Flingtastic Colorado- The Gardens on Spring Creek


 Garden Bloggers Fling , the annual meet-up of blogging gardeners, took place this year in the Denver Colorado area  encompassing Fort Collins and Boulder as well as Denver. The organizing team put together an outstanding itinerary that was firmly rooted in the unique environment of the mountain west.

 In this post we will visit The Gardens on Spring Creek in Fort Collins , which is currently 18 acres and is owned and operated by the city of Fort Collins. I really loved this garden. The sense of place, the attention to detail and the obvious passion of the staff was a perfect circle of excellence. The garden is  at the tail end of  an expansion which includes a renovated visitors center, a butterfly house and a cafe. The grand opening of the newest additions to Spring Creek is expected to take place in fall of this year. We were able to see enticing snippets of the gardens around the visitors center from beyond the caution tape and every bit of the still developing areas of this garden look very promising. It was pretty clear to me that the city and the residents of Fort Collins have made a commitment to create a garden that compares favorably with other botanical gardens in the US if not in size, in design and quality of infrastructure and hardscape. Provided the funding remains solid for ongoing maintenance  this has the potential to be an important addition to the inventory of public gardens in the continental US.

 This was the most mature area of the garden, the Rock Garden which opened in 2011. The emphasis is on Colorado native plants and dwarf conifers.  I am very smitten with conifers and if I lived in a more conducive climate I'm afraid I would have an obsessive collection habit. There are quite a few that I can actually grow successfully here provided the placement is just right. I am tempted.




The rocks !




 Unexpected were the many ground hugging Clematis we saw in many of the gardens we visited, mostly integrifolia cultivars that seem okay with cold a** winter temps and dry hot summers.


 
 One of the newly planted areas . They haven't skimped on navigable paths and shade structures. I believe this is the Foothills Garden.



 Here we have the Undaunted Garden, designed by the mountain west horticultural superstar Lauren Springer-Ogden, another newly planted area as you can see. Lauren was scheduled to meet us here and be available for questions but a (bad) knee accident prevented her from joining us. I have followed her career for many years ,ever since her hellstrip garden in Boulder (I think) was published in Sunset magazine way back in the late 80's I think and I am pretty sure she invented the term.

 
Our lunch venue. And by the way, the sky.



  When I got home I was really disappointed to find that I had not taken nearly as many photos here as I would have liked-or thought I had. There is something to be said for just wandering and experiencing the garden. Plans to return are in development.



Comments

  1. The ones you did take are smashing, though. And I *love* the long line of lunching Flingers underneath that soaring roof; what a composition.

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    1. Thanks Nell- I was walking back to he rock garden to take more photos there and I just happened to turn around. It was good happenstance !

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  2. Great photos of a gorgeous area, Kathy! In the Fling posts I've seen thus far, I've been impressed by the heavy reliance on what I think of as groundcovers and how effective they are at drawing and carrying the eye. I'm used to gardens with more variation in plant height but, seeing these gardens, I think I've missed out on the value of using massed groundcovers (until now).

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    1. So many of the gardens we saw were arranged on levels with beautifully staged rocks that even though many of the plants were ground-hugging they were at many different heights.It felt quite dynamic.

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  3. I think I took the approx number of photos as you, under 1,000, which seemed like a lot to process, yet I wish I had more too. This was a great stop on the tour -- and so nice to lunch here!

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    1. Now I've got all my photos from Oregon to deal with as well. I'm going to be busy !

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  4. Impressive for so new a garden. Community support is all important. I'd go wild collecting dwarf conifers, if I lived in the right climate. The Agaves of cold places?

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  5. Colorado seems live a tough climate to garden in but all the posts about the Fling show how well the local gardeners have mastered it! These gardens are impressive, for sure!

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