Dec 062010
Authors: Emily Johnson

Five-year-old Skyler skipped among the brightly lit trees and bushes Sunday with his parents, Jean and Allen Tyson.

The Tyson family was visiting the city’s annual Garden of Lights display at the Gardens on Spring Creek, which is decorated with thousands of colored LED lights.

“Mama, close your eyes,” he said as he led Jean around the corner of a building. “Tada!” he beamed as he surprised her with a view of the entire lit-up gardens.

“This is really a lot of fun,” Jean said, running off with her family.

There’s an entire flowerbed made of lights, enormous glowing butterflies throughout the walk and two larger-than-life watering cans pouring out a stream of blue twinkling lights.

The flowers –– types like hyacinths, irises and daises –– pumpkins and a grape trellis, were all built by volunteers, said Jan Kroeger, coordinator for the Gardens on Spring Creek.

“Ooohh, look at these guys, Dad,” Skyler said about the 10-foot-tall faeries in the Children’s Garden, decorated with lights.

Meanwhile, “We wish you a Merry Christmas” played in the background.

Visitors can meet Santa, listen to holiday music, play with the Sugar Plum Hairies — three Labrador Retrievers dressed as the Sugar Plum Fairies –– and enjoy warm drinks and sweet treats while strolling the whimsical gardens.

Kroeger said on this past weekend, the display’s opening, more than 1,000 patrons visited.
Traditionally the Garden of Lights is open through the month of December, but Kroeger said “staffing costs” resulted in closing it on Monday and Tuesday nights. The Garden of Lights display is open Wednesday through Sunday, she added.

Included in the holiday festivities is a gift shop of plants, which Kroeger said has expanded its offerings. Patrons can purchase poinsettias, amaryllis, ornamental peppers, herb baskets and rosemary topiaries that are all grown in the on-site greenhouse. All proceeds benefit the Gardens on Spring Creek.

The 18-acre Gardens on Spring Creek was established in 2004 and is home to:

A one-half acre Children’s Garden, the first in the United States with a focus on the themes of sustainability and community,

A 400-foot-long parkway strip garden, created by nationally recognized designer and author Lauren Springer, that features 900 perennials and 8,000 bulbs,

Community garden plots, available for a nominal rental to individuals and families to grow their own vegetables and/or flowers in a community setting,

Spring Creek and the Sherwood Lateral irrigation ditch, both of which meander through the site, have been transformed into visual amenities and valuable wildlife habitat through the plants of several thousand plantings of native grasses, shrubs and trees,

An entryway garden complete with stone walls, a water feature and an assortment of trees, shrubs, and perennials,

City of Fort Collins’ compost demonstration site, and

A Visitor’s Center that includes a 1,400-square-foot greenhouse, a classroom that seats up to 45 available for rental, a retail area, offices and informative display area.

Staff writer Emily Johnson can be reached at

  • Dec. 10, 6-8 p.m.
    visit with Santa
  • Dec. 11, 6-8 p.m.
    listen to holiday music by Poudre High School choir
    watch the Sugar Plum Hairies perform tricks
  • Dec. 17, 6-8 p.m.
    listen to holiday music by the Sunny Side Singers
  • Dec. 18, 6-8 p.m.
    watch the Sugar Plum Hairies perform tricks
    visit with Santa
  • Location: 2145 Centre Ave.
    Phone: 970-416-2486
    $2 donation appreciated.
 Posted by at 4:49 pm

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