CO-Horts Blog

Friday, October 18, 2019


by Yvette Henson, CSU Extension, Norwood, Colorado

When I was in 5th and 6th grades we lived in downtown Denver, near Denver University, in a house with an amazing garden.  My favorite part was an old blue spruce growing against the corner of the back shed.  The branches touched the ground and made a hidden ‘room’ that I could stand up in.  It is where I set up a play house with a table, etc.  The yard also had a swing set, 2-3 apple trees, a cherry tree, a vegetable garden, asparagus and a grape vine growing over the alley fence.  

In the summer and on weekends I would play 'kick the can' with friends and take walks and explore the alleys in my neighborhood.  I never knew what I would find, maybe love letters in the trash, a snarling dog (not fun) or another beautiful garden.  Alley walks have been a favorite pasttime ever since.  

This spring and summer I took some time whenever I traveled through the western region of our state to explore the alleys and take pictures of gardens or whatever else was interesting to me.  Here are of few of my photos.  I hope you enjoy them!

I live near Norwood.  Our small town has some really beautiful backyard food gardens which isn't surprising since people living here like it because it is a local-food, ranching and farming community.

Both these pictures are one backyard

I love the alley entrance to this garden.

We only get lilacs once in every 4 years, due to late spring frosts

Weedy backyard with interesting old outhouse
Telluride is in the area I serve and its my birthplace.  The summers are glorious!

Oriental Poppies 

Shasta Daisies

A mallow growing by an alley apartment

Christ Church Garden
Home built greenhouse

Cute shed (70's?)

Awesome treehouse!

Glenwood Springs

Lilacs and iris

I like the practical layout and tidiness of this garden

More unkept beauty

New Castle

Isn't this rose bush just beautiful?!  
I absolutely love this shed and the entire backyard.  
Silverton has an average 9 frost free day growing season!  And yet the flowers are glorious and there are people growing food!

School spirit

Beautiful old shed

There was kale and arugula among other cool season veggies in these raised beds.

One of several greenhouses in town. 
Look at the flowers!
Silverton has a Rhubarb Festival on the 4th of July.  
Lots of the old Victorian homes have rhubarb, horseradish and tansy still growing in the yards.

I lived and gardened in Ouray for about 6 years.  Its one of my favorite places.  In fact I am writing this blog at a coffee shop in Ouray.

I was surprised these pumpkins survived last winter and couldn't help
but wonder why they didn't harvest them.  

Ouray has lots of docile (ish) deer

'Secret Garden' in Spring
Summer Veggie Garden


  1. Awesome Yvette! Love the pictures!

  2. Love the photos and your spirit of discovery! Thank you!, Dot Himes

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  4. Absolutely enchanting! Thanks for a great post, Yvette!

  5. The thing I remember most about our alley in St. Paul, MN was the row of Holly Hocks that embraced an entire side of a garage. I loved their vivid bloom colors and height. To this day, when I think of summer I think of Holly Hocks and Red Rover! Jan Stoven