Display Gardens

Here at Harlequin’s Gardens, we believe education is one of our most important products. Everyone knows how difficult it is to imagine what a mature plant is going to look like from seeing it in a small container, or even from a photo. Besides, we are continually testing plants to see if they are well-adapted to our difficult dry and windy North Boulder location. Usually, if a plant will grow and prosper for us, we know it will probably do well for most of you. Because we have been under water restrictions since 1985, you can trust that if we have it growing in the ground, it is very drought tolerant and it will succeed in your xeriscapes. These demo gardens are expensive for us and if you would like to contribute to their development, see the discussion under “Membership”.  Every year we offer free tours of some of our display gardens.  Check our Classes and Events calendar for dates and times (click on Classes in the menu to the left).

Aubrieta Deltoides

The Xeriscape Rock Garden has been in existence since 1985. It is watered 5 times a year: May, June, twice in July, and once again in August.  We rejuvenate it periodically with fresh compost, and are continually adding new plants.

Xeric Ground Covers Test Area

66 different ground covers are being tested for their ability to hold up and look good in large areas. Half of them get approximately half the water required for Kentucky Bluegrass; the other half get one quarter the water for Bluegrass.

Ornamental Grasses

This garden features 22 different ornamental grass varieties, including many natives, growing with colorful xeric perennial companions.  The  succession of bloom and the seasonal changes in the grasses keep this garden interesting through the year.  Ornamental grasses are also included in several other display gardens at Harlequin’s Gardens.

Native Shrubs

In several locations, we have native shrubs growing. These are watered to get established and then usually not at all after that. In July of 2002, at the height of severe drought, we did water some of them once.


Xeriscape Herb Garden

We have mostly let this garden go, because we can’t afford to improve it at this time. However, even with only two waterings in the drought of 2002 and similarly infrequent waterings in the years following, many of the herbs have still survived (and some even thrived).


We have roses planted in many locations, but in 2001 we planted about 75 roses, both climbers and shrubs, in a test area.  Many have prospered, and those that don’t prove tough enough for our challenging conditions are replaced with new trial subjects.

Plant Select

Eve designed and planted this garden in 2002. It is an official display garden for the Plant Select Program.  Besides Plant Select, it also contains some of Nebraska’s Great Plants for the Great Plains selections, plus some other plants we like and are calling “Harlequin’s Favorites”.


“Penstemon Bed”

In 2002, Mikl planted a test area with exposure to the west wind and late afternoon sun with a lot of Penstemons and rock garden plants. Many of the young plants had survived the heat and the drought, but the geese got out in November of that first year, and they pulled up a third of them.  We have since replanted, and this garden now includes a wide array of Penstemons (beardtongues) that can thrive in dry, sunny, windy conditions.

When you visit our nursery, you are welcome to walk around and enjoy these gardens. Our Membership program will allow us to continue to put more identification labels on the plants as time goes on.

Please stay on the paths or at least don’t walk in the gardens, and make sure your children do the same. And please do not pick flowers or pieces of the plants.   We will be happy to help you identify plants unless we are very intensely busy.  Dogs must be kept on a leash while visiting Harlequin’s Gardens, and kept out of planting beds. Thank you for helping us keep our display gardens in good condition!