Saturday, August 11, 2012

A Colorado treasure: the Tatroe Garden

Marcia and Randy Tatroe have lived in their suburban paradise almost a quarter century. In that time Marcia (with lots of brawny help from Randy) has utterly transformed a very conventional piece of lawn with a few shrubs into a year around wonder. I don't suggest you ask Marcia what she thinks, however: she is a consummate perfectionist: she told me last week that her garden had been devasted by hail twice this summer, and that drought had destroyed half the plants utterly, and the other half were gasping their last.

The garden (however) looked pretty snazzy. It is chockablock full of thousands of plant trasures that seemed to love the drought, and were positively exploding with color. Above is a closeup of Clematis fargesii (perhaps better classed as C. potaninii nowadays). Mind you, those flowers are two inches across--produced lavishly ona rambling vine that once clambered twenty feet or more up the trees in her back yard. She has trimmed it back, but it was still festooned with hundreds of white starburst blossoms.

I was a tad annoyed to find this: I have four or five plants of Silene plankii, all of them blooming now, and none nearly as attractifve in flower.Good thing I like her! this is a rare, compact cushion silene from New Mexico that is barely known in cultivation.

Here is one of the astonishing vignettes featuring botanical (or in this case zoological) ceramics. Where does she find these things

This astonishing cousin to Aquilegia chrysantha and A. desertorum was self-sowing liberally in her shady corner: m columbines all hybridize, but these are sufficiently isolated they are breeding true: hurray! Maybe I shall get a pinch of seed soon.

Mimulus cardinalis in an orage form blooming in a shady bog: Reds this time of year really stand out, and I do recall a hummingbird whizzing past.

Zephyranthese candida and dwarf cattail in the miniature pond: charming!

And moon carrot (Seseli gummiferum) shooting like frozen fireworks in the twilight...and much much more! Thank you, Marcia and Randy! Your garden is a never ending source of delight and inspiration for all of us--even now that there's nothing at all to behold...

(P.S. If you do not have a Marcia's Cutting Edge Gardening in the Intermountain West, do click on that link and order a copy right away!)


  1. Nice post, brings back good memories. I remember they had an interesting pink flowered Erodium of some sort in their garden as well, never did figure out exactly what it was.

  2. A very long-tongue moth pollinates Aquilegia desertorum? What a beauty.

  3. Actually, Phil, I believe Aquilegia 'Swallowtail' is more closely allied to longissima than desertorum. It may even be its own is an outrageous and wonderful plant, and doubtless has its own moth pollinator!

    They have several Erodiums, Ernie. It's amazing what Marcia has tucked in that garden!

  4. This garden is spectacular. I know, where does she get all of that great artwork? Marcia truly is an art curator besides being a terrific gardener.


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