A best in class rock garden comes of age at the Gardens at Spring Creek
|Mass of Diascia integerrima 'Coral Canyon' at entrance to Spring Creek (notice the giant watering cans behind in the entrance to the Children's garden)|
One of the most surprising developments in the West during my lengthy career in public horticulture has been the appearance of dozens of public gardens throughout the Great Plains and Mountain states--often in smaller towns I never dreamed would support gardens of this nature. Vail with only 6000, and Steamboat Springs with only 12,000 permanent residents are the most astonishing. Fort Collins at 143,000 people is still much smaller than many cities that have no botanic garden: The Fort's Gardens on Spring Creek would be the envy of a city many times its size. Although modest in size, the horticulture is ambitious and accomplished. I was pleased to see Plant Select so prominently shown off!
|Much of Spring Creek features simple but wonderfully maintained drifts of shrubs and perennials|
|A rather unconventional but very pleasing herb garden.|
|Transitional area with natives|
Even the "in between" areas transitioning from garden to garden are trim and neat and full of interest.
|Mats and mounds in the rock garden|
|The same mound, from a different angle|
Getting closer and looking beyond--you can see just how massive this garden really is: an amazing undertaking.
|The plants are not only well grown, they are well labeled!|
|Another view of the same plant from another angle: can you tell I like it?|
|A blend of "Mexicali" penstemons|
|A showy Fleabane (E. peregrinus?)|
|Here a mixed color forms of Penstemon barbatus|
And MORE penstemons...Just love the way these are tucked among the cushions and rocks.
|Same combo from another view|
|A bevy of ruddy semps|
|Acantholimon in seed|
|More mats and gems|
|Dazzling Penstemon x 'Mexicali' selection|
|Scutellaria prostrata and Phlox nana|
We are so fortunate to have a half dozen extraordinary collections of alpine and steppe rock plants throughout our region--Spring Creek has quickly joined the Betty Ford Alpine Garden, Yampa River Botanic Park, the Colorado Springs Xeriscape Demonstration Garden as a superb showcase of rock gardening. Oops: I believe I almost forgot to mention Denver Botanic Gardens' Rock Alpine and Children's Gardens....my bad.
There are not many areas I know of that can boast such ambitious rock gardens in close proximity--all curated by energetic youthful talent.
|Phlox nana beginning to take over...|
|A last parting show of the rock garden at Spring Creek|