Monday, November 14, 2011

Fall: Our 2nd Spring

This weekend! Mojave desert native Silver Cholla / Cylindropuntia echinocarpa is potted, in front of Deergrass / Muhlenbergia rigens and Mexican Blue Sage, and our inexpensive CMU wall, painted purple.

That, after a hard freeze Thurs AM (26F low), and 3 other frosts (27-32F lows) the previous 10 days, with high temperatures 5-10F cooler than average. The plants still think it's fall; they must know more than I do.

Many make excuses now, saying "New Mexico is brown". No - wrong plants, wrong place, and desert-disconnected design.

When well-designed, the cool season landscape (Nov-March), is far from dull in Albuquerque and the Desert SW. A few clues:
1) contrast of hardscape forms and plant massing, especially those with year-round bones and live foliage
2) appropriate native and adapted species
3) sculpture plants (flowers are fleeting)
4) soft plants behind evergreens and spiky plants

Mexican Blue Sage / Salvia chamaedryoides is still flowering nicely. Only some bees, moths, and butterflies left. The hummingbirds left early this year, as in recent years. They know something I don't, too.


  1. Love the light, through your fuzzy cactus.
    I agree with all your points. Good bones and the right plants can make a winter garden beautiful.

    The hummingbirds are fewer here, too. Does this mean a cold winter?
    Forecasters say warmer and..unfortunately...drier than normal. Hmmmmmm......

  2. I can't believe I ever thought that purple wall was an odd choice! It looks amazing in the first photo, accenting the Cylindropuntia and Muhlenbergia without over powering.

    Also can't believe you've had such cold weather...colder than ours! I still haven't had a frost in my garden.

  3. Beautiful choices. Those mountains again...

    Fall is a second spring for us as well. Most summers are as bad as winter with few blooms and little green.

  4. Definitely agree on the second spring thing. We've had three good rains over the last month and things are budding out--even some flowers already on the winter bloomers. I love this time of year here, and it looks like it's going to be cool for you too!

  5. There are not many blue flowers over here, our Commelina elegans reminds me of your Salvia,even when the first, a weed, is more of an indigo, or the other way around. Nice post.

  6. Love that first pic design with the pots and cholla cactus. I may even steal your idea:) It is a second spring!!! I love this time of year. Best time to be outside al fresco for dining and gardening.

  7. L/P - yes, there is much to light and shadow. I can't figure out hummers at all, but like us, I guess they move to where the food is!

    DG - glad you like it more, now! The inside is my friend Ted's idea (cool colors), while the outside is about contrast (hot colors). But the sun is merciless, so it needs a fresh coat... Yes, colder than you...we are picked on my cold this fall, again.

    SF - everything sighs relief now, don't we all? Those mountains...I shoukld take some pics without a mountain in sight!

    J - and soon, you will be green and lush (spring comes in summer, summer comes in fall, fall comes in winter, and winter not at all...). We will soon only have rosemary with flowers!

    AC - thanks. I was unaware of your lack of blue flowers, but since you have every other flower and much of the year, that is our reward!

    R - everything is inspired in design, so you can't really steal ideas. Isn't that great? I like that scene too, and the black glazed pots were a perfect find, for my need for contrast in all! Al Fresco is a great "guy" for sure.


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