by Wendy

2012-5-26-Pond-view-looking-west_Larry-Griffin

A Q & A With Larry G. about his wildscape in Fort Collins, CO

What makes your wildscape special?

The pond and rock work was present when we purchased the property in 1998 from the original owner and builder, but he had no flower beds or water plants. Developing the gardens and pond has been deeply satisfying and, as with most gardens, is a continual work in progress.

I’m a birdwatcher, and you need to provide them food, water and protection. We do have a bird bath. I don’t feed the birds in the summer, but I do in the winter. Our pond attracts ducks, herons and kingfishers, because they like the fish. We have flathead minnows in our pond and they’re great for mosquito control.

We like to keep a diary of our visitors. From inside the sunroom one day this past winter I photographed a Northern Goshawk feeding on a rabbit, 50 feet from the house. We leave seed heads of Echinacea and Rudbeckia over the winter, which goldfinches, siskins and other seed eaters enjoy.

2004-10-13-Wood-ducks---frequent-visitors_Larry-Griffin

Describe your garden and your favorite plants?

It’s not highly organized as gardens go. We find a plant we like and pop it in without much thought to plants around it. As we go, we improve it. We have over 200 perennials, which I keep on a database.

2012-4-29-Painted-Lady_Larry-Griffin

We have many plants which attract hummingbirds and butterflies such as Agastache, Scarlet Gilia, Monarda, Zauschneria, and Penstemon. There is nearly always some wildlife present out there to enjoy from our sunroom (“observation room”) overlooking the backyard.

We have a quite a few favorites. Salvia caradonna has dark purple stems and purple flowers. It’s a very handsome plant. We also have a variegated false sunflower, a Loraine Sunshine Heliopsis. It likes a little more water than xeric. One favorite plant is a penstemon from High Country Gardens, Penstemon barbatus, a red one that reseeds itself. It gets leggy occasionally, but it’s trouble free and a real pleasure.

2006-9-3-Rock-Garden_Larry-Griffin

Are there any special challenges gardening in your area?

We’re in zone 5/5b, so every year we lose some plants and try a few new ones.

2013-8-7-Sunken-garden-and-rock-garden-view_Larry-Griffin

We have a Hosta bed with a dozen varieties. The deer love those. Deer favorites also include Scabiosa, Columbines, Roses, Hostas. We have 10-11 acres that are completely wild and wooded, where the deer congregate. I cover the Hostas with bird netting or use Liquid Fence spray to keep them away.

2005-7-11-Mule-Deer-under-the-apple-tree_Larry-Griffin

Do you have any recommendations on deer resistant perennials?

Plants that are aromatic, they don’t seem to bother those, such as perennial Geraniums, Penstemon, Oenothera, Nepeta (Catmint). Salvias, they don’t bother very much, or Veronicas.

What strategies do you use to conserve water?

When I’m using my sprinkler system, it’s on automatic, but I’m always aware of what the sky has produced for us and always adjust based on what we’ve received. I don’t water when we’ve gotten good water from the sky.

2013-8-7-Upper-perennial-bed-and-waterfall_Larry-Griffin

If someone wanted to create a habitat garden, what advice would you give them?

Don’t try to overdo it. Take it at your own pace. I would encourage someone not to take on more than they can handle. Plan for the future and take it year by year, rather than try to do it all at once.

2015-7-21-View-of-upper-perennial-bed-and-pond_Larry-Griffin

What motivated you to create a wildscape garden?

The motivation comes from our lifelong love of gardening and wildlife, especially for birds, which I share with Janie, my wife. We have had NWF Backyard wildlife habitat certification since 2005, and we were on a Fort Collins Audubon Society Wildlife Garden Tour in 2007. We’ve seen 166 species of birds on or from our 2 ½ acre property over 18 years here.

2015-5-21-Black-crowned-Night-Heron_Larry-Griffin

It’s just the pleasure of having our daily garden tour. It’s a wonderful escape from the world around us. It’s very relaxing and gives us great satisfaction.

2013-6-15-Water-lily-season_Larry-Griffin
  1. Blanca Peak™ Rocky Mountain Beard Tongue, Penstemon strictus ‘WWG06’

    Blanca Peak™ White Penstemon (Penstemon strictus) is an award-winning white-flowered selection of our native Rocky Mountain Penstemon. Large, tubular flowers are a favorite nectar ...

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    Blanca Peak™ Rocky Mountain Penstemon Blanca Peak™ Rocky Mountain Beardtongue Penstemon strictus 'WWG06'
    Sale Price I Save 5%
    $10.99 Sale $10.44
    Per Plant - 5" Deep Pot
    Blanca Peak™ White Penstemon (Penstemon strictus) is an award-winning white-flowered selection of our native Rocky Mountain Penstemon. Large, tubular flowers are a favorite nectar source for bumblebees. Plant this easy-to-grow beardtongue for a sturdy, long-lived late-spring bloomer in your xeriscape. This beauty thrives in most well-drained soil with full sun exposure. A 2021 Plant Select® Winner. A High Country Gardens Introduction.
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  2. SteppeSuns® Sunset Glow Beard Tongue, Penstemon pinifolius ‘P019S', orange flowers

    A soft orange-flowered selection of pineleaf beardtongue, SteppeSuns® Sunset Glow Penstemon (Penstemon pinifolius) is a native cultivar that starts flowering in late spring and attr...

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    SteppeSuns® Sunset Glow Penstemon SteppeSuns® Sunset Glow Beardtongue Penstemon pinifolius 'P019S'
    Sale Price I Save 5%
    $8.99 Sale $8.54
    Per Plant - 2.5" Pot
    A soft orange-flowered selection of pineleaf beardtongue, SteppeSuns® Sunset Glow Penstemon (Penstemon pinifolius) is a native cultivar that starts flowering in late spring and attracts numerous pollinators and hummingbirds. Reminiscent of Colorado summer sunsets, its long-lasting blooms add a warm glow to dry area gardens. Finely textured evergreen foliage forms a compact mound for year-round interest.
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  3. Purple Beauty Creeping Phlox, Phlox subulata Purple Beauty growing in rock garden as groundcover

    An easy-to-grow groundcover, 'Purple Beauty' Creeping Phlox (Phlox subulata) carpets the mid-to-late spring garden with starry lavender-purple flowers. Whether you are looking for a ...

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    Purple Beauty Creeping Phlox Purple Beauty Creeping Phlox Phlox subulata Purple Beauty
    Sale Price I Save 5%
    $10.49 Sale $9.97
    Per Plant - 5" Deep Pot
    An easy-to-grow groundcover, 'Purple Beauty' Creeping Phlox (Phlox subulata) carpets the mid-to-late spring garden with starry lavender-purple flowers. Whether you are looking for a water-thrifty addition to flow through a rock garden, or a beautiful way to highlight a spring-blooming bulb collection, 'Purple Beauty' will add pollinator-friendly, drought-tolerant spring beauty to your garden.
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  4. Arrowleaf Buckwheat, Eriogonum compositum, clusters of creamy white flowers

    Arrowleaf Buckwheat (Eriogonum compositum) is a lovely Sulphur Buckwheat with large, showy clusters of creamy white or light yellow flowers and low-growing rosette of large heart-sha...

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    Arrowleaf Buckwheat Arrowleaf Buckwheat Eriogonum compositum
    Sale Price I Save 5%
    $12.99 Sale $12.34
    Per Plant - 2.5" Pot
    Arrowleaf Buckwheat (Eriogonum compositum) is a lovely Sulphur Buckwheat with large, showy clusters of creamy white or light yellow flowers and low-growing rosette of large heart-shaped leaves. Beautiful late spring blooms add playful texture to the garden. Native to the dry areas of the Pacific Northwest, this buckwheat is an essential habitat plant for butterflies, beneficial insects, and wildlife.
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