It’s Time to Jump into Spring!

IT’S TIME TO JUMP INTO SPRING!
(Despite the snowy weather!)  Welcome to our 27th year! Starting off a new season at Harlequin’s Gardens is always a lot of work, but it’s also very exciting! There will be lots of NEW things, including a new front entry sign and planting, great new classes, new potting mixes, new and redesigned display gardens, new additions to our staff and, of course, new plants, including vegetable start varieties. Our opening day will be Friday, March 1, and throughout the month, we’ll be open 4 days a week: from 9 am to 5 pm on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
 
Here’s a taste of some of our New Plants.  We will be offering the following 2019 Plant Select® introductions, produced by our own wholesale division, so you know they are completely chemical-free, pesticide-free and bee-safe!

SteppeSuns™ ‘Sunset Glow” Penstemon: An excellent new and different color selection of Pineleaf Penstemon with a profusion of glowing soft orange funnel-shaped blooms, this mounding evergreen perennial is long-lived and blooms for a very long season. The nectar-rich flowers attract and feed hummingbirds, honeybees, and native pollinators. ‘Sunset Glow’ thrives in full sun or morning sun in the dry or low-water garden. The unique shade of ‘sherbet’ orange blends well with both pastel and bright colors in the garden. It looks beautiful in masses and as an individual specimen, growing 12-18” high and 18-24” wide. Hardy to USDA zone 4.  (Photo Credit: Emily Goldman.)   


Granita® Orange Ice Plant: A beautiful, new and unique color in hardy Ice Plants. Granita® Orange has proved successful in low-water gardens with well-drained soils, making a dense, 1 to 2”-high, spreading evergreen groundcover, covered with large, bright, iridescent deep orange flowers for much of the growing season. Like other Delosperma varieties, the flowers are open during bright daylight hours, closed at night and on dark days. In our intense sun, they thrive best with some afternoon shade. Hardy to USDA Zone 5.  (Photo Credit: John Stireman.) 


Sucker Punch® Chokecherry: Our friend Scott Skogerboe, head propagator for Fort Collins Nursery, has made many great contributions to Plant Select® over the years. One of his triumphs has been the discovery and successful trialing of a non-suckering Prunus virginiana, our native red-leaf Chokecherry. This break-though makes it possible to use this attractive, small to medium-sized flowering/fruiting native tree in small home landscapes without the nuisance of constant suckering. Thought to be an accidental hybrid with Prunus padus (Mayday Tree, Bird Cherry), it has a more rounded crown, reaching 20-25’ tall and 15-20’ wide, foliage that emerges green, turning purple-red after blooming, and profuse panicles of sweetly fragrant white flowers in early spring that provide an important source of nectar and pollen for honeybees, native bees, and other native pollinators. The fruits are famous for attracting a wide variety of birds and for making delicious preserves! Hardy to USDA zone 3.  (Photo Credit: Gary Epstein.) 


 
TOMATOES!  Enticing new Vegetable varieties, and especially Tomatoes, are being discovered, bred and introduced at a dizzying pace! We get to taste some of the new and exciting Tomato varieties at our annual Taste of Tomato (this year scheduled for Saturday, September 9th). When we meet a new tomato that makes our knees go weak, we add it to our offerings as soon as we can. Here are just a few of our new tomato, and other vegetable, starts for 2019.  You can peruse our entire list of this year’s tomatoes at our website.  Soon we will also be updating all of our website veggie start descriptions!  Thorburn’s Terra-Cotta ~75 days, Heirloom, Indeterminate. Limited Supply!
Our friend Thomas brought this very rare and completely unique tomato to our 2018 Taste of Tomato public tasting (where this remarkable new-old variety took second place in the Slicers category) and we’d never seen anything like it! Incredible color, flavor and history! Introduced in 1893 by J.M. Thorburn & Co. seedsmen of New York, this sensational tomato has glossy/waxy terracotta brown skin, orange-pink flesh, and green seed mass. Dr. William Woys Weaver has spent years growing out and selecting from the seeds he was gifted one hundred years later! His patient and artful work has restored this stunning and delicious, juicy slicer, produces heavily during early/mid-season and then drops off quickly once cool weather sets in. Reviews from gardeners in Colorado reveal that this variety seems to like our hot, dry summers, whereas complaints of cracking came from growers in the wetter upper Midwest and Northwest. When cooked, it will yield a beautiful pumpkin-orange sauce with a floral aroma. Read the back-story, written by Dr. Weaver in 2012. 
  Anna Banana Russian ~75 days, Heirloom, Indeterminate
A beautiful bright yellow version of the famous Anna Russian tomato. The fruits are definitively heart-shaped, weigh from 6 to 13 ounces, and have delicious, well-balanced flavor with mild fruitiness. They often have a slight pink blush on the inside. As with many other heart-shaped heirloom tomatoes, the tall vines are skinny, with wispy foliage, and should be staked. ‘Anna Banana Russian’ originated as an accidental cross from Anna Russian that was stabilized by Michael Walker of Ellensburg, Washington.
  Black Icicle    ~75 days, Heirloom, Indeterminate
With stunning, 2-3” long and pointed deep purplish-brown fruits, this Ukrainian heirloom tomato looks like a paste tomato but has the deep, rich, complex flavor of the best large dark heirlooms. A great variety for both home gardeners and chefs, it is delicious eaten fresh or cooked down for fabulous sauce. The productive vines are tall and skinny, with wispy foliage.
  Brad’s Atomic Grape ~75 days, OP, Indeterminate.  Very Limited Supply!
Highly productive, open, vining plants with wispy foliage. Large, elongated, pointy grape tomatoes borne in large clusters. Sounds dull, huh?  Well, the colors of these 2-bite gems are extraordinary, and every fruit appears hand-painted! Lavender and purple stripes, orange turning to technicolor olive-green, red, and brown/blue stripes when fully ripe. The olive green interior is blushed with red when dead-ripe. Flavor? They came in second place after Sungold in the Cherry tomato category at our 2018 Taste of Tomato! The fruits are juicy and firm, crack-resistant and exceptionally sweet, which is what many people are looking for in a snacking tomato. The fruit holds well on the vine or off.  This release from Wild Boar Farms also won best in show at the 2017 National Heirloom Expo. Brown Sugar   Mid-season, Open-Pollinated, Indeterminate
Brown Sugar is an open-pollinated Russian commercial variety that provides early production, beautiful color and delicious flavor. A high-yielding, indeterminate, regular-leaf plant, Brown Sugar produces lots of medium-size (~6oz.), round, purple-brown fruits with green shoulders. The deep red interior has rich, complex flavor, a little more sweet than tangy. Very well adapted to colder and short season regions.
  White Tomesol  75-85 days, Heirloom, Indeterminate
White Tomesol is not only a beautiful addition to the color palette of tomatoes, but is perhaps the easiest ‘white’ tomato to grow, and full of fragrance and flavor, sweet, rich but mild. The lovely smooth, pale yellow fruits have a pretty blush of pink on the blossom end, and look like a smaller beef-steak type, averaging about 8oz. Fruits with full sun exposure will develop deeper yellow color. The vigorous, disease-resistant vines set heavy yields, producing late into the season and adapting well to difficult growing conditions. We see it as a worthy replacement for the fabulous ‘Moonstone Blanco’, for which we can no longer find seed. Introduced to Seed Savers in 1998 by Dorothy Beiswenger of Crookston, Minnesota.
  Tommy Toe Cherry Tomato ~70 days, Heirloom OP, Indeterminate
Tommy Toe is a great old heirloom from the Ozark Mountains that produces huge numbers of large, 1.5 oz red cherries with old fashioned flavor reminiscent of heirloom ‘beefsteak’ tomatoes. The large, vigorous plants will need staking/trellising to control.
  Black Ethiopian  70-80 days, Heirloom, Indeterminate.  RETURNING!
A wonderful, rare heirloom, variously reported as originating in Ukraine, Russia, or Hungary, despite being  named Ethiopian. Nevertheless, the large, vigorous 4-5’ tall plants yield heavy crops mahogany-bronze, 5-oz., plum-shaped fruits with exceptional, rich flavor that’s both tangy and sweet. At our first annual Taste of Tomato, acclaimed local chef Bradford Heap chose Black Ethiopian as his top favorite.
  Dancing With Smurfs (a.k.a. Indigo Cherry Drops, Blue Cherry) 78-84 days, Open-Pollinated, Indeterminate.  Very limited quantities! 
We are told that this variety is named after the 13th episode of the 13th season of the animated TV series ‘South Park’. We don’t have a television, so don’t ask us!   Bred by Tom Wagner of ‘Green Zebra’ fame, this deep blue/purple cherry tomato is descended from OSU’s anthocyanine line and is very high in powerful antioxidants. In summer heat, the purple coloration is equally visible as the underlying red. But when night temperatures drop, fruits darken to purple-black. Productive, purple-blushed vines to 6’ tall are disease-resistant and bear 1” or larger fruits in clusters of 6-8, with much better flavor than the original ‘blue’ varieties. Described as ‘tart and sweet true-tomato, with faint undertones of rhubarb’.  
MARCH CLASS LIST Call 303-939-9403 to reserve your seat! Our weekends are loaded with great classes you won’t want to miss! Our customers tell us that our classes have given them tremendous value, with practical and current information from local experts who have spent years honing their skills in Colorado and will help guide you to success. We are charging $15 (unless otherwise stated) for our classes to support our speakers and Harlequin’s educational direction. It is best to pre-register for these classes both in case they fill up, or too few people register and we have to cancel. Pre-payment assures your place in the class. You can register at the nursery, by mail, or by calling 303-939-9403. We are unable to take class registration by email at this time.  Most of our classes run from one and a half to two hours in length, and sometimes longer for hands-on classes, or if there are a large number of questions.  See the complete March Class listing below, or on our website.  

  Sat, Mar 2 at 1 PM
Mason Beekeeping with Tom Theobald  
The importance of our native ‘solitary’ bee species to the pollination of our crops, flowers, and native plants is receiving increased attention. For over 30 years, Tom Theobald of Niwot Honey Farm has been propagating one of the most ‘useful’ species, Mason Bees (Blue Orchard Bees), and will teach how to attract and care for these gentle native pollinators. Mason Bees are not a replacement for honeybees, but they are excellent pollinators of the early fruits – cherries, apples, etc.  They stay close to home, don’t sting, don’t require the year-round commitment of a colony of honeybees and provide a great way to introduce children to the world of pollinators. Harlequin’s Gardens will have filled straws (containing male and female adult bees in hibernation) for sale for $12 a straw. 
IMPORTANT: You must RESERVE your Mason Bee straws IN ADVANCE by calling Harlequin’s Gardens at 303-939-9403. Pre-payment of mason bee straws is required. Class cost: $15.  (This class will be repeated on Saturday, March 16th at 1 pm.)
  Sun, Mar 3 at 1 PM
Planting by the Moon & Stars with Mikl Brawner   The moon and planets influence life on Earth. Mikl has been planting by the Biodynamic Calendar for 20 years with great success. Be in-sync with the cosmic rhythms to maximize your garden’s effectiveness and yield. Stella Natura Biodynamic Calendars will be available for sale. Class cost: $15
  Sat, Mar 9 at 10 AM
Introduction to Permaculture with Tara Rae Kent & Daniela Escudero  
Permaculture is a design science that is informed by cycles and patterns in nature. This helps us create more resilient and regenerative systems, whether those systems are gardens, farms, businesses, or events. We will explore the ethics that guide a permaculture design and the principles that help a design take form, as well as real life examples and projects that are a part of our lives. The class will include: 1) an introduction and exploration of the Permaculture Ethics and Principles, 2) real life, active and diverse examples of permaculture designs, and 3) a tour of Harlequin’s Garden’s Permaculture Design.  Free admission!  



  Sat, Mar 9 at 1 PM
Cover Crops for Gardeners: Why, How & Which with Clark Harshbarger  
In the current soil revolution, we are learning how to nurture and care for our soils and the soil life that is the true source of soil fertility. Cover crops are becoming recognized as one of the keys to soil fertility and soil health. When our annual crops die in the fall, if we do not replace those crops with living plants, then the microbes that depend on the nutrients “leaked” into the soil from plant roots, will die or decrease. Besides that, cover crops are a method to use photosynthesis to grow organic matter and nutrients including nitrogen to add to the soil, so we have to buy fewer amendments. In addition, many cover crops support beneficial insects which help control pest insects, and they reduce erosion.
 
But which cover crops do well in Colorado and when do we plant them and when should we cut them, and how do we prevent them from becoming weeds or competitors? And how best to combine them?  Harlequin’s Gardens has been looking for someone to teach us these things, who really knows how to do it in our local conditions. And this year we found the right person. So this is a great opportunity that will not be available next year, because Clark Harshbarger will be moving to eastern US.  For the last two decades, Clark was employed with the USDA-NRCS as a soil scientist and recently as director of Regenerative Farming at MAD Agriculture.
 
We have rented a bigger space than our classroom, but people will have to register ahead of time to make sure they get a seat. Clark’s class will be held at the Boulder Circus Center, next door to Harlequin’s Gardens, south in the big metal building in the Trixie Room.  Register by phone at 303-939-9403This will be a 2 hour class and we will be charging only $20
  Sun, Mar 10 at 1 PM
Fireblight: Pruning, Nutrition & Culture with Mikl Brawner  
Last year was the worst year for this bad bacterial disease of apples and pears. Mikl has had over 40 years of experience with fireblight, and will teach and demonstrate proper pruning, and explain how to bring a tree back to health even if a lot of the tree is blighted. Class cost: $15


  Sat, Mar 16 at 10 AM
Getting Started in Vegetable Gardening with Mimi Yanus   If you are new to Colorado, new to vegetable gardening, or have been unhappy with the results of your earlier attempts, this class is for you. Learn from Mimi what you need to know to make your new organic vegetable garden successful and bountiful, even in Colorado conditions!  Class cost: $15.  (This class will be repeated on Saturday, April 6th at 10 am.) 
  Sat, Mar 16 at 1 PM
Mason Beekeeping with Tom Theobald   The importance of our native ‘solitary’ bee species to the pollination of our crops, flowers, and native plants is receiving increased attention. For over 30 years, Tom Theobald of Niwot Honey Farm has been propagating one of the most ‘useful’ species, Mason Bees (Blue Orchard Bees), and will teach how to attract and care for these gentle native pollinators. Mason Bees are not a replacement for honeybees, but they are excellent pollinators of the early fruits – cherries, apples, etc.  They stay close to home, don’t sting, don’t require the year-round commitment of a colony of honeybees and provide a great way to introduce children to the world of pollinators. Harlequin’s Gardens will have filled straws (containing male and female adult bees in hibernation) for sale for $12 a straw. 
IMPORTANT: You must RESERVE your Mason Bee straws IN ADVANCE by calling Harlequin’s Gardens at 303-939-9403. Pre-payment of mason bee straws is required. Class cost: $15.  (Note: this class is a repeat of Tom’s March 2 class.) 
  Sun, Mar 17 at 1 PM
Dwarf Conifers for Gardens and Landscapes with Kirk Fieseler  
A renowned expert in conifers at Laporte Avenue Nursery in Fort Collins, Kirk Fieseler will discuss dwarf conifers for small landscapes and rock gardens. Learn the origins and propagation techniques for dwarf conifers as well as how to grow them in containers and in the garden. Kirk will talk about the most successful species for our climate and soils. Class cost: $15.  (Pictured right: Farmy, P. edulis. Photo by Kirk Fieseler.)
  Wed, Mar 20 – First Day of Spring    



  Sat, Mar 23 at 1 PM 
Get Equipped for Beekeeping with Kristina Williams   For beginning and established beekeepers, alike!  Kristina will demonstrate how to build and crosswire frames. Learn the lingo of beekeeping supplies and take a tour of our Bee Barn. Harlequin’s Gardens is upgrading frames and foundation to be as strong as they can be and still use beeswax. Our resident entomologist and Bee Barn Babe, Kristina Williams, will share her vast knowledge with you!  Free Admission!   (Photo credit, right: Red Hot Pepper) 

  Sun, Mar 24 at 1 PM
Building Topsoil & Fertility with Mikl Brawner  
Mikl will discuss how to support soil life, enrich poor soils, and improve plant health and nutrition from the bottom up: composts, fertilizers, mulching, worms, deficiencies, and tilth. Class cost: $15
  Sun, Mar 31 at 1 PM
Cold Hardy Cacti and Succulents with Kelly Grummons  
We are proud to present acclaimed CO horticulturist Kelly Grummons, director of Prairie Storm Nursery, a business that includes ColdHardyCactus.com and DogTuffGrass.com!  An expert in selection and propagation of rare and unique plants for Colorado, Kelly will discuss a variety of exceptional new winter hardy cacti, agaves, yuccas, and outdoor succulents, and include choosing appropriate sites, soil prep, fertilizing, and ongoing care. Class cost: $20.   (Photo credit, left: ColdHardCactus.com) 
 
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In gratitude,
Eve, Mikl
and the super hard-working Staff at Harlequin’s Gardens