News & Articles

December 2018

posted Dec 19, 2018, 1:42 PM by Deirdre Daly

Garima Fairfax, president of the board of directors, presented to the Town of Lyons Board of Trustees at their December 17, 2018 meeting. Garima was accompanied by members of the Rocky Mountain Botanic Gardens (RMBG) board and other supporters of the Botanic Gardens. The Trustees indicated their approval of the project and directed the RMBG board to complete the application for license to use the property for the Gardens. A copy of Garima's presentation is attached here for anyone who may be interested.

The next step is to begin to weed the property in preparation for the Gardens. If you're able to help, we'd love to have you! Please contact Garima at or complete the form on the About Us/Contact Us page.

Spring 2018 update!

posted Apr 27, 2018, 5:02 PM by Toshen

As the Town of Lyons continues to recover from the 2013 flood, a number of properties have become available through the Dr. BOP (Deed-Restricted Buy-Out Properties) program. The Rocky Mountain Botanic Gardens group was asked by the town staff to choose which parcel would best fit our purpose, and to then give a presentation to the Town Board of Trustees.

We chose the lot in the confluence that used to be the mobile home park, near the corner of 4th Ave and Prospect St. We presented our proposal, found everyone in favor, and are now drawing up our budget and timeline. When the town approves that, we then ask for approval from FEMA.

We are very excited about this location for the future botanic gardens of Lyons, the very first in Boulder County. It is 1.26 acres adjacent to both the South St. Vrain River and the nearly completed Bohn Park, and is walking distance from downtown Lyons. The nearby neighbors we've spoken with are very happy with our plans.

The members of our volunteer group are Anthea Rice, Kris Todd, Garima Fairfax, Dianne Andrews, Carter Christenson, and Deirdre Daly. We also have 25 volunteers who are enthusiastic to help build the display gardens. If you'd like to be added to our email list of volunteers, please contact Garima:

We plan to begin on the lower part of the parcel, and to divide this area into the natural ecosystems of Colorado: foothills, prairie grassland, montane, riparian (plants that grow along rivers), and plants that grow in the southwest part of Colorado. We'll have pathways meandering through the display gardens, and visitors can learn the names of local plants they see while out hiking, or find new local plants they would like to have in their gardens. Native plants do well in a garden situation, and need less water and fertilizer than cultivated plants. 

The garden will also be a place to view native birds and butterflies from a bench along the path, or to come and do watercolor paintings of native flowers. Our annual plant sale every May supports the creation of this educational garden. 

See the Our gardens page for an updated drawing of the gardens.

Not Now, Deer

posted Jan 13, 2013, 11:09 AM by Garima Fairfax   [ updated Dec 12, 2018, 11:34 AM by Deirdre Daly ]

by Garima Fairfax 

I just found a book called DEERPROOFING YOUR YARD & GARDEN by Rhonda Massingham Hart. It starts with eye-opening facts about deer that help you understand their perspective, as well as their strengths and their beauty, and their incredible senses of smell, hearing, sight, and survival.

You can read about every type of deer deterrent, from fencing to rattling scarecrows to foul smelling rotten egg sprays (homemade or store bought), complete with all the pros and cons of each. As an example, you might have heard that scented bars of soap hanging from trees can deter deer from feasting on tasty garden flowers and greens. But did you know that it takes 450 bars of soap per acre to be effective? And that these same bars of soap can actually attract rodents?

Well, maybe after reading all of that, you want to try planting known deer-resistant plants. Here are a few that I have personal experience with that do well in and around Lyons, Colorado. (The book includes every area of the country.) If your garden is near a natural area, be especially careful to plant only native plants, OR if you plant non-native plants, chose only non-invasive species.

Birch   (Betula spp.)
Catalpa   (Catalpa spp.)
Douglas Fir   (Pseudotsuga menziesii)
Spruce   (Picea spp.)

Forsythia   (Forsythia spp.)
Juniper   (Juniperus spp.)
Lilac    (Syringa vulgare)
Oregon Grape   (Mahonia spp.)
Spirea   (Spirea spp.)

Ajuga   (Ajuga spp.)
Snow-in-summer   (Cerastium spp.)
Thyme   (Thymus spp.)
Wild Strawberry   (Fragaria spp.)

Clematis   (Clematis spp.)
Grape   (Vitis spp.)
Trumpet Creeper   (Campsis radicans)
Virginia Creeper   (Parthenocissus quinquefolia)
Wisteria   (Wisteria sinensis)

Daffodil   (Narcissus spp.)
Grape Hyacinth   (Muscari spp.)

Cosmos   (Cosmos bipinnatus)
Marigold   (Tagetes spp.)
Poppy   (Papaver spp.)
Salvia   (Salvia spp.)
Snapdragon   (Antirrhinum spp.)
Sunflower   (Helianthus spp.)
Sweet Alyssum    (Lobularia maritima)

Beardtongue   (Penstemon spp.)
Beebalm   (Monarda spp.)
Blanketflower   (Gaillardia spp.)
Black-eyed Susan   (Rudbeckia spp.)
Cinquefoil   (Potentilla spp.)
Columbine   (Aquilegia spp.)
Coreopsis   (Coreopsis spp.)
Gentian   (Gentiana spp.)
Iris   (Iris spp.)
Lupine   (Lupinus spp.)
Phlox (Phlox spp.)
Poppy   (Papaver spp.)
Russian Sage   (Perovskia atriplicifolia)
Santolina   (Santolina spp.)
Violet   (Viola spp.)
Wild Buckwheat   (Eriogonum spp.)

Catmint   (Nepeta x faassenii)
Chives   (Allium schoenoprasum)
Coneflower   (Echinacea spp.)
Hyssop   (Hyssopus officinalis)
Lavender   (Lavandula spp.)
Mints   (Mentha spp.)
Oregano (Origanum vulgare)
Sage, garden   (Salvia officinalis)
Thyme   (Thymus spp.)
Yarrow   (Achillea spp.)

Some of these stronger smelling herbs like sage and thyme can be planted amongst other plants in your garden that deer are eating, to help cover up their appeal and deter deer from dining there.

I highly recommend this book if deer are an issue in your garden and you want to learn more.

Hart, Rhonda Massingham, 2005, Deerproofing Your Yard & Garden, Storey Publishing, MA.

The Common Juniper

posted Jan 13, 2013, 10:42 AM by Garima Fairfax   [ updated Jan 13, 2013, 10:45 AM ]

We have in our woods here in Colorado a prostrate juniper called Common Juniper (Juniperus communis subsp. alpina). Less than 3 feet high, it forms a low, spreading clump. You’ve probably seen this coniferous undershrub in our forests, but you may not be aware of how common it really is. It turns out that it is the most widely distributed conifer in the world, and the only circumpolar conifer in the northern hemisphere. That’s enough to warrant a closer look.

This Common Juniper is an evergreen shrub with short, sharp needles, with female or male cones generally on separate plants. The female cone scales are fused together to look like round berries, green at first, then ripening to a dark blue with a grayish “bloom” or coating. The male cones are very small, and can be found at the tips of the branches while they form pollen. After they release their pollen, they disintegrate.

The female berries are an important source of food for birds and small mammals in our woods, and have a long history of medicinal use by Native Americans coast to coast, Europeans, and Northern Asians. This low, spreading juniper, which is found sprawling under Ponderosa Pines of the foothills and all the way up to Bristlecone Pines in the subalpine, proves itself to be a valuable and adaptable member of our ecosystem.

  • Benedict, Audrey DeLella. 2008. The Naturalist’s Guide to the Rockies: Colorado, Southern Wyoming, and New Mexico. Fulcrum Publishing, Golden, Colorado. 
  • Kershaw, Linda; MacKinnon, Andy, and Pojar, Jim. 1998. Plants of the Rocky Mountains. Lone Pine Press, Canada.
  • Lanner, Ronald M. 1999. Conifers of California. Cachuma Press, Los Olivos, California. 
  • Weber, William A. 2001. Colorado Flora: Eastern Slope. 3rd ed. Univ. of Colorado Press, Niwot, Colorado.

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