Friends lecture programme - The development of Denver Botanic Garden

20 April 2017, 7.30 PM - 20 April 2017, 9.00 PM

Panayoti Kelaidis, Senior Curator and Director of Outreach, Denver Botanic Gardens, Colorado, USA

Frank Lecture Theatre, School of Physics, University of Bristol, Tyndall Avenue, Bristol BS8 1TL

Panayoti Kelaidis is a plant explorer, gardener and public garden administrator associated with Denver Botanic Gardens where he is now Senior Curator and Director of Outreach. He has designed plantings for many of the gardens at DBG, he is particularly noted for the plantings of the Rock Alpine Garden.  He has introduced hundreds of native ornamentals from throughout the Western United States to general horticulture. He has taken seven collecting trips to Southern Africa researching the high mountain flora there, as well as travels to the Andes, Central Asia (Kazakhstan and Mongolia), the Himalaya (from both Pakistan and China) as well as travels throughout much of Europe from Spain to Turkey and most recently, New Zealand. Many of his plant introductions are available through Plant Select, (a plant introduction program he helped launch along with staff from Colorado State University and nurseries across America). He has lectured in over 140 cities in twelve countries, and has been featured in dozens of television, newspaper and magazine pieces. He has published widely in popular and technical horticultural journals.

In recent years Panayoti has been honoured with the Boulder History Museum’s 60 Year Living History award in 2004, in 2003 by being inducted into the Garden Club of America as Member-at-Large, in 2002 he received the National Garden Clubs Medal of Honor and in 2000 he received the Arthur Hoyt Scott Medal from the Scott Arboretum at Swarthmore College. He has received four awards from the North American Rock Garden Society. In 2004 he was inducted into the Colorado Nursery and Greenhouse Association’s Hall of Fame. In 2009 he received the Liberty Hyde Bailey Award of the American Horticultural Society.

Panayoti counts himself fortunate to have worked at one of the largest and most dynamic public gardens in the world for 37 years and says there’s nothing like Denver Botanic Gardens in Europe!  Panayoti will introduce us to the Botanic Garden in Denver (known as the ‘Mile High City’). 24 acres of distinctive gardens define and celebrate western identity with a unique high altitude climate and geography, illustrated by an ever -widening diversity of plants from all corners of the world. 

The plantings at Denver Botanic Gardens are only a half century old, but they have become one of the largest collections of plants in the United States—with over 20,000 taxa ranging from tropical plants in the conservatories to nearly 12,000alpines at the alpine unit. In its half century of existence, the Gardens have had a meteoric impact on public gardening in the States, with over one and a half million visitors and we are anticipating even more this year. The staff has grown from a single paid Director in 1958 to well over 200 full time employees, and over 300 in the summer months. How has this come to be? Exquisite horticultural display has been the driving force, but many strategies have propelled this Garden to becoming one of the fastest growing and largest gardens in the World. He hopes to share a few of their secrets in his talk!

This lecture is organised by the Friends of the University of Bristol Botanic Garden.

The lecture will be held at the Frank Theatre, Wills Physics Laboratory, Tyndall Avenue, Bristol BS8 1TL.

All lectures start at 7.30pm (except in March) and are free to Friends on production of their membership card. Visitors will be asked for a donation (suggested £5). Attendees can use any University car park: the nearest are in University Walk and The Hawthorns. No booking necessary.

Disabled access: The University will make every effort to provide disabled access where possible. Disabled parking is available and wheelchair access is by the ramp at the side of the main steps. If you require support due to a disability please email:


Panayoti Kelaidis