But it's not. One need only follow a few basic principles.

Click here for more info

Pocket Gardens
THIS GARDEN IS COMPRISED OF SMALLER POCKET GARDENS. And, that was by design, they add visual interest to the yard. Salli has planted these different types of gardens based on the light available. She has shade gardens on both sides and in the back, what used to be a full sun garden. But, the Maple tree has grown to the point where it's no longer a full sun garden. It's in an evolutionary mode right now and Salli could use some ideas. When one has parts of the garden that are transitioning from sun to shade one needs to make plant choices that reflect that change. For plants tolerant of shade think about Impatiens, Hydrangeas or ferns, these are good choices for areas like that. On the perennial side, if one chooses Heuchera, that would be a good choice. Normally Hostas are a good choice but Salli's Hostas have a problem.

Click here for more info

Utilizing Antiques And Containers In The Garden
This is an historic home and the owner obviously has a PASSION FOR ANTIQUES. And he has brought interesting antiques out into the gardens. Some were acquired from antique sales, some were just acquired around the neighborhood. The containers are unique and Bart certainly advocates using cool containers. They really add an element of interest. With a great container and interesting plants one has a great combination. They draw you in, you want to see what's around the next corner. Bart feels using antique containers incorporates a favorite design technique and that is - bring the outside in and bring the inside out. By doing this the owner has certainly incorporated some of his personality into the gardens.

Click here for more info

Tips For Container Care
As mentioned, the owner uses containers for simplicity and low maintenance. And CONTAINERS CAN BE LOW MAINTENANCE BUT THERE ARE 3 THINGS ONE SHOULD REMEMBER. First start with good soil, something free draining, something that allows plenty of air to get back down to the soil after it's been watered. Another good idea is to incorporate a slow release fertilizer into the soil to ensure you maintain the fertility levels in the soil. But occasionally top off with a liquid fertilizer for that extra kick. And the 3rd thing is be careful with watering. It's easy to under water, it's important to keep your plants well watered. But be careful about over watering, especially if you're using an antique or tub that doesn't have many drainage holes.

Click here for more info

Salad Garden
THE HOME HAS A SALAD GARDEN. Typically in a garden one would see peas and beans and all assortments of vegetables but instead they have made it so they can have a salad all summer long - from approximately May until late September when they typically get their 1st frost. The owners rotate their crops. As one crop is depleted, they'll put in something different. They may take out the radishes tomorrow and plant spinach because that's a cold weather crop. There's rarely a period of time when there's empty garden space. They use this garden very efficiently.

Click here for more info

Clematis
From across the yard Bart notices TWO DIFFERENT BUT STUNNING CLEMATIS. One is a new wood Clematis, the other grows on old wood. It's worth noting that both plants utilize copper tubing as a trellis. The copper tubing is necessary because they are such massive plants. Climbing within the old wood Clematis is a Morning Glory which was a gift from a friend, a Master Gardener, who was deployed to Afghanistan. She sent the seeds back and the owner planted the Morning Glory seeds. As the Clematis dies back the Morning Glories will take over. It's a great reminder of someone overseas.

Click here for more info

Compost
But the plant is huge, it looks like it's on steroids, she must be doing something different. Salli explains -- COMPOST, COMPOST, COMPOST. She loves her compost and it shows. Salli and Bart look at her compost bins. Here she puts her grass clippings, any leaves and pine needles on the ground, prunings from her garden that she chops into small pieces and table scraps with the exception of dairy and meat. Bart likes what he sees but has 2 small tips. When composting be sure to keep the pile moist. You don't want it to dry out or the compost will stop. And, turn it once a week or every time you cut the grass.

Click here for more info

 

LINKS:

Garden Smart Plant List

Container Gardening

Nagle Warren Mansion

Laramie County Master Gardeners

Indoor Composter

Subaru of Cheyenne


Complete transcript of the show.

24/1611.
Laramie County Master Gardeners garden with their boots on. Their gardens are part history, part horticulture and provide gardening lessons galore.

Jim Oserfoss provides history of the Cheyenne area. Jim is the innkeeper at a beautiful bed and breakfast and a great story teller. CHEYENNE WAS FOUNDED when the railroad got here in November of 1867. At that point it went from zero people to about 4,000 very quickly. Many of the people that came were wealthy Americans and wealthy European landed-gentry - dukes, barons, second and third sons that were sent her to establish family fortunes and settle huge ranches, some 100,000 acres or more. A ranch that size produces a lot of money and the ranchers would look at the ranch and the little home that accompanied it and decide that was a great place for the manager to live but they were moving to Cheyenne where there was civility and a nice lifestyle. Even at that time Cheyenne was a beautiful town, it had lots of money, so the ranch owners had plenty to do. There was the Opera House, they even had the Cheyenne Club which was open only to the cattle barons. These clubs had exclusive rules, like no fighting inside. The cattlemen built huge homes, many on 17th Street. Those homes were in keeping with their status, income and lifestyle. The Nagle Warren Mansion is a prime example of a house from that era. Mr. Nagle was indentured to a harness maker at age 7. He eventually worked his way across the country to the Colorado gold camps. When he heard that the railroad was coming, he set up his business accounts, arrived in Cheyenne when the railroad arrived, pitched his tent and started selling groceries. Eventually he ended up controlling the grocery market in Northern Colorado, all of Wyoming, Southern Montana, Western Nebraska, Western South Dakota and a tip of North Dakota. The income he generated from groceries afforded him a lifestyle similar to the cattlemen. His home was/is amazing. He was screaming - I'm the richest guy in the West, meaning from Chicago to San Francisco. The woodwork is amazing, 2 of the fireplaces are cast brass, which people just hadn't head of, the stairway is a masterpiece and the gas and electric lighting cutting edge for its time. The technology that went into the home, at that time, was comparable to what Bill Gates built in Seattle a few years ago. It had all the amenities one wouldn't think of in their day, all the technology was cutting edge for its day. And, the home is still stunning to this day.

And, it has beautiful gardens. Jim enjoys gardening. In fact a lot of people in Cheyenne really enjoy gardening. Jim understands that GardenSMART is visiting several gardens and wishes Bart well and invites the GardenSMART audience to come and visit Cheyenne and the Nagle Warren Mansion.

Anytime Bart visits a new area and wants to learn about gardening in the area he finds the best way to do that is to visit individuals gardens. In Cheyenne, a great way to do that is to go on the Laramie County Master Gardener's Tour.

Bart meets Salli who tells him about the Cheyenne Master Gardener's Tour. Every year the Maters Gardeners have a garden tour. This year the gardens were all on one block, and all homes/gardens were in the historic area. Oftentimes it involves homes throughout town but this year they decided to have it on 1 block, so people could park their car 1 time and enjoy the entire block. It was an afternoon in the gardens. There are no professional landscapers involved, all were individuals who garden in their own gardens. People in Cheyenne love their gardens, they do have a short growing season but everyone takes full advantage of it. They enjoy being outside as much as possible. Bart has noticed that the types of plants people choose are indicative of the person's personality type. Salli feels everyone looks at their gardens as an artists palette. People do things differently and all have different gardens. For example, Salli loves grasses that move with the wind, since they have a lot of wind here she likes to take advantage of that. She also wants winter interest and likes kinetic art. Her gardening style reflects these tastes.

Salli and her husband moved to Cheyenne 27 years ago. His job brought them to Cheyenne and they've been living in this home since moving. Salli had gardened previously but the altitude in Cheyenne is 6,000 feet and that does involve a learning curve for a gardener. They can't grow plants here that will grow in Denver which is only 90 miles away. So Salli started out by volunteering at the Botanical Garden figuring she could learn from them. She does find this area a true challenge because of the short growing season but to be able to start seeds and watch them grow and mature is truly an accomplishment. It's almost magical.
Top

Bart and Salli start in THE FRONT YARD. Bart feels that Salli's home and garden work well together. The home was built in 1936, obviously an English Tudor style, and has a lot of history. There have been some wonderful families that have lived here and made many contributions to the community. But, English Tudor homes tend to be angular. Salli wanted to soften the lines of the house so they added trees which also provide a lot of shade and cooling for the home. It's a south facing house and does get rather warm in the summer, thus the trees help tremendously. They then added curvilinear lines with the flower beds which also soften the lines of the house. The plants provide a lot of visual interest with their varying height and the flowers change from month to month. What it looks like today is different than what it looked like last month. Even throughout the day the look changes, the way the shadows hit the plants changes the look from hour to hour.
Top

THEY NEXT LOOK AT THE BACKYARD. Originally, when Salli had small children, she had a more typical backyard with grass and a swing set. But, as the kids got older and weren't playing here anymore Salli ripped out the backyard. The thought was to turn it into an entertaining area, to put down flagstone rather than grass. At first they didn't have gardens, they evolved over time. Bart can attest to the entertaining qualities of the patio. He was invited to dinner here last night (Thank you very much!) and they had 15 or so people and it felt very cozy, very comfortable.
Top

Bart realizes that often when installing hardscape on top of a previously grassy area, when removing the plant material it can cause some water management problems. Salli found that to be the case but incorporated some novel solutions. Since they don't have the grass and soil to absorb the sudden torrential rainfalls, they tend to get, they put in a dry creek bed. THE DRY CREEK BED has really solved that problem. They don't get the flooding they initially had. And, it is attractive and effective. It started out purely as an aesthetic creek bed but as time went on they realized it was functional as well. Since Cheyenne gets about 12-13 inches of rain a year, and it seems that they get that rainfall in 2 rainstorms, when it rains it can be torrential. Thus they really did need to channel the water away from the house so they wouldn't get water in their basement. Many think a dry creek bed is very difficult to construct. But it's not. One need only follow a few basic principles. You don't need to make it deep and you don't need to make it terribly wide. As long as the large stones are towards the front, so that they're slowing the water, then move the water evenly it will work. Here it has those features. The creek bed moves the water under the sidewalk, then around the house and out to the front yard where it intelligently waters the sod, shrubs, all the perennials and hedges. It has worked for 10 years now, keeping water out of the basement.
Top

THIS GARDEN IS COMPRISED OF SMALLER POCKET GARDENS. And, that was by design, they add visual interest to the yard. Salli has planted these different types of gardens based on the light available. She has shade gardens on both sides and in the back, what used to be a full sun garden. But, the Maple tree has grown to the point where it's no longer a full sun garden. It's in an evolutionary mode right now and Salli could use some ideas. When one has parts of the garden that are transitioning from sun to shade one needs to make plant choices that reflect that change. For plants tolerant of shade think about Impatiens, Hydrangeas or ferns, these are good choices for areas like that. On the perennial side, if one chooses Heuchera, that would be a good choice. Normally Hostas are a good choice but Salli's Hostas have a problem. The precipitation they receive here is not always in the form of rain or snow. They get a lot of hailstorms and the Hosta leaves take a beating from the hail. One alternative is to choose plants that have small leaves or leaves that are very thin or narrow. That way the hail as it falls should not cause these type problems, they just kind of fall through. Salli has noticed that her Cosmos and Daisies do well and particularly the ornamental grasses withstand hailstorms with out any problems.

Bart has enjoyed Salli's garden but they have 2 more gardens to visit. So, they are off. The next house has an interesting history as well. When Cheyenne was 1st being settled, the railroad played a very prominent part in the development of this city. The railroad brought in an architect, a very prominent architect at the time, William Dubois. He designed the Capital, the Supreme Court building, the local library as well as many buildings at the University of Wyoming. He bought the entire block where all their houses are now, and built this house. He was a passionate gardener. Where the homes are now, he had gardens - vegetables or flowers. And he started from scratch because when he moved in this land was absolutely barren, nothing was here.

The home today is owned by one of their local veterinarians. He was formerly in the Air Force which accounts for the patriotic, red, white and blue look. He's very busy, single and wanted to decrease the amount of time he had to spend gardening. First, he decreased the amount of garden-able space by putting down landscape fabric and rocks. Then to ensure simplicity and low maintenance he utilized containers and shrubbery. Aside from watering, the maintenance on containers is very low. Even though there is a low maintenance aspect to containers at the same time the containers really draw your eye down where the visual clues are. For example there is one container that draws your eye towards the door. Containers make the yard inviting, a place you would want to spend time.
Top

This is an historic home and the owner obviously has a PASSION FOR ANTIQUES. And he has brought interesting antiques out into the gardens. Some were acquired from antique sales, some were just acquired around the neighborhood. The containers are unique and Bart certainly advocates using cool containers. They really add an element of interest. With a great container and interesting plants one has a great combination. They draw you in, you want to see what's around the next corner. Bart feels using antique containers incorporates a favorite design technique and that is - bring the outside in and bring the inside out. By doing this the owner has certainly incorporated some of his personality into the gardens.

Bart notices a white antique chair in a shady spot, a spot that could be a dark hole in the landscape. But the white chair provides a focal point and makes the area/spot more interesting. In another area of the garden Bart notices a small tricycle, rusted as it is, pulling a little Radio Flyer behind. It's delightful and the colorful flowers in the wagon really add a punch. It adds a sense of whimsey and the pink color of the flowers in the darker spot in the yard really draws the eye in. The open spaces on either side, make the tricycle and wagon with bright flowers a focal point which it should be for such a unique piece.

There is also a brentwood bench in the yard. It's supposedly about 100 years old. With a bench that old one may not want people sitting on it so the owner has utilized a container, a window box, in the middle of the seat to keep people from sitting on the bench. It's a good idea and one that's attractive.

They notice a birdbath or fountain. It was one of the very 1st ornamental accents the 1909 owner added, making it a 100 year old birdbath. It too is beautiful and still a focal point today. The current homeowner has put a container with bright colored plants on the birdbath which again draws the eye in.
Top

As mentioned, the owner uses containers for simplicity and low maintenance. And CONTAINERS CAN BE LOW MAINTENANCE BUT THERE ARE 3 THINGS ONE SHOULD REMEMBER. First start with good soil, something free draining, something that allows plenty of air to get back down to the soil after it's been watered. Another good idea is to incorporate a slow release fertilizer into the soil to ensure you maintain the fertility levels in the soil. But occasionally top off with a liquid fertilizer for that extra kick. And the 3rd thing is be careful with watering. It's easy to under water, it's important to keep your plants well watered. But be careful about over watering, especially if you're using an antique or tub that doesn't have many drainage holes.

Bart and Salli next visit the 3rd garden. It combines some of the elements of the 2 other gardens. This home, directly behind the original Dubois home, was built in 1961 by Mr. Dubois' daughter. She cared for him until he passed away but his house was way too big for her, so she built this house. She, too, was an avid gardener and built a huge picture window in the back of the house so she could look at her gardens. Now it's owned by a Master Gardener which is obvious when looking around. They are empty nesters now and this is a transition garden. It's a good time to transition for them because they have a desire to have less gardening space and more entertainment space.
Top

THE HOME HAS A SALAD GARDEN. Typically in a garden one would see peas and beans and all assortments of vegetables but instead they have made it so they can have a salad all summer long - from approximately May until late September when they typically get their 1st frost. The owners rotate their crops. As one crop is depleted, they'll put in something different. They may take out the radishes tomorrow and plant spinach because that's a cold weather crop. There's rarely a period of time when there's empty garden space. They use this garden very efficiently. It has an interesting set up. Her husband has made his own watering system, which is intriguing. He set up different zones so different plants get different amounts of water, whatever is appropriate for them. They had the watering system hooked up to a timer so they can leave for 2 weeks at a time and still have their garden watered.

The plants are high density thus Bart suspects they have done something to the soil to improve it. They have. They use a lot of compost, a lot of amending the soil so it is very high in nutrients which allows the plants to grow compactly. One of the benefits of growing compactly or close together is it will suppress many of the weeds which means less hand pulling of weeds. The weeds don't get as much sunshine which they thrive on, so it reduces weeds. The garden is beautiful, what they're doing is successful. Bart notices some Gladiolas along the side that he really appreciates.
Top

From across the yard Bart notices TWO DIFFERENT BUT STUNNING CLEMATIS. One is a new wood Clematis, the other grows on old wood. It's worth noting that both plants utilize copper tubing as a trellis. The copper tubing is necessary because they are such massive plants. Climbing within the old wood Clematis is a Morning Glory which was a gift from a friend, a Master Gardener, who was deployed to Afghanistan. She sent the seeds back and the owner planted the Morning Glory seeds. As the Clematis dies back the Morning Glories will take over. It's a great reminder of someone overseas.

She is doing everything right, she has a rock on the root zones to keep the feet cool while trying to keep the head warm. In some parts of the country they might under plant with a plant that would provide shade for the root zone but this works beautifully here.
Top

But the plant is huge, it looks like it's on steroids, she must be doing something different. Salli explains -- COMPOST, COMPOST, COMPOST. She loves her compost and it shows. Salli and Bart look at her compost bins. Here she puts her grass clippings, any leaves and pine needles on the ground, prunings from her garden that she chops into small pieces and table scraps with the exception of dairy and meat. Bart likes what he sees but has 2 small tips. When composting be sure to keep the pile moist. You don't want it to dry out or the compost will stop. And, turn it once a week or every time you cut the grass.

Salli has a question. The winters here are long and cold, often her compost turns into a solid block of ice. Any thoughts? One option is an indoor composter. There are some on the market now that allow you to continue composting all throughout the year. Good idea.

Salli has a tip for our viewers. She feels it makes sense, if you have a favorite container, to put it on a platform with wheels. That way if there is a sudden storm or an unexpected, early freeze you can get the container to shelter quickly. That has been a lifesaver for Salli in this environment and it might just help others, as well.

Bart thanks Salli for the tour. These gardens have been beautiful and provided many learning lessons. Thanks to all in Cheyenne, you were all most gracious hosts. We hope many in our audience will have an opportunity to visit Cheyenne, Wyoming.
Top

LINKS:

Nagle Warren Mansion

Laramie County Master Gardeners

Indoor Composter

Subaru of Cheyenne

   
 
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