A Garden Like Mine

YampaRiverBotanicPark-SteamboatSprings-CO_LAH_6364r I love to visit botanic gardens (look for my previous posts under the category Gardening: Gardens). In addition to enjoying the beauty of these places, they also provide ideas for my own landscape. Denver’s is one of the best, and many of the plants there will grow happily 2,000 feet higher. But many won’t. The Betty Ford Alpine Garden, in Vail, is another lovely spot, but that garden features plants that only thrive in the mountains, where they enjoy exceptionally well-drained gravelly soils and cooler days. Yes, there are several demonstration gardens here in Colorado Springs, and I’m well acquainted with what they have to offer. But perhaps I’m too well acquainted. I need inspiration that I can apply at home.

YampaRiverBotanicPark-SteamboatSprings-CO_LAH_6297This summer, I found a botanic garden with growing conditions just like mine. In just five acres, the Yampa River Botanic Park, in Steamboat Springs, offers all the inspiration I could ask for. And since it’s situated at 6,800 feet, what grows there will grow for me, too.

Continue reading “A Garden Like Mine”

Spring for a Day

LAH_5986The weather has been too nice. One might even think that Spring has come to stay. Usually, this time of year is marked by freezing cold and wet snowstorms. I’m sure the snow will return, but the past week or so has been so gorgeous, it would be easy to be deceived.

While I was thrilled to find some crocuses and a pair of early daffodils in our yard, they weren’t enough for this green-starved soul. Denver is almost 2,000 feet lower than my home in Colorado Springs—surely there would be flowers galore at the botanic gardens. With a storm in the forecast, I didn’t want to delay. I headed north.

Continue reading “Spring for a Day”

A Tropical Paradise

botanicgardens-singapore_lah_7427Last November I took you on a virtual tour of the Royal Botanic Garden in Sydney, Australia. Today we’re going to visit the Singapore Botanic Gardens. According to Wikipedia, “It is one of three gardens, and the only tropical garden, to be honored as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.” One visit, and it’s easy to see why.

The gardens were first planted in 1859 and presently contain over 60,000 plants. The place is huge—it took us hours to walk from one end to the other, but then I had to stop and appreciate every plant (and bird) I passed.

Continue reading “A Tropical Paradise”

Hunting for Warm and Green

Boettcher-DBG_LAH_6632As I stare out the window at brown and dead, I’m dreaming of warm, green, lush gardens. In past years I’ve had to make do with visits to Denver Botanic Gardens’ greenhouses (left) or the Butterfly Pavilion in Broomfield, Colorado (another walk-in greenhouse full of tropical plants). This year, however, we’re heading south to where plants are green and you can walk around outside without lays of insulation. I can hardly wait.

As we aren’t leaving quite yet, I have some time to ponder which direction to go. We’re driving, we have no reservation, and we can be as random and carefree as we like—at least until the money runs out.

Continue reading “Hunting for Warm and Green”

Hudson Gardens: A Littleton Oasis

cleome-hasslerana_spider-flower_hudsongardens-littletonco_lah_0603Labor Day is past, but there’s no reason to sit inside and sulk. Fall means blue skies and more moderate temperatures beckoning us back outdoors. One of the best gardens to visit at this time of year is Hudson Gardens, in Littleton, Colorado. Situated along the South Platte River, you can enjoy 30 acres of flowers, shrubs, trees, and grass—from exotic annuals to water lilies.

Once a private estate, the gardens are now open to a public, and right now, there isn’t even an admission charge. You can’t beat that! (There may be a small fee during the peak summer season.)

Continue reading “Hudson Gardens: A Littleton Oasis”

Be a Garden Tourist

bellevuebg_lah_6629Where does a gardener want to go on vacation? Probably somewhere with a beautiful public garden or two.

I make a point of visiting Colorado’s inspiring public gardens. I’ve written about many of them already, and I’m always searching out new ones. There we can see plants adapted to our area and get new ideas for our own yards. Once there, I invariably start making notes, taking photos, and mentally redesigning my perennial border. It’s fun, but not exactly relaxing.

When I visit gardens in other parts of the country (or the world), it’s a totally different experience. Instead of relating everything back to my own landscape, I unwind and just enjoy the gardens for what they are.

Continue reading “Be a Garden Tourist”

Cool Wildflowers

alpine-paintbrush_mtevans-co_lah_4409We’re in the middle of summer, that season I’ve waited for all year. All those December dreams of dahlias, March musings of marigolds—and now it’s too hot to go outside! A friend and I have been planning, then delaying, a trip to the Denver Botanic Gardens for several weeks, hoping for a cooler day that will allow for a more enjoyable visit and better photos. Meanwhile, what’s a sweaty flower lover to do?

Head for the hills!

Continue reading “Cool Wildflowers”