Going back once again to the Denver Garden Bloggers Fling last June, let’s talk about the private garden of Dan Johnson and Tony Miles. I loved it. It was relaxed, joyful, and crammed with goodies.

An adobe wall stands in front of the house. Look at the cactus and sedum in that bowl-shaped container resting on the wall!

Dan Johnson is a serious garden person: Associate Director of Horticulture at the Denver Botanic Gardens. And yet in the GBF program he says that his main garden goal is to figure out where to put all the plants he has acquired. In other words, he is just folks. Possibly he is having a little too much fun here, but I won’t tell on him if you won’t. 


Just a fantastic combination in the front garden: some kind of Sedum, Ice Plant, and ‘Star of Persia’ Allium. The first two are guesses, actually.


I love this pink poppy leaning against a spiky Yucca. Sort of an odd couple: one languorous, one electric with energy.


Pretty sure this is the front of the house.


The porch has a lot of pots, and a lot of cacti. I have never seen so many hanging cacti in my life.


Doesn’t seem to bother her that she has all these green tentacles growing out of her head.


This detached doorway serves as entrance to the back garden.


I’ve remarked elsewhere that Poppies seem very happy in Colorado. And what’s that hanging there?


Some kind of mutant squid turned into a planter. Very intriguing.


A big patch of thyme serves as background for deep blue glass.


One of several seating areas in the garden. I love that dramatic purple wall.


Some very colorful koi in the garden pond. I think that’s fishing wire stretched across the water to frustrate hungry predators.


Another doorway heightens the sense of adventure.


You can kind of see here that the garden in back slopes downward away from the house.


Glowing California Poppies (Eschscholzia californica) combined with spikes of blue flowers (Penstemon?).


Another view of the floral blue and gold with a shady sitting area. Some repurposed something to the left serves as an elevated planter.


There are also luscious Irises at this time of the year. The garden is full of objects of all kinds, many of them found and repurposed.


Further back there is a smaller building – maybe an office – also in adobe.


Thanks to Loree Bohl at Danger Garden, I know that this hanging succulent is Sedum morganianum. Not my sort of thing, but impressive.

You can always tell when gardeners really take pleasure in their garden. You get the sense that Dan Johnson and Tony Miles don’t spend too much time worrying about design or what “fits”. And yet an instinctive sense of style ensures that this wildly carousing garden comes together beautifully.

41 Comments on “The Garden of Dan Johnson and Tony Miles”

  1. I’m in with Loree, how did you get all those people-less shots ?? This was also one of my favorite Denver Fling gardens. Your comment “You get the sense that Dan Johnson and Tony Miles don’t spend too much time worrying about design or what “fits”. is spot-on. And not everyone can pull that off !

  2. I really like that smaller adobe building. The standing doorway appeals, too. So many of these gardens feel too full to me, but I certainly can understand how the urge to plan and plant can grow a bit boisterous when both the knowledge and the energy are available.

  3. I loved this garden too! The thing that impresses me most is the way that all of the objects are so deeply integrated into the garden, as if they grew there like the plants and are happily carrying on a conversation with their neighbors. It seems from the photos that it was a garden made to walk through and spend time “in” rather than just for looking at it.

  4. This garden surely looks interesting… Did I see wind chimes in front of the smaller building? Lovely!
    I especially like all the blue features of this garden, the flowers, pots etc.
    Thank you for your comment today! I adore Nasturtiums but haven’t had much success is growing them. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: