All Posts

Denver Botanic Gardens

Red, orange, and yellow glass art by Dale Chihuly in front of the Waring House

It’s heating up around the apartments in Denver — a sure sign that summer is here and it’s time to schedule a lovely outing at one of the city’s many cultural institutions. This summer, why not put the Denver Botanic Gardens at the top of your list? This long standing institution is widely regarded as [one of the best in the country],( and a spot in the city where you can get away from the urban hustle and bustle:

“One of the top five botanic gardens in the nation, Denver Botanic Gardens is an oasis in the city, offering year-round events, Mordecai Children’s Garden, lifelong learning opportunities and research to preserve Colorado’s precious natural resources.”

It makes sense, then, that they see so many visitors year after year, and that you yourself would want to take a peek at what they’ve got going on this summer. We’re here to help you too, since today, we’ll be laying out everything you need to know about the Denver Botanic Gardens to enjoy a quick trip when you have the chance.

Getting to Know the Botanic Gardens

The Denver Botanic Gardens, founded in 1951, are a part of the Chessman Park area in central Denver, and close to other city landmarks like Congress Park. Covering some 23-acres, the Gardens offer a wide range of variety. In fact, the diversity of plant life is something the Gardens pride themselves on greatly:

“York Street presents a wide range of gardens and collections on 24 acres that illustrate an ever-widening diversity of plants from all corners of the world. Distinctive gardens define and celebrate a Western identity and a unique high altitude climate and geography.”

And just how is that diversity represented? Denver Botanic Gardens has their collections broken down into five main categories:

  • Gardens of the West — These include plants native to Colorado, that thrive in arid environments and provide “season-long color and texture.”
  • Internationally Inspired Gardens — These gardens include plants from across the world, with an emphasis on regions like Japan, China, South Africa and the Tropics. Many of the plants come from climates similar to Denver’s
  • Ornamental Gardens — These gardens contain plants with high decorative value, meaning they have lots of color and vibrancy, and would make for great displays no matter where you placed them.
  • Shady Gardens — On a hot summer day, the shady gardens provide a bit of protection from the sun, with dense foliage and ample space for birds to make a home for themselves among the branches and bushes.
  • Water Gardens — You’ll find the aquatic plants here, varieties like waterlilies, water platters, lotus and canna. This is also the home of many of the pools at the Botanic Gardens, which serve as an aesthetic enhancement as well.

Within these main garden categories, there are dozens of sub-gardens, each with their own cultivated aesthetic and each offering a plethora of plants for you to gaze upon. Many of the species of flora in the Denver Botanic Gardens are hearty and drought resistant (which helps them survive in Colorado), and while the full number of specific plants is far too broad to list here, you can easily look up specific plants via the Garden Navigator — a database for their entire selection.

Remember that the Denver Botanic Gardens aren’t just for adults. Also located on the grounds is the Mordecai Children’s Garden. As the name suggests, this is the place for younglings to come and learn about flora in great detail:

“Mordecai Children’s Garden is a place for children and families to explore plants and the natural world, through hands­-on experiences and play. A variety of authentic natural materials in this garden allow kids to use their imagination and sense of wonder to create their own connections with plants.”

Approximately 3-acres in size, this part of the Gardens actually simulates six different ecosystems found in Colorado:

  • Alpine — Trailhead Terrace and Rooftop Alpine Garden
  • Subalpine Forest — Marmot Mountain and Pika Peak
  • Montane Forest — Myst­ery Forest
  • Plains and Grassland — Glorious Grasslands
  • Riparian — Pipsqueak Pond
  • Montane Shrubland — Sagebrush Stage

Now, you could walk around the Gardens on your own (a great way to move about at your own pace), or you could roll along with one of the many tours that head through the gardens instead. There are six being featured at present:

  • Creator Conversations Human | Nature
  • Human | Nature
  • Midsummer Nights Tours
  • Garden Gurus Tours
  • A Walk Through Thyme Tours
  • The Monthly Self-Guided Walking Tours

With the exception of the self-guided tours, these experiences give you a great way to see the Gardens with an expert along for the ride. You’ll be able to draw upon their horticultural experience to learn more about the Gardens and the plants within; just be sure you register in advance so that you can secure a spot for yourself.

Last up, the Denver Botanical Gardens are also the site of many a fine event. This summer, the big ticket will be the Summer Concert Series, taking place at the Gardens’ UMB Bank Amphitheater and featuring a wide range of delightful outdoor musical performances. The lineup is a long one, but features classic rock and soul greats like Boz Scaggs and Michael McDonald, delivering their old-school hits with the passion and fervor that come from decades of experience on the stage. You won’t want to miss it, so be sure to snag your tickets soon!

Get There From the Apartments in Denver

If you want to get to the Denver Botanic Gardens from superior city dwellings like CoLab, you’ll find it’s just a quick, 10-minute drive over to Chessman Park. That’s one of the great things about being a part of the neighborhood at CoLab — the fact that the much of “Denver’s Finest” seems like it’s just a hop, skip, and a jump away. You’ll see Denver in a different light here; learn about what CoLab has to offer, then make this your first choice for Mile High living like no other community can deliver.