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Little Piece of Wyoming Garden Heaven

Aug 7, 2008
The summer temperature can reach 115 F and plummet to -25 F in the winter. The average wind is 15-20 mph, but can hit 60-70mph on a windy day. Did I mention that we also have the occasional tornado? Most areas also have very dense, sandy or rocky soil that does not retain water. We also have rabbits and deer that just live to eat up your flower beds.

We can go months without a drop of rain, and then get 8 inches in one day. The wind usually comes up the next day and dries everything out though. Or, we can get up to 4 feet of snow and -20 temperatures, and the next day the sun will come out and melt it all. All this water usually runs off either because the ground is hard packed and sun baked or frozen solid. This translates into little to no water retention in the soil.

The soil itself is not plant friendly. It tends to be packed, dense, and free draining. Most normally, if you intend to grow anything other than native flora and cacti, the generous application of peat moss and organic material is necessary, as well as a fairly deep layer of mulch.

The wind presents its own set of challenges. Not only does it have the drying effects mentioned above, but mulch, such as shredded bark, often wind up in the grass instead of the bed. It also plays havoc with the structural integrity of all of your plants. You can expect to spend most of the day following windy day pruning broken stems and limbs from you shrubs and tall bedding plants, and picking up fallen branches and leaves.

One of the best things about living in Wyoming is the wildlife. Unfortunately, it is also one of the hardest things for a gardener to deal with. After a long winter, we wait with baited breath for the first green shoots and blush of early spring flowers to appear. Better take a picture. As soon as it appears, it's gone. Having been consumed by the deer, antelope, rabbits, and occasional squirrel. Sometimes repellants work, sometimes they don't.

The biggest challenge to me personally is the temperature swing. It is very difficult to find plants that will take both the high temperature and drought of the summer and the bitter cold of the winter. Most people around here plant lots of drought tolerant annuals such as petunias. I personally, am not particularly fond of spending $200 a year on bedding plants. I love plants that self seed or are perennial.

With all these challenges, there tend to be three types of gardeners. They are those who defy nature, those who work with it, and those who opt for the little to no maintenance garden. The first type tends to plant tons of colorful annuals in either beds or containers. All maintained with generous application of water, repellants, and fertilizer. The second type relies heavily on native plants, hearty shrubs, drip irrigation, and lots of peat moss and mulch. The third type usually zeroscapes with rocks and/or cactus.

Each type produces beautiful results. Each gardener must decide for themselves how much time and resources to invest.
About the Author
Chris Jensen is a contributing author and editor of Jetfly Blog. For more related articles and views visit Jetfly Home & Garden Blog now. Also, for the best up-to-date related online products, check out Jetfly Garden Structure and Fencing Shop for todays current online deals.
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