Monday, May 05, 2008

Denver Botanic Garden

Since recent garden tasks are a repeat of my last blog entry--it's the time of year when one flower bed after another is enlarged, cleaned, edged, and top-dressed--I thought that I'd flash back to last weekend's visit to the Denver Botanic Garden.

My flight from Boston arrived in the midst of late spring snow flurries and, at the Botanic Garden, the flowering trees were whipping up a blooming snow storm of their own, with weeping crabapple . . .

eastern redbud . . .

and . . . a glorious grey-barked, red-leaved, white-flowered chokecherry, Prunus virginiana "Canada Red," I believe.

Part of my cultivar confusion derived from a lack of familiarity with mountain botany, but part came also from the erratic labeling practice at the DBG. Many plants had no labels, a few had multiple labels, and some labels were just plain wrong. I know from many hours spent among them in another time and place that, despite their labels reading "Papever," these fantastical fritillaries Fritillaria meleagris cannot be confused with poppies.

And what, for instance, is this silken-haired beauty?

In the rock garden and alpine garden, I was totally lost, despite a graveled path to lead me along my way.

By the time that I arrived at the greenhouses, I completely abandoned any pretense of looking for labels, referring to my map, and writing down names. A good idea, too, as the plant life there assumed bizarrely imaginative forms.

Even an unfurling banana tree leaf seemed somewhat unnatural. Why is every part of this plant vaguely obscene?

The centerpiece was this anthropomorphic epiphyte-draped tree, looking like a recreationally-drugged fugitive from Birnam forest.

Not much horticultural inspiration to be found . . . but lots of wonderment.


No Rain said...

Beautiful photos!

Daphne said...

The chokecherries bring back memories for me. I grew up in Colorado and I remember picking them one year so my mother could make wine.

Xris (Flatbush Gardener) said...

The "silken-haired beauty" looks like a Pulsatilla, Pasque-flower, to me.