August Walking Tour – Beyond Our Walls

August 4, 2022 Holly G. Haynes , Plant Mapping Coordinator
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So, you have walked, biked, bused, scootered or driven to Denver Botanic Gardens on York Street and are ready to explore all the beauty that is within our 24-acre property. Before you make a beeline for the entrance, stop. Take some time to explore just beyond our walls.

What many visitors might not know is the gardens that surround our main property are curated with as much care as the ones inside and are some of the most sophisticated and transformative gardens we have. An added perk is these gardens are accessible 24/7!

  • If you begin along the Josephine Street streetscape, you can explore a naturalistic grassland area. This garden gives you an innovative idea of what is to come in the world of residential landscaping in the coming years. Stroll along Josephine Street throughout the year and observe the transformation that happens from spring through winter. As the idea of adding water-smart meadows to our yards takes hold, you can be inspired by this sophisticated design and beautiful shadows of species from sagebrush (Artemisia), evening primrose (Oenothera), beardtongue (Penstemon), grasses (Poa secunda, Koeleria macrantha) and more. 
  • Walk up Josephine Street and turn left onto 11th Avenue. Here you will find the perfect shrubs for a Colorado Front Range garden. You will see several Apache plume (Fallugia paradoxa) and curly-leaf mountain mahogany (Cercocarpus ledifolius), which offer feathery plumes and year-round interest.
  • Now, head across York Street to our newest building, the Freyer – Newman Center. You can enjoy a tasty beverage and read a book in Copper Door coffee shop’s courtyard and admire a different kind of leaf – one of our newest sculptures. Leaf is a sculpture by Lesley Change and Jason Klimoski and highlights the relationship of our art and science collections housed in the Center. Each of the panels contain a cutout of a Colorado native plant specimen held in the Kathryn Kalmbach Herbarium. If you continue south, you will come across our medicinal courtyard. You will find many medicinal herbs here like pot marigold (Calendula officinalis), purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) and lemon balm (Melissa officinalis).
  • Are annuals and perennials your passion? Head down York Street and enjoy the beautiful blooms of our Mile High Garden. Not to be outdone by the flashy trumpet vine (Campsis radicans), the annual and perennial blooms put on a real show from April through October. As you get closer to the Bonfils-Stanton Visitor Center, go a little bit further to see the intricate willow artwork of our very own Horticulturist Coordinator Jennifer Miller. The woven gold-leaf willow (Salix × fragilis forma vitellina ‘Kaat’) might not be found in any garden center, but maybe it will inspire you to see what you could add to your own garden.

August is the height of gardening season and one of the best times to have a look at what Denver Botanic Gardens has to offer; no ticket required, anytime of day, access to all, just outside our walls. Enjoy the journey.


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