July Walking Tour - Climbing Plants

July 2, 2019 Mario Bertelmann , Assistant Curator of Shade Gardens

Summer has finally arrived and Denver Botanic Gardens is beaming with flowers, visitors and events! This is a peak time to visit and enjoy the wide variety of gardens and plants it has to offer. Climbing plants are a key part of the displays in virtually every garden as they provide vertical interest as well as serve an essential ecological role for wildlife by providing habitat and food for many birds and pollinators.

As soon as you arrive and begin your journey into the Gardens, you will be greeted by Lonicera sempervirens ‘Blanche Sandman’ (trumpet honeysuckle) inside the parking structure growing along the north side of the entrance with bright red blooms with yellow centers. Showy red berries follow on this vine and provide food for songbirds.

As you make your way to the Bonfils-Stanton Visitor Center, you will come across several additional varieties of climbing plants including Aristolochia macrophylla (Dutchman’s pipe), Vitis vinifera ‘Purpurea’ (purple-leaf grape), Humulus lupulus (hops) and Parthenocissis tricuspidata ‘Green Showers’ (Boston ivy). These fine specimens are located along the East side of York Street growing along the Parking Garage trellis.

As you then enter the Gardens through the Visitor Center, make your way to the Boettcher Memorial Tropical Conservatory where you will find Ipomoea carnea, a species of morning glory with stunning pink flowers that weave through the arbor located on the second floor on the northeast side of the Tropical Conservatory.

Continue meandering through the Gardens until you reach the Romantic Gardens, where you will find Wisteria frutescens var. macrostachya ‘Aunt Dee’. This cold hardy climber thrives in full sun, has lilac blue flower clusters and is an ideal vine for covering trellises and fences.

Just a short distance from the Romantic Gardens is the Herb Garden, which has a large trellis covered in several varieties of seedless grape vines, including Vitis ‘Reliance’, V. labrusca ‘Concord’, V. labrusca ‘Canadice’, and V. ‘Suffolk Red’. These incredibly delicious grape varieties will inspire you to grow your own grapes in your home garden.

As you continue your adventure through the many gardens of Denver Botanic Gardens, you will find other amazing climbing plants. Take note of these wonderful plants and set forth to create your own vertical garden!


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