Friday, January 8, 2016

Five easy pieces (A quintet of great gardens in Pueblo)

The Conrad Garden

It's the depths of winter...can you blame me for digging into my stockpile of images and basking a bit in a warm day in Pueblo, one of my favorite towns, in five gardens in peak bloom. Aaaah.
The garden of Dr. Andrew and Michelle Conrad

Looking at this pastoral scene you might not jump to the conclusion that it was photographed in Pueblo, Colorado, which is not usually thought of as a city of great gardens. Well, think again!

The home and garden of Dr. Andrew and Michelle Conrad
I don't know about you, but I find this truly grand and dramatic. Something not many gardens achieve. Notice my good buddy Bill photobombing at the bottom of the frame...we'll visit his house a block or two away next! Quite the neighborhood!
Escobaria vivipara in the Conrad garden
Only gardens provide this sort of dramatic counterpoint: the magnificent view and the precious vignette.

Echinocereus reichenbachii in the Conrad garden

Manfreda maculosa in the Conrad garden
Not the showiest plant this time of year...but a very cool one that has proved quite tough in several gardens hereabouts.
Closeup of the Conrad garden

Another view of the panorama

Dr. Andrew Conrad and his pride and joy.
Andrew was so anxious to show off his garden he showed up in scrubs!
Leo Chance, designer with Dr. Conrad
Leo has worked with the Conrads helping design the xeric plantings--he was our host on this trip.

The Adams garden

Bill Adams in his rock garden
I can't begin to describe how many treasures are esconced in this corner rock garden through the garden year, beginning with a wealth of bulbs in early spring. That's the Master in the middle: I blew the picture up--it's just water in the glass (or gin?)...

Penstemon alamosensis in the Adams' garden
A few vignettes...
Escobaria organensis in Bill Adams' garden
Bill has always had a way with cacti--he has many gems in troughs and pots on the south side of his house, many the best of class in the region. He's raked in a few blue ribbons at our Cactus show in the spring-but could take a sweepstakes if he tried...
Escobaria sneedii in Bill Adams' garden

Digeneia velebitica

Bill grows many treasures: this is an endangered species from Croatia--he can't even sell it at rock garden sales--too obscure! But in its native country it's on stamps and regalia of all sorts.

Aquilegia scopulorum
What red blooded Coloradoan doesn't love columbines? I hate to say it, but this Utah/Nevada endemic may be my favorite! Bill is growing it superbly in this garden...
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Another shot...notice the spectacular cushion bindweed behind. I lust to grow it!

A wonderful view of the Adams backyard in oblique light.  Everything looks good in oblique light.

One of Bill's many super troughts--I can't recall the name of the Dianthus on the left--but it's a cutie. The penstemon is P. laricifolius var. laricifolius. Never seen a better specimen in a garden (or Nature for that matter)...

The Municipal Garden

Not far from Bill's home is one of many wonderful xeric gardens that have cropped up all over Pueble under his influence (and tutelage): I found the combination here to be delightful...but then I am a tad prejudiced...

They haven't yet removed the gazania, as has been done at a few other gardens I know of (it is "exuberant")...

This garden is quite extensive, and was in peak bloom on May 31, 2010 when I took these pictures.

I believe thats Penstemon alamosensis again, a very rare plant in nature, but in Pueblo not so much! It makes a stunning combo with the catmint.

The City Garden

Bill took me to a truly wonderful garden nearer downtown full of treasures in peak bloom--here are the pix: I think they speak for themselves...
Penstemon grandiflorus (foreground) and a red penstemon behind.

A pretty stunning red hot poker, or orange in this case...the city flower of Pueblo!

The yellow columbine is Aquilegia chrysantha 'Denver Gold': an incredibly vigorous race of our native columbine that arose at Denver Botanic Gardens and now is widely cultivated.

I've expanded the image and determined the red penstemon is P. eatonii, native to western Colorado.
The white strip on the right is Anacyclus depressus...

And the garden expands!

The Barnett Garden

Obligatory skull on number 47!
I can't believe I've skimped so much on my blog on the Barnett garden, barely mentioning it once or twice! I am especially pleased to show this garden on that miracle year when they'd had so much rain...I would love to talk endlessly about it, and discuss every plant, but I think it's not necessary. I'll identify a few pics along the way, however...

That's Oenothera caespitosa blooming white in the middle.

A bright magenta Penstemon pseudospectabilis in the middle--one of the best!

A lot of those tiny cacti are very rare Pediocacti and Escobaria they've grown from seed--one of the best collections of rare native cacti in our region and beyond.


Baileya multiradiata

That's all!


  1. Just amazing! A lot of love was given to these gardens. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Inspiring. I have a couple of Russian sages that I must whack back regularly in order to expose the red yucca. Still working on the Pueblo xeric garden. Yellow columbine prolific!


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