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Demonstration Gardens

Boulder CSU Extension demo gardenDemonstration Gardens are a great way to learn what plants thrive in our area. There are several demonstration gardens around the Natural Resource Building on Boulder County’s Fairgrounds in Longmont, Colorado. The gardens are accessible any time, therefore come explore!

The Plant Select Garden is located on the south and west sides of the building. Spearheaded by the CSU Horticulture Department and the Denver Botanic Gardens, the Plant Select program trials plants that perform well in our region. As a result, these varieties are highly recommended for gardeners and landscapers in our climate. For more information on the Plant Select program, visit the website: You will find a complete list of plants and locations of other Plant Select demonstration gardens around the state.

The Rock and Hell Strip Demonstration Gardens were installed in 2017 around our parking lot. These types of areas are often neglected and unsightly due to difficult growing conditions. However, the correct planting pallet can create valuable additions to any landscape. Delve into the options for difficult areas!

Colorado has a large number of native plants suited to home gardens and commercial sites. Native Plants are adaptable to our local soils and climate, so they need fewer resources like water and fertilizer. As a result, they are typically more resilient than traditional landscape plants. To demonstrate the beauty of our stat’s native plants, the Colorado Native Garden was installed in 2018. Check out the new plantings on the east side of the building. These plants easily thrive while encouraging native and non-native pollinator habitats.

Research Trials

Mixed Berry Demo Garden

Public interest in growing fruits inspired the development of the fruit trial garden. Trial plots contains a variety of fruits including; raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, goji, honey berries, gooseberries, and blackberries. Research helps determine viable species for the Front Range area. Because this is one of our oldest demonstrations (installed 2008), there is a wealth of information on the success of different varieties. As a result, data gathered can be translated to large scale operations or to a homeowner’s yard.

Hops Demo Plot

In response to the growing micro-brewery industry and community interest, the hops trial plot was planted in 2014. The trial includes six varieties of hops. Three varieties (Crystal, Chinook, Cascade) are from a local Colorado hop producer and another three (Centennial, Golding, Nugget) are from Washington State. Measurements of yields and plant growth are taken throughout the year. The results help determine varieties that grow best in our region.

The Chinook variety won 1st place in its class and Reserved Grand Champion overall in the 2016 Boulder County Fair Crop Show.