Western Panoramas displays dominant tree species from three of our Colorado life zones: plains, foothills and subalpine.
Rocky Mountain bristlecone pines (Pinus aristata) from the subalpine life zone (10,000-11,500 ft.). In their natural environment, stands of bristlecone pines can be found at timberline in windy, exposed areas. It’s a fact: Bristlecone pine wood is often gnarled and stunted due to the high winds found at timberline. At the Gardens, the environment is not nearly as harsh. Our bristlecone pines have grown in a somewhat more conventional form, though they still exhibit a dynamic, crooked growth habit.
The Grant Family Cottonwood Border
Cottonwoods (Populus deltoides ssp. monilifera) from the plains life zone (3,500-6,000 ft). Of the few trees species found on the plains, these broad-leafed trees are the largest. It’s a fact: In their natural habitat, cottonwoods are found along the banks of rivers and streams. Cottonwood trees take their common name from the cotton-like seeds that can often be seen floating through the air in the spring.
Ponderosa pines (Pinus ponderosa) from the foothills life zone (6,000-8,000 ft.). The main path of this garden is lined with young native species and cultivars of the ponderosa pine. Ponderosa pines have a longer needle than any other native conifer in the region. Their needles are four to seven inches in length and grow in bunches of two or three. This garden is designed with a mix of prairie and foothills grasses and wildflowers to showcase how many of these native plants can be used in the home landscape.