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Bonfils Stanton Series

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Cancellation Policy: Cancellations more than one week prior to a class are subject to a 15% cancellation fee. Cancellations with less than one weeks notice are non-refundable; please consider your payment a donation to the Gardens.

Keynote Talk & Panel - Where Does Your Water Come From?

Have you ever wondered where your water comes from? Living in Denver can pose many questions about the source of drinking water, the quality, the rules and the stakeholders. For example, did you know that 50% of the water used in Denver comes from the Colorado River on the Western Slope? A presentation by Tom Cech from the One World One Water Center at MSU Denver is followed by a panel discussion with water experts from the Denver area. A Q&A session concludes the event.

Price: $20, $15 member

Keynote Speaker:Tom Cech was born and raised on a farm near Clarkson, Nebraska, graduated from Kearney State College with a bachelor of science in math education and received a master’s degree in community and regional planning from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. He was executive director of the Central Colorado Water Conservancy District in Greeley, taught undergraduate and graduate level water resources courses at the University of Northern Colorado and Colorado State University, and is now the director of the One World One Water (OWOW) Center for Urban Water Education and Stewardship at Metropolitan State University of Denver. Cech wrote “Principles of Water Resources: History, Development, Management and Policy,” “Introduction to Water Resources and Environmental Issues,” (co-author Dr. Karrie Pennington) and “Colorado Water Law for Non-Lawyers,” (co-author P. Andrew Jones). He has also completed histories of the Colorado Water Conservation Board and the Colorado State Engineer’s Office with Bill McDonald and Dick Stenzel.

Lecture - The Summer-Dry Garden

Successful and sustainable gardens must conform to natural precipitation cycles and the plants we use should not be drought tolerant, but climate tolerant. In a summer-dry climate, long summers with no rain is not drought, it is normal. This photo-driven lecture illustrates gardens in dry climate can be beautiful when good plant choices are combined with simple design techniques.


Saxon Holt

Saxon Holt is a professional garden photographer and has photographed for 25 books including “Hardy Succulents” by Gwen Kelaidis and “The American Meadow Garden” by John Greenlee. His website, PhotoBotanic.com, is dedicated to his garden photography and self-publishing projects. He is a Fellow of the Garden Writers Association who awarded his e-book, “Good Garden Photography” the best overall garden book of the year in 2015.


6 p.m. Social hour and tasting hosted by Slow Food Denver (included in price)

6:30 p.m. Program and lecture

8:00 p.m. Book signing by author

All lecture programs: $15 member, $20 non-member. Space is limited so register early!

Slow Food Members are welcome to register for the discounted member price of $15, please click on reciprocal member price, no identification required.


“Water, water, water...There is no shortage of water in the desert but exactly the right amount, a perfect ratio of water to rock, water to sand, insuring that wide free open, generous spacing among plants and animals, homes and towns and cities, which makes the arid West so different from any other part of the nation. There is no lack of water here unless you try to establish a city where no city should be.” ? Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness

With the support of the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation and in line with the Gardens’ mission of connecting people with plants, we are excited to bring you a series designed to explore water as it relates to our ability to thrive in Colorado’s dry environment.

Throughout the 2017 series, we explore the importance of water through the lens of art, home gardening, conservation and home ownership. The lecture series includes topics such as enhancing the abundance of water throughout the world, rock gardening and water quality of the Colorado River through underwater photography.

A parallel series of intimate workshops, tours and trips further the exploration. Workshops include water-harvesting, aquaponics, photogram water camera-less photography, insect home building and many other hands-on opportunities. The Gardens offers day-long tours of Habitat Hero Gardens, gardens that provides resources and habitat for insects. A self-guided water wise home garden tour allows participants to explore ways in which their fellow Denverites use low water plants and water conservation techniques. Further your water experience by joining the Gardens on multi-day trips, including a canoe trip down the Gunnison River alongside a wetland ecologist and a photography trip to view the stunning water features around Vail.



Tour - DBG Water-wise Gardens

Join Dan Johnson, Curator and Associate Director of Horticulture, on a tour throughout the Gardens’ waterwise gardens and talks about specific plants and gardening techniques used to conserve water.


Price: $12, $10

Workshop - Grow Year-Round with Aquaponics

This full day workshop teaches how to grow organic vegetables and fish year-round! The workshop includes a tour of an aquaponics farm and several home scale solutions. Learn about the benefits of aquaponics including: fish and plant selection and health, system cycling, bacteria and the nitrification cycle, system design ratios, different system designs (flood and drain, deep water culture and vertical systems), growbed styles, media, pumps, aerators, plumbing fittings, system management and optimization.

Price: $53, $49 member

Instructor: Avery Ellis is an ecological designer and aquaponics specialist. He has a master’s degree in ecological design, a bachelor’s in biology and is a certified permaculture designer and teacher. He regularly collaborates with The Aquaponics Source in system design and installation.

Special Instructions: This is a day long course with a break for lunch - lunch is NOT provided. There is a café at the gardens and you are welcome to bring a sack lunch. The morning portion of class will be a lecture with discussion and interactive drawings; the afternoon will be a tour of the GrowHaus with some hands-on experience with systems. Transportation from the gardens is NOT provided.


Workshop - Succulent Living Frame

Learn how to design, build and plant a living succulent frame using gorgeous fresh succulents. These wonderful water-wise plants with a diversity of shapes and textures can set your imagination on fire! Learn about succulent care, propagation techniques, succulent varieties and principles of design. Complete playful and reflective writing activities, coloring and wordplay. Students are asked to bring an empty 8x10 frame. Attendees experience the calming, restorative benefits of succulent design and take home their living frame to enjoy year-round.

Price: $85, $80 member

Instructor: Christine Bayles Kortsch, Ph.D. is a homebody with a gypsy soul. She is the author of Dress Culture in Late Victorian Women’s Fiction, as well as essays on urban homesteading and wilderness camping. You may have read her essay on backyard chickens in 5280 Magazine last summer! Christine teaches literature and writing at the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design and the University of Baltimore. She is a gentle and enthusiastic teacher with a deep passion for gathering people together and inspiring them to chase the beauty and goodness in their everyday lives. Read more about Christine and her Ink & Stem Workshops at cbkortsch.com.

Special Instructions: Each student must bring one 8x10in wood frame with glass removed; the back opening of the frame must be 8x10in. Students can feel free to paint their frame ahead of time. Thrift stores are a great place to find an empty frame!

Workshop - The Photo Florilegium at Chatfield Farms

Photography offers a beautiful realism that brings scientific authority to the plant portrait. The observant photographer can reveal details of that beauty and a collected series of plant portraits becomes a florilegium. Saxon Holt teaches how to see the details of plants and techniques for separating them from the landscape to better communicate unique characteristics. The workshop begins with a tour of the landscape, looking for plants that capture our imagination. A lecture follows about photo florilegium techniques. After lunch, each student works with one plant to create a series of photos that describe it and perhaps be the beginning of The Chatfield Farms Photo Florilegium.


The workshop is intended for experienced photographers with a dslr cameras, please bring a tripod and macro lens.


Saxon Holt

Saxon Holt is a professional garden photographer and has photographed for 25 books including “Hardy Succulents” by Gwen Kelaidis and “The American Meadow Garden” by John Greenlee. His website, PhotoBotanic.com, is dedicated to his garden photography and self-publishing projects. He is a Fellow of the Garden Writers Association who awarded his e-book, “Good Garden Photography” the best overall garden book of the year in 2015.


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