Cheyenne Botanic Gardens
Cheyenne, Wyoming
August 2010

I have to admit that I didn’t have high expectations of this garden. We had a free afternoon while we were in Denver so I talked my wife into making the drive north, but throughout the long drive I kept telling her not to expect too much. After all, Cheyenne is a really small city with a tough climate. But a garden’s a garden and none are bad so I assured her the trip would be worthwhile. I was right. The garden was a very pleasant surprise.

The garden opened in 1977 on nine acres within a large city park. Entering from the parking lot, the first thing you see is the conservatory. The structure is not very impressive. A typical commercial greenhouse in appearance but built with sustainability in mind. The solar panels on the roof and other energy conserving features make it interesting. It was closed during our visit so we didn’t get to go inside.

Cheyenne Botanic Garden conservatory

In front of the conservatory are two formal gardens - an herb garden and a rose garden. Both are small, but nicely laid out with interesting interpretation, especially in the herb garden.

Cheyenne Herb Garden

The pathways through the garden are very park-like and much of the garden has the same ambiance as the larger surrounding park.

Cheyenne Botanic Garden

However, scattered throughout there are interesting smaller garden features that are beautiful. Colorful perennial beds and interesting archways and gazebos make this a very pleasant garden to wander around.

Cheyenne Botanic Garden perennials

There is an abundance of water in the garden and in the surrounding park. A large lake borders the garden on one side, a small lake sits in the middle of the garden and there are a number of water features scattered here and there.

Cheyenne Botanic Garden bridge

I was very impressed with how much this garden seems to be integrated into the fabric of the community. Two areas of the garden, one at each end, are given over to Community Gardens. The sustainability message, evident throughout the gardens, is aimed at locals rather than the global community. From what I could see the community has embraced the garden. During our visit we saw two wedding parties, a senior citizen group, a family reunion and numerous family groups, all taking advantage of this wonderful resource. Also, everything was very well-maintained which can only be attributed to an active volunteer force.

Cheyenne Botanic Garden

In some ways, this is more a park than a botanic garden. There is very little interpretive signage and plant labeling is meager. A few very nice plant labels exist on memorial trees. There are laminated paper signs identifying a few plants, and while the information on them is good, there are too few and they look pretty shabby. I’m sure money is tight for these things but a grant should be obtainable.

Cheyenne Botanic Garden Cheyenne Botanic Garden

Next door to the garden is a wonderful children’s garden. It’s not clear how the two gardens are related but since they are side by side and both are free to the public it’s easy to consider them part of the same whole.

Paul Smith Children's Garden

There are lots of hands-on activities for children, all related to gardening and sustainability and during our visit, it was packed with families.

As a visitor experience, Cheyenne Botanic Garden can’t be compared to such great city gardens as Denver, Chicago or Atlanta. Such a comparison would be unfair anyway, given the different demographics. Still, it was an extremely pleasant way to spend an afternoon. The people of Cheyenne are fortunate to have such a resource available to them.

here to visit the garden’s website.

here to see more photos of Cheyenne Botanic Garden.

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