The North American Rock Garden Society Alpine Plant Sale is the Botanic Gardens' undiscovered treasure. While hordes descend upon the gardens during the annual spring sale in May, the atmosphere is much calmer and more congenial during the Alpine Plant Sale just one month earlier, when gardeners come in search of unusual, hardy plants, such as spreading groundcovers, candytufts, succulents, skullcaps and mallows. Though society members get first pick, there are still plenty of hard-to-find species available when the doors open to the public. Can you dig it?


Add yardwork to the adage about death and taxes. But if you have to do it, you might as well do it big. And big is Paulino Gardens' middle name. From anemones to zinnias, cacti to bonsai, these trees, shrubs, plants and flowers comprise more than twenty acres. Plus, the staff knows their Best Boys from their Beefeaters, and they can give you cures for mugwort and pigweed and tips on getting rid of that nasty case of silverfish.

When bungalow-lovers Ed and Kate Sultan started to furnish their cozy circa-1919 home, they struggled trying to find the right Arts and Crafts-era decor. So they opened their own store, Modern Bungalow, featuring the Mission-style designs of artisans around the country. The homey place glows with rich woods and textiles, angular stained-glass lampshades and elegant pottery, all of which quietly defy the Victorian frills that preceded them in fashion. Pull up a Stickley chair and stay a while.

For one-stop furniture shopping, the newly completed Clayton Lane is the place to go, with its mix of mass-produced styles and high-end design houses. Hidden down the lane you'll find Arhaus, which sports a rich, antique and sometimes ethnic feel; the modernist-leaning Design Within Reach; and Colorado-based HW Home. If you can't find what you want, within blocks of the development are such emporiums as Room & Board, Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware. Happy hunting.
There's nothing run-of-the-mill about Suzanne Blaylock or her eccentric shop, Red Door. The place is little more than a two-story closet, and Blaylock knows how to pack it in. You'll find fabric shower curtains in a variety of styles and moods, Old West tea towels, tin toys, Red Tango grinning kitty clocks, candles in the shape of elephants, little German alarm clocks mounted on a spring, miniature paintings by local artist Kate McPhee, and the occasional Asian-influenced items, such as Japanese bowls festooned inside with smiling cats. Blaylock plans to move into a larger space down the block, so hurry on over to pay your respects to this Denver gem.


Any do-it-yourselfer who's spent any amount of time wandering the aisles of Home Depot knows fixer-uppers don't come cheap, even when you're providing all the labor. The big-hearted volunteers at Habitat for Humanity understand that, and they've opened a retail shop to help pass bargains along to the rest of us by selling donated materials. There's no real method to the madness, but packed in the warehouse are stashes of building materials, appliances, furniture, plumbing and electrical supplies, windows, doors, decking, tile and carpet. Wander on in: Not only might you find the stainless-steel stove of your wildest dreams, but you won't be paying for it for the rest of your life.

Women rule. And more and more, they hammer, drill, lay tile, plumb and plaster. So don't they deserve tools of their own? The founders of Denver-based Tomboy Tools thought so, and they designed smaller, ergonomically easy-to-grasp tools that are proudly "not pink." We can do it.


Big Chill Fridge, the brainchild of Boulderite Thom Vernon and his nephew Orion Creamer, produces the centerpiece of the mid-century-modern kitchen: a retro-styled refrigerator with spacious, streamlined, frost-free innards and exteriors of Cherry Red, Beach Blue and Jadite Green. In fact, it's really more a "Chevy Bel-Air without the fins" than a refrigerator, according to Vernon. One that you can park in your home.


Spice lovers Cal Smith and David Citizen practice a kind of alchemy in the tiny back room of their Golden Triangle shop, Colorado Mountain Spiceshop. That's where they create their exclusive blends, as well as decant and bottle small batches of fresh teas and spices. Try the 5280 Grind, a peppery mixture good for dipping oils and marinades, or the Maple Pepper, or the Chocolate Mountain Chai, or, if you're adventurous, Citizen's aromatic lavender sugar. If you're timid about exotic flavors, let them persuade you on First Fridays, when they offer culinary works of art.


Cute betrothed couple Mike Johnston and Janet Chambers decided to spice up their lives by opening the Savory Spice Shop in the nascent 15th Street business district just west of the Platte River. The flavorful store boasts 300 different herbs and spices, including a slew of international flavors such as dried curry and Kaffir lime leaves favored in southeast Asian and Indonesian cuisines. Patron favorites include infused vanilla-bean sugar and freshly ground Vietnamese cassia cinnamon, an addictive seasoning that reveals the seasoning's very essence in a single sniff. And if a pinch is all you need, that's all you'll have to buy.


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