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Master Gardener: One of my favorite plants

Estella Heitman
For Steamboat Pilot & Today
Estella Heitman’s dwarf globularia. (Courtesy photo)

A few years back, I decided to redesign a walkway path, which extended from the street to the back of my property and around the house.

The hardscape was completed by a local landscape company. No artificial landscape barrier cloth was employed. Stones were placed in the gravel/sand base that allowed them to remain stable over time, and between each stone, topsoil was used to fill in the spaces.

Without the artificial landscape cloth, I knew I was committing to substantial weeding each year, but I hoped the selected “walkable” ground covers would be hardy enough to keep the weeds to a minimum. As it turned out, this premise was realized, and my weed invasion along the path is minimal. My goal was to have a path interspersed with plants of varying heights, colors and textures.



Of course, as with any other of my gardening ventures, unforeseen problems emerged. I did not foresee the hardiness a of some of the plants selected and the need to cull and reduce some plants every season.

Some plants thrived, and some did not. Some had to be moved to a better location, and some had to be mourned as losses and learning experiences.



In this article, I would like to sing the praises of one of the plants that has thrived in my garden. It is a plant new to me, not particularly common.

Dwarf globularia. I discovered this plant in our local Yampa Valley Botanic Park. It caught my eye because it was located just outside the park entrance, in a sunny location. It was dense and prolific, and even dandelions appeared choked out and unable to compete with it.

I was volunteering that day, and the park director said I could take a small sample from the area where the plant was, in fact, taking over and choking out other plants in the bed. I spent hours pulling up this beautiful but invasive plant as it grew in the park — in circumstances of full sunshine and ample water.

I took home my small sample and planted it in a problem area in my yard. It came back year after year, bloomed beautifully, but only survived. It did not thrive. When I started planting my pathway, I moved the globularia to the pathway in an area that receives partial sunshine and remains somewhat moist, although not to the level of the water available where I found it in the Botanic Park.

Here, it has found a perfect place. It thrives but does not invade. Every spring it produces a beautiful and long-lasting array of blue flowers. When the flowers die, the plant remains lovely and dense. I have divided and replanted the dwarf globularia several times along the path, and it never dies or needs special care.

Estella Heitman is a master gardener who has made her retirement home in Routt County for the past 12 years after many years of part-time residence. Migrating from the Midwest, she had many lessons to learn as a transplanted high-country gardener. She enjoys the challenges and joys of gardening in the mountains at 8000 feet elevation at her home near Stagecoach Reservoir.


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