A Colorado Botanic Garden Bucket List
‘Tis the season to start planning summer getaways, and there’s no better way to celebrate Colorado’s most colorful months than by visiting a botanic garden.
BETTY FORD ALPINE GARDENS
At 8,250 feet above sea level, this gem in Aspen is the world’s highest alpine garden. Founded by the Vail Alpine Garden Foundation in 1985, former first lady and avid gardener Betty Ford lent her name to the gardens in 1988.
There are 3,000 species of high-altitude plants showcased here in four distinct sections, including the Mountain Perennial Garden, Mountain Meditation Garden, Alpine Rock Garden, and the Children’s Garden.
There’s always something happening at the gardens. Guided snowshoe tours occur in the winter, but things heat up in May with a Butterfly Launch on the 18th and public tours of the gardens kicking off on May 29, 2017.
DENVER BOTANIC GARDENS
If you’ve never visited the Denver Botanic Gardens, you need to get there this summer. My mother, who is a master gardener in the Pacific Northwest, absolutely adores these gardens and requests to visit any time she’s in Colorado.
Denver Botanic Gardens are thoughtfully laid out and often have art on display. Sculpture by Alexander Calder will be on display from April 28 through September 24, 2017.
The 66-year-old gardens cover 23 acres, feature a conservatory, a variety of themed gardens and an amphitheater.
One truly fascinating way to experience the Denver Botanic Gardens is to take a guided tour. There are a variety of tours available depending on your interests; there’s even Shakespeare-inspired tours taking place on special evenings in June and July.
THE GARDENS ON SPRING CREEK
Fort Collins, Colorado
In 2004, voters in Fort Collins supported a proposal to create a community horticultural center, and thus the gardens were born. Today, the gardens are a place for learning and contemplation, and act as a community hub for events such as yoga, wine tastings, holiday gatherings and more.
The gardens here feature many demonstration sites, such as the Sustainable Backyard demo and the Xeric Parkway Strip.
The Gardens on Spring Creek make the perfect destination for someone eager to learn more about the wonderful world of gardening.
YAMPA RIVER BOTANIC PARK
Steamboat Springs, Colorado
After years of visiting Steamboat Springs, we discovered the Yampa River Botanic Park just last summer. At 6,880 feet above sea level, Steamboat isn’t the easiest place to grow a garden, but the plant life at this park proves that it can be done and it can be done well.
There are more than 50 gardens on this six-acre former horse pasture, including a medicinal herb garden, a spring bulb garden, a rock garden and more.
During the summer months the garden hosts yoga classes, gardening classes, weddings and musical events. The 22-year-old garden is celebrating it’s 20th anniversary this summer with a party scheduled for August 12.