The Pros and Cons of Late Season Snow

SNOW  or  SNOW  ??

At Harlequin’s Gardens we often tell customers that “Mid-May / Mother’s Day is our average last frost date.” The most important part of that sentence is “average”, and we remember a year when we experienced 23 degrees on May 24th. This week’s freezing temperatures and late-season snow were a surprise, presenting challenges and opportunities.  Challenges for the tender annuals and warm-season veggies that were recently planted (we hope that you were able to protect them with Solar Caps, Row Cover, or over-turned planting pots lined with bubble wrap).  Eve recommends our heavy duty tomato cages that really support the plants, and also can be used now to support tents of Row Cover or other fabric for quick protection from late snow or impending hail.  She especially likes the ‘inverted’ cages, which taper from a wide base to a smaller diameter top.  As a note, most annuals usually recover rapidly from snow breakage. 

If you recently purchased tender plants and haven’t yet planted them, it’s best to keep them comfy indoors and then begin hardening them off when the weather warms up again.  (See below for our Hardening Off Guidelines.)  But of course the snow and rain are providing much-valued moisture to our region, which is appreciated.  We can celebrate the wonderful delivery of free water!   Our native plants and those from similar regions, such as steppes (Siberia, Central Asia, etc.) are better at dealing with these weather events than non-regional tender.  

As a reminder from Arborist-Mikl, if you’re knocking the snow off of your shrubs, trees, etc, to be sure to do it by lifting the limbs from underneath as beating snow off from the top can cause branches to break.  If you do suffer a ragged branch break, give it a clean cut  as soon as you can.  

We have begun brewing compost tea, which is available by the gallon jug (bring your own or ‘rent’ ours for $1).  Compost tea is a great boost for struggling plants and to use on new plantings. 

While we have a Memorial Day weekend without classes, come June 1 and 2 we’re featuring three very informative classes beginning with co-presenters Kristina Williams and Mikl Brawner on the topic of “Japanese Beetles”, Saturday, June 1 at 10 AM.  Though it may seem early to begin thinking about this recent invader, NOW is the best time to begin building your defenses against them.  That afternoon at 1:00 PM, Kelly Grummons will introduce you to “Dog Tuff™ Grass”, a hardy, warm-season, sun-loving turf grass that requires just a fraction of the water of traditional turf grass, and only occasional mowing.   On Sunday, June 2 at 1:00 PM, Mikl presents his popular “Berries and Small Fruits for Colorado” class.  

Further class details are listed below and as always, please call to register:    303-939-9403 


Our last shipment of tomatoes will arrive tomorrow – wow!  We will also be receiving more peppers and Genovese Basil.  Come on in to see what other surprises are arriving!  
Below are our current in-stock selections of tomatoes, peppers and eggplants.  In addition we have Toma Verde Tomatillo’s (remember, you need 2 for pollination!), Okra, and Ground Cherries available.


PLUS, all the varieties that will arrive tomorrow!



Black Beauty
Listada de Gandia
Long Purple
Pingtung Long
Rosa Bianca


Transitioning tender annuals, vegetable, and other plants, from a cushy greenhouse setting to the outdoors is essential to getting them established.  Hardening off means to gradually acclimate plants to outdoor conditions prior to planting.  Plants grown indoors or in a greenhouse are not accustomed to the wind, sun, and other conditions they will encounter outside, and could freeze, dry out, or burn.

To harden off your plants, begin 5-7 days before transplant date.  Place the plants in a sheltered, shady spot outdoors.  Leave them for about 2-3 hours the first day, then gradually increase the time spent outside by 2-3 hours each day.  By the third day, try to add several hours of morning sun to the outdoor time.

Bring the plants back indoors each night, or if the outdoor temperature is below 45 degrees.

After the 5-7 day period, your babies can be planted in the garden! Be aware of weather conditions, though, and be prepared to cover the plants if inclement weather (snow, high winds, or freezing temperatures) is expected.


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, 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