A custom greenhouse at a private Starwood home features black-framed windows and skylights to maximize solar access
Around Aspen and throughout the valley, greenhouses are taking root.
Homeowner Alexa Wesner finds creative peace working—and growing—in the garden
When Alexa Wesner was planning a new contemporary home in Aspen’s Starwood neighborhood, she asked her architects to design a greenhouse that complemented the architecture of the home. “Alexa had always wanted a greenhouse to grow her own food,” shares Sarah Broughton of Rowland+Broughton Architecture, who led the design project. “We thought about the design, shape and materiality in relation to the house, solar access for growing and how to make it a fully functioning greenhouse while incorporating some of her personality and design sense.”
Aligned with the architecture of the home, the Rowland Broughton team designed a companion greenhouse for growing food all year long.
This spring, Wesner planted custom steel planter boxes in the 570-square-foot greenhouse with tomatoes, a variety of herbs and salad greens. A trio of outdoor cedar boxes are filled with everything from broccoli, peppers, cucumbers and beets to avocados, Meyer lemons and strawberries. “Every single day, I go to the greenhouse and pick a salad for lunch,” says Wesner. “There’s a lot of hope that springs from growing in the garden. Sarah did a great job with the greenhouse.”
The space looks out to mountain peaks beyond.
Of course, the concept of growing your own food is not new to the valley. Farmers with ample greenhouses sow seeds and starter plants early, then sell all summer via community-supported agriculture and at roadside farm stands, weekly farmers markets and local shops.
The interior of the greenhouse features steel growing beds, stone pavers and a built-in storage and work space
At The Farm Collaborative in Aspen (spot the teepee, geodesic dome, acres of fertile fields and chickens along Highway 82), farming has evolved beyond crops of carrots, cabbages, onions, salad greens and beets.
The landmark geodesic growing dome at The Farm Collaborative.
“We’re not just growing food; we’re growing farmers,” explains Eden Vardy, The Farm Collaborative founder and executive director. “We’re nourishing our community, regenerating and inspiring stewardship of the land and inspiring the next generation.” A greenhouse that rolls on train tracks provides cover as needed for field crops; figs, flowers, herbs and more are grown year-round in the solar-powered dome—it’s hard to miss the power of this special place.
A summer bounty. PHOTO: BY BRAD STALLCUP/UNSPLASH
The Roaring Fork Valley boasts some fabulous local growers—here’s where to find them this summer and early fall.
The Farm Collaborative sells its produce at the Aspen Saturday Market (through Oct. 9, and Skip’s Farm to Market in Basalt.
Two Roots Farm in Basalt sells produce, flowers, fresh baked goods and bread at its farm on Fridays from 9AM to 2PM.
Erin’s Acres Farm sells organically grown veggies at the Basalt Sunday Market and the Carbondale Farmers’ Market on Wednesdays.
Photography by: BRENT MOSS PHOTOGRAPHY, THE FARM COLLABORATIVE