Grand Junction

Grand Junction garden a work in progress

entry fountain

A new fountain, adjacent to the gift shop, graces the entry to the Western Colorado Botanical Gardens.
(photo by Bill F. Eger)

The Western Colorado Botanical Garden, located in Grand Junction, is one of several legacies of the late landscape architect Robert “Bob” Arcieri who passed away while on a hike in the remote canyons of Utah in 2007. He was born in Grand Junction to William and Sabbie Arcieri, the owners of the Arcieri Nursery on First Street. It was at this nursery that Bob’s love of nature and knowledge of plants developed and grew into a lifelong passion, according to the Summit Daily News.

A 1961 graduate of Grand Junction High School, senior class president and an Eagle Scout, Arcieri attended Stanford University for two years and then transferred to Iowa State and graduated in 1966 with a Bachelors of Science Degree in Landscape Architecture. He was inducted into the Honor Society of Agriculture and the Honor Society in Architecture and Allied Arts. He continued his education at Iowa State, graduating with a Masters Degree in Urban Planning in 1968.

Bob moved to Breckenridge in 1970 and with Architect Jon Gunson formed the Harris St. Group, an architecture and planning firm which designed the sidewalks, lights and landscaping on Main Street as well as the town’s Master Plan, development code and historic guidelines which are still in use today. The firm received numerous awards, including the American Institute of Planners Meritorious Program Award and the State of Colorado Columbine Award for Design Excellence.

In 1982, Bob and his wife Deb moved to Grand Junction, where Bob practiced as a Landscape Architect. He received numerous landscape awards for gardens in Grand Junction, many in conjunction with Bookcliff Gardens.

“Bob’s legacy will live on in the beautiful gardens, waterfalls, and changed landscapes in Western Colorado,” said his obituary in the Summit Daily News of October 13, 2007.

The Western Colorado Botanical Gardens is one such changed landscape.


walkway from conservatory toward Japanese and desert gardens
(photo by Bill F. Eger)

“Years ago this was salvage yard, a junk yard,” said Margie Frey who has worked with the gardens for two years. Her name tag notes her title as Garden Diva. “The Japanese garden was designed by Bob Arcieri in the late 1990s. He did this amazing design plus a 50 page document on plants, styles etc., but the garden remains a work in progress.”

detail of sidewalk

looking closely at the sidewalk, we noticed fish inscribed in the cement
(photo by Bill F. Eger)

There are 15 acres in the botanical gardens and ten named gardens. Although the organization has had some difficulty raising money in the past, things are looking up.

“Repairs in the greenhouse were completed and we reopened three months ago. The gift shop helps support garden,” said Frey.

A mutually beneficial partnership is underway with Mesa Developmental Services, a non-profit group that assists persons with developmental disabilities.


the pond in the Japanese section of the Western Colorado Botanical Gardens is part of a stream overflow system on the other side of the fence
(photo by Bill F. Eger)

Mesa Developmental Services has a mobile crew that helps handle landscapes, a woodshop crew that helped with rebuilding, and a labor solutions program that helps with recycling and shredding.”

The gardens also enjoy collaboration with Colorado State University. “The rose garden was just planted last year and includes century old rose varieties. The cactus society takes care of the cactus garden, the herb society and orchid society help out too. The bonsai club meets here once a month,” Frey said.


a log bench set on high ground overlooks the pond
(photo by Bill F. Eger)

Among plants featured in the Japanese garden are a recently planted weeping white pine, a weeping crabapple planted on Earth Day, weeping cherry trees, Black Hills spruce and pine.

The small garden structure was designed to camouflage the pump house. A bridge remains to be built at the concrete lined pond planted with water lilies. Local stone has been used throughout the garden.

KT and Marge

K.T. interviews Margie Frey, the structure in the background hides pump equipment.
(photo by Bill F. Eger)

For more information on the Western Colorado Botanical Gardens, go to the link

For more information on Bookcliff Gardens, go to the link

Photos not otherwise credited in this blog are by K.T. Cannon-Eger. Click on any image to see it full size. Comments are welcome.

Comments on this and other articles in this blog are welcome.

Categories: Colorado, Grand Junction | Tags: , | 1 Comment

The trip West continues

A more extensive article on Chicago’s Osaka Garden at Jackson Park will be posted soon. By 2013, the garden was re-named The Garden of the Phoenix.

Osaka Garden pond and bridge

Osaka Garden pond

Osaka Garden at Jackson Park in Chicago dates from the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. It was recently renewed due to the efforts of an active Friends group with the expertise and guidance of Sadafumi Uchiyama and the cooperation of the Chicago Parks Department.

Meanwhile, here are a few photos from the rest of the journey from Chicago to Denver to San Francisco by train.

Here, we have included images from gardens in Chicago, Denver, Grand Junction, Berkeley, Oakland, Orinda and San Francisco to give you a little taste of the articles still to come.

Denver pond

Looking in one direction, Shofu-en displays one of the inspirations for its name — “Garden of the Pines and Wind.”

Denver Shofu-en

Looking across the pond in another direction, one could feel transported to similar gardens in urban Japan. The residents of the nearby condos must enjoy a beautiful view.

Grand Junction

Entry to the Japanese garden in Grand Junction, Colorado, is through a conservatory with plants familiar to many in Hawaii and other tropical regions.

Berkeley Botanic

This is a small section of the pond in the Japanese garden at UC-Berkeley Botanical Garden. Iris were in bloom throughout our journey in June.

Higashi Hongwanji

The Higashi Hongwanji in Berkeley ( has an elegant entry garden maintained in part with the assistance of the Aesthetic Pruners Association.


Every detail matters — and here a relatively new stone appears to have been in place for hundreds of years due to the lichen.

borrowed scenery

The living room is arranged to take full advantage of the garden in this private residence in northern California.

WF entry

A rooftop corporate garden in San Francisco, created some years ago, was completely redone recently to address engineering problems that developed over the years. This is a small detail of an area separating the entry door, which leads to the garden, from a walkway that goes around the roof.
(photo by Bill F. Eger)

San Francisco
Ginkgo leaves near the 1915 pagoda at the San Francisco Japanese Tea Garden

To see a full size version of any photograph in this blog, just click on the image.

Categories: Berkeley, California, Chicago, Colorado, Denver, Grand Junction, Illinois, Oakland, San Francisco | Tags: , | Leave a comment

More railroad fan photos

Old fashioned stations continued to be our delight as we traveled through Texas to St. Louis, Chicago, Denver, and Grand Junction ending at a newer station in Emeryville near San Francisco.

Fort Worth Texas makes use of portions of the old Union Station.

Inside, Fort Worth offers old style benches. (photo by Bill F. Eger)

Train for St. Louis arrives on track 3 in Fort Worth, TX.

Chicago’s old Union Station undergoing renovation

underground entry from the old station to the newer arrival and departure area across the street in Chicago, IL

I haven’t mentioned food. It was EXCELLENT and freshly prepared for every meal. We dined on BBQ ribs, breaded chicken, salmon, tilapia, steak, shrimp Benedict, lamb shank, and more and everything was delicious.

We went deeper in to the history of trains in the Chicago area with a visit to the Museum of Science and Industry before heading out back to Osaka Garden at Jackson Park, what once was known as Wooded Island at the 1893 Columbia Exposition.

Empire State Express engine 999 in the Museum of Science and Industry — as fascinating a place to me now as it was when I was a child.

poster describing the Empire Express engine 999 at the 1893 Columbian Exposition

Another spot to gain more insight into historical details was the Chicago Art Institute. We had just enough time after checking our large bags in the morning to grab a cab and spend a couple of hours wandering around another old haunt for each of us: me from my childhood and Bill from his college days at University of Chicago.

These tiles came from the Railway Exchange Building on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, also known as the Santa Fe Building.

a museum tag explains the origin of the tiles and the connection to the 1893 Columbian Exposition

In Denver, we chose The Oxford Hotel because of its proximity to Union Station only to find that the station is undergoing a three year renovation which will result in combined services being available there. Meanwhile, the temporary station is quite a few blocks away. I would stay at the Oxford Hotel again at the drop of a hat. Wonderful staff, service, accommodations and location.

Denver’s Union Station at night

Denver’s Union Station from the front door of The Oxford Hotel

Another wonderful advantage to train travel is the view through LARGE windows. It was such a difference from the somewhat dangerous escapade of trying to see something from a speeding car while maintaining safety on the highway.

huge view of the changing countryside and geology as the train moved from Denver to Grand Junction, Colorado

The new station in Grand Junction, Colorado is right next to the old one, now closed and boarded up.

old Grand Junction sign notes “elevation 4,578” and “population 28,000”

heading west from Grand Junction through Utah and Nevada

a town in California advertises itself as “above the fog, below the snow”

End of the line — at least as far as train travel on this journey is concerned — at Emeryville, California.

Unless otherwise credited, photos in this blog are by K.T. Cannon-Eger. Click on any image for a full-size view.

Categories: Amtrak, California, Chicago, Colorado, Denver, Grand Junction, Illinois | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

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