Visit to Denver Botanic Gardens: Romantic Garden & more


The Romantic Garden at Denver Botanic Gardens, which I visited earlier this month, is not festooned with the traditional roses, wisteria, and clematis. In dry, high country style, feathery grasses mingle with aromatic salvias, prairie wildflowers, and felt-leaved lamb’s ears.


Accenting the garden beds stand a handful of Little and Lewis-style columns the colors of sidewalk chalk.


They lean like candy-colored ruins amid the frothy flowers.


Farther along the path we did encounter some lovely roses.


And this pretty mystery plant. Update: Lysimachia punctata ‘Alexander’ — thanks to everyone who provided an ID!


Purple coneflowers


Along one of the central axes of the DBG runs a long, rill-like water feature, with these twin fountains that remind me of Mayan ruins.


Occupying the center of one of the main walks stood this tornado-like sculpture made of bamboo, one of many such pieces placed throughout the gardens.


Moving on…garlic growing amid ornamental grasses.


I like the charming seedheads.


A fragrant lavender walk


And a silvery ‘Kintzley’s Ghost’ grape honeysuckle vine, winding its way up an arbor


In June’s Plant Asia garden, which contains Asian plants that grow in similar conditions to Denver’s, I was distracted by hardscape: this moon gate…


…and this mosaic pebble path that evokes a swirling stream.


Ligularia stood out against a burgundy Japanese maple.


Creeping Oregon grape holly in full berry


More verbascum


In the South African Plaza, torch lilies were ablaze, backed by vertical slabs of dusky pink stone.

This post is a mishmash of impressions from various garden rooms at the DBG. Next up I’ll have a more cohesive set of images from DBG’s Plains Garden, Rock Alpine Garden and Dryland Mesa.

Click to see my other Denver Botanic Gardens posts from this visit:
Grasses and cholla for Foliage Follow-Up
Sun-drenched perennial borders

All material © 2006-2012 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

11 Responses

  1. Gail says:

    It’s such a splendid garden…I’ve loved seeing it through your eyes.

    I’m glad you’re enjoying the tour, Gail. —Pam

  2. Gail says:

    PS. and through your lens!

  3. Sue says:

    Beautiful and so lush for high and dry. I love addition of the Little and Lewis columns. Thanks for the tour!

    The mystery plant is Lysimachia punctata ‘Alexander’.

    Thanks for the ID, Sue! —Pam

  4. ella says:

    The black pebble path reminds of when I was a little girl and we went shopping at Hancock Center. The first and only shopping center back then. There was (not sure if it’s still there) fountain in the middle with a pebble path around it. I used to take my shoes off and try to walk barefoot on it.

    Lovely pictures as always! Thanks for sharing.

    What a fun memory. Have you made a pebble path for your own garden, Ella? —Pam

  5. jenny says:

    The romantic garden is one of my favorites. The columns and planting are perfection. It was done by Lauren Springer Ogden (as Scott reminded me!) They add so many new features every year, frequent visits are necessary. That’s what I always tell David. One or two of your photos were new to me and we were just there last year.

    I’m glad you reminded me that Lauren Springer Ogden designed this one, Jenny. I knew that she’d designed some of the gardens at DBG, but I couldn’t find any info about it on their site or in the gardens. —Pam

  6. How festive the combos are, as you note! I remember living there, when I thought Denver was dry…those were the days.

    Ha! I bet so, David. But you know how to do dry! —Pam

  7. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Marvelous place. I love those blue columns. Just seeing water running is a treat right now.

    I think fountains are essential in dry climates, Lisa, as Middle Eastern gardeners have long known. It just cools you to look at it. —Pam

  8. Alison says:

    What a beautiful romantic garden! I love the columns. Those torch lilies with the slabs of stone is cool, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen that much Oregon grape in berry. That mosaic pebble path does look just like a swirling stream! I’ve never heard of ‘Kintzley’s Ghost’ honeysuckle, I’m off to look it up.

    I think your unknown plant is Lysimachia punctata ‘Alexander.’

    Thanks for the ID, Alison. Yes, isn’t that Oregon grape amazing?! I’d never seen the groundcovering variety, so I was especially intrigued. —Pam

  9. Scott Weber says:

    What a great garden…then again, I’m a sucker for any garden with grasses (and the Ogdens are pretty much tops in their grass usage). I think your mystery plant MAY be a form of Lysimachia.

    Thanks for the ID, Scott—everyone seems to be in agreement. I love all the grasses too. What I particularly admire about your garden is that you’ve figured out how to squeeze a lot of beautiful grasses into a small space. —Pam

  10. louis says:

    beautiful! That pebble path is really neat. It’s really inviting with the gate. You just couldn’t help but want to go and explore where it leads!

    That’s true, Louis, and explore we did! But I needed still more time to see everything. A return visit is in order. —Pam

  11. Gorgeous garden, great inspiration for future gardens around here.

    Those columns also have my attention too since I need planters in front of the garage and some version of those just might be right.

    I look forward to seeing the Rock-Oak-Deer interpretation one of these days, Shirley. —Pam

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