Monday, July 8, 2013


Rob Proctor, alongside a small part of his and David Macke's extravaganza
 July is not a kind month for Colorado gardens: my own garden looks as though it has been blow torched, and most of our gardens settle into a sort of dull roar (dull is the operative word), waiting for the cooler nights of late summer (and perhaps a few thunderbusters) so as I would see Rob Proctor's pictures of flowers and color on his TV program and Facebook page--well--I was dubious at best. I hinted broadly, and a week ago we had breakfast at 7:00AM (I kid you not). There was a bit of morning mist, and the garden glowed. I was so excited that I had to bring back colleagues, which I did a few days later at 2:00PM on a blistering, hot 90+F afternoon: the dang garden still glowed! (That's David lurking in the background like a slender ambulatory working gnome).

Colorful even in the bleached light of afternoon
 Rob and David were awfully gracious--being ambushed by a van full of botanic gardeners. What can you say about a garden that can blaze in the blazing sun, and gardeners who can pull it off? Rob Proctor was director of horticulture at Denver Botanic Gardens a few tumultuous years when he truly reworked the garden, bringing dull areas to prominence, and recreating much of what was here: the legacy has remained--and today Rob is a household name in Denver where his Thursday and Sunday television presence is avidly followed by quite a few keen gardeners (I know: they keep telling me about it!). He also founded our famous School of Botanical Illustration along with Angela Overy.

The grand border leading down to the folly... 
 I present these pictures--bleached and blasted though they seem--because if I were to have the camera of a Saxon Holt or Scott Dressel-Martin, and were I to photograph in the perfect half-light, the pictures would be so alluring, so beautiful they would discourage you and me both...Let's be grateful for our Sahara sun's merciful touch here!

Even the potager is perfect.
 Alas: I intend to visit tomorrow morning early again. And the light may be good. And I may have to re-take some of these pictures. But until then, I shall ease you to the reality that gardening in midsummer in Colorado can be lavish, colorful and rewarding--if you happen to be two brilliant gardeners anyway!

I end with a glimpse of Rob's favorite cobalt pots and glinting annuals blinking in the blinding midday sun. They guestimate they have over 500 containers. Be grateful for my dreadful pictures: the reality would be excruciatingly more lovely (and painful to view)--and you'd just suffer like I have. Back to the drawing board, my friends!

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