More Plants and Mother’s Day Special

More Plants Have Arrived!

Just in time for Mother’s Day!

Snowy days are perfect for planning your garden and Eve has put together an article onPlants For Pollinators that will help you attract bees, butterflies and other flying friends (below).

We just received a huge delivery of beautiful, neonic-free plants including Hostas, Peonies, Bleeding Hearts, and many more garden favorites. We also now have Dahlia tubers from our friends Julie and Kurt at Arrowhead Dahlias in Platteville, CO (see list below). Many of you have been waiting for the arrival of Hablitzia tamnoides (Caucasian Mountain Spinach). It’s here! Since this plant is a vigorous, viney perennial, remember to plant it in an area of your garden where you won’t have to dig it up. Next week, peppers will be arriving! Lastly, we have restocked our Solar Caps, horticultural vinegar, and worm castings.

Don’t forget, on Saturday, May 11th is a very special class on Vermicomposting with Fort Collin’s Worm

Master, John Anderson! John will discuss the many ways worms can save the planet and explain why and how you can create worm compost. Worms will be available for purchase at the class for $40, plus the class fee of $15. Please call to register: 303-939-9403.
On Mother’s Day (Sunday, May 12th), roses are 15% off (a maximum of 2 roses per person)!
Coming next week: peppers, blooming annuals, and more perennials!

Help wanted at Harlequin’s Wholesale 

Plant production: This is a Full-time position through the growing season, involving physical outdoor work five days a week thru October, possibly later. Duties include
planting, watering, weeding, and propagation of organic plants using NO toxic pesticides, and occasional diverse tasks as needed. An excellent opportunity for an all-weather, reliable, hard-working, detail-oriented, plant-loving person, and an excellent learning opportunity. Please direct inquiries and send your resume to

Dahlias Have Arrived!

Here are the varieties we’re carrying this year:
Banana Split
NTAC Solar Flare
Valley Rustbucket
Miss Delilah
Camano Buz
Hollyhill Black Beauty
Hillcrest Amour
Caitlyn’s Joy

Pollinator Plants for Vegetable (and other) Gardens:

Photo at left: Malus ‘Thunderchild’ flowering crabapple by Joe Winslow

As gardeners, we are in a position to take positive and meaningful steps in supporting our diminishing pollinators and other beneficial insects, as well as many other members of our intricately interdependent ecosystems. Urban gardeners can be she/heroes in their own back yards and neighborhoods by eliminating the use of chemical fertilizers, chemical pesticides, and chemical herbicides. Now that we are cleaning up our act, we can invite our friends in the natural world to feast on the pollen, nectar fruits and seeds they need to survive and thrive. And at the same time, we are helping our gardens and ourselves to survive and thrive. Everybody does better when everybody does better! Harlequin’s Gardens is here to supply the best safe seeds, plants, products, and information to help you, your garden, your neighborhood, and ultimately, your planet.

Here are some suggestions for plant families and some of their specific members you can plant in and around your vegetable and fruit gardens to make them healthy, thriving havens for you and your ecosystem friends. To learn more, sign up for

The Borage (Boraginaceae) family contains many familiar garden flowers and native wildflowers, some of which are favorites of bees. Most of them are spring-bloomers. Borage and Phacelia are two of the best-known members of the family, which also includes Forget-me-Not, Chiming Bells (Lords & Ladies), Comfrey, Jacob’s Ladder, Lungwort, Alkanet (Anchusa), Echium, Lithospermum, and others.

The best Phacelia for supporting bees is P. tanacetifolia (known as Bee’s Friend), an annual species that is very pretty, with lacy-looking foliage and many small light purple flowers that show off their stamens. The blooms are arranged in a fascinating, spiraling structure called a scorpioid cyme. It grows very easily from seed, blooms all spring and into the summer, and is visited not only by honeybees, but also at least a few smaller native bees here. If allowed to self-sow, you can have a patch for years – especially if you shake the ripe seeds around in new beds. Every plant species seems to use (and potentially deplete) its own particular nutrient palette, and if grown continually in the same place, the colony will often diminish. Also be sure to maintain a diverse gene-pool by allowing self-sowing by numerous different individuals in the colony.

Phacelia campanularia is a smaller annual, with larger flowers (3/4”) that are stunning true blue, held singly or in small clusters in mid-spring. It is very drought tolerant, hence its common name: Desert Bluebells, and looks amazing with California Poppies.

If it’s bees you want to support, Calamintha nepeta (Calamint) and Pycnanthemum pilosum (Hairy Mountain Mint) are some of the best nectar sources for them, and are said to produce some of the finest honey. Both are perennials.  Actually, any plant in the Mint family, Labiatae, will get lots of attention from bees. Our native Monarda fistulosa (Bee Balm) is wonderful, as are the various selections and hybrid varieties of Monarda

that bloom in pink, lavender, purple,

or red. Many of our common culinary and medicinal herbs are in the mint family – Thyme, Savory, Rosemary, Sage, Lavender, Oregano, Catnip, Marjoram, Lemon Balm, Prunella (Self-Heal), Horehound (Marrubium) and of course, many varieties of Mint. The nectar of these plants contains powerful phytochemicals that help protect bees against mites, parasites and pathogens. Popular ornamentals in this family include Catmint (Nepeta), Agastache (sometimes called Hyssop), Traditional Hyssop, Salvia, Dragon’s Head, Phlomis. Members of the Mint family can be blooming through much of the spring, summer and fall.

Another Herb and Vegetable family that supports many, many beneficial insects, is the Apiaceae family

notice that the family name refers directly to bees, though the primary pollinators of this group are hordes of tiny beneficials that help protect gardens from destructive insects. This family includes Parsley, Cilantro, Dill, Fennel, Celery, Lovage, Sweet Cecily, Chervil, Angelica, Queen Anne’s Lace, Carrot, Celeriac, Parsnip, and a long list of ornamental garden plants and natives. The family includes both highly edible and highly poisonous plants, so if you come upon a plant that looks anything like one of the familiar edibles when you are in the wilds, do not taste it until you have made an absolutely positive identification. One more thing –  most of the Apiaceae family herbs and veggies are harvested for their leaves, roots or stems and are not allowed to flower. I always leave my Parsley plants in the garden over the winter (they’re biennials), harvest some leaves in the spring and then let them put out their flowers (that look like small, light yellow Queen Anne’s Lace), which they will do for most of the summer. Then I allow them to self-sow. One year, some Parsnip roots escaped my attention and sprouted 2nd year foliage and flowers in my garden. They were gorgeous! 30 to 36-inch tall plants, with big flat heads of tiny, bright gold flowers, and bold tropical-looking foliage.

Many members of the Asteracea (Aster or Sunflower) family provide great mid-summer and autumn forage for honeybees, native bees, butterflies and other beneficial insects and pollinators. This is a huge, diverse and widely distributed family, including all the daisy-type flowers (Dandelion, Fleabane, Zinnia, Marigold, Jerusalem Artichoke, Shasta Daisy, Sunflower, Arnica, Echinacea, Gayfeather (Liatris), Gaillardia (Blanket Flower), Mexican Hat, Aster, Cosmos, Dahlia, Calendula, Chicory, Lettuce, Radicchio, Artemisia, Artichoke, Thistle, Gerbera, Chamomile, Yarrow, Ragweed, Goldenrod, Rabbitbrush, Black-eyed Susan, Coreopsis, and thousands more. Their seeds often provide important food for songbirds, as well.

Honeybees find my perennial ‘Rustic’ Arugula one of their top favorites in my garden. I always allow some of them to flower, sending up skinny bloom stalks up to 2 or 3’ tall for many months. They are always blooming, from late-spring to autumn frosts, with small bright yellow, 4-petaled (cruciform) flowers. If your Kale over-winters, it too will ‘bolt’ (start to flower) in its second spring. Other familiar members of this family, Brassicaceae,  include Cabbage, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Collards, Mustard, ‘Canola’ (Rapeseed), Mizuna, Watercress, Radish, Turnip, Kohlrabi, Rutabaga, Stock, Wallflower, Sweet Alyssum, Basket-of-Gold, Aubrieta and many other garden flowers and wildflowers. The vegetables on the list will only benefit pollinators if they are allowed to bloom.

The Onion family,Amaryllidaceae, is well-represented in most vegetable gardens, as well as ornamental gardens. Flowers in this family provide great nectar sources for bees of many species. The edible Onions, Leeks, Garlic, Shallots, and Scallions aren’t usually given a chance to bloom before harvest, but Chives, Garlic Chives, Altai Onion, Welsh Onion and Ramps are perennial, so you can have flowers and still get a crop. There are plenty of popular ornamental Onions (Alliums), most growing from bulbs, and natives in the family. Nodding Onion (Allium cernuum), which blooms in summer, is an eminently garden-worthy native. Many spring-blooming bulbs (Crocus, Glory-of-the-Snow, Snowdrops, Tulips, Foxtail Lily, Camas, Hyacinth, Grape Hyacinth, and many more) are in this and other closely-allied families, and provide important bee forage early in the season.

Legumes, such as Clovers, peas and beans are members of the Fabaceae family. Some, like garden peas and beans, are self-

pollinating, and don’t require the help of pollinating insects. But lots of others can be important pollinator-attractors for honeybees, bumblebees and butterflies. Some garden-worthy natives that bees and butterflies of various types will flock to include the shrubs Amorpha fruticosa, A. nana, and A. canescens (Leadplant), and herbaceous perennials Dalea purpurea (Purple Prairie Clover), Golden Banner, and Silver Lupine. In addition, clovers and vetches support many bees and other pollinators, and are excellent cover crops in gardens. Traditional ornamentals in the family include Redbud trees, Wisteria vines, False indigo (Baptisia australis and other species), and garden Lupines (L. polyphyllus hybrids).

The Rosaceae family includes most of the temperate-zone fruits and berries, all of which are bee-pollinated: Apples, Crabapples, Pears, Peaches, Cherries, Plums, Apricots, Nectarines, Strawberries, Raspberries, Serviceberries, Blackberries, and a number of hybrids involving raspberries and blackberries. Along with these, the ornamental versions of these trees and shrubs, especially Flowering Crabapple and several selections of small-fruited plums, are equally dependent on wild and domesticated bees for pollination, and in a good year, will bring the pollinators in large numbers when they bloom. Roses are also pollinated primarily by bees, and are often popular with them. Native shrubs and trees in this family include Apache Plume, Fernbush, Fendlerbush, Sandcherry, Serviceberry, Chokecherry, American Plum, Antelope Bitterbrush (Purshia tridentata), Cliffrose (Purshia (Cowania) stansburyana).

A  few notable additions to this list are representatives of other plant families:

Asclepias speciosa (Showy Milkweed) – eagerly pollinated by bees and butterflies. Larval host to Monarch butterflies.
Ribes aureum (Golden Currant) – pollinated by Bumblebees
Mahonia aquifolium and M. repens – excellent early spring forage for bees
Cleome serrulata (Rocky Mt. Bee Plant) – a wonderful wildling for bees of many kinds
Larkspur and Delphinium (Consolida ajacis or regalis, and native or exotic Delphinium) great for Bumblebees
Buckwheats (Eriogonum species like native Sulphur Buckwheat, and many others, as well as cultivated Buckwheat, grown as a seed crop or as a cover crop, and excellent forage for bees.
Poppies of all kinds are eagerly pollinated by honeybees and some native bees
Cactus flowers are also heavily laden with pollen that brings bees of many kinds.
Globe Mallow species attract lots of honeybees


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 listing on our website.  


Sat, May 11 at 1 PM           
VERMICOMPOSTINGwith John Anderson 

The many ways worms can save the planet – they are nature’s gift that keeps on giving! Worm Man, John Anderson, will explain why and how you can create worm compost. The hope and change we’ve been waiting for right under your feet!  Worms will be available for purchase at the class for $40, plus the class fee of $15.

Sat, May 18 at 10 AM        

Living in a garden humming with life is a joy! Share you yard with birds, butterflies, pollinators and more.  You’ll learn how to provide a home for all life (maybe not deer), and why insects are a gardener’s friend, not the enemy. We’ll discuss overall landscape design strategies, as well as detailed information on plants that provide wildlife habitat, including many native plants. Alison has been designing landscapes for 25 years; she owns Matrix Gardens landscaping. Class cost: $15. 

Sat, May 18 at 1 PM           

Mountain gardening is a challenge, with the short growing season, cold winters, water rights issues, critters and more. In this class, Irene will talk about ways to work with these challenges, and will discuss a palette of good mountain-hardy perennials, shrubs and trees that are low-water and provide pollinator/bird benefits. Irene Shonle is the Director of CSU Extension in Gilpin County. She holds a PhD in Ecology from U. of Chicago. She teaches and writes about native plants all across the state and is very involved with the Native Plant Master Program. She gardens (mostly with natives) in the mountains at her home and in demo gardens outside the Extension Office. Class cost: $15

Sun, May 19 at 10 AM
Tomato Tutelage 

This class takes the mystery out of growing good tomatoes in our area. You always hear “It’s a good tomato year” or “It’s a bad tomato year”. Learn how to make EVERY year a “good tomato year”! Kelly will discuss garden soil preparation, culture in the ground and in pots, nutrition, tomato pests and diseases. Learn about the best varieties to grow here and how to maximize your harvest. Kelly Grummons is a horticulturalist and tomato aficionado. Class Cost: $20

Sun, May 19 at 1 PM     
with Mikl Brawner

Learn which varieties of fruit trees are successful here, which are not, and which are good flavored: Apples, Cherries, Plums, Pears, Peaches. Mikl’s first orchard was in 1976 and he will teach you how to care for your fruit trees. Class cost: $15


Sat, Jun 1 at 10 AM          
with Kristina Williams 

Our resident entomologist Kristina Williams will present the natural history of the Japanese Beetle so that you can better understand the pest you’re up against. Mikl Brawner will talk about the new products we are trying out at Harlequin’s Gardens, which are also available for purchase. Class cost: $15

Sat, Jun 1 at 1 PM          
with Kelly Grummons 

Bring out the hammock! If you have a sunny yard and need a super low-water, low-maintenance, no-mow lawn that‘s short, lush, soft and green in summer, plant Dog Tuff™ African Dogtooth Grass instead of Kentucky Bluegrass!  Kelly Grummons has been working for over 20 years on techniques of growing this exciting, beautiful and extremely low-water turf grass. It was chosen as a PLANT SELECT variety and promoted across the US in 2016, and Dog Tuff™ is now available at Harlequin’s Gardens! In this class, Kelly will demonstrate the techniques for converting your thirsty lawn into one that requires just a fraction of the water. The low-profile, lush green turf is sure to become a staple in our region. By the way, Dog Tuff Grass is also surprisingly resistant to dog urine spots! Kelly Grummons is a horticulturist and owner of Prairie Storm Nursery,, and Class cost: $20

Sun, Jun 2 at 1 PM         

Small fruits are delicious, high in antioxidants, take up less space and bear sooner than trees: strawberries, currants, raspberries, grapes, gooseberries. Learn about the best varieties for Colorado and how to grow them. Class cost: $15

Sat, Jun 8, 10 AM to 3 PM      
with Zach Hedstrom 

Mushrooms are delicious and healthy, but also shrouded in mystery! Learn more about them in this Mushroom Cultivation and Identification Workshop taught by mycology enthusiast Zach Hedstrom. Plan to leave the class with basic knowledge about how to grow mushrooms, the ways in which fungi can increase ecological vitality, as well as familiarity with the process of identification and various local wild mushroom species. Participants will partake in 2 hands-on mushroom growing activities and take away a log inoculated with Oyster Mushroom spawn that, with proper care, will produce tasty mushrooms for multiple years. Everyone will also receive a handout packet for help in identifying local mushrooms. Participants should bring their own lunch, and weather-appropriate clothing. It will be a day full of fungi, and FUN! Please call to reserve your spot by April 30th(303-939-9403). $75 per person, 12 person maximum.

Sun, Jun 9 at 1 PM           
with Mikl Brawner 

Learn how to turn waste into wealth by cultivating soil microorganisms. Nature does the work if you know how to lend a hand. In this class, you will learn what works in our climate, and what doesn’t. Mikl has been composting for 35 years. Class cost: $15

Sat, Jun 22 at 10 AM           
with Kristina Williams 

Not all insects will harm your garden; and in fact many insects are “good guys” that will not only control garden pests but also help your garden in other ways. Learn how to recognize and attract beneficial insects to your yard and garden. Class cost: $15


Sat, Jun 22, 1-2 PM        
with Laura Somers 

Laura Somers, Wildscape Ambassador, representing Audubon Rockies and Colorado Native Plant Society will demonstrate the importance of restoring our communities, one garden patch at a time. From a birds-eye view, learn how to create wildlife-friendly gardens that help combat the loss of open spaces and create green corridors that link your wildscape to larger natural areas by providing habitat for wildlife.  Free admission!

Sun, Jun 23 at 10 AM
with Kristina Williams 

If you have a backyard garden, it’s probably being pollinated by some of Boulder County’s 500+ species of native bees. We’ll talk about some of the basic types and how you can create bee friendly habitat to invite them to your yard. Then we’ll walk through Harlequins’ demonstration gardens to observe some of these bees in action. Class cost: $15


Sun, Jun 23 at 1 PM           
with Mikl Brawner     

Learn how to look for and identify common pests, and how to judge if anything needs to be done. Learn which organic solutions are the most effective, for what, and how to do it. Mikl has been walking this talk for 35 years. Class cost: $15


Sun, Jul 14 at 1 PM        
with Mikl Brawner

Gardening with less water is not that hard if you know how! There are tricks that will improve your success. Mikl’s will pass on his 30 years of xeriscape experience. Class cost: $15


Sat, Jul 20 at 10 AM       
with Kristina Williams 

Have you ever watched bees coming out of a knothole in an old tree or seen those stacks of boxes near a field and wondered what was inside? Come take a peek inside a working hive of honeybees and chat about what it takes to have a hive of your own or to help bees in general. Please wear long sleeves and pants. Class cost: $15

Sat, Jul 20 at 1 PM         
with Elaine Walker    

Elaine is a landscape architect who will show you the elements of designing areas of your property. Learn how to observe your site, identify goals, take a site analysis, create a comprehensive design, and how to approach installation in manageable pieces. Class cost: $15


Sun, Jul 21 at 10 AM     
with Zach Hedstrom 

In this class, you will learn the basics of mushroom identification and what you should know before going out on a hunt. We will also introduce a variety of local mushrooms and their identification features. This is a good class for beginners as well as those who have done some foraging before. Class cost: $15

Sun, Jul 28 at 10 AM     
with Zach Hedstrom 

In this class, you will take what you learned in the classroom and put it to practice on a mushroom hunting field trip in the mountains. Location given at registration.  Participants should come prepared with water, hats, and weather-appropriate clothing.  Pre-payment required: (303-939-9403).  Zach Hedstrom is a mushroom fanatic and grower at Hazel Dell! Class cost: $15.


Sun, Aug 11 at 1 PM      
with Mikl Brawner                

Learn how to train young trees, restructure shrubs and trees damaged by storms, and to prune roses. Mikl has over 35 years of experience in pruning. (Repeated on Sep. 15). Class cost: $15


Sun, Aug 25 at 1 PM      
with Mikl Brawner   

Mikl has been researching, building, and using simple greenhouses for 20 years. This class will focus on five designs on site at the nursery. Class cost: $15


Sun, Sep 8 at 1 PM         
HOW TO MULCH with Mikl Brawner 

Weedbarrier, wood chips, straw, fine gravel, bark? Which mulches should be used and where? Why is mulching so important? What’s wrong with redwood and cedar? Mikl will discuss these questions and suggest solutions. Class cost: $15


Sun, Sep 15 at 1 PM      
with Mikl Brawner    

Learn how to train young trees, restructure shrubs and trees damaged by storms, and to prune roses. Mikl has over 35 years of experience in pruning. (Repeat of Aug. 11) Class cost: $15


Sat, Oct 5 from 10 AM to 2 PM           
with Kelly Grummons 

Kelly Grummons of Prairie Storm Nursery ( and will answer those oft-asked gardening questions such as: when do I prune my roses, start tomato seeds, seed grass, put down sod, cut back ornamental grasses, prune lilacs and clematis, apply soil microbes, when to fertilize, transplant perennials, divide iris, etc., etc.  Get the picture?!  Answers provided.  Kelly is one of the region’s preeminent horticulturists, and an expert in natural plant nutrition and pest control. Plan to bring a sack lunch. Class cost: $30


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Eve, Mikl
and the super hard-working Staff at Harlequin’s Gardens

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