This year my friend Brenda and I visited three of the five private Denver area gardens that were open to the public for the day. Each visit was $5 per person collected to support Garden Conservancy projects that have helped preserve over 90 American gardens.
Each garden was a site to behold, the work and skill of each gardener could be seen in every detail. The care seen in each garden left my friend to exclaim, “We may know all the names of plants but we only play at being gardeners!” How very true when looking at the time that must have been taken to design, build and maintain these treasures.
Here are some pictures of the lovely gardens.
Floral Designer’s Garden
The Floral Designer’s garden was small in scale but huge on design. There were so many plants, used in layers and repeated to create dramatic small vignettes at every corner. I counted no less than 5 separate garden rooms. Some areas were small seating areas tucked between plant screens and tall pergolas or pathways filled with sun loving plants and one side and dramatic shade gardens on the other. Sadly, I was so in awe of each detail I didn’t take many photos.
This garden was on nearly a half acre with a unique feature to a Denver neighborhood, a beautifully built drainage ditch called Lakewood Gulch. Here runoff from the neighboring streets, shopping centers and errant sprinkler ends up in a 10′ wide ditch lined with boulders. When we visited a flock of mallard ducks were floating the stream. The owner said the runoff runs all year long and has flooded its banks once in 10 years. The steep hill was once full of grass, but is now home to a wonderful rock garden and stairway. The perennial garden that is accessed via a small bridge across the gulch is full of wonderful drought tolerant plants like Centranthus ruber, salvia and bachelor’s button, shade lovers like Campanula, and a large red climbing rose.
NG and DR
The last garden was further south near me, and got hail damage like I did. The home owner said they spent over 30 hours cleaning up the leaf damage and debris. But their garden showed very nicely. The husband, a train enthusiast, had one or two hundred feet of small track that wound around an island in the front yard, with irish moss for grass and small juniper for full sized trees.
The garden sported a large area for vegetable gardening and a nice strolling path in the backyard with many kinds of lilies, iris and over 50 varieties of roses.