The name of the Japanese Garden at Denver Botanic Gardens, 松風園 Sho-Fu-En, means ‘The garden of pine and wind’ and was inspired by the Rocky Mountain wilderness.
During our growing season, we often think of evergreens as a background to colorful flowers and leaves. Winter precedes the vivid colors of spring and summer which then fade away in the fall. Now the evergreens become the focus in the Japanese Garden as most plants go dormant until next spring.
December is a wonderful time of the year in the Japanese Garden. We welcome various shades of green against the greys and browns of the early winter landscape. The ancient ponderosa character pines display their movement and structure showcasing the rugged Rocky Mountain scenery. The pines cast their shadow on the lake and the water reflects gentle winter sunlight, changing its appearance throughout the day.
In the early morning after a cold and snowy December night, you will find the quiet beauty of 松風園 on the snowcapped flexible ponderosa pine branches. Snow flocks the juniper’s needled branches and the Russian hawthorn’s red berries. Atop the fresh snow we often find a variety of animal footprints, evidence of the mysterious activities of nocturnal creatures in the garden. These slowly melt away under Colorado’s bright winter sunlight.