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.


 

  • Palmers penstemon
    Mountain West Regional Reports

    Penstemons Native to the Mountain West

    I recently had the pleasure of taking a road trip across central and southern Colorado and Utah, exploring many of the natural wonders found in those two states. It was…

  • soaker hose drip irrigation
    Mountain West Regional Reports

    The Pros and Cons of Different Irrigation Systems for the Mountain West

    I had my first experience with an irrigation system when I moved to the Mountain West. That was over two decades ago, but who’s counting? I froze my backflow preventer…

  • lawn full of Dog Tuff grass
    Mountain West Regional Reports

    Lawn Alternatives for the Mountain West

    If you’ve looked at current drought maps for the Mountain West, you’ve seen a sea of red, orange, and yellow indicating abnormally dry to severe drought conditions across the region.…

  • Tubtrug
    How-To

    This Handy Tool Makes Garden Maintenance a Snap

    By far and away, the 20-gallon recycled tubtrug from Gardener’s Supply is one of my favorite garden tools. I have owned three of these heavy-duty tubtrugs for decades. They have…

  • mixed border planting
    Mountain West Regional Reports

    Designing a Native Mixed Border in the Mountain West

    Adding native plants in the landscape is a design trend that continues to increase in popularity. For those of us in the Mountain West, this primarily means choosing natives that…

  • Panchito manzanita
    Mountain West Regional Reports

    Low-Growing, Evergreen Shrubs for Dry Shade in the Mountain West

    One of the most challenging areas to landscape is dry shade. Whether under the canopy of trees or the north side of your home, the number of plants that will…

  • Vertical Harvest produce
    Mountain West Regional Reports

    Inside Vertical Harvest Farms in Jackson, Wyoming

    Last summer, my husband and I decided to escape to the mountains, and we took a road trip to Jackson, Wyoming. After arriving at our hotel room, my husband immediately…

  • bearberry conifer
    Mountain West Regional Reports

    Firewise Plants for the Mountain West

    Those of us who live in the Mountain West know that our forests are filled with large stands of conifers such as Douglas firs (Pseudotsuga menzisii, Zones 4–6), ponderosa pines…

  • scorched trees along a river
    Mountain West Regional Reports

    Firewise Landscaping in the Mountain West

    In 2020, wildfires raged across the west, with Colorado having three of the largest wildfires on state record. Just west of where I live in Fort Collins, the largest of…

  • Xeric plantings
    Mountain West Regional Reports

    Xeriscape Gardening in the Mountain West

    If you’ve lived in the Mountain West for any period of time, you know the importance of water. Throughout our winters, we watch snowpack totals accumulate in our mountains, and…