The idea of a native plant garden at Red Rocks Park next to the Trading Post got its start many years ago! As we figure out the early history of the current garden, we’ll be back to fill in some stories on this page. We also have set up a garden timeline to document our progress. We’ll be filling in details of the last few seasons as time and inspiration permit.
We owe the inspiration for the 21st century development of this garden to Ron Garrison and Carol English. After Ron was assigned to work at Red Rocks for Theatres & Arenas in 2005, he recruited Carol as an expert on native planting. Together, they got plants and organized volunteers to transform the lower perennial bed in 2006.
Ron retired in January 2011, and Carol moved on to various work assignments in field botany. Both still keep a watchful eye on the garden’s progess, and this time, a true native garden is beginning to take shape.
Did you know the site of the current native garden used to be a cactus garden? Back in the 1960s, the Cactus Club (now the Cactus & Succulent Society) started a garden here with all different kinds of cactus. At some point, they gave it up, and the garden fell into neglect. A giant candelabra cholla (visible in the upper right of photo, left) is a remnant of those days. (We’re keeping it; it’s pretty and the bees love it!) Ten or fifteen years ago, Mountain Parks workers removed about ten truckloads of these cacti (or so they tell me). You can find a few escapees on the Trading Post Trail as well.