Denver Botanic Gardens

I spent Saturday at the Denver Botanic Gardens. Since I had to go up to Denver to pick up a kit for soil testing,and it’s not exactly around the corner from the Springs, I decided to make a day of it. Next time, I’ll have a   camera, enough layers, and won’t schedule it on a day where snow is expected so that I can spend the time it deserves. That place is awesome. As in awe-inspiring and so very cool. Cool, of course, being a relative term, since the outside gardens were verging on chilly and the inside ones tended toward hot and humid.

The Rainforest in Denver

I will be going back to study each bit in more detail and to take some of the many classes they offer. At the moment, I just want to gush over the general amazingness of it. The first place I went was the Tropical Conservatory. One of my friends had worked there and recommended it highly. She was right. It’s an indoor rainforest where the paths and stairs were as organic as the tropical plants. There were even a couple of ducks and some poison-dart frogs to bring a little fauna to the flora. Just on the other side of the windows from the lush rainforest was a desert garden. They are testing different local, desert fauna to see what species can be used to bring “green roofs” to the harsh environment of Denver.

After that, I started wandering the outside gardens. I only managed to see about a third of them before I got cold. I’m not sure what I was thinking, not dressing for spending the day outside considering it was about gardens. However, I did see enough to know that I’d be back to study each section in more detail. Even with snow on the ground and the sky becoming overcast, it was beautiful. There were so many different ways to look at gardening, from the Victorian garden, to the Asian gardens, to the rock gardens. There was even one overlook that could have been in Maine, if one ignored the slight differences in rocks and trees. I recommend walking shoes. There is a lot of ground to cover, and not all of it is paved.

It's hard to see, but being winter, the evergreens all got Christmas-lighted.

The special event that day was a look behind the scenes of the Herbaria. They have two Herbarium, one for plants and one for fungi. The plant one is apparently unique in its focus on the prairie part of Colorado. The real focus is grass and sedges. Just in case anyone was wondering what the difference is, apparently “sedges have edges.” We got to see some specimens from each Herbaria. The fungi used to be pressed, but after a while they decided that the shape is changed too much by that preservation method, so now they are dried. The plants, however, are pressed and mounted as they have been for hundreds of years. The oldest specimen that they have is actually from India and taken in the 1830’s. It looked no different than the modern ones except for the type-face and the slightly yellow paper. People have been collecting and categorizing plants in Colorado for over a hundred years, but they still come up with about one unknown species per year. This has nothing on the as-yet-unknown fungi in Colorado.

Overall, I had a great time. I expect to go back often to see the changes with the seasons and to take their classes. After all, no reason not to learn from the best, since I have the opportunity.

3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by namelessw0nder on January 9, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    That sounds really pretty! I’m sure Boston has areas like that, not just the Harvard Arboretum, but I can’t say I’ve ever been.


  2. What’s a “green roof”? I’m pretty sure it’s what I can see from the M train on the rooftops of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, but I’d love to hear more about it!

    A beautiful start. I think you may surpass me as a blogger quite quickly!


    • I don’t know about that- I still have to figure out how to insert links and add photo albums 🙂 Thank you, though!

      Green roofs are basically plants on roofs- very good for the environment and energy efficient for the building. I’m definitely going to do a post on them. Based on Viking technology- what’s not to like?


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