Gardening on the Front Range can be challenging! Colorado Chautauqua’s horticulturist has picked a few hardy plants to help you create a thriving garden of your own. You can learn more about waterwise gardening and dealing with animals here, too!

Sedum Spectabile ‘Autumn Joy’

“Autumn Joy Sedum”

A beautiful perennial with succulent foliage and an exceptionally long period of interest. The foliage itself is succulent and quite attractive and when it begins to show its flat-topped flowers that progress from a salmon pink to a russet red. Then in early winter they turn a rusty brown that still holds a great deal of visual interest, especially when snow or ice accumulates, sometimes persisting until the following spring.

Rudbeckia Trifoliata

“Brown-Eyed Susan”

(Surrounded by Symphyotrichum Laeve – Smooth Blue Aster.) A herbaceous biennial or short-lived perennial that does very well in the semi-arid climate of Colorado. Though it is a short-lived perennial, we make certain to allow for natural seed dispersal, as well as a little gardener seed dispersal. We always have a nice representation of the species throughout our Chautauqua Gardens. It begins blooming in August and continues into late October. After blooming, we allow the seeds heads to remain for the the late fall and winter season. They too are very attractive with a bit of snow, ice, and or frost. Our resident feathered friends also appreciate the seeds heads. They snack on them from late fall to spring.

Crocus Specisous 

“Autumn Crocus”

This perennial bulb is always a welcome surprise that arrives just when you think the growing season is over. It produces grass-like foliage which the deer, rabbits, and voles do not seem to relish in our Chautauqua Gardens. In the spring, be sure not to trim the foliage back thinking it is grass. This is where the nutrients come from for its beautiful blooms in the fall.

Alcea Rosea

“Old Fashioned Hollyhock”

This beautiful plant is a biennial. The first-year it produces a low growing rosette of leaves and the second year a flowering stalk with blooms. It starts blooming in early July and continues into August, with occasional blooms in September. The seeds are shaped like an old-fashioned wheel of cheese and are often referred to as “Fairy Cheese.” Leave the flowering stalks in place until well into winter. When cutting back, remove the seed pods, open the pods and redistribute the seeds (to maintain a biennial plant in perpetuity). These plants are incredibly drought tolerant and seem to thrive on a bit of neglect.