Saturday, July 31, 2010


This time it was with a visit to the Denver Botanic Gardens. There were so many memorable places and vistas but I begin with one of my favorites. Is it because I am English born that this garden reminds me of so many of those wonderful English gardens?

Our visit coincided with "Moore in the Gardens" Presenting 20 of the British sculptor Henry Moore's monumental works. Here a long shot of the same garden seen through his Oval with Points.
We had reached this garden, the Schlessman Plaza and fragrance garden, by walking down the perennial walk. But for the fact that the walkway was paved rather than grassed I thought I was at Wisley. The long perennial walks, which originated in Europe, were designed as a rebellion against the formal gardens of the Victorian era. This was more of a mixed border with annuals mixed in among perennials but providing color and texture through all seasons.

Rest a while among the achillea.
Watch the barracuda leap by the wall of water.

Or take a minute in the shade of one of the two summer houses. Always a feature in many English gardens; a must on even a nice summer's day.

My granddad built a sunken garden in his garden. Like the walled kitchen gardens, a sunken garden would afford protection against the harsh winds, providing a microclimate. Here in Denver another garden which was to remind me of my long ago home.

From the English style of garden to a garden across the other side of the world; the Moongate leads into the Chinese garden. It represents the full moon and happiness.

A pebble pathway leads through the lush planting..

To the Ting, which in Chinese means 'pause' inviting the visitor to stop and rest and enjoy the scenery. Not a hard thing to do on a hot day in Denver.

This interesting vine was Lonicera reticulata, Kintzleys Ghost Grape Honeysuckle.

The South African Garden displayed many of the plants I am familiar with. The succulents were beautifully displayed in various levels of planters.

Or raised on gravel beds

The rock alpine garden with the cactus and succulent house in the background.

The gateway into the Japanese garden.

Stone, water and plants brought together in such a way that we would recognize this garden immediately.

A stop for lunch at the cafe. Great paninis.

Overlooking the potager, or kitchen garden with its giant headed alliums. I think I should change the name of my vegetable garden to 'potager'. It does sound so much nicer.
More Moore. Mother and child.

Daylilies in full bloom.

Please someone tell me what these flowers are and will they grow in Texas. They were stunning en masse.
More places to sit in the shade.

I would love to grow this frilly cosmos too but have never had much luck with any but the native orange variety.

And if you find the idea of a tank in your garden too 'Texas' then here's an idea with a softer look.
there is a little bit of everything in the gardens. Here a style that might be a little closer to home.
A green roof, although I am not sure how this would offer much of a cooling effect.

A recent bond, to fund parks, means that new gardens are being added all the time. I was given a peek at the new Mordecai children's garden which will open later in August. Here children were helping with the planting.
One thing is for sure. I won't pass through Denver gain without spending a day at the gardens. Members of the Wildflower Center enter the garden without charge.


  1. Wow! Thanks for posting this. We were there with relatives about 3 years ago on a summer day TRYING to escape the Texas heat. But it was 90+ at the gardens that day.
    Still, they were gorgeous. Your pictures are stunning. They have continued to keep these gardens in top condition.
    I love the 'tank' with the wooden sides. Nice idea to remember.
    David (Tropical Texana where it hit 96 in Houston today & 101 in Austin)

  2. Wonderful photos Jenny -- that's a place I have never been, it looks great. I smiled when I saw the Moore sculptures. being a transplanted Brit myself I recognized his work before I even read the text :-)

  3. Are those orange flowers some kind of coneflower? I thought maybe Tiki Torch, but the petals aren't quite right.

  4. What a beautiful garden! I would have loved to walk there, and see all the gorgeous flowers!

  5. The orange flower looks like sneezeweed (Helenium).

    Jenny, your post has me THIS CLOSE to booking a flight today for Denver. I have wanted to see this garden for some time, and your photos are the most enticing yet.

  6. Jenny, what a fantastic tour. So glad bloggers always pack cameras! The sunken garden really appeals to me too, and I love the shallow bowls of succulents. Repeating the shallow bowls builds a great rhythm. Helenium wants much more water than I can give but is a great plant. Thank you for a look at this amazing botanic garden.

  7. I love 'traveling' with you. You always go to such beautiful gardens.
    Thanks again.

  8. Jenny, those flowers you were asking about are heleniums, although which variety, I don't know. I would guess that yes, they would grow in central Texas. They are native to much of the U.S.

    I went to the Denver Botanic Garden maybe 6 or 7 years ago and loved it. It looks like it has even more cool things there than when I visited. Thanks for the tour and the great photos!

  9. What a lovely garden! Yes, s lot of English garden influence there - Gertrude Jekyll springs to mind. I love heleniums, used to have some in a sunny spot in the family home, there are lots of varieties so I'm sure you'd find one which was suitable. Thanks for the lovely pics.

  10. david- It was pretty warm the day we were there but of course the evenings cool down so the plants get a needed break.
    Jayne- I did feel as though I was in England, at least at 9am, then the heat came. Still plenty of places to escape the heat and still enjoy the garden.
    Lisa- The consensus seems to be heleniums and as thy were in the All American garden I assume they would do well anywhere.
    Pam- Thanks for the id. Sneezeweed- seems I have heard of that but maybe in a native flower sense. I will be back there again. One of my favorite gardens and so much to see there. I couldn't even show all the photos I took.
    Denise- I'm thinking os all the gardens I visited before I had a digital camera. How we missed out as memories certainly do fade.
    Patchwork-gardens are always on my itinerary when we travel and D seems to enjoy them too. More than I enjoy fishing.
    Jean- You are the second to say heleniums so that's what they are. Must look them up and see if they grow from seed and hopefully they can be fall planted.
    Ruth- You are right, very English- such a profusion of flowers everywhere. GJ. That is one garden I have not visited but hope to one day. On my third tea cosy! Think I could do one with my eyes closed now.

  11. Pam and Jean are correct! From Sharon Schwartzkopf,
    Administrative Assistant, Horticulture Department, Denver Botanic Gardens:
    "The plant is Helenium, the common name is sneezeweed. There are many cultivars in a range of colors from yellow to bright orange. The picture
    looks like it might be Moerheim Beauty."

  12. Thanks for the wonderful photo tour! The alpine garden reminds me of what we just saw up in the Rocky Mountains at 10,000 feet!

  13. Caroline- Thanks for finding out the variety. Must check out growing conditions. The bees just loved it.
    Joseph- I wonder if we crossed paths. We were up there recently and took the drive over the top to visit the alpine meadow. I thought the flowers were just beautiful this year. I have a soft spot for alpines and rock gardens!

  14. Great Pictures! I especially like the succulents in the unique containers in the South African Garden!

  15. What a beautiful tour! I want to go & right this minute. Thank for being such a good guide. Indeed, why not make your lovely vegetable garden the Rock Rose potager? And I love hearing your connections to your family in England.

  16. That garden looked so beautiful and peaceful. I would love to be there all by myself on a cool morning and just spend the day walking, admiring, and listening to the birds.

  17. I haven't been to the Denver Botanic for about 10 years but it looks just as amazing as I remember it. Thanks for the update.

  18. The flower you said from Texas is called Helenium or "Sneezeweed".