We arrived and were escorted straight to lunch in the Annuals Pavilion (choice of sandwich or salad, chips, drink, cookie), listened to a short talk by Panayoti Kelaidis, senior curator and director of outreach for the DBG, blogger at PrairieBreak, and author of Hardy Ice Plants: A Horticultural Handbook for Hobbyists and Growers and a contributor to Steppes: The Plants and Ecology of the World's Semi-arid Regions. We were handed a map (God help me!), and given approximately an hour to scramble around trying to find the areas that interested us. I scarfed my lunch and took off with an increasingly desperate air against a ticking clock and with no sense of direction, trying to find my way to the Steppe Garden, the Ornamental Grasses Garden, and the Roads Water-Smart Garden.
|Boettcher Memorial Tropical Conservatory
It was a warm, sunny day and although I do love tropical plants, I couldn't imagine venturing into the heat of the conservatory.
|El Pomar Waterway
|Ornamental grasses line the brick walkway and the tilted pots contain succulents
|The craggy small trees are some kind of sumac, possibly Rhus typhina
|With a Science Pyramid backdrop
Somehow I then managed to find the Roads Water-wise Garden, which is planted on a raised berm at the base of the conservatory, with a path so you can walk through it.
|A cluster of blue Agaves, and oodles of pups, reminding me of hungry baby birds
|Tanacetum densum ssp. amani
|I don't know if this Agave was tagged, but it looks like maybe A. parryi
|This was tagged as Delosperma 'Kelaidis' but it seems much too bright pink
|Linum narbonense aka Spanish flax, an Old World species of blue flax with larger flowers than our Linum lewisii
More wandering took me to the Grant Family Cottonwood border, an area of cottonwood trees underplanted with grasses and perennials. The grass with the tufted ends looks to me like Hordeum jubatum, aka foxtail barley. The tall blue flowers are Penstemons, of course.
|Not sure what the blue flower is, but the hot pink is Delosperma
I nearly made it to the Steppe Garden, which I think was the area next to the Cottonwood garden with raised berms around lots of rocks. Around this time I ran into members of the PNW contingent and it was nearly time to start making our way back to the bus, so I joined up with them and we all headed to the entrance.
I only managed to barely scratch the surface of what the Denver Botanic Garden has to offer. I could have spent the entire day here (although I would have required a lot more sunscreen). On a cool spring day I imagine the conservatory is full of marvels. There are exhibits inside the Science Pyramid as well. Like my friend Heather, I didn't find the sunny, arid Denver climate to my liking, so I doubt I'll be traveling back to the area just to revisit the DBG.
But if you ever find yourself in Denver, go. Even just for an hour.