GardenSmart :: EPISODES :: 2009 show45
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SHOW #45/1806
Vail In The Summer

COLOR WHEEL
COLOR IS IMPORTANT TO TODD, HE FEELS COLOR IS THE KEY. On the steps of the Village Transportation Center Todd shows some of his tricks. Here they have yellow Hemerocallis 'Hyperion' Daylily. It's a classic perennial; and will grow anywhere. Next to it they have a purple Salvia officinalis Salvia. Put those 2 together, yellow and purple are complimentary colors to each other. Even by looking at the color combination one knows it works. But people are often unsure whether their combination really works or not. There is a tool for that and one can pick one up at their local art supply store or at a home improvement store. It's called a color wheel. And, it has 2 sides. The front side is for mixing colors for artists or painters, the flip side shows the compliment to any color on the color wheel. For example, find the yellow of the yellow Daylily on the color wheel, follow the solid line that goes directly underneath and it goes to the violet family of colors, there one finds the deep purple of the purple Salvia. Then there is a diagonal line running off to the side and that is the split complimentary color.

Click here for more info

RANDOM BED DESIGN
Todd shows Joe another beautiful bed. SOMETIMES NO MATTER HOW MUCH PLANNING AND DESIGN, THINGS JUST HAPPEN. This is one of those arrangements that just happened. They had an art object that they didn't know would be done in time to highlight with plants, thus ended up without anything to plant. They had some leftover flowers in their greenhouse, brought them in, put them together and called it the Exuberance Mix after the art piece. It worked and they've been using the same flowers ever since. So the flowers were planted by happenstance, but they worked and they've been repeating the same bed design ever since.

Click here for more info

HIGH MOUNTAIN BED
The guys visit ANOTHER BED ALONG A HEAVILY TRAFFICKED PEDESTRIAN AREA. It's a great looking bed and this one was by design. Here they're trying to emulate something one might see in a high mountain meadow. And they're doing it with annual flowers rather than perennials. Some are real crowd pleasers and reliable plants. One is Osteospermum 'Lemon Symphony', another Felicia amellioides 'Blue Felecia' Daisy which has little yellow centers. This is a nice combination and most likely opposites on the color wheel. They have Petunia x hybrida 'Wave Petunia', some Vebena x hybrida 'Red' mixed in and then for some white to give it sparkle, Nemesia strumosa 'Safari White' along with some little Leucanthemum vulgare Margarete Daisies.

Click here for more info

BED PREP
IT STARTS WITH HOW THE BED IS PLANTED. They spend a lot of time working on the flowerbed and on the soil. They add compost and horse manure, which they get from a local riding stable, they till that in, add some slow release fertilizer, then plant flowers on top of that. They come around about once a week and weed and aerate the soil a little and deadhead the flowers. The soil looks good but a little dry. They're on a 3 day a week watering cycle for water conservation. Monday is a no water day, so they haven't been watered today but tomorrow early they'll get a good drink.

Click here for more info

EVAPOTRANSPIRATION
It works this way. A WEATHER STATION COLLECTS DATA EVERYDAY. They collect the evapotranspiration number in inches of water, it then computes the water that's needed to be put back down in the soil, after subtracting out the amount of rainfall that was received the previous day, that data is then downloaded to a central control system. That central control system tells the individual irrigation systems throughout town just how much water is the right amount to put down in that location.

Intelligent Use of Water

Click here for more info

PLANTING ON A SLOPE REQUIRES TOUGH PLANTS
Joe and Todd move on. THE NEXT AREA IS IN FRONT OF A RESTAURANT, A SLOPE SITUATION, WITH LIMITED SOIL. The plants here have been selected for their toughness. On the top are taller plants to create a screen, a barrier between the dining deck and the road. Those taller plants include some of the old standbys, purple Salvia, Aquilegia caerulea 'Kristall' Columbine. They have some Achillea 'Moonshine' Yarrow which is a great nice bright plant, as well some Platycodon grandifloras 'Balloon flower'. Lower are more rock garden type plants. They have some Sages, some Sedum species and Creeping Geranium that is hardy here and really taken hold and doing a good job. They have some Dianthus along the front and some Aster tongolensis 'Wartburg Star'. It makes sense that they would choose tough plants here because in the wintertime this area gets a lot of traffic from skiers and the snow on the walkway must go somewhere and it ends up on this hill.

Click here for more info

HANGING BASKETS
JOE HAS NOTICED THE BEAUTIFUL HANGING BASKETS ALL DAY, they are really what makes the Town special. They're nice and big and full. To do that they start with a plastic pot that has holes drilled in the sides so they can really be filled up and will grow, not only on the top, but out the sides. And they are nice and full. The Wave Petunia is doing a great job of draping over the edge and coming through the holes. The holes on the side are what make the difference. The containers also have a drip irrigation system.

Click here for more info

CONTAINERS
Joe and Todd look at an interesting area IN WHICH THEY'VE USED CONTAINERS. Todd uses a lot of containers, particularly in this area. They liven up what otherwise could be a rather bland area. He likes containers because the plants are the showpiece. He likes to plant them full, he uses plants that will hang down and hide the container. He wants people to see the flower, not necessarily the container. They also place smaller containers in front of taller containers in the back. It gives a nice, layered look. To get the full look early in the season Todd and his crew start plants in their greenhouse. They plant them about the end of April, grow them in the greenhouse under controlled situations for about 2 months, then bring them out before the main summer season, or after the 4th of July. These plants, too, are fertilized when planted and that's about all for the season.

Click here for more info

LINKS:

Town of Vail

Evergreen Lodge

Intelligent Use Of Water

Garden Smart Plant List

COMPLETE TRANSCRIPT OF THE SHOW.

Vail is a world class ski resort and much of the year it is covered with snow. As gorgeous as that is one might not realize how beautiful it is in summer. In this Episode GardenSMART takes a close up look at the gardens in the Town of Vail, Colorado.
It's been said that people come to Vail for the skiing, but stay for the summer. GardenSMART is visiting on a glorious summer morning and can understand that statement. Joe meets mayor Dick Cleveland who will tell us more about the Town of Vail.
Vail was the vision of several World War II veterans who trained at nearby Camp Hale with the 10th Mountain Division. They had grown up in Eagle County, came back from the war and wanted to get into the ski business. After much research and planning they told Pete Sibert they had a place he needed to see. They hiked the mountain and found it a perfect location for a ski resort and the rest is history. The mountain was founded and opened in December 1962 and has been going strong ever since. These men were expert skiers and found this mountain has a variety of challenges for all levels of skiing, from beginner to expert. The back hills are world renowned for expert skiers but they have runs all over this mountain that are fairly intermixed, so everyone can enjoy the mountain. Then there is the village at the base of the mountain that's within an easy 2 hour drive from Denver. It's the best of both worlds, there is a bit of everything here.
In the summertime it's incredible. It has a wide variety of things to do - hiking, biking, skiing on land, kayaking and river sports all up and down the valley. In addition to the sports aspect they have an incredible cultural offering. The Mayor tells people that there aren't many towns of 4,000 that see the New York Philharmonic come for a week in the sumer, as well as visits from the Rochester Philharmonic, Dallas and an international dance festival. All of this at the Ford Amphitheater.
Vail like any 40 year old town is improving the infrastructure, improving hotels and undergoing an incredible amount of redevelopment. But, all with an eye on environmental stewardship. The Mayor feels the need to preserve the area, after all that was the reason people came here originally and the reason they come here today. They're doing an incredible job, it looks great.
Todd Oppenheimer is our guide today. Todd has been here 18 years. He has an incredible grounds crew that does all the plantings on public spaces, but they also have a community where the private landowners do a lot with their businesses and homes to make Vail a beautiful place in the summer.
Todd has a background in landscape architecture from Iowa State University. Landscape architecture appealed to him but he has always had an interest in gardening. He was the gardener in his family but as well he enjoys designing things, building things and putting it all together into a final product.
Todd came here when they created the position of landscape architect/parks superintendent. He got that job and has stayed ever since. He is responsible for the whole village. When he got here the flowerbed program was kind of like the three P's - poppies, pansies and petunias. They had several beds but the plantings were all pretty much the same. They've now increased that to about 67 different plant varieties and try to add something new every year. When not sure about a particular plant they will start it in an obscure place or smaller bed and see how it performs. If they like it they bring it out into one of the entryways in the Town, into the Vail Village or Lions Head Village. It is a great way to experiment before the big reveal.
COLOR IS IMPORTANT TO TODD, HE FEELS COLOR IS THE KEY. On the steps of the Village Transportation Center Todd shows some of his tricks. Here they have yellow Hemerocallis 'Hyperion' Daylily. It's a classic perennial; and will grow anywhere. Next to it they have a purple Salvia officinalis Salvia. Put those 2 together, yellow and purple are complimentary colors to each other. Even by looking at the color combination one knows it works. But people are often unsure whether their combination really works or not. There is a tool for that and one can pick one up at their local art supply store or at a home improvement store. It's called a color wheel. And, it has 2 sides. The front side is for mixing colors for artists or painters, the flip side shows the compliment to any color on the color wheel. For example, find the yellow of the yellow Daylily on the color wheel, follow the solid line that goes directly underneath and it goes to the violet family of colors, there one finds the deep purple of the purple Salvia. Then there is a diagonal line running off to the side and that is the split complimentary color. What one can do is, for example, start with the yellow, then go to one side or one step each side of purple and then you'll have a 3 way color combination. Todd has done that in this bed with a Penstamen barbatus Penstamen. The red Penstamen with the yellow Daylily and the purple Salvia work well together and attract the eye. In addition they have a little white in this bed. Anytime one introduces the color white is looks good and adds sparkle to a bed. And white in a larger area gives the eye a place to rest. The color wheel is a great tip. Viewers are always asking questions about color combinations - what works and what doesn't - so for several bucks at an art supply store anyone can have a tool that will help with the perfect combinations.
Top


Todd shows Joe another beautiful bed. SOMETIMES NO MATTER HOW MUCH PLANNING AND DESIGN, THINGS JUST HAPPEN. This is one of those arrangements that just happened. They had an art object that they didn't know would be done in time to highlight with plants, thus ended up without anything to plant. They had some leftover flowers in their greenhouse, brought them in, put them together and called it the Exuberance Mix after the art piece. It worked and they've been using the same flowers ever since. So the flowers were planted by happenstance, but they worked and they've been repeating the same bed design ever since. And it works well.
There are three varieties of flowers here. The Pansies are down low, the Snapdragons in the middle, then the Poppies up above. They have Viola x wittrockiana 'Crown Mix' a mixture of blue, yellow, reds and whites. Antirrhinum majus 'Sonnet mix' Snapdragons with some of the same colors, yellow, reds and some purply tones, then Papaver croceum, 'Iceland poppy' Icelandic Poppies with nice warm - yellow and red colors that sort of float above it all. Sometimes people think a bed like this, a mix of eclectic colors, can get too busy but in this case, by chance or by design, although there are variety of plants, since the colors are related, it all ties in nicely.
Top


The guys visit ANOTHER BED ALONG A HEAVILY TRAFFICKED PEDESTRIAN AREA. It's a great looking bed and this one was by design. Here they're trying to emulate something one might see in a high mountain meadow. And they're doing it with annual flowers rather than perennials. Some are real crowd pleasers and reliable plants. One is Osteospermum 'Lemon Symphony', another Felicia amellioides 'Blue Felecia' Daisy which has little yellow centers. This is a nice combination and most likely opposites on the color wheel. They have Petunia x hybrida 'Wave Petunia', some Vebena x hybrida 'Red' mixed in and then for some white to give it sparkle, Nemesia strumosa 'Safari White' along with some little Leucanthemum vulgare Margarete Daisies. It's a nice low growing arrangement that really does present that wildflower look in a pleasing design and with some very reliable plants.
All around town Todd has planting beds with an extra wide ledge where one can sit and enjoy the vivid colors. This bed is no exception and in this bed Todd has a good mix of complimentary colors - yellow orange Tagetes 'Inca Mix' Marigold, Inca Mix African marigold. Salvia farinacea 'Victoria blue' and a Salvia coccinea 'Lady in Red' and again for sparkle some little Margarete Daisies. Todd talks about the care needed for these beds.
Top


IT STARTS WITH HOW THE BED IS PLANTED. They spend a lot of time working on the flowerbed and on the soil. They add compost and horse manure, which they get from a local riding stable, they till that in, add some slow release fertilizer, then plant flowers on top of that. They come around about once a week and weed and aerate the soil a little and deadhead the flowers. The soil looks good but a little dry. They're on a 3 day a week watering cycle for water conservation. Monday is a no water day, so they haven't been watered today but tomorrow early they'll get a good drink. By having good soil, which they certainly have, even in dry conditions, there's enough capability within the soil to hold moisture. The key to that is having organic matter in the soil. Even though there is a wonderful stream next to this bed one still needs to realize that water is a finite resource, yet we often take it for granted. Thus water management is critical, not only in a small bed but in a much larger application.
The guys next look at one of the town parks. Joe comments that this is the middle of the day, yet a sprinkler is hard at work. What's wrong? They normally water during the evening hours, during the dew cycle when loss of water through evaporation and wind would be less. The sprinklers are running today to make a point. Water management is important, especially in an arid climate like this, yet everything in this area looks lush. That, again, is due to soil preparation and watering just the right amount, not too much. There are simple things that can be done at home. Watering at the right time of day and watering the correct amount are both very important but we often don't know what the correct amount is. There is a technology we're using more and more, and it's becoming a household word - that term is evapotranspiration. That is the science of measuring the amount of moisture that comes out of the ground and out of plants. This technology incorporates that information, uses those measurements, then supplements the difference with the amount of water that we then apply to achieve the optimum watering amount. That technology, incorporating that evapotranspiration information, takes the guesswork out completely. They are using that technology here.
Top


It works this way. A WEATHER STATION COLLECTS DATA EVERYDAY. They collect the evapotranspiration number in inches of water, it then computes the water that's needed to be put back down in the soil, after subtracting out the amount of rainfall that was received the previous day, that data is then downloaded to a central control system. That central control system tells the individual irrigation systems throughout town just how much water is the right amount to put down in that location.
But that technology is not exclusive to municipalities anymore. All across the country, at home, we can utilize that same technology. We can even fine tune it based on the type soil we have or whether we are in a sunny or shady situation. The bottom line to evapotranspiration technology is, it's an intelligent alternative to dragging hoses and wasting water and it's an effective way to manage your water at home. They're doing the right thing in the Town of Vail, we can do the same at home.

Intelligent Use Of Water


Top

Joe and Todd move on. THE NEXT AREA IS IN FRONT OF A RESTAURANT, A SLOPE SITUATION, WITH LIMITED SOIL. The plants here have been selected for their toughness. On the top are taller plants to create a screen, a barrier between the dining deck and the road. Those taller plants include some of the old standbys, purple Salvia, Aquilegia caerulea 'Kristall' Columbine. They have some Achillea 'Moonshine' Yarrow which is a great nice bright plant, as well some Platycodon grandifloras 'Balloon flower'. Lower are more rock garden type plants. They have some Sages, some Sedum species and Creeping Geranium that is hardy here and really taken hold and doing a good job. They have some Dianthus along the front and some Aster tongolensis 'Wartburg Star'. It makes sense that they would choose tough plants here because in the wintertime this area gets a lot of traffic from skiers and the snow on the walkway must go somewhere and it ends up on this hill. The hill itself, a slope situation, has big stones placed throughout to help retain the soil, allowing the perennials to take root.
Top


JOE HAS NOTICED THE BEAUTIFUL HANGING BASKETS ALL DAY, they are really what makes the Town special. They're nice and big and full. To do that they start with a plastic pot that has holes drilled in the sides so they can really be filled up and will grow, not only on the top, but out the sides. And they are nice and full. The Wave Petunia is doing a great job of draping over the edge and coming through the holes. The holes on the side are what make the difference. The containers also have a drip irrigation system. The lines are buried underneath the road, the drip line runs inside the light pole, comes out over each hanging basket and that is what keeps them watered. They fertilize when they plant, using a granular, slow release fertilizer and that takes care of them for the season.
Joe certainly has noticed the Wave Petunia because it really dominates but he sees several others. For example, a Viola x wittrockiana 'Padparadja' Pansy which is orange. Very unusual. They've also tried a new Petunia this year, this Petunia is a cross between a Calabrachoa and a Petunia. They call it a Supercalie. Todd is looking forward to seeing more of it next season.
Top


Joe and Todd look at an interesting area IN WHICH THEY'VE USED CONTAINERS. Todd uses a lot of containers, particularly in this area. They liven up what otherwise could be a rather bland area. He likes containers because the plants are the showpiece. He likes to plant them full, he uses plants that will hang down and hide the container. He wants people to see the flower, not necessarily the container. They also place smaller containers in front of taller containers in the back. It gives a nice, layered look. To get the full look early in the season Todd and his crew start plants in their greenhouse. They plant them about the end of April, grow them in the greenhouse under controlled situations for about 2 months, then bring them out before the main summer season, or after the 4th of July. These plants, too, are fertilized when planted and that's about all for the season. This area requires hand watering. The deep yellow plant is a Calabrachoa. Mixed in is a white Nemesia which gives a sparkle, as discussed earlier. There is also a white Margarete and a Red American Zonal Geranium. In a container in the back there is a yellow, purple theme but with different plant combinations. Instead of a flowering plant they have a foliage plant, Ipomoea batatas 'Blackie' sweet potato vine. Again, some Nemesia to lighten it up and the plant in the center is a Phormium 'Maori Chief' New Zeland Flax, which is a showpiece. There is a lot of color everywhere and it all goes back to the theme discussed, which is making sure colors are either opposites on the color wheel or a compliment to each other.
Todd has some parting words of wisdom. He believes that we, as gardeners, need to pay attention to our soil. Soil is very important. Start with a good loamy topsoil, lots of organic matter and use a slow release granular fertilizer. Secondly, start with quality plants. Go to your local nursery, go to your garden center, buy good quality plants to start with. To know you have a quality plant, Todd pulls the plant out of the pot and looks at the roots. If he sees a mass of white roots growing he knows he's found a good plant. He will choose a plant with a good root system over a plant with a big top anytime. Because the roots give the plant a better chance to establish itself and get settled into its new environment. Plants go through a lot of stress taking them out of their containers and putting them into a new container or into the garden. The more root system, the better chance those plants have of surviving.
A great tip Todd. The Town of Vail is beautiful and July is a tremendous time to visit. Nice job.
Top

LINKS:

Town of Vail

Evergreen Lodge

Intelligent Use Of Water

Garden Smart Plant List

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FEATURED ARTICLE
GardenSMART Featured Article

Written by Joan Maloof, Photographs by Robert Llewellyn

Trees don't have two eyes like we do, yet they can see. They know how much light is hitting their leaves, and they know the quality of that light, too. They know if it's summer or winter by the length of the day, and they know if it's noon or afternoon by the wavelength of the light. Read more...


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