Articles, Blog

Colorado Experience: Denver Botanic Gardens

September 30, 2019

(bright music) (birds chirping)
(tranquil music) – The Denver Botanic
Gardens are one of the great gardens
in America today. They used to be not
much of anything, a few rose plants
at the City Park. Today it rivals the
great botanic gardens you see around the country. – [Brian] One of the powers
of Denver Botanic Gardens is the fact that on just 24
acres in a very urban setting, we can shift your
whole consciousness just by moving from
one garden to the next. – Part of what also makes this
garden such a magical place are the wonderful
structures that are here. They form a backdrop
for these gardens and essentially create a
series of outdoor rooms. – [Claire] It’s a serene place. It’s a place where
all of Denver can come and walk and be quiet. – For me, plants are my therapy. They’re my business. But honestly, if you’re gonna
be addicted to something, what better thing
to be addicted to? – There have been wars
fought over tulips. There have been
economic collapses because of failure of coffee. So plants have always
been integral not
only to life itself, but to commercial and social
activity of human beings. Look at those tiny little
plants and understand that they survive in the
harshest of conditions. Maybe we can do that too. – [Narrator] With
inauspicious beginnings in a former cemetery, Denver
Botanic Gardens would become one of the most spectacular
gardens in America. Visionary architects, designers, horticulturists, and volunteers pioneered the way
to connect people with plants in arid Colorado. The goal was to create
a lush, green oasis in the middle of the rugged,
urban terrain of Denver. – [Announcer] This
program was made possible by the History Colorado
State Historical Fund. – [Announcer] Supporting
projects throughout the state to preserve, protect,
and interpret Colorado’s architectural
and archeological treasures. History Colorado
State Historical Fund. Create the future. Honor the past. – [Announcer] With support
from the Denver Public Library, History Colorado, and
the Colorado Office of Film, Television, and Media, with additional support
from these organizations and viewers like you. Thank you. (bright music) – You absolutely have to be
undaunted to garden in Colorado. Between our lack of water,
hail, a number of late snows, there are a number of
things that make it a challenge to
garden in Colorado. But when everything
comes together, between our beautiful sun,
our beautiful blue sky, there’s no better
place to grow a garden. – People come to just
walk and de-stress in this crazy world
that we live in. – If you stop a minute and
pause a minute, slow down. Hard to do in this age. You begin to see your
story in these spaces. It tells you a little
bit about history. It tells you a little
bit about sociology, about anthropology, about
your connection to it all. – We all, as humans,
have a great need and most often a wonderful
desire to be a part of nature. Not everyone can get up in
the mountains all the time. – [Steve] Early on,
there was this love of the outdoors in Colorado. That’s what we
know Colorado for. And having a botanic
gardens as an expression of that love of the
outdoors in Colorado was only a natural thing
for the city to do. – Our very vision
from the beginning was to create something
that was appropriate for our setting and that
our setting was unique. The semi-arid, continental
climate that we have, there was simply no other
garden that we could learn from. So we had to pretty much pull ourselves up from
our own bootstraps. – [Narrator] Colorado’s high
elevation and extreme weather poses many challenges
for plant growers. It’s this rich, Rocky
Mountain habitat that spurred the
early visionaries of
Denver Botanic Gardens to cultivate a sanctuary
to grow and study plants. – A lot of people refer
to a botanic garden, a show garden, a public garden, and they get all those
terms kinda mixed up. Botanic garden’s origins
really are embedded in science. The first gardens
were used to maintain collections from
global exploration. A lot of it had to
do with commerce. You found a new spice. Or you found a new productive
plant, maybe for medicine. And you would bring
it back and raise them and test them and trial them. Along came estate gardens,
especially in Europe, that would really
focus on aesthetics. They were all about beauty. There has been a tremendous
fusion of those two concepts. – [Narrator] The
first botanic gardens in The United States was founded in Washington, D.C. in 1850. The seeds for a botanic
garden in Denver were planted around the
turn of the 20th century during Mayor Robert Speer’s
City Beautiful Movement that resulted in grand
parkways, public parks, and the planting of 10s
of thousands of trees. – And it really came
out Speer’s ideas for building a
beautiful city here in the Plains that had
some of the attributes of a beautiful place like Paris, and he wanted Denver to
have parks and parkways. And part of that included
a botanic gardens. – [Narrator] But
Colorado was a dry and desolate place to
newcomers in the 19th century. Once described as the
Great American Desert, people soon discovered
this barren, seemingly infertile
landscape would spring to life with one
essential ingredient. Water. – [Panayoti] When people
started growing plants, they were astonished
that once you put water, things would explode
because our soils are actually very, very rich. – [Narrator] Flowers thrived in Colorado’s semi-arid climate of sunny days and cool nights. Greenhouses turned a budding industry into
year-round profits. – [Brian] Colorado really
did play a major role in the whole industry
of cut flowers, and the focus was on carnations. They just grew very,
very well here. So all of a sudden,
greenhouses started popping up and feeding a national,
international market. – [Narrator] Known as
the Carnation Gold Rush, the flower industry
thrived in Colorado from the early 1900s
up to the 1970s. With that popularity came
a ground swell of support for creating a botanic
garden in Denver. – The role of plants
became something – The role of plants
became something overwhelming to a
number of people. They just were dogged
in their pursuit of establishing the garden. And part of it’s
because there was a trend around the country of how do we
understand, preserve, protect, and display
plants in a way that will inspire and delight? How do we do that? – [Claire] City Park
was such a central part of the planning of
the city of Denver that it was a natural choice to be the first Denver
Botanic Gardens. – [Steve] This
garden really grew out of the Colorado Forestry and Horticultural
Association in the 1940s. – [Brian] It was 1951 that the
gardens moved into City Park. And it was about a hundred acres right next to the Denver Museum
of Nature and Science today. – The city hired the
most prominent landscape architect around, Saco DeBoer. Trained in Europe, master
planner of gardens, and also of cities. – [Steve] Saco DeBoer
was the godfather of landscape design in Denver, a brilliant landscape architect. He came from The Netherlands. Experimented here in
Colorado with plants that grew in other
parts of the world. – [Narrator] Saco DeBoer’s
15-year master plan for Denver’s first botanic
garden in 1952 was short lived. – [Claire] Unfortunately,
it didn’t work out well because it was a
little too public to the point where people
were coming in the dead of night and digging up
plants for their gardens. So we needed a place that could
be a little more secluded. – So the gardens began
looking for a new home. And it just turned out that
there was a lot of very flat property just a couple
miles to the south. A cemetery. The site originally, where
the York Street facilities are now, was the first
major cemetery in Denver. All of Cheesman
Park, the gardens, and moving toward Congress Park were all a massive,
massive cemetery where thousands of
people were buried. – [Steve] Then it was
decided that it would have to be located here. That involved removing
a number of the bodies. And still, to this
day, occasionally
bodies are discovered. – This particular spot
thus had a lot of kind of open, could we say,
fertile land? (laughs) – [Narrator] This old
graveyard would be reincarnated into a garden oasis thanks
to countless volunteers, donors, and one
enterprising woman who championed the
gardens from the start. – Ruth Porter Waring and a
number of the early leaders of the institution really put
their heart and soul into it. – Ruth Porter Waring
was one of the earliest inspirations for the Gardens. It was Waring and
some of her friends who wanted a place to not
only grow beautiful plants, but protect specimens that many
of them had been collecting. – [Steve] The Porters were
early pioneers to Colorado and were involved
in the creation of a number of important
cultural institutions. – So you look at somebody
like Ruth Porter Waring, smart, vivacious,
and really so devoted to what this institution
could become. – [Steve] In 1958, as the
botanic gardens was starting up, Ruth Porter Waring
knew that they needed a headquarters building,
and she purchased the house which was
next door to hers. – [Claire] Denver Botanic
Gardens bought it for a dollar in order to own it, but
it was actually a gift. – [Steve] The house itself
is one of the really great architectural jewels of Denver, designed by Jules
Jacques Benedict, one of Denver’s
best-known architects. He attended the Ecole des
Beaux-Arts School in Paris. The house is a beautiful piece
of Beaux-Arts architecture. Very eclectic. A number of styles pulled
together to design this house. And as beautiful as
it is on outside, it’s even more
beautiful on the inside. – [Brian] The eclectic
designs and all the frescoes, the architecture itself, is
so powerfully reminiscent of everything that was going on in the Roaring ’20s
when it was built. It has a lot of Indian,
Syrian, Egyptian influences in the designs and
the architecture. – [Tom] It boasts the
usual Benedict hallmark, the carved stone fireplace. – If you walk around the house, there are just
wonderful features. Leaded glass windows. There are hand-painted
murals that were done by the head of the art
department at the time in the ’20s at
University of Denver. So there’s a little bit of
everything in this house. – In the Waring house,
we have the gift shop and the herbarium and the
library and all the offices. Everything happened here, ’cause we didn’t have any
other office facilities. – [Narrator] But it
took another building, a modern architectural
masterpiece, to transform the
gardens into an icon. – The origins of the Boettcher
Memorial Conservatory are embedded in aspiration,
big vision and big risk. There is not another
conservatory like
it in the world. – In the early 1960s,
the Boettcher Foundation gave a generous gift
to construct this. It was decided that
the conservatory would be constructed
in concrete, because Charles
Boettcher made much of his fortune in the
concrete business. – [David] The Boettcher
Conservatory’s made of faceted plexiglass panels between
interfaced concrete arches and an inverted catenary curve that arcs 50 feet above
the tropical gardens. Even the lamppost and
the surrounding walks and gardens are
in concrete trees, then the lights are the
fruits on those trees. – When it was built, it was
the only tropical conservatory between Missouri
and San Francisco. – It’s the only
concrete conservatory
in The United States, making it really unique. And it’s the work
of two architects, Victor Hornbein and Ed White. – Victor Hornbein
loved cathedrals, and he loved nature and gardens. So he brought
together in concrete that whole idea of
vaulted ceilings. There are pictures of
the construction workers tied onto the side
of this building. That was the only way
they could stay safe, installing plexiglass windows and these really massive vaults. – So I think really
one of the challenges in constructing this in concrete is they essentially had to
build the greenhouse twice, the first time out of wood and then the second
time out of concrete. With the plexiglass
and the concrete, the inside is very wet. – It was built in such a
way that the condensation from the tropical conservatory
would not stagnate and fall on peoples’ heads, but it would go through the
sides of each of those panels. The Boettcher Memorial
Tropical Conservatory, as the name implies,
consists of tropical plants, and we have a large
collection of orchids, bromeliads, aroids, begonias. This is a way for us to
showcase tropical plants in a very temperate region. – [David] Around 2,000
horticultural species are cultivate amid
waterfalls and pools constructed in a sloped,
naturalistic environment. – Imagine this in winter and the inspiration
that it would bring to children and young adults, and to all members
of Denver society and the citizens of
Colorado and now the West. The gardens themselves are
treasured in many ways. The level of thinking
and the level craft in the original design
is truly remarkable, and something that
I don’t think exists in any garden in
The United States. The original landscape
architect designed the Denver Botanic
Gardens as a series of rooms that had topography. So there were
three-dimensional spaces, and he choreographed
that around a wonderful motion between time
and space and water. So it’s an all-natural flow. And it’s a beautiful choregraphy of mid-century
modernism, of shapes. – I think there’s a tension
between the buildings and the various gardens
that’s part of the appeal. You know it’s a little
bit like writing a sonnet where you have these things
kinda jostling with each other. (bright music) – [Brian] When you look at
the 60s and then the 70s, every decade has been
a wave of new gardens that really do have charisma. They are extremely
special collections done in choreographed ways
that really do transport you. (bright music) You can be in the Japanese
garden looking southeast, and you think you must be in the mountains
of Japan somewhere. – [Narrator] A 1968
master plan included an ambitious Japanese Garden. Famed architect, Koichi Kawana, was meticulous in
crafting every detail, from hand selecting each rock to having an authentic tea house built in Japan and
reassembled in Denver. Since most native
Japanese plants could not withstand
Colorado’s climate. Local flora was substituted, fusing east and west in
the midst of the Rockies. – The Japanese white pine
does not do well in Colorado, so we have created
the Japanese aesthetic using our native tree,
the ponderosa pine. And it is a four-season garden, so even in the winter when
people visit the gardens, there is something for
everyone to look at. – [Narrator] The
1968 master plan also called for a more
familiar landscape, but nonetheless a
challenging one. – In 1980, I was hired to be the curator of the
Rock Alpine Garden. And when I started,
the first week or two, I mean there was nothing here. In fact, I was pretty
intimated as I looked around. And there were a lot of weeds. And I remember at one point, I was pulling the weeds
and I was looking, and they were
growing up behind me. But in 1981, it
was breathtaking. The soils were so fertile and
rich, and the plants exploded. – [Narrator] Of
the 3,300 species of alpine plants on
display in this garden, only about 10% are
indigenous to Colorado. But these are the
Rocky Mountain natives that can endure at 12,000 feet, despite extreme temperatures
and scarce water. Most plants below are thirstier. – The fountain system
that flows through and interconnects
all of the gardens, that all was part of this
modernist garden design that was developed in 1968. – The waterways at
Denver Botanic Gardens
are extraordinary. They help tell a story about the importance of
water in Colorado, and they do it in
such a dynamic way. Almost all the water on the
property is gravity fed. It begins at the Four
Towers next to the Pyramid, and it courses all the way
through all the major gardens. So it’s a parable, really, about the source
waters of Colorado. In the mountains of Colorado, water is stored
in annual snowfall and then makes its way down and eventually
refreshes the entire Southwestern United States. – [Claire] And
it’s just recycled. We’re recycling the same
water over and over. – We do this as a way of
conserving water, for sure, but we also use systems that
enable horticulture staff to look at weather conditions, the state of their plants, whether they were just planted
or they’re mature plants, and adjust exact
amounts of water that are used on each garden. Irrigation is
customized to make sure that they get exactly
what they need. – [Panayoti] Plants
are not objects. They are dynamic,
living creatures. The garden that you see today is not the garden
you’ll see next week. The trees will get bigger. The shrubs will change form. There will be different plants. So the real magic of
a garden like this is that it will
constantly evolve. – All the plants that you
see in our botanic garden are part of our
living collections. So every single plant that comes into our botanic
garden are documented, and we have a database
where we keep records. There was a lot of science that
happened behind the scenes. We are always looking
for new plants that are adapted to
our Colorado climate. And so we look at
other sister regions. We are in a region called
the steppe climate region, the semi-arid,
short grass prairie. We have a newly
created steppe garden which showcases
all the different steppe regions of the world, South Africa,
Patagonia, Central Asia. – We’re about management
of collections. We’re about scientific research, but we’re also about
bringing those collections together in a way that delights
and inspires our audiences. – [Sarada] At Denver
Botanic Gardens, we have 40 plus gardens. – When you first enter, you
go into the Romantic Gardens. You’re really in Europe. People, when they come
to a botanic garden, they kind of want the European, traditional kind of garden. That we’ve been able to
showcase many, many kinds of plants that are really novel for botanic gardens in general. There’s so many different
flavors and styles. A lot of botanic gardens
have one or two designers. It’s kinda like all
vanilla or all chocolate, but we have the entire
Baskin-Robbins thing because so many
different designers have been involved, and
so many horticulturists. And I think what has emerged
in the actual garden itself has been an expression
of the history of gardening,
really, in Colorado. We started off with Europe. We eventualy discovered
our backyard, and now we’re synthesizing those to make something truly unique. – [Narrator] With only
24 acres available, the keepers of
this garden always aspired to having more land. Soon after its
founding, in 1957, they collaborated with
the US Forest Service to create a nature
trail and garden 55 miles west of Denver
at Mount Goliath. – As you drive up Mount
Evans and you hit tree line, there’s a little hill there
about 12,000 feet high. It’s not really a hill. It’s a mountain and it’s one of the shoulders of Mount Evans. One of our founding fathers
was a man named Walter Pesman. He was a Dutchman. He was a landscape
architect and he used to go up to Mount
Goliath and lead tours. The trail that leads down
Mount Goliath is named for him. And at that time, the
trails were badly braided. We developed the partnership, hundreds of people
went out and worked on the trails to fix them and to improve the whole area. And so the botanic gardens
now manages the gardens around the visitor center
with the Forest Service. And we have a staff
person who goes up there every week in the growing
season and maintains things. Our role in Mount Goliath seems
to increase with the years. We’ve been more
involved than ever. – [Sarada] Mount
Goliath is the highest cultivated garden in
The United States, and the gardens represent
all the different habitats you would find in
an alpine ecosystem. – [Narrator] The gardens
expanded their reach once again in 1973
when they acquired 700 acres of
undeveloped ranch land. The Hildebrand Ranch
added a new ecosystem to their diversity,
the high plains. German immigrant,
Frank Hildebrand, homesteaded this spot
just outside of Denver right after the Civil War. His family would ranch and
farm here for nearly 100 years, until the catastrophic
South Platte Flood forced them off their land. – I remember vividly in 1965 living in the very
southern edge of Littleton when this horrendous storm hit and it flooded the whole
Platte River Basic, all the way out to
Eastern Colorado. The destruction, it
was extraordinary. And the army corp
of engineers came in and they decided to build
Chatfield Reservoir. – The dam was built
really to control the floods along the
South Platte River. Eventually, the Army
Corp shifted that land to the botanic gardens
to really have the land that they needed to enter a
whole new type of experience, which was really an arboretum, a place specifically for growing of trees and tree specimens. – We have the natural
areas that really harken to our agronomic and economic
relationships with plants. Which in a way really goes back to what botanic garden started. When Chatfield first
started, it was so vast they kicked off their
horticulture work at a very high level, but
they’re not doing what we do. They’d wanted to do
something different, and it’s more
harkening to nature and naturalistic elements. They were such creative
and incredible people. They started developing things that suddenly brought
a lot of interest. – [Brian] We have
gardens that support our Community Supporting
Agriculture Program. We have beautiful
lavender gardens that we’ve now built an
entire festival around. We grow about 10
acres of pumpkins and 10 acres of
corn for the annual corn maze and Pumpkin Festival. Last year, we grew
about 25,000 pumpkins and have 45,000 people
come and partake of the entire festival. – [Narrator] This
beautiful property, once condemned by the
Army Corp of Engineers, has now been resurrected
as Chatfield Farms. – I think that what’s really
unique about Chatfield is that it’s really
become an urban farm, and they really stress the fact that we have this
important connection with our farm heritage, and they want Chatfield
to really honor that. – One of the wonderful
things, also, with the Chatfield farms
are the original buildings that were part of the ranch
that you can see today, beautiful homestead as
well as a older school. – [Sarada] It is so important
for us to preserve them as they are since it
conveys a little bit of history of our region,
and old homesteads, and the farming history
of people coming here in wagons and settling down and creating an
agricultural economy. – [Narrator] In the early
1980s Denver’s economy was not flourishing as
much as its gardens were. This economic turn down, curbed
attendance to raise money. The gardens begin
hosting concerts in 1983. And for the first
time since opening, they began charging admission, but still it wasn’t enough. – So things were very tough, and that was my welcome
there as mayor of Denver. It was a very very
difficult time for all of the arts
organizations in the metro area because when people lose income, they quit going
to the facilities, attendance goes down,
revenue goes down, and they were all struggling. – leaders of the four largest
culturals at the time. So it was The Art
Museum, The zoo, Museum of Nature and
Science, and the Gardens, got together and they
started brainstorming. Because they’re used
to be state funding that went into all
of our institutions, and that was cut because
of tough economic times. They began to really
kinda pull it together, with if there was just
a very small sales tax, they could grow over time,
they could help support the operations of these
cultural institutions. And they went forward,
in 1988 it passed with a very high percentage
of the entire population of the metropolitan area and now it’s been renewed
three times after that. There is no other
community in the country that can claim that. – [Narrator] The scientific
Cultural Facilities District uses a one penny on
every 10 dollars tax to fund arts and
science institutions that enlightened
and entertained. Its $50 million annual budget makes an enormous
cultural impact on all seven counties of Denver. – For the idea being that my
two cents and your two cents and everybody’s two cents,
pretty soon aggregately we are talking real money, we
are talking a lot of money. Organizations like
the Arvanda center, the Children’s Museum,
and the Denver Center For the Performing Arts, the symphony, the
ballet, the operas. – Ultimately it was to the
benefit of all of Denver, and certainly to the benefit
of the botanic gardens which was able to use
that funding to really take the botanic bardens
to the next level, and build a world-class
botanic gardens that we all know and love today. – We had the second most
visited botanic garden or public garden in
North America last year and the year before. That’s extraordinary. And we’re swinging
beyond our league because we have this
foundational element of support that isn’t just about the money. It’s about the passion
the entire state and especially the
seven county area has for their cultural institutions. – Part of the success of
the Denver botanic gardens has always been public
support, and that really took off with the advent and the institution
of the Scientific and Cultural
Facilities District. – The miracle of
Colorado really. – [David] And we have
become a national model for the public funding
of arts and culture. – Denver botanic gardens today is an institution set
to change the world. And that sounds
audacious I know, but it’s actually happening. I can see it and
on a daily basis. We have an average of 1.3
million visitors a year. That’s an extraordinary number
for any cultural institution, but for a public garden,
that is that puts us in a very very rare air. We have 43,000
member households. We have 2,600 volunteers. – When I first came to
the botanic gardens, I came as a volunteer and
they bring so much experience and knowledge with them. We gain so much
with our volunteers. – The thing that’s
interesting is it just keeps
growing and growing. That’s a sign that this
garden is really really loved by Denver and our community. – The life of an
institution like this is really about thinking
about the future. Because we’re not
just one building. We are an entire campus. Things change, plants
are living things. There’s constant movement. It’s a dynamic force. – [Narrator] 50 years
after its founding in 1951, this ever evolving
institution created a new master plan
for a new century. But even while looking forward, they maintained a tremendous
respect for the past. – The ability to be involved
in historic preservation has been the foundation
of everything we do. Because it reminds us
of where we’ve come from and it recommends where
we might be going. – All of the work of David
Tryba was so thoughtful in how it incorporated that
mid-century modern aesthetic throughout everything
that we have. – We wanted to set the
guidelines and standards for the preservation
of place in the context of anything new with the
old and honoring that past. But we knew that there
would have to be change. The gardens in the mid
60s was very insular so the building were
heavy and masonry or concrete and
inwardly focused. And throughout the time of
The master plan and design we decided to change
and open that, so what was previously
hidden in back of the house, became front of the house. One of the most exciting
parts of the project was the transformation
of Marnie’s Pavilion. We opened that up
and reconnected it, and it became really the
central hub of the gardens. And so was that particular
context to where we began to think about how we enhance
the entry and arrival, and where do we parked cars. But how do we operate
and service the gardens. And to do that with grace
and do that in the mission ■■ with plants from that
moment of arrival. The parking structure
was conceived as a garden in an on itself. We nestled it, not only
down below the street level, but at street level
and above street level. We created the largest
green roof in Colorado, over an acre of green roof. and it became the Mordecai
Children’s Garden. So even if you’re just
moving through the city, you’re highly aware of the
gardens that you’re passing, right through the
center of the gardens. – [Narrator] New and old live
comfortably together here with change always
respecting heritage. – Thank goodness in Colorado
there is a powerful ethic of historic preservation. Because when you see a
house like the Waring House, it has a historic status. When you have a
building that old, all the systems
are tough to fix. And with the support
of all kinds of friends including the State
Historic Fund, we’ve been able to not
only maintain the house but to really set it
up for decades to come. – [Steve] One of the first
things they had to do was deal with a leaking roof. They actually had started
several years in advance, finding this historic green
roof and stockpiling it, so then when they
undertook this project, they had the roofing
material that they could use. In addition the botanic gardens
undertook the restoration of some of the interior
decorative finishes such as the frescoes. The building today
sparkles and shines just as beautifully as when
it was built in the 1920s. – One of the phases in the
master development plan was the restoration of the
Boettcher Memorial Conservatory and when that was completed
for its 50th birthday, I don’t know that
anything made me prouder of the work that we’ve
done over the last decade. Because you could see a gleaming like it did when
it first opened. It was very intricate work. Every inch of that concrete
had to be scraped and checked for a while it looked like
some kind of circus performers up there, cause we had all these
people dangling from ropes. – [Narrator] Less acrobatic
but nonetheless challenging was the design of a new
state-of-the-art science and education center. – The new building
is totally reflective of the mid century
modern aesthetic. Using elements from all the rest of the architecture
in the campus. In fact there is a
skylight over the atrium that is the same design
as the diamond points of the Boettcher
Memorial Conservatory. So it is extraordinarily
respectful of all the architecture
that’s come before. – [Narrator] Although
built for the people of Denver and its visitors, the Denver Botanic Gardens now
have an international reach. – Through the Denver
Botanic Gardens Center for Global
Initiatives we are looking at connecting people with
plants on a global scale. We have had staff who have
done plant exploration in Argentina, South Africa. We bring back plants and we
test them for their adabtability to the Colorado landscape. – But here is where it
gets really exciting. We are working in the
area of food and farming, of water conservation,
water storage, trying to find new alternatives that we can roll out
on a global scale. That they really could
shift how people live. And it’s triggered something
and many people around here and that is the confidence
that the small collection of people really can
change the world. – So the legacy of the gardens is really a gift to the future. We want to bring more
than just flowers, we wanna bring science,
we wanna bring art, water research, plant diversity. We also wanna make
sure that everyone has access to the gardens. That every school
child can come here to learn and get inspired
and have aha moments. – When I walk around the
gardens now, it used to be you’d see mostly older people, but that’s not true anymore. I think a lot of the people
who are coming here are young. And that fills me with hope. I think young people
are pretty smart. And I think this is a very
romantic place to bring a date. (laughs) They’re constantly dealing
with technological things, and we are kind of the antidote
to a lot of the problems that we are facing
in our society. – We see people that come
in and they look like they’re carrying the burdens of the world on their shoulders. They begin to wander
around the gardens. The sound of nature,
the smell of nature, the sight and touch
of nature begins to lift some of that burden. – Perhaps the most exciting
thing, when you look back on the legacy of the
Denver Botanic Gardens over all these
years of struggle, it’s like a plant
in this environment. How much we have to
struggle in Colorado with all of the forces
of nature against us that we’ve survived and
the gardens has thrived. – [Steve] Teaching people about
the importance of not only protecting our
environment but also valuing the historic buildings that are part of our heritage. – I see a hundred
years from now, more botanic gardens not just
the way we have them now, but as a part of communities. We will not just
have botanic gardens as little isolated pockets, but where they premiate
the entire community. – When you understand
that life transforms often times in the small ways, you realize the power of
institution like the Gardens. Because even though we
have these big dreams, and big visions and really
want to make a difference in people’s lives and their
understanding of science, or their use of water,
we know that at its core that reconnection to
nature and to beauty is the most powerful
thing that we can do. (bright music)

1 Comment

  • Reply Andy Tuesday May 2, 2019 at 12:59 am

    Thank you 🙏 I enjoyed

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