Take the High Country Garden Tour

Area jaunt offers great ideas in designs


— Many gardeners pick up great ideas for their garden by visiting other gardens. Bryce and Marianne Hagemeier gathered ideas from numerous visits to the Yampa River Botanic Park for their restful and relaxing mini botanical garden on Pamela Lane. Prill and Tim Greene knew they wanted a yard full of perennials, including Prill's favorite, the beautiful iris.

These gardens and five others are included in the High Country Garden Tour this year. Taking the tour is a wonderful, convenient way to see what others in our high altitude climate have been able to do with plants and garden designs.

"We even have a few zone 5 plants," Prill said, pushing the envelope on our official zone 3-4 designation. Their all-natural garden uses only compost for fertilizer and no pesticides. "I think the variety of plants we have keeps the pest problem to a minimum," Prill said. She and Tim have more than 110 varieties of perennials on display.

The most diversity in garden designs and composition will be found at the Yampa River Botanic Park. Park Supervisor Gayle Noonan points out several new additions that visitors should check out. "Our new rose garden was just completed as well as a penstemon garden. We've been working on the waterwise garden since last fall."

This is a terrific place to see the variety of plants that grow well in the Steamboat Springs area, how various color combinations complement each other, and which plants grow best in sunny, shady, dry or wet microclimates.

An example of a garden that was designed with the goal of using native vegetation is found at Peggy and Tim O'Brien's tour stop. The open garden at Two Rivers Ranch looks like it has been around for 100 years. It features a number of old-fashioned structures reminiscent of our cowboy tradition.

The Sturdy Pines tour stop features a mature garden with flowering beds along a stone and moss pathway.

It features a whimsical touch you're sure to enjoy. Master Gardeners will be on hand at John Oliver's lovely garden on Lower Creek and at the Hagemeier's to answer your gardening questions.

For more gardening ideas, Lee May, award-winning author and garden essayist will lecture at the Strings in the Mountains Tent at

9 a.m. For garden tour tickets, call 879-5056, ext. 104.

Take lots of notes, ask lots of questions, and bring back some great ideas for your own garden.

Deb Babcock is a Routt County resident and a Master Gardener through the Colorado State University Cooperative Extension office in Routt County. Questions? Call 879-0825 or email: gardeners@co.routt.co.us.


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