As with all our GCA clubs this year, the challenge for the Garden Club of Denver is keeping our club active and functional while coping with the COVID-19 epidemic. The poll by our Executive Committee revealed little enthusiasm for meeting indoors in large groups, so we are adapting by turning to outdoor activities in small groups, employing appropriate precautions, to satisfy our longing for camaraderie.
Outdoor adventures in the mountains are always popular for Colorado dwellers and never more so than now. We are especially fortunate to have Rocky Mountain National Park within a 2 hour drive of Denver and the recent wildflower hike at the Grant property adjacent to the park was a welcome chance for a few of us to be together on a beautiful July morning. The Grants’ cabins, which have been in Rhondda and Liza Grants’ family since the 1890’s, were a safe and convenient base for exploring the wildflower meadows in the park and around the cabins.
With the pandemic, 2020 has been less than optimal in many ways, but it has proven to be a great year for wildflowers, so our efforts were well rewarded. Liza Grant shared her lifetime of knowledge as she guided us to find over 25 varieties of flowers currently in bloom. The most exciting sighting was of the rare wood lily, Lilium philadelphicum. Its size and intense color were a delight. It is always interesting to see the wild versions of our favorite garden flowers and to learn about their preferred conditions.
The scent of the ponderosa pines, the cool mountain breezes and intense blue skies lifted all our spirits. Walking along the Big Thompson River, sharing an outdoor lunch together and catching up with friends was at least as important as our horticultural adventure, and the magnificent views of Long’s Peak were an added treat. We left with a keen appreciation for the 100-plus years of the Grant family’s stewardship of this remarkable ecosystem.