Life is a series of firsts – first steps, first words and first day at school. First crush (and subsequent first broken heart), first roller-coaster ride and first concert. As we grow older, the firsts continue – first kid, first car (payment) and first house.
Next week, Durango will also have its own first – or at least I think so. In conjunction with the Durango Botanical Society, the Colorado State University Extension Office is putting on a series of plant-related lectures and workshops. Now, I know there have been plenty of half-day or daylong events – we’ve hosted many of them – but to have a weeklong series is pretty exciting, and perhaps, a first.
The lecture series starts with internationally recognized entomologist Dr. Whitney Cranshaw sharing his expertise about the world of insects. On Sunday, he will give the presentation “A Review of Common Wasps and Bees in Colorado,” and Monday, he will give an exciting and humorous talk called “Creating Landscapes for Insects … Or Not.” For those of you who have had the pleasure of seeing Cranshaw present, you know that he is a speaker not to be missed. The author of many books, including Insects and Diseases of Woody Plants of the Central Rockies, he brings his expertise and a large slice of humor to every talk he gives.
On Tuesday, Durango Herald Action Line columnist Mike Smedley will look at the bizarre history of “the lawn,” from its emergence as an expensive 17th-century status symbol for the Northern European aristocracy to the fetish of the modern American household. He will also discuss some alternatives to the traditional bluegrass lawn, including drought-tolerant buffalo grass, groundcovers and the use of hardscaping in the xeric landscape.
We welcome Jude Schuenemeyer of Montezuma Orchard Restoration Project on Wednesday, as he talks about the historical importance of the Colorado orchard. Jude and his wife, Addie, have worked tirelessly to preserve rare fruit genetics, to identify historical apple trees and to “foster the blossoming of a new fruit economy in Montezuma County.” Jude’s knowledge of and passion for fruit trees is impressive and inspiring. It’s a presentation not to be missed.
I’m excited to talk May 12 about the lessons I’ve taught (and learned) about vegetable gardening. Nothing too formal – some photos, a few anecdotes, potentially a couple of curse words and, hopefully, some education about what (not) to do in the veggie garden.
May 13 and May 14 are dedicated to the rock and crevice garden. Part of the week surrounds the exciting addition to the gardens at the Durango Public Library. Camilla Potter of the Durango Botanical Society and the Mountain Thyme Herb Society will talk about what herbs work well in a rock garden, how to plant them and what kind of care they will need. On Saturday, Kenton Seth, who will lead the installation of the crevice garden, will share his vast knowledge about creating your own garden and the types of plants that can work there. What’s a crevice garden? Kenton will tell you.
The week ends May 15 with Jamie Weiss of the Audubon Society, who will talk about how we can create wildlife-friendly gardens that could help combat the loss of open spaces and provide habitat for wildlife.
The talks are either free or require a small fee, but I guarantee each one will be well worth it.
Darrin Parmenter is the director and horticulture agent of the La Plata County Extension Office. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 382-6464.