Saturday, March 09, 2013

If you like 21st-century Cheyenne, thank the gubment

Joyce Kilmer at the High Plains Arboretum: I think that I shall never see/A poem as lovely as a tree.
Cheyenne owes its existence to government or, as it's pronounced in certain quarters, gubment (sometimes, gubmint).

That darn federal gubment was nice enough to station troops at Fort D.A. Russell to drive the pesky indigenous residents from the High Plain, thus making way for settlements, ranches and rodeos. This also made the region safe for the railroad, which owes its transcontinental success to the sweet deal it got from that darn federal gubment. The fort eventually grew into F.E. Warren AFB, home to the Peacekeeper Missile and thousands of income-generating Air Force personnel. Further economic development was fueled by federal office for the BLM and IRS. And state gubment grew, too, with hundreds of state employees driving Cheyenne's economic engine, buying weed-whackers at Lowe's and dining on prime rib sandwiches at The Albany Bar & Restaurant downtown. Many of us were forced to go to Fort Collins for more exotic fare, thus allowing the regional economy to grow. It's still a challenge to get good sushi in The Magic City of the Plains. But one must make sacrifices to live in this low-tax, sparsely-populated paradise with its always-entertaining legislature.

According to the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens web site, Cheyenne had 5,000 people and 12 trees in 1876. I now have almost as many trees on my north Cheyenne lot. I have two huge spruces in my front yard, trees that sometimes give me pause during our occasional 50-mph gusts that blow in from the mountains. I sometimes wonder if they will come crashing down on the house, causing yet another call to Neil, my insurance man, who's supervised multiple damages caused by hailstorms and sewer back-ups during the past two years.

It's not easy growing trees in "one of the harshest growing environments in the country," according to the Botanic Gardens.

Again we can thank the gubment for our lush landscape. The USDA's Cheyenne Horticultural Field Station (now High Plains Grasslands Research Station) researched and grew varieties of plants that could stand up to our harsh climate. The Cheyenne Botanic Gardens now is working on a 62-acre High Plains Arboretum on the site. Trees have always been a necessity. Next week at the library, we get to hear from a tree expert. Says the Botanic Gardens:
Early settlers struggled with the arid climate, alkaline soil and constant wind. Hailstorms often hastened the end of an already short growing season. Now Cheyenne can grow trees but it isn’t easy and you need to know what to plant. 
Don’t miss the lecture on Tenacious Trees with expert arboricultureist, Scott Skogerboe.
When: Saturday, March 16, 1 p.m.
Where: Laramie County Library Cottonwood Room
Price: $15.00 ea.
Purchase tickets online at www​.brownpapertickets​.com, type in “Gardening with Altitude,” or purchase at the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens (cash or check only)
NOTE: Lecture Room has limited seating. Advanced tickets are recommended as tickets at the door may sell out. Sponsored by the Laramie County Master Gardeners and the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens
I almost forgot to thank city gubment and its support (since 1986) of the Botanic Gardens. Thank you.

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