HPGC Vice President Michaela Burschinger shares a moment with the real Shirley Meneice.
The conference opened on Wednesday, September 11th at the Denver Botanic Gardens. The first day began with meetings as a Zone XII group where we shared ideas and learned about GCA initiatives.
After lunch, we boarded buses to go to Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield Farms, a 700-acre native plant refuge and working farm in the flood plain of Chatfield Reservoir and the South Platte River in southern Jefferson County, southwest of Denver.
At Chatfield Farms, we toured in small groups the various gardens and learned about restoration efforts at the farm. I loved visiting the Rocky Mountain Weavers Guild Dye Garden; several wildflower and native gardens, a lavender garden; a butterfly house and garden; a riparian demonstration garden and restoration area along Deer Creek; and a Community Supported Agriculture farm. The day ended with a farm to table dinner and a glorious Colorado sunset!
On Thursday, we meet again at Denver Botanic Gardens and began the day of workshops with a talk by Lauren Springer Ogden on the importance of native plants in private and public landscapes. Lauren is a landscape designer and plantswoman extraordinaire who advocates plant diversity and ecological attunement in her designs. She has authored several books, including The Undaunted Garden which the American Horticultural Society named one of the 75 Great American Garden Books of the twentieth century.
After Lauren’s presentation, I attended four sessions of workshops led by DBG horticulturists and other local experts; Botanical Illustration, Cacti & Succulents, Cool Growing Orchids and Modern Apothecary Gardens.
One Fell Swoop by Patrick Dougherty
This site-specific sculpture was created over the course of three weeks using willow saplings and branches harvested from Colorado locations, including Chatfield Farms.
Our closing dinner featured Cary Fowler, an American agriculturist and global advocate of crop diversity and conservation. Dr. Fowler is the former head of the Global Crop Diversity Trust and is best known for his efforts to establish the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Norway, the ultimate backup for seed banks around the world.
I brought home many seeds to share with HPGC including the Aristolochia macrophylla (Dutchman’s Pipe) the winner of the GCA’s 2019 Plant of the Year.
I had a wonderful time in Denver!