Many of these plants grow well from seed if sown in late fall. Potted plants may be purchased at nurseries or online at a company such as High Country Gardens, http://www.highcountrygardens.com. This web site is a great resource with good photos.

Sea Foam, Silver Sage Artemisia versicolor
A plant with a lot of texture – frothy, curly, silver green foliage – at bottom right of photo. It will grow in moderate to dry conditions. This is a ‘Plant Select’ plant.

Sea Foam, Silver Sage

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Aster, AlpineAster sp.
Some aster species do well up here. When making selections, be sure to select plants for USDA zones 3 or 4.

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Basket of Gold Alyssum saxatile
A plant with a lot of texture – frothy, curly, silver green foliage – at bottom right of photo. It will grow in moderate to dry conditions. This is a ‘Plant Select’ plant.

Basket of Gold

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Bulbsvarious
Daffodils do well, as do tulips. Gophers may eat the bulbs, and tulips provide a colorful salad vegetable for animals such as deer, so be warned! Plant in the fall.

Aliums will bloom from year to year, and will provide blossoms which may be used fresh or left to dry and picked for dried flower arrangements before the winter snow.

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CatmintNepeta sp.
This hardy perennial gives rise to bushy plants covered with blue blossoms. Cut off the dead blooms after flowering and you may be lucky enough to get another flush!

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Clustered Bellflower Campanula glomerata
This is a most rewarding plant and provides a good show. It transplants easily, but its roots will spawn new plants, also. It requires little water once established. It grows to about 10” in height.

Clustered Bellflower

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Aquilegia caerulea

The state flower of Colorado grows well in Summit County. There are some homes which have wonderful, showy expanses of these plants and it almost takes your breath away. Plants can be grown from seed or are available in pots in the nurseries. The wild variety tends to be blue, but they are available in all sorts of colors. They tend to prefer some shade, but will grow in full sun, too, reaching a height of 24 – 36”. It is wonderful to see them coming into bloom, but devastating to find that the deer have come by overnight and bitten off all the blossom! Following are some magnificent photos which were shared with us and really show off the beauty of this plant and its blossoms.

Columbine

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Daisy, Shasta Leucanthemum superbum
This daisy is a hardy perennial which blooms well. Depending on the variety, it may need to be staked. Small, low growing species are available, too. It can be invasive if the summer is a good, warm one, allowing the seed to mature.

Shasta Daily

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Daylilies Hemerocallis
The flowers of these lilies tend to open at sunrise and wither at sunset. Numerous colors and forms are available, there being 60,000 registered cultivars. Our little buddies from the forests like these, too. They’ll visit at night and bite off the blooms.

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Dianthus/Pinks Dianthus deltoids
These perennials are prolific bloomers and produce viable seed, thus they spread easily. These short plants, about 6" in height, provide color throughout the summer. They do best with irrigation.

Dianthus/Pinks

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Delphiniums Delphinium
Delphiniums love our cool summer nights and grow very well in the County, enhancing perennial beds and providing a source of bold blooms for the house.  The plants give rise to long spikes on which are mounted spurred flowers. They are available in a variety of different colors from rich, royal blue, to pale blue to white to mauve. Deer love them, especially when they are at their prime! Delphiniums require some irrigation and may need to be staked. An alternative name is Larkspur.

Delphinium

New Zealand Delphiniums produce yellow blossoms and provide color contrast. Jane Hendrix in Blue River sells these special plants, (970) 453-4886.

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Edelweiss Leontopodium alpinum
This alpine European plant is available in some nurseries. Once established it blooms from year to year. It is an interesting little plant to have in the garden. It thrives in partial shade.

Edelweiss

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Flax  Linum perenne
Classified as a perennial, flax sometimes behaves like a biennial. It requires little water and provides a wonderful show during the early part of the summer. To see a mass of blue flax waving in the wind can take ones breath away! A red variety is available, but it is difficult to grow. Blue flax is much hardier and most rewarding. It grows to a height of 10”.

The blossom of blue flax intermingled with Basket of Gold.

Flax

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Gaillardia Gaillardia aristata
These colorful perennials, with brilliant red center and yellow circumference, may also be known as blanket flower. Once established they need little water. They will re-seed and spread. Their leaves are a sage color.

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Geranium, Johnson's Blue Geranium ibericum 'Johnson's Blue'
This hardy, drought tolerant perennial is disease resistant. It likes to be in full sun and bees and butterflies love it. It is suggested that it be cut back after blooming to encourage new growth and a compact shape. It seeds readily, so expect to see new plants popping up in areas you had not designated for this rewarding plant.

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Globe Flower Trollius
This plant is a member of the buttercup family, Ranunculaceae. They do well at this altitude, producing bright yellow flowers. They are poisonous to livestock so tend not to be eaten by deer. Plants are sold by Jane Hendrix in Blue River, (970) 453-4886.

Globe Flower

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Grasses
In general, ornamental grasses tend to be difficult to grow unless they get a protected spot. At the Breckenridge Alpine Garden, we have had success with:

  • Korean Feather Reed Grass Calamagrostis brachytricha
    It has produced frothy blooms and is a striking plant. The fronds can be cut in the fall and used for flower arrangements. This is a Plant Select offering which has tested well at this altitude. (See image below.)
  • Blue Fescue Festuca glauca
    Several varieties of this grass can successfully exist in this climate. It is a short, clumpy, ornamental grass with a blue gray hue. It is drought resistant.

Grass

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Iris

  • Iris, Bearded  Iris germanica
    They can provide a wonderful show in early summer. These perennials are grown from rhizomes and can be split and replanted if the mass becomes too dense. Note that rhizomes should not be buried in the soil, but about half of the tuber should be showing above ground in the horizontal plane. If they are too deep they will not bloom. If you have irises and they aren’t blooming, lift them with a fork to expose the upper surface and back fill with some dirt. They are long lived, require little maintenance and grow to a height of about 12”

Bearded Iris

  • Iris, Siberian Iris sibirca
    The rhizomes like moister conditions than the bearded variety, but they are fairly drought tolerant, once established. They like mulch and the best time to divide them is in the spring, so that the rhizomes can develop good root systems before the winter. Siberian iris is available in a wide variety of colors.
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Lamium or Spotted Dead Nettle Lamium maculatum
This perennial is used as a ground cover and is easy to grow. It likes well drained soils, but will tolerate a wide range of soil types. It is short, blooms all summer and comes in a variety of colors. The leaves have a silvery finish. It can be invasive and should be cut back after the first bloom of the summer to encourage compact growth.

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Lilies

Asiatic and Oriental Lilies are true lilies being from the genus Lilium.

Lilies are easy to grow and can provide a colorful addition to your garden. Many colors are available and bloom at different times during the summer. Select a variety of cultivars to have lilies in bloom all summer long. The bulbs are hardy and require minimal care. However, you are advised to select those suitable for USDA zone 3, and depending on the location, zone 4.

  • Asiatic lilies are considered to be the easiest to grow. Plant bulbs as soon as they arrive as they can be harmed by the dry atmosphere. Small bulbs should be planted 2-4” deep; large bulbs 4-6” deep. You may like to protect newly planted bulbs with a good layer of mulch during the winter, but once they get established this isn’t necessary, if you conditions allow a good layer of snow cover.

Asiatic lilies

  • Daylilies are perennial plants of the genus Hemerocallis. Literally hundreds of cultivars exist with a wide range of colors. They tend to flower at sunrise and wither at sunset, often being replaced by another flower the next day. When selecting daylilies, make sure you order cultivars of appropriate hardiness. The plants grow in clumps with a crown and many leafy protrusions.
  • Asiatic (center) and daylilies (to the left) make a wonderful show in a Breckenridge garden, along with some Gaillardia.

Mountain lupine

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Lupine Lupinus
Lupines are leguminous plants and can be seen throughout our county in the early to mid summer.

  • Mountain lupine, Lupinus argenteus, grows wild in or environment, but can be cultivated from seed. It is a much smaller plant with lesser inflorescences than those that follow.

Mountain lupine

  • Perennial lupine, Lupinus perennis, has a blue flower, and is a dependable plant, growing in a variety of different soils and with little or no irrigation. It is easily cultivated from seed and can provide a splendid show.

Perennial lupine

Potted lupines are available in the nurseries, or the ones mentioned above can be grown from seed.

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Maltese Cross Lychnis chalcedonica
With a blossom shaped like a Maltese cross, this plant is a bright scarlet color. It really adds another dimension to the mountain garden, once it gets established. Growing the plant from seed isn’t easy, so potted plants from a nursery are recommended. They need some irrigation.

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Pasque Flower Pulsatilla vulgaris
Delicate and most attractive, these plants look good when planted with bulbs. They are available in a variety of different colors, from purple to red to creamy white.

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Penstemons Penstemon strictus
There are many varieties of penstemon, but the one that is the most rewarding is the Rocky Mountain Penstemon, Penstemon strictus. It will bloom year after year, isn’t fussy about where it grows, and needs little or no water to get established. Vast areas of poor land can be seeded with penstemon and made to look attractive. Just look at the bike path, alongside Highway 9, between Farmer’s Korner and Tiger Run RV Park, in the summer. It is lined with penstemons. However, a word of caution, penstemons can be invasive as they produce vast quantities of seed each year.

Flax

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Peony  Paeonia
These glorious plants grow up here in bush or herbaceous form. Once established they can be most rewarding, producing large blossoms, but in less profusion than at lower altitudes. Watch that the flowers aren’t attacked by ants. Root stock can be purchased on the Internet from nurseries. Make sure that the recommended USDA zone is 3 or less, for the Breckenridge area, or 3-4 for Silverthorne.

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Phlox, Creeping  Phlox sp.
Creeping phlox is a hardy, rewarding plant. It is available in a number of shades such as pink and lavender. Massed together to form a groundcover, creeping phlox plants make a bold statement. After plants have bloomed, trim off the dead blossoms and they may bloom again. If you need to split your phlox, do so after blooming in the early summer.

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Pincushion Flower Scabiosa
These plants which have neat foliage and form a low mound of frilly leaves, bloom early in summer. The blooms which may be pale purple, pale pink or deep pink, are on long stems and can be used for flower arranging.

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Poppies Papaver nudicaule (Icelandic Poppy); Papaver orientale (Oriental Poppy)

Perennial varieties are Icelandic and Oriental Poppy.

  • Icelandic poppies are available in pots at the nursery, or can be grown from seed. They are considered to be a wildflower, being native to northern North America and Asia. The usual varieties produce yellow, orange or white blooms. Less common are pink flowers. They are a most rewarding plant, providing flowers for almost the entire summer.  

Icelandic poppies

  • Oriental poppies are difficult to grow from seed. Nurseries are a better source or root stock may be purchased online. The natural, orange colored oriental poppy is a prolific bloomer once it gets established. With breeding a wide variety of other colors have been created. The leaves are hairy and the root develops as time goes on. It is not thought that poppy seed matures at our altitude; there just isn't enough sun or warmth.
    Oriental poppies are bold and produce many blossoms during the season, once they get established. Here they are seen below with an annual, Larkspur.

Sedum

Hybrid Oriental poppy. Note the hairy leaves.

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Sedum Sedum
Often referred to as ‘stonecrop’, there are about 400 different species of these leafy succulents. Some like warm temperatures, but others prefer cooler climes and are very hardy. They grow very well in a variety of different locations, including rocky ground. They like to have some water, but can grow well without irrigation, too. They spread easily and not only have attractive leaves, but provide colorful blooms at different times during the summer, depending on the species. Nurseries are a good source of different kinds of sedum, but if you are interested in any of those shown in these photos, send us an e-mail and we’ll split of some plants for you. Sedum transplant easily and can make a terrific show.

  • Autumn Joy is one of the larger sedum and has pale green leaves and a pink flower. The deer like the blooms!
  • Dragon’s Blood has green leaves and pink flowers in the summer. As time progresses towards fall, the leaves turn to a red color. Vera Jameson has green leaves which are flushed with hints of burgundy. Flowers are pink.
  • Hens and Chicks, Sempervivium, are of the same family, and their rosette shape adds texture to a sedum or rock garden. Different varieties are available with large and small rosettes, colors from grey to green, and, sometimes have cobwebs on the top!
  • 'Old Man'Bones', Sedum globosum, has an interesting texture, the leaves being rounded. It adds a different textural dimension to any sedum bed!

Sedum

Sedum is sometimes used on roofs, as can be seen on a building near Avon' Walmart

Native sedum can be found in gravely ground. It is a small plant with a yellow bloom. Some can be seen in Frisco, on the bank between Highway 9 and Frisco’s sledding hill!

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Snow in Summer Cerastium biebersteinii
This is a terrific plant for a rock garden. It has wooly, silvery leaves and a profusion of white blossoms. It is an attractive plant, even when not in bloom. It’s available in the nurseries or can be grown from seed.

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Soapwort Saponaria sp.
This is a superior groundcover which is prolific given the right conditions. It loves our cool climate and rock gardens and the blankets of flowers, white or pink, are stunning.

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Thyme, Wooly Thymus pseudolanuginosus or Thymus serpyllum
This evergreen groundcover is a great little plant. It will grow from seed, if you so desire, and looks wonderful if planted between flagstones. A garden to the south of Breckenridge has a stone staircase and the owner has planted wooly thyme from top to bottom between the pieces for rock. It looks magnificent especially when the thyme bears its pink flowers. It looks good in rock gardens, too, as it falls over rock surfaces.

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Veronica, Creeping Veronica sp.
If you have flagstones and want to plant something between them, try creeping veronica. It is hardy, blooms well and comes in pale or deep blue. It is an impressive little plant, but beware, it does tend to be invasive.

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Veronica, Speedwell Veronica sp.
There are several types of speedwell which vary in height from low ground covers to species which are 18” tall. They are hardy and bloom well.

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Yarrow Achillea millefolium
The white variety is native and spreads abundantly, even to the point of being invasive. It has an extensive root structure which is difficult to get rid of, once it gets established. Its seed needs little or no water to grow and is good for open ground. Likewise the pink variety is very easy to cultivate, but it is much more interesting than the white. Red and yellow yarrow are available in the local nurseries. They provide a wonderful splash of color once established.

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We try to educate our members and the community about gardening in Summit County and provide a social setting for informational exchanges to share the beauty of gardening with others. There's lots going on in our Club and room for many to be involved. It’s surprising how much we accomplish in our short Summit summer: