Each year, CSU conducts growing trials of over 1,000 cultivars of annual, perennial, and cool season plants in the unique environmental conditions of the Rocky Mountain climate (which is characterized by high altitude, intense solar radiation, drying winds, severe hailstorms, large fluctuations between day and night temperature and a season-long need for irrigation). The plants are evaluated for vigor, uniformity, floriferousness and tolerance to the environmental conditions. The trial results for the year are released each fall and provide excellent recommendations for next season’s garden. The trial gardens are also open to visitors throughout the summer.
Plant Select (a joint venture of Colorado State University, the Denver Botanic Gardens and selected area nurseries and greenhouses) is another great resource for learning about plants cultivated to thrive in the high plains and intermountain region. Their focus is on resilient, non-invasive plants that can thrive in a broad range of conditions with less water. They have a great searchable online catalog that provides plenty of growing information for each plant, including flowering season, height, width, and other attributes such as whether they are deer resistant or provide winter interest. Check them out for your next project!