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Craig Seymour
Colorado State University Extension Master Gardener in Larimer County
March 14, 2015

Planting at the Trial Gardens - photo by Craig Seymour

As the sporadic winter temperatures climbed into the 60s and 70s, gardeners’ thoughts couldn’t help but shift to spring and the start of a new season. Yet Coloradoans know winter was just on a reprieve and there were many days of winter ahead. To help transition the rest of winter into spring there are some very good web sites to view new and interesting plants, gain information for self-improvement or to broaden gardening interest.

[] Start this site on the home page to view the mission and purpose of the Colorado State University Flower Trial Gardens, one of the most visited summer attractions in Fort Collins and is truly a sight to behold. There are eight categories to explore on the site. A click on “trials” opens to three more categories (annuals, perennials and cool season) to investigate. Another click opens a vast array of photographs and plant information to enjoy. It is a site to return to again and again.

[] Plant Select® is a collaborative effort between Colorado State University and The Denver Botanic Gardens. Plant Select® plants are durable, resilient, unique and vibrant selections for western gardens. The web site includes outstanding photographs and detailed information to insure a successful planting. Plant Select® plants are identified by their special plant tag and are available at most local nurseries.

[]The Denver Botanic Garden is a treasure in itself. Its web site establishes it as a garden, art institute, research engine, education center and supporter of plant development specific to the prairies, Front Range and Rocky Mountains.

[] PlantTalk Colorado provides reliable and timely information on more than 500 horticultural topics. It is a collaborative program between Colorado State University, The Denver Botanic Garden and the Green Industries of Colorado. The search categories open topics that can be reaffirming and insightful to gardeners across the spectrum of gardening abilities. It is a web site with year-around applications.

[] This web site is a gateway site to the vast library of CSU Extension publications in any of eight categories. The information is science-based and research proven by agricultural land grant institutions. Information pertaining to the Colorado Master Gardener program, a part of Extension, can also be found under the CMG Garden Note publications.

[] The Gardens on Spring Creek is a city of Fort Collins garden. The web site features the dynamics of the garden, its activities and is a gateway to the garden itself.

[] The CSU Plant Environmental Research Center (PERC) is a garden treasure on the CSU campus along west Lake Street. Once on the home page a click opens the viewer to annuals, herbaceous perennials or the arboretum. It is both inspirational and educational, as well as a winter escape to summer beauty.

[] The Green Industries of Colorado collaborates with CSU and the Denver Botanic Gardens on plant development, introductions and application to Colorado nurseries and gardens. Their best management practices have extensive application to the unique growing conditions in area gardens.

All gardeners know the annual cycle of reviewing last years successes and problems, searching for information to solve issues or to enhance the garden and planning next years new plantings and production improvements. There is not a better time to get started than the late winter months. Searching through computer sites can bring a large trove of beautiful plants and stimulating information into the home and mind.

Planting at the Trial Gardens photo by Craig Seymour.

The author has received training through Colorado State University Extension’s Master Gardener program and is a Master Gardener volunteer for Larimer County.


Larimer County is a county-based outreach of Colorado State University Extension providing information you can trust to deal with current issues in agriculture, horticulture, nutrition and food safety, 4-H, small acreage, money management and parenting. For more information about CSU Extension in Larimer County, call (970) 498-6000 or visit


Looking for additional gardening information? Check out the CSU Extension Horticulture Agent blog at for timely updates about gardening around the state.


Visit PlantTalk Colorado ™ for fast answers to your gardening questions! PlantTalk is a cooperation between Colorado State University Extension, GreenCo and Denver Botanic Gardens.