Collecting Seed for the Seed Swap

The Seed Swap is October 7, 2017! Start harvesting seed now!

Milkweed-seed

Milkweed seed is ripe when the pods burst. Remove the seed from the fluff (pappus) and store it in a envelope to bring to the seed swap.

What’s going to seed in your garden? Saving seed to propagate your own plants is a rewarding way to expand your native plant garden and share your favorites with friends at the Seed Swap.

As you stroll through your garden, make a habit of  noticing what’s setting seed. If you find yourself reaching for the pruners to lop off an “ugly” seed head, stop! Let the seed mature, harvest some and leave the rest for the birds and other seed-eating creatures. In my garden, most of the grasses are ripening now, as are the penstemons, paintbrush, and purple prairie clover.

Seed is ripe when it is hard, and brown or black. If you open a seed head or pod and find a small green seed that is soft and squishy, wait a week and check again. It’s important for the seed to be completely dry at harvest or mold can grow during storage. With some plants, if you miss seed maturation by a few days, you’ll find the seed has already dispersed.

The easiest way to harvest seed is to simply snip the flower stalks with seed heads, bundle them loosely and stuff them head first into a paper bag. Tie the bag around the stalks (don’t forget to strip the leaves off first) and hang the bag upside down in a dark, cool room. As the pods and seed heads dry, the seeds will burst out and fall into the bag. A gentle shake can speed the process. Some seed, like milkweed, will need to be hand separated from its capsule, pod and any remaining chaff.

You can read additional seed gathering and cleaning tips from the California Native Plant Society.

Once you have your seed separated from the chaff, it’s time for seed inspection. You may want a magnifying glass for small seed. Discard seed with insect larvae and seed that appears smaller and less plump, as it is probably not viable. Store the seed in paper envelopes labeled with the species name and year harvested. Ideally, you should store your envelopes in the refrigerator but a cold dark and dry corner of the basement will work too.

For information on the Seed Swap at the CoNPS Fall Festival and how to prepare your seed for the Seed Swap, see Chapter Events.

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Join Us at Our Introductory Meeting!

Hello Wild Ones!

Thank you for stopping by our exhibit at the Landscaping with Colorado Native Plants Conference and signing up to hear more about our Front Range Wild Ones Introductory Meeting. We are excited to have you as part of our community!

You are receiving this email because you have specifically expressed interest in attending our first 2017 meeting! The goal of this meeting is to introduce ourselves and what we do as a Wild Ones chapter.

Come find out what great ideas we have to help you with your native plant garden. We are also interested to know what events, speakers, workshops, and more you would like to see on the calendar. What do you feel passionate about? How can you contribute your time and expertise?

The Details:

  • Date: Wednesday March 29, 2017
  • Location: Green Spaces (2590 Walnut Street, Denver, CO, 80205)
  • Time: 6:30 pm
  • Other Details: Street parking is available and should be fairly easy. Snacks will be available.

Visit our Calendar of Events Page for more information on other events throughout the year. We will be hosting events of our own as well as partnering with and attending other regional organizational events. Follow this link: Calendar of Events

IMPORTANT: If you interested in attending the meeting please RSVP by emailing us frontrangewildones@gmail.com letting us know you will be able to come!

Join the Movement!

 

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2016 June Organizational Meeting: Healing the Earth One Yard at a Time

Monday, June 13, 2016, at 6 pm, Room L-263
College Hill Library at Front Range Community College
3705 West 112th Avenue
Westminster, CO 80031
The library is located at the west end of the Front Range Community College campus. It is a joint public-academic library open to everyone.

Please RSVP to Linda at FrontRangeWildOnes@gmail.com if you will be attending. 

Come find out what Wild Ones is all about! If you are interested in joining the movement to create beautiful life-filled landscapes that support pollinators,  come to our June meeting. We will share the Wild Ones mission, programs and resources. We are guided by the philosophy of Lorrie Otto . . .

“If suburbia were landscaped with meadows, prairies, thickets, or forests, or combinations of these, then the water would sparkle, fish would be good to eat again, birds would sing and human spirits would soar.”

Wild Ones continues to lead the natural landscaping movement as we explore, teach, and change the practice of gardening in our Front Range communities and around the country toward using native plants.

Our Chapter Meetings are open to members and non-members. At this June meeting we’ll be discussing future yard tours and speakers for meetings. We’ll also share information about the 2017 Landscaping with Colorado Native Plants Conference! 

Please contact Linda at FrontRangeWildOnes@gmail.com if you would like more information.

Wild Ones mission statement:

Wild Ones: Native Plants, Natural Landscapes promotes environmentally sound landscaping practices to preserve biodiversity through the preservation, restoration and establishment of native plant communities. Wild Ones is a not-for-profit environmental education and advocacy organization.

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Save the Date!

2017 Landscaping with Colorado Native Plants Conference

Saturday, February 11, 2017

The Ranch Events Complex in Loveland, CO.

Front Range Wild Ones is partnering with several other Colorado non-profits to bring you this unique opportunity to learn how to create a beautiful native landscape from the ground up!

The Conference Planning Committee has carefully reviewed the evaluations from the 2016 Conference and we will have some exciting changes for 2017. We hope you will be able to join us. We are looking for volunteers to help plan the conference. If you’d like to help please contact Linda at FrontRangeWildOnes@gmail.com.

This conference is presented by a partnership of:

  • Wild Ones – Front Range Chapter
  • Butterfly Pavilion
  • Colorado Native Plant Society
  • Colorado State University Extension
  • Denver Botanic Gardens
  • High Plains Environmental Center
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Get Ready for the Colorado Native Plant Conference!

cropped-summer-scale_filter-1A partnership of Colorado non-profits are organizing the first Landscaping with Colorado Native Plants Conference, March 12, 2016, in Loveland, CO. “With the increased interest in providing habitat for pollinators, and using less irrigation in our landscapes, we feel the time is right to offer a full-day of seminars on using native plants in the landscape,” says Susan Crick Smith of Front Range Wild Ones. “The Conference will inspire and educate homeowners and landscapers to use more Colorado native plants in their water-wise gardens.”

Noted Colorado author and plant biologist, Susan Tweit, will start the conference with the inspiring story of how her efforts in restoring a blighted industrial property in Salida, CO, grew into a movement. Her talk, “The Ditch and the Meadow: How Native Plants and Gardeners Revived a Neighborhood and Changed the Culture of a Town” will include photos of the park and trail system that grew out of her efforts.

Most of the day will include sessions on how to use native plants in the landscape. Homeowners, landscape professionals and designers are encouraged to attend to gain insights on design, rainwater harvesting, plant selection, and creating habitats for pollinators and wildlife. Attendees will have a choice of three seminars from the following list:

  • Designing with Natives: Karla Dakin of K. Dakin Design, Louisville
  • Construction of Native Landscapes: Alison Peck of Matrix Gardens, Boulder
  • Creating and Maximizing Micro-Climates in Your Native Garden: Jim Tolstrup of High Plains Environmental Center, Loveland
  • Edible and Medicinal Native Plants: Karen Vail and Mary O’Brien of Steamboat Springs and Hayden
  • Native Plants for Every Situation: Irene Shonle of Gilpin County CSU Extension Program
  • Habitat Gardens: Susan Crick Smith of Front Range Wild Ones, Denver

The Conference will end with five Virtual Garden Tours from homeowners and landscape designers who retrofitted traditionally landscaped yards with native plants. Themes include a foothills rock garden, no-lawn yard, prairie garden, rain-powered landscape and a habitat garden. “If you’ve ever wondered what a suburban landscape with native plants would look like, these virtual garden tours will surely provide inspiration and ideas for your own yard,” Smith says.

Registration is $90 and includes lunch, refreshments, and access to vendors and non-profit organizations who can provide additional information. Students, with valid student identification, can register for $45. Please visit www.landscapingwithcoloradonativeplants.wordpress.com/ to learn more and to register.

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Collect Seed From Your Garden!

Green milkweed seed pod

Green milkweed pods are not ready for seed harvest. Wait until the pods start to turn brown and split open.

The Seed Swap is Sept. 19th! Start harvesting seed now!

What’s going to seed in your garden? I’m seeing plenty of seed harvesting opportunities. Saving seed to propagate your own plants is a rewarding way to expand your native plant garden and share your favorites with friends at the Seed Swap next month.

As you stroll through your garden, make a habit of  noticing what’s setting seed. If you find yourself reaching for the pruners to lop off an “ugly” seed head, stop! Let the seed mature, harvest some and leave the rest for the birds and other seed-eating creatures. In my garden, most of the grasses are ripening now, as are the penstemons, paintbrush, and purple prairie clover.

Seed is ripe when it is hard, and brown or black. If you open a seed head or pod and find a small green seed that is soft and squishy, wait a week and check again. It’s important for the seed to be completely dry at harvest or mold can grow during storage. With some plants, if you miss seed maturation by a few days, you’ll find the seed has already dispersed.

The easiest way to harvest seed is to simply snip the flower stalks with seed heads, bundle them loosely and stuff them head first into a paper bag. Tie the bag around the stalks (don’t forget to strip the leaves off first) and hang the bag upside down in a dark, cool room. As the pods and seed heads dry, the seeds will burst out and fall into the bag. A gentle shake can speed the process.

Purple Prarie Clover

Purple Prairie Clover is already shedding its seed.

You can read additional seed gathering and cleaning tips from the California Native Plant Society.

Once you have your seed separated from the chaff, it’s time for seed inspection. You may want a magnifying glass for small seed. Discard seed with insect larvae and seed that appears smaller and less plump, as it is probably not viable. Store the seed in paper envelopes labeled with the species name and year harvested. Ideally, you should store your envelopes in the refrigerator but I usually just find a cold dark corner of the basement where they happily snooze until I’m tired of winter and ready to dig in the dirt.

For information on how to prepare your seed for the Seed Swap, see Chapter Events.

—Linda M. Hellow, Front Range Wild Ones Secretary

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Conference

SAVE THE DATE!

Landscaping with Colorado Native Plants Conference

Saturday, March 12, 2016

at The Ranch Events Complex, McKee Building
(5280 Arena Circle, Loveland, CO  80538)

More details to follow!

This conference is presented by a partnership of:

  • Wild Ones – Front Range Chapter
  • Butterfly Pavilion
  • Colorado Native Plant Society
  • Colorado State University Extension
  • Denver Botanic Gardens
  • Front Range Sustainable Landscaping Coalition
  • High Plains Environmental Center
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