June 21, 2011 | Panayoti Kelaidis, Senior Curator & Director of Outreach

Each year that passes Denver Botanic Gardens seems to boast more and more Eremurus. Visitors are riveted with the display. It feels as though there are foxtail lilies everywhere, around every corner.   I can recall when I obtained E. himalaicus in the 1980s...it was the first foxtail lily we planted and its progeny still thrive throughout the Rock Alpine Garden and beyond.

Above you can see the Himalayan foxtail lily has prospered on the east end of the O'Fallon Perennial Walk.  The picture was taken just a week or so ago. This week decorative, bubble-like seedheads are forming--very intriguing in their own right.

Across the way is a magnificent planting of the largest cultivated Eremurus.  Mike Bone and I saw E. robustus in Kazakhstan and obtained a pinch of seed. It will be interesting to see how it compares with what's growing in cultivation.

One of our most stunning gardens right now is the Ornamental Grasses Garden, which Ross Shrigley filled with these incredible giant hybrids, most with pale pink or apricot shades of color.

Even on the parking structure there are masses of bronzy hybrids, and the common yellow Eremurus stenophyllus is found here and there throughout the garden. Mike Bone and I brought back another eight taxa, some quite distinct from what is in cultivation. I am especially anxious to see what E. regellii will do, with its striped chocolate and snow white stars. The enthusiasm with which Eremurus grow in Colorado is great evidence of how similar the climate in Central Asia is to Colorado.

If you seek some of these out for your own garden, you too can bring some of the majesty of the Eurasian steppes to your home!


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