Sunday, May 23, 2010

Plant shopping and garden tours in Denver!!


Just returned from two thrilling days full of PLANTS PLANTS PLANTS and cool gardens.  It was the Garden Conservancy Open Days yesterday, a wonderful program that provides access to private gardens.  We saw 5 rock  and xeric gardens, and then spent an entire day in Denver garden centers.  Echters, Paulinos, Tagawa, and Timberline. I'll detail the rock gardens we toured in a separate post. 

First the garden centers - since I went with another plant enthusiast and garden designer extraordinaire - Genevieve - we fed eachother's passion for plants and gardens and got totally carried away.  I'll just share highlights since I could go on forever about all the fun stuff I saw and learned. 

The geranium planter at Tagawa
Paulinos was wonderful.  Has a high-end feel, great selection, decent prices. Terrific grasses here, at the best price we found.  Is very hard to get to, and they don't answer their phone which is extremely annoying.   Why wouldn't a retail garden center answer their phone?

Echters is enormous and overwhelming for we country mice.  Allow at least half a day to wander, and bring provisions to help keep up your strength. Some of the prices were high, but then, no one has higher prices for one gallon perennials than our local Eagle Crest.  Why haven't garden center prices adjusted for the new economy?  Echters has the largest selection of garden accessories I've ever seen, the equivalent of a huge warehouse full of pots and furniture and hoses and every kind of plant treatment ever made. A great place to browse with a vente latte.   

Tagawa was a little disappointing after I've heard so much about it.  It was also huge, and there we found the most spectacular geranium planter I've ever seen, but the entry displays of elf and other cheesy statuary is a huge turnoff.  They had a nice Plant Select section, but overall the perennial section was a little weak.  Their annual geranium section did stretch on forever, and the cat was available for petting as advertised.  Tagawa is so enormous and so busy they actually had parking lot attendants directing traffic! 
My new sedum collection from Timberline.
Timberline is certainly the place to go for the plant enthusiast and small-town gardener.  It is less overwhelming, and the owner, Kelly Grummons, personally helped us and many other customers which is a lovely touch. They have a great selection of unusual and hard-to-find plants.  This is our "local' source for High Country Gardens types of plant material.

For we small-town garden nuts and plantaholics, each one these garden centers is worthy of a trip to Denver just to visit them.  It's so nice to have a huge selection of everything!  
Quick observation:  Aren't you tired of the same old trailers for container gardens?  When the Ipomea's first came out it was quite thrilling, but I haven't seen much new since then.  Every garden center we went to had the same 5 trailers, BOOOOORING!  Enough with the vinca vine, impomeas, dichondra, and even the pennyroyal which seems to be the new trailer of choice!  What non-flowering, heavily trailing plant would you like to see more widely available???
Look at this wonderful rose!!                                         A great shade combination - that's a heuchera!

Another great combination - I guess I was on a green and yellow tone kick

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