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Victorian Secret Garden


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During the reign of Queen Victoria in the 1800s, the British celebrated the heyday of the British Empire by growing plants from its colonies around the world. The Industrial Revolution brought money to the British middle class, as well as steam power and machinery to create iron buildings and heating systems. It became fashionable to create opulent tropical gardens to show off personal wealth and exotic plant collections. Enter the Victorian Secret Garden to experience the formal feel of the Victorian Era in Denver.

This garden incorporates a diverse mix of annuals, perennials, shrubs and trees. Boxwood hedges give the garden a formal air that was prevalent during the Victorian Era. Varieties of red and gold-hued coleus and flowering annuals add a splash of color during the summer months. An often asked about tree grows near the west entrance to the garden. Empress tree (Paulownia elongata) dies back to the ground each winter, but several stems regrow quickly to 20 feet or taller with large leaves each summer.

Previously a garden featuring tropical plants that required constant watering in Colorado's dry climate, the area was redesigned to become the Victorian Secret Garden in 2002. The formal gazebo provides a seating area and focal point in this garden room.

For a list of plants in the Victorian Secret Garden, click here.

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Photography © Denver Botanic Gardens

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