An Amazing Xeric and Native Plant Garden in Colorado

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We have just returned from the annual Garden Bloggers Fling. 3 days in and around Denver touring gardens with our garden blogger tribe. Looking back through my photos I took more pictures of the garden of Dan Johnson and Tony Miles in Englewood, CO, than any other garden. This garden captured my attention from the minute I stepped off the bus! It is vivid with a Southwest flair. I was immediately attracted to the large metal sculpture in the bed full of natives between the sidewalk and the wall. The low wall is neighborly but also gives you a sense of a courtyard and privacy. The entrance trellis has recently been redone because it was rotting. The owner saw one in Santa Fe NM and decided to replicate it. They had me at rusted metal! From a distance it looks like wood but up close you can see the rust and construction details. The plan is to replace all the lodge pole pergolas and trellises using steel tubing. I imagine this will come up in one of our designs in the future.This is a shot of Dan Johnson answering questions framed in the trellis. Dan has been with the Denver Botanic Gardens Horticulture Department for 22 years. He is currently the Curator of the Native Plants Collections and Associate Director of Horticulture. Correction: Dan let me know this is his partner Tony Miles. Oops! The front porch is full of succulents and cacti displayed in the most eye catching manner. I did ask what they do with them in the winter. They live inside : )Quickly I tucked around the side and caught the side view of the porch. Rich terracotta mixed with sage green, shades of blue and a bright purple table cloth, complement the plants perfectly. You are greeted with a carved wooden gate as you enter the back garden. I love the tiny yellow elephants. The back garden slopes down the hill. Several paths wind their way to the bottom. You can see the house is built on the edge. We headed to the building at the bottom and spent time sitting and enjoying the view. It over looks a large pond that is filled by a stream that works its way down the hill. There is lovely Angie Rose above the pond. It was hard to get photos without people since there were about 45 of us here at once. We saw rock used in many of the gardens we toured. This garden has been evolving since 1999. It is full, rich with texture and color, yet still achieves balance. It is relaxing to wander in, discovering little plant and object vignettes at each turn. Plenty of flowers and water sources for pollinator. The large art pieces worked well with the winding paths and meandering stream. A view across the garden while coming up the other side. Capturing our Mother of GBFling Pam Penick. She is a talented photographer, writer, garden designer and gardener. If you haven’t read her blog I encourage you to take a look. It is one of my favorite blogs!This garden felt alive with the sense of pleasure. Accented with bright colors and a celebration of life!You forget that you are on a regular residential lot very quickly. There were poppies and irises tucked in among grasses and ground covers. My favorite California poppies loved the environment. Winding back up there is another little seating place were you can get warm on a cooler evening. A few other interesting pieces that caught my attention. The bright blue of this ceramic vessel that becomes an artistic focal point. I would have been happy to spend the afternoon here! This garden brought back memories of living in the hills of San Diego. There were natural rock out-cropping and elevation changes. Here in Houston we are very flat, with gumbo soil and 50″ of rain. Perhaps that is part of why this garden appealed so much to me.

Happy Gardening!