Thursday, July 9, 2020

The master and the masterpiece: Kendrick Redux!

Little more than a year ago, I wrote a rather dark Blog posting about one of my favorite places on the planet: the Xeric garden at Kendrick Lake in Lakewood. The deceptively gorgeous Allium christophii had run amok and was threatening to overwhelm the garden...when I wrote the post, little did I know or suspect that the Lakewood Parks staff were poised to dig and remove thousands of these throughout the garden.

Allium cbristophii
No small task, as you can see from these two specimens in hand above. I have been heartened to see this garden experience a sort of re-birth since then--below I will display quite a range of flowers I've photographed there over the last month or so. And I shall end with a portrait of the Master who created the garden in the first place--hang in there! And ENJOY! This is an unparalleled masterpiece of urban flower gardening!

Phlomis russeliana
Many of the plants retain labels made six or more years ago, although I fear many labels may hae wandered off as well in that interim (the park is not caged)...

Kniphofia cv,

Penstemon pseudospectabiis
An inspired choice for the Plant Select program: a LONG LIVED penstemon that blooms for months--and just look at the color!

Clematis integrifolia 'Mongolian Bells'
These are everywhere at Kendrick...

Digitalis obscura

Digitalis obscura closer up.

Phlomis cashmeriana

Agave havardiana, Eremurus stenohyllus and Eremurus hyb.
Where else but Kendrick would you see such an unlikely and yet perfect combo?

Tanacetum praeteritium
A superb composite from Turkey. And yet not a mail order nursery in America grows or sells this. Prove me wrong!

Eriogonum umbellatum v. aureum 'Kannah Creek' and Marrubium rotundifolium
The spreads of buckwheat at Kendrick are stunning.
Eriogonum umbellatum v. aureum 'Kannah Creek' further along in bloom (ages orange)

Salvia daghestanica and Oenothera incana 'Silverblade'
As is this Caucasian sage.
Salvia daghestanica

Stachys cv. and Tanacetum densum v. amani in the background

Campanula sp.

Penstemon palmeri

Penstemon linarioides

Sedum kamtschaticum 'Variegatum'
An undeservedly overlooked sedum that is distinctive.

Stachys lavandulifolius (center)
Where else would you have such massive clumps of the mistflowered sage and next door a Calylophus (hartwegii I think)

Had to show this again.

Oenothera serrulata

Cylindropuntia whipplei and its cousin 'Snow Leopard'

Yucca rostrata and Cylindropuntia 'Snow Leopard'

Mirabilis multiflora

Mirabilis multiflora
Clematis integrifolia 'Mongolian Bells'

Penstemon pinifolius 'Mersea Yellow' and Salvia x 'May Night'
What a great combo!
The enemy
There are an awful lot of these at Kendrick this year. And in my garden. Uggh.
Salvia chrysophylla
An elegant newbie.

Monardella macrantha 'Marion Sampson'

Sempervivum calcareum
Sempervivum calcareum

Had to show this twice--incredible clumps of these...

Erigeron elatior (speciosus) and Eriogonum umbellatum
Another great combo

A variegated Hylotelephium Sedum--don't know the proper cultivar. (Probably spectabile?)

Asclepias tuberosa

Zinnia grandiflora

Ephedra minima

Eriogonum umbellatum v. aureum 'Kannah Creek'

Daphne x transatlantica

Crambe maritima

Salvia darcyi

Penstemon pinifolius 'Mersea Yellow'

Scabiosa graminifolia

Diascia integerrima 'Coral Canyon'

Engelmannia pinnatifida

Nicole and Matthew Langford
Every time I visit Kendrick there seem to be more and more people strolling through enjoying the place. I began chatting with this delightful couple (violinist left, composer and trumpet player, right) who read about the garden in a book, were so enchanted they sought a home nearby and walk through almost every day. They would love to volunteer there, should a group be organized (hint hint)...

How many thousands, or tens of thousands have been inspired by this garden? 

Greg Foreman
And finally, I'd like to acknowledge my enormous debt to Greg Foreman: he designed and oversaw the maintenance of this garden for nearly 15 years. He quit six years ago and is doing design work on contract since then. I cannot fathom how much I have learned studying his work.

Although Kendrick Lake is his best known showcase, Greg has executed other extensive gardens on that scale, not to mention miles of median strip designs throughout Lakewood and dozens of xeric pocket gardens in parks throughout the city.

I know of no gardener anywhere who has such an uncanny knack of combining the right plant with the right spot and achieving such long lasting success with naturalistic design.  He is the perfect blend of garden artist and horticultural scientist.

Greg and I were chatting: he welcomes new design prospects. Click here to hear him talk about his work.

Better yet, email him at nativesamongus at  if you'd like to work with the best designer the Rocky Mountain West has to offer. No one has done more to forge and elevate beautiful, sustainable Rocky Mountain garden design than this wonderful man.


I would also like to acknowledge the remarkable staff of Lakewood Parks who have done a superb job of continuing and expanding his legacy.,

1 comment:

  1. Can you tell me the height of the Tanacetum praeteritum? I have the variety massicyticum with lighter foliage and, in flower, topping out at about eight inches. I do have a tanacetum similar to the plant in the photo but with flowers as tall as 12 to 14 inches and more tolerant of heat. Alas, I have had it for so long that I have forgotten the species, though T. albipanosum from Pavelka rings a bell. I have been meaning to suggest to Ross Shrigley that it would make a fine landscape plant introduction by Plant Select - a substitute for T. amanum v. densum but with white ray flowered daisies.


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