Friday, August 20, 2010

Change and the garden

As I was sorting my pictures from this year into manageably sized files, I couldn't help but notice how radically certain areas of the garden change. I am including four pictures taken of essentially the same garden at four different times: I've misplaced (or lost) my camera so I can't show you the current manifestation, which is frankly pretty crispy. It's been a long hot, dry summer in Denver!

The ridges are two slightly ridged berms with a path between that comprise much of the Western half of my garden. The soil is pretty much pure sand 80 feet deep. We composted copious amounts of leaves for five or six years (which added almost a foot of compost) which was tilled in when the berms were contoured. The East Ridge is supposed to contain only plants of the eastern hemisphere, and West Ridge only plants of the western hemisphere, but plants keep jumping back and forth. Very annoying!

I delight in these gardens throughout the gardening year: they are really full of treasures (especially bulbs) and I derive great joy knowing there's never been anything like them. Certain plants like Tulipa humilis, Collomia grandiflora, Glaucium acutidentatum self sow wildly. It is my principal repository of Eriogonum, Opuntia, Penstemon, Fritillaria and Juno and Aril iris. I view it as a prototype of what we may one day have to do in median strips, industrial sites and many large home gardens when water is no longer so cheap.

'Tisn't so bad, really!


  1. Do you find that berm aspect explains some of the jumping?

  2. Very possibly. Penstemons really want to grow on East Ridge and really don't seem to like Westridge. All my Roemeria refracta died out on East Ridge where they belong (as self respecting Asians): that's them in the second picture, growing only on West ridge. I never thought conditions could be that different on the two aspects. Plants have a mind of their own, obviously.

  3. Here's one for you since it's somewhat close to your Denver garden. Don't ask how I found out about it. In this study it was found that the warmest slopes are actually the southeast slopes along the eastern slopes of the Rockies in Colorado, not south or west as is commonly thought. I believe that the Bot. Gazettes are all on-line.

    Shantz, H.L. 1906a A Study of the vegetation of the Mesa region east of Pike's Peak: the Bouteloua formation: I. Structure of the formation. Bot. Gaz. 42:16-47


Featured Post

A garden near lake Tekapo

The crevice garden of Michael Midgley Just a few years old, this crevice garden was designed and built by Michael Midgley, a delightful ...

Blog Archive