In recent years a tremendous number of amazing civic gardens have sprung up around the West, mostly funded by municipalities or water providers to show people how to garden with less irrigation. You can read more about these at this URL: http://www.plantselect.org/map.php. Many of these gardens have turned out very well, and one in particular is stunning most any time of the year. The Garden at Kendrick Lake is several acres in extent, filled with perennials (many of them bona fide alpines) and this garden is truly a mass of color from the herbaceous plants from May to autumn frost. They have extended the season earlier in the spring with a wonderful display of species and near species bulbs. Their tulips are especially gratifying. I am appending pictures I took two weeks ago: pretty wonderful, aren't they?