Planttalk Colorado Wins Cooperative Extension Team Award

Team members from Planttalk ColoradoTM, the statewide automated telephone service that provides answers to Rocky Mountain region Gardening questions, have been honored by Colorado State University Cooperative Extension.

Members received the "Team Award," presented each year to honor a group that has cooperated to solve a critical need in Colorado. The award was given at Cooperative Extension’s annual awards banquet, Sept. 28, in Fort Collins.

Members of the Planttalk team include Cooperative Extension agents and specialists, as well as representatives from Colorado’s ‘green industry.’

In the two-and-a-half years since Planttalk, began, in February, 1998, the system has chalked up more than 40,000 telephone calls and 330,000 hits on its website. The system features 400 taped messages covering Gardening issues that range from growing annuals to installing Xeriscapes. The messages are accessed by calling a toll-free number, 1-888-666-3063. Horticulturists from Cooperative Extension and Colorado’s Green Industry collaborated to write the scripts. New scripts are added each year, and existing scripts are updated as research reflects changes in horticultural practices.

Planttalk represents a unique approach. Other states – Minnesota, Nebraska and Missouri, for example – offer call-in Gardening tip lines. None, however, is the result of three, often competing, entities working together.

Colorado State University team members include specialists Jim Klett, landscape plants; Tony Koski, turfgrass; David Whiting, Consumer horticulture; and Steve Newman, greenhouse Crops; all with CSU’s Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture. Dell Rae Moellenberg, media specialist and Ruth Willson, computer specialist, also were honored. Cooperative Extension agents cited for their work on the team include Kerrie Badertscher, Boulder County; Barbara Bates, El Paso County; Robert Cox and Laura Pottorff, Jefferson County; Megan Gross, Eagle County; Joe Julian, Douglas County; Nana Mejia, Adams County; and Carl Wilson, Denver County.

Members of the Denver Botanic Garden staff, honored for their role on the Planttalk team, include Harriett McMillan, Susan Eubank and Diane Stahl.

Honorees from the Green Industry include Steve Geist, Swingle Tree Company; Jim Henrich, Garden Botanicals; Diane Matt and Bob Briggs, Green Industries of Colorado; and Beth Zwinak, Tagawa Garden Center and Florist.

To learn more about Planttalk ColoradoTM, contact your county office of Colorado State University Cooperative Extension and ask for a brochure listing all topics and telephone code numbers. Brochures also are available at area Garden centers and nurseries. The Planttalk website address is