On the last day of the 2019 Fling we visited the Denver Botanic Garden (DBG). Its 23-acres are located in an urban setting, not far from downtown – unlike Chicago’s Botanic Garden, which is located in the far suburbs.
There are at least a couple of dozen individual gardens you can visit at DBG.
However, we ended up spending most of our limited time at the Laura Smith Porter Plains Garden. It reminded me some of the Lurie Garden in Chicago, but it consists entirely of plants found within 30 miles of Denver in grasslands east of the Rocky Mountains.
There are areas with species from short and tall-grass prairies, sand hills, and wetland prairies. Among these was a decent number of stunning wildflowers.
God, this Larkspur! Not sure the species (maybe Delphinium exaltatum?) But just look at that electric blue.
Some kind of Prickly Pear. Would you call those flowers more red or magenta?
This garden gets absolutely no supplemental watering.
This is called Scarlet Globeflower, but I much prefer its other common name, Cowboy’s Delight (Sphaeralcea coccinea). Apparently it delights cowboys by blooming in places that are otherwise barren, dry, and rocky.
Speaking of water, there is a small pond and wetland prairie. These are rare in Colorado, but they do exist.
On the other side of the pond there is a small woodland garden.
Colorado Blue Columbine (Aquilegia caerulea).
Among the grasses found here are Green Needle Grass (Nassella viridula), Alkali sacaton (Sporobulus airoides – a cousin to Prairie Dropseed, S. heterolepis), Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) and Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum),
What exactly these guys are doing I couldn’t say. According to one of the signs, they are made of iron embedded with glass rods. The iron and glass is “a metaphor for the inextricable connection between humans and nature”.
OK, if you say so.
In any case, it was good to see, in the heart of a big city, a garden inspired by the grasslands that once covered such a vast area in this region.