On my recent trip to visit family in Colorado, I was able to make a long awaited trip to see the Denver Botanic Gardens. I have, for several years, wanted to see, among other things, the handiwork of Lauren Springer, one of the horticultural artists who have put their personal touches on some of the Garden’s many themed venues. We happened to time our visit coincidentally with the installation of Chihuly glass art in the Gardens, installed for our enjoyment, during a bright and sunny day stay in the Mile High City.
Lauren and her husband Scott Ogden, are a husband and wife team of horticultural heavyweights, authors of the popular 2008 Timber Press book Plant-Driven Design: Creating Gardens That Honor Plants, Places, and Spirit. Their book is a treatise on garden design with plant diversity, botany, as the main focus. Architecture and hardscape fills a more functional, secondary, less obvious roll in their plant filled garden designs.
Lauren designed the perennial border, the romantic garden complex, the xeric garden and the romantic garden at the DBG. If you get the chance, drop in and see how she thinks when it comes to incorporating plants into the landscape. Its pretty cool stuff, folks!
the perennial border is about 200 ft in length, bounded on the sides by a clipped cedar-like hedge, standing about ten feet tall. The garden space is filled with herbaceous perennials of many sorts.
above: Joe-Pye weed and cobalt blue Chihuly lobes
click on photos to enlarge…
above: at the the end of the Perennial Border garden is an axis point, ….looking north, east and then west in the entrance of Lauren’s Romantic Garden.
above: the central area of the Romantic garden hosts a very large Chihuly tower
nice glass in North American prairie area
above: Blue Gramma grass in the Short grass prairie area killed the day with a stellar display of such beautiful low-growing foliage, inflorescences, and associated groovy herbage.
a very extensive, smartly executed, Alpine rock garden (garden visitor and belly in picture for scale)
above: parts of Lauren’s high-desert Xeric gardens
misters created a softened feel to the Ornamental grass garden, with towering white-flowering ornamental Tobacco
above: Tobacco, Celosia and Cosmos blend in with the finely textured species, Dog Fennel, Eupatorium capillifolium, considered a weed in our part of the country
These gardens show how naturalistic design can be utilized more commonly in our regional landscapes, even in formal settings. This type of gardening shows a connection with the land and a sensitivity to natural areas and how we can emulate them more completely using a lighter touch of our hand.