This blog was written by Mary Gloven, The Alliance Center’s Facility Manager.
Introducing The Green Waves Garden
The Alliance Center is excited to announce the restoration of our patio garden space! Visitors will now find a diverse and colorful pollinator garden right in the heart of downtown Denver. This regenerative act would not have been possible without a generous donation made to The Alliance for Collective Action by a kind and thoughtful anonymous donor. Although the donor remains anonymous, we recognize their legacy by naming this space The Green Waves Garden. A stone plaque featuring a quote chosen by the donor now hangs in the garden. These words will uphold the meaning and value behind the space’s existence for the years to come. It reads:
Before the revitalization, the garden had fallen into disrepair. Previous plants had not survived in the space due to poor soil health and unsustainable watering needs. Additionally, the selection of plants was not suitable for the sunken patio’s microclimate. The height of the pandemic in 2020 had the greatest impact on the space. During this time, the world began navigating the evolution of how we use our buildings, and the expectations of our collaborative spaces, such as the garden, changed with it. The standard of safety, health and wellness we expect from our buildings was and continues to be raised. Instead of fighting to sustain something that wasn’t working, we did what we do best: leverage change. We took this opportunity to regeneratively heal our headquarter’s green spaces.
When The Center’s team set out to restore the space, we knew we wanted a garden that reflects The Alliance for Collective Action’s purpose, vision, mission and values. Our hopes successfully unfolded, with The Green Waves Garden now serving as a space where individuals and groups can gather to converge minds. The garden is a venue that inspires solutions, fosters engagement and allows visitors, tenants and members of the public to cross pollinate. It is a restorative amenity, both to the humans and pollinators who use it. It is a space of healing.
The reasoning behind the plant selections in the garden can be attributed to Annie Barrow, a horticulturist with Denver Botanic Gardens. Annie provided design services through DBG’s Horticulture Outreach Program, which offers discounted rates for nonprofit organizations. In addition to providing the selection for plants and a design plan driven to support pollinators in the garden, she also provided useful advice for growing in constrained, urban spaces located within a microclimate such as ours.
Lower downtown Denver is composed of many micro climates, meaning weather can differ dramatically from block to block. The sunken patio space is encircled by stone bricks that trap heat and follows a solar pathway that is partially obstructed by surrounding taller buildings, greatly shading the space in places. To maximize the use of the garden effectively, plants were chosen with these factors in mind. We made a point to select hardy and climate suited, pollinator friendly perennials that will come back year after year, as well as deciduous shrubs that provide a haven and food source for birds. Although our garden is tiny, it hosts a mighty diversity of flora to support local pollinators.
In our garden you’ll find varieties of:
Creeping Oregon Grape
….with more to be added as we improve our green spaces!
Local, Sustainable Supplies
In addition to the plants, we intentionally chose materials for the garden that are hyper-local to Colorado. Soil, compost, mulch, plants and supplies were provided by Redbud Garden Center in Denver and Nick’s Garden Center in Aurora. The Green Waves Garden plaque is made of a locally sourced sandstone from Golden and was fabricated by a sign maker in Evergreen. All the time, labor and love needed to make this vision a reality was contributed by The Alliance for Collective Action’s very own staff. Financial support, which we can never be grateful enough for, can be attributed to our anonymous donor from the Green Wave Fund.
Next time you’re at the building, feel free to stop in for a visit to the patio. Run your hands through the herb bed for a sweet scent or pull up a chair with your work while you listen to the bees buzz by. All are welcome—humans and pollinators alike! We look forward to sharing this space with you and measuring the impact it has on our community for years to come.
To learn more about The Alliance Center’s patio garden and our other sustainability initiatives, you can visit our website at www.thealliancecenter.org. You can also visit their patio garden in person at 1536 Wynkoop St, Denver, CO, 80202. The patio garden is open to the public during The Center’s business hours, Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The patio can be booked for your next event, whether it is a meeting, workshop or party. The patio garden can accommodate up to 100 people and has a variety of amenities, such as tables, chairs, umbrellas, heaters, speakers and a projector. To book the patio garden or learn more about The Center’s event services, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or (303) 572-1536.