Hudson Gardens and Event Center is a 30 acre non-profit botanical garden complex located near the South Platte River, at 6115 South Santa Fe Drive in Littleton, Colorado, which opened to the public in 1996. It is open most days from 9 AM until 5 PM and admission is free, with a few exceptions. Its history can be read on this link.
One day recently my husband and I decided to take a stroll in the garden for the first time, after hearing from friends about what a lovely place it is. I'd love to take you along, through my photographs, to show you what a beautiful and peaceful place it is! All photos, and photo collages, will enlarge for easier viewing if clicked on.
I can imagine that it is lovely in every season, but late summer is a good time to visit. We were greeted by the Welcome Garden.
A garden map is distributed at the main entrance, and also along some of the walkways. It is also visible online. If you click on this photo to enlarge the map you can see that Hudson Gardens is made up of many different water features and mini gardens.
The Victoria Water Lily Pond is one of the first we saw on our stroll.
The Victoria Water Lily is a native of the Amazon and is in limited display in Colorado. Its massive leaves can grow to be 3 feet or more! All the aquatic plants at the Hudson Gardens are maintained by volunteers from the Colorado Water Garden Society.
The next garden was called the Oval Garden. One acre in size, it is filled with perennial flowers.
There were many gorgeous blooms still in profusion in many of the Hudson Garden beds.
As a novice western gardener, I liked that many of the flowers along the pathways were labeled. I am trying to find perennials that will flourish despite the frequent deer and rabbit visitors that come to my home's gardens.
Nearby was the Rose Garden. This garden was updated in 2009 to contain roses that thrive in the Colorado climate. Bloom here was past prime, but I enjoyed seeing the names of the variety of hybrid tea roses and floribundas, grandifloras, and climbing roses, planted here. In the distance we saw a tent where a wedding celebration was being held.
We then strolled through the relatively new Chocolate Garden. The plantings change every year, and are those that mimic the odor or image of chocolate, and are not meant to be consumed. The "Chocolate Chip" plant did indeed smell like a delicious chocolate chip cookie, to me!
There are many whimsical places in Hudson Gardens and Event Center, which makes it a charming place for children to visit. The Garden Railroad mimics Colorado landscape and contains 700 feet of "G" size railroad track and buildings. The railroad runs weather permitting, and on a changing schedule, from mid May through September and during the holiday season.
There was also a fun place for children to walk through and explore, called the Hobbit House, that was constructed of stone.
The Dahlia Display Bed contained some beautiful blooms. Dahlias are grown as annuals in Colorado and this garden contains 100 varieties each season.
The Honeybee Garden is home to an apiary that has been in existence for ten years. Community beekeepers maintain the apiary and use natural management methods that are minimally invasive, chemical free and non toxic.There is more information about the beekeeping program on this link.
The Aquatic Plant Holding Pond is where aquatic plants grown from seeds or tubers in a greenhouse are transferred to grow and mature in this less stressful environment before being place in lager pools. More about this process can be read on this link.
We followed the walkway that then lead to the Herb Garden and Vegetable Garden. The herb garden is maintained by volunteers from the Herb Society of America and contains 115 varieties of herbs used in tea making, medicinal and culinary uses and potpourri, as well as native herbs found in the Colorado region.
The vegetable garden is planted and maintained in partnership with the Colorado State University (CSU) Extension-Arapahoe County Colorado Master Gardener Program, The vegetables are easily grown and widely available and are planted during the last week in May. All the produce collected at harvest is distributed to area food banks. A good online resource for Colorado gardeners, offered by CSU, is called Plant Talk.
The very popular Water Gardens is home to 140 varieties of plants.
You have to see this garden in person to truly enjoy the variety of delicate and unusual flowers! It is also maintained by the Colorado Water Garden Society. More information about this garden can be seen on this link.
The Hudson Gardens and event Center has many beautiful places in which to sit and enjoy the sights and sounds of nature. Whether it is under a giant old Cottonwood tree......
....or by a running stream of water cascading over rocks.
Visitors can find many cool green areas within the center in which to sit and enjoy the scene
During the summer, many concerts are held in Hudson Center and Event Center. The stage was being set for a concert being held for the evening we visited on the Concert Amphitheater. For information on how to purchase tickets and concert events click this link. You can bring your lawn chair and picnic basket and enjoy music under the stars! Click here for info about attending concerts.
My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed our visit to the gardens and we know we will be back to stroll its walkways many times, and in many seasons. I hope I've enticed you to also visit if you live in the Denver/Littleton area or on a visit to Colorado. It also is a beautiful place to rent for a special occasion, or in which to take an adult education class.
I think the Hudson Gardens is a wonderful collaborative effort by many talented volunteers that give their time and expertise towards maintaining the garden for all to enjoy for free, and that more communities should do the same Do you have a garden, such as this, in your community that you can enjoy?
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