Sunday, September 30, 2007

Salutations from Santa Fe!

Finally, I was able to fulfill my dream of visiting High Country Gardens in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I have ordered plants from them for years and have wanted to visit their demonstration gardens, but family matters have kept us from traveling for the last three years. So, you can see why this was such a treat for me last week.

Their "official" tours had ended for the season, however, I had just as much fun (although not as informative) wandering around on my own. My first impression was how much shade there was in the Xeriscape garden. One thinks of a xeric garden as baking in full sun all of the time (like my hellstrips), but that's not the case. It was amazing to see how many of the plants were flourishing in filtered shade from the many trees.

My very next impression was how close together everything was planted...just the way I love it! This time of the year most of the plantings were quite large and some were lodging (a nice way to say falling over). And there was NO staking that I could see! Everything is so close that neighbors were holding up neighbors and looked very happy and secure having each other to lean on. The downside of visiting this time of the year is that there was no one around to answer questions or identify plants, many of which had long ago covered up their signage. Not wanting to disturb them I chose to just enjoy most of them for their beauty without knowing their identities. For example, there were many different varieties of beautiful salvias blooming. Many of these are not perennial in my part of the country so I just walked by and let my mouth water.

The amount of shade at the time of morning we were there, coupled with the bright sunlight, drove my camera crazy on it's automatic setting. I love the blue cast it put on the next photo.

I expected more of an arid look, so was surprised by the lushness of this setting.

Here I was delighted to find the plant that has been haunting me for the last couple of years as I tried unsuccessfully to grow it. That's Salvia Pachypylla, Flowered Purple Sage. You can imagine how I oohed and aaaaw'd all over the place! The light silver-green foliage complements the lovely pink-blue blossoms. These photos did start me wondering though...what kind of companion would you put with these colors? Would they clash with my other plants? We'll see. I do have one trying to hang on with it's dear life. I planted it with a Sunset Hyssop with it's lavender and salmon blooms. I hope it makes it through the winter.

I've never seen so many different Agastaches and Hyssops. I'm sorry that I can't identify them, but I sure did enjoy seeing them.

Now, HERE was a very interesting plant! The "bluest" I have ever seen! It's so blue that it almost hurts your eyes and wow, does it stand out! It's Salvia Pitcher's Sage. One thing, as you can see, is that it really flops. I noticed that they usually paired it with yellow. They told me that the one above that is completely on the ground "probably should be staked" and that the reason it was so "floppy" was that this area is not watered often. I sure would love to have this plant, but have made a vow not to get any more "floppy" plants because of all the wind we have. Who knows though, maybe next year it will be on my order list as it is difficult to resist this beauty.

Here is one plant I did purchase. A Serbian Yarrow, which is a ground cover. I loved the color of the foliage and they had only one left. So, I had to get it, the poor, lonely little thing.

Off into the sunset (well... sunrise, really) for now. Next post I will show the perennial sales area, the annual greenhouse and the cottage garden. There was so much to see that my eyes couldn't take it all in! Believe me, they tried though. And just wait and see the plants I got. Just hope I can finish getting in the ground VERY soon before it cools any more.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Fabulous Fall!!

Yippeeee!! My favorite time of year is here! I love the colors, I love the angle and warmth of the sun, I love the smell of leaves, I love the crunch of leaves underneath my feet as I walk. I love that it's my birthday next week (well... not the number of years), but I love that my birthday is in the fall. AND this year, I'm celebrating by realizing my dream of visiting High Country Gardens in Santa Fe. YEA!! We've been planing a trip there for the last three years and have not been able to get away, so this will be a real treat for me to see how some of my favorite agastaches look close up. Several should still be in bloom. I'm sure I'll have lots of photos to share when I get back.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Grandmother's Cut Flower Garden

Gardening time has been limited this week (hate that--"retirement" has spoiled me), but I did manage to get my hands dirty and my arms scratched by roses for a while yesterday. While doing a walk-around I noticed several new and different little blooms in my "Grandmother's Cut Flower Garden" that was planted directly from seeds this spring. A torrential downpour a couple days later washed all of the tiny seeds together so they are kind of cramped while still blooming their little hearts out all summer. I ran in to get my camera and took some closeups of the tiny flower heads. There are so many different kinds that I have not had before and I'm enjoying discovering new ones every week. Here are some to share with my blogger friends:

These two are Pinks, or Dianthus, planted separately

Several flowers look as though they were hand painted with a brush

And LOTS of interesting texture

Very dainty!

This reminds me of an Indian blanket or feathers

Sorry for the blur...wind was terrible...but I love this color

Even some beautiful cosmos

And more beautiful seed heads.
Most of the seeds are annuals, but a couple are perennials. I will plant this mix again next year and try to give them more room to spread out a little, although with all the wind this area gets they are nice and cozy supporting and protecting each other.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Sept GBBD - I'll be late!

Hi everyone! I just wanted to get something up quickly. Due to some previous commitments I haven't been able to post lately, and will not be in touch until a couple of days. I have taken some photos of the few NEW blooms and will post them later. In the meantime, here is my favorite combination of plants: Russian sage, Sunset Hyssop, Ava Agastache, Autumn Joy Sedum, Pink Cloud Saliva (on rebloom) and some other misc. plants. Also, a Silver Sage that is heading out... figured that counts as a "bloom." Have a great GBBD. I will look forward to checking in with all of you when I get back to my computer. It will be an interesting month of blooms, for sure!

Monday, September 10, 2007

I Asked For It.....Brrr!

This morning it was 49 as a cold front came through last night. Not much precip but the plants are very happy to be out of the hot sun for once, and SO am I! It feels good to have some nice cool air coming in the windows and gives me an excuse not to garden, since I have many other things I need to accomplish. Tonight it is supposed to be near 40. In 1941 it actually got down to 28 this week! Anyway, here's some:

Happy, happy lettuce

Happy basil

Really happy petunias (they LOVE the cool evenings

And...happy entry plants, especially morning glories that are tired of wilting in the sun.
In a couple of days it will warm up again and then maybe we'll have the start of our Indian Summer. It's great to have a break like this.