Durango Botanic Gardens

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Visitors to our gardens frequently inquire about some of the striking pieces of art in the gardens. The Demonstration Garden is home to a number of artworks and, during 2021, you will see more, equally interesting pieces in The Arboreta gardens. We will be adding descriptions of those soon. Art and gardens, better together! If art is your passion, please consider donating to our Art in the Gardens fund in the donation form.


This botanically-themed mural, to be painted on a wall in the gardens by

Nia Sturr (shown at right) in May 2021, depicts plants and flora common our region’s microclimates and elevations. To reflect this amazing horticultural and climatic diversity, plants common to lower, dryland elevations begin at the left of the mural and ascend to plants, trees common to higher, montane and alpine elevations. Because the common names of plants can vary from region to region, horticulturists and nurseries reference plants using what is called binomial nomenclature, using both the common name and the scientific name, the latter expressed in Latin. Look for these plants on your next hike or when strolling through our public gardens. The mural is sponsored by the Durango Botanic Gardens which has been building public gardens around the library since 2011. The project has been supported and funded by a variety of individuals, companies, and organizations. To donate to the funding of this amazing and stunning artwork, email Hayley Kirkman at the Durango Creative District's funding page here. To learn more about Nia Sturr, our muralist, visit her web page here.


We began in 2021 to feature rotating art installations in various parts of the gardens, beginning with Jeff Wise's "Sailing the Circular Sea" in our Library Demonstration Garden this spring. The work features a spinning halo of welded and forged steel hovering over a sculpted triangular base. Wise (shown near left) is a prominent Durango artist working in metal and other media. In his artist statement, Jeff says he has supported himself as an artist his entire life, with diversions at one time or another into being a cowboy and stone mason. He adds that in addition to his sculptural work, architecture has been a parallel interest. He has built three significant art homes in addition to other structures in case concrete, welded steel and glass. Learn more about Jeff Wise Art here.


The striking Puma in the Demonstration Garden was part of the San Juan Mountain Association's Pumas on Parade fundraising and public art event, which commissioned 30 artist interpretations of these beautiful, but elusive creatures. The program also celebrated the San Juan National Forest Centennial. Pumas on Parade was modeled after dozens of similar public art projects world-wide, among them: “Orcas in the City” in British Columbia, and closer to home, The Trail of Painted Ponies in New Mexico. Ourparticular puma was created by local artist, Miki Harder, and donated to the Durango Botanical Society by Matt and Jenna Kenna. The Kennas wanted the Puma to be incorporated into the Durango Botanical Society’s Demonstration Garden, located on the river trail behind the Durango Public Library. The Kennas are environmentally conscious supporters of non-profits.


The Demonstration Garden is also home to the Thomas Grams Memorial sculpture, also designed by Harder, capturing of spirit of birds in flight. In the photo here Harder demonstrates how the base can turn to further enhance the feeling of flight. Thomas Grams was a local dentist who joined the International Assistance Mission, providing dental care in remote places such as Guatemala and Afghanistan. Grams was an avid volunteer and humanitarian. He was killed while on a humanitarian mission in Afghanistan. The Demonstration Garden is also an all volunteer garden and this seemed the perfect place to honor his memory. The theme of both of these sculptures incorporates the ravens Miki is so well known for. It seemed only natural for the Puma to live side by side with the Grams memorial.


Three metal panels now grace the Arboreta Gardens. At left, Bryan Saren installs panel based upon an a design by Annette LeMaire, a local artist.  Saren fabricates the panels using laser technology. The panel at the right, also fabricated by Saren, is based upon an original painting, Glow, by LeMaire and owned by John and Theresa Anderson. The Andersons commissioned the metal panel. Another panel in the gardens, honoring veterans, was purchased and donated by Clark and Melanie Palmer. For more information on how to donate one of the metal panels in the gardens, call us at 970-880-4841. We can either work with one of your ideas or have a professional artist draft ideas for you.

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Durango Botanic Gardens

Our Location:

The Durango Botanic Gardens are physically located at the Durango Public Library, to the north and east of the library.  The library is located at 1900 E. 3rd Ave., Durango.

There is no admission charge.  Stroll the gardens yourself (there is ample signage in most gardens) or call us at 970-880-4841 to arrange a group tour. See our Information Tab for more.

Contact Us:

10 Town Plaza, #460
Durango, CO  81301    

Phone:  970-880-4841

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