Botanical treasures

From staff to plants, diverse gardens offer much to admire

Thomas Love holds a hula dancer flower at the Western Colorado Botanical Gardens in Grand Junction, where he has been giving tours of the gardens and butterfly house for five years. As the ambassador for the gardens, Thomas researches plants, animals and insects so he can share more with visitors.

The butterflies, birds and bees are busy at the Western Colorado Botanical Gardens.

But don’t worry about bee stings, they are too busy. And so is the gardens’ staff.

Strive, a nonprofit agency that provides services for those with developmental disabilities, takes care of the gardens’ day-to-day operations. The agency employs about 15 clients to run the gardens, and among them is Thomas Love.

“Thomas is our spokesperson,” said Carrisa Hall, vocational supervisor for Strive at the gardens.

He loves his job and the gardens. He is knowledgeable, and many visitors ask him to give tours, she said.

As visitors admire the gardens’ beautiful flowers, both tropical and domestic, and spy turtles and koi, they soon realize the venue offers a nice way to spend an afternoon.

The Western Colorado Botanical Gardens, 641 Struthers Ave., is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Learn about the gardens at and Strive at


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