Denver Botanic Gardens
“We get such a range in groups coming here,” said Matthew Cole, director of education for the Denver Botanic Gardens. “We get all sorts. We get groups who want a little bit of information while strolling through a beautiful garden, and we also see people who are diehard in their particular interests who want to grill you and learn all they can.
“Then there are variants in between them.”
Cole said the Highlights of the Garden tour is a good introduction to the gardens for those groups in between.
“The guides know what is just coming into bloom, a bit about the garden’s history, its design gardens, native plants and things brought in,” he said.
Among the wide range of more than 200 classes offered by the gardens are Growing Fish and Vegetables Together, the Art of Bonsai, and Botanical Illustration.
“Few gardens could provide this diversity of programs on a daily basis — it takes us months of prep,” said Cole. “But with enough notice, many groups could try to arrange an instructor by special request.”
The mile-high gardens 10 minutes east of downtown Denver has nearly 45 gardens in 24 acres that feature more than 33,000 plants from around the world. Its Rock Alpine Garden, Plains Garden, Japanese Garden and Water Gardens are world-renowned.
Huntsville Botanical Garden
“We have several different guided tours; three of those tours go into Harvey Cotton, vice president and chief horticulturist of the Huntsville Botanical Garden, said time constraints are often a problem in offering groups an in-depth educational experience.
Often the garden will include a short session combined with lunch. “At lunch, we can add in a program that would center around gardening aspects such as container gardening, herb gardening, creating wildlife habitats and sustainable gardening.
“We have done programs on preserving cut flowers or growing a cutting garden. And the butterfly house is a big part of our garden, and we have done things on butterflies,” said Cotton.
If groups have the time, the garden offers an array of longer workshops and classes. Among the adult classes offered by the garden this summer are Creating a Summer Gourd Birdhouse, Building Desert Terrariums, Bonsai for Indoors, Making Concrete Leaf Castings and How To Attract Hummingbirds.
Huntsville Botanical Garden features a large open-air butterfly house, an aquatic garden, nature trails and several specialty gardens on 120 acres.
It has five festivals each year: the Dog Days of Winter, the Spring Festival of Flowers, the Summer Butterfly House, the Fall Scarecrow Trail and the Holiday Galaxy of Lights.