Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Garden Wish List

It looks like a beautiful park from the street, College Avenue. Rainbows of colors catch the fall sun laid out in need arches. Rows upon rows of beautiful annuals have been planted to test their suitably and hardiness in zone 5, Northern Colorado. The test garden open to the public in the heart of Ft. Collins and amid the hustle of a busy city, invites the serious gardener, the rollerblader, the uni-cycler (a father and son enjoying a nice ride on the path through the garden), the young married couple out walking the baby. On our way to a small traveling circus where we would meet the little granddaughters, we decided to stop by the test garden kept by Colorado State University. I was really quite annoyed with myself because I had forgotten to charge the Cannon 35 mm and had to take the little point and shoot Olympus, only to find that its battery was in the red (nearly dead) zone. None the less, join me in a walk through the garden.

 Crazy for pink in the garden, I loved this Verbena. As the marker indicates, it is new. Each specimen is labeled with the nursery that provided the seeds. I'll be looking for Lanai Twister Pink next spring at my favorite garden centers.


Just look at those luscious potato vines. Many of the annuals grown in pots are watered through a simple drip system.

 An entire plot dedicated to echinacea, one my garden favorites. Yellow, magenta, pink, orange, white, a full pallet of echinacea color.

 This orange echinacea is spectacular, another one that I will be searching for.

 A purple sea of lantana.

We had to question these impatiens growing in full sun.  Sun tolerant impatiens. Ever heard of such a thing? I love impatiens, but have resisted them because they require full shade and a lot of attention.They were healthy and beautiful.

And then there are ornamental peppers, some--though the photo doesn't do them justice--the size red bell peppers. As for me, I'd rather plant the real thing that I can put in a salad or a salsa.

 I really like this grass. I imagined it planted around the water garden that we will be installing next summer.

The gazebo makes this test garden appear more like a park than a carefully conducted science project. In the  background across the street, the test garden perennials grow in front yard of the School of Arts, the old Ft. Collins high school newly renovated to house the university's artists and performers learning their craft. CSU is probably best known for its of School Veterinary Science, especially for its equine work. In addition, the of School of Agriculture conducts important research on not only ornamental gardening, but for agriculture crops as well, including both corn and wheat. With an enrollment that averages 25,000 students, CSU is a popular choice for Colorado students as well as for students from around the globe.

How do you like this clematis? It appears to be more of a low growing ground cover instead of a climbing vine. I bet that I could find a place for this beauty in the Garden Spot.

In addition to dozens of rows of full sun-loving annuals, there is a lovely shade garden full of impatiens, begonias, and other shade loving plants.

The beautiful building in the distance is one of the several fraternity houses in the area.

A giant soup can? Why of course, we are after all on a university campus.  While the building serves the arts, perennials have replaced the grass. My camera's battery died.

We had a lovely time walking the paths and choosing what we would like to plant next spring. We came to the garden a bit late in the season, so some of the specimens had already died away. In early spring pansies take over the garden. You can read about the pansy research and the rest of the test garden research (and better pictures) Annual Flower Trial Garden.

While not a beautiful botanical garden that many cities cultivate and nurture, nor is it a formal garden, the CSU's Flower Trial Garden is perfect for a wonderful afternoon walk with a wish list in hand.


  1. There is lovely to see all the colours in the flowers and shrubs. What a great idea to have such an open trial garden, there is one in RHS Wisley but you have to be a member or pay to visit!! Thank you for sharing and glad the camera lasted quite a while!!

    Jackie in Surrey, UK

  2. I definitely would pick the coneflowers :))

  3. What a gorgeous garden. Will the plants last all winter? I thought it got really cold there??

  4. What a fabulous place!
    I planted pinky red echinacea in our garden this summer and i am hoping they will come back thick and blend together next year,i just love them.
    I would love to get hold of some of that pink verbena too it is so pretty,i planted the purple one this summer and it is huge,i could never grow it inland very well but it loves the coast,
    I think you should put Niki's shop on your to do list,its gorgeous isn't it.
    Have a lovely weekend Ann x

  5. Interesting! You're a true gardener. I think I'm just a flower lady.

  6. I think that reddish-orange coneflower variety is actually called 'Tomato Soup'! Loved the tour, Ann- thank you. We still have bulbs to plant here but missed the annual fall sale at the local arboretum- bummer!

  7. Ann the Cone flowers are one of my favorites too.I enjoyed the tour. Garden touring is so much fun and inspirational. The first thing my sister did was to take me to a garden, "Hatcher's Garden which is a park not far from where I'm staying.

    I did a post on it too.. I'm glad to have the opportunity to keep everyone updated. And again, I enjoyed your post.

  8. I love the orange ecky. Having a late summer color garden would be one of my dreams.

    Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

  9. This is the first time I'm seeing purple lantana. I see you managed to capture a bee.

    Thank you for your caption contribution. Appreciate that you elaborated too. A busy day ahead for me...