Cold-weather antidote: High Plains Landscape Workshop boosts spring

Gardeners wanting to get ready for the new season can soothe the itch to plant by attending workshops and talks while the weather is cold. Dig into seminars that will make you eager for spring with the High Plains Landscape Workshop, Saturday, February 22 at the Lincoln Center in Fort Collins, which feeds our need for gardening in winter. A fundraiser for the Gardens on Spring Creek, the event gets down to earth about real-world gardening.

The Keynote Speaker is Kelly Norris of Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden. The first horticulture manager at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden, Norris operated Rainbow Iris Farm for more than 10 years. He’s the author of “A Guide to Bearded Irises: Cultivating the Rainbow for Beginners and Enthusiasts” ($39.95 Timber Press) and is working on a new book, “Dig This: Stylish Gardening with Kickass Plants.” Norris will be presenting two sessions: Life on the Edge: Tough Plants for Tough Places and Chic Plants for Modern Gardens: A Commentary on New Plants.

Life on the Edge: Tough Plants for Tough Places focuses on native plants that grow and thrive in harsh, sometimes threatened, and highly variable environments. Explore how plants respond to their environment and how you can translate that into success in your own garden. In it, he’ll share his palette of garden-worthy plants that soften harsh environments. In the session Chic Plants for Modern Gardens: A Commentary on New Plants, Norris leads a rousing discussion on what makes a great garden plant and how some new plants just aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. Learn about the current state of ornamental horticulture and new perennial varieties.

Supersizing the event are two of Colorado’s plant superstars, Pat Hayward and Jane Shellenberger. Shellenberger, publisher/editor of Colorado Gardener and author of “Organic Gardener’s Companion, Growing Vegetables in the West” ($24.95, Fulcrum Books), will speak on Organic Vegetable Gardening on Colorado’s High Plains.

Western-Inspired Gardens with Plant Select are explored by Pat Hayward, who has been involved professionally in regional horticulture for more than 35 years and is currently Executive Director of Plant Select. She’ll provide tips for making stunning and unique gardens using many of the plants introduced through Plant Select. Using examples from gardens as well as professionally created designs, you’ll be inspired to try out the many new ideas presented. This session will also include a preview of the 2014 plant introductions, including the new Plant Select Petites. Plant Select is a plant introduction program from Denver Botanic Gardens and Colorado State University focusing on unique, adaptable and resilient plants for western gardens.

The popular event includes a box lunch, a silent auction, book sale, and a chance to talk with other gardeners who revel in early season planning for beautiful landscapes. Registration is $49, including lunch; $59 after February 1. Workshop information and registration materials are available at or by calling the Gardens on Spring Creek at 970-416-2486.

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