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As we roll into late summer here in Colorado, we’re also entering the best time of year to be outside. Things are starting to cool off (just a little) and you can feel hints of autumn in the air. It’s a great time to focus on nature and The Garden Conservancy’s Open Days program is back to showcase the beauty of the natural world in small scale — with private gardens from around the metro area.  

“The mission of the program is to open up the private gardens of folks so they can share them,” said Dr. H. Horatio Joyce, director of public programs and education with the conservancy. “This is something that most gardeners don’t get to do the rest of the year — share something that takes a huge amount of time.”  

Presented by Denver Botanic Gardens, the Denver Open Day is on Saturday, Aug. 26 and features four new gardens: 

• Grummons Desert Garden in Lakewood: This garden demonstrates the innovative possibilities of a low-water approach to gardening.  

• Summer Home in Denver: An inner-city xeric pocket garden that aims to educate and inspire other gardeners, create a community atmosphere and discourage overdevelopment.  

• Jim and Dorothy’s Garden in Denver: A garden with about 10,000 homegrown western native plants, all of which highlight the importance of harmonious existence with native.  

• Pine Gardens in Centennial: This garden includes a rock/alpine garden, woodland patio, water feature and shade gardens. Each garden features a radically different approach to the world of gardening.  

According to Joyce, what makes each of the Denver gardens special this year is they’re all nature friendly, so they take into their design and implementation the effect they have on the environment. This can mean planting with native species, cutting down on irrigation and other environmentally-friendly approaches.  

“We’re in a really interesting moment all over the country,” Joyce said. “We’re seeing people learn how to garden in really beautiful ways, even faced with a lot of challenges.”  

For those who attend, not only will they have a great reason to spend some time outside, but they will hopefully come away with some ideas to try in their own gardens.  

“Going to an outstanding botanical garden can be intimidating, and there’s something really scientific about it,” Joyce said. “But during open days, the best part is always the people. Whether they’re new gardeners or advanced, it’s the gathering of different people and it’s a really inspiring and buoying experience.”  

For all the details, visit www.gardenconservancy.org/open-days/open-days-schedule/denver-metropolitan-area-co-open-day

Explore the healing power of art at DIA 

You may not think of Denver International Airport, 8500 Peña Blvd., as a place to see art, but the airport is home to “From War to Words,” an exhibit featuring the artwork, portraits and song lyrics made by CreatiVets. The work can be found on Concourse A.  

According to provided information, CreatiVets is a nonprofit organization with a mission of empowering wounded veterans and healing through arts and music. The works on display include collages and mixed media sculptures and was created thanks to partnerships with a range of universities and art schools around the country. The photos were taken by Jason Myers and song lyrics were made in collaboration with artists like Vince Gill.  


More information can be found at www.flydenver.com

The story of three quilters at the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum 

Quilting is one of those artforms that provides the viewer with not only an example of powerful storytelling, but also something tangible that they can carry with them for the rest of their lives. The latest exhibit at the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum, 200 Violet St., Unit 140, in Golden, examines the work of three quilters and the stories of their lives.  

Three Women Who Quilt runs through Saturday, Oct. 14 and features work by Lea McComas, Sharon L. Schlotzhauer and Jane Mathews. Each artist uses the exhibit to showcase the way they produce their works and the stories they’re interested in sharing with the world.  

All you need to know can be found at www.rmqm.org

Clarke’s Concert of the Week — City and Colour at Summit Music Hall 

It takes real talent to make music as pretty and cheese-free as singer/songwriter City and Colour (whose real name is Dallas Green) does on his latest album, “The Love Still Held Me Near.” City and Colour has been making music for nearly 20 years, but this might be his best release to date. The album is nuanced and layered and just devastatingly pretty.  


In support of the record, City and Colour will be stopping by Summit Music Hall, 1902 Blake St. in Denver, at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 29. He’ll be joined by opener Jaye Jayle for a night that is sure to be powerful and enchanting.  

Get tickets for the show at www.livenation.com

Clarke Reader’s column on culture appears on a weekly basis. He can be reached at Clarke.Reader@hotmail.com.