By Jim Klett
In January 2016, Colorado State University President, Tony Frank, informed the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture that he had decided to build a new practice field west of the new stadium. This would require the 36 year old perennial garden at the Plant Environmental Research Center (PERC) to be relocated. He gave us three different options for the new location. However, the only practical one was to move over a thousand perennial taxa to a new location north of the University Center for the Arts. Therefore, the spring and early summer of 2016 was spent working with landscape architects and facilities at Colorado State University to develop a new design for the, approximately one acre, demonstration garden. We decided to try to keep the same overall design that was at PERC and improve it where possible.
A comprehensive plan was developed including a new gazebo, a water feature, as well as a sitting area and vine collection area. The project was initiated in July 2016 with removal of sod, installation of a new irrigation system and development of the perennial beds. The actual move of the perennial taxa started in late September and continued until mid to late October. Three samples of each taxa were moved, and extra precautions were taken to keep identities accurate and placement in appropriate locations. This is a research garden so data will continue to be recorded on their performance on a yearly basis. Also, the majority of the unique woody plants at the PERC location were also transplanted in late October/ early November to the new garden site or to a permanent place in the CSU arboretum.
We are hopeful that most of the perennial taxa moved will survive since we had an exceptionally long fall which helped in the re-establishment process. Winter watering is also taking place to help with survival. The new location of the Perennial Demonstration/ Teaching/ Research Garden is close to the existing annual flower garden and three year perennial trials on Remington. We hope to have this area designated in the future as the ‘Garden-Art District of Fort Collins’.