Summit County gardening company wins industry award in Silverthorne
Summer growing season is around the corner and Juliana Maes can hardly wait.
The local gardening guru is owner of Raindrops on Roses, a 12-year-old company based in Silverthorne, and while she enjoys the snow and serenity of winter, horticulture is where her heart is.
“We are gardeners here,” Maes said. “That’s what we do, that’s our specialty, and we love working with all the plants so familiar to Summit County.”
Summer is also Maes’ time to shine. Raindrops on Roses was recently honored with the People’s Choice Award from the Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado for work done last summer at a secluded private home outside of Silverthorne. The award took into account nearly everything that makes a gardening project alluring: spacing, variety, design and, of course, the lush, vibrant coloring of High Country flowers.
“It’s not a schizophrenic’s garden,” Maes said. “It’s just a very pretty, easy, clean garden. I personally like that peace and calm.”
The project, referred to simply as The Ranch, covered nearly 2,000 square feet around a private alpine cottage with distinctly European trappings, from meandering walkways to a tree-lined pond.
“I think what’s cool about this garden is it’s just a very classic, easy garden,” Maes said. “We used the tried-and-true plants we know they do well here. We didn’t try to push the envelope and instead worked with what works in Summit County.”
Like-minded gardeners will recognize just about everything Maes chose: Delphinium, Veronica, salvia and a Colorado must, columbine. Yet before she even began designing how the arrangements would flow across the sprawling property, Maes knew full well her project faced at least one major hurdle: altitude.
“A challenge isn’t even the right word to describe working at altitude,” said Maes, who teaches gardening classes in the summer and often fields questions about the best plants for gardens at 9,000 feet. “You have to choose the right plants — that’s the first and foremost thing.”
But altitude affects more than the plants. Maes and her crew didn’t have the luxury of dense, nutrient-rich soil found in Spain and France — or even the Front Range. Instead, they carefully tended the soil for several years to replace naturally occurring phosphorous and potassium with nitrogen and outside organic matter.
“A healthy garden is always our goal,” she said. “Not only is it outstandingly beautiful, but it’s again at 9,000-plus feet. That’s really the biggest thing for us — this isn’t a Denver garden or even a Vail garden. It’s a Summit County garden.”
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