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In the Footsteps of a Legend

Denver Botanic Gardens - Denver, Colorado

American Conifer Society Western Region and pleased and proud to offer its members a unique opportunity to tour and explore a part of our region that is somewhat off our beaten path, yet nonetheless, a part of the country that is home to some of the Earth’s toughest and most-beautiful conifers and most stunning geography. Who’s ready for a Rocky Mountain High, Denver style?

January 24th update. The itinerary is more-or-less set and the hotel is ready to take your reservations. Once we work out the registration details, we will post them here.

松風園 Shofu-en Japanese Garden


The Dwarf Conifer Collection


The venue is one of the most recent additions to the Western Region’s reference garden collection, namely the Denver Botanic Gardens, 23 acres of esoteric plantings and collections. Features include the Japanese garden, home to a collection of Niwaki-styled Ponderosa pines, and the dwarf conifer garden featuring many unnamed selections made by legendary plantsman, Jerry Morris, to whom we dedicate our weekend’s activities.

Our goal is to offer a low-key, relaxing, yet fulfilling vacation weekend. Friday will feature garden tours, followed by cocktails, dinner, and a keynote presentation, culminating with one of our ever-popular rare plant auctions. Saturday promises to be an epic road trip high into the mountains (up to 10,000 feet and more) to interpret conifers growing in their natural habitat. A bonus day Sunday will bring a little retail therapy and more adventure.

Points of contact

Host hotel (click on the hotel name for more information)

Warwick Hotel, Downtown Denver
1776 Grant Street
Denver, CO 80203

We’ve reserved a block of rooms and the reservation code is American Conifer Society. Our group rate is $159 per night for the nights of Friday, August 10th and Saturday, August 11th. The hotel will honor that rate for up to 3 days before and after for those either arriving early, staying later or both. This block will expire as of July 10th, 2018, so reserve early to claim your room.

As a hotel guest, you are entitled to discounted rates from Denver International Airport to the hotel, using Denver SuperShuttle. Click this link to reserve transportation from the airport to the hotel, if you don’t want to rent a vehicle.


Rather the book a large tour bus, we’ll be renting a number of 15-passenger vans to transport our group to the various venues. This allows for agility and flexibility, as well as the ability to efficiently navigate mountain roads on our Saturday road trip. This will also help to keep registration costs at a minimum.


Thursday, August 9th

6pm — those arriving early are encouraged to join the group for a no-host meet and greet/ice breaker/strategy session over food and drink. Meet old friends and make new ones. Most likely, we’ll meet at Randolph’s Restaurant & Bar at the hotel.

Friday, August 10th

  • AM — arrival in Denver, or free time to explore if you’re already there. Breakfast and lunch is on your own.
  • 12:30pm — guests staying at the hotel load into vans and depart for Denver Botanic Gardens (2 miles away).
  • 1pm — meet at the gardens for docent tours and demonstrations.
  • 4:30pm — converge on Mitchell Hall for happy hour (no-host bar) and appetizers. Silent auction opens.
  • 5:30pm — buffet dinner is served.
  • 6:30pm — silent auction concludes
  • 7pm — keynote presentation: The Jerry Morris Legacy
  • 8:30pm — live auction
  • 9:30pm — conclusion of evening program. Load vans and return to The Warwick.
Mt. Goliath bristlecones


Saturday, August 11th

  • breakfast is on your own
  • 9am — load buses and depart for the mountains. This morning’s road trip is to the top of the world at Mt. Goliath natural area, along the road to Mt. Evans, where we’ll hike among the Rocky Mountain bristlecone pines (Pinus aristata), as well as many other Colorado endemics.
  • midday — no-host lunch at an informal eatery along the way.
  • pm — we’ll search out another great wilderness spot to look for subalpine species such as Subalpine fir (Abies lasiocarpa) and Engelmann spruce (Picea engelmannii).
  • 5pm — back at the hotel and the end of the formal program.
  • Dinner on your own, but we’ll help facilitate groups

Sunday, August 12th (bonus day)

For those of us who care to stay on, we’ve arranged for a visit to LaPorte Avenue Nursery in Ft. Collins, Colorado (circa 1 hour’s drive from Denver). Kirk Fieseler, the proprietor, specializes in Alpine plants and Rocky Mountain conifers, to include many of Jerry Morris’ introductions. This will make for a few delightful hours of retail therapy.

After our shopping spree, we will seek out a lunch spot at one of the many breweries in Ft. Collins before returning to Denver.


  1. conifereditor commented

    welcome to second of Western region’s three featured events for 2018. We hope you find it interesting and are as excited to take part as we are in offering it.

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