Gardening with Deb: Botanic Park a wonderful resource |

Gardening with Deb: Botanic Park a wonderful resource

Probably not since Margaret Crawford brought her yellow roses here from Missouri in the 1870s has anyone cultivated such an interest in high country gardening as two British transplants who now call Steamboat their home: Audrey and Bob Enever.

Through their generosity and active involvement, Steamboat is home to one of the most beautiful botanic parks in the state. The Enevers donated the land (six acres along the Yampa River) the park occupies as well as financed and designed its infrastructure and set aside a substantial amount of money as an endowment for the park so that, as Bob said,”the Park won’t die when we do.”

Thanks to an active board, income from the endowment is supplemented with membership income as well as grants and donations to cover operating costs. The park, which opened in 1997, is owned by the city and managed by an independent board of directors.

In establishing the Park — in memory of the untimely death of one of their sons — Bob and Audrey envisioned not just a public park where people could come and passively look, but rather one in which the community would be actively engaged — in design, growth and operations. At present, more than 50 gardens have taken root in the park, many of which were conceived and are maintained by people in the Steamboat community who wished to honor someone or had an interest in a particular type of landscape. Included among the 50 gardens are a Member’s Rock Garden, Hummingbird Garden, Waterwise Garden, September Charm Garden, Penstemon Garden, Sensory Garden, Rose Garden and High Country Natives Garden.

It’s a wonderful place to visit at all times of the growing season to get ideas on which plants flower when, which environment works best for certain plants, how to best group flowers and trees and shrubs or just to enjoy the sounds of water and wind and birds as you take in the aromas and colors of the plants currently in bloom.

If you’d like to become more involved in the park, consider joining the corps of volunteers who assist park staff with upkeep during Social Gardening on Wednesday and Saturday mornings, as well as at other times of the week. Park tours are led by area Master Gardeners, and many other activities — such as free concerts, weddings, seminars and children’s gardening programs — take place at the park throughout the summer.

Just as Mrs. Crawford’s roses are now found in yards throughout the Steamboat area, including at the Yampa River Botanic Park, Bob and Audrey’s community park has sparked a community-wide interest in gardening that has resulted in many, many beautiful public and private gardens throughout the Yampa Valley. Thank you, Audrey and Bob.

The park is now open from dawn until dusk. Take a stroll through it today.

Deb Babcock is a Master Gardener through the CSU Extension Routt County. Questions? Call 879-0825 or:

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