April 23, 2010 | Panayoti Kelaidis, Senior Curator & Director of Outreach

Of course, this being Colorado, no one wants to say it yet. But I am bold! So let me say this is the spring of springs (thus far any way!). Never have the magnolias bloomed so long or so well. Never have the Prunus and the Malus and all the forsythias, flowering quince, amelanchiers and the redbuds gloried so magnificently. Even professed brown thumbs are babbling about it and talking about planting tomatoes (don't do it!). And then there is "the Almond."

Growing almonds in Denver means a flowering almond, usually that garish if magnificent double flowering almond (Prunus glandulosa or P. triloba 'Multiplex')..never the real thing: Prunus dulcis Mill. Of course, it would be Dan Johnson, Assistant Director of Horticulture at Denver Botanic Gardens, who discovered it: a few years ago he was returning from Wyman's (a bar a few blocks away were Gardens staff celebrate...unofficially of course) anniversaries, birthdays and suchlike, when he felt something unusual crunching underfoot. He stooped down to check: almonds were littering the ground! He looked up to see the tree shown above  in overview and a closeup with Knobby Brown, the Gardens longest term volunteer and doyen. I think the picture says it all: what other gems are lurking in this marvellous city of ours? Evergreen magnolias, Amorphophallus, and more: local gardeners have been doing the work of experimenting with so many plants we at the Gardens sometimes never even think of trying. Keep up the good work! Nikos Kazantzakis, the Greek novelist, once wrote a haiku:

"I said to the almond tree

Speak to me of God

And the almond tree blossomed."


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