An Oasis in Monument Park

entrance_has-cospgsco_lah_0290A calm oasis in Monument Park, the Horticultural Art Society’s Demonstration Garden is the perfect summer retreat. Surrounded by mature trees that provide shade for much of the day, and full of flowers, it’s a place to linger and relax. Perennial borders encircle several planted islands, set off by a sea of green grass; the total effect is lovely.

hosta-bed_has-cospgsco_lah_0294As you enter off Mesa Road (a continuation of W. Cache la Poudre Street) or Glen Avenue in downtown Colorado Springs, the noise of the street fades, replaced by the chirping of birds and the gentle sigh of a cool breeze. Rarely are more than a few other people present.

paeonia_peony_has-cospgsco_lah_0227Roses abound, combined with other romantic blooms such as peonies, Oriental poppies, and bleeding heart. Later in the season other flowers take their place: dianthus, Balloonflower, Monarda. Lamb’s ears, Aegopodium , and dead nettle carpet the ground, their light-colored foliage providing a sun-dappled effect even on overcast days. Hostas and ferns thrive in the sheltered space, providing summer-long beauty, and dwarf evergreens are attractive year round.

vegetable-garden_has-cospgsco_lah_0304The Fragrance Garden occupies the western side of the garden, where both leaves and blossoms delight the nose as well as the eyes. To the north, heirloom vegetables and herbs have their own planting, watched over by an old farmer sculpted in rusty iron.

lamprocapnos-spectabilis_bleeding-heart_has-cospgsco_lah_0276While most of the demonstration gardens in the area focus on native and/or drought-resistant plantings, this relatively small plot contains more traditional plantings. All need supplemental irrigation during the growing season—about the same amount as a bluegrass lawn. In addition, many of the perennials are particularly well suited for shade.

There is no admission charge (or gate), and the gardens are always open. Parking is usually plentiful. Even a short visit is well worth your time.

If you enjoy this garden, you might also want to visit the Horticultural Art Society’s two other gardens. The Heritage Garden is located a block and a half to the north, and the Pinetum is across the creek from the Heritage Garden.

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