Nature Friday ~ April 29, 2022

Welcome to the last Nature Friday post for April. As always, we’re joining our fur-pals, Rosy, Sunny and Jakey from LLB in Our Backyard.

Ranch HandsThis week (and likely for a few future weeks) we’re going to share images from the Denver Botanical Gardens. Let’s get started.

Today we’ll be highlighting some of the amazing things to see from the Boettcher Memorial Tropical Conservatory at the gardens, starting with the building.

Denver Botanical Gardens
Image courtesy of Tom Churchill

This concrete and Plexiglas paneled structure, designed in 1964 by Denver architects Victor Hornbein and Ed White Jr., opened in 1966. Named to honor local benefactor Claude Boettcher of Ideal Cement Company, it became a Denver Landmark in 1973 and contains more than 11,000 sq. ft. of plants from tropical and subtropical regions, as well as a concrete fabricated two-story banyan tree offering a multi-layered view of the tropical forest.

When you first enter the conservatory there is a small aquarium with D. tinctorius “Azureus”  (Blue Dart Poison Frog), who has bright blue skin with dark spots. With glands producing poisonous alkaloids which can paralyze and sometimes kill a potential predator, these little guys (reaching approximately 3.0-4.5 cm in length) live in the rainforest of Brazil and feed on ants, beetles, flies, mites, spiders, termites, maggots, and caterpillars. Spots are unique to each frog. These frogs are territorial and aggressive toward their own as well as others and their toxins have been used on the tips of arrows darts of natives.

Denver Botanical Gardens

Sorry about the glare, the aquarium has a ceiling light above it but they are kind of cute little guys.

Denver Botanical Gardens

{Shudder} We’re not sure we’d like toxic frogs less threatening so let’s see something else, shall we?

Bromeliads are tropical plants that adapt to various climates. Their foliage takes different shapes, from needle-thin to broad and flat, symmetrical to irregular, spiky to soft and usually grows in a rosette, are widely patterned and colored, ranging from maroon, through shades of green, to gold. Varieties may have leaves with red, yellow, white or cream variations. Did you know that pineapples are a type of bromeliad?

Mum couldn’t find an identifying tag in the humid conservatory but loved this bright pink one nonetheless.

Denver Botanical Gardens

Lots of you are bakers and probably use vanilla when baking but did you know that the vanilla flavoring come from an orchid? Mum buys the pods, and makes her own extract.

Denver Botanical Gardens Denver Botanical Gardens

Mum was totally captivated by this beautiful Travelers Palm (Ravenala Madagascariensis) which fanned across a large area of the conservatory. Isn’t that symmetry something else?

Denver Botanical Gardens

Well, that’s it for this week. Join us next time for another post highlighting scenes from the Denver Botanical Gardens. With the weather being far more pleasant we hope to get outside to enjoy some of Nature’s wondrous treasures. Do you have any special plans?

Nature Friday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

38 thoughts on “Nature Friday ~ April 29, 2022

  1. Great selection of plants there, Monika and the frog. The pink pineapples looked amazing. My daughter would love them. She is wanting to paint our car pink
    I’ve never been to something like this. Our climate is very different and I’m not aware of any nearby.
    Best wishes,

    1. The Botanical Gardens are one of my favorite spots in the city. Course having an army of volunteers to tend to them no doubt makes them look fabulous, still I’ve found the best strategy for successful gardening is to use native plants. You can never go wrong with them!

  2. WOW – the building itself is amazing and inside what an assortment of gorgeous plants and critters – even the toxic frog is an amazing color. Thanks for the tour – can’t wait to see more!

    Hugs, Pam

    1. That building is an amazing architectural gem and houses some fascinating plants and critters. Let’s hear it for blue frogs!

  3. Wow!! What a beautiful first look at the DBG…We can’t wait for the next installment!
    We’re thinking the prettier the frog, the more toxic…
    Rosy, Sunny and Jakey

  4. The killer frog looks like a statue…but statues don’t kill ya! We had no idea about where vanilla came from. That was pretty cool to learn about. Can’t wait to see what else you’ll share about these fabulous botanical gardens!

    1. Thanks, there are always new plants (and old favorites) for share from the Botanical Gardens. The neighborhood has become a bit boring with diversity so a trip was essential to show interesting specimens. Here’s hoping you have a ‘wagnificent’ weekend.

  5. I have been to thaw couple of the UC Davis Arboretem (sp) sales, usually held 3-4 times a year in the spring. The lines are long, and the fanatics come early to run in and get the rare things they want. The first couple of times I went I was trying to populate my newly grassless front yard. Each time I came home with pots in the trunk, on and below the back seat, and a few on the front street, almost all flowering. It didn’t take long to realize the yard looks much better with fewer plants, and one really should pay attention to plant size. After a year since planting the yard is established, I use 4 50′ leaky hoses, running each one an hour once a week or less, only mid Spring thru mid Fall. Bees, butterflies and hummingbirds love me. I am particularly fond of lavender, penstemon and flowering sage.

    1. DBG hosts their annual sale in May; it’s an absolute zoo with traffic and parking beyond out of control. I went a couple of times but avoid it now since the crowd is too chaotic for me these days. I’m so out of practice in large crowds anymore.

  6. I love visiting conservatories like yours, we have one about 60 miles from here, and its also amazing! There’s another in Niagara Falls that also is home to a variety of butterflies, how cool is that!

    You made some interesting discoveries to share with us…and yes I did know that about Vanilla and pineapple!
    I sure wish vanilla wasn’t so darn expensive! Its one of my fave flavors…and we used to use a lot of vanilla sugar in baking. You can make your own, but we were lazy and bought it, imported from Germany…nowadays we just use stevia (or something else) and add Vanilla extract.

    I don’t think I want to meet up with a froggy like that!! Yikes!

    1. I generally visit the Conservatory and always discover something new and exciting. Can’t believe I hadn’t noticed that blue poison dart frog before!

    1. There’s something for everyone there. And it’s changing all the time to keep it fresh.

  7. More color, more dangerous? Just guessing. Beautiful frog from a distance.

    Have a fabulous day and weekend. Scritches to the pups, a smooch to Norman and a big hug to you. ♥

    1. Could very well be. It sure was a fascinating little critter. Hoping you have a terrific weekend.

    1. Fascinating little buggers and oh-so colorful. It’s nice to have a thick glass window between them, too. LOL Hope you have a super weekend!

    1. It’s a peaceful place with amazing sights to enjoy. I have to admit that was the cutest frog I’ve seen in a long time and can’t believe I’d overlooked it before. Have a lovely weekend.

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