Colorado has no shortage of high-profile landmarks to see as you travel the state. But it also has some amazingly well-kept secrets: glorious gardens that offer beautiful stops for inspiration and restful meditation.
To take a green tour in the best possible way, the Denver Post recommends the following:
Western Colorado Botanical Gardens: Close to downtown Grand Junction, this garden inside a greenhouse features “a tropical rainforest …clustered with Mexican fern palms, banana trees and birds of paradise,” notes the Post. Visitors will also find water lilies in the Japanese garden, butterflies flitting among Philippine violets and other flowers, and plants indigenous to the area.
Montrose Botanic Gardens: If water-conservation is on your mind (and how can it not be in the wake of Colorado’s ongoing drought?), this garden can serve as a model for your home garden. Near downtown Montrose, this spot features a Rock Garden “populated with Blackfoot daisies, shrubby ice plants and other drought-tolerant botanicals,” notes the Post. The Crevice Gardens display small, robust plants growing amid rocks. And you’ll also see a New Waves of Grass Garden filled with ornamental grasses that “seem to gloriously dance as breezes blow across the garden’s terraces,” reports the Post.
Yampa River Botanic Park This six-acre garden, “snuggled in a high-altitude valley in Steamboat Springs,” offers paths that take you past sculptures and themed gardens, including the innovative Blue Garden where you’ll see grape hyacinths, blue iris and other bountiful blue flowers. The park, open May through October, also offers a Hidden Garden with further surprises.
Durango Botanic Gardens: Just behind the Durango Public Library, you’ll find “seven distinct sections that reflect Durango’s different micro-ecosystems,” according to the Post. Offerings include a Wind Garden with miniature conifers “nestled amid hand-selected” boulders, an Arboreta Garden with dwarf giant redwood and dwarf Japanese red pine trees and much more.
The Gardens on Spring Creek: On 12 acres close to downtown Fort Collins visitors will find a Fragrance Garden with “the sweet scent of the chocolate flower”; a Moon Garden with plants whose blossoms seem to glow in the dark; and the Undaunted Garden, “home to a large outdoor collection of cold-hardy cacti found in the Front Range.”