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This Week at the Gardens: August 12th


Random bits of gardeniana this week…

Fun With Plants!

If you are on the southern side of the Gardens, along the main path at Woodland Mosaic, you will see the delicate, shade-loving Balfour’s impatiens (Impatiens balfourii). Find one of its tiny cigar-shaped seed pods, fat and a little yellowed, and touch it or gently squeeze it between your fingers. I’m afraid I scared a three-year-old out of her socks with this trick, but older kids and adults will love it!

Plants from Outer Space

Catch this crazy-looking moon carrot (Seseli gummiferum) just inside the main entrance to the Gardens!

And see varieties of amaranth (Amaranthus) in all shapes and colors throughout the Gardens, but especially in Sacred Earth.

Common Scents
Some of the most fragrant flowers of the year are blooming right now. Brush your hands along these to release their fragrance, but use care, since the bees like them too!

Agastache, butterfly bush (Buddleia), and lavender (Lavandula) are blooming everywhere.

On the north edge of the Monet Pond, you can bury your face in some heavenly Stephanotis growing in containers.

Where Have All the Lotus Gone?

We experienced some wicked hail earlier in the summer, and it took many of our lotus plants out of the running for flowering this year. But you can see a few in bloom, hidden away on the southwest end of the Japanese Garden pond. Even more gorgeous for being rare this season!

Gardens Not to Miss:
The Japanese Garden, always tranquil. Sacred Earth, where native southwestern plants are taking over the universe. The water gardens, in waterlily splendor. The Laura Smith Porter Plains Garden in the mornings and evenings when it is cool and restful.


Panayoti Kelaidis

What a wonderful color coordinated display of plants this posting! I think of August as yellow...but there are lots of lavender and pink and purple mints and umbels. You have reminded me that August is pink and purple and lilac too! These are cooling colors indeed!
Matt Pizzuti

It's interesting that so many xeric plants pick what seems the most miserably hot and dry month of the year to bloom! I've been thinking about that a lot this year, and noticed that many of them are native to the Southwestern U.S., where July-September are the wettest months, and spring months are extremely dry. That contrasts Denver where May is one of the busiest months for plant growth, with rainfall coming in addition to leftover snowmelt still in the soil, lots of light as it is closer to the longest day on June 21, plus there are cooler temperatures. I was surprised to look up climate data by city and find that, for example, in Tuscon, average May precipitation is less than a quarter inch, while average August precipitation is over two inches! And August there is slightly cooler than June. Those trends are found throughout the Southwest, with august rain instead of spring rain. Even just a little bit south of Denver, in Colorado Springs and Pueblo, the weather patterns shift towards August being the wettest time of year. Meanwhile, go up to Cheyenne, Wyoming, and May is extremely wet while August is drier. Denver seems to be right on the boundary between two very different precipitation calendars, which is perhaps why it seems like every year here is completely different from the one before, and it's so difficult to plant around natural precipitation.

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