Michelle Provaznik

Michelle Provaznik

Michelle discovered a love of gardening when she and her husband joined friends in renting a community garden in Arlington, Virginia. Several years and two states later, she turned her passion into a career by studying ornamental horticulture at Foothills College in Los Altos Hills, California. While in school, she worked at a local nursery, gardened on a private estate, and interned at a public garden. A move back to Colorado introduced Michelle to the challenges of gardening in the Mountain West, where she ran her own horticulture maintenance company for six years and served on the nonprofit board of a developing public garden. In 2008, Michelle became the executive director of the Gardens on Spring Creek, the botanic garden in Fort Collins. Since then she has grown the Gardens on Spring Creek by constructing gardens and overseeing visitation, programs, volunteers, and partnerships. She is excited for future programming in the new facility as it works to fulfill its mission of enriching lives through horticulture.

1. What do you like most about gardening in your region?

Nothing is ever the same from year to year. Each year brings new opportunities and new challenges.

2. What’s the biggest challenge to gardening in your region?

Same as above!

Lavender Twist® redbud
Lavender Twist® redbud. Photo: courtesy of White Flower Farm

 

3. What plant are you jazzed about in your garden right now?

We added a Lavender Twist® redbud (Cercis canadensis ‘Covey’, Zones 5–9) near our bubbling rock water feature last year. Redbuds are a little “iffy” in our climate, but its shape is amazing, and I can’t wait to see it bloom for the first time. It will remind me of other parts of the country where we have lived.

4. What was the last plant you killed?

There have been too many to count—I am always trying new things. We planted a new berm last year with shrubs and perennials and I can’t wait to see what emerges in the spring. I’m sure a trip to our favorite nursery will be inevitable.


 

  • japanese beetles on a leaf
    Mountain West Regional Reports

    How to Get Rid of Japanese Beetles

    It was long thought that Japanese beetles (Popillia japonica) would not survive in our Mountain West climate; after all, they like humidity and moisture. But when they were introduced into…

  • tall pink sedum
    Mountain West Regional Reports

    Upright Sedums Dazzle in Autumn

    Earlier this year I highlighted some of my favorite ground-cover sedums. But I can’t ignore the taller, upright sedums, or stonecrops, which are extremely showy in fall. Upright sedums are…

  • Canada thistle in bloom
    How-To

    Remove These Regional Invasive Plants

    I am fortunate to live with open space adjacent to my backyard. It provides beautiful views and access to nature and abundant wildlife. The only negative aspect is the presence…

  • plant with purple foliage
    Mountain West Regional Reports

    Purple Shrubs and Trees for Drama in the Garden

    I like to incorporate a lot of color in my gardens. While flowers are a big part of what provides that color, foliage can also play a large role. Leaves…

  • sedums
    Mountain West Regional Reports

    Colorful Creeping Sedums for the Mountain West

    While succulents have been all the rage in recent years as easy-care houseplants, I’ve been planting hardy varieties in my garden for years. Sedums (Sedum spp. and cvs., Zones 3–11)…

  • spring-flowering trees
    Mountain West Regional Reports

    Unusual Spring-Flowering Trees for the Mountain West

    Who doesn’t love flowering trees? When blooming, they provide stunning focal points in the landscape. While crabapples (Malus spp. and cvs., Zones 4–8) and hawthorns (Crataegus spp. and cvs., Zones…

  • raised bed garden
    Mountain West Regional Reports

    Why to Use Raised Garden Beds, Especially in Extreme Climates

    My first foray into gardening was many years ago when my husband and I joined another couple in renting a community garden plot in Arlington, Virginia. We inherited the worst…

  • shade loving perennial
    Mountain West Regional Reports

    Shade-Loving Perennials for the Mountain West

    On a recent Zillow report of my home, I saw a photo from when my husband and I bought our house over 13 years ago. It caught my eye because…

  • Mountain West Regional Reports

    March Garden To-Do List for the Mountain West

    Begin spring cleanup. While you are in the mood for pruning in the garden, now is also a good time to begin spring cleanup tasks as well. Remove piles of…

  • flowering vine on a porch
    Mountain West Regional Reports

    Versatile Vines for the Mountain West

    Vines can serve many needs in the garden; they can offer screening or shade, and they can serve as focal points. In the Mountain West, we are fortunate to have…