Park
Apr 2015
10

Explore The Outdoors with PBS KIDS

It’s officially spring everywhere and it actually feels like it here in Denver. Which makes it much more fun to help PBS KIDS with their “Explore the Outdoors” program this month! While you’ll see nature themed shows on your TV and online, the real point is to get OUTSIDE. Spring is a great time to learn about composting and plan your garden for the summer (plus maybe get a head start on those dandelions?). We find that our last frost is around Mother’s Day here in Denver, so we generally use the month of April to prep in the yard… but what I love MOST is just seeing people back out and about in the neighborhood and the parks with the dogs and the kids. It’s like everyone is waking up again, not just the trees and plants.

Explore The Outdoors with PBS KIDS

“Explore the Outdoors” will include new special episodes starting April 20th from Wild Kratts (who have an all new app too!) and Dinosaur Train specifically, but you will notice outdoor-themed episodes everywhere you look on PBS KIDS.

Also! Join us April 15th at 12 PM mountain (2 PM Eastern) for a Twitter chat party to celebrate Earth Day and all the fun that can be had outdoors in the springtime.

Explore The Outdoors Twitter Party with PBS KIDS

 Note: Royalty-free photos from Pixabay
Sep 2013
20

Denver Botanic Gardens – Fall & Winter Events 2013

I have always been a huge fan of our Denver Botanic Gardens. I often go there on “photo walks” with Dex, and I just photographed a wedding there last weekend. If you haven’t been since their renovation, I suggest you head over – it’s better than ever. And the cool thing about the gardens is they do *not* close down in the fall and winter.

I am happy to share their fall and winter schedule of events. The crown jewel of course, being Blossom of Lights, which we make an annual pilgrimage.

FAMILIES 
————————————————

CORN MAZE
Friday, Saturday and Sunday through Oct. 27, 2013.
Fridays 4-9 p.m.
Saturdays Noon – 9 p.m.
Sundays Noon – 6 p.m.
Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield
$12 Adults, $10 Adult Member, Student, Senior (65+), Military, $8 Child (ages 3-12), $6 Child Member, Free for children 2 and younger

Wind your way through acres of corn, view the design from two 15-foot tall illuminated bridges that overlook the giant Corn Maze, and watch the delight as younger children find their way through a mini-maze designed just for them. Hayrides and pony rides will be available for an additional cost. An array of food vendors will offer some of your favorite fall foods, including freshly squeezed lemonade, funnel cakes, hotdogs and kettle corn.

SEEDLINGS CLASSES
Tuesdays: 18-24 month old, 9:30 and 10:45 a.m.
Wednesdays: 3-6 year old, 9:30 and 11 a.m.
Thursdays: 24-36 month old, 9:30 and 10:45 a.m.
Mordecai Children’s Garden at Denver Botanic Gardens
$10 for 18-36 month old, $8 member; $12 for 3-6 year old, $10 member

Seedlings classes offer a fun, hands-on way for young children to explore the plant world, while developing an understanding and appreciation for plants. November classes include “The Secret Life of Digger the Marmot,” the week of Nov. 5; “Glorious Grasses,” the week of Nov. 12; and “Harvest Treasures,” the week of Nov. 19.

PUMPKIN FESTIVAL
Friday, Saturday & Sunday, Oct. 11-13, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. each day
Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield
$7 Adult, $6 Member Adult, $5 Child (ages 3-12), $4 Member Child (ages 3-12), Children 2 and under are free, Corn Maze tickets can be added for an additional $6 per adult or child. (We no longer offer free entry for children in costume.)

Embrace the fall season at this year’s Pumpkin Festival. This three day event is a great tradition for the entire family where thousands of pumpkins will be ripe for the picking in our 10-acre pumpkin patch. Families can enjoy live music by Stray Dog Colorado, express face painting, pumpkin carving demonstrations and pumpkin bowling. The ever-so-popular monster hand-building station will return to this year’s festival. Kids can enjoy pony rides, amusement rides, balloon twists, giant coloring murals and a cookie decorating station.

HOMESCHOOL DAY: SEED SLEUTHS
Wednesday, Nov. 6, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Denver Botanic Gardens
$10 children two and older, free for children under two; one adult per family free, additional adults $6.50

Homeschool Days offer families the opportunity to explore plant-based themes through a variety of hands-on activities, tours and take-home projects they can complete together.

MINI CAMP: SAVORY SEASONINGS
Monday, Nov. 11, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Denver Botanic Gardens
$55, $50 member

In this one-day camp, children (age 6 -12) explore the world of herbs and spices, through a day of play, crafts and culinary arts.

FOOD 
————————————————

WARMING WINTER SOUPS AND CHOWDERS
Tuesday, Nov. 5, 6-8 p.m., Denver Botanic Gardens
$44, $39 member (food included)

Instructor Susan Evans walks participants through the process of making chicken and poblano corn chowder, Italian wedding soup and Thai curry chicken soup. Recipes, dinner and dessert included.

GOURMET GIFTS FROM THE KITCHEN
Thursday, Nov. 7, 6-8 p.m., Denver Botanic Gardens
$47, $42 member (food included)

Instructor Susan Evans teaches participants to make delicious gifts, including Chocó-chili nut clusters, marinated olives, a savory herb blend, cheater’s toffee, pomegranate jelly, garlic confit and mango chutney. Recipes and samples included.

HOME CHEESEMAKING
Thursday, Nov. 7, 6-8 p.m., Denver Botanic Gardens
$44, $39 member (food included)

Instructor Meg Caley, director of the Denver Green School Community Farm, leads participants through the basics of traditional cheesemaking and the animal husbandry, botany, and microbiology behind it. The class includes instruction on turning milk into curds and whey, making ricotta and stretching fresh mozzarella. Recipes and samples included.

FOODS OF THE MESOAMERICAN CUISINE TOUR
Saturday, Nov. 9, (Spanish) and Saturday, Nov. 23, (English)
11 a.m. to noon, Denver Botanic Gardens
$14, $7 Gardens and Museo members; $7 student; $5 child

Inspired by Museo de las Americas’ “La Cocina” exhibition, these tours, offered in Spanish or English (depending on date), highlight tropical edibles used centuries ago in the territory between what is now Mexico and El Salvador, many of which continue to be part of today’s diet.

CHIPOTLE SUSTAINABLE FOOD FILM SERIES: “IN ORGANIC WE TRUST”
Wednesday, Nov. 20, 6-8 p.m., Denver Botanic Gardens
Free

As part of the 2013 Sustainable Food Film Series presented by Chipotle Mexican Grill, the film “In Organic We Trust”is screened, along with a post film panel discussion and Chipotle food. “In Organic We Trust” examines the truth and misconceptions behind the benefits of organic food, through conversations with farmers, organic certifiers scientists and critics.

HEALTHY FALL DESSERTS
Saturday, Nov. 23, 2-4 p.m., Denver Botanic Gardens
$44, $39 member (materials included)

Professional pastry chef and instructor DeJa Walker teaches participants to prepare natural, healthy desserts, showcasing seasonal flavors including raw nuts, goat’s milk and honey, as well as fresh local apples and pumpkins.

Pretty Flower Botanic Garden
 
HOLIDAY 
————————————————

FIELD OF THE UNDEAD HAUNTED TRAIL
Friday and Saturday nights in October, 7:30-11 p.m.
Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield
$15 per person

You’ll be able to venture through our 2-acre haunted corn field at Chatfield. Experience thrills and chills as you try to make your way out! There will be no costumes allowed and Field of the Undead is not recommended for young children.

CANNING FOR THE HOLIDAYS
Sunday, Nov. 3, 2-5 p.m., Denver Botanic Gardens
$45 (materials included)

Sundari Kraft of Heirloom Gardens and EatWhereULive leads participants in the art of canning. The class includes instruction in the basics of water bath canning, as well as recipes and information about canning equipment and food safety issues. Participants will make pear and vanilla bean jam, caramelized onion confit and spiced tomato jam, and receive a jar of each.

FRENCH FETE FOR THE HOLIDAYS
Sunday, Nov. 10, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Denver Botanic Gardens
$62, $57 member (dinner included)

Instructor Lee Clayton Roper, co-author of the award-winning cookbook “A Well-Seasoned Kitchen,” leads participants through the basics of creating a menu full of French-inspired dishes for a holiday dinner party, including smoked trout patè, tomato basil bisque, boeuf bourguignon, herbed mashed potatoes, spinach salad with lemon-dijon dressing, eggnog and white chocolate pots de crème. Recognized as an expert hostess, Roper will also share tips on throwing a successful dinner party. Recipes and dinner included.

HOLIDAY SALE
Friday, Nov. 15 and Saturday, Nov. 16, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Denver Botanic Gardens
$8; free for members and children 15 and under

Denver Botanic Gardens’ annual holiday sale offers wares including handcrafted items, specialty foods, clothing and more from a variety of vendors. An assortment of Denver Botanic Gardens’ Guild homemade gourmet herbal vinegars will also be available, as well as rare collectibles and antique furniture.

BLOSSOMS OF LIGHT
November 29 – January 1
Denver Botanic Gardens
Check here for admission costs and more info.

Over one million colorful lights are draped in elegant designs throughout the Gardens at York Street, highlighting the natural beauty and holiday spirit. Animated light sculptures, and elaborate displays synchronized to holiday songs are also featured. The popular HoloSpex 3-D glasses return this year along with seasonal entertainment on select evenings. Warm drinks and treats will be available for purchase.

TRAILS OF LIGHT
November 29 – January 1
Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield
Check here for admission costs and more info.

Trail of Lights is spread throughout Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield. There are two trails:  a short route that leads directly to the children’s play area and an extended path that allows visitors to explore the Green Farm Barn and silo before continuing onto the children’s area and the 1880s homestead. Lights are synchronized to holiday music and the popular HoloSpex 3-D glasses return this year. There is a warming hut and fire pit, free hayrides on select evenings and illuminated antique tractors. Warm drinks and treats will be available for purchase.

ARTS, CULTURE & GARDENING ————————————————

FALL BONSAI EXHIBIT
Monday, September 30 through Sunday, October 6
September 30, 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Oct. 1-6, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Denver Botanic Gardens
Included with general admission

Monday, September 30 through Sunday, October 6.
September 30, 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Oct. 1-6, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
– See more at: http://www.botanicgardens.org/events/special-events/fall-bonsai-exhibit#sthash.9hPu2zQY.dpuf

Enjoy the fall bonsai exhibit featuring the artists of the Rocky Mountain Bonsai Society.

Monday, September 30 through Sunday, October 6.
September 30, 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Oct. 1-6, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
– See more at: http://www.botanicgardens.org/events/special-events/fall-bonsai-exhibit#sthash.9hPu2zQY.dpuf

CATALYST: COLORADO SCULPTURE, SIGNATURE EXHIBIT
Through January 12,
Denver Botanic Gardens
Included with general admission

Denver Botanic Gardens celebrates the achievements and vision of Colorado sculptors in this outdoor group exhibition. Participating artists include Emmett Culligan, Kim Dickey, Linda Fleming, Nancy Lovendahl, Terry Maker, Robert Mangold, Patrick Marold, Andy Miller, Pard Morrison, Carl Reed, Yoshitomo Saito and James Surls.

DIA DE LOS MUERTOS
Friday, Nov. 1, 3-8 p.m., Denver Botanic Gardens
$12, $10 member; $8 child, $6 member child; children two and under free

Denver Botanic Gardens celebrates Día de los Muertos or “Day of the Dead,” with activities including a sugar skull workshop, sunset candlelight procession, face painting, costume contest and photo booth. Attendees will also enjoy paper altars by Museo de las Americas, masks by Denver Art Museum and a community altar exhibition.

ZEN AND THE ART OF TEA
Sunday, November 3rd, 2-4 p.m., Denver Botanic Gardens
$33; $28 member (materials included)

Participants take part in Gong Fu Cha, a traditional Chinese tea ceremony, sampling oolong teas and learning about various types of tea ceremonies and their origins. They also learn ways in which to integrate the four principles of tea – harmony, respect, purity and tranquility – into everyday life. 

Apr 2013
24

After The Flower Tower: Plans For Summer Gardening

This post is part of series sponsored by the Home Depot.
Opinions and photos are mine.
___________________________________________________________________

As I mentioned at the start of this series, we have kind of ignored the garden and our yard for the past few years running. Given the taste of success with our Flower Tower from Home Depot’s Garden Club, we sat down as a family and made a list of things we want to work on this Spring and Summer.
___________________________________________________________________

1. Revamp our raised bed garden 
In the beginning we planted honeysuckle behind the garden bed, and it was lovely for a number of years, but it seriously has taken over. Last weekend, in between the two snowstorms, Bryan took a chainsaw (literally) and cut that sucker down. It made me sad, because I used to be able to see and smell it from our kitchen window – but he was right to do it. It was hurting the whole point of having a raise vegetable garden – actually growing vegetables. We also need to clean up around the bed, turn over and freshen up the soil. (Here are the Home Depot’s instructions for a raised bed if you don’t have one already.)

BackyardSept08_04

2. Trim back some of the bushes, especially the 10 foot tall smoke bush
Not joking. It was over 10 feet tall. It is gorgeous, but it was leaning out into the yard like Sigmund The Sea Monster. We asked the peeps at Home Depot, and lucky for us, Spring is the time to cut back smoke bushes. And cut back Bryan did. So much so that when Dex saw it, he said, “Does Mama know you did that?” Ha! We are crossing fingers it will come back strong.

Red Veins

3. Get a handle on the weeds
Dex is at an age where he wants more money and is more capable of doing the extra chores to get it. So he is on weed patrol this summer. We are not really fond of spraying the lawn with chemicals, especially with our dog (although we know there are some safer alternatives.) I would just prefer to use my tiny manual laborer. Dex the Dandelion Killer!

Dandelion Drops

4. Add drip irrigation to the front garden bed
Our house faces east, which we actually wanted. When it snows in Denver, we may get more inches than other parts of the country, but our blazing sun melts it faster. When you have an east-facing house, the rising sun eliminates shoveling quite a bit of the time. That blazing sun – and our usual drought conditions during summer makes it hard to grow flowers on that east side of the house. There is one bed between the walkway and the patio that never gets enough water, and flowers just wither there, with the exception a few amazingly hardy coneflower (echinacea) plants. This summer, we’ll fix that!

LadyBug_1 
5. Add more “vertical gardening” flower pots.
We love our Flower Tower and we are going to add a few more around the yard of varying sizes in existing pots, but Bryan really wants to experiment with other vegetation. Several of you suggested herbs, and we think that is a great place to start! With a small yard like ours, it is the perfect way to maximize space.

Gardens_30

What about you? 
What is your yard or garden like now?
Where would you like it to be?

 ___________________________________________________________________

It’s home improvement time, and The Home Depot has everything you need to #DigIn for Spring. No matter what projects you want to tackle, they have great values on all you need. They’re ready to help you with renovation ideas and expert advice, too.

Get over $300 in email exclusive savings each year, sneak peeks on new products, monthly lawn & garden ideas for your region and access to The Home Depot’s gardening experts. Click here to join the world’s largest garden community today! Or go to homedepot.com/gardenclub to see some of the many benefits of membership.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of The Home Depot.

Apr 2013
23

Home Depot’s Flower Tower: Equipment List, Bloopers and Sword Fight

This post is part of a sponsored series from the Home Depot.
______________________________________________________________________

Yes! Even give the crazy weather and all its moving around, my Flower Tower from the Home Depot Garden Club is thriving! I actually think it has adapted to life in Denver, or perhaps it’s made friends with the dog.

HomeDepotFlowerTower_03

Alas everything comes to an end, at the end of many things come the credits. Or the bloopers. Not to mention a Star Wars-esque sword fight.

Now, for reals. How many of you said, while watching the video: So THAT is how she pronounces her last name??? I know. Everyone is surprised.

HomeDepotFlowerTower_04

As I have mentioned, this project is great for beginners and also doesn’t take a ton of equipment.

Here is a handy list for you to print out and take to the Home Depot with you:

(1) Yardguard 4 ft. x 50 ft. 14-Gauge Welded Wire (we cut this down shorter)
(1) Scotts 4 ft. x 120 ft. Landscape Fabric
(1) Wiss Tinner’s Snips
(1) Tenax 7 in. Black Fence Ties – 50 Pack
(1) Garden Spade
(1) Large Flower Pot
(1) Utility Knife
(1-2) Bags Potting Soil
Plants (as needed, we used 2 flats)
Work Gloves

HomeDepotFlowerTower_01

Here’s what’s cool about the Flower Tower. We did it as a family from beginning to end. Even during the decision to do this as a sponsored project, we sat down and agreed we wanted to do it together and have fun doing it. Then we built it together, have taken care of it in all this weird April snow (4 more inches are coming tonight), and my boys even helped me edit the videos I have posted. Together.

Every time I played back the “Luke, I am your father” bit, Dex snort-laughed.

So, yes, we are really looking forward to summer, when temperatures in Denver will soar over 100 and we will be yearning for some snowflakes to cool us off. We have already started mapping out what we will do in the backyard, in our small raised urban garden, and with all my other potted planted on the patio.

AND we’re looking forward to being masters of our gardening universe. Thanks Home Depot!

HomeDepotFlowerTower_02

It’s home improvement time, and The Home Depot has everything you need to #DigIn for Spring. No matter what projects you want to tackle, they have great values on all you need. They’re ready to help you with renovation ideas and expert advice, too.

Get over $300 in email exclusive savings each year, sneak peeks on new products, monthly lawn & garden ideas for your region and access to The Home Depot’s gardening experts. Click here to join the world’s largest garden community today! Or go to homedepot.com/gardenclub to see some of the many benefits of membership.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of The Home Depot.

Apr 2013
16

Flower Tower – Weathering The Storm

This post is part of a sponsored series from Home Depot.  _________________________________________________________________

Denver weather is a little nuts, especially in the Spring! It’s a complete roller-coaster and that can effect your garden plans. We worked on our Flower Tower in 70 degree weather with shorts on, and since then it has snowed twice. I am not complaining, because snow is how we get most of our water for the summer – it just usually happens in March. Or February.

Winterspring I guess we are getting the storm that wasn't from last week? #cowx

But, yep, this year – it came in April and we have gone into protective mode for the Flower Tower. I love how you guys have asked about it, like it’s our new puppy or something, but I PROMISE. The Flower Tower is FINE.

Noting the weird weather streak, here is how we handled the challenges of spring in Colorado:

– Since we planted the Flower Tower before Mother’s Day, it needed some extra attention – and we knew it would from the beginning. But we also knew it would have a head start to being a signature piece on our patio this summer.
– We brought the Flower Tower inside on the days we had snow. Yup. Houseguest!
– We checked the weather reports, and on nights that were going to be cold, Flower Tower got a trash bag cover.
– We did a “power-raking” of the rest of the yard. Got rid of dead leaves and “freshened up” the grass. All this snow is making everything really green!
– We also counted our blessings because the trees were not all the way “out”during the 12 inches of snow we got during this last storm. That is always when we get the most damage because the heavy wet snow pulls down branches and the aftermath looks like drowned kittens in timber form.

Aimee Finishing Flower Tower

As far as any challenges with the Flower Tower itself, they were minimal! We did decide to shorten the height of our wire because we were scared the Tower might be too, well, towering.

Also, I will warn you that this thing is HEAVY. Not really a big deal unless you are moving it in an out of your house like we have been. Solution: transportation via skateboard and steadying hands.

 _________________________________________________________________

How about you?

Have you started planting for Spring and Summer?

You think you might try a Flower Tower for yourself?

8624751942_39be150310 8624750980_a9bfe6d4658623645075_c8dac4dd29

It’s home improvement time, and The Home Depot has everything you need to #DigIn for Spring. No matter what projects you want to tackle, they have great values on all you need. They’re ready to help you with renovation ideas and expert advice, too.

Get over $300 in email exclusive savings each year, sneak peeks on new products, monthly lawn & garden ideas for your region and access to The Home Depot’s gardening experts. Click here to join the world’s largest garden community today! Or go to homedepot.com/gardenclub to see some of the many benefits of membership.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of The Home Depot.