Some Like it Harsh

The roots of this evergreen don't get much protection or water, but they grow contently just the same.

Not every plant likes to have it cozy, crumbly and moist. Many plants around the world thrive living even in the harshest of growing conditions. Rocks, sand, little moisture and blowing winds are their idea of having a good time while loads of compost, high humidity and wet feet can bring them uncomfortable feelings or even death. So how can you use this information in your wildlife garden? It’s called Right Plant, Right Place and it makes your job so much easier and rewarding when it comes to maintenance, plant replacement and beauty. The “Right Plant” for Florida is not the same as the “Right Plant” for Arizona.

Yuccas have deep taproots and thrive in places with little rain.

Cactus are dormant in winter but will plump up again in early spring.

Does this look like a perfect growing spot to you? Maybe not, but there's just enough moisture and protection for the seedling to grow.

What do all of the above photos have in common? They all live in a harsh ecosystem that wonderfully enough is right around the corner from me! Garden of the Gods is a public park located in Colorado Springs. Along with its magnificent rock formations it is home to many types of plants that like it harsh. We don’t get there as often as we used to when our kids were little, but last week we took an afternoon hike in the warmth of the January thaw. Hiking around the outside of the park lets us see more of the plants and less of the rocks, checking for signs of buds, greening or dormancy.

The path is wider then it looks in the photo, and about 4 miles out and back.

If you were a plant, animal, insect or bird wouldn't you love to look at this view everyday?

I would guess many of you will look at the images above and think to yourself: pretty desolate, flowerless and drab. But this park is also filled with lots of wildlife in the warmer months, and has a glow about it during sunrise and sunset that makes it one of the most visited places in Colorado Springs. So maybe we all like it a little harsh, even though we don’t always admit it.

Free forever, this park is a natural wonder right in the middle of Colorado Springs.

If you are ever in Colorado, try to make a point of visiting the Garden of the Gods. It’s truly a wonder of nature. 


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  1. says

    What a lovely place. I can tell by the pink color of the rocks, that this vista would be spectacular at sunset! This must be at high elevation, because the same Pear Cactus you have there doesn’t go dormant in winter in the Santa Monica Mtns, almost sea level. How wonderful that Mr. Perkins made this park for the people. So future generations will always be able to see this and the wildlife here.

  2. says

    Kathy I have visited this wonderful garden…my sister used to live in the Monument…I love the train trip up Pike’s Peak as well as you see the plants change and environment become harsher…so interesting…

    • says

      That walk looks inviting, and there are trees for shade. Walking in fynbos there are long sunny stretches. No trees until you reach the kloof/valley where a little stream can sustain the trees.

  3. says

    Hi Kathy!

    I’ve done little travelling but oddly, one of the few places I have been to is “Garden of the Gods”. My friend in Co Sprgs took me there some years ago and I was mesmerized. Thanks for bringing that memory back with your article!
    Loret recently posted..Boys will be boys


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