Cheyenne Garden Gossip

Gardening on the high plains of southeastern Wyoming


Hello! I’m Barb Gorges. I started writing the Garden Gossip column freelance for the Wyoming Tribune Eagle, the Cheyenne paper, in February 2012. Beginning January 1, 2018, the column is also being carried by Wyoming Network News under the News – Commentary section, and is available for wider distribution. Please see information at the “Note to Editors and Borrowers” page on this website.

In 2014, I decided to archive the columns here to make them easily accessible by Cheyenne gardeners, linking with the Laramie County Master Gardeners’ website,, and the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens website, The articles are usually exactly as published in the paper, however the photos are my own, unless otherwise stated.

Use the list of topics in the sidebar or use Search to find what information you need. If you are using a smart phone, scroll all the way to the bottom of this page to find them.

Until I started writing this column, my gardening experience was rather casual–mostly plunking perennials. Then I took the Laramie County Master Gardeners’ training in 2012 and realized how much more there was to know.

I also realized how much I already knew as my degree in Natural Resource Management included the study of botany, forestry, hydrology and soils–and wildlife.

I am not an expert gardener, but I interview the local experts. “Local” is the key word. Successful gardening is all about understanding local conditions and learning how to work with them.

Here’s hoping this compendium of local knowledge will help you be successful. Don’t hesitate to contact me at



Feb. 2, 2018


8 thoughts on “About

  1. Barb: I’m thinking about letting part of my bluegrass lawn “go wild,” not cut it, fertilize it or herbicide it. I know it is not as simple as just doing that, i.e. I’d like to establish some local flowers, plants, etc. in it and not have invasive weeds and other problems. Can you point me to some resources or give me some advice? Thanks, Tim Kingston

    • Here in Cheyenne, keep in mind that bluegrass can be very competitive, even without fertilizer, so it may be difficult to naturalize native plants without clearing little openings for them. Also keep in mind that weeds and wildflowers are all broad-leaf plants that are affected by herbicides. So if you decide to naturalize your bluegrass lawn, you’ll have to control your weeds by hand–digging! Although I hear the best thing to do for bindweed is to continually snip off the leafy parts. Various garden books discuss planting spring-flowering bulbs in your lawn, but otherwise, I have not seen anything else about naturalizing bluegrass.

  2. Thanks very much for your reply. Tim

  3. Hi Barb
    Thanks for checking out my blog. I’ve another nightingale poem on now if youre interested. 😉

  4. Hi Barb. I just read “Match wits with weeds”. I am researching the stirrup hoe and came across your article.
    I am OVER RUN with thistles. I can’t say enough how bad they are. I pull every one I see just to have 50 more in a day peeking their heads…. And thats only in 1/2 of my garden.
    We have this thought, if we use the stirrup hoe and just use it, whether we see anything or not, keeping the thistles always below ground level, that they will eventually die off from exhaustion?
    I am puling them now, but no matter how hard I try to get the entire root, the roots still break off. Some are 8 inches long where they break.
    I do not want to use chemicals. I have tried vinegar. It helps, but these things need to die!
    Any thoughts are very appreciated!!

    • Hi Mindy,
      I don’t have any first-hand experience with getting rid of established thistle–I find thistle seedlings now and then and pull them right away. This Wikihow link has some good ideas based on what I know about thistles, though I too would leave the chemicals as a last choice: Snipping off new growth, especially flower buds before they go to seed sounds like less work than digging. By the way, when vinegar is mentioned as weed control, it’s horticultural-strength vinegar–not the stuff from the grocery store–and you are talking about a chemical you need to be careful with. If it comes to chemicals, get advice from your local university extension office horticulturist.

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