Private Rock Gardens Tour
Event Type: 
Date / Time: 
Thu June, 26 - 7:30am to 11:30am
Main hotel entrance, CA Street.

Buses depart at 7:30 a.m., board in front of Marriott on California Street.

Led by Panayoti Kelaidis, Director of Outreach at Denver Botanic Gardens, this tour encompasses a tour of Panayoti’s home xeriscape garden, the private rock garden of Mike Kintgen, Senior Curator at Denver Botanic Gardens, and the private garden of Sabine Baur.

Home of Panayoti Kelaidis and Jan Fahs: Panayoti purchased this home exactly twenty years ago. The previous owner had ceased gardening for many years: most of the trees on the property were suffering (and most were soon removed) and there were rotten log retaining walls with enormous Pfitzer juniper hedges on both sides of the house (which also quickly disappeared), over the next fifteen years much of the grade and shape of the garden was changed piece by piece to create what you see today. This is a Plant Collector’s garden—many thousands of plants are combined to provide four season interest all over the garden. Roughly the western half of the property is un-watered—planted mostly to native trees, shrubs and many cacti and western Wildflowers. The eastern half of the garden includes a large vegetable garden, perennial borders with many unusual perennials and bulbs, and a woodland garden that encircles the alpine garden on the east side of the house. Late May is when many of the Daphnes and Rhododendrons bloom, along with a host of classic alpine plants like saxifrages, dianthus and penstemons. There are several hundred containers located everywhere in this garden, many filled with annuals that are beginning their show as well.  By matching plants to microclimate, and combining plants of similar growth rate, Panayoti was able to create plantings that persist over time and need less maintenance than one might suspect with such biodiversity!

Home of Mike Kintgen: Mike Kintgen’s garden started in 2009 with a bare canvas of dead bluegrass, and a few overgrown junipers in the front yard. The dandelions and remaining blue grass and junipers were removed to create a series of short berms in front of the house and make way for a Legacy buffalo grass lawn planted with spring and autumn flowering bulbs. The berms showcase a wide array of steppe and rock garden plants from around the world which are tolerant to Colorado’s hot dry summers and cold winters. The gardens were designed to be of interest 365 days a year. The back yard is a mix of more traditional garden elements, a large propagation area, a small vegetable garden, and various rocks gardens ranging from “very hot and dry” to “cooler and watered three times a week”. There is also a large collection of alpine plants in troughs and containers filled with annuals for season long interest. The overarching mission of the garden is to showcase how xeriscapes and rock gardens can be interesting, beautiful and more sustainable than traditional landscapes.

Mountain View Gardens, Sabine Baur (owner): Although Colorado gardens are particularly well known for rock gardens and xeriscapes, traditional garden plants thrive here too. Daylilies are no exception: one of the finest display and research collections is located nearby. Sabine Baur’s “Mountain View Gardens” boast over 5000 daylilies—most of the classic cultivars and many of the newest hybrids. Sabine hybridizes herself: in fact, one of the best known recent hybrids is named after her! This garden will be at the peak of bloom during our visit—and there are enough other perennials and trees there to intrigue even the most Hemerocallis-jaded visitor.