As an enthusiastic gardener, I spend a lot of time in my yard, but it’s always a treat to visit other gardens. Just as sandwiches always taste better if I don’t have to make them, a garden I haven’t tended seems more lovely somehow. Perhaps it’s because I’m not responsible for pulling every weed; I can just relax and enjoy the flowers.
I’ve been garden hopping a lot this month. Earlier this month, our house suffered 45 minutes of half-inch hail accompanied by a torrential downpour. Runoff scoured my gravel paths and adjacent flower beds—I never did find some seedlings I had just planted. Happily, other parts of town completely missed the destruction. I find their intact flowers and un-shredded leaves therapeutic, easing my bruised sensibilities while my garden heals.
One of my favorite spots is the Xeriscape Demonstration Gardens on the property of our city-owned utilities. I’ve written about this wonderful spot in a past post. It’s constantly changing. A team of hard-working volunteers keeps the gardens weed-free while swapping out aging plants for the newest horticultural introductions. I made two visits a mere week apart, discovering that in that short time, a whole new group of plants was in bloom. The gardens are free and always open, and the view of the Garden of the Gods is superb from up on the mesa.
The Horticultural Art Society (HAS) maintains their own demonstration garden downtown in Monument Park. At a lower elevation, and with more shade and better soil, it’s home to many more traditional plants, many which won’t grow at my yard at the north end of town. Again, it’s worth repeat visits, as plants are added or removed, and bloom varies as the season progresses.
A short block further north is the Heritage Garden, also maintained by the HAS. It’s smaller, but has a gazebo (top) and a slightly different assortment of plants.
There are other gardens in town—including the PlantSelect garden at the Carnegie Library downtown, and another xeriscape demo garden further east in Cottonwood Park. I plan on stopping by soon—as soon as I get the weeds out of my own backyard.
Photos, from top:
- Gazebo at HAS Heritage Garden
- Jupiter’s Beard, aka Valerian (Centranthus ruber); Meadow Clary Sage (Salvia pratensis); ‘Spanish Gold’ broom (Cytisus purgans); Purple Jerusalem Sage (Phlomis purpurea); Hummingbird Trumpet Mint (Monardella macrantha ‘Marian Sampson’); Meadow Sage (Salvia sylvestris)
- Mesa Verde Ice Plant (Delosperma ‘Kelaidis’); Broad-tailed Hummingbird; Kintzley’s Ghost Honeysuckle (Lonicera reticulata)
- Penstemon barbatus ‘Elfin Pink’; yellow daisies (not identified); Skullcap (Scutellaria sp.)
- Daylilies (Hemerocallis hyb.); Spiderwort (Tradescantia virginiana); Gaura sp., possibly ‘Whirling Butterflies’