Disseminated in three diverse sites in the city of Denver, Colorado, the Denver Botanic Gardens is a group of botanical gardens and was one of the pioneer gardens in the United States that aims to showcase native plants and to promote environmental protection and preservation, such as saving on water consumption and using biological means of pest control.
Local gardeners, botanists, as well as civic leaders aspired to have a place of relaxing retreat in the middle of a busy city, and this dream became a reality when the members of the Colorado Forestry and Horticulture Association joined hand to establish the non-profit Botanical Gardens Foundation of Denver in 1951, which was approved that same year making it an agency of the City of Denver.
A year after, a 100-acre land in the City Park of Denver was awarded to the Foundation, and soon became the first site of what is now known as the Denver Botanic Gardens, which was formally dedicated in 1954. Sadly, inconsiderate individuals took advantage of the fenceless gardens by stealing and striding plants. To respond to this problem, the Board of Trustees looked for a more secure location to relocate the gardens. Eventually, in 1958, an old cemetery, called Mount Prospect Cemetery, found between east 9th and 11th Avenues was transformed into one of the largest and finest botanical gardens in the country, and the first planting here took place in 1959, with roses, annuals, irises, daylilies, peonies, tulips, crocus and narcissus as the initial foliage. Inspired by the efforts on creating an oasis in the city, Mrs. Ruth Waring donated her elegant mansion sitting along York Street to the Gardens, which is now used as their administrative headquarters.
The Boettcher Memorial Tropical Conservatory was added to the Gardens in 1966 to contain and take care of tropical and subtropical plants, and along with the elaborate mansion, the Conservatory became a favorite attraction among its local and international visitors all throughout the year. These two structures were declared Denver landmarks in 1973.
Aside from the Waring Mansion and the Conservatory, there are also a variety of theme gardens that feature the largest collection of plants from cold temperate climates around the world, together with 7 diverse gardens that mostly include plants from Colorado and neighboring states; the Japanese Garden called Shofu-en, also known as the Garden of Wind and Pines; and a sunken amphitheater, which is a favorite concert venue during the summer season.
The Denver Botanic Gardens is dispersed in three diverse locations, each displaying the varied ecosystems of Colorado and continues to uphold its tradition in: the York Street site in east central Denver, the original and formal garden; the Denver Botanic Garden at Chatfield that showcases natural meadow and riparian areas, along with a historic farm and homestead; and the Mount Goliath setting where alpine wildflowers are cultivated and arranged along hiking trails.
More importantly, the Denver Botanic Gardens not just offers remarkable plant displays, it also provides unlimited opportunities for enduring learning and research that help preserve Colorado's treasured natural resources.