Monday, June 30, 2008

Colorado Rocks! (Seriously)

On the road to Vail: Mountains everywhere! Mountains!!! Like it's the most normal thing!

I've been kind of "worded out" lately, so I've decided to cover my Colorado getaway mostly in photos, à la my Photo Friday posts. (We'll just ignore the fact that it's Monday and that I've really only ever done one Photo Friday post, K? K!)

Betty Ford Alpine Gardens: View to Mt. Vail, Dryland Montane Garden

Betty Ford Alpine Gardens: Juniper snags and view in opposite direction

Betty Ford Alpine Gardens: Alpine Rock Garden

Betty Ford Alpine Gardens: Trumpet gentian

Betty Ford Alpine Gardens: Shrubby penstemon

I noticed altitude effects in Vail (the gardens are at 8250 ft/2515 m, the highest elevation gardens in the U.S. (Ann Arbor is at 839 ft/256 m!)), panting and wheezing like I'd just run a marathon. I had my sun hat, drank a lot of water, and walked really slowly through the garden. So slowly that retired couples and families with strollers were zooming by me. I wanted a sign that read "Caution: Michigan lowlander. Please pass."

The next day, I visited the Denver Botanic Gardens (DBG).

DBG: Planting near gift shop, not even considered a "garden" on their map!

DBG: Close-up of foxtail lily (Eremurus x isabellinus)

DBG: Red yucca (Hesperaloe parviflora). I've never seen this in Michigan. It's hardy to 0 F, so I may try it and mulch it really well. I love the thin leaves and pink flowers! (Click for my white-flowering yucca.)

DBG: Plains Garden

DBG: Another view of the Plains Garden

DBG: Alpine Rock Garden

DBG: Lacebark pine close-up (cool, huh?!)

DBG: Water-Smart Garden

DBG: Water-Smart Garden close-up (click for more on water-smart gardening)

DBG: Wildflower Treasures or Cutting Garden

I spent the next few days in Colorado Springs with my niece and nephew.

Garden of the Gods

Garden of the Gods: Mica in granite

Colorado Springs Utilities' Cottonwood Creek Park Xeriscape Demonstration Garden (Pikes Peak in background. Big mountains, big blue sky!)

Pikes Peak: Crystal Creek Reservoir

Pikes Peak: Bottomless Pit Pullout

Pikes Peak: Snow! Getting closer to summit (see previous post for view from top)

Pikes Peak: Rain looks really cool in the mountains

In conclusion: 1) Michigan is really flat, 2) They were actually building in Colorado Springs (offices, roads, homes)--very unlike Michigan. 3) I would move to Denver based on my experience at the Denver Botanic Gardens alone!


  1. Wunderschoene Bilder, zumindest fuer einen Kurzurlaub:)! Soschoen die Berge anzusehen sind, wohnen moechte ich dort aber nicht. Ich bin ueberhaupt kein Fan von Bergen. Michigan ist mir auch etwas zu flach. Mir gefaellts von der Landschaft her in Virginia sehr gut. Mich wundert es aber, dass du den Bauwahn als positiv angefuehrt hast. Bei uns hat der eigentlich sehr negative Konsequenzen.
    LG, Bek

  2. Hi Bek, Ein Freund der Familie (aus Hamburg) hat immer gesagt "Berge sind schoen, aber die nehmen die Sicht weg." Ich koennte in einem Desrt nicht leben, aber die Berge haben mir sehr gefallen, besonderes im Vergleich zu Michigan. Ich habe keine "Opinion" an das Bauen gemeint. nur das es sehr anderes ist als hier, wo die Ekonomie sher schlecht ist. Ich bin natuerlich nicht fuer sprawl und McMansions, aber alles shien da sehr alive und gorwing. Hier scheint etliches tod und vergangen.
    ~ Monica

  3. Auch auf English: Bek was surprised I viewed the growth/building boom in Colorado Springs as "positive." I wasn't assigning a value to it, it just struck me as so different from southeast Michigan where businesses are closing and people are moving out. I'm not for endless building of urban sprawl and McMansions, but a healthy economy was nice to see. Many young people are leaving Michigan to find decent jobs. It's sad... Add the antics of Detroit's "mayor" and city council and the dying auto industry and... it struck me that other areas are not as depressed. And have mountains!! I just can't get over that. :)
    ~ Monica

  4. And, finally, neither Colorado Springs nor Denver itself is that hilly. The mountains are on the outskirts of town. My niece did used to live in Woodland Hills, which is in fact in the foothills of Pikes Peak.

  5. Monica, lovely wonderful photos! The gardens have a different look than ours, but oh so pretty. I love looking at the mountains, but have found I don't like being on them. Chicken, I guess. What a great trip you had.

  6. Wow! Beautiful, everyting, the gardens, the scenery.

    I hope you are having a wonderful time! I'm really enjoying the photos.

  7. Looks like you had an awesome time. I have never been to Colorado and hear it is beautiful. From your photos that is clear.

  8. These series of photos are wonderful!
    I was in Arizona all winter so these images are very familiar as we drove around to various mountain ranges.
    I love the photos of the stairway to heaven made from the big rocks!
    I understand the ~worded out~ as I am too latley.
    Great photos! Thank you for sharing.
    :) NG..with a zest for life and chocolate!!

  9. Beautiful scenery! I'm not used to actual mountains, either...looks better in person, I'm sure. (I mean the effect is more breathtaking, not like pictures or movies.) That Trumpet gentian is beautiful! I have fringed, closed and white closed growing up here...wish I could grow the alpine version too. (My sand holds too much water.) I've tried that red yucca (High Country Gardens has it), so far I've killed it twice. :(

  10. Wunderschöne Bilder, mir gefallen die Berge obwohl ich noch nie dort war. Der Botanische Garten sieht auch sehr einladend aus. Habe auch gehört das Colorado sehr schön sein soll.

  11. !!! (Sorry, I'm lost for words)
    Those photos are so beautiful! I love the one with the rain clouds and the one with the rustic-looking path and the... well, you get the idea : )
    I'm mad about mountains but discovered I cant stay on one for long. What can I say, too much tropical blood which cant take the cold climate : (

  12. Beckie,
    I have no problem with heights but I did feel a little "funny" at the summit (had to walk slowly or felt woozy). I lived in Stuttgart for a time and have visited PA and VT, all with mountains, which I liked, but they didn't strike me as much as these "fourteeners!"

    Rises & Lilacs,
    Tina, and
    It was so beautiful... and now it already seems like I was never there!

    Nature Girl,
    a zest for chocolate is good! Zest IN chocolate would not be bad either, as I do enjoy a nice orange-choccie combo!

    I know just what you mean--it felt like I was in a movie the whole time I was there. I just couldn't get over the scenery! It didn't seem real. Thanks also for the link to High Country Gardens. I rarely buy plants (hey, I'm cheap!), but I really want to try this one, even though I know it's pushing my zone.

    Sunita, LOL I loved the cool air in the mountains; it was refreshing! But I don't do well in heat and humidity (so why am I living in Michigan?! Good question!).

  13. Beautiful photos and scenery! I am ready to pack my bags and make hotel reservations:) I love mountains--from afar; you wouldn't catch me on the top of Pikes Peak, though. An interesting tour through the botanical gardens; I like that red Yucca plant, too.

  14. Fabulous scenery! Absolutely stunning..and I love the trumpet gentians :)

  15. Wow! What beautiful photos of such a gorgeous place. I love Colorado - almost moved there in the mid-1970's. Colorado, Montana, Wyoming, and New Mexico are among my favorite places to visit.

    Monica, there's an award waiting for you at my place this morning!

  16. I wish I could be there with you visiting Colorado.
    Hallo Monica,
    Natur begeistert mich in jeder Form, sei es Berge, Flachland, Inseln, Seen usw....
    Deine Fotos zeigen die Vielfalt von Pflanzen und für die Steine finde ich einen Platz in meinem Garten.
    Colorado rocks, thanks for the report and pictures.
    -Cheers Gisela

  17. We've had 2 fantastic holidays in Colorado. Seeing Colorado Springs, Pikes Peak and the Garden of the Gods on here bought back some very happy memories. Thank you :)

  18. Hello Monica, atemberaubende Bilder zeigst Du uns! Einfach traumhaft schöne Landschaften,
    lG, Birgit

    PS: Nicki und Bonnie sind leider noch nie verreist, schon gar nicht so weit in die USA. Die sind lieber zu Hause und hassen Veränderungen

  19. Wow! Colorado looks amazing. I'm sooo out of touch with nature lately...nice photos...was it hot or cold? It looks like it could be either.