Explore Captivating Connections Between Geology & Plant Life

June 11, 2024 Mike Bone , Associate Director and Curator of Steppe Collection

From deep shale formations to protruding igneous extrusions, the geology and soils of the steppes are remarkably diverse. This intricate mosaic serves as the catalyst for flourishing flora, with far-reaching implications spanning from plant conservation to the world of home gardening. Join us as we traverse this rocky terrain at the Steppe Symposium on Friday, July 12. This symposium is open to all.

This year’s symposium brings together experts who will explore the intersections of plants and geology—and reveal dynamic habitats with distinct biodata, research into plant adaptability, and even how to use the steppe as inspiration to create beautiful, resilient home gardens.  

Where plants grow is a direct result of the soils they are in. Exploring this intersection will help us all understand how to be successful in our gardens as well as give us a better understanding of what we encounter in the natural world. 

The day starts with an overview of the geologic history of the front range with Bob Raynolds a geologist with the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. Then, ecologist Jim Locklear teaches us about the ecology of one of Colorado’s most dynamic habitats—the sandsage prairie. This delicate and wonderful habitat is a unique expression of steppe that hold a lot of potential in helping us create garden solutions. 

After our “trip” to eastern Colorado, we delve into garden solutions based on some iconic Colorado geological locations. 

Following a break for lunch, we expand from our local connections to a more global scale. Hear about plants from Argentina and their potential for future horticultural introductions. Argentina is one of the four main steppe regions of the world. There are many plants from this region that have been introduced to the horticultural marketplace but most of them are grown as annuals. 
Lastly, travel to Turkey and explore a one-of-a-kind botanic garden in Istanbul. Nezahat Gökyiğit Botanik Garden is home to plants from all over Turkey even the central Anatolian steppe. 

The fun doesn’t stop with the symposium this year. After the figurative trips in the symposium to eastern Colorado and Turkey, you can take an actual field trip to the beautiful Sandstone Ranch in Douglas County and see Colorado steppe firsthand. Explore this area guided by floristic experts in the field in one of only two small groups. 

I invite you to join us in this exploration of the steppe and learn more about our place in the steppes both locally and globally. Registration is now open! Learn more and register today


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