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.


  • Mountain West Regional Reports

    Amazing Autumn Bloomers for the Mountain West

    As the heat of summer wanes into the cooler days and chilly nights of fall, our gardens undergo another seasonal transition. While we often focus on the golds, russets, and…

  • Mountain West Regional Reports

    Growing Chilis and Hot Peppers in the Mountain West

    The Mountain West is known for hot pepper selection, with New Mexico as the home of the Hatch green chili and Colorado as the home of the Pueblo chili, so…

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    Mountain West October Garden To-Do List

    Dispose of fall leaves. While I like to keep some leaves around my perennials for extra protection in the winter, I have too many for all of them to remain…

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    A Visit to Betty Ford’s Alpine Gardens

    Recently I visited a beautiful small garden, the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens in nearby Vail, Colorado. An interesting feature of mountain gardens is how many things bloom at the same…

  • Mountain West Regional Reports

    Mountain West September To-Do List

    Replant containers for fall. As the weather cools, you may choose to add some fall color to your containers. You can empty containers entirely and replant, or leave the foundational…

  • Mountain West Regional Reports

    Cold-Hardy Cacti for the Mountain West

    For the last several years, succulents have been all the rage for both the garden and the home. And what’s not to love about succulents? They are generally water-wise, have…

  • Mountain West Regional Reports

    Mountain West August Garden To-Do List

    It’s harvest time! In my garden, harvest season takes off in August. Beans, squash, tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers are producing steadily. Stay on top of harvesting to encourage more flowering…

  • Mountain West Regional Reports

    Rocky Mountain Rock Gardens, Part II: Plant Picks

    One of the many reasons I love the Mountain West is the astonishing number of perennials that thrive in our landscapes. Less humidity, warm days, and cool nights provide the…

  • Mountain West Regional Reports

    Mountain West July Garden To-Do List

    Harvest and replant the vegetable garden. For several weeks, lettuce, spinach, and other greens have been getting harvested regularly, but they are now looking tired and going to seed due…

  • Mountain West Regional Reports

    Mountain West June Garden To-Do List

    Care for your containers. As new annuals get established in their containers, provide them with regular moisture. As the month goes on, deadhead plants to encourage continuous blooming, and provide…