Tuesday, October 2, 2012

WESTERN COLORADO BOTANICAL GARDENS

No sooner were we home from our UK trip than we loaded up our trailer and headed west. Destination Idaho. On the way I had planned to visit a couple of Botanic Gardens, one of them in Grand Junction. The Western Colorado Botanical Gardens lies on a 15 acre site on the banks of the Colorado River.


In 1994 the Western Colorado Botanical Society leased the land from the city and hundreds of volunteers proceeded to clean up acres of debris from what had been a car salvage yard. The site was littered with old cars, batteries and drums of waste. Today there is a Butterfly garden, Tropical house, cactus garden and a heritage garden.


By the time we arrived the sun was already high in the sky and it was hot. The high temperature in July is in the 90s but night time temperatures are usually below 70° which means plants have time to recover
a little during the cooler temperatures. With no butterflies to see in July we went thought the doors into the tropical house.


Look at this gorgeous hibiscus flower, Hibiscus schizopetalus.


Then it was out into the hot sun.


I would love to see this garden in the spring when the cactus are in flower. The beds are beautifully laid out with pathways leading though the planting areas.


The only thing that detracts is the chain link fence which bounds the property. Wish they could find a way to hide it.


I would loved to have lingered here for a while, but....


There was more to see in the Western Heritage garden. Grand Junction lies at the confluence of the Colorado and Gunnison rivers. The Ute lived and hunted here spending the winters under the cliffs along the banks of the river. When the Spanish arrived in the 1700s,  they traded horses for blankets and serapes. They traveled along well worn Indian trails which later became known as the "Old Spanish Trail". The Ute defended their territory fiercely but could not stem the flow of settlers. They were unable to hunt as they once had and in 1881 were driven at gunpoint to the Utah reservation.




Home on the Range

Sheepherder's wagon



So glad our home on the range has a few more mod cons!






We ate our lunch under the shade of some trees and then we were on our way. The next garden will be a return visit to Red Butte Gardens in Salt Lake City. It is one of my favorite gardens with a stunning backdrop.

4 comments:

  1. Oooh, love that bench!

    I agree about the fence, but what could they do?

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  2. Lovely. Thank you for the tour. What is the purple plant with the plumes?~~Dee

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  3. I agree with Dee. That is certainly an interesting plant.

    Thanks for the tour.

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  4. We leave Sunday for Durango/Silverton. We have not visited this area before so we are super excited! I have been to the Grand Junction area many years ago. Thanks for posting this. It will hold me over til I get out there! Carol

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