Come visit the garden!
- Address: 21901 E Hampden Ave, Aurora, CO 80013
- Master Gardener Hours: April – Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings 10 a.m. to Noon. May through September – Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Please come meet the master gardeners who can show you the Plains Heirloom Garden.
- Contact us: By Email or phone at 303-730-1920.
- Visit the Plains Conservation Center website for public hours and more information.
The demonstration vegetable garden is located near the southeast corner of the Plains Conservation Center (PCC) at the intersection of E. Hampden Ave and S. Picadilly Road. The Plains Conservation Center is an 1100-acre nature preserve on ancestral tribal lands of the Cheyenne and Arapahoe (1500-1860). It houses replicas of a homestead village and Tipi camp that showcase pioneer and Plains Native American life in the late 1800’s. It is under West Arapahoe Soil Conservation District Protection and part of the City of Aurora Open Space. It is free to the public and there are many educational programs (school field trips, kid’s programs, canning and pickling, tea and soap making, gardening classes, cooking classes and compost classes). There is plenty of wildlife to enjoy (pronghorn, birds, coyotes, foxes, badgers and even bald eagle nests). Vegetation is of the Shortgrass Steppe. No dogs or bikes are allowed but there are plenty of hiking opportunities to do on 14 miles of trails.
The demonstration garden is part of a unique partnership between The Denver Botanic Gardens, the City of Aurora, and CSU Arapahoe County Master Gardeners with all three playing roles in planning, maintenance, and food distribution. The no-till garden is period appropriate with 1800’s heirloom cultivars for use for culinary and medicinal purposes. No spraying of herbicides or pesticides is allowed. All unwanted vegetation must be pulled out.
Produce is used and/or given away during educational programing and donated to the CSU “Grow and Give” program, a larger hunger relief effort in Colorado. This garden typically supports food bank locations in southeast Aurora. Over 500 pounds was donated to local food banks in 2022.
Composting is now done by CSU Arapahoe County Master Gardeners, thanks to the Luke R. Olson Eagle Project in 2022.
Pronghorn roam the plains and you will often see them nearby getting a drink of water or wandering by and gazing your way!
There are prairie rattlesnakes that live at the Plains Conservation Center. It is required that you wear close toed shoes when volunteering for your garden shift for this reason. Also, if you are the first one in the garden, it is a good idea to walk the perimeter of the inside of the garden to check for snakes. We have not had any issues but it is a good idea to be alert.
And of course, the usual suspects of rabbits nibbling on greens. The garden is entirely fenced so it keeps most of the prairie inhabitants at bay.
Rain Shadow – Why water is limited on the plains.
To Learn More:
Denver Botanic Gardens Course Catalog
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