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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.

 

2014 Horticulture Home Garden Tour

Have you ever attended a class or lecture, or read an article or blog post from one of our top Horticulturists and wondered what their home garden looks like? Well now is your chance to find out with a behind-the-scenes tour! Three of our most experienced and popular members of our Horticulture staff, Panayoti Kelaidis, Mike Kintgen, and Dan Johnson, will open up their gardens for this special opportunity.

 

Home Garden of Panayoti Kelaidis

Many thousands of plants are combined for four season interest in this Plant Collector’s garden. The Western half of the property is planted with native trees, shrubs and many cacti and western Wildflowers - almost eliminating watering needs. The Eastern half includes a large vegetable garden, perennial borders with many unusual perennials and bulbs, and a woodland garden that encircles the alpine garden on the east side of the house. Late May is when many of the Daphnes and Rhododendrons bloom, along with a host of classic alpine plants like saxifrages, dianthus and penstemons. There are several hundred containers located everywhere in this garden, many filled with annuals that are beginning their show as well…

By matching plants to microclimate, and combining plants of similar growth rate, we are able to create plantings that persist over time and need less maintenance than one might suspect with such biodiversity!

 

Home Garden of Mike Kintgen

Mike Kintgen’s garden started in 2009 with a bare canvas of dead bluegrass and a few overgrown junipers in the front yard. The dandelions, bluegrass, and junipers were removed to create a series of short berms in front of the house that made way for a Legacy buffalo grass lawn planted with spring and autumn flowering bulbs. The berms showcase a wide array of steppe and rock garden plants from around the world that are tolerant to Colorado’s hot dry summers and cold winters. The back yard is a mix of more traditional garden elements, a large propagation area, a small vegetable garden, and various rocks gardens.. There is also a large collection of alpine plants in troughs and containers filled with annuals for season long interest.

The overarching mission of the garden is to showcase how xeriscapes and rock gardens can be interesting, beautiful and more sustainable than traditional landscapes.

 

Home Garden of Dan Johnson

This average city lot supports an eclectic garden that is anything but average, the result of a driven collector with a creative proclivity. Uncommon plants greet the visitor even at the street, where a warm terracotta wall frames the stucco home and small front gardens. The gardens slope downwards behind the home, with red flagstone paths and boulders creating distinct spaces. The theme throughout is one of pushing the envelope for Colorado gardening. Deliberate use of microclimates and selective irrigation seem to make anything possible. Magnolias, wisteria, sheltered fuchsias and palms, Japanese maples and bamboo seem unlikely in their proximity to cacti, penstemon, agaves and yuccas. Collections made in Spain, South Africa and Pakistan mingle with more traditional fare. Sculptural elements and found objects enhance the sense of surprise. A small stream leads through the contours of the gardens to a koi pond with lotus and waterlilies. Photographers delight in the detail and unusual vignettes. Recovering from a brutal winter, a few specimens may be less than prime, but nevertheless, this garden still surprises.

 

This Tour will meet at Denver Botanic Gardens at York Street at 8:30 a.m. and return to Denver Botanic Gardens at York Streeet at 12:30 p.m. A chartered bus will escort all participants, the cost of the bus is included in the price of the tour. No self guided tours available.

 

$46 members, $51 non-members, includes bus transportation

 

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.

 

 

$20 member, $25 non-member.

 

Tour Guides: Panayoti Kelaidis and Lynn Willcockson

 

* 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

 

Hike location -

Cherokee Ranch and Castle

6113 N Daniels Park RD

Sedalia, CO 80135

 

* 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

 

 

 

 

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 sureùou will never be bored on a Cherokee hike! This year we are starting much earlieræor 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

 

$20 member, $25 non-member.

 

* Plants don´ 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 ©.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

 

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

 

Cherokee Spring 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!

 

Spring comes gently on the Ranch: pasque flowers and easter daisies greet us as well as penstemons and numerous members of the pea family. What a great way to launch the new season than to amble through the Gambel Oaks seeking out early flowers and experiencing Spring Migration of several species of birds. The always spectacular Western Tanager is stopping off on its way from wintering in Mexico to its nesting area higher in the Colorado Mtns. You might see a Swainsons Hawk which has wintered in Argentina YES, ARGENTINA and makes the trip every spring to nest in this area. Nesting birds will be singing to attract a mate and establish a breeding territory. It is a great time to be outdoors.

Tour Guides: Mike Kintgen and Lynn Willcockson

 

 

$20 member, $25 non-member.

 

* 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

 

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!

 

 

$20 member, $25 non-member.

 

Tour Guides: Panayoti Kelaidis and Lynn Willcockson

 

 

 

Hike location -

Cherokee Ranch and Castle

6113 N Daniels Park RD

Sedalia, CO 80135

 

* 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

 

 

 

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

 

 

Chihuly Exhibition Tour

 

Friday - Sunday

Jun. 14 - Sept. 28: 8:30 a.m. & 6 p.m.

Sept. 29 - Nov. 30: 9 a.m. & 3 p.m.

 

Enjoy a tour featuring the impressive site-specific artworks by Dale Chihuly. The bold and dramatic installations transform the Gardens. Experienced docents lead you on an hour-long guided walk to learn more about the artist and his sculpture.

 

Pricing:

- Member: $10

- Non-member: $17

- Student: $14

 

Remarks:

- Tours are outdoors; dress accordingly for the weather

- We recommend that you bring a bottle of water, sunglasses and sunscreen

- Please bring your booking confirmation. This will expedite check-in

- Access to the Gardens on the day of your tour will be through the Piñon Gate located directly north of the Bonfils-Stanton Visitor Center (Gardens main entrance).

 

Image Credit: Dale Chihuly, Blue and Purple Boat (detail), 2006. New York Botanical Garden, The Bronx, New York.

 

Ghosts in the Gardens

 

Denver Botanic Gardens dares you to join us after dark! At our annual Ghosts in the Gardens Tours, our guides will lead you through one of three separate ghost tours of your choosing. Each tour guide will tell haunting stories of the Gardens’ one hundred years of history and illustrate points of interest inside and outside what used to be called “The Boneyard”. Each tour will be different and subjects will include actual staff ghost stories, real overnight security staff ghost encounters, and intriguing history (including access to the Waring House Mansion that is not open to the public). So conjure your courage and capture your fear as you walk our dark paths after hours and dare the night, here at Denver Botanic Gardens' Ghosts in the Gardens Tours.

 

Tour guides: Kyle Burnett, Jonathan Knox, Mike Kedziora, and Dan Morrey

 

Pricing

Members: $23

Non-members: $27

 

Notes:

• Be prepared for a lot of walking outdoors and indoors.

• Dress accordingly for the weather.

• Children 12-years old and older are welcomed. This tour is not recommended for younger children.

• Children are the responsibility of their parents at all times.

• Part of the tour (the Waring House) is not wheelchair accessible.

 

 

 

 

 

High Altitude Garden Tour - Fall

Come cool off in the mountains at the second high-altitude garden tour featured this year at Penn and Cord Parmenter’s ranch in the beautiful Wet Mountains.

 

This is the “Vegetable Walk of Fame” – a tour designed specifically to see the gardens bursting with late summer harvest. See corn in succession, pumpkins on the vine, cool weather veggies, herbs, flowers and lots and lots of tomatoes. There will be seed saving in progress, which is sure to inspire some taste-testing as well and even a visit to Cord’s blacksmith shop.

 

Seeing is believing, and once you’ve seen Penn and Cord's mountain gardens loaded with food, you will want to go right home and start growing vegetables!

 

Penn’s Forest Garden is in the trees on a decomposed granite mountain and has a collection of over 45 raised beds – built with dry-stack rock or wood.

 

Cord’s Bio-Intensive Garden is in the open and down the mountain in the rich bottomland soil, featuring 28 large bio-intensive beds, a fleet of covers and a few well-placed hail guards.

 

This walking, talking, educational tour includes demonstrations, examples and two totally sustainable passive solar greenhouses. The setting is gorgeous; bring your camera, a sack lunch, water, the usual stuff …

 

$25 members, $30 non-members

 

Tour Location:

12746 CR 255

Westcliffe, CO 81252

North of Westcliffe

South Central Colorado

Wet Mountains

Participants meet at the tour site ready to start at 12 p.m.

 

Come prepared for 8,140 ft. in the ‘fall’. See you on the mountain!

 

High Altitude Garden Tour - Spring

Do you want to learn how to grow food in the mountains?

 

Come see for yourself and spend the day in the beautiful Wet Mountains touring Penn and Cord Parmenter’s High Altitude Gardens and Greenhouses. The gardens feature Food, Herbs and Flowers, grown in a multitude of ways. Early plantings in the open and under cover will be under way as well as early perennial food.

 

We will discuss shade growing veggies, fruit, composting, soil building, season extenders and more.

 

Penn’s Forest Garden is in the trees on a decomposed granite mountain and has a collection of over 45 raised beds – built with dry-stack rock or wood. Cord’s Bio-Intensive Garden is in the open and down the mountain in the rich bottomland soil, featuring 20 bio-intensive beds, a fleet of covers and a few well-placed hail guards.

 

This walking, talking, educational tour includes demonstrations, examples and two totally sustainable passive solar greenhouses.

 

The setting is gorgeous, bring your camera, a sack lunch, water, the usual stuff…

Come prepared for 8,000 ft. in the spring.

See you on the mountain!

 

$25 member, $30 non-member

 

Participants my carpool from the Denver area and meet at the Botanic Gardens at 8 am at the Visitors Center or you may meet at the site at 12 pm for the tour. Denver Botanic

Gardens will not be organizing any carpool opportunity.

 

 

Tour Location:

12746 CR 255

Westcliffe, Co 81252

 

 

North of Westcliffe

South Central Colorado

Wet Mountains

8,140 ft. elevation

 

Mount Goliath Tour

 

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 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 tour down the stunning M. Walter Pesman Trail – -a moderately difficult, 1.5 mile downhill trek from 12,153 ft. to 11,540 ft.

 

Important Remarks:

- Limited to 24 participants

- Tours are free of charge. However, YOU MUST PAY the amenity fee to the U.S. Forest Services at the Mount Evans Fee Station

- Be aware: this is a downhill trek on a moderately difficult trail that starts at 12,100 ft. Before registering, please ensure that you are physically fit and medically able to participate in vigorous physical activity at high altitude conditions.

- Donations to the Gardens for Mount Goliath tours are accepted and you can do so by choosing to register with the $10 option below.

- Tours are open to adults and children 10 years old and up.

- A Denver Botanic Gardens membership does not allow free access to the Mount Evans Recreation Area. Visitors to Mount Goliath and Mount Evans need to pay the amenity fee.

- Tours with less than 10 participants are subject to cancellation.

- Mount Goliath tours are not available as private tours

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

 

Please note - the Gardens does not manage the Mount Goliath recreational area, and questions not directly related to tours should be directed to the Clear Creek Ranger District in Idaho Springs.

 

Tour - Edibles in the Gardens

 

Join Ebi Kondo, curator of the Japanese Garden at Denver Botanic Gardens, for a pre-lecture tour of the popular Le Potager Garden – touring this collection of edibles will be sure to be inspiring both admiration and envy. This European inspired formal kitchen garden is a wonderful example of balancing aesthetics and functionality.

 

$12, $10 members

 

Tour - Fine Foliage at the Gardens

 

Join staff horticulturist John Murgel for a pre-lecture tour that will lead you around the Gardens to see our finest displays of foliage and container arrangements in various collections.

 

$12, $10 members

 

Tour - Succulents, Natives, and Water-Wise Plants in the Gardens

 

Join Associate Director of Horticulture and Curator of Native Plants, Dan Johnson, on a pre-lecture tour through some of the Gardens' most popular collections featuring plants that thrive in our Colorado climate including succulents, natives and rock garden varieties.

 

$12, $10 member

 

Tour - Winter Harvests and Gardens

 

 

Senior Horticulturist Angie Andrade Foster will lead a pre-lecture tour around the Gardens to see how we creatively provide interest in our collections through the slower and colder months.

 

$12, $10 members

 

 

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