O'Fallon Perennial Walk
Denver Botanic Gardens
The O’Fallon Perennial Walk, which runs south from the Boettcher Memorial Building, features diverse plant materials in designed vignettes and seasonal displays as well as deciduous trees and shrubs against a green coniferous backdrop. Inspired by European perennial borders and incorporating elements of the New Perennial Movement which focuses on naturalistic planting design mimicking habitats, this garden showcases a flourish of colors and textures. In the foreground, vignettes display exciting plant combinations such as pincushion flower (Scabiosa caucasica ‘Fama Blue’) and yarrow (Achillea ‘Terracotta’) that harken to cottage garden style design. A dozen varieties of ornamental grasses provide fine texture throughout the seasons and contrast the larger leaves of salvia, colewort (Crambe cordifolia) and poppies (Papaver orientale).
Behind the vignettes, a seasonal display of plants that are strong performers in Colorado are planted en masse. Spring-blooming foxtail lilies (Eremurus himalaicus) and bearded iris give way to the warm colors of summer-blooming Kniphofia, Agastache and purple-flowered Echinops. From late summer to fall, purple Rocky Mountain blazing star (Liatris ligulistylus) blooms tower over yellow-flowered goldenrod (Solidago rugosa ‘Fireworks’) forming striking color combinations.
Anchoring the vignettes and seasonal displays, trees and shrubs were chosen for their ornamental attributes and hardiness in our semi-arid steppe climate. Pink, trumpet-shaped blossoms of desert willow (Chilopsis linearis ‘Bubba’) and white sprays of Chinese fringetree (Chionanthus retusus) flowers add spring and summer color while navy blue berries of stretchberry (Forestiera pubescens) provide food for frugivorous birds over the winter and early spring.
The backdrop of this garden is a hedgerow of formally pruned native Rocky Mountain juniper (Juniperus scopulorum). The hedgerows of junipers are planted closer to the brick path on the south end than the north. This forced perspective design technique makes the south part of the garden appear farther away and larger than it is.
The garden was installed in Spring 2022.
For a list of plants in the O'Fallon Perennial Walk, click here.
© Denver Botanic Gardens, 1007 York Street, Denver, CO 80206
Photography © Denver Botanic Gardens