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What is your favorite plant?


Glaucium spp. Eremurus robustus 

This is a question I get asked quite frequently. To me as a horticulturist and a plant lover, it is a very complex question to answer. It is like asking a mom to choose her favorite child. Each plant has its own unique individuality from its growth habit to flower color, some desirable and others not quite so. Trialing various plants to determine their adaptability to a particular region is what botanic gardens do best. At Denver Botanic Gardens we test plants from various regions of the world and it is this diversity of plant life that makes a visit to the Gardens unique and exciting. As you stroll through the Gardens in the next week or so, here are a few flowers that you can look out for: the stately flowers of the Foxtail Lily (Eremurus spp.) in various pastel colors; the delicate flowers of the horned poppy (Glaucium spp.) in shades of yellow to dark-orange; the diversity of flower forms and colors of Iris hybrids and cultivars; and don’t forget the show-stopping display put on by the Iceplants (Delosperma spp.) With this kind of plant diversity, how is one to discriminate and choose a favorite? While you walk through the Gardens, if you can identify a favorite, please drop me a line and let me know.   


Sarada Krishnan

John, It is indeed hibiscus - Hibiscus rosa-sinensis. Native to Eastern Asia, there are now numerous cultivars available in various colors and single and double forms. Thanks for sharing your beautiful photograph! Sarada
Lacey Hawk

Sarada, I couldn't possibly choose a favorite. At first I thought you were describing my lapsing career as a horticulturist - trialing different plants to determine their adaptability in my own home garden. Every plant purchase for me is a trial to see if I can keep it alive. Thanks to our brilliant horticultural staff and the advice they have given me, all is well. I try very hard and I think I'm making progress!! All I can say is that this trial procedure is one of my favorite hobbies!
Doris Boardman

Great question! Impossible for me to answer at Denver Botanic Gardens. Sarada, you are right—the variety of plant life at the Gardens makes it a question without an answer. Although the peonies and iceplants are really knocking my proverbial socks off this time of the year. This month the Gardens looks more amazing than any spring-into-summer in my memory. With the bit of rain we have received everything is exploding with color and aroma. The horticulturists are artists—every color from the 120-box of crayons is duplicated here. Is there a box of 10,000 Crayolas out there? That would be more fitting of a match. Come to the Gardens and find a plant or two that you would like to see in your garden next year. Don’t know what the plant is? Click on this link (<a href="http://www.botanicgardens.org/content/living-collections" rel="nofollow">http://www.botanicgardens.org/content/living-collections</a>) for some tips on identifying it.
Sarada Krishnan

Yes, trialing is what is most fun about gardening. Many of us are just afraid to try new plants for fear of killing them. Unless you try, you never know what grows best in your garden. Sure, there will be a few losses, but at least you will be that much more educated about your garden, the microclimates within your garden and what will grow best for your situation. Happy gardening!
John Leong

Sarada, A question with an easy answer for me. My favorite is always the latest one photographed with some success. So the winner is: http://www.pbase.com/farawaysoclose/image/97661125 which I believe is a hibiscus. Can you help me with its full name? With a handshake in thought, John
Drew Nelson

I am doing a project on Denver and I need to write about some of the different plants in the Denver area. I haven' been able to find any websites and I was wondering if you could help. Thank you in advance if you can.

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