Week 12 – Out with the old, In with the new


BYE BYE Pansies!!

BYE BYE Pansies!!

Today in the garden the apprentices got rid of the plants that are cool loving and got ready for the hot weather.  That means out with the pansies and cool weather veggies and in with the beautiful summer bloomers and peppers and other heat loving veggies.

Around the garden today:

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Allison and Matt, and Sally and Lisa pulled out old pansies and repotted with summer plants.  Steffen and Jerid harvested cool weather veggies and planted some summer fare like tomatoes, peppers and squash.

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The pansies have done really well this year and still look good and sometimes it’s really hard to get rid of them but as the days get warmer they’ll wilt and get sick and you’ll think, why didn’t I do that two weeks ago.

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There are many beautiful plants you can use to redo your pots and container gardens.  Remember the three plants (this term coined by non other than our own Rob Proctor) you can use in your pots:

Thrillers – they are the tall beautiful plants that take your breath away when they bloom.  Geraniums, begonias (Hot Wings like heat – some like shade so find the right ones), cannas, hydrangeas, any plant that loves the summer heat and is tall.  It could be a grass or a spike as well.  It doesn’t necessarily have to stick up in the middle of your pot.  If you have a nice big pot you can stagger them, for example, put three in a pot.

Fillers – these are plants that are less tall that will fill in the pot around the thrillers.  They may bloom or they may be gorgeous variegated colored plants like sun coleus that fill in and give lots of color.

Spillers – these are plants you can put around the outside and they will start spilling out over the outside of the pot.  Things like sweet potato vine, wave petunias, and other vining plants.  They can bloom or there are some really pretty colored viny plants you can get.  If your fillers don’t bloom, maybe a spiller that does or vice versa.

Pick a color theme.  Use sunset colors.  Use cool colors.  Use complementary colors.  Use the same color in different shades for a mono theme.  Go wild and mix it up.  Whatever is pleasing to you because you have to look at it.  Have a plan when you go into the store.  Sometimes there are so many beautiful plants and I start wandering around putting stuff in my basket and then all of a sudden I forget they all don’t like the same amount of sun or heat and I have to start over because I’ve picked up things that won’t fill the pot the way I want.  It’s easier when you go if you have a list of each pot, and how many sun and shade plants you need for each pot, and the color theme for each pot.  If you just have a list of how many shade and sun plants you need and you want different color themes, you might not end up with the right of amount of plants for the right pot.  In the summer heat, bigger is better.  A small pot dries out so quickly.  One big pot costs the same to fill as a couple of small pots and your results will be better.  It will hold the moisture longer.

The second thing to remember is:  Right plant, right place.  You can get a variety of beautiful bloomers and non-bloomers in beautiful colors in both shade and sun plants.  Pick the right plants for your conditions and you will be successful.   Put petunias in the shade and you’ll wonder why they won’t bloom.  Put coleus and impatiens in the sun and you’ll wonder why they wilt.  Some plants come in shade and heat varieties.  Lobelia likes to be cooler but there is a hardy variety that can take heat.  Some coleus like shade but there is are varieties of sun coleus that take the sun and heat.  They don’t really like to be mixed so figure out how much sun your pot will get during the day and plant accordingly.

Go to a local garden center for good advice.  If you’re not sure whether a plant likes sun or not, just ask.  Remember that you can’t look at the tags on a plant and figure out what it will do here.  The tags put in plants are tags that go across the whole nation.  We are a mile closer to the sun so plants that do well in sun in some states may not do so well here so don’t be afraid to ask.  Some garden centers have their plants separated into shade and sun sections.   Put the right plant in the right place, water when it needs it and fertilize and you’ll be successful.

I like Age Old Organics,  Bloom and Grow for plants and Garden Tone and Tomato Tone for veggies.  There are others out there.  For veggies for sure get an organic fertilizer.  Tomatoes like different fertilizer than plants.  Remember, you are what you eat!!

Now, get out there and get gardening!!

To see the segment for this week go to:  http://www.9news.com/story/life/home-garden/proctors-tips/2014/06/18/replacing-pansies/10671303/


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Week 11 – It’s time for a trim


The ever important deadheading

The ever important deadheading

Today was all about trimming stuff.  Tree stuff, plant stuff, old bloom stuff.

Since we just had the tour and there was a special blog about it I’m not doing photos from around the garden today.  See previous post for eye candy visions.

Deadheading is always important in your container gardens as well as in your regular garden.  The more you deadhead and remove the old blooms, the more you’ll get healthier, bigger, more beautiful blooms.  A plant has a mission and that is to survive and produce seed.  Producing seeds takes energy away from producing bigger more beautiful blooms.  Remove those old heads along with the seed.  One example is a petunia.  If you just pull the bloom out you’re leaving the seed.  Pinch right underneath where the bloom comes out and you’ll remove the seed along with the old bloom!  And remember to add a high phosphate fertilizer (I love the Old Age Organics Bloom) to make them big and beautiful.  Fertilize every 7 – 10 days!!  Steffen was all about fertilizing the pots today and led the brigade.  At last count I knew there were 600 or so but Sally made a count today and there are 760.  Yes, that is right, and no there is not a drip system.  All pots are hand watered with a hose, and fertilized with liquid organic fertilizer in watering cans as well as there is no sprinkler system in the yard or garden.  Just imagine keeping them deadheaded!!

If you have plants that are almost done for the season and you would like them to spread throughout the garden you can let them go to seed.  They will scatter themselves or you can harvest the seed and sprinkle it where you’d like more.  Dill is fun to let go to seed because the Swallowtails reproduce in the head of the dill.  So, it’s your choice!!

You can cut back all the spent iris now.  Cut the stalk down as far as you can.  Don’t whack off all the foliage as it is still green, adds some color, and feeds and gives nutrients to your rhizomes for next year.  Iris also produce a seed that sucks the energy from replenishing the rhizome so do it now for healthier iris next year.  Some people say that the don’t like all the leaves sticking up with no blooms.  Plant some annuals around them if you want a more attractive look there or make some space and plant some blooming perennials amongst them.  In the Spring when they are all dried up is when you can clean them up or till them into the soil for some nice organic matter.

It looks like Jerid and Adam and Rob were using the pole pruners to reach some high dead branches on a tree.  It’s not time to prune all trees, bushes or shrubs but if you have any old dead limbs that need to be taken out you can do that any time.  By now you can see the limbs that didn’t leaf out or you can tell are dead.  I can trim up and saw out some small stuff but if it’s above my head and could whack me a good one when it falls down I’ll just leave that for someone else to do.

It’s also time to cut back asters and mums.  They are a later blooming plant and if you trim them back by about a 1/3 or so they will make nicer mounds with better, healthier, and a lot more blooms.  If you would like them to mound just trim them in a mound shape.  If you don’t trim them back they will grow tall and straggly and fall over.  Tall and straggly, nice mounds with more pretty blooms?   Your choice.

Now, get out there and get gardening!!

To view this week’s segment go to:  http://www.9news.com/story/life/home-garden/proctors-tips/2014/06/12/proctor-asters-mums/10369719/




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Proctor/Macke Garden Tour for the Tennyson Center for Children


It was a pleasant day for a walk in the garden.  It was overcast but a beautiful day, especially for taking pictures.  Refreshments were served on the lawn and everyone had a wonderful time.  The apprentices were on hand for answering questions and enjoyed the garden without working in it!!

It did rain just as I was leaving.  I saw a few people with hoods and umbrellas still enjoying the garden.

I constantly hear people saying he’s lucky to have the apprentices to do all that work.  In reality, we are there one hour a week and part of that time is filming the segment.  Occasionally we stay a little longer if we like or pop in an extra few minutes once in a while like when we’re getting ready for a tour, but really, we don’t do an inth of what goes on in that garden.

People don’t believe us that the garden and pots are hand watered, but it’s true.  A sprinkler is set on the lawn and moved around by hand but the pots are all hand watered and hand fertilized and deadheaded.  It’s a lot of work and is done by none other than Rob and David.  That garden is a full time job!!

That garden is so lush with plants that it holds moisture really well.  The plant foliage keeps the sun from reaching the soil and drying it out so it doesn’t have to be watered as much as we probably water our own.   The more open space we fill with rock (attracts and retains heat) and mulch, the more the moisture can evaporate.

Also, remember the garden was not built in a day.  It’s been there a long while and many of the plants come back year after year.  New plants  may be added , or divided and moved around but there are some oldies but goodies in that garden that look beautiful year after year.  Annuals are tucked in to give it more color.  It’s a constant work in progress.

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Week 10 – Portable Gardens and a Contest

This is the second post today.  There is a special for the upcoming Garden Party and Tour so please make sure you see the invitation.


Today the apprentices Matt, Allison and Michelle planted a portable garden.  Also, I’m having a portable garden contest.  See the details below.

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Portable gardens are great.  You can plant them up and use them as a welcome arrangement for your guests; is it too hot? move them in the shade; is it too cool? move them in the sun; is it going to hail? move them under cover.  You can plant some veggies or make it beautiful (not that veggies are ugly but you know what I mean).  Cover up that ugly spot in the lawn so your guests don’t have to look at it.

Get creative.  Plant what you want in it.  Just make sure whatever you choose has good drainage.  An old wheel barrow may have enough leaks and holes but if not make sure it has a way to drain.  Maybe a cute old wagon?  Maybe an old bicycle with a basket on it?  Hmmmm, what would you choose?  Fill it with some good soil (remember no wood chips) and plant away.

Let’s have some fun!!  I’m having a contest for my readers.  Post pictures of your portable gardens in my comment section.  I will post them in a special blog post and will have the apprentices help me choose one winner.  The more creative and unique the better.  Let’s see them!!  I know you’re creative and they are out there.  Paste them in the comment section with your first name and your city by June 16th.  I know there are readers out there from other countries and all are welcome to participate.  I will announce a winner on the June 19th blog.


Apprentices are not eligible

the portable garden must be able to be moved around easily

it must be owned by you and reside on your property and be your creation


If you don’t already have one you have about 10 days to get crackin’

I’ll mail the winner a softcover copy of my book Rob and David’s Garden.   This is a book I made and shows the beautiful garden that Rob and David have created and we get to work in every week.  To see a copy of the book just look to the right on the blog page and under Blogroll you will see some links.  Click on Rob and David’s Garden book and you can preview it.  It’s a $24.00 value so come on.  We want to see how creative you all are. 

Now, get out there and get gardening!!

To see this week’s segment on portable gardens please go to:  http://www.9news.com/story/life/home-garden/proctors-tips/2014/06/05/proctor-portable-garden/10005745/






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It’s a Garden Party

yard entrance to the folly


Proctor-Macke Garden

Sunday, June 8

9:00 am to 2:00 pm

3030 W. 46th Avenue (on the corner of 46th and Federal)

$10 donation – 100% will go to the Tennyson Center for Children

Refreshments will be served on the back lawn.

Please enter through the front door and enjoy looking at Rob and David’s great century old house and proceed through to the back porch and enter the wonderland of the Proctor/Macke Garden.

Tour the garden, have refreshments, meet the apprentices and stump them with all of your questions.

This is just a teaser compared to what you’ll experience in the garden:

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Week 9 – Stop and smell the roses


Today the apprentices talked about rose care and continued to get the garden ready for the upcoming tour.

Around the garden today:

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Some roses are tricky but most are easy to grow.  I have some that are 30 years old and I have to admit I’m not the best at taking care of them.  I’m glad they pretty  much take care of themselves.

When planting roses in Colorado the bud union (where all the canes start coming out – looks like a ball) should be about 2 – 3 inches under the soil.  Give them some compost in the soil when you plant them, water and fertilize and you should be successful.  Roses like heat so plant in a spot where they will get at least 6 hours of sun a day.  Prune roses in the Spring when the canes start to turn green.  In the past they have bred the smell out of roses when making hybrids which spoils all the fun for me.  Who can resist stopping to smell the roses?  The past couple of years they are trying to breed the nice roses and bring back the smell.  Just give me an old fashioned rose!!

My Rose expert friend says a good way to remember when to fertilize is to do it every major holiday.  Memorial Day, July 4th, and Labor Day should do the trick.  Mile High Rose Food is a great fertilizer made for Colorado.

Try to stay away from systemics as they kill the good and bad bugs.  If you get aphids, ladybugs work really well as well as you can mix up some Dr Bronner’s (pink with the peppermint) soap into a spray bottle and spray them.  I’m sure there are also organics you can try.

Everyone continued to get the garden ready for the tour this coming weekend.  Come on down to 3030 W 46th Avenue, June 8th.  Tickets are a $10 donation to the Tennyson Center for Children.  The tour is from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm.  Refreshments will be served.  All admission goes to the children’s center.

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Now, get out there and get gardening!!

To see this week’s segment please visit:  http://www.9news.com/story/life/home-garden/proctors-tips/2014/05/29/grow-great-roses/9713989/



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Week 8 – It’s time for summer bulbs and time for tour

Around the garden today:

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Bulbs, corms, rhizomes, tubers, whatever the type, they come in red, orange, green, purple, white, yellow, small, medium, large, and gigantic.

Dahlias, canna, calla lilies and gladiolus are a few of the things you can plant right now for beautiful summer flowers.  They are tropical in origin, some from Mexico, some from South Africa.  They like at least 6 hours of sun a day.



Plant them in pots or plant them in the ground.  Cover with a few inches of soil.  Deadhead and water and you’ll enjoy them all summer.  I think my favorite has to be dinner plate dahlias.  They are GIGANTIC.  Actually the bloom is as large as a dinner plate.  Just gorgeous.

These type of bulbs need to be dug up every year and stored over the winter in a cool (not freezing) dark place as they are not cold hardy here in Colorado.

Everyone was also getting the garden ready for the June tour.  The apprentices were busy filling pots with soil, planting pots and adding “spillers and fillers” to some pots that need more interest or foliage.  Lisa planted up some pots for the front porch.  Adam was running around filling pots with soil.  Jerid was hanging some already potted containers.  Heather was busy going around and filling pots with spillers.  Kathy was busy trimming all the thyme in the veggie garden and pulling weeds.  Julie and Patty were busy fertilizing the hundreds of pots.  In between all that we filmed the segment for bulbs today.

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A fun and busy day.  Only two weeks until the first tour.

Now, get out there and get gardening!!

To view today’s segment, please visit:  http://www.9news.com/story/life/home-garden/proctors-tips/2014/05/22/planting-summer-bulbs/9438279/




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Week 7 – Did your plants make it?

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Darn those pesky late Spring snow storms.  This one had a hard freeze with it and in varying locations 4 inches to a couple of feet of snow.  What???

The apprentices helped Rob bring back out all the pots he had to drag indoors and remove all the sheets and coverings from other things in the garden.

I was really whining that it was destroying my lilac blooms and iris, and my cherry and choke cherry blossoms.  Well, all in all, my choke cherry blossoms look great, my lilacs fared better than I thought they would, and my iris are starting to open.  The only thing in doubt may be how many cherries I get on my Montmorency Cherry tree.

Many of you with container gardens and smaller plants and trees covered them with sheets, or as we did this year, covered our iris with socks.  Now, it’s time to uncover and be gentle with the plants we’ve saved.

Gently remove any sheets and socks so you don’t break of damage the flowers on your plants.  If you’ve covered something in the middle of the garden, step lightly and the least you can so you don’t compact the soil that is still wet.  Plants need oxygen and moisture just like we do to live and if you step on the soil and compact it, the plants will not be able to get oxygen and the water won’t soak in there so the plants will die.

I don’t need to tell you not to actually step on any of the plants because we all know what happens when you do that.

If you have some sad looking plants and don’t know what to do and wonder if they’ll recover, the best thing to do is leave them alone and see what happens.  Plants have this great ability to take care of themselves sometimes so let nature take its course and see if they will straighten themselves up.  My choke cherry trees were bent over three times and almost touching the ground (they are probably 20-30 feet tall and very flexible).  I went out and kept whacking the snow off of them and they have straightened up like nothing ever bothered them.

If you’re a bad person and have already planted your tomatoes and other warm weather annuals chances are you will most likely have to replace them.  Even if they made it through it may stunt their growth.  Warm weather annuals are things like marigolds, zinnias, coleus, basil, tomatoes, eggplant, and any other thing that won’t grow now.  You have the perfect excuse.  IT WAS THE WEATHER!  AND THIS TIME IT REALLY IS!

Now, get out there and get gardening!!

Unfortunately I was not there and wasn’t able to play today.   Here is a video from last year.  Same dilemma, different people.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aucuPjZlVLk

To see today’s segment go to:  http://www.9news.com/story/life/home-garden/proctors-tips/2014/05/15/proctor-recover-from-the-storm/9093757/


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Week 6 – Faux Pots and Garden Gutter Trenches

Today we painted Faux Pots to look like aged terra cotta and one of my favorites, the garden gutter or trench; a great and free way to edge and keep grass out of your garden.

Around the garden today:

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Every year we paint faux pots.  This is an inexpensive way to make an expensive looking pots.  If you have some old pots, or thrift store pots, or containers that came with plants in them you can paint them up and make them look old and aged.  Rob took a terra cotta pot and took it to the paint store and asked them to duplicate the color so he could paint his pots to look like terra cotta.  This is also a great way to use up any old paint you have lying around.  Paint your pot terra cotta, take another color and streak it and rub it down or dry brush it.  Take another color if you like and add it to the mix.  You can take a light color and dry brush or add some paint around the sharp edges of around the bottom and rub it off with a cloth to make it look like it has salt build up like old terra cotta pots.  You can also buy textured paint to make it look like salt build up.  A fun inexpensive project using thrift store pots and old leftover paint.  Do what you like, do what you feel!!  Just remember if you are planting a container garden and get old pots from a thrift store, make sure they have holes for drainage.  Drill out holes if needed.  If your pot can’t drain you’ll have a swamp and your plants will die.

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Adam and Michelle and the rest of the gang did some garden trenching also called a garden gutter.  I love this.  This is a free, inexpensive way to edge your garden and keep grass out of it without spending a lot on edging or brick or whatever else you use to edge a garden.  The grass always seems to find a way through or under those edging ideas.  The garden trench is a European way they have used for years.  Dig down to the bottom of the grass roots (about 6 inches).  Dig out the grass 6 to 8 inches wide.  The grass can’t grow into air so can’t creep across into your garden.  Make sure you get all the soil out of the gutter as well as any grass roots.  Yes, I know on a slope it doesn’t work very well.  Use your own judgement.  Your goal is to keep the trench soil free so if soil can run downhill when you water use a different method.  If you want a perfectly straight edge you can run a string between two posts as a guideline.  It takes a lot of time to get grass out of a garden but once you do it and dig your trench, your garden should stay grass free.

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In another part of the garden, Sally, Steffen, Jerid and Lisa took pots of tulips, daffodils, and hyacinth that are spent and knocked all the soil off of the bulbs and put it in a trash can so it can be reused.  They divided up the bulbs into nice and neat piles and everyone got to take AS MANY of these bulbs that they wanted to plant in their gardens.

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Get out there and get gardening!!

To see this week’s segment go to:  http://www.9news.com/story/life/home-garden/proctors-tips/2014/05/08/proctor-edge-lawn-transform-your-pots/8841573/


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Week 5 – Garden Math, Fertilizing and the Dead Heads

1 divided by 2 = 2.  1 divided by 4 = 4 right?  Well, today it does.  It’s time to dig up and divide your plants and it’s also time to start fertilizing those container gardens.

Around the garden today:

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It’s still pretty cool outside right now and it’s a great time to dig up any perennials you want to divide and give away or transplant.  When it’s really hot outside it’s hard for plants to be abused and then try to regrow.  Cool weather is not as stressful for the divided transplants.  To divide your plants, dig up a clump, take a shovel or serrated knife and cut it into as many pieces as you would like (as long as there is at least one plant in the clump).  We dug up some sunflowers and Veronica and the ever popular Cow Parsnip today.  We divided the sunflowers and Veronica into 2 to four clumps.  Most of it went home with the apprentices today.  YAY!!  FREE PLANTS.   We dug up some Sedum and transplanted it to another part of the garden.

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It’s time to start fertilizing your container gardens.  Pots should be fertilized every 7 to 10 days.  For blooming plants you need a fertilizer with a high phosphorus content.  This is the middle number on the bottle.  Fertilizer has 3 numbers like 5 – 10 – 5.  The higher the middle number the better for your blooming plants.  I LOVE Age Old Bloom and Age Old Grow.  For plants that have blooms I use 1 oz of Bloom per 1 gallon of water.  The best way is to use a watering can.  Fertilizers that you put on the end of the hose and spray through them don’t always give the right amount of fertilizers.  Some get none and some get too much.  Age Old Grow is for the plants that are just green and don’t bloom.  The first number on the bottle is Nitrogen which helps plants grow, so the first number on the bottle will be higher than the second number on the bottle.  Time release fertilizers that you spray on, or granules you throw on the plants don’t always release the right amount of fertilizer at the right time.  This is the same for soil that has time released fertilizer.  We do it the old fashioned way with a watering can to ensure the plants get the right amount of fertilizer at the right time.

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Deadheading is important for your blooming plants.  When the bloom is finished and starts to dry up it is still taking energy from the plant.  The plants job is to reproduce and make seed.  When deadheading make sure you get the seed pod.  Sometimes it is below the bloom so if you just pull off the bloom it doesn’t get the seed pod and it is still sucking energy from the plant.  Petunias are a good example.  The seed is right below the bloom so if you just pull out the flower the seed is still attached.  Go down below to where the bloom grows out and pinch it off at the stem.  Deadheading ensures you will have continued and more and larger beautiful blooms.

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Get out there and get gardening!!

To check out this week’s TV spot go to:  http://www.9news.com/story/life/home-garden/proctors-tips/2014/04/30/transplant-perennials/8476791/


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