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Durango Botanic Gardens

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Discovery Point #1

The 'Three Sisters' of Indigenous Gardens

In Indigenous gardens the act of combining or merging the crops of beans, corn, and squash became commonly known as The Three Sisters. This technique is highly efficient and complementary and has been at the center of Native American agriculture and culinary traditions for centuries. This kinship earned the technique its name.

In the schematic below, corn provides tall stalks for the beans to climb so that they are not out-competed by sprawling squash vines. Beans provide nitrogen to fertilize the soil while also stabilizing the tall corn during heavy winds. Beans are nitrogen-fixers meaning they host rhizobia on their roots that can take nitrogen, a much needed plant nutrient, from the air and convert it into forms that can be absorbed by plant roots. The large leaves of squash plants shade the ground which helps retain soil moisture and prevent weeds.  


Discovery Point #2

Designed for Water Harvesting and Retention

The Literary Garden was designed and contoured to retain as much water as possible. We know about harvesting fruits and vegetables, but harvesting water is something different all together.

What is water harvesting? In general, it is the activity of direct collection of rainwater. Water harvesting means to understand the value of rain and make optimum use of the rainwater at the place where it falls.

There are many benefits to harvesting rainwater. Here, we are capturing the rainwater from the upper parking lot and using it to water the gardens. The rainwater flows through the garden in swales and basins that were created during construction. The swales direct the flow of water, and the basins slow the flow down to let the water soak into the ground for use by the plants. These plants were selected for their ability to ‘clean’ the harvested water.

Look on the other side of the rock on this side of this picture to see how the rainwater is directed into the hole from the parking lot. Ask yourself what would happen to this rainwater if this system was not in place.

Notice the grasses that are planted at this location. They are Sweetgrass, Hierochloe odorota. Read more about Sweetgrass at:

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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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