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Bang Wallup

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I give in. Delosperma sp. 'Firespinner' is sexy.
Bindweed!  But, the special, hard-to-grow turkish miniature kind.  Convolvulus boissieri ssp. compactus
Penstemon caespitosus ex Rio Blanco, CO and Lepidium nanum
Har har. I've finally succeeded in blooming the elusive desert adobe salt-pan poisonous-soil loving Xylorhiza venusta,  or, Cisco Woodyaster.  Ok, so it looks like an English daisy and it germinated on its own when I gave up from three years of trying and threw the seed out over the garden, but hey- it's native to the desert here and it's in my garden. So there. Penstemon acaulis  will not grow for me outside of a crevice. Mama plant still died last year, but she left two kids in her stead, one seen here.


First year Iris iberica ssp. lycotis.
Iris lineolata, a turkestani gift from the Iris-mad John Baumfalk, who is an Iris wizard. A wizard.  
Neohenricia sibbettii is an ice plant relative. I've killed dozens (literally) to find places where they will persist.  …

Rare Plants to be Sold in Denver:

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The Plant Hunter's Market:

The Spring Plant sale of RMC-NARGS at Denver Botanic Gardens

April 22 & 23: 
Members: Friday 5-8pm
Public:  Saturday 9am-5pm

This is where perhaps the most exotic hardy plants in Colorado change hands each year.


Cypripedium parviflorum var, pubescens.

I am bringing a glorious, budded plant of our native Lady's Slipper Orchid from the humourous Plant Delights Nursery as well as a very limited number of special rock-garden plants from Arrowhead Nursery, Wrightman Alpines, and Chelsea Nursery.   You know you want it.




In fact, here they are.  The black-blooming Iris paradoxa and purple-blooming Anchusa undulata are to show, not for sale.  Sorry You'll have to beg me something big and go on the waiting list for those. Or, you could steal them and you and I will embark on a high-speed car chase down Denver's York Street, which will surely end in a ball of flames in Northern New Mexico.

A sneak peak of things I've gathered to bring, in no particular…

Agave hunting #5: You can get shot for that

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In the borderlands of New Mexico and Texas, Agaves stud the grasslands.  It's a magnificent comparison of the artistic appeal of life forms. Grass is this dynamic, opportunistic, fast-growing and breeze-dancing thing, almost liquid waves, whose success echoes all over the earth in numbers no other vascular plant can claim, while Agaves are this strange biker-gang of alien weaponized artichokes, which do no bend in the breeze but slowly, steadily march into larger and larger heads, (grasses coming and going nervously around them) for many years until finally mysteriously squeezing all of their accumulated life force into a small tree of a flower stalk, and die.
There is something seductively nihilistic about Agaves.
I really try to be ethical about plant watching and plant collecting. I try hard.  the problem is that plants don't honor political boundaries, and I will confess, the lure of getting close to a plant overcomes mature reasoning at least once a year for me.  I can coun…

A few notes from near and afield.

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Winter is a contemplative time for Gardeners.  Or a time for madness.  No, that's actually my house.  No, I don't live in a museum, it just takes me a while to update my word processing equipment. Christmas is a nice time to decorate and over-eat.    (Trichocereus pringlei; someone will ask. He's 20 years old, his name is Fernando and I adopted him recently)
Outdoors, the sun makes the snow dance in and out of places.  It betrays the microclimate of the KAFM  Native Garden's crevice garden.   The first snow has never melted from the North face.
Opuntia 'Dark Knight' is the purplest of them all, wearing his winter cloak through most of summer as well. Treat yourself to one at coldhardycactus.com
On Main Street in downtown Grand Junction, I just noticed this lovely placard in one of the better of the flower beds.  I though native plant people were just forgotten. No sir, I've heard this man's name reverently spoken of among native plant gurus.  I bet there are…

A few more APEX plant pictures for Susan

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Eriogonum pulchrum
Junellia succulentifolia
Arctotis adpressa
Lepidium nanum
All on October 15, 2015 at the APEX "Community Heroes" Crevice Garden in Arvada, CO, USA

New photoshoot with the versatile Shrubby Buckwheat

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Eriogonum corymbosum, pink form, San Rafael Swell, UT, USA.
Western Colorado Botanical Gardens, (Chelsea Nursery strain)
A more tight-haired Seedling from Chelsea Nursery.
"Henryville Yellow" is Eriogonum corymbosum v. aureum.
It was sold for a time by High Country Gardens.
It really wants to be dry. Very dry. The low end of the desert rock garden was too wet for it.  Odd little bugs liked its flowers, scented lightly of arm-pits.
Since the first time I fell in love with Shrubby Buckwheat, I have learned that it really hates shade.   In the way that cats don't like having their nails painted. They could die.
It is best used in the brightest, driest open landscape with room to stretch out to 4 or 5' wide. 
I'll make a link to our last interview here.


Enjoy its autumn colours, and buy it from Chelsea Nursery.

Alternative & Organic Weed/Bug Weapons We've Actually Tried.

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Winter. Time to reflect and evaluate last year's experiments, and make resolutions for next year.


Or have a glass of wine and read books.







The internet is rife with recipes and how-tos full of bright, brief, smiling clip-art, hopeful solutions to our worst little life annoyances.
More annoying is how often this are copies of copies of copies and chain-mail click-bait, confirmed and yes-nodded and reproduced and celebrated, and I swear they are rarely tried. Weed recipes are no exception- we pass along all kinds of neat-sounding recipes we've heard and read on the net.

But we at Paintbrush have been trying a few.  The nice thing about nice clients is that they will let you experiment.

Here are our real experiences with alternative weed and bug sprays.


1. Soap.
The world's finest contact pesticide (my opinion here) is soap-of-castile, known to most as "Dr. Bronner's."  It was introduced to me by Bob Nold, of Penstemon fame.  Contact pesticides simply must touch the ani…