Saturday, August 21, 2010

Santa Fe Chronicles - More Flora (sans Hollyhocks)

Aspens are one of the true delights of high-altitude climates. The interesting bark, beautiful leaves and intensely gold fall color make it one of my favorite trees.

Aromatic juniper is a wonderful evergreen mainstay; it thrives in high desert conditions.

Crabapples also give a long season of beauty, from lush spring bloom to soft green leaves to shiny fruits in late summer, in a conveniently compact size tree!

I love this beautiful, large grass; can't figure out what it is...

Maples by the river...

A large Campsis vine happily strangling a Blue Atlas Cedar.

View from where I'm staying...

And another! Santa Fe has gotten a lot of rainfall this summer; everything is quite lush.

Focus fail makes for an interesting picture anyway; think I'll keep it!

That's better; not sure what these red berries are; maybe Viburnum?

An adopted median with lush plantings of Russian Sage (Perovskia) and Hummingbird Mint (Agastache).

This apricot Agastache is just gorgeous...

A perky, pink penstemon!

Ha, figured this one out: Apache Plume (Fallugia paradoxa) love the silky seed heads

More Crabapples...

And we wrap up with a really sexy line of agaves in a raised bed between the sidewalk and an adobe wall.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Santa Fe Chronicles - Return to Cool Ranch

I wrote about the gardens at Cool Ranch with some wistfulness last year; it had just gone on the market, and I wondered if I was seeing one of my favorite projects for the last time. So I was glad to hear that my sister's beautiful house was sold to really nice people, who loved what we had done AND were happy for us to come and visit!

They've made some great changes to the landscape, like building a courtyard around the front entrance that gives some separation from the motor court/garage area, and another nice outdoor room.

I love the gentle curves and the iron gate that is light but strong. The turquoise pots add a welcome splash of color.

We should probably call this Bailey's courtyard, because it was added largely for her benefit; small dogs and cats are not a good match for the local coyotes, so a protected outdoor spot is important; especially for a pet that is very anxious to explore!

Beautiful flagstone work on the patio, and a graceful extension of the planting beds.

I loved seeing this large bronze Buddha placed so thoughtfully, framed by gnarled branches of wild juniper.

In their third summer all the perennials have reached a nice maturity, and have naturalized a bit as well. Russian Sage (Perovskia) is all over Santa Fe right now, growing in the dryest spots. Agastache is a perfect companion plant for it, and with Buddleia form the backbone of many a late-summer garden here.

There is a low wall separating cultivated space from the natural terrain beyond, but that line is becoming very blurry!

 The growing season is fairly short at this altitude: June is wildflowers and flowering trees, July and August are summer, September and October can see the first snows.

 And of course, I had to visit the labyrinth, which still looks amazing 3 years after installation. The center planting of Agastache and Thyme could not be more perfect.

The saplings of 2007 are filling out nicely; I was able to talk to the owners a bit about how to prune in order to frame key views.

 Native Pinon pines make a great backdrop.

 A meditation bell stands to one side.

The center of the garden remains open, in keeping with our intention to mimic the natural terrain of the desert beyond, with its clearings of seasonal wildflowers. There are few formal paths.

In the desert plants are found in harmonious communities, and are often clustered around rocks; this same idea gives Cool Ranch interesting structure even when it is covered with snow.

A bubbling boulder water feature from Santa Fe Stone offers a cooling welcome near the front door, and we have come full circle. My earlier post gives more of the story behind the creation of the gardens at Cool Ranch and shows how it has changed. Thanks for joining me!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Santa Fe Skies

Morning, evening or night, the wide open skies of New Mexico are nothing short of spectacular. But don't take MY word for it...  (click to enlarge)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Bloom Day - August 2010 from Santa Fe

I'm at the beginning of a two-week working holiday in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Which is great for Bloom Day, because there is so much blooming here, and my own gardens are suffering from those August garden doldrums I mentioned in my previous post. So here's some of what I've seen during my first couple of days here.

I'm here, in part, to mind an artist's studio on Canyon Road while he attends a show of his work. These first few pictures were taken along the alley nearby. Caryopteris is gorgeous around here right now, and is abuzz with several varieties of bees all day.

Hollyhocks are another common sight in Santa Fe (this won't be the first one you see!)

Datura stays tightly rolled during the day, and unfurls fragrantly at night.

Phlox is everywhere too, much of it in the primordial pinks and magentas that they revert to when they self-seed. A big favorite of hummingbirds and sphinx moths.

OK, I don't know WHAT happened to this poor Achillea during color correction, but I kind of like it, so it stays! More appropriately colored Achillea later...

Out on Canyon Road I find a wan little Echinacea (especially compared to the previous pic!)

Hollyhocks and Phlox, take two!

Elegant little campanulas in dry shade...

Blush pink Phlox and sultry Rudbeckia should really not be seen together, but somehow they work!

Dainty Cosmos fill in the gaps in a mixed border and bloom like crazy all summer here.

Sunflowers are everywhere! They are a particularly special flower for me, so I enjoy being around them...


Drama queen...

Junior drama queen.

I loved this single flower of hardy geranium threading up through some juniper.

And this Buddleia enjoying some afternoon shade.

Hollyhock (with blue sky) take three...

Hollyhock (with pink stucco) take four!

Silver Lace Vine (Polygonum aubertii) flows over many a fence and wall in Santa Fe; you definitely need to give this one some room.

As promised, some properly colored Achilleas, used beautifully here against an adobe wall.

Little sunflowers!

A perfect planting of Dwarf Plumbago (Ceratostigma plumbaginoides) between a pole fence and the top of a stone wall. Exquisite...

Another view of Silver Lace Vine.

Mmmmm, honeysuckle! This is what I would have on MY fences and walls instead...

Thanks for joining me in Santa Fe, be assured there is much more to come. And don't stop here! Visit May Dreams Gardens for links to Bloom Day posts from all over the world.

"We can have flowers nearly every month of the year."
Elizabeth Lawrence