CSU Perennial Garden Reports
Herbaceous Perennial and Ornamental Grass Garden
The perennial demonstration/research area is under the direction of Dr. James E. Klett. Thanks and appreciation is extended to the Larimer County Master Gardeners for their assistance in the garden.
The main objectives of this demonstration garden are to determine which herbaceous perennials are best suited for growing in the Rocky Mountain area and to display these plants for public and teaching purposes.
The New and Improved Perennial Garden!
Big changes occurred in 2016 with the relocation of the Perennial Teaching/Research/Demonstration Garden from the old Plant Environmental Research Center (PERC) to its new home next to the CSU University Center for the Arts. It joins the existing Annual and Perennial flower trials already adjacent to the University Center for the Arts and together the area is being developed into the new CSU/Ft. Collins Garden and Art District!
The move of the perennial garden was required due to the construction of the new on-campus CSU football stadium and practice field over much of the old PERC site.
The arboretum at the old PERC site will not be moved but enhanced with a new entrance along with the addition of a new “Heritage Garden” which will showcase Colorado’s agricultural legacy. The new stadium, practice field and Heritage garden was opened in the fall of 2017.
The garden was moved to the area on the north west corner of the University Center for the Arts (Remington and Pitkin) which has the advantage of being a more visible location than the previous location at 630 West Lake Street.
A new irrigation system was installed since the existing irrigation was designed for a large lawn.
The perennial garden was started at the PERC site in 1980 by Dr. Jim Klett and has grown over the decades to approximately 1000 taxa. Three of each taxa were moved for a total of approximately 3,000 plants. Each root ball was dug to about the size of a #5 nursery container. Since research data is collected from each plant it was critical to maintain proper identification. A temporary ID flag was placed in both the container with the plant as well as at the new location.
The new site was previously a large lawn which was partially removed in July 2016.
Hardscape was installed and the soil was heavily amended.
In addition to the 3,000 herbaceous perennials that were moved, 19 trees were saved and relocated, including this European Hornbeam that required a 124” tree spade.
Dr. Jim Klett created the original perennial garden in 1980 and supervised the move in 2016 to a new location.
The new garden features numerous improvements such as raised beds with sitting walls, bermed beds, benches and gravel pathways.
Plants were replanted in September and re-established well before the onset of winter weather with over 93% survival the following spring.
The new water feature will be visible at night with LED lighting and have plants around the base in the future for a more natural appearance.
A redesigned trellis will make the vine collection much more interesting and visible in the new garden.
Another improvement in the new garden is the gazebo and large cut stone patio for use as an outdoor meeting area or classroom.
The new garden was opened in October 2016. What a difference 1 year makes – the following photos were taken of the same area in August 2017.
Perennial Publication Available: “Best Perennials for the Rocky Mountains and Plain States”
This comprehensive perennial guide includes 20 years of performance data from Colorado State University’s W.D. Holley Plant Environmental Research Center (old perennial garden site). Plant performance was rated and top performers are described according to: landscape use, height, foliage, color and fall effect, winter injury, ornamental fruit, disease and insect problems. These top-performing perennials are ideal for xeriscapes, rock and wildflower gardens, and the traditional perennial border. Also includes plants that attract butterflies and hummingbirds,and 5 bloom charts for white, yellow/orange, red/pink, and blue/purple flowers. An absolute MUST for the Colorado, Rocky Mountain or High Plains gardener.
Available from “The Other Bookstore” (Cooperative Extension – 970 491-6198 or www.csuextstore.com/store