[Montrose, Colo.| March 2020 | By LaBree Shide]
After a long winter’s nap, the Montrose Botanic Gardens awaits the spring emergence of three new demonstration gardens which were planted last summer.
Waves of Grass
Five terraces have been created to house a carefully selected variety of grasses planted with primarily drought-tolerant natives and a few ornamentals with very showy blades and seed heads (plumes). We have a generous amount of wind on this side of the mountains, so the grasses display lovely and striking movement. The terraces are watered with a controlled-output drip system sometimes referred to as “Netafim,” a water-saving type of irrigation. Visitors are welcome to walk between the rows along gravel pathways.
Amongst the grasses are two forbs, Dotted Blazing Star and Butterfly Milkweed, which are also native. Sideoats Grama is planted with them to create a small mixed prairie garden to attract a variety of pollinators and to create bright spots of color. Sara Ungrodt, landscape architect and valued member of the Montrose Botanic Gardens, designed and created the Waves of Grass with several volunteers from Weed Warriors. This garden was funded by a grant awarded by the Colorado Garden Foundation.
Roses finally have a place in the Montrose Botanic Gardens. The Rose Garden was designed and planted last summer with 48 varieties. Many of the roses are “own root” varieties, which enable them to withstand the winter climate. Visitors enter the Garden through an arbor and enjoy miniatures, floribunda, and grandifloras to climbing and rambler roses that are beginning to sprawl onto the rustic log fences.
The Montrose Botanic Gardens has recently been designated an affiliated chapter of the American Rose Society, which will be launching programs and activities designed specifically for rose enthusiasts.
The end of the Rose Garden transitions to a Sensory Garden around a custom designed-and-built water fountain. Trynity Moews, a 2019 Montrose High School graduate, completed the water feature as part of her senior project. The Garden strives to maximize its sensory impact, encouraging guests to touch, taste, smell, admire, and listen. Garden visitors will observe the rainbow of colors and diversity in textures while taking in the sweet fragrance of flowers and herbs.
The Montrose High School Special Education Science classes designed and created the Sensory Garden as a PBL (Problem Based Learning) project. MBS members Kathy See, Liane Muller, Maya Haynes, Lorraine Shide, Molly and Chuck Shaver, Lee and Ann Krsiean, plus Trina and Sherie at Camelot Gardens, Gayle at San Juan Gardens, Jon and the Brickyard, Jason and Val at Mountain High Wall, and Haynes Excavation contributed their time and expertise to consult and guide the students as they completed this special addition to the Gardens. Funding for the Sensory Garden was supported by donations from the Joan Shank family and friends of Linda Mraule.
Visit the MontroseGardens.org website to check out upcoming activities and updates in the Gardens.
The Gardens are developed and maintained by volunteers, donations, grants, memberships and fundraising through the Montrose Botanical Society.