Favorite Gardens in Colorado

Amity Moore Joyce
| February 22, 2024 | 4 Minute Read
A stone path set in gravel leads to a Japanese tea house with traditional architecture. Courtesy of Denver Botanic Gardens. Photo © Scott Dressel-Martin

Inspire your green thumb at these Colorado gardens. 

Denver Botanic Gardens, Denver

For a retreat from life in the capital city, follow the paths through these 24 acres and admire the flora within. There is much to appreciate, including native trees cut in bonsai style, Plant Select trial gardens, the Monet pool, an authentic Japanese tea house (above) and accompanying garden and a treehouse set among the branches of a fabricated banyan tree inside a tropical conservatory. Don’t miss the exhibits inside the three museum-caliber art galleries or the colorful collection of tulips, daffodils and hyacinths blooming this spring in their annuals garden.

A woman holds a branch for a young girl to examine with her magnifying glass. Dominique Taylor

Betty Ford Alpine Gardens, Vail

Housed inside Ford Park and easily accessed via the town’s bus service, this amazing garden (above)—the highest elevation botanical garden in North America—showcases plants that thrive at 8,200 feet, and sometimes higher, from around the world and Colorado. If you miss one of the tours, signs label the plants and where they originated.

Western Colorado Botanical Gardens, Grand Junction

The Western Slope is not all orchards and vineyards. In fact, 15 acres of specialty gardens showcase beautiful cacti in bloom, thriving vintage roses and wild plants introduced as garden plants. Children appreciate the sensory garden, the hedge maze leading to a castle guarded by a dragon and the butterfly house where native species are released each month.

A hummingbird dips its beak into a purple flower. Jan Curtis

Durango Botanic Gardens, Durango

Adjacent to the Durango Public Library, this free garden (above) has garnered acclaim for its crevice garden, which is a rock garden composed of locally quarried gneiss stone and bare-root plantings. The recently planted literary garden includes six themed gardens, such as classics, contemporary and Spanish, each featuring plants mentioned in famed books.

Yampa River Botanic Park, Steamboat Springs

Starting in May, stroll 63 individual gardens, pausing to admire the enchanting fairy garden; the recently renovated and replanted hummingbird and butterfly gardens; and the penstemon garden, perhaps the world’s only garden devoted exclusively to the genus also known as beardtongue.

An etched stone reads, “Cactus Garden.” with  collection of cacti planted in the ground with purple blooms behind it. A three tiered pergola stands in the background. City of Fort Collins

The Gardens on Spring Creek, Fort Collins

If you haven’t visited this 18-acre garden in a few years, it’s time to return. A two-year renovation has resulted in five acres of new gardens. See the nation’s largest assembly of cold-hardy cacti on display (above) as well as what happens when plants in a prairie ecosystem meet those growing in the foothills.

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