Holiday Gift Market 2014

Holiday Gift Market 2014

We are excited that Harlequin’s Gardens will Re-Open on Friday November 28th – Green Friday – for our 3rd Annual Holiday Gift Market, with expanded hours!


Open from Nov. 28th through Dec. 21st

10 am to 5 pm

Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays

In 2012 we inaugurated our Holiday Gift Market, featuring unique and exceptional goods crafted by local artisans, delicious local artisan foods, and sustainable, innovative, fun and practical goods for home and garden. So many of you have told us that our Holiday Gift Market is your favorite holiday shopping experience, that you appreciate our focus on locally-made and responsible products, and that you found outstanding, affordable presents at Harlequin’s for everyone on your list.

This year most of our artisans and products are back, and we’ve added more than 25 new products and 14 new artisans and producers! You’ll find many choices of everything from ‘stocking-stuffers’ to ‘necessary luxuries’ for men, women and children.

We will also host several Book-Signing Events!  Outstanding local authors will sign their recently-released books – see the Book-Signing Schedule below, under BOOKS & CDs.

And every day of our Holiday Market offers a chance to escape from the repetitive mass-market Christmas music that assails us everywhere else.  You will especially enjoy our Holiday Open House (see below), where we will again present exquisite live music from some our very best local talent.

Please share this invitation with friends and family who haven’t discovered us yet!


Each day of our Holiday Gift Market, anyone who comes to Harlequin’s and makes a purchase will be entered in our DAILY DRAWING for a $15 GIFT CERTIFICATE! 

In addition, we will conduct a drawing at the close of the Holiday Market for three $100 GIFT CERTIFICATES!  To enter this drawing, bring in our entry form (the postcard we mailed to you in our Fall Newsletter), OR print a copy from our website at this link: Printable Entry Form

………….  and present it when you shop our Holiday Market.

Please join us for our



~~~ November 28th, 29th & 30th ~~~

Featuring Live Music & Home-made Treats

Music Schedule:

Friday Nov. 28

11:30am to 1:30pm PAUL VISVADER, World music guitar

Saturday Nov. 29

11:00am to1:00pm MASON BROWN, Celtic & Appalachian guitar & vocals, & pardessus viol

1:30pm to 3:30pm  ADAM AGEE, Celtic fiddle 

Sunday Nov. 30

11:00am to 1:00pm COLIN LINDSAY, Celtic fiddle & concertina

1:pm to 2:30pm MARGOT KRIMMEL, Celtic & original harp

CDs by these and other fine local artists will be for sale in our Holiday Market!



We have arranged our list of products in categories so you can more easily locate the kinds of items you’re looking for.  Look for the green category headings.

Make a Taste of Colorado Gift Basket – a perfect gift for almost everyone!

Eve’s Pecan Shortbread Cookies – Harlequin’s Exclusive!
Back by public demand: Scrumptious, rich, melt-in-your-mouth nut shortbread cookies, based on almond flour, pecans and butter, subtly sweetened with a little maple syrup. Gluten-free, grain-free, mostly organic, no refined sugars. You don’t have to be gluten-sensitive to adore these rich and satisfying cookies!

Engrid’s Fine Fruit Preserves – Harlequin’s Exclusive!P1060016
Our own Engrid Winslow makes the kind of jams, jellies and chutneys that make you close your eyes and sigh with pleasure. She uses fresh, organic fruit, and very little sugar, so the fruit flavors shine. She makes the classics as well as many delicious originals, like Crabapple-Orange, Hand-picked Black Raspberry, and Sweet Cherry Chutney, to name just a few. You’ll find delicious uses for Engrid’s preserves, in breakfasts, hors d’oevres, salad dressings, glazes, and desserts. 

Ritual ChocolateRitual Chocolate
Chocolate to live for! Ritual Chocolate is a quality-focused small-batch craft chocolate made in Denver. Their old-world, artisan approach and dedication to every detail of the complex process produces chocolate as delicious, distinctive and memorable as fine wine – meant to be savored. Ritual’s single-origin chocolate is hand-crafted by traditional methods with ethically-sourced cacao from several choice growers around the world. Unlike most chocolatiers, who buy their beans already roasted, or even fully processed, Ritual starts with raw beans and they hand-sort, roast, winnow, mix, refine, conche, age, temper, mold and wrap (bet you didn’t know how much goes into making a really good chocolate bar!). We offer 4 varieties of their single-source organic bars.  Combine with some Askinosie Sipping Chocolate and Cocoa Powder for a chocolate-lover’s dream gift!

Askinosie Chocolate – Harlequin’s Exclusive! New!P1060225
The only product in this category not made in Colorado, we felt compelled to go a bit farther, to Springfield, Missouri, to bring you the finest single-origin artisan. Cocoa Powder and Sipping Chocolates available. Askinosie’s products are also ethically-sourced, well beyond Fair-Trade requirements, and they engage in a truly progressive relationship with their Missouri staff and with the cacao growers and their communities. We offer their heavenly Sipping Chocolate in two flavors – ‘Single Origin’, and ‘Mexican Style’, and their classic Single Origin Natural Cocoa Powder.  Sipping chocolate is just like drinking a chocolate bar- thick, rich, and indulgent. Simply mix with milk or heavy cream and enjoy. Their non-alkalized Cocoa Powder is perfect for making a world-class traditional hot cocoa, and also great for baking.

Wellspring Way Herb-Infused Honeys – New!
What a yummy way to take your medicine! Herbalist Leslie Lewis uses herbs from her medicinal garden and raw, unpasteurized honey from her hive to produce these delicious and healing condiments. All the beneficial enzymes in the honey have been preserved in the low-temperature infusion process. Three infusions are offered – Oregano, Lavender and Ginger, each with uses in teas, glazes for roasted or grilled foods, and much more. 

Balsamic Nectar
A best-seller at our Holiday Gift Markets, Balsamic Nectar is a high-quality balsamic vinegar reduction made in Boulder by our friends Ben and Kerry. It comes very close to Italy’s ‘Traditional Balsamic Vinegar’, which takes many years, even decades of barrel-aging to mature to a thick, richly-flavored, sweet glaze, quite different from ordinary Balsamic vinegars. The reduction process developed by Balsamic Nectar is entirely natural yet doesn’t heat the vinegar, accelerating the aging to just a couple of months, and making this ‘magic ingredient’ far more affordable. Balsamic Nectar give s the perfect finishing touch to cheeses, grilled or roasted veggies or meats, fresh berries, even ice cream!  Check our next blog to find out when Ben will be at Harlequin’s to conduct a tasting.

St. Claire’s Organic Mints, Candies, Pastilles & Lozenges
Yea!  Totally organic! Made in Boulder by herbalist Debra St. Claire! No corn syrup! Delicious! Effective! Packaged in pretty tins! Incredibly cheap!

Local Raw Honey – New!
Tim Brod is a master beekeeper who keeps over a dozen apiaries around Boulder County. He moves the hives several times a year to take advantage of timely and diverse nectar flows – it is not a monoculture honey. Tim’s Highland Honey is delicious and pure, and contains the natural enzymes that make it an extremely healthy food as well. The honey is raw, unfiltered and unheated – never subjected to temperatures higher than the natural temperatures found in beehives, 95 degrees F. The honey is also creamed, ensuring that it will never become crystallized hard. It comes in attractive hexagonal jars.

Organic India Teas
The most delicious, the most righteous teas! Organic India is a Boulder-based grower of Tulsi, (also known as Holy Basil) and all of the other ingredients in their organic, beyond fair-trade products. Tulsi teas have many health benefits including reducing stress, supporting the immune system, aiding digestion, balancing energy, and relieving allergy symptoms. Tulsi is also delicious, and we carry six great flavors: Original, Tulsi Ginger, Tulsi Rose, Tulsi Jasmine, Tulsi Chai, and India Breakfast. Organic India is a leader in sustainable business, cultivating ecology with organic/biodynamic practices while supporting social justice and dignity.

Air Plants & Succulents
This year we will have Air Plants (Tillandsia sps.) and glass containers for them, as well as tropical succulent plants, both for easy indoor growing.  Air plants and Succulents are very sculptural plants and thrive indoors with very little attention. And some of our succulents have medicinal properties you can use in your home. We can give you details when you come in.


heARTfelt Hand-Felted Bags – New!P1060228
Lisa Robb’s experiments in wool felting led to the discovery of her own technique for embedding patterned silk in the surface of the felt. The resulting gorgeous, textured and color-saturated, one-of-a kind purses, handbags and shoulder bags will make treasured gifts for the gals on your list. Paisley, floral, tie-dye, geometric – the variety is unlimited! Hand-made in Aurora, CO.

Cat’s Grin Metal Art Jewelry – New!Kathleen Gatliffe necklace
Kathleen Gatliffe’s sterling silver jewelry combines natural themes with almost Scandinavian simplicity and a suggestion of folk-art stencil patterns.  We are very happy to add her lovely necklaces and earrings to our collection of fine holiday gift items from local artisans.

True June – New!P1060248
Jennifer Knuth’s fine semi-precious bead necklaces and bracelets beg to be worn every day.The small beads are crocheted into a strong, super-fine cord. They are so charmingly simple, and almost weightless, making them easy to wear with everything. I know people who never take them off.

Botanical Necklaces from Winter Garden StudioP1050117
Adrienne DeLoe’s leaf-pendant necklaces are alive with color and light.  In her Denver studio, In her Denver studio, Adrienne fashions these lovely pendants, each one a celebration of the flowers and foliage from her garden, some vivid, some subtle and demure, all very attractive and affordable.

Bandhani Silk Scarves – Harlequin’s Exclusive!P1040784
In 2013 I had the exciting opportunity to attend the International Folk-Art Market in Santa Fe, NM.  The market is unique in arranging sponsorship for hundreds of exceptional artisans from dozens of countries around the globe so that they can get the exposure they would never experience at home and use their profits to benefit their villages. Attendees also had the opportunity to talk with many artisans about their work and their lives.

Amongst the thousands of wonderful handcrafts there, I found myself particularly drawn to these exquisite Bandhani tie-dyed silk scarves, made by a community of about 200 traditional tie-dyers in Kutch, Gujarat, where this art has been practiced for centuries. Bandhani is the art of creating beautiful patterns on fabric by intricately tying thousands of tiny knots, then dying, using a complex, ancient, labor-intensive process unique to Gujarat and Rajastan. These stunning scarves look great with everything from jeans to evening attire. They are one-of-a kind treasures, made by a socially and environmentally-responsible cottage industry awarded the Unesco Seal of Excellence for standard-setting quality and craftsmanship.  A gift any woman will treasure. Mixed patterns & colors. Limited stock.

aGain and Sweet Ann Marie’s – New!
Ann Mitchell loves to sew! And she loves to recycle. So it’s only natural that she would put the two together and create fun fashion by re-purposing high-quality wool and cashmere sweaters to make wonderful one-of-a-kind jackets, coats, ‘arm cozies’ and cashmere baby caps.. We also carry her very cozy and flattering fleece hats. In her line of children’s clothing, Sweet Ann Marie’s, she makes adorable ‘onesies’ dresses, reversible dresses for toddlers, kids’ aprons, and baby booties. Ann sews up a storm in her Lafayette, CO studio.

Twenty Pound Tabby Earrings and OrnamentsAcorn earrings orange1b
We’ve known Cheryl for many years in the context of her expertise in Roses (she grows about 500 of them in her home garden), and Morris Dancing (Cheryl, husband and kids have all danced with the Maroon Bells Morris Dancers at our May Day Festivals). A few years ago we discovered that she is also a multi-talented craftswoman. Her whimsical ornaments are original designs, meticulously hand-dyed, painted and beaded, sewn on a 1948 Singer sewing machine, and stuffed. They are double sided so they look good from all angles. Because of the nature of the hand dyeing and hand painting, no two ornaments are ever exactly alike. Cheryl also makes felted Acorn Earrings, made with real acorn caps, dainty Czech Glass Flower Earrings, and vegetable-tanned leather leaf barrettes.

Fox Ryde Recycled Copper Jewelry, Silk ScarvesFox Ryde Recycled Copper Pin
Made from copper reclaimed from old roofing, gutters, pipes and such, these beautiful, original pins have a warm glow and beautiful patina, and feature design motifs from nature. Sheron Buchele Rowland makes these in their Loveland CO studio.  She also makes her own natural plant dyes to color her silk scarves in luminous tones.

Scandinavian Slipper Socks – Harlequin’s Exclusive!
Our own Engrid Winslow makes these warm and beaP1040778utifully patterned soft wool slipper-socks, based on traditional Scandinavian designs and knitted using Swedish twined knitting techniques which make them thick, warm and durable so they can be worn as house slippers.  They are made with 100% wool and are machine washable in cold water and should be laid flat to dry. Sizes range from women’s shoe sizes 6 to 9.  She is also offering ‘regular’ socks in a washable wool/poly blend in lovely color blends with reinforced heels and toes, in sizes for women and men.  Quantities are limited – the early bird gets the socks!


Dr. Brawner’s Healing Aloe Aftershave – Harlequin’s Exclusive!P1040844
Formulated and made in Boulder by ‘the doctor’ himself (Mikl Brawner), from 99% pure Aloe Vera Gel, with cold-pressed, organic Rosehip Seed Oil; 100% pure Jojoba Oil, and 32,000 IU Vitamin E Oil, along with essential oils of Lavender, Vetiver, and Rose. That’s all. No alcohol, nothing synthetic, non-greasy. All the ingredients are natural plant products, chosen for their skin-healing qualities. The steam-distilled Rose Oil is a powerful anti-viral and antiseptic. The other ingredients are good for healing burns and dry and damaged skin, inflammation, wrinkles. They are moisturizing and uplifting to the spirits. Mikl has made and used this formula for more than 10 years to heal his Irish skin from the abrasion of shaving and the drying effects of the Colorado sun (and keep him looking youthful and handsome). And it smells wonderful! (and it’s not just for men).

NovAurora Natural Skin Care – New!
Founded in 2000 by our friend Pamela Lambert in Boulder, novAurora Natural Skin Care makes unscented skin-care products for men and women from pure, botanical, body-friendly ingredients – organically grown where available – that promote skin health and beauty, regenerate skin on the cellular level. And stimulate the body to produce its own life-giving nutrients, while doing no harm to the environment or other living beings. Their products include: Soap-free Facial Cleanser (Eve’s favorite), Lotion Potion (for potters and gardeners), Pure Organic Jojoba Oil, Odorless Organic Shea Butter, Weekend Warrior Balm with MSM.  All novAurora products are non-toxic, vegan, gluten-free, and never tested on animals.

Wellspring Way Herbals – New!
A certified clinical herbalist since 2006, our friend Leslie Lewis is passionate about growing and using plants for their remarkable healing properties. Her beehive and beautiful xeric garden in Longmont provide most of the raw ingredients for Wellspring Way’s salves and infused honeys, all of which are organic, nutrient-dense, and pesticide-free. The very effective salves address a number of conditions – insomnia, lung congestion, fungal infection, rash & sunburn, and cracked skin. And the herb- infused honeys offer a healing and delicious condiment with many culinary uses. Leslie also teaches a popular class in Medicinals as Ornamentals in a Xeriscape for Harlequin’s Gardens in the summer.

Kisu Neroli Lip Balm
Created by Plum Botanicals, a small fair-trade organic skin-care line based here in Boulder. This long-lasting lip balm is based on wild-collected African shea butter from a womens’ cooperative, and scented with the marvelous, unique, citrus-y essential oil of neroli.  Shea butter is a natural sun-blocker, so it really helps prevent chapping in all seasons. Kisu is, by far, Eve’s favorite lip balm.

Cool Goddess Mist & Sandalwood Mist 
Cool Goddess is a wonderfully refreshing spritzer from Boulder-based Plum Botanicals. It provides instant relief when temperatures soar, and is especially helpful for hot flashes, containing plant essences known for balancing hormones, as well as cooling and calming.  Sandalwood mist is another great cooling and refreshing spritzer made with the finest essence of Sandalwood – woodsy, spicy, exotic!

‘Trementina’ Traditional Pinyon Salve – Exclusive!
The Spanish word ‘trementina’ has come to be used as the name for the sap of the pinyon tree of New Mexico. Folk remedies made from this sap have been used for centuries by cowboys, farmers and ranchers to relieve dry, cracked skin, abrasions and scrapes, and for drawing out splinters. Made in New Mexico’s ‘curandera’ tradition by our friend Pamela Clum, who climbed the pinyon trees to gather the sap, and infused it in olive oil and New Mexico beeswax to create this rare traditional salve. Each tin of salve comes in a lovely organza gift bag.

Lamborn Mt. Farmstead Lotion, Soaps, Hydrosol and Culinary LavenderP1060239
Our friends Carol and Jim Schott, who you may remember as founder of Haystack Mountain Goat Dairy of Niwot, CO, have resettled over on the Western Slope and created Lamborn Mt. Farmstead on a mesa overlooking Paonia, CO in the North Fork Valley, an area known for its organic orchards, vegetables farms, and vineyards; Carol and Jim are helping to add lavender to that list. From the milk of their own goats and lavender from their fields, they make the most luxuriously creamy, moisturizing hand and body lotion and gentle aromatic soaps. We also offer their Cedar Rose and Rosemary Lemon Mint soaps, calming & uplifting Lavender Hydrosol, and their Culinary Lavender – lavender buds harvested at their peak from varieties especially valued for use in cooking (some recipes included!) and tea. All their products are hand-made in small batches.

Blair’s HerbalsP1050102
We are pleased to offer our friend Blair Chandler’s line of handmade, reiki-infused, self-care products that bring forth the healing properties of the biodynamically-grown plants she raises in her organic Boulder garden.  We carry her long-lasting, moisturizing Goddess Soaps (all natural glycerin infused with nourishing herbs and a magical touch of mica), relaxing and healing mineral-rich Bath Salts, and nourishing Breast Oil.

Lavender Skin-Care Products by Colorado Aromatics
Mikl and Eve have been using ‘Mountain Mist’ lavender hand & body lotion from Colorado Aromatics for a long time.  The quality of the lavender scent is exceptional, and the lotion is soothing and moisturizing to dry, abused gardeners’ skin.  We offer individual products, and gift sets in lovely mesh bags. Made in Longmont CO with the finest natural, non-toxic ingredients.


Bells & Chimes – New!#2 -Dukart stoneware windbells
From within his solar-powered studio in the foothills beyond Lyons, artist Lane Dukart creates one-of-a-kind stoneware bells and chimes, each individually cast and hand-carved with original designs, inspired by the natural beauty that surrounds him. He applies only natural oxides to accentuate the clay’s inherent earthy tones and the rustic textures of his carvings. The durable stoneware clay is fired to over 2000 degrees F, making it impervious to the elements, able to withstand rain, snow and wind, and can be hung outdoors. The gentle tones evoked by the movement of the bells and chimes are soothing and pleasing. Each finished composition is unique

Baby Quilts, Quilted Pot-holders & Table-RunnersP1060244
Our dear friend Lynn Mattingly is a renowned fiber artist, and has been practicing and teaching quilting for decades.  An exceptional sense of color-combining, a fabulouscollection of fabrics and a mastery of design and craftsmanship combine to make Lynn’s work really special.  We love seeing her beautiful pot-holders hanging on our stove, and they have held up in our kitchen for a very long time. Lynn lives just over the hills in Paonia.

Peace Garlands
Our friend Lynn also makes these artful painted fabric garlands or ‘prayer flags’ with the always-appropriate message of Peace.  Drape them on your holiday tree, across the top of a doorway or window, or any place where you’ll enjoy their beauty and soothing sentiment. 3” high.on silk ribbon approx. 48” long.

Abeego Natural, Reusable Eco Food Storage Wraps – Harlequin’s ExclusiveP1010031
We love this! A great natural way to keep food fresh and safe, and reduce our reliance on plastic. Abeego uses durable, natural hemp/cotton fabric, which they infuse with a blend of 100% natural, simple ingredients – pure beeswax, jojoba oil and tree resin, all known for their preservative properties, to make a versatile, breathable wrapping or cover for storing foods. Using gentle pressure and the warmth of your hands, shape the flat square to tightly cover a bowl of leftovers, wrap up cheese, form around produce, baked goods, etc. Abeego is malleable and slightly adhesive at room temperature and will stiffen when cool, holding the shape you created.  The beeswax coating is fluid-resistant, keeps food fresh longer than plastic, and is easy to clean. With proper care, you can expect Abeego to last over a year. Each 3-pack contains a 7”, 10”, and a 13” sheet. Made in Canada.

Needle-Felted CreaturesP1050105
Paula Slick is an artist talented in many mediums. She lives in Louisville, CO, where she is a graphic designer and a designer of seasonal events. These days she is working in fiber, creating needle felted creatures from natural wool fiber. The little birds and other creatures are perfect for the windowsill, the Christmas tree, or to place in the hand of a friend. They are non-toxic but not intended for very young children. Each one is very one-of-a-kind, so people love to hold one after another to see which one speaks to them. “Made by hand for your hands”.

Hand-made Journals – New!Mail Attachment
Jeff Becker has made books by hand for almost 20 years. He makes these one-of-a-kind leather-bound journals, the perfect gift for someone who loves to record their travels, inspirations, and observations in sketches, prose and poetry, and have it last for generations. Substantial 100% cotton rag print-maker’s paper, a uniquely embossed frontispiece and soft, durable leather covers with handsome button & cord closures are bound together with a very old and durable German hand-stitching technique that allows the book to lie flat when opened to any page. Each journal is a treasure that awaits someone’s thoughtful hand….perhaps yours?

Ceramic Ikebana Pods & Garden Pods rose in pod plus2
A fusion of whimsy, gesture, pattern, texture and patina characterizes Willi Eggerman’s works in clay, which she conceives as functional sculpture – useful pieces with enough presence to stand alone as objects of aesthetic interest for contemplation.  To make her organic, botanically-inspired porcelain pieces, she employs a wide variety of techniques.

“The seed pod has special appeal to me as a symbol of women, and specifically motherhood. I view seed pods as small sculptures, performance art even, as they form, swell, open, and eventually disintegrate.  They are beautiful, strong, and very practical in getting their job accomplished.”

A long-time member of the Boulder Potter’s Guild, Willi’s work is admired and acclaimed throughout the region.  We are offering some of her Ikebana ‘pods’, perfect for small, informal arrangements or mini-bouquets, and her fanciful pods that can hang on the wall or mount on a garden stake.

Botanical Watercolor Paintings & Clay Art by Eve Reshetnik BrawnerP1040865
Eve Reshetnik Brawner is an award-winning botanical artist whose work has been exhibited around the US and abroad, and is represented in the permanent collection of the prestigious Hunt Institute of Botanical Documentation.  All of Eve’s paintings are executed in watercolor, a challenging but preferred medium for capturing the silky and vibrant translucency of flowers.  In her paintings she has tried to combine minutely accurate scientific detail with the grace and character of each subject. Matted and un-matted prints are available, as well as a few framed original paintings.

In the past few years Eve has turned her talents to the playful medium of clay, and this year has produced a few planters, bird totems, and miscellaneous other pieces to offer at our Holiday Gift Market.

Wall Nichos, Figures & Planters P1050113
Boulder clay artist Mary Lynn Schumacher makes almost mythical forms and figures that evoke stories, animated with delight and imagination. She is an acclaimed artist who has been making functional and sculptural objects in clay for over 25 years, and is a long-time member of the Boulder Potter’s Guild. We have some of Mary Lynn’s wall nichos, which can be used in the home or garden as small personal shrines, a place to perch a votive candle, a flower or other ‘offering’, as well as wall-mounted figures, unique planters (wonderful for succulent plants!), and holiday tree ornaments.

Whimsy in Clay P1050044
Delightfully whimsical and lovable figures and animals in clay from artist Ann Kistner of Lafayette, CO. Ann is a studio-mate of Eve’s in the Longmont Clay Collective at Katy Diver’s inspiring studio. She has a special gift for capturing the gesture and character of her subjects.

Smudges F.F.'s SMUDGES
Made with reverence, skill and healing intention by our friend Furry Foote, the elder who lives in the foothills, these traditional Native American smudge sticks are finely crafted of aromatic herbs (mostly natives) grown in her own organic garden.  Each herb is included for its specific medicinal and/or spiritual qualities: purifying, giving thanks, cleansing, infection-fighting, head-ache relief, etc.

Sun Garden Creations- New!
Clari Schmidt makes the most delightful, whimsical figures from bits of natural materials.  She has a pre-school in Niwot, and so spends much of her time with young children. This close contact with the innocence, whimsy and wonderment of children informs and inspires her work.

A Ruby Moon – New!Ruby Moon Bee Flag copy 2
Jen Grant creates these cheerful and artful flags with her original designs – display your affection for wildflowers, bees, birds, etc by garlanding an doorway, deck, porch, window or wall. Hand-made in Lafayette, CO.  

Hand-Dipped Beeswax Taper CandlesBEESWAX TAPERS 2
For decades, our friend Tom Theobold of Niwot Honey Farm has been nurturing bees,harvesting honey, and crafting the finest, most elegant, romantic, hand-dipped taper candles you’ll find anywhere.  They are naturally dripless and smokeless, and infuse the room with the gentle, warm fragrance of honey.  They are a perfect fit in any décor, from Zen to Rococco.  Available in pairs, either clear-wrapped or gift boxed.

Majolica Bee Candle-holders – Exclusive!P1040176
Our friends Thea and Lele are well known around Boulder and beyond for their charming tradition-based Italian majolica pottery. We asked them to design and create some small candleholders with a bee motif, to fit the beautiful Niwot Honey Farm beeswax taper candles we carry.  They make a delightful gift for almost anyone (especially paired with the beeswax tapers). 

Amber Lights Cast Beeswax CandlesP1050103
Our friend Clark and his grand-daughter spend quality time together making delightful cast beeswax candles in a variety of shapes and sizes in their Longmont studio. Their delightful array includes simple pillars (several sizes), patterned pillars, pine cones, honey-bears, angels, bee-hives, gnomes, turtles, dragons, and a brand-new line of wonderfully detailed traditional European holiday-season candles. They are highly decorative, naturally endowed with a heavenly honey scent, and burn clean and smokeless.

Cards & PaintingsSunflower jpg
Notecards of vibrant paintings by Boulder watercolor artist and muralist Kathleen Lanzoni feature floral and local landscape subjects.  This year Kathleen will also offer some of her framed and unframed prints.

Woodcut Print Tea Towels, Calendars. Cards – New Designs!2015_calendar_3
Theresa Haberkorn , woodcut printmaker, has made Boulder her home for two decades.  Her masterful prints are found in exhibits and collections nation-wide, and she teaches her artform as well. Theresa brings her art to household items as well, hand-crafting a collection of beautiful block-printed cotton tea-towels, an artful wall calendar, and greeting cards.

Embossed Cards – New!
Lois Edgar is a potter and longtime member of the Boulder Potter’s Guild. Her many years of working in clay led her to carving minutely detailed designs in blocks of clay to create embossing templates. She then makes rubber molds from these, and finally epoxy castings to withstand the pressure of the etching press. Each card , made with moistened high-grade archival white etching paper is pressed individually, dried, and folded. We will have Lois’s exquisite boxed sets in several themes. 

Botanical Photography Cards
Lynn Kester-Meyer is an avid gardener and her notecards feature lovely close-up botanical photographs from her Boulder County garden.

Luminous ArtsP1050098
Our friend Tricia Grable is an artist and has been working in fiber arts and painting for many years. This year we will have her wonderful cards, napkin sets, and a few choice hand-knitted wool scarves. 

Garden, Spirit & Medicine DollsIMG_1921
Clari Schmidt’s dolls are drawn from her dreams, and filled with inspirations from time spent in her garden, in nature and with children. These unique and delightful figures,made from garden materials, found objects and natural fibers, each carry a little back-pack stuffed with herbs, flowers, feathers, etc. Clari has been working with various animals, and thinks of the animal’s Medicine or Spirit nature while she is creating. She says the mouse ‘medicine’ reminds her about paying attention to details while maintaining sight of the big picture. Placed on a personal altar, a bedside table, in a wall niche, they will bring gentle reminders and uplifting smiles. 

Paintings by Patti BurtonP1060170
Patti Burton is a mover and shaker in the Longmont art scene. Having lived in Mexico for a number of years, she absorbed the colorful and exuberant spirit of their native art, costume, celebrations and architecture, which now inform her paintings and assemblage pieces. Patti’s paintings are semi-abstract, somewhat whimsical, and somewhat mysterious. And they cheer me up every time I see them.

Stuffed Animal Kits – New!
P1060231Fiber artist Jill Scher hand-crafts kits that you can work on with your child or grandchild and have a fun hour or two making adorable non-toxic wool-felt stuffed animals. The designs are original, the felt is hand-made and hand cut, packaging is minimal, and the directions are very clear. Choose from two delightful series: Puppy Pals and Four-Legged Friends (zebra, elephant, etc.). Jill resides in Carbondale, CO.

Children have a lively interest in the natural world. They love vivid pictures, but they are bored if we dumb it down for them. These children’s books are fascinating even for adults, full of in-depth science, but graphic and fun—many with projects and activities that make facts real. Geology of the Great Plains and Mountain West, Smithsonian Science Handbooks, Butterfly Birthday, Prehistoric World:Cretaceous Life, The Big Rig Bug Book. Also great story books, beautifully told and illustrated – from classic fairy tales to Salman Rushdi’s ‘Luka and the Fire of Life’. Last but not least, the wonderful Peter Yarrow Songbook & CD.

Aprons, Dresses, Hats & Booties
Ann Mitchell’s clothing creations for baby’s and little kids are adorable, original, practical and durable: reversible cotton print dresses, ‘onesies’ dresses, incredibly soft repurposed cashmere knit baby hats, aprons, and a variety of very sweet baby booties. Gift idea: an apron and a date for making cookies together! 


2015 Stella Natura Astrological Planting CalendarP1050055
The Stella Natura Wall Calendar is an easy-to-use, informative and beautiful planting and gardening calendar that shows the best times to take advantage of the cosmic influences of the moon, sun and planets. This is a research-based system that is used by Biodynamic farmers and gardeners.  We have been using this calendar for 22 years and believe it has helped with germination of seeds, root development of cuttings, and healthy plant development. More than just a calendar – it’s packed with valuable information and insights for successful growing, from seed to harvest.Mikl will be giving a class in Planting by the Moon in March 2015, which will help you better understand and get the most out of your astrological planting calendar.

Super Illuminated Loupe
This very small, extremely high quality 12x power magnifier is great for getting a closer look at what’s bugging your plants, taking out splinters, or helping to identify flowers.

Beauty Beyond Belief Seeds
BBB is a great local seed company, offering wildflower mixes (Rocky Mt. natives), and flower seed mixes for supporting honey bees and wild bees.  We have their Honey Source, Bee Rescue and Rocky Mountain Wildflower seed mixes, perfect for gifts or holiday party favors.

Gardening and Nature Books by Local Authors
Winter is the season when most gardeners get to read gardening books to help them plan and dream their next gardening season. For the most accurate gardening advice for your Colorado garden, look to our local garden writers!The new ‘Organic Gardener’s Companion’ by Jane Shellenberger, editor & publisher of the Colorado Gardener magazine, offers up-to-date Colorado-specific advice on every aspect of organic vegetable gardening.We also have recent books from Colorado’s ‘garden-laureates’ Lauren Springer Ogden & Scott Ogden, including the new revised ‘Undaunted Garden’And we have other great books by local garden and nature experts:Gwen Moore Kelaidis (Hardy Succulents), Bob Nold (Columbines), Jim Knopf (Waterwise Landscaping), Tammi Hartung (Homegrown Herbs), Leo Chance (Cold-Hardy Cacti), and more!George Peknik (The Meaning of the Boulder-Dushanbe Teahouse)

‘Butterflies of the Colorado Front Range’
The perfect gift for anyone who enjoys butterflies or appreciates the natural world, and great for children, too! We have plenty of signed copies of this wonderful recent book by Janet R. Chu and Stephen R. Jones, two of Boulder’s most dedicated naturalists and foremost experts on our local butterflies.This guidebook offers a page for each of the 80 species covered; each includes superb photographs taken in the field by the authors, and descriptions of the butterfly’s appearance, host plants, life cycle, habitat, behavior, identification tips, and descriptions of similar species.  The book also covers the anatomy, ecology and life-cycle of butterflies, useful charts, and great advice on watching and photographing butterflies. Slim enough to slip in the back pocket of your jeans, (or a Christmas Stocking), with a durable cover and binding. Chu and Jones say it best: “We watch butterflies because they’re exquisitely beautiful, have magical life cycles, and teach us about intricate and life-sustaining relationships among plants, insects and their host ecosystems.”

West County Gardening GlovesP1020963
We love West Count gloves!  They are made from recycled plastic bottles, are very durable and stand-up to several seasons of tough gardening. They are machine washable and retain their shape.  And they come in great colors!  We carry their Work Glove, Landscaper Glove, Waterproof Glove, Rose Gauntlet, Mud Glove and Grip Glove, all in a range of sizes.  If you give these gloves as a gift, be assured that the recipient is welcome to exchange them for a different in-stock size, as long as they are still unused and in their original packaging.

Japanese Knife-Weeders Japanese Knife Weeder
Reviewed by our Deb: This is the best all around tool ever!  Whenever I go out into the garden with no particular task in mind (other than peace of mind putzing) I grab this tool.  It can dig, saw into fat roots, slice into bindweed roots with the pointed tip, it’s wonderful.  I have a sheath for it which slides nicely onto a regular belt or garden-tool belt. I love using if for planting bulbs as I can make a deep, small hole.  If I could only have one tool forever…I would choose this one.

Our Favorite Gardening Tools
Japanese Knife-Weeders (see above)
Radius Trowels (ergonomic)
Radius Pro Spade (ergonomic)
Radius Pro Garden Fork (ergonomic)
Radius ‘Garden Shark’ Ergonomic Rake
World’s Best Trowel
Garden Bandit Weeders
High-quality clippers, shears and loppers


Gift Certificates
Harlequin’s Gardens Gift Certificates are always a perfect gift for any Front Range gardener (okay, maybe not perfect for someone who only grows a water garden) and are always available.  Come in to buy gift certificates and shop our Holiday Market, or follow the instructions on our website to order by phone or mail.  If you need a gift certificate during the months when we are closed (November, January, February) you are welcome to order it by mail or phone.  See Gift Certificates at

You will love these recordings made by some of the performers playing at our Holiday Open House this year!

The Boulder Irish Session ~ Sunday at Conor’sSunday at Conors
At 28 years old, The Boulder Irish Session is a Boulder ‘institution’ and is still going strong. They are an informal, dynamic gathering of top-notch Front Range musicians who come together on Sunday evenings at Conor O’Neil’s Pub in downtown Boulder to share tunes and songs of the Celtic tradition. Over the years, the Session has gained many loyal followers who know they will always hear some of the best, most spirited live traditional Irish and Celtic music in the region on any given Sunday, comparable to sessions in Galway and County Clare. Harlequin’s Gardens co-owner Eve Brawner is one of the founding members of the Boulder Irish Session and is still a ‘regular’ there, playing English concertina, and singing. About six years ago, the Session produced this vibrant, live-in-the-studio CD, comprised of 15 tracks, presenting 33 of our favorite tunes and songs, played by an ensemble of Session members on fiddle, flute, banjo, concertina, button accordion, tin whistle, octave mandolin (bouzouki), guitar, bodhran and vocals.  

Mason Brown ~ When Humans Walked the EarthP1050025
Mason Brown is a singer-songwriter and guitarist exploring the space where traditions and creative expression intersect. Mason’s fine voice, guitar, banjo, and viola da gamba can be heard in concerts around the region and in Irish Sessions in Boulder. His most recent solo album, When Humans Walked the Earth includes traditional and original songs and tunes, and performances with such noted artists as Randal Bays, Katäri Brown, Connie Dover, Mark Dudrow, Peter Halter, and Roger Landes.  Mason is also a player in the Boulder Irish Session, a Zen Buddhist priest, and a student of ethnomusicology. 

Come and hear Mason play at our Holiday Open House on Saturday, November 29 from 11:00am to 1:00pm. 

Margo Krimmel ~ Icy December, White BirdsP1050023
Margot is one of the region’s finest and most versatile harpists. Her fresh, innovative approach, passion and virtuosity have won her numerous awards. Her most recent CDs, Icy December and White Birds both feature Margot on harp and Beth Gadbaw’s exquisite vocals.  They are superbly arranged collections of songs rooted in the Celtic tradition. Icy December offers a fresh selection of winter holiday songs, including Celtic and original songs. This is “music that touches the heart”.  The Boulder Irish Session is often graced with Margot’s harp-playing on Sunday nights at Conor O’Neil’s.  Margot teaches harp at her Boulder studio. 

You can hear Margot perform at our Holiday Open House on Sunday, November 30, from 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm. 

Jon Sousa ~ Jon Sousa Solo, Jon Sousa & Jessie Burns, Twilight, One Year OutP1050022
Jon is one of the rising stars of Traditional Irish music and solo finger-style guitar, and has studied and performed to much acclaim in Ireland and Europe as well as Colorado.  Jon’s musical journey started early in his life, including rock and electronic dance music, but after moving to Boulder in 2003, he fell deeply in love with Traditional Irish music. Jon plays both guitar and banjo. His impeccable technique and the grace and passion of his playing are dazzling.  Jon teaches and performs as a duo with the equally talented Adam Agee on fiddle, and can sometimes be found at the Boulder Irish Session at Conor O’Neil’s.  Jon & Adam hope to have an exciting new duo CD, Suan Trai, out in time for our Holiday Gift Market. 

Come hear Adam perform at our Holiday Open House on Saturday, November 29, from 1:30 to 3:00pm.

Bonnie Phipps ~ Anything Goesanything_goes
Boulder resident Bonnie Phipps is many things: an international performer, the 2013 Mountain Laurel Autoharp Champion, a former Winfield International Autoharp Champion, a published auther, winner of several national awards for her recordings, a folk singer, a song writer, a storyteller, an undeniable hit with both adult and family audiences, and a friend of ours for many years. She brings her virtuosity to crafting intricate instrumentals and songs that are both fresh and timeless, delighting audiences with her choice of repertoire, imaginative techniques, and creative arrangements. The twelve pieces on this CD span a variety of genres and styles, from jazz standards to traditional folk songs to the lush Malaguena. On many tracks she is joined by excellent musicians on acoustic bass, cello, guitar and percussion.


Farm Fork Food: A Year of Spectacular Recipes Inspired by Black Cat Farm – New!Skokan
by acclaimed Boulder chef and restaurateur Erik SkokanThe Denver Post calls Eric Skokan and his pioneering farm-to-table enterprises “the most ambitious do-it-yourself chef and restaurateur in Colorado, and among the most accomplished in the nation. In terms of the blossoming ‘locavore’ or local food movement, Skokan is a leader.” The 130-acre Black Cat Farm supplies Eric’s two highly acclaimed restaurants in downtown Boulder, Bramble & Hare and Black Cat Bistro, as well as a Farmer’s Market booth and CSA.  Eric pours his unbounded energy into working hard at all of these enterprises, and loves every part of it. In ‘Farm Fork Food’ Eric shares his cooking philosophy, love of quality ingredients, “Things I’ve learned along the way”, and his inspirational recipes, and invites home cooks to feel the immediacy and excitement of vegetables and fruits just plucked from the garden. The 219 fabulous recipes are rooted in the seasons and the flavors unique to the Front Range region and are beautifully photographed by Con Poulos.

Please join Eric for a cooking demo and book-signing at our Holiday Gift Market on Saturday, December 6th, beginning at 3:30pm.

Recipes for a Sacred Life by local author Rivvy Neshama – New!
From dancing to forgiving, from walking at dawn to sharing dinner with a stranger, our friend Rivvy Neshama’s short true tales invite us to find the sacred in unexpected places and everyday life, connecting us more deeply with love, joy and purpose. Not your typical spiritual book, Recipes for a Sacred Life is rich in heart and humor. It begins with Rivvy’s mother’s recipe for roast chicken, and is written in such a personal, warm and authentic voice, that you may feel you too have known her for years. A wonderful gift book, luminous and uplifting. Recipes for a Sacred Life has received five national awards for inspirational/spiritual book of the year.

Come meet the author and have her sign your copies of the book on Sunday, December 14th from 2 to 3pm.

Sweet Fruit from the Bitter Tree, by local author Mark AndreasSweet Fruit
Mark Andreas, a Life-Coach in Boulder, collected these 61 true stories of creative and compassionate ways out of conflict.  Each story is unique in the resourceful and often surprising solutions that real people have found to change a fearful or threatening encounter into a humanizing connection.  Not moralistic, and genuinely eye-opening, heart-opening and inspiring. It makes a wonderful gift that can be opened again and again. This excellent read was a big hit at our holiday gift market last year. Sweet Fruit from the Bitter Tree is strongly endorsed by Dan Millman (author of Way of the Peaceful Warrior), William Ury (author of Getting to Yes), and Eve & Mikl Brawner.

Meet the author and have him sign your copies of the book on Thursday December 4th from 2 to 3pm.  

A Bushel’s Worth: An Ecobiographybushel_hr
Our favorite local farmer/writer/activist Kayann Short, Ph.D., has written a marvelous and widely acclaimed memoir, A Bushel’s Worth: An Ecobiography. In A Bushel’s Worth, Short writes about small-scale, organic farming at Stonebridge Farm in Lyons, along Colorado’s Front Range. At 22 seasons, Stonebridge is the oldest CSA in Boulder County. Through recipes, photographs, and her grandmother’s diaries, Kayann also looks back to her grandparents’ farms in North Dakota for lessons about farms as what she calls “cultivated space” where humans and nature form a fertile alliance. Short’s ecology-based memoir, is a reunion with a family’s farming past and a call to action for preservation of local farmland today. A Bushel’s Worth is a Rocky Mt. Land Library selection. 

Chinook Book Sustainable Local Coupons
This coupon book makes a great gift (and do keep one for yourself!). Focusing on the Denver Metro and Boulder areas, it’s full of  hundreds of discount coupons for environmentally conscious, organic, healthy and fair-trade products, stores, eateries and services you will really use, such as  Boulder County and Denver Farmer’s Markets, Natural Grocers, McGuckin, Ace Hardware, Harlequin’s Gardens, Butterfly Pavillion, Colorado Music Festival, RTD, and so many more. All kinds of organic foods and personal care products, pet foods and services, stuff for kids and moms, gluten-free foods, classes, sporting goods, espresso, chocolate, pizza, granola bars, etc.Both the paper coupon book and the mobile app are available. Trust me – you or the lucky recipient will easily make back the cost of the book many times over.

Thank you so much for your support!  We wish you a season of happiness and fulfillment, and we look forward to seeing you soon at our Holiday Gift Market.Eve & Mikl Brawner and the Staff at Harlequin’s Gardens



Greetings to our Friends & Fellow Gardeners!

We’re sorry to keep you waiting so long, but here are the results of the wonderful 2014 TASTE of TOMATO event, where close to 100 gardeners contributed 64 different varieties of their home-grown tomatoes for all the participants to taste, evaluate and vote for their top 5 favorites.



All of our fall bulbs have now arrived, so now we have TULIPS! Beautiful, hardy, tough, early-blooming, naturalizing perennials, the Species Tulips we offer are the jewels of the early and mid-spring garden, including Xeriscapes and rock gardens. One example: Tulipa bakeri ‘Lilac Wonder’ is a graceful and free-blooming lavender-pink star with a sunny yellow center on stems up to 12” tall, hardy to USDA zone 3.

Other tulip varieties we offer are Little Gem and Little Princess, ‘waterlily’ tulips Early Harvest (orange) and Scarlet Baby, graceful ‘Lady’ tulips (T. clusiana ‘Cynthia’), brilliant T. griegii ‘Red Riding Hood’ and salmon T. griegii ‘Mary Ann’

We have also just received the elegant and fascinating bee-favorite Sicilian Honeybells, sky-blue Botanical Iris reticulata ‘Gordon’, and Brodeia ‘Queen Fabiola’, bringing umbels of stunning blue to the late-spring/early-summer garden.


Don’t forget – there are hardy bulbs that bloom in FALL, and they need to be planted NOW!  They look fantastic peaking up through groundcovers and fallen autumn leaves. We’re talking about purple Saffron Crocus (C. sativus), and violet-blue Crocus speciosus

And we still have LOTS of other bulbs:

Miniature and standard-sized Daffodils

Dutch crocus and super- early botanical crocus varieties

Deer/rodent-proof Red Crown Imperial,

Spectacular, drought-tolerant globe Alliums (ornamental onions),

Shade-loving lavender-blue Ipheion,

Blue Glory of the Snow,

Strong-growing and showy Large-cup and Trumpet Daffodils ‘Mount Hood’, ‘Dutch Master’, ‘Professor Einstein’, ‘Ice Follies’ and ‘Red Devon’,

and delightful, naturalizing, early-blooming Miniature Daffodils ‘Jetfire’, ‘Pipit’, ‘Tete a Tete’, and the fabulously fragrant jonquil ‘Geranium’.

Come in for bulbs while they last! It will soon be time to plant them!


We still have 3 great varieties of garlic for planting (or eating).  Garlic should be planted in mid to late October or early November (a little earlier at higher elevation).  2 varieties are certified organic, the third grown organically but not certified.


continues with 30% off our healthy, robust Neonicotinoid-Free Perennials, Vines, Grasses and Shrubs.


We have a wonderful selection of ornamental grasses, many native and most of them quite drought-tolerant. At 30% off, you can’t afford NOT to get these Neonic-free beauties that offer so much dynamic interest in the fall and winter garden, as well as wildlife support.

DID YOU KNOW that all ornamental grasses shipped into Colorado from any state where Japanese beetles are present (all states east and south of Colorado) are REQUIRED by the Dept. of Agriculture to receive a neonic pesticide drench before coming into Colorado?  This means that MANY of the ornamental grasses you will find for sale in Colorado garden centers are laden with neonics, which are toxic to bees, butterflies, soil organisms, many beneficial insects, hummingbirds, and seed-eating and insect-eating birds. We have been growing our own grasses and sourcing from local growers who we know are neonic-free.


Now is the BEST time to fertilize and top-dress garden beds and lawns. This is because in autumn, plants are directing most of their energy to growing strong root systems, which will strengthen plants through the winter and make them more robust next spring.  And it’s also because our Large Bagged FERTILIZERS and COMPOSTS are ON SALE for 30% OFF.  And Compost Tea is 50% OFF!


From October 1st through October 30th we will be OPEN EVERY DAY from 9am to 5 pm.

We will be CLOSED Oct. 31 though Nov. 27.

We will RE-OPEN for our HOLIDAY GIFT MARKET on FRIDAY Nov. 28th (Green Friday), and will be open on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through December 21st.

If you can get to Loveland, a town FULL of artists, don’t miss their Open Studios tour, and be sure to visit the studio of Sheron Buchele Rowland, on of the fine artisans whose work is featured at our Holiday Gift Market.

We look forward to seeing you soon!

Mikl & Eve Brawner and the wonderful staff at Harlequin’s Gardens

2014 TASTE of TOMATO Voting Results

This year we again had a really great time at the 4th Annual Taste of Tomato. In spite of a chilly and foggy start to the morning, lots of gardeners and other tomato enthusiasts came out to share their tasty tomato successes and learn what other tomato treasures are growing well for gardeners in our area.  Participants also received up-to-date tomato-growing advice from Master Gardeners and Harlequin’s Gardens staff, learned how to save seeds from their tomatoes, and eight lucky people won valuable door-prizes.

A total of 64 different varieties were entered or donated, and quite a few of them were varieties we’ve not seen before. Carol O’Meara, Boulder County Extension Agent, donated samples of several varieties bred for resistance to Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus (TSWV). Ollin Farms donated several new varieties, and Aspen Moon Farms donated the renowned heirloom Costoluto Genovese, which we had not seen much of in previous tastings. Some of the ‘old favorites’, like Brandywine, Pineapple, Aunt Ruby’s German Green and Kellogg’s Breakfast were missing from this year’s tasting. Every year is so different; this year many gardeners said their tomatoes were quite late to ripen because of the cool weather, some had significant disease problems, and many were very glad that they had started their tomato plants early in Solar Caps, enabling them to get earlier and bigger harvests.

When you view the results, bear in mind that each participant got to vote for only their top 5 favorites, and that samples of some varieties were in short supply, limiting the number of participants who got to taste them.  And some samples arrived either very early or very late in the event, again limiting their exposure. Some samples may not have been fully ripe, and their full flavor and sugars not fully developed. Of course everyone has their own palate, too. In view of all these factors, even if a variety received only one vote, it was still among somebody’s top 5, and that’s pretty good.  I personally found at least 8 favorites this year, and had to think hard about which ones to leave out.

Every spring, Harlequin’s Gardens nursery grows and sells organic starts for more than 60 different varieties of tomato.  Many of them are varieties that ranked high at Taste of Tomato events.  Check the Harlequin’s Gardens website for our list of vegetable starts each year at

Big thanks to all of you who shared tomatoes, and to all the volunteers – you make it all possible! Please join us again next year for an even bigger and better 5th Annual Taste of Tomato!



# of Votes

Variety Category Seed Type Grower’s Comments


Cherry Berry (Brown Berry) cherry open pollinated  


Endless Summer salad    


Indigo Rose salad hybrid  


Prima Roja salad    


Big Boy beefsteak hybrid  


Black Cherry cherry open pollinated  


Black Ethiopian salad heirloom  


Blondekopfchen cherry heirloom mild flavor, prolific


Bonnie Best small salad heirloom  


Creamy White Cherry cherry heirloom  


Fourth of July salad hybrid very early


Hillbilly beefsteak heirloom huge


Isis Candy cherry open pollinated  


Italian Roma paste heirloom  


La Roma II paste    


Northern Light salad open pollinated early, productive


Pink Bumblebee cherry open pollinated  


Primo Red salad hybrid TSWV-resistant


Red Gold salad    


Rutgers Indet. salad heirloom  


Stupice salad heirloom  


BHN 968 cherry hybrid TSWV-resistant


Early Girl salad hybrid  


Mountain Merit salad hybrid  


PS01522935 salad hybrid TSWV-resistant, vigorous


Sunlight beefsteak    


Big Beef beefsteak hybrid  


Costoluto Genovese salad heirloom Early, prolific, delicious


Green Doctors Frosted cherry open pollinated  


Red Zebra salad heirloom  


Carmello salad hybrid fabulous flavor, no disease


Cherokee Chocolate salad open pollinated  


Iowa Cherry cherry heirloom  


Lemon Boy salad hybrid  


Pink BerkeleyTie Dye beefsteak open pollinated  


Thessaloniki salad open pollinated growers favorite


Bella Rosa salad hybrid TSWV-resistant


Black Krim beefsteak heirloom  


Amana Orange beefsteak heirloom Meaty, delicious


Amish Paste paste heirloom  


Cherokee Purple beefsteak heirloom  


Jaune Flamme salad heirloom very productive


Indigo Kumquat cherry hybrid  


Mighty Mato salad hybrid Sweet


Cosmonaut Volkov salad heirloom sweet, low acid


Green Zebra salad open pollinated  


Yellow Pear cherry heirloom  


Black from Tula salad heirloom Early, prolific, delicious


Punta Banda cherry/paste heirloom Productive, drought-resistant, flavorful


San Marzano paste heirloom blossom end rot


Siberian Pink Honey beefsteak heirloom Good flavor, low yield


Chocolate Cherry cherry heirloom  


Chocolate Stripes beefsteak heirloom Beautiful, delicious


Roma, unnamed variety paste    


Super Sweet 100 cherry hybrid Very prolific, early, easy, disease-free


Sweet Million cherry hybrid  


Black Sea Man beefsteak heirloom Meaty, complex


Anasazi’ salad heirloom  


Glacier salad open pollinated best flavored very early, prolific, compact


Paul Robeson salad heirloom Meaty, complex


Sungold cherry hybrid Early, easy, prolific,very sweet


Harlequin’s Harvest Greetings & September Events

Greetings to our Friends & Fellow Gardeners!

It’s Summer Harvest Time again, a time of abundance, sharing, and some of the most delectable flavors our Good Earth has to offer.  Whether you are growing your own, participating in a CSA, or shopping at your local Farmer’s Markets, we hope you have been enjoying the bounty, sharing it with friends and with those in need, and canning, freezing, fermenting, curing or drying the surplus so you can enjoy some of the treasures of summer later in the year.


P1010993 P1010996


Tomato Lovers Unite! Harlequin’s Gardens is happy to be partnering again with Boulder County CSU Extension Service to present the 4th Annual Taste of Tomato: a Tasting & Celebration of Home-Grown Tomatoes on Saturday September 6th from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. under the big tent at the Gateway Park Fun Center, 4800 North 28th St. in Boulder.  The event is FREE to those who bring tomatoes to share and only $5 otherwise. Click on the link here for complete entry information: 

If you have never attended one of our tomato tastings before, you are in for a great treat! We invite you to a rare opportunity for tomato-lovers of all ages, an event that’s the most fun you can have with food, especially for such a low entry fee! At last year’s Taste of Tomato, close to 200 people got to sample more than 100 different varieties of tomato! Some were new to us, and many were awesome. Each participant gets to taste, evaluate, and then vote for their 5 favorites. Please bring your home-grown favorites for us all to taste! If you are not growing your own, you can bring local farm-grown tomatoes (not hydroponic), as long as the grower is able to give you the correct name of the variety (minimum 3 or more tomatoes of one variety, or 10 cherry or other small tomatoes of one variety).  For event and entry details, go to 



This year we will again conduct a drawing every half hour for valuable door-prizes, and Harlequin’s Gardens staff and Boulder County Master Gardeners will be on hand to offer expert tomato-growing advice and help with tomato problems, We will also conduct seed-saving demonstrations, demonstrating how easy it is to save seeds from your own tomatoes.


You don’t have to say goodbye to fresh homegrown vegetables just because it’s almost Fall and frost is coming. We have LOTS of hardy vegetable starts for fall planting and fall/winter harvests, including many varieties of kale, lettuces, mescluns, mustards and  spicy greens, broccoli raab, leaf broccoli (spigariello), swiss chards, spinach, arugula,  beet greens, etc.


Our first shipment of FALL BULBS has arrived!  This year we have some beautiful new varieties, in addition to the ones you have tried and loved.


We are expecting our garlic and shallot bulbs to arrive within the next week, and we are very glad we are able this year to offer 4 great varieties of heirloom garlic, 3 of them certified organic.  And we will have French Red shallots, also certified organic!


This is the time of year when hardy ornamental grasses really shine. Grasses often make the perfect ‘shrub-substitute’ in narrow planting spaces, especially along walkways.  And they add grace, fine texture and movement to perennial and shrub plantings, as well as color and tremendous winter interest. Our grasses establish very successfully from fall plantings.


Fall really is a great time to plant, and our Fall Sale has begun, featuring our healthy, well-adapted, non-toxic plants and garden products. Our DEEP DISCOUNT AREA is open, with an amazing variety of excellent perennials, herbs, roses, grasses, shrubs and trees at below-cost prices!  You will definitely find some treasures! See our FALL NEWSLETTER for the discounts offered each week.

We hope to see you very soon!

Mikl & Eve Brawner and the fabulous staff at Harlequin’s Gardens


SOUPE AU PISTOU [vegetable soup with garlic, basil & herbs]
from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking
Early summer is the Mediterranean season for soupe au pistou, when fresh basil, fresh white beans, and broad mange-tout beans are all suddenly available. The pistou itself, like the Italian pesta, is a sauce made of garlic, basil, tomato and cheese, and is just as good on spaghetti as it is in this rich vegetable soup. Fortunately this soup is not confined to summer and fresh vegetables, for you can use canned navy beans or kidney beans, fresh or frozen string beans, and a fragrant dried basil. Other vegetables in season may be added with the green beans as you wish, such as peas, diced zucchini, and green or red bell peppers.

For 6 to 8 servings

3 quarts water
2 cups each: diced carrots, diced boiling potatoes, diced onions
1 Tablespoon salt
(If available, 2 cups fresh white beans, and omit the navy beans farther on) Either boil the water, vegetables, and salt slowly in a 6-quart kettle for 40 minutes; or pressure-cook for 5 minutes, release pressure, and simmer uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes. Correct seasoning.
2 cups diced fresh green beans or “cut” frozen green beans
2 cups cooked or canned navy beans or kidney beans
1/3 cup broken spaghetti or vermicelli
1 slice stale white or wheat bread, crumbled
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
Pinch of saffron Twenty minutes before serving, so the green vegetables will retain their freshness, add the beans, spaghetti or vermicelli, bread and seasonings to the boiling soup. Boil slowly for about 15 minutes, or until the green beans are just cooked through. Correct seasoning again.
4 cloves mashed garlic
4 Tablespoons tomato paste
¼ cup chopped fresh basil or 1½ Tablespoons fragrant dried basil
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
¼ to ½ cup fruity olive oil Prepare the following pistou while the soup is cooking: place garlic, tomato paste, basil and cheese in the soup tureen and blend to a paste with a spatula or wooden spoon; then, drop by drop, beat in the olive oil. When the soup is ready for serving, beat a cup gradually into the pistou. Pour in the rest of the soup.

Serve with hot French bread, or hard-toasted bread rounds basted with olive oil.


LOVAGE AND CELERY SOUP from “Scarista Style” by Alison Johnson
Scarista House is an award-winning hotel and restaurant on the west coast of the Isle of Harris, Outer Hebrides, Scotland

You will be glad of this recipe if you grow lovage, as it will have taken over your garden and you won’t know what to do with it. “The root grows thick, great and deep, spreading much and enduring long…It is planted in gardens, where it grows large,” says Culpeper blandly, adding that “a decoction of the root is a remedy for ague.” If you don’t live in a malarial marsh, you will find you have a large surplus of this particular herb.
This is one of my favorite soups, and worth suffering the rampages of the plant for.
2 medium onions
1 head celery
2 large potatoes
2 ounces butter
3 large handfuls lovage leaves
425 ml water = 14.3 fluid ounces
275 ml milk = 9.3 fluid ounces
150 ml cream = 5 fluid ounces
Chop the onion, celery and potatoes coarsely and sweat them in the butter for a few minutes. Add the water and lovage and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer till the vegetables are very soft. Stir it occasionally, as the mixture will be thick and inclined to stick.
The soup now has to be sieved, as celery is hairy stuff. It is easier to do this if you liquidise it first, adding the milk as you do so.
Return the soup to the pan, add salt to taste, and the cream. Reheat without boiling. Serve with a blob of cream or some freshly chopped lovage on top.
Makes about 2 quarts—serves 6.

Carol’s notes:
½ teaspoon salt is about right. I converted “milliliters” to “fluid ounces”, as noted above.
I don’t use cream. I hardly ever use cream in anything—too many calories—and it tastes just fine, as far as I’m concerned. In fact, most of the time I just use skim milk.
I don’t sieve the soup, as the recipe says—instead I run it through the blender, adding milk as suggested. I think this works out just fine. But it is probably a matter of personal taste.
The soup doesn’t freeze well, but I discovered that it works okay as a cold soup.


Carol Gerlitz

3 cups water (I use 1 to 1½ cups red wine if I have some to use up)
¾ to 1 pound beef brisket, cubed—or stew meat or chuck—whatever you wish
½ onion, chopped
3 medium stalks celery, cut into ½” lengths
3-4 medium carrots, pared and thinly sliced
2-3 medium beets, pared and sliced
½ head cabbage, cut into reasonable-size hunks
1 bay leaf
1½ teaspoons salt

1 medium to large beet, pared and coarsely shredded
3-4 oz. tomato paste
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar

½ pint dairy sour cream

In a large kettle place the first 9 ingredients. Simmer, covered, about 2 hours. I use a 6-quart pressure cooker, and cook 20-25 minutes at 15 lb pressure; you can either release pressure by running cold water over the pressure cooker, or just let it sit until the pressure is back to normal.

Add the next 5 ingredients and simmer, covered, 20-25 minutes. You can cool and refrigerate at this point—or serve it right up.

Serve topped with sour cream.

Makes about 5-6 servings, depending on the size.


from Mary Lou Carlson as adapted by Carol Gerlitz (originally in Fine Cooking magazine, June/July 2001)
Yields about 1½ cups

3 cups packed basil leaves (about 6-7 ounces of leaves)
¼ cup ice water
1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed
½ cup + 2 tbsp. pine nuts
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
½ tsp. salt
3/8 tsp. black pepper
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Bring 2 quarts water seasoned with 1 tablespoon salt to a rolling boil. Prepare an ice bath by combining ice and water in a large bowl. (Be sure you freeze a lot of ice cubes ahead of time for this.)

Divide the basil into 2 or 3 parts, so that one part of basil will fit into a large metal strainer (about 5 or 6 inches in diameter). Put the basil (in strainer) into boiling water, pressing it gently under the water with a rubber spatula, and cook for 2 or 3 seconds. Remove the basil from the water and plunge it (still in the strainer) into the ice bath to stop the cooking process. Let cool in the ice bath for 1-2 minutes, until completely cooled. Loosen it up with your fingers to aid the cooling process.

Remove the basil from the ice bath and squeeze it lightly with your hands to remove most of the excess water. Set aside until all basil is prepared.

Chop the basil coarsely with a sharp knife and then put it into a food processor. Add the garlic, pine nuts, cheese, ½ tsp. salt, pepper, and ¼ cup ice water. Blend until the basil is coarsely pureed, scraping down the sides (and adding more water to facilitate blending only if needed).

Be patient; don’t add more water if it isn’t necessary.

With the food processor running, add the oil in a steady stream until the pesto looks creamy and emulsified. Cover and store in the refrigerator for a few days or in the freezer for up to a few months. Serve over 12-16 ounces of cooked rotini or fusilli, or your favorite pasta. Or dream up some other good uses for the pesto and let the rest of us know! (I’ve used it as a topping for pizza instead of tomato sauce—tastes wonderful that way)


My handwritten notes also indicate that several times I’ve done about 1½ pounds basil in three batches—3 cups, 3 cups, and 4 cups at a time—which resulted a total of 5-6 cups pesto. I’ve also kept it frozen for much longer than a few months!

The Pruning and Care of Young Trees

Of all our plants, trees take the longest to develop and so it is not only heart-breaking, but a significant set-back to a landscape when a tree that is 10-20 years old is destroyed in a storm. Many of these disasters could be prevented with proper pruning early in a tree’s life. Besides preventing disasters, pruning trees properly when young will help them to develop more beautifully, make them stronger, less expensive to maintain as they get older and keep them healthier.

A young tree, like any young being, is vulnerable and needs some extra care. And trees are often a costly investment, both for the plant and for the planting. So since few arborists will come out for the fifteen minute job of pruning a young tree, and since few lawn crews are trained in proper pruning, it is good for home-owners to understand the basics of pruning in order to get their trees off to a good start.

For a basic understanding, it is important to learn three fundamentals:

1.The common hazards and how to avoid them.
2.How to make a correct pruning cut.
3.How to train a young tree so it will have a strong structure.
The common hazards to young trees are many, but these are the main ones to avoid. Don’t let lawn mowers or weed trimmers touch the bark. This tearing of the bark, called “lawn-moweritis” is often a cause of disease and decline in young trees. Put a loose protection, like a plastic or hardware cloth cylinder, around the trunk or mulch 2—4′ around the tree so mowers won’t have to come close. A protector will also prevent cats from using a young tree for a scratching post, which is very harmful. Naturally, deer, especially bucks with their antlers in the velvet stage, can destroy a young tree with munching and rubbing. So keep a circle of fencing around a young tree for three or four years if deer visit. If a tree is planted too close to a street or sidewalk, people will start breaking off branches. If you plant under an electrical line, Public Dis-Service will carve a huge hole in the tree’s canopy. If you forget to remove stabilizing ropes or wires, the tree will grow over them, become girdled, and will break off or be seriously weakened. And lastly, beware of human over-reactions. Don’t over-water and don’t expect the tree to live on Colorado rainfall. Don’t prune aggressively and don’t leave the pruning to nature. Don’t pile mulch against the trunk and don’t let the soil bake with no mulch. Don’t plant too deep and don’t plant too high; plant right where the trunk begins to flare into the root. The best pruning cannot make up for these hazards.

Learning how to make a correct pruning cut is of the utmost importance. Since pruning is surgery on a living being, an improper cut will have far more serious consequences than cutting a 2×4 off at the wrong angle. About 20 years ago, Dr. Alex Shigo’s research for the Forestry Service revealed new information about how trees should be pruned. Dr. Shigo identified the branch collar, which is often a swollen area at the base of a branch. He discovered that the common practice of making a flush cut (see Figure 1. A-C) slices through a protection zone at which a tree can wall-off decay. So by making a pruning just outside the branch collar, trees’ natural defenses are left intact. (Fig. 1) What is not simple about this advice is that trees are variable, so there is no simple formula for judging the distance from the trunk or the exact angle for a proper cut. See Figure 2 for variations. Unfortunately, even some university teachers advise their students to leave a short stub (Fig. 1. D), but this will lead to decay. In general, look for the swelling of the branch collar and cut just outside it. If you can’t see a swelling, find the bark ridge (Fig. 1. A), and begin your cut just outside that ridge, sloping the cut out, usually less than 90 degrees from the branch. (Fig. 1. A-B) In most cases it is better to remove the branch in two steps; first take of most of the branch and second, remove the remaining stub. This will prevent splitting and tearing of the bark. Armed with this knowledge, you can remove dead, broken and diseased branches, vertical-growing sucker shoots and rubbing branches.

Whereas learning to make a proper cut is science, learning to create a strong structure is part science and part art. The science is learning what makes a strong crotch, the union of a branch to the trunk or to a larger branch. Basically the strongest branches are at a 60 to 90 degree angle from the trunk. This sounds counter-intuitive since we would normally think that a branch that stands out perpendicular to the trunk would be more likely to break. However the greatest possibility for weakness occurs in branches that are at a 30-degree angle or less, because with these, the wood fibers run parallel rather than interlocking. You can easily tell if a crotch is weak by looking closely where the branch is connected. If the bark is pushed up into the bark ridge (Fig. 1. A), the union is strong. If the bark is folded in, forming a crack, the union is weak, and the branch is likely to fail sooner or later. The most dramatic example is called a co-dominant leader. (Fig. 3) In this case, two branches arise from the same place on the trunk and grow up nearly parallel. You will almost always find the bark folded in between the trunks. As the two trunks grow, they reach for light, leaning away from each other. This makes them vulnerable to heavy wet snows and strong winds, which can cause the tree to split down the middle. (Fig. 4) This usually means the death of the tree.

There are two approaches to dealing with branches with weak crotches and co-dominant leaders. One is to remove the weak branch or less important trunk. This is easiest and least harmful to do when a tree is young. If removing the entire branch or trunk would be too severe, the weak branch or leader can be dwarfed by shortening the branch significantly. This is called a training cut and can also be used to dwarf the height of a tree while it is still young. See figure 6 for the proper method.

The art of creating a tree with a strong structure is learning how to recognize balance and proper proportion. Young trees that are fertilized and over watered often shoot up and become gangly and vulnerable to breakage. Whether a branch is strong or weak is relative to the proportion of length to diameter. This varies with the type of tree, but roughly, a 1″ diameter branch 4′ long can be strong, whereas a 1″ branch 8′ long will be weak. In terms of the overall structure, remember that the trunk is the pillar holding up the entire tree, so the better the top is balanced over the trunk, the stronger it is. If the highest point of the tree is far from being directly above the trunk, the tree is not balanced and will be weaker. The time to correct this is when the tree is young, by pruning the wayward leader back to a branch that will direct the growth more over the trunk. In general, round and conical are the most stable forms in terms of strength.

Storm damage can also be prevented and health supported by removing crowded and rubbing branches. This thinning is best done when the branches are small, and never remove more than a third of the branches.

Especially in very young trees, every leaf adds to their photosynthesis. But also remember that we live in Colorado with high winds and wet snows that sometimes catch our trees in leaf, so it is good to prune to more compact forms than would be necessary in California or even Iowa.

In general, if the proportion of a tree, height to width is pleasing or beautiful, it is stronger. If it is awkward or ugly, it is weaker. And the same is true for individual branches. Be patient with young trees because they often have an adolescent phase before they develop symmetry and real beauty. Be gentle and not too aggressive; don’t top them or chop them. And since it takes little time to prune a young tree, and since they can change so quickly, plan on doing some corrective pruning every year or every other year as needed. Watch the structure as it develops and responds to your pruning. Use your imagination to visualize how each branch will grow. Pruning can be artful, creative and fun. Before long, your care and insight will take form in a massive being that will tower above you and your children and your house, providing shade, protection, character and beauty, and putting that greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, to a constructive use.

Drought Water Restrictions

Drought, Water Restrictions and Gardening: How Can They Go Together?

I think we were all caught off guard by this drought, by how fast we were forced to see dying trees and brown lawns and by the difficult discipline of watering restrictions. This was especially true in Boulder and Lafayette where mandatory restrictions began in May. Actually, 2002 is the third year in a genuine drought, which some of us without city water supplies can confirm. This year all around Boulder, Red Twig Dogwoods turned brown, linden leaves were scorched, Norway Maples suffered, many viburnums were looking very stressed, and trees in medians defoliated or died. Gardeners caught in the crunch between weeks of hot, dry weather and few opportunities to water, held off most of their planting projects; some started talking about moving away to where they could garden. For Denver and other Colorado cities, next year could be much worse.

Now begins the new education about growing plants while conserving water. We have some experience with xeriscape and its seven principles, but they are no longer enough; we have to go to the next level. We are going to have to be much more careful in our plant selection, and in grouping plants of similar water needs. We are going to have to give closer attention to microclimates: distinguishing the areas that bake from the areas that get some shade, recognizing south from east, noting the protective presence of a boulder, a tree, a shed, a downspout; and mapping the movement of the sun and the reach of the wind. We are going to have to learn how to use our water most effectively. We are going to have to learn more about mulching, about anti-transpirants, and about products and amendments that hold water longer. We may even have to adjust our idea of beauty to include dormant, brown lawns; more modest displays of flowers in the summer months and even dry and drooping foliage, stress and death. We will go through a transitional period which will be frustrating and painful, but then we will figure it out and our gardens will be better adapted. Even if we get our needed snow pack this winter, water conservation will remain a vital concern.

First things first: SAVE THE TREES. Trees in general are not very drought tolerant. We didn’t have urban forests in Colorado until humans started planting them and watering them. Yes, of course, we have cottonwoods and willows along streams and some boxelders too, but most of our trees, especially shade trees, are imported. On top of that, most irrigation systems are designed for turf and assume that if trees are growing in the lawn, they will be watered. In the first place, most turf is watered too shallowly (and Boulder’s 15 minute twice a week restrictions further encourage that problem); and secondly, when lawn watering is prohibited or limited, there is no system in place to water trees except by hand, which then takes too much time to comply with restrictions. Thirdly, trees in cities often have confined root systems, and are often overplanted with grass, perennials and other trees which compete for the water.

These problems became apparent in Boulder this year as trees in small median and parking lot plantings were the first to show stress. The newly planted trees with small and reduced root systems (as with ball-and-burlap trees), and the old and stressed were the main trees to die or defoliate. How the remaining trees are cared for in the coming year or two will be a matter of life and death; they are stressed and more vulnerable to pests and diseases.

Trees do take a lot of our water, but they save water too. This summer some of the only green lawns in Boulder were under trees. If global warming is happening, we will need at least some trees to save us from the heat, to keep the gasoline in our cars from out gassing in the parking lots, and to create moderated environments in which other plants can live. At this time, I will not go into the many values that trees add to our quality of life, but let’s not let our trees die while we’re trying to figure out how to save water. Remember the trees now casting our shade are twenty to a hundred years old; it will take that long to replace them.

Some trees that require little water are: Hackberry, Golden Rain Tree, Ponderosa and Pinon pines; Bur and Gamble Oak; Russian, Toba and Washington hawthorns. Trees with somewhat low water needs are: Silver maple, Green Ash, Honeylocust and Catalpa.

This drought has brought up some new and challenging questions:

1.Do trees take more water than they save? Which ones?
2.Is bluegrass a xeriscape groundcover if we can let it go dormant in the summer?
3.If my plants are dying under the current restrictions of 15 minutes twice a week, can I water once a week for 30 minutes to save them by watering more deeply?
4.If I buy a water efficient toilet which will save 10,000 gallons in a year, why can’t I have at least 5,000 gallons more that I could use for my gardens?
5.How can I recycle or reuse my water?
It is easier to come up with questions than solutions. To be fair to the municipalities, they were caught off guard as much as we gardeners, and it will be some years before they/we figure out how best to distribute our water. Even though my low-producing well has put me on water restrictions for the past 17 years, and all my gardens are by necessity xeriscapes, I wanted to get a broader perspective on this drought, so I asked some good local gardeners how they experienced this year’s water crisis.

I interviewed Lauren Springer, Marcia Tatroe, Bob Nold, Jim Knopf and John Spaulding:

“Did you lose plants to the drought this year?” Marcia lost dozens of plants, most of which were newly planted. Lauren lost both new and established, noting as did John and Bob that the losses were due to the cumulative effect of 2 or 3 dry seasons. Jim lost a few things.

“Were the losses due to the heat or mainly to the lack of water?” Lauren and Marcia thought both heat and drought, though Lauren said mostly lack of water. John said more likely heat because he was watering adequately. And Bob said his died because he was not paying attention to them. He also mentioned that his losses of alpine plants were very low, because they can continue to grow under a wide range of hot and cold temperatures.

In a recent talk, Kelly Grummons mentioned that in general, the metabolism of a perennial slows down above 80 degrees F and nearly stops at very high temperatures. A Boulder city forester told me that the burning leaves of the Norway Maples was due to their heat sensitivity, and it seemed that vegetable gardens that were planted early thrived and those planted late in the heat grew little until temperatures cooled.

“Name plants that did well this year with limited water supply.” Jim: Zauschneria, Buffalo Grass, Hesperaloe, Melons, Blue Mist Spirea, Junipers, Apache Plume; John: roses, and annuals did better under water restrictions where maintenance companies had been over watering

Lauren: Fernbush, Saltbrush, Rabbitbrush, Artemesia versicolor, Wright’s Sacaton, Salvia pachysilla, Apache Plume; Bob said all of his rock garden plants did well; Marcia: Desert Four O’Clock, Russian Sage, Apache Plume, Mt. Mahogany, Leadplant, Desert Mahonia.

“Name plants that died or did poorly.” Lauren: Veronica teucrium, all tall penstemons, carex; Jim: Red Maples, Sugar Maples, Norway Maples, Birches, High Bush Cranberry, Red Twig Dogwood; Marcia: Potentilla atrosanguinea, Ligularia, Eryngium alpinum, Microbiota decussata.

“Do you use a mulch? What do you recommend?” John suggests 2″ of coarse mulch applied only after the soil has been thoroughly watered. He says mulch that is too fine or too thick (4—8″) will not permit water to get through. Bob uses straw or anything organic, but prefers rock as the best possible mulch, allowing water to penetrate and then holding the water for a long time. Marcia uses mulch extensively, preferring pine needles loose or shredded, and chipper chips if they are re-shredded.

John Starnes says he has good results with a 6″ deep wood chip mulch.

“What were your water restrictions and how did they affect your garden?” Lauren’s well went dry May 7 and she had only 7″ of rainfall up to September, so she mostly watered trees, roses and woody plants. Marcia could water every third day as long as she wanted until Sept. and then one hour every third day. She only applied a half inch a week and that was enough. Her dry garden was only watered 3 or 4 times all season. She would prefer a water budget, watering when and how is best for her garden. Bob said his restrictions had no impact since he is used to having no rain and watering everything by hand. Jim noted that his water use went up with the restrictions. He did not like the shallow watering which resulted from Boulder’s 15 minutes twice a week rule. He would prefer more flexibility, measuring use by the water meter.

“Share an insight from your experience of this year’s drought.” Marcia: Most of my trees are small native trees and they did fine, but I recommend putting off tree planting until we see what next years’ water supply looks like. If you do plant one, choose one under one and a half inch caliper with a large rootball, mulch it 6″ deep beyond the width of the rootball, and water it once or twice a month over the winter, and be prepared to carry gray water to it next year.

John: When lawns are installed without proper tilling depth (8—12″) and without compost amendment, they will not be just dormant after a drought, they will be patchy at best or dead in two seasons of restrictions. It is best to start lawns of all types from seed so as not to get a horizontal barrier to water and nutrient movement. Even bluegrass, if done right, can be very disease, insect and drought resistant.

Bob: My bluegrass and turf-type tall fescue were both watered 15-20 minutes every ten days, and both look green and healthy. People should not be allowed to plant trees under water restrictions. Existing water supplies can’t possibly support more trees than we already have. Proper planting in the right place saves water.

Jim: Bluegrass won’t live on two tenths of an inch of water twice a week; patches of grass and bare ground is not a lawn; a half an inch of water once a week is much better. If we had a water budget system, that would allow more opportunities and use no more water. We could then design landscapes that fit the budget.

Lauren: Take care of the trees; this is our most important group of plants. We are lucky to have gardens, and here in Colorado you have to love gardening to put up with the duress, and to struggle with the obstacles. Colorado gardeners have to be tough and optimistic.

We may be going through a painful period, restricting our plant palette, and our freedom to water as we please, but this discipline is probably good, because the earth is not growing with the human population, and we must prepare for conservation of not just water, but of all our natural resources. A friend in Italy has a sign in her kitchen: “When you use THE WATER, give thanks. Can you imagine the world without her.” And another friend, a physicist at the Solar Energy Research Institute, believes a time will come when each person will get an energy allocation as well as a water allocation; and that we will have to make some hard choices between heating the house and miles of driving, for example. Mr. Bush may believe that we can keep coming up with cheap oil and keep sending ever more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, but I’ll bet a lot of people are beginning to get the picture. As Chief Seattle put it: “The earth does not belong to us, we belong to the earth.” Statistically, average droughts are five years long. If that is true for this drought, we get two more years to figure things out and make adjustments with the pressure of this natural discipline. However droughts can be 10–15 years long, and besides, more houses are being built and so more demand will be placed on the same amount of water.

This may sound grim, but there are plants that are surviving this drought with even less water than restrictions allow: native plants, for example. And my xeriscape got only five waterings this year and still looks all right. And if I make some improvements, it will look even better. We can all share our successes and failures with each other and our gardens will get better adapted to drier conditions. Natural Selection is a ruthless and accurate designer. If, for example, all your Sunset Hyssop (Agastache rupestris) died from drought except one, and it flourished, it may have found the perfect spot, OR if it was seed propagated, it could have a slight genetic deviation that makes it more drought tolerant. So save your seeds from your best drought survivors and share them with your friends and neighbors. A drought cycle is the best time to cull the pretend xeric plants from the truly xeric plants, as well as to discover more drought tolerant strains. If we pool our seeds and cuttings, share our discoveries and insights, and follow these with real changes in our habit patterns and in our gardening, this drought could be a great education for better use of our precious resource: THE WATER.

In future issues of Colorado Gardener, we will go into greater depth on the drought situation and into practical approaches to gardening under drought conditions.

Copyright 2003 by Mikl Brawner