Tagawa Gardens Blog

What do coleus, lavender and garlic have in common? They’re winners!


It’s been an “interesting” year in my garden.  A few things I thought would take off and thrive didn’t   But the more I garden, the more I learn to be flexible.  Like the song says:  “Accentuate the positive…”  That’s exactly what I’m doing.   So with gratitude for what went well, I’m happy to share my 2015 Gardening Victories.

Coleus Rocks!

It’s not news that coleus are amazing plants.  I’m lucky to work at Tagawa’s, where we have one of the best summertime selections of coleus around.  And my on my!  Were they ever living large in pots on my deck!   I garden to please myself much more than to impress others. But not a single visitor to my home this summer failed to catch their breath when they caught sight of the riot of color that had taken over just outside the back door.COLEUS, CU, LU'S POTS

Changes for next year?  A couple.  Other than perhaps a few sturdy “thrillers” for the center of the pot…. and a some tenacious “spillers” to drape over the side, I’m not going to ask any other plants to try to compete with the coleus in the “filler” department.    I’ll just let a variety of coleus rule the day.  Plant ’em.  Feed ’em a bit.  Then stand back and watch the show.

In Love with Lavender

I’m a hobby-level beekeeper.  So while I feel a little guilty indulging in pots of coleus, which don’t have LAVENDER, LU'S GARDENmuch to offer the honey bees, last year I set out to ease my guilt by planting nothing but bee-friendly perennials.  And lavender is right near the top of the list of flowers the honey bees love!

Tagawa’s celebrates this terrific plant with our annual “Lavender Fields Forever” festival every July.  You can learn how to grow it, cook with it, make lotions and decorations with it.  This plant just never stops giving!

“The girls,” a.k.a. my honey bees, all but do a little dance when some of the strains of lavender bloom not only in the spring and mid-summer, but flower again in early fall, when foraging opportunities are beginning to dwindle.  When my girls are happy, I’m happy.

If you can give lavender full sun and well-drained soil, you’re on your way.  And as an added bonus, the deer and bunnies leave it alone.  What more could you ask for?

Ga Ga for Garlic!

Assuming you or someone you know likes garlic, you have no excuse not to be growing this sassy plant.  Garlic qualifies as one of my basic food groups, even though as my friends knGARLIC, HARVESTow, I’m no cook.  My mom was a great cook.  I figure it’s one of those things that skips a generation… But boy howdy, do I have fun growing garlic and giving away the big, plump bulbs to friends who don’t know that Colorado is great garlic-growing country.  What fun!!

I loaded up on different varieties of gourmet garlic during Tagawa’s Garlic Festival last fall.  I enriched my raised beds a bit.  I planted the individual cloves just a couple of inches down in the loose soil…. Watered the beds well.  Mulched the beds with straw and made sure they didn’t get too dry over the winter or in early spring.  And “ta da!”  Let there be garlic for all!

You don’t have to get carried away as I did and plant more than a dozen varieties. Just one beautiful bulb, broken into cloves, will be happy to perform in a sunny, well-drained corner of your garden.  Garlic is a low-maintenance, high-reward crop.  I’d urge you to put it on your “to do” list for next year, even if it’s not one of your basic food groups.  It’s too much fun to pass up!

Come see us at Tagawa’s.  We’re your garden store…. and so much more!!

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Luan Akin
Luan Akin
Tagawa Gardens Outreach Ambassador

After 30 years as a news reporter for KCNC TV in Denver, Luan Akin was ready for a change. In 2008, she came to Tagawa Gardens and offered to create a brand new position: Garden Outreach Ambassador.

Luan had trained and volunteered as a Douglas County Master Gardener for ten years. In addition to her duties as a news reporter, working primarily out of the Channel 4 News helicopter, Luan also produced and presented a long-running series of stories called “Gardening Together.”

All these years later, Luan now works year ‘round, presenting a variety of gardening and nature-related topics to hundreds of children, HOA’s, gardening clubs, church groups, small businesses and other organizations.

She is an avid gardener, a beekeeper and a proud mom to four dogs who have trained her well.


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