Every year, the National Garden Bureau (NGB) selects five crops to highlight because they are “popular, easy to grow, widely adaptable, genetically diverse, and versatile.” Not all of them are compatible with our local climates, however, so the Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado (ALCC) has narrowed them down to three plants of the year:
In these cold winter months, you can imagine warmer days as you consider what to plant this spring. To help you decide, the NGB has announced their “Year of the” crops for 2020. Trend-watching Colorado gardeners will be happy to learn that several of the plants can grow well in the state’s unique growing conditions.
Year of the Iris
Irises are beautiful, relatively low-maintenance plants that enjoy sunny Colorado days. They can thrive in the state’s dry, alkaline soil and at higher elevations. There are even natives—Rocky Mountain iris—for those interested in having more native plants in their landscape.
Fun fact: The name iris comes from the Greek word for rainbow, and irises grow in nearly every color of the rainbow except red.
Year of the Lavender
This drought-tolerant, fragrant plant produces beautiful flowers and can grow as a shrub. Whether you harvest it for food (be sure to buy food-grade lavender plants for your herbs de Provence or lavender lattes), floral arrangements or aromatherapy, it will add striking color and scent to your landscape.
Fun fact: Some folks recommend lavender oil to soothe anxiety, to help with sleep or as a bug repellant.
NGB always includes an edible plant among their recommendations. This year they’ve chosen corn, which is a delicious crop that’s well worth the effort.