I’m prone to romanticism, I confess, but spring feels like magic to me: the first fresh mint leaves in the backyard box of herbs, the tiny green shoots that push up between last year’s woody remnants of my hydrangeas, the unfolding of a hundred small wonders in a single day. My children slide on their rain boots (even on sunny days) and march through the yard, calling out reports about newly discovered tulip buds and “roly polies” (those charming bugs that curl up as soon as they’re touched).

All this adds up to a whopping dose of beauty that is, for me, worth some serious investment in my yard and garden—a task I’ve grown to appreciate. I grew up in South Florida, where I’m pretty sure any old seed will germinate in any old soil and flourish; something about the humidity and sunshine makes it impossible not to grow plants with flowers and leaves as big as my head. But Colorado is more finicky; growing bountiful flowers here takes more patience and attention, but maybe the reward is even sweeter for the challenge.

This issue is our tribute to life outdoors—especially those spaces just beyond the front door or the back patio. Our gardening guide, “Green Your Thumb!” (page 35), starts with a look at (and expert flower-growing tips from) the charming Zephyros Farm and Garden in Paonia—famous for its wide variety of gorgeous dahlias—and continues with a roundup of our favorite local garden shops (and their unique specialties), ideas for what to plant to ensure season-long color, and our collection of handsome and helpful gardening gear.

No matter whether your goal is to start a container garden on your urban patio or coax a lush landscape to greet visitors, I hope this issue helps you find a bit of the magic that is distinctively spring in Colorado.

This article was originally published in 5280 Home April/May 2018.
Hilary Masell Oswald
Hilary Masell Oswald
As the former editor for two of 5280’s ancillary publications, Hilary Masell Oswald split her time between the vibrant design-and-architecture scene in the metro area for 5280 Home and the always-changing field of health for the annual 5280 Health.