In the spare high plains of southwestern Colorado, citizens of the city of Montrose have created and are expanding a botanical garden dedicated to educating visitors.
The Montrose Botanical Society was formed in 1995, organized around the dream of a botanical garden. The group has signed a 50-year lease with the city for a 3.5-acre tract of land.
Two gardens have been completed:
• The Promenade welcomes visitors into the gardens with a changing display of annuals, perennials, grasses, shrubs and trees.
• A Xeriscape Demonstration Garden inspires dry-land gardeners with a showcase of native plants, including cacti and succulents. New plants are added each year.
A third Valley Garden is being developed to reflect the variety of the Uncompahgre Valley with a combination of old and new grasses, shrubs and perennials that thrive in the dry high plains. The heart of the Valley Garden will be a drought-tolerant turf area suitable for weddings and other events, surrounded by smaller gardens devoted to roses, lilacs, aromatic herbs and a living fence of trees and shrubs. A Valley Canal will wind through the garden, illustrating the importance of water to the region.
The gardens are open at all hours year-round and at no charge. Guided tours are available on request. Classes are offered throughout the year for all ages. In addition, the meetings of the Montrose Botanical Society with speakers on a variety of subjects are open to the public. Meetings are held September through June at 7 p.m. on the third Wednesday of the month. See the website for locations.