Most of us are familiar with the same limited assortment of plants—junipers and spirea, oaks and maples, pines, petunias and geraniums. Take a drive anywhere along the Front Range and notice the landscaping. Maybe a dozen plants are repeated over and over, neighborhood to neighborhood. Especially in winter, when annuals are dead and perennials are dormant, the basic theme seems to be rocks, lawn, and junipers. I call it “zero-scaping.”
We live in an area with limited water supplies. Trying to grow the same plants as places with ample rainfall just doesn’t make sense. And there’s really no reason to do so. There are plenty of beautiful, stalwart species that thrive in our climate. They’re a lot more interesting than junipers and rocks. All we need is some inspiration.
One of my favorite places to learn about new plants is at the Xeriscape Demonstration Garden, owned by Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU). Located at CSU’s Conservation and Environmental Center (2855 Mesa Road), the gardens occupy several acres in a beautiful setting overlooking the Garden of the Gods.