Saturday, September 24, 2011


On our way to Seattle this summer we pulled into Cherry Creek State Park for the weekend. We wanted to pay a return visit to the Denver Botanic Gardens. This has to be one of the most beautiful gardens in the country-and very well funded, as you will see later.

You can imagine that the gardens were quite busy on a summer Saturday. In fact a wedding was about to take place in my favorite garden so I could only sneak a quick picture under the ropes. The Romantic Garden at Denver was designed by Lauren Springer Ogden.

I think Denver is such a favorite of mine because of the many garden rooms. Step from one and you find yourself in another completely different garden.

The herb garden.

I don't even remember this one from 2 years ago. The sundial garden.

The Scripture garden

Henry Moore has been replaced with sculptures more fitting to the South Western scene. Here, Dance of the Mountain Spirits by Allan Houser (1919-1994).

Mother natures own art work in this Lacebark pine, Pinus bungeata.

Spirit of the Mountains.

 Simple hand made troughs in the rock garden.

Warm Springs Apache Man.

And my favorite one of all. A Navajo shepherdess tending her sheep in Homeward Bound.

Maybe we missed this garden the last time we were here. What a wonderful idea for a courtyard garden. Variously sized pavers set in decomposed granite with hypertuffa troughs. What could be more simple.

Of course it helps to have a fine piece of sculpture as a center piece.

Prayer Song.

The day lily garden.

Ramada with penstemons.

A palate of soft pinks and rusts.

Dreaming of growing plants like this in my rock wall.

The hell strip.

Two pots of A. desmettiana flanking a citrus with underplanting of herbs. Good idea!

Alpinia 'Singapore Gold' in the tropical house.

A breakdown of the costs of the ongoing and completed projects, Quite a budget and many paid for with bonds.
The only disappointment was to finally get to see the Mordecai Children's Garden in completion. Not at all a children's garden in my opinion.
There is so much more to see. A must for everyone who visits Denver.


  1. Funny you should post this. I just finished looking at my DBG post from two years ago. I was prompted by a comment left this morning on another post from my CO trip and I ended up going down memory lane.

    I like the Indian themed sculptures. Both times I have been there sculpture was on display. The first time it was African and the more recent it was dinosaurs.

  2. Great post! I have never been! I love that Lacebark pine- very interesting. The water garden is beautiful as well. I am with you- the rock wall with the succulents- love it. I want one of those as well. I remember you posting about that in another post, or something similar growing out of the wall- I like that effect.
    Thanks for the tour! Oh- and it was identified as the Baltimore Oriole!

  3. Thank you for the great photo tour! This one's on my "someday" list. Can you imagine if all botanical gardens had that great of funding?

  4. Very nice; you'll have to show/describe that children's garden sometime. I agree that the stone slab/rectilinear planter patio space is exquisite.

    My only beef is how one of the Allan Houser sculptures is placed - they have Navajo people shown in a rather un-Navajo setting (looks like the Black Hills or Rocky Mtn foothills of the Arapahoe or Lakota!)...should be set in a desert w/ spare Colo Plateau plants.

  5. Been there 4 times. 78,86,92, and last time was 02. Loved every trip. Colors are so vivid. Great design with the hardscape and of course this is primarily where xeriscape started. Nice tour. Loved the sculpture.

  6. desert dweller- I doubt I will ever post about the Children's garden. I was there when they were making it and saw the finished project this year. For one thing it is on the rooftop and it was very hot. No shade. As you walk into the garden there is very little of interest even for an adult and there was very little there for the children to do. I was interested because the WFC is doing a children's garden. Red Butte gardens in SLC has a much better children's garden. But this is just my opinion.

  7. So much variety, it's astounding. I'm very impressed with the Romantic Garden, the Herb Garden and the Sundial Garden... I haven't seen anything like Alpinia 'Singapore Gold', how unique.

  8. All the more reason to show the children's garden, to say why you don't think it works. I'm very interested.

    And with your post and others' previously, I'm now determined to see these gardens next summer. I WILL make it happen.

  9. Sweet bay- As I mentioned the romantic garden is my favorite. It has a very English look because of the summerhouses which are not visible in this shot.
    Pam- Yes, you must go there, but make sure you have plenty of time because it is very big with many different areas. You will not be disappointed. I didn't blog about the half of it. I didn't even take any photos of the children's garden. We walked around quickly. Maybe you will see something I didn't see.