Tour: Late to the (Garden) Party

Fashionably late is how I roll! Starting the garden tour 1 hour late, I didn’t even make it the three gardens 15+ minutes away from the others. Garden tours are like designs or conferences – extra time spent paring down only improves.

This home’s garden was all out front and around the block from two others I posted on, so I did what I usually do – the unofficial view!

From 4/11/2015 –

imagine the crunching sound to-fro the car

Some understated touches were made here. Tearing out what was probably a decaying, old concrete driveway and making that permeable, lessening storm runoff, is a good one.

In front, are grays: low Dalea greggii and bushy Leucophyllum spp.

Other good touches include letting plants retain their natural forms, and letting native wildflowers reseed in between and over gravel.

the struggling (riparian) Arizona Ash is all that’s out of place…future firewood

I have to overlook the lack of planting design at this garden, like most Albuquerque gardens I’ve seen that venture into the realm of xeriscape and native plants. Some good parts, regardless; just add modest maintenance and a couple sculpture / spiky plants.

But unlike garden tours in my former home, this committee did good. I didn’t see one token gesture to inappropriate – much cooler and/or wetter – zero Taos or Tokyo :-)

a Desert Marigold / Baileya multiradiata volunteered here
a prime Beargrass / Nolina greenei (or is it N. texana)
about to pop into the blue, Chilopsis linearis limbs high above

“Punctuality is the virtue of those who have very few appointments.” – anonymous. So true. Someone in my field whom I once knew didn’t like my quoting that, giving me flack as I unknowingly flew right over the target. That was back in the darkest of days when I had a Facebook account. No wonder… :-)

Late – make sure you know what another has to work with, or work around.

Proof most can do more but relaxed is good…and clock worship is often not a good thing.


6 Replies to “Tour: Late to the (Garden) Party”

  1. Gardens won’t be hurried and gardeners (and tour planners!) ought to take heed. Most of the big mistakes I’ve made were a result of hurrying. A problem for me with very large planted spaces and/or viewing a series of spaces is developing what I think of as “scenic overload”. Details get overwhelming and I stop looking very closely, just taking in sweeping impressions. I much prefer spending quiet time focusing on smaller areas.

    I have one bear grass clump on a shady slope – an experiment to see how it tolerates the variable conditions under oaks where it gets sun for a few weeks each year. It has done well so far – not growing at any rapid pace but slowly increasing. This reminds me I must get more!

    Precisely! The morning tour was 8 homes in 3 hours: the first 2 next door / the next 3 within a block. Seems easy, but that’s 10 minutes driving between both groups, plus 20 minutes each X 5 = 110 minutes. Then 20+ minutes driving to the other 3, plus 20 minutes each X 3, plus one had plants for sale so 15 minutes = 95 minutes. 110 min + 90 min = 200 min…20 minutes over, and that’s doing them in rapid fire, little time to take pics…or relax and enjoy, see plants and design, which is what I thought gardens did for owners and guests. But still OK, missing a few, since I chose enjoyment over checklists!

    I’ve seen your Hill Country beargrasses in both situations, but I only wish I could try them out. At the public gardens conference I attended in ATX, the guys from the Denver Botanic Garden were beyond thrilled to get some of your N. texana to grow, in favor of our larger, coarser N. greenei or the even larger, really coarse N. microcarpa…


  2. Exactly. Rare to visit a garden with every layer speaking to you from the well educated/intuitive creator.

    And you know I don’t mean the education of traditional ‘schooling’.


    Yes I do…we both have the traditional schooling part, then the real-life practice part. Each and every layer.


  3. The Beargrass is amazing. When it blooms you can usually tell the difference. Planted Desert Marigold seeds a few years ago, need to try it again. That gray foliage would work in my garden.

    That’s the largest beargrass I’ve seen in El Paso or Albuquerque. What’s tripping me on this one is it seems a little finer than the local one, but way too large for your’s.

    Baileya – my experience is it needs disturbed soil (like bluebonnets?), 2/3 a day of sun,


  4. I saw baileya in bloom at Rancho Santa Ana Bot. garden — love the silvery leaves. I wonder it it’s as amenable to gardens as berlandiera.

    I met a curator from Santa Ana at a public gardens conferencein March, and now I must go. Those fuzzy leaves are something, and in So Cal, it probably blooms through the summer. I think the key is gravelly soil and only kept dry on clay, while Berlandiera is fine on any soil.


  5. Good lord, that bear grass is enormous. I have them growing here but they like to drape over the rocky hillside and seem to prefer shade. I never thought of them as sun lovers. On such a gorgeous day you really should have been there on the dot! Where were the other visitors?

    That size is why I think it’s our foothill native, N. greenei. Ours grows in sun and shade. I actually was enjoying my breakfast tacos and coffee on my patio for over an hour, just not on the tour. Good thing 2 homes were a block away!

    Very light visitation at all homes, though I cropped out the others who were at this home.


  6. The Desert Marigold is very cool…maybe it will seed and they will get more, it is a nice contrast to the gray.

    There was a bunch in the front yard, and I bet it will reseed. True, very bold!


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