Tuesday 10: The Gardens of Fort Collins

One of the things I love about Fort Collins is the influence of our Colorado State University. It’s the primary reason my wife and I moved here in 1973 (before real estate, I debated becoming a veterinarian). In the end, I didn’t attend CSU for my graduate degree, but it was a factor in making us stay. We’ve always appreciated their emphasis on agricultural research, teaching, and outreach to the community.

Fort Collins as a whole reflects this attitude. On many corners, you will find trees and flowers. With how green everything is right now, it’s an excellent time to explore outdoor options.

Here are 10 Fort Collins gardens… you will see some surprises on the list!

1. The Gardens on Spring Creek – Always a favorite. With the weather warmer, it’s a great place to take the kids. Their children’s garden includes a playhouse and giant watering can fountain. http://www.fcgov.com/gardens/

2. CSU Flower Trial Garden – A great place to take a quick walk and admire the plants. They are designed for observation and research, but you’re allowed to just stare and admire the pretty flowers. http://www.flowertrials.colostate.edu/

3. Terrace and Garden Tour – June 20th – 9AM-2PM – Eagle Ranch Estates- My family always drives through this neighborhood for Christmas lights. It’s well worth a summer visit during this tour to admire the gardens. http://www.jlfortcollins.org/terrace-and-garden-tour

4. Loveland Garden Tour and Art Show – June 20th – 8AM-3PM – Olde Course neighborhoods – Make it a garden day! Once you’re done touring Eagle Ranch Estates, you can explore sustainable gardening and “art for the garden” crafts with this show. http://lovelandyouthgardeners.org/loveland-garden-tour/

5. Fort Collins Xeriscape Demonstration Garden – Decrease your water use (and save money) by visiting this garden for ideas. Or, again, you can just go to admire the pretty flowers. Being outdoors is a proven mood raise. http://www.fcgov.com/utilities/residential/conserve/water-efficiency/xeriscape/demonstration-garden

6. CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture Programs) – Eat local and increase your veggie intake by joining a CSA. We were part of one of a few years ago and it forced my wife to come up with creative uses for all of the cilantro they gave us. Cilantro pesto. Yum! http://coloradocsas.info/csas/pickupCity/Fort%20Collins

7. Community Gardens – If you have no yard or a dog that tramples everything (Baci squashes peonies), community gardens are good solution. You can join and raise your own fruits, veggies, herbs, and annuals in a 10’x15’ plot. $50 for the growing season. http://www.fcgov.com/gardens/our-gardens/community-gardens

8. Downtown Fort Collins, all of the malls, shopping centers, around town – Flowers and trees are everywhere here! My favorite youngest daughter recommends grabbing some Ben & Jerry’s and sitting on a bench in Old Town Square for good people and flower watching. Take a drive and see what you find.

And for a few nontraditional options…

9. Solar Gardens – Solar panels aren’t as pretty as flowers, but they are healthy for the environment. Purchase a ground-mounted solar panel and receive credit on your electric bills. http://www.coloradoan.com/story/money/2014/05/20/fort-collins-plans-solar-project-defunct-pickle-plant/9322525/ http://www.coloradoan.com/story/money/2014/12/11/new-solar-projects-power-thousands-larimer-homes/20270465/ http://www.fortcollinscommunitysolar.com/

10. Beer Gardens- Why not?! Beer is a large part of our Northern Colorado culture. Get your vitamin d while sipping a pint. https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&rlz=1C1FDUM_enUS487US562&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=fort%20collins%20beer%20gardens

Where do you go for a little outdoor time?

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