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This Week at the Gardens: September 9th

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This Week at the Gardens: September 9th

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. 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....

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This Week at the Gardens: August 26th

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This Week at the Gardens: August 26th

A quick, (almost) foolproof guide to water blooms: if the leaves lie flat on the water and the flowers also rest on the water, you are looking at a hardy waterlily. These plants can survive a cold winter under the ice. And while you will find numerous blue tropicals, hardy waterlilies don’t produce a blue flower. Gardens Not to Miss: Visit the Plains Garden in the morning or evening to see the wildflowers...

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Chagrin: Manroot envy (Ipomoea leptophylla)

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Chagrin: Manroot envy (Ipomoea leptophylla)

Manroot growing in my neighbor's wild corner There is the offending plant: it is immense. It is huge and utterly spiteful. It just sits there below my house looking at me. It is magnificent, covered with dozens of gigantic flowers. It grows with no care, no worry, no fuss and blooms for weeks this time of year when meadows around Denver are crisping and we are watering our gardens like idiots. I remember...

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This Week at the Gardens: August 19th

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This Week at the Gardens: August 19th

This Obedient Plant (Physostegia virginiana) often appears in white, but in the Birds and Bees Garden, you’ll find it in the palest of purples. Why Obedient? If you bend a stem, in theory it will stay where you put it. Hopley’s Oregano (Origanum laevigatum ‘Hopley’s’) is a flowering decorative oregano. Find a good example in the Perennial Walkway. Mojave Sage (Salvia pachyphylla) is another decorative herb that offers a lovely purple...

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This Week at the Gardens: August 12th

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This Week at the Gardens: August 12th

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...

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Cathedral spires: Acanthus in the garden

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Cathedral spires: Acanthus in the garden

I took the picture above a few years ago also in the Rock Alpine Garden: but you can find acanthus blooming throughout Denver Botanic Gardens in many gardens right now. The flowers last for months (in fact, cut and dried they make splendid everlastings). This little mite would be a humble roadside chapel spire by comparison. Acanthus dioscurides grows in the eastern Mediterranean, and thrives in a shady spot and also a...

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This week in the Gardens: August 5th

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This week in the Gardens: August 5th

Another red that is borderline hardy here, but worth the effort, is Monardella macrantha. This little firecracker has been blooming since early summer in Yuccarama as well as the Rock Alpine Garden. This Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis) is growing in the Mordecai Children’s Garden and on the Birds and Bees Walk. Directly north of the Monet Pond, you’ll find the crazy-looking giant Castor Bean Plant (Ricinus communis) with its deep red leaves...

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Neither scruffy nor scrophulous: Scrophularia macrantha

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Neither scruffy nor scrophulous: Scrophularia macrantha

The amazing horticulturists of the city of Lakewood have planted this "rare" plant throughout the hell strips of the city, as well as in many of the parks and especially in the extraordinary displays at Kendrick Lake and around the Lakewood Municipal buildings. The picture above was taken on Alameda Avenue.  

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This Week at the Gardens: July 29th

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This Week at the Gardens: July 29th

Perhaps the tallest of the six agave currently blooming at DBG, it reigns over three plants in the Rock Alpine Garden and two in Dryland Mesa. This week, its red buds are giving way to yellow blooms, which the bees cannot resist! Where does the tequila come from? Well, unfortunately not from the species that are hardy here. But if you had a Mexican blue agave, you could turn it into...

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This Week at the Gardens: July 23rd

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This Week at the Gardens: July 23rd

One of my favorite bright yellow, midsummer bloomers is St John’s Wort (Hypericum). Its blue-green leaves complement deep yellow flowers. Find it in PlantAsia as well as along the Perennial Walk. Zinnia grandiflora neither resembles its zinnia cousins, nor is its flower particularly “grand”, but it is a cheery, low-growing, xeric mid-summer bloom. A lovely patch of it can be found in Dryland Mesa, as well as in the Cottonwood Border. Don’t...

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