Monday, August 12, 2013

Rainy morning stroll through Yampa River Botanic Park

Bob Enever, on the spacious paths of Yampa River Botanic Park
 Our hosts, the Enevers, were concerned that we might not want to go out on a morning stroll through their gift to the Yampa Valley: the Yampa River Botanic Park is rated by some the number one summer attraction of Steamboat Springs (a town blessed with many wonderful attractions and distractions). English by birth and training, the Enevers were not daunted by a bit of drizzle--and Jan and I certainly weren't, so stroll we did! and the colors blazed all the brighter in the oblique light: see how the lovely pink Monarda above complements that purple petunias ever so subtly--both colors echoed in the umbrella (can't say I'd planned that !)...I featured the Park last September in a Denver Botanic Gardens' blog. And the year before I showed some pictures taken in late spring. If you click on those URL's you will see how different this garden looks every few months: it's a floral extravaganza any time you visit, I can assure you!

Artemisia stelleriana, Geum, Sedum, penstemons and lilies in the distance
 Here in the new Lily garden, the perennials make neat mounds and everything is labeled: and everything looks so happy: there's Origanum libanoticum in the center and Erodium chrysanthum--both Plant Select plants of Mediterranean origins: I am amazed that they grow so vigorously in the rich loam of this garden. Plant Select is well represented everywhere here...

The new lily garden--with an electric patch of 'Angelina'
Those are two of the Plant Select Penstemon x Mexicali next to Jan--'Red Rocks' and 'Pikes Peak Purple' I believe. These have been spectacular performers here (and everywhere else too)--here at the end of July they are looking the way they do in Denver in June.

Sedum and Penstemons: a great combo
By now the Sedum rupestre 'Angelina' in Denver has toned down a bit--but with the chilly nights in the mountains it retains its furious yellow color: how did we survive so many years without this vigorous (perhaps too vigorous) and instant classic? It makes quite a lavish contrasting golden foot carpet for the penstemons..

More Penstemon 'Red Rocks' in another part of the garden
 Great contrasts where ever you look--the soft light makes the Rudbeckias and Oenothera macrocarpa ssp. incana glow yellow beyond the penstemons.
June, of course, is the month for the Rock Garden
 But I thought there was lots of good color at the end of July--and the mats and cushions were resplendent in the rain. They are reworking a large portion of this garden this year as a crevice garden--which should be spectacular. This is a fine rock garden indeed, full of treasures.

Morina longifolia
This wonderful plant has been blooming much of the summer at Denver Botanic Gardens (and I photographed back in mid-June in Scotland): what a pity that such a long blooming, showy plant will be restricted to plantsmen's gardens because of the prickly leaves (ordinary gardeners are easily spooked apparently--or at least nurserymen think so!)...

Variegated Red Twig Dogwood and Erygo 
I believe that's just Cornus alba 'Elegantissima' behind the wonderful Eryngium: I am not sure we have either cultivar at Denver Botanic Gardens! Competition is a good thing!

Hosta 'Patriot'
 What a glorious patch of this classic Hosta in a shady spot: they do things in a grand way at Yampa River Botanic Park! It just glowed in the half light of early morning rain.

Audrey Enever
 It took a bit of persuasion to convince Audrey to pose in front of her beloved Penstemon beds full of cushion and mat forming penstemons (including some rare ones)...she and Bob donated the land for the park a long time ago, and have continued to support and rally the volunteer corps (when they're not traveling of course--they are not tied to Steamboat all the time). Although I have visited this garden repeatedly over the years, it was a great pleasure for us to finally spend a bit of time here with two who have dedicated so much time and resources to it for decades already.

Arctostaphylos x coloradoensis 'Mock Bearberry'
 I'm always being asked how hardy the manzanitas are: here is proof that they love Steamboat (at least) although I have to admit they are growing on a well drained slope with yuccas and even some agaves that have survived the Ski Country winters (where snow can accumulate by the meter for months!)...More Plant Select!
The blue in the middle left is a big patch of Lavandula angustifolia
 Another plant people question as being hardy is Lavender: but you can see that at Yampa River they have big patches of it blooming its head off all summer...and notice the many Delphinium elatum in the distance: these love the mountain summers.

Delphinium elatum
 When they grow the way they do up here, is it any wonder that there are good patches of this all over the garden?
More misty views, with Solidago in the foreground foreboding the end of summer.

Helichrysum flanaganii
It should not have surprised me this South African daisy would grow so well here: this thrives at the highest elevations in the Drakensberg where the climate must be very close to Steamboad. This plant should be universally grown in my opinion--what a fabulous groundcover!

Zauschneria garrettii 'Orange Carpet' and Monarda didymaand  and yellow lilies  in the distance.
Hemerocallis and Kniphofia on the right hand side.
 Hard to believe a "fuchsia" from "California" would be so hardy. It is only distantly related to fuchsias, of course, and some would have us lump it with Epilobium. This wonderful zauschneria originated on the border of Idaho and Wyoming--I know because I collected the seed there from which this was selected at High Country Gardens! This species grows not terribly far from Northwestern Colorado: perhaps some day someone will find it near Mt. Zenobia or one of the other high mountains near the Utah border in Moffat county...

Ending appropriately with the "Z's"--speaking of which I'll have to go catch some soon! Thanks for joining on a much too cursory rainy visit to one of our Mountain paradises of Colorado.


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