A glimpse of the Denver Zoo's gardens...
|Flamingos at Denver Zoo|
Of course, Zoos are all about animals. But their full name is "Zoological GARDENS"--and the animals wouldn't last long without the plants. And without a thoughtful and attractive setting, who would want to visit what might come perilously close to looking like a prison? Yes, plants at zoos matter a lot! And Denver's Zoo has been acknowledged as having some outstanding exhibits. Over the years a large number of Botanic Gardens' staff have migrated to work at the Zoo--most recently John Murgel, who spared some of his very busy schedule to show me around yesterday. I kick off a look at just a few of the vigettes there with this late blooming Weigela florida, which shown with almost tropical lustre!
|Nasella tenuissima, Hesperaloe parviflora and Agastache rupestris|
|Berkheya and Phygelius x recta|
|Closeup of Berkheya purpurea with guest|
|Elephants trampling on Phygelius|
|Berhkeya purpurea and Phygelius x recta|
|Diascia integerrima 'Coral Canyon' and Phygelius x recta|
|Robust Berkheya clumps: next year these will dazzle!|
|Bed with African natives|
|Eucomis 'Sparkling Burgundy'|
Throughout the zoo, tropical plants have been bedded out for the summer, where they grow much larger than they would in the greenhouse: here bromeliads are brightening up a large patch of groundcover.
I've saved the best for last: I've known about the blue impatiens of Tibet for several years, and yearned to grow it. You can imagine how thrilled I was when John took me to a special perch where this has been tucked (to evade the eyes of herbivores and strangers too): the color was even more refulgent than I imagine. I don't believe this is growing anywhere in Colorado--what a treat to see the very first specimen of this unusual and beautiful plant!
|John Murgel with Erodium absinthoides (tissue cultured)|
A picture of John with a flat containing the loveliest Erodium, which he has managed to grow in tissue culture while he worked at DBG: although he's now a few blocks north of the Gardens (overseeing an area five acres BIGGER than DBG) I feel we have gained a Zoo rather than having lost a fine horticulturist!