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Tours

Gardens staff, instructors and docents share with you their knowledge of and passion for plants, horticulture and art. We offer a variety of guided tours at our urban site and throughout the Front Range.

 

Tours at York Street:

Guided tours are an insightful view of the Gardens and its collections. These informative conversations also allow you to share your thoughts, ask questions, and uncover lesser-known spaces.

 

Offsite Tours:

Explore the beauty of Colorado! These guided walks take you away from the bustling of the city to learn from and reconnect with nature.

 

Tour Policy:

Payment for pre-scheduled tours is required upon registration.

Payment for private group tours requires a deposit (15% of your total cost) at the moment of reservation and payment of the balance five business days before your tour.

 

Cancellation Policy:

Cancellations more than one business week prior to a tour are subject to a 15% cancellation fee.

Cancellations with less than one business week prior to a tour are non-refundable.

 

2016 Horticulture Home Garden Tour

Visit some of the highlights of Fort Collins’ high-powered horticultural scene. Start the day with a tour of the half-acre Rock Garden and 300-foot-long Hellstrip during peak season at the city’s exciting young public garden, The Gardens on Spring Creek. Dillon Hancock, curator of the Rock Garden, and Lauren Springer Ogden, designer of the Hellstrip, lead tours of their areas. Then visit Springer Ogden’s unique, naturalistic home garden and design laboratory, which has been featured in several books and magazines, but never accessible to the public. Shop her driveway for plant treasures at discounted prices courtesy of Karen Lehrer, co-owner of Laporte Avenue Nursery.

 

GARDEN DESCRIPTIONS:

The Rock Garden at the Gardens on Spring Creek is a half-acre garden showcasing native and adapted alpine plants from multiple alpine regions across the globe. The Rock Garden was designed by Fort Collins residents Kirk Fieseler, co-owner of Laporte Avenue Nursery, and Maddie Weisz, a landscape architect. The Rock Garden opened in 2011 and was built in collaboration with the designers, Gardens staff, City of Fort Collins Forestry Department, local landscaping companies, and volunteers. The rockwork displays locally quarried stone, giving the garden a unique sense of place.

Lauren Springer Ogden’s home garden is a living laboratory for plants and plant matrices, emphasizing prairie, meadow and chaparral-inspired spaces that are a hallmark of Lauren’s regional design work. Low-water plantings dominate, along with year-round appeal and a naturalistic, serene look not based on flower color but rather on plant texture and form. Plant selection and design choices encourage pollinators and wildlife (except deer). The 13-year-old garden started as a blank slate of weedy lawn and three small trees, and has been created entirely by Lauren and her husband Scott Ogden. The couple planted every plant and laid every stone themselves, and Lauren has maintained the garden without outside help.

 

$51, $46 member, includes lunch and transportation from Denver Botanic Gardens

 

Beginning Mushroom Identification

Whether you want to collect mushrooms just to learn about them or to eat them, you will want to be able to identify them.

The two evening lectures will cover how to properly collect and identify mushrooms using their features and environment.

Then, join us for a field trip during which participants will collect mushrooms and practice identifying them. The location of the field trip will be based on Ed's scouting trip the day before to ensure there are mushrooms available to collect.

Students will be notified of the location for the trip the day before the trip.

 

Instructor: Ed Lubow has been hunting mushrooms since the 1970s and has been volunteering in the Sam Mitchel Herbarium of Fungi at Denver Botanic Gardens since 2008.

Skill Level: All levels welcome

Price: $48, $43 member

Special Instructions: Note this class meets two thursdays, and has a four hour field trip as well.

Cherokee Fall Nature Hike - At Cherokee Ranch and Castle

Those lucky enough to have hiked Cherokee Ranch know that there are a wealth of habitats and a rich flora that distract your eyes downwards, even as the vistas of the rugged backbone of the Rockies and distant misty towers of downtown Denver tempt you to look further away. We have experienced toasty winter days that were breathless and surprisingly sunny, as well as blustery days in the summer. One thing is for sure you will never be bored on a Cherokee hike! This year we are starting much earlier for better birding. But the plants will already be awake!

 

In Fall the Sumac and plums are turning color in the gullies, and the oaks are showing some burnished bronze. Fall is a fabulous season on Cherokee Ranch: Senecio, Aster and Goldenrod are everywhere. Blazing star paints purple spikes in the tousled mats of buffalo grass. The Spotted Towhee bird can be overlooked in the spring and summer, is more visible now since many of the spring and summer residents have started their fall migration. Two species of Jays – Scrub and Steller’s can now get the attention they deserve. They can be “missed” in spring and summer as we look at the other species.

 

Tour Guides: Panayoti Kelaidis and Lynn Willcockson

Price: $25, $20 members

Special Instructions: Please wear comfortable shoes and bring your own supply of water for a 2 hour adventure. Plants don't really care how you dress for the field trips but BIRDS DO!! It is easier to see birds if you DO NOT wear white or other very bright colors i.e. yellow, orange or red. Also, bring your binoculars: they can be used for both birds and plants.

 

Directions and details for your hike will be emailed to your email address approximately one week before your hike.

Hike location:

Cherokee Ranch and Castle

6113 N Daniels Park RD

Sedalia, CO 80135

Cherokee Late Summer Nature Hike - At Cherokee Ranch and Castle

Those lucky enough to have hiked Cherokee Ranch know that there are a wealth of habitats and a rich flora that distract your eyes downwards, even as the vistas of the rugged backbone of the Rockies and distant misty towers of downtown Denver tempt you to look further away. We have experienced toasty winter days that were breathless and surprisingly sunny, as well as blustery days in the summer. One thing is for sure, you will never be bored on a Cherokee hike! This year we are starting much earlier for better birding. But the plants will already be awake!

Late summer is an excellent time to observe the bounty of both flora and fauna rolling through the hills of Cherokee Ranch: Aster and Goldenrod are everywhere. Blazing star paints purple spikes in the tousled mats of buffalo grass. Mid- summer bird activity continues at Cherokee as well. It is possible to see three species of hummingbirds as they stop to feed to store up energy on their way to Central America for the winter. The Mountain and Western Bluebirds have finished nesting and the young (juveniles) are seen throughout the Ranch property. There is no better place to soak up the sun than on a late summer plant hike and bird watching adventure at Cherokee Ranch.

 

Tour Guides: Panayoti Kelaidis and Lynn Willcockson

Price: $25, $20 members

Special Instructions: Please wear comfortable shoes and bring your own supply of water for a 2 hour adventure. Plants don't really care how you dress for the field trips but BIRDS DO!! It is easier to see birds if you DO NOT wear white or other very bright colors i.e. yellow, orange or red. Also, bring your binoculars: they can be used for both birds and plants.

Directions and details for your hike will be emailed to your email address approximately one week before your hike.

Hike location:

Cherokee Ranch and Castle

6113 N Daniels Park RD

Sedalia, CO 80135

Cherokee Ranch Hiking - Leave No Trace

Those lucky enough to have hiked Cherokee Ranch know that there are a wealth of habitats and a rich flora that distract your eyes downwards, even as the vistas of the rugged backbone of the Rockies and distant misty towers of downtown Denver tempt you to look further away. We have experienced toasty winter days that were breathless and surprisingly sunny, as well as blustery days in the summer. One thing is for sure, you will never be bored on a Cherokee hike!

 

Join the Denver Botanic Gardens at Cherokee Ranch for a hike and backcountry preparation with our summer hike series.

Leave No Trace

Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics teaches people of all ages how to enjoy the outdoors responsibly and is the most widely accepted outdoor ethics program used on public lands. Join a Leave No Trace Master Educator on an experiential hike to learn how to travel in the backcountry in the most responsible manner, leaving beautiful spaces for exploration for years to come.

 

Instructor: Andrew Leary

Price: $40, $35 members

Special Instructions Course will include a 2 hour hike and a 2 hour LNT Awareness Course. Bring a sack lunch for a picnic with an unbelievable view of the front range.

Hike location:

Cherokee Ranch and Castle

6113 N Daniels Park RD

Sedalia, CO 80135

 

Cherokee Ranch Hiking - Medicinal Plants

Those lucky enough to have hiked Cherokee Ranch know that there are a wealth of habitats and a rich flora that distract your eyes downwards, even as the vistas of the rugged backbone of the Rockies and distant misty towers of downtown Denver tempt you to look further away. We have experienced toasty winter days that were breathless and surprisingly sunny, as well as blustery days in the summer. One thing is for sure, you will never be bored on a Cherokee hike!

Join the Denver Botanic Gardens at Cherokee Ranch for a hike and backcountry preparation with our summer hike series.

Medicinal Plants

Join DBG's horticulturist Blake Burger to wander the beautiful Cherokee Ranch & Castle property to search for medicinal plants. Learn how to indentify these plants, what their healing properties are, and how to use them.

 

Instructor: Blake Burger

Price: $30, $25 members

Special Instructions Course will include a 3 hour hike and a picnic lunch. Bring a sack lunch for a picnic with an unbelievable view of the front range.

Hike location:

Cherokee Ranch and Castle

6113 N Daniels Park RD

Sedalia, CO 80135

 

Cherokee Summer Nature Hike - At Cherokee Ranch and Castle

Those lucky enough to have hiked Cherokee Ranch know that there are a wealth of habitats and a rich flora that distract your eyes downwards, even as the vistas of the rugged backbone of the Rockies and distant misty towers of downtown Denver tempt you to look further away. We have experienced toasty winter days that were breathless and surprisingly sunny, as well as blustery days in the summer. One thing is for sure—you will never be bored on a Cherokee hike! This year we are starting much earlier—for better birding. But the plants will already be awake!

At the beginning of Summer the grasses have greened up, although there may still be snow on the higher peaks, when we walk through meadows full of the bounty of early summer this is the peak season for many of the loveliest wildflowers; including One-sided Penstemon (Penstemon virgatus), lupines and Monument plant. It is also peak season for the Broad-tailed Hummingbirds that have made their way back from Mexico and Central America to nest at Cherokee. We will learn how to identify the male Broad-tailed Hummingbird just by hearing it fly as it darts between scarlet gilia trumpets. Two species of bluebirds and swallows will be active at this time as well as the tiny (4 ½ in) Blue-gray Gnatcatcher that has returned from its winter grounds as far away as Central America to nest at Cherokee. Summer is prime time for viewing the plant and bird life at Cherokee, folks!

 

Tour Guides: Panayoti Kelaidis and Lynn Willcockson

Price: $25, $20 members

Special Instructions: Please wear comfortable shoes and bring your own supply of water for a 2 hour adventure. Plants don't really care how you dress for the field trips but BIRDS DO!! It is easier to see birds if you DO NOT wear white or other very bright colors i.e. yellow, orange or red. Also, bring your binoculars: they can be used for both birds and plants.

Directions and details for your hike will be emailed to your email address approximately one week before your hike.

Hike location:

Cherokee Ranch and Castle

6113 N Daniels Park RD

Sedalia, CO 80135

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cherokee Winter Nature Tour - At Cherokee Ranch and Castle

Those lucky enough to have hiked Cherokee Ranch know that there are a wealth of habitats and a rich flora that distract your eyes downwards, even as the vistas of the rugged backbone of the Rockies and distant misty towers of downtown Denver tempt you to look further away. We have experienced toasty winter days that were breathless and surprisingly sunny, as well as blustery days in the summer. One thing is for sure—you will never be bored on a Cherokee hike! This year we are starting much earlier—for better birding. But the plants will already be awake!

 

Whoever says winter is the “dormant” season? Wise naturalists know that nature does not sleep, you can now SEE those birds flitting in the bare branches. Buds are set on everything, and there is much more than just bark, branches and berries to liven a walk. You can see two species of Chickadees and Nuthatches that never stop in their search for food and there are a few last lingering hints of flowers. You will be surprised at how many evergreens there really are; not just pines and junipers and Oregon Grape, but many of our native shrubs and forbs keep living foliage and rosettes through the winter: they are still hard at work chlorophyll pumping! You might also be surprised to know that some Dark-eyed Juncos fly all the way from the Pacific Northwest and even Canada to winter at Cherokee. Other winter species include Flicker, Woodpeckers and a resident Red-tailed Hawk. What better time and place than Cherokee Ranch in the bright, winter light.

 

 

$20 member, $25 non-member.

 

Tour Guides: Panayoti Kelaidis and Lynn Willcockson

 

 

 

* Plants don’t really care how you dress for the field trips but BIRDS DO!! It is easier to see birds if you DO NOT wear white or other very bright colors –i.e. yellow, orange or red. Also, bring your binoculars: they can be used for both birds and plants

* Please wear comfortable shoes and bring your own supply of water for a 2 hour adventure

*Directions and details for your hike will be emailed to your email address approximately one week before your hike

 

 

Curator Conversations: Stories in Sculpture

Stroll through the Gardens with a curator to hear a behind-the-scenes perspective to uncover connections and narratives within the Stories in Sculpture: Selections from the Walker Art Center Collection exhibition. Enjoy this unique experience to view the exhibition with the insight of a curator. This one-hour tour deepens understanding of the sculptures, the artists and the development of the exhibit.

Stories in Sculpture: Selections from the Walker Art Center Collection is organized by the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis.

 

Price: $17, $10 member

 

Special instructions: Tours are outdoors; dress accordingly for the weather. Water, sunscreen and sunglasses are recommended. Please bring booking confirmation. Meet guide in the lobby of the Boettcher Memorial Center after entering through the Gardens main entrance.

 

Notes: Prices include admission to the Gardens. Tours with low registration are subject to cancellation.

Denver Urban Homestead Tour

Interested in sustainable home practices, self-sufficiency, and lifelong learning? Then join us for this self-guided tour of local urban homesteads. See food production, chickenkeeping, beekeeping, goatkeeping, natural building, composting, sustainable design, and more applied in all kinds of spaces and neighborhoods.

 

This self-guided tour is open house style: tour hosts are opening up their homesteads between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. You receive a map with marked tour stops and descriptions of each homestead. You decide where you want to go, how many homesteads you want to visit, and how long you want to spend at each stop. Mapping out your route beforehand or having a GPS is recommended.

After the tour, join us at the Jefferson Park Farm & Flea to dive deeper into homesteading knowledge, socialize with other homesteaders, and enjoy delicious food from food trucks.

 

Price: $5 general public

Special Instructions: This tour is OFFSITE at various locations all over the Denver metro area. A Tour Guide and Map will be emailed one week prior to the tour date. Please make sure your email address is correctly entered when you register.

Register online and receive an emailed PDF map of tour hosts and descriptions one week prior to event.

 

Community Partner: Jefferson Park Farm & Flea

http://jpfleamarket.com

Garden Guru Tour

Immerse yourself in the Gardens with a horticulturist as your guide. Gain insight into living museum collections and walk away with Colorado gardening tips from an expert.

 

June's tour will focus on Le Potager, our kitchen garden.

July's tour will focus on the use of our living collections.

August's tour will focus on our aquatic plant collection.

 

Price: $17, $10 member

 

Special instructions: Tours can be both indoors and outdoors; dress accordingly for the weather. Water, sunscreen and sunglasses are recommended. Please bring booking confirmation. Meet guide in the lobby of the Boettcher Memorial Center after entering through the Gardens main entrance. Tours are one-hour long.

 

Notes: Prices include admission to the Gardens. Tours with low registration are subject to cancellation. These tours are not available for private parties.

Heirloom Gardening

 

* This class takes place at Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield, C-470 and Wadsworth *

 

Learn about plants that were popular during the late 1800’s to early 1900’s and how to incorporate them into modern landscapes. Whether you want to redesign your landscape to match your historical property or just want to learn about the old varieties your grandmother planted in her garden, you will leave the class excited with new ideas for old plants. Taught by one of our Chatfield horticulturists who designs and maintains the homestead garden at Hildebrand. Lecutre-style class with slide show, followed by a one hour tour of gardens. Open to all skill levels.

 

Instructor: Jen Trunce, DBG Chatfield Farms Horticulturist

 

Price: $29, $24 member price

 

Special Instructions: There is a substantial amount of walking for the tour portion of the class, which takes place outdoors. Please dress according to the weather, wear comfortable shoes and bring water and sunscreen!

 

Insects at York Street

Enjoy a tour of the gardens through the lens of entomology, focusing on the ecology and diversity of urban pollinators and other insects. Prepare to take part in games, story-telling, and possible butterfly chasing.

 

Instructor: Rick Levy manages the Gardens Research and Conservation Department’s databases, as well as the insect collection. He has a master’s degree in Museum Sciences from the University of Colorado where he spent summers catching grasshoppers in the mountains and winters dissecting their reproductive organs in the lab.

Ages: Geared toward adults 21 and older, interactive class

Price: $26, $22 members

Special Instructions: Meet in the Lobby Court

Lavender Garden Tour

 

* This class takes place at Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield, C-470 and Wadsworth *

Take a stroll through the new Lavender Garden at Chatfield Farms and learn about the different species and varieties that grow well in the Rocky Mountain Region. You will be introduced to different growing methods including growing lavender as a garden perennial, container plant, and agricultural crop. Several other garden features within the Lavender Garden will also be explained, to include the Labyrinth, Rock Garden, Pollinator Perennial Beds and Herb Garden. The tour is led by Angie Jewett, Horticulturist and primary lavender grower on the farm.

 

Instructor: Angie Jewett, DBG Chatfield Farms Horticulturist

 

Price: $15, $12 member price

 

Special Instructions: The tour is all outdoors; please dress accordingly for weather and bring water and sunscreen!

Midsummer Nights Tour

In Elizabethan times in England, midsummer’s eve (also known as the summer solstice) was a night to revel. This tour celebrates the long days of summer by focusing on the edible, medicinal and mischievous properties of the plants that played important roles in Shakespeare's works. Guided by quotes from his plays, expect to hear about the life and times of Elizabethan England and of plants such as love-in-idleness, tickle my fancy, gillyvor and heartsease. This is a 75-minute docent-led tour.

 

Price: $14, $9 student, $7 member

 

Special instructions: Tours are outdoors; dress accordingly for the weather. Water, sunscreen and sunglasses are recommended. Please bring booking confirmation. Meet guide in the lobby of the Boettcher Memorial Center after entering through the Gardens main entrance.

 

Notes: Prices include admission to the Gardens. Tours with low registration are subject to cancellation.

Mount Goliath Guided Wildflower Hike

Discover the life cycles and lore of the alpine tundra and the intense beauty of a natural garden that lasts only 40 frost-free days. This is a trail of contrasts--awesome Rocky Mountain vistas of the Continental Divide peaks, delicate floral treasures, wind-sculpted, ancient bristlecone pines, cold summit winds and gentle summer breezes. The path winds through the exquisite blooms of the alpine tundra, talus slopes and subalpine meadows providing a delightful and educational tour in one of Colorado's most beautiful natural areas.

Mount Goliath docents lead the slow-paced hike down the stunning M. Walter Pesman Trail, a moderately difficult 1.5 mile downhill trek from 12,153 ft. to 11,540 ft.

 

Ages: 10 years old and up

 

Price: Free

Donations to the Gardens are accepted. Just choose the $10 option below.

 

Special instructions:

Although guided hikes are free of charge, you must pay the recreation area fee to the U.S. Forest Service at the Mount Evans Fee Station. A Denver Botanic Gardens membership does not allow free access to the Mount Evans Recreation Area.

Please come prepared for mountain weather and trail terrain (shoes for hiking, coats, hats, sunscreen, etc.).

 

Notes:

Tours with less than 10 participants are subject to cancellation.

For more information, contact us at tours@botanicgardens.org

The Gardens does not manage the Mount Goliath recreational area; questions not directly related to wildflower hikes should be directed to the Clear Creek Ranger District in Idaho Springs.

Native Bee Citizen Science Tour

With over 4000 species of native bees in the US, and over 1000 in Colorado, it is nearly impossible for scientists to have a large-scale understanding of the diversity and distribution of these important pollinators, especially on private land. Citizen Science projects have been around for centuries and are beginning to gain attention for their accuracy and importance. Today, many crowd sourcing projects exist that use volunteers to collect data about their surrounding environment in order to substantially increase the scientific knowledge base.

 

In this tour, learn how to identify native bees in the gardens based on the Denver Pollinator Project, a citizen science project that collected data on bee diversity in community gardens in Denver, and how to be a part of the many citizen science projects that exist today!

 

**This tour will meet in the lobby court.

 

$12, $7 members

 

Seasonal Discoveries Tour

No matter the time of year, botanical treasures await your discovery with these guided tours of gardens at their seasonal peaks. Experience the Gardens’ landscape at its best, whether through the colorful bounty of summer, the crackling beauty of fall or the marvelous contrasts of winter.

 

Price: $14, $9 student, $7 member

 

Special instructions: Tours are outdoors; dress accordingly for the weather. Water, sunscreen and sunglasses are recommended. Please bring booking confirmation. Meet guide in the lobby of the Boettcher Memorial Center after entering through the Gardens main entrance.

 

Notes: Prices include admission to the Gardens. Tours with low registration are subject to cancellation.

 

Selecting and Planting Trees Along the Front Range

 

* This class takes place at Denver Botanic Gardens' Chatfield Farms at C-470 and Wadsworth *

Long-term success for trees along the Front Range is highly dependent on species selection and proper planting procedures. This class will identify trees that perform well in our environment and help diversify the urban forest. Secondly, it will aim to promote proper nursery selection and planting procedures to ensure long-term success.

Instructor: Erik Geyer, DBG Chatfield Farms Horticulturist

Price: $29, $24 member price

Special Instructions: Class will start indoors, and move outdoors for a walking tour; please dress according to weather and bring water and sunscreen!

About the instructor: Erik Joined Denver Botanic Gardens Chatfield Farms as a horticulturist in 2015. He previously worked in forestry in the Southern Denver area as well as Northern New Mexico. Aside from being an avid fly-fisherman, he enjoys the challenge of growing trees along the front range of the Rocky Mountains.

Stories in Sculpture: Selections from the Walker Art Center Collection

Explore 20th century sculptures from the Walker Art Center collection, including works by Henry Moore, Louise Nevelson and Isamu Noguchi, with a knowledgeable docent as your guide. Whether overtly figurative or more abstract, each sculpture has its own story to tell. Discover their stories, contemplate their symbolism and learn about the artists that created them. This is a one-hour tour led by experienced docents.

Stories in Sculpture: Selections from the Walker Art Center Collection is organized by the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis.

 

Price: $14, $9 student, $7 member

 

Special instructions: Tours are outdoors; dress accordingly for the weather. Water, sunscreen and sunglasses are recommended. Please bring booking confirmation. Meet guide in the lobby of the Boettcher Memorial Center after entering through the Gardens main entrance.

 

Notes: Prices include admission to the Gardens. Tours with low registration are subject to cancellation.

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