Gardening always yields something to be proud of

Plum Creek Garden Markets offer flowers, vegetables and herbs for the home-grower

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Gardening is a challenge, yet it is such a satisfying pastime.

“Gardening is one giant experiment. But that’s part of the fun of it,” said Keri Luster, manager of Plum Creek Garden Market’s Denver location. “There will be failures and OK, because you’ll learn from those. The key is just to have fun.”

During Plum Creek’s off-season, Luster serves as a gardening consultant.

“I really like helping people make the world a beautiful place,” Luster said. But not only that, Luster added, “gardening can help you grow as a person. It’s the pride of creating something.”

Luster grew up in the gardening industry. Her father owned Groundcovers, which operated for about 40 years in the north University Hills neighborhood. Luster started going to work with her father when she was 12. In 2019, the city of Denver purchased the Groundcovers property and will eventually turn it into a public neighborhood park, Luster said.

Gardening can provide you with something to be proud of, Luster said.

“It’s hard work, but at the end of the day, you will be satisfied with what you did,” she added.

All five of Plum Creek Garden Market’s seasonal pop-up markets opened on April 30 and are open seven days a week through June. Plum Creek Denver is located at 2150 S. Monaco Pkwy., which is in north Goldsmith.

The markets boast more than 700 varieties of plants including perennials, annuals, vegetables, some fruits, herbs and some shrubs; as well as plants in hanging baskets; some accessories such as pots; and bagged goods such as soils, compost and fertilizers.

“There were a lot of new gardeners starting to get into it last year because everyone was stuck at home,” said Matt Niemann, who oversees the operations of all five Plum Creek Garden Markets. “People wanted to make their home as beautiful as possible.”

An industry goal this year, Niemann added, is to keep all those new gardeners interested in their new-found passion.

“And one way to do that is to help them be successful,” Niemann said.

There’s always something new to learn — whether beginner or expert — and the more time a person spends around plants, the more knowledge that person will absorb, Niemann said.

“The enjoyment of gardening is in our human nature,” Niemann said. “There is enjoyment in planting something, caring for it and watching it grow.”

People love color, so flowers tend to be popular for gardeners, and others enjoy plants that yield something they can eat, such as herbs or vegetables, Niemann said.

Every situation is different, he added, but there is always a solution to any problem someone might be having in their gardening endeavor. It’s helpful for many people to visit a gardening center and talk with the experts who can provide all sorts of advice and knowledge, Niemann said.

Coupar Lester of Denver’s Cory-Merrill neighborhood has been gardening as a homeowner for about 20 years but started helping his grandmother with her garden when he was a teenager.

Lester finds gardening therapeutic and relaxing, and enjoys flowers because of the color they add to his yard. But he and his wife enjoy cooking, and especially so with fresh ingredients, so Lester’s garden includes a variety of vegetables ranging from tomatoes and cucumbers to squash and peppers, as well as an assortment of herbs such as rosemary, basil, thyme and cilantro. The Lesters even have a peach tree they can harvest.

“Gardening will give you a creative outlet to do something outdoors,” Lester said. After all, he added, “Colorado has a lot of wonderful days to be spent outside.”

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