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Alpines (of course) and more at Denver's botanic gardens.

Rivaling the West's best botanic gardens for beauty, the Denver Botanic Gardens exceed most of them in usefulness to gardeners. September is a good time to visit: many plantings are in bloom, and this month marks the 22-acre gardens' 25th anniversary at the present location.

At 5,443-foot elevation, the extensive complex contains an award-winning rock garden, big perennial beds with interesting planting combinations, and specialty gardens for dahlias, iris, lilacs, pennies, roses, and numerous other plants. Newest are the Japanese garden, home demonstration gardens, alpine rock garden, and a raised-bed cutting garden. There also are proving grounds for annuals, gladiolus, truf grasses, and natives.

Denver falls in climate zone 2 in the Sunset Western Garden Book, where the winters are the second-coldest in the West. The botanic gardens reflect this but also contain plantings and information applicable to other cold-winter zones. At most of the gardens, look for free take-home information sheets.

Check out the imposing conservatory of tropical plants and the attached pavilion of bromeliads and orchids. Use the gardens like a park; there are shade structures, benches, water fountains, a picnic area, and a gift shop.

A battalion of 400 citizen volunteers assists in keeping the gardens manicured, performing tasks under supervision of the garden staff.

These events are scheduled in September:

September 6 and 7. Lecture on "Porcelain in Flower" by John Loring, design director of Tiffany & Co., at 2 P.M. Thursday and 7:30 P.M. Friday at Mitchell Hall. Lecture admission is $10, plus gate entry fee (see below).

September 8 through 16. "Fete des Fleurs" exhibit at Mitchell Hall will feature floral-pattern table settings by Tiffany, floral watercolors and photographs, and the unveiling of a new Tiffany earth-enware design commemorating the gardens' anniversary. Exhibit admission is $2, plus gate entry fee.

The gardens are in central Denver, at 1005 York Street, some 6 miles southwest of Stapleton International Airport. Hours are 9 to 4:45 daily. Admission fee is $3 for adults, $1.50 for seniors, $1 for children. As you enter, ask for a copy of the free Tropics to Tundra Guide, which maps and describes the gardens.
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Date:Sep 1, 1984
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