Plant Select:
“Durable Plants for the Garden”

For more than twenty-five years, the Plant Select program has been developing plants for landscape and gardening use in the Rocky Mountain west.  It is a cooperative program administered by the Denver Botanic Gardens and Colorado State University, together with landscape and nursery professionals from throughout the Rocky Mountain region and beyond.  Under the auspices of the program, plants from compatible climate zones worldwide are adapted and tested for use in the demanding climates of the Rocky Mountains.  Many have come from as far afield as South Africa, Andean South America and the southern hemisphere parts of Asia’s steppes;  they have been tested and tweaked to be classified as “hardy in Denver” in the notations of the gardening catalogues.

To commemorate the success of the program, a celebratory and helpful book was proposed several years ago that would combine photographs, useful growing information and suggestions for best plant options, all supplemented by drawings.  Illustration often supplements and even surpasses photography in giving a clear and useful portrait of the plant.  These three paintings were part of that project and are featured in the resulting volume:  “Durable Plants for the Garden:  A Plant Select Guide”  (Fulcrum Publishing;  Golden, CO,  2009).

Given the extensive testing and breeding of the Plant Select selections for hardiness and durability, the in joke among many of the artists was that we’re preparing for the next edition of the CSU Extension Service’s guide to invasive plants, as many of the criteria that make for good, high-altitude, semi-arid garden plants are also attributes of some of the more persistent weeds that have escaped the tidy confines of the garden to colonize our open spaces and threaten more specialized native species with steep decline, if not outright extinction.


"Agave utahensis",2010.
  Graphite, 20"x16"

"One Square Foot: Granite", 2007. Watercolor and
colored pencil, 21"x21"
Sold: Prints Available

"Blooms: Yucca Glauca", 2010. Colored pencil, 15” x 10”

"Agastache cana 'Sinning'", 2007. Graphite and watercolor, 24"x18"

"Diascia integerrima", 2006. Graphite and watercolor, 24"x18"
Sold: Prints Available

"Ephedra equisetina", 2006. Graphite and watercolor, 24"x18"
Sold: Prints Available


"Yucca glauca", 2005. Graphite, 17"x15"


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