Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Visiting the garden of Kelly Grummons

The day after the 2019 Garden Bloggers Fling wrapped, Andrew and I headed to the Denver Botanic Garden. I'd had a painfully short time to explore during the Fling, and Andrew was being a good sport. Once there, we bumped into Panayoti Kelaidis (all around amazing plantsman and Senior Curator and Director of Outreach at the garden), before I knew it he'd connected us with Kelly Grummons, for a tour of Kelly's private garden. After we finished at the DBG we called a car and shortly after arrived at a stranger's door.

When Panayoti was arranging the visit he excitedly said "Kelly has an Agave gracilipes that's blooming" I appreciated this shorthand for "you're gonna love this garden," here's the blooming agave...



Allium altaicum

I wish I could tell you what these blooming plants are, some sort of yucca, I believe (*update, Yucca rupicola, thanks Bob Nold*). This was day five of our Colorado adventure and my brain was full. Kelly was an unbelievably knowledgeable man (Panayoti called him "arguably the best horticulturist in the Rocky Mountain region") but I simply was on information overload and could not keep up with him. I wish I had recorded our visit, seriously.

This little cutie! I also wish I could remember her name (I think she is a she...), she was very entertaining and playful.

Crambe maritima, I believe.

Looking back...

Looking forward...

That Agave parryi v. neomexicana x utahensis, or as Kelly calles it "deep blue form New Mexican agave" was a beauty.

I came home with one, and you can have one too...(available here)

The veggie garden...

Kelly (on the right) told me where to get these large wire frames, but I cannot remember, anybody know? Oh and that's Andrew on the left. We both donned our plastic capes as the skies opened just as soon as we arrived at Kelly's. We looked ridiculous, but stayed dry.

The opuntia house was total spiky magic!

Opuntia davisii x kleinii 'Golden Lion'

Opuntia aurea 'Mandarin Sunrise'

And a few more that I didn't catch the name of...

Here's Kelly's website, it's worth perusing...

Moving into another propagation area...

This! OMG this. He was okay with me taking a photo, and believe me it felt as textural as it looks. Kelly has taken steps to get it into production, hopefully we'll be able to purchase one soon.

More from inside the greenhouses...

Back outside...

And there's sun!

I believe this is Yucca elata...

I think this was a camera accident, but I rather like it.

Eremurus was a stunner all through our Colorado travels.

Opuntia polyacantha 'Peter Pan', so called because it never matures and never blooms, forever staying in this, it's juvenile form. I ordered a pair as soon as I got home (Kelly didn't have them onsite).

Just a few more photos before we depart...

The moral of this story—in case you haven't already figured it out—if Panayoti Kelaidis suggests you visit a garden, do it!

Weather Diary, Sept 16: Hi 69, Low 56/ Precip .01"

All material © 2009-2019 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.


  1. What a stroke of remarkable luck that you ran into Panayoti again at the DBG and that he suggested (and arranged!) for you to visit Kelly's garden. It's right up your alley. That textural Agave with the wicked long spikes -- what a crazy thing! Thanks for sharing your photos.

    1. Indeed, such a random thing that really worked out better than if it had been planned.

  2. When I saw that ginormous bloom on the relatively small agave, I started to ponder. The deadly thorns say: Keep away, but then the bloom spikes are like beacons, inviting pollinators first and then birds, to perch and disperse seeds. Vary talented plants.
    Allium altaicum: the most unusual allium I never heard of...

    1. Yes indeed, you've just described the magic of the agave. Plus when that bloom spike falls and disburses its seeds, or baby plants—bulbils—it's tall enough to get them quite aways from the mother plant.

  3. Wow, I really like that Agave utahensis x neomexicana hybrid. Also, trying to figure out how he keeps weeds out of the cacti - preventative maintenance, I guess! Very impressive!

    1. Indeed it was, plus the knowledge he had to share, that was the best part. Really interesting visit.

  4. That's a pretty fantastic coda to your Denver trip. You must have felt you were in spiky heaven when you saw that Opunita greenhouse. Even I'm developing a certain affection for some of those wicked plants.

  5. Peter Pan! Great looking plant and brilliant marketing with that name. If you find the source of that metal framework, you will have to post about it. I am currently looking for something just like that.

    1. Will do, and ya, Peter Pan is pretty fabulous.

  6. Definitely your type of garden, Loree... how fortunate you got to see it!

  7. An Opuntia house? Wow! Yes, I would like to know more about the frames for the edible planters, too. I love the edible garden set-up. Lucky you to have a private tour of this amazing place!

  8. Right place, right time and what a visit! Your head must have been bursting with all that prickly beauty. And so much flowering too. Such a large space-how many acres? And was it in the lower desert or higher up toward Scottsdale which always surprises me as being at over 1000' A. rupicola? Must look that one up. I so would love a pink flowering prickly pear.

    1. Scottsdale? No, this was in Denver, not that far from the Denver Botanic Garden actually. And Yucca rupicola, I think Pam grows this one, so you should be able to as well.

  9. Serendipity at work, for sure... Lucky you! And yes, that new Agave is truly special. Does it have a name yet? Love little Peter Pan, too. Super cute - although FAR from as pettable as it looks, I imagine. LOL!

  10. So glad that you got to see this and grateful that you shared it! Fab garden full of treasures.

  11. I went through my favorite blogs today and I posted this message on the message board of each of them: You inspire me!

  12. Love it! Kinda of a dream - own some land and open a specialized nursery.


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