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This Week at the Gardens: September 9th


Late summer in the Gardens: color, texture, and a chill in the air. Now that it’s cooler, get out and get reacquainted!

You Really Shouldn’t…
…grow here, that is. Caesalpinia gilliesii (bird of paradise) and Chilopsis linearis (desert willow) are just two of numerous plants that, by most reckonings, should not be perennial in our climate, but seem to do just fine here in the right microclimate.

Each of these plants is listed as hardy to Zone 8—we are considered Zone 5 in Denver! This is not the first time Denver Botanic Gardens has pushed the boundaries of what is available to gardeners here, and it won’t be the last. See these two plants in the Crossroads area, and Desert Willow throughout the Gardens.

Fun with Plants

Gomphocarpus physocarpus, a member of the milkweed family, and a reseeding annual in Colorado, is earning its common name—balloon plant—in South African Plaza just now.

Along with delicate flowers, the plant is covered in prickly hollow seed pods up to three inches across.

It’s harvest time in Le Potager, our beautiful kitchen garden. Admire the gorgeousness of the veggies, which we donate to local food providers.

A Rose…
I couldn’t resist this rose, fresh with rain. The Rose Garden is still offering blooms, as it has been all summer.

Gardens Not to Miss:
Until frost, our gorgeous annual beds—Lainie’s Cutting Garden, All-America Selections Garden, and Shady Lane and the Orangery walkway—are where the color is. Also admire the veggies in Le Potager.


Matt Pizzuti

At my parents house, I've planted gladiolus near a South-facing brick wall and forgot to dig them. They came back strong the next spring. I've seen a stray bulb that was accidentally left in the ground over winter come back in a few different places, but usually when they are out in the middle of the yard there are some losses. Not so when they're near that South wall. Not only do spring plants come up REALLY early - a good month sooner than they do on the North side of the house - but the rose is sort of semi-evergreen there. The idea of perennializing tropical plants in this climate is fascinating to me. Especially since, in this case, the thing that allows them to survive is the sun's natural warmth on the brick wall plus perhaps some heat "leakage" from the house - so it's not using up any resources. I've been thinking of ways I can take advantage of the location with more intention - maybe with some rosemary or Easter lilies or something else that's not-quite-hardy. I wish I understood plants' frost-survival mechanisms better; I think there might be something about Colorado's dryness that allows some plants to survive a zone lower than they do in the Eastern U.S.
Panayoti Kelaidis

Great pix! You've inspired me to take a walk around before I go home after work...

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