Friday, August 23, 2013

Native Plants for Sustainable Gardens

Alexis Alvey, Horticulture Agent, CSU Denver Extension

I hail from the East Coast and moved to Denver last year.  By no means am I an expert yet on Colorado native plants, but having gardened all my life, I AM an expert on making gardening mistakes and learning how to fix them.   And during the past year, I’ve learned that there are a lot of things that can go wrong when trying to garden in Colorado!

Like many Coloradans, in my spare time, I enjoy going up to the mountains and going hiking or trail running.  I love checking out the vegetation and the stunning landscapes that Colorado has to offer.  And I always think, oh, wouldn’t it be so awesome if I could recreate this in my own backyard!  How nice it would be to have wildflowers blooming in my garden like these on the trail to Mt. Evans….  

Or how relaxing it would be to create a meadow instead of lawn like this alpine meadow near Dillon….

Or how enchanting it would be in the fall to have a grove of aspen outside my window like these at Willow Creek Reservoir, near Granby.  

And based on all the inquires we get at the Denver Extension office, I know that I am certainly not alone in my desire to recreate a little piece of natural Colorado in my backyard.  But unfortunately, what we want, we often do not get, especially when it comes to native plant gardening.  For example, this aspen which is in the front yard of an avid Denver gardener is nearly dead. 

To learn some tips on how to garden successfully with native plants and avoid common pitfalls, click on the link below to listen to a free, recorded webinar I just did on this topic!


  1. Great presentation, Alexis! I found it fascinating that when you increase in elevation 1000', it's the same as driving 600 about diversity in plants!

  2. Nice post! This is a very nice blog that I will definitively come back to more times this year! Thanks for informative post.