Bonsai Trees Show Fall Colors at Denver Botanic Gardens

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Larry Walken tends to the Denver Botanic Gardens bonsai collection. The mini fall colors rival anything you’ll encounter in traffic to find in the mountains.

DENVER – Fall in Colorado is a vibrant forest of yellow. Most of us struggle through traffic to the top of a mountain pass to bask in that golden glory. But to Denver Botanical GardensLarry Jackel can shrink nature’s canvas down to eye level.

“The sun is coming into the opening here and it’s just starting to change,” Jackel said, pointing to a maple tree. “Reds, yellows and oranges in there. So every day will get a little better.”

Those brilliant hues he marvels at are on the miniature leaves of one of more than 90 bonsai trees in the gardens.

“It’s in a container, a ‘voucher,'” Jackel said. “The tree is the ‘sai’, and the color is autumn.”

Like a forest of children, it is impossible for him to choose a favorite bonsai.

“The easiest way to describe it is that I’m happiest with whoever I’m working with at the time,” he said.

But visitors tend to gravitate towards the iconic shimmering leaves of the two trembling aspens on display. The colors are as amazing as anything you’ll find in the mountains.

“Save yourself gas and time, come see us here,” joked Jackel.

Her goal with bonsai is to bring people back to their favorite fall memories.

“I love being able to take people somewhere else to their place of memory that reminds them of something they really loved, but in a tree here,” he said.

Most of the garden collection will be retired for the winter and will reappear in May. A few of the trees can be found in greenhouses during the colder months.

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