American Beauty



Rob Proctor is well-known and much loved for being Colorado’s Garden Expert since 1988. You watch him in Proctor's Garden segments that air twice a week on KUSA-TV, which can also be watched online.

What you may not know, is that Rob is also an accomplished author writing 17 books on gardening, and a gifted artist who draws and paints. Rob says, “My garden is my resume,” and man, is it an impressive one. David Macke, childhood friend, co-author and partner, is a retired Geologist originally from Illinois. Rob and David were kind enough to give me a tour of their breathtaking garden in North Denver, tell me its history, and generously give me a chance to be a part of the 2019 Proctor’s Garden Tour to benefit the Denver Dumb Friends League, held July 29 and 30. Read on for details.

(Psst! A sneak peek of Rob's watercolors can be found here. Prepare to be blown away.)

 

3030 West 46th

I fell in love with the home upon sight. As a person who finds meaning everywhere (and constantly), I was charmed to find the doorbell didn't work. Why should it?! This is not so much a house as it is a living, breathing palette of life, beauty, light, vision, acceptance, and constant and deliberate care. Rob and David are as much a part of it, as it is of them. Together, they are its lungs. ​The Garden is the heart of this home, this Colorado Treasure, and it is entered through the alley.

I found Rob and David hard at work watering plants that were fainting in the heat of July. I became overwhelmed with too much beauty, texture, and life to absorb at one time. Several cats live outside in the garden, but Mouse, a thin yet dominating 12 year old Tabby, rules inside and out and was there to greet me with a yawn.

This paradise? It's Mouse's normal.

David and Rob bought their home in 1993. Denver North was not what it is today. When they first set eyes on 3030 West 46th, the backyard was a massive lawn with 5 towering Siberian Elm trees. Rob says, "Nobody wanted it at the time. The half-acre lot had too much lawn to mow."

Doubters, step aside. Rob and David knew they found something special and snapped it up. Together, Rob and David mapped what would become Proctor's Garden onto a napkin, and it came to be as it thrives today. A lover of historic mementos, I asked if the napkin was still around? Alas, it is not. (One quickly learns that Rob and David are persons unattached to things. Both very much seem to prefer life.)

Rob explains Proctor's Garden is “all about borders." Everything is planted on north/south, east/west axes. There are distinctly different areas in this formal garden that evolve and tell caretakers what each wants to do. There is the Wilderness, the Oval, and the Twin Borders. There was once a White Border, but it is no more. The gardeners tired of their white and silver experiment, and added touches of color to break up the monotony. The area is fondly referred to as “The Border Formerly Known as the White Border,” and spelled thusly.

​Rob and David use plants as mulch and place them consciously. Instead of a sprinkler system, the garden is watered with an assortment of hoses. Dragonflies and bats are enthusiastic visitors and keep the mosquito population in check. Organic harmony is in full bloom here.

 

Alive with History

The home was built in 1905 and appears to be a true Denver Square, according to