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Friday, June 5, 2020
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Perennial Favorites Winding up Their Final Season
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Photo by Shirley Pigg
Photo by Shirley Pigg
Photo by Shirley Pigg
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Perennial Favorites may be the most shining hidden gem of the Greenhorn Valley. Enjoy the drive on some of the lesser traveled, winding Colorado City roads and you come upon the modest business beautifully nestled in among large old trees, scrub oak, and some of natures best landscaping. The abundant wildlife peaking out at you as you travel the roads to the greenhouses lift your spirits and make you smile, but even that dims compared to the joy of meeting Perennial Favorites owners, Diana Capen and Merrilee Barnett. These gals have customer service down to a science; and the best part about it is that it all comes naturally. They care about their customers, most of which are friends and neighbors, and they know and care about their products. No matter how busy they are, everyone is greeted, questions are answered, explanations of the plants and what will work best where, or how to care for them, Capen and Barnett are happy to share their wealth of knowledge. Barnett cautions their customers, "This seems to be a dry hot year, remember to pay attention to your newly planted plants and keep them watered. We want you to be successful with them and them to be successful for you."

When Capen and Barnett decided to leave the city life behind, they had in mind to start a truck farm and grow organic produce but a couple of Greenhorn Valley springs taught them that that might not be the most profitable idea. Their first tomato crop was destroyed by frost, they replanted and watched a hail wipe those plants out, replanted again only to watch the grasshoppers enjoy a feast. Discouraged but far from giving up they simply took another look at their options. Barnett's brother owned a landscaping business in Colorado Springs and he suggested growing ground cover plants. Finding that perennials were much better suited to the valley's short growing season they made the switch and Perennial Favorites was born. Now, thirty-three years later, they can joke about making about $300 their first year.

With the addition of their greenhouses, Perennial Favorites now sells a variety of plants. Their plants are particularly suited to Colorado's challenging climate, and born and raised in the valley they are hardy and adapt easily into gardens here. Perennial Favorites still lean toward organic ideas, using the most eco-friendly insecticides they can find and never using conventional herbicides . However, they do use conventional fertilizer during the summer months as experience has taught them that bears love the smell of organic fertilizer and will destroy greenhouses to get it. They do use organic fertilizers on their herbs and vegetables and just don't fertilize during bear season.

Perennial Favorites is also proud to say you will find no Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) plants or seeds at their nursery. GMO is a laboratory process where genes from the DNA of one species are artificially forced into the genes of an unrelated plant or animal. The foreign genes may come from bacteria, viruses, insects, animals, or even humans. They participate in the Safe Seed Pledge program which helps connect non GMO seed and plant sellers to commercial growers and gardeners.

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The Greenhorn Valley View is a weekly newspaper serving the communities of the Greenhorn Valley in Southern Colorado,
including Colorado City, Rye, San Isabel, Beulah and Hatchet Ranch.

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