Year-round gardening:

2018 Residential Gardens Tour – Just Dig It! DIY Gardening, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. July 14 and 15,

Friends of Extension El Paso County, Inc. (FOX) Eighth Annual Open Garden Tour Fundraiser.

Since its inception in 2011, this popular tour has showcased gardens throughout the city in neighborhoods such as Patty Jewett, the west side, the Old North End and the Broadmoor area.

This year’s tour is in the north-central part of the city and will focus on gardening education for the do-it-yourself gardener. Each of the 10 beautiful participating gardens (located in University Park, Village Seven and in and around Old Farm) will demonstrate a different gardening technique and provide access to research-based information on topics such as drip irrigation, container gardening, water plants, fertilizing, sustainable gardening, xeriscaping, vegetable gardening and gardening for pollinators.

Other lessons include how to create a rain garden by diverting gutter water into an attractive planting bed that works like a sponge and natural filter to clean the water and let it percolate slowly into the surrounding soil, and how to keep chickens happy and healthy with chicken “chunnels.”

As in the past, Colorado State University Extension (CSU) Colorado Master Gardeners and other accomplished gardeners will be available at each of the gardens to answer questions about plants and good gardening practices while local Plein Air Garden Artists will be painting various aspects of the gardens.

Attendees will want to bring comfortable shoes, a sun hat and sunscreen, water and a camera. FOX will provide attendees with a colorful garden tour guide to record the plants and ideas that you want to remember. Please be aware that private gardens may not be able to accommodate strollers, walkers or wheelchairs due to narrow pathways and steps. Also, no bicycles will be allowed in private gardens. Only working service dogs are permitted.

The FOX Garden Tour has received high acclaim as reflected in this comment reported by Linda Navarro, The Gazette’s nonprofit event columnist: “Indeed, glowing reports from people who attended Through the Gardener’s Gate (the 2013 FOX tour) included comments that it was one of the finest tours in the country.”

FOX is an independent 501 (c)(3) organization whose mission is to raise money for the Colorado State University Extension office in El Paso County, and to supplement county, state and federal tax dollars. FOX supports CSU Extension programs such as youth development through 4-H, agriculture through the Building Farmers program, horticulture through the Colorado Gardener Certificate program and nutrition through Food Safety Education programs.

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