I've attended several times, as a volunteer to help educate and sell plants, as well as to simply buy something and see the gardens.
A quick tour, starting in the cacti section, all grown by Rio Grande Cacti, 80 minutes south of Albuquerque. What's the rush?
Cacti and succulents, many native to our Chihuahuan Desert, of course! Plants of the Southwest in ABQ sells their plants retail.
For us mortals outside uber-mild, Sunset Zone 23-24 San Diego, Laguna Beach, etc., many non-natives are for summer pots, going inside in winter. But not all. And no problema with our native, spiky treasures.
Especially nice to accompany softer and flowering plants. Both need each other in many gardens.
The owners - Socorro Perez above, and Daniel Perry in the hat below
Some great smaller cacti finds, that I have some of (Echinocereus spp.)
More onlookers and shoppers
I guess she wants to see the rest, and so do you
The rush is on!
Many plants are sold under the shade cloth, so they don't dehydrate in those small containers. By mid-afternoon, it was 90F and 5% relative humidity, but only moderate breezes.
I believe the woman in blue is the new horticulture extension agent for El Paso County, whom I just met - Denise Rodriquez.
With the same initials as her predesessor? But I digress...
Isn't it great this sale with the gardens as a background, desert sun shining down? It showcases many of the attractive, regionally-native plants for sale. Acacias and Agave havardiana just beyond:
Oscar Mestas, west Texas urban forester for the Texas Forest Service, assists a person in his tree purchase...the most important garden plant for many of us:
Especially when it is one of the mighty, native broadleaf evergreens...
Oh yeah! If these were grown by Mountain States in AZ, they are likely from seed I collected. If not, just as good.
That stunning tree is often everyone's favorite oak, in the foothills along the upper edges of the Chihuahuan Desert region.
Busy, busy. But someone stands out...
A large Opuntia for each arm. Maybe he moved from Oregon??
At day's end, I took one last walk in the garden and met up with a few desert plant compadres. And the familiar Desert Willow / Chilopsis linearis:
Already in bloom. These gardens are 250 miles S, almost 2000' lower in elevation, than my house. 4 weeks to look like that here.
Mormon Tea / Ephedra aspera? (behind Datil Yucca)
Prayer flags ala Bhutan, architectural inspiration for much of UTEP's campus...
and native honey mesquites.
But I got something, anyway. It's spring, and 500+ miles of driving, even in the desert, means bugs to clean off my shiny car.
I visited Oscar Mestas on the way back. Not only did he show me some of his great tree plantings on he and his wife's property in the valley, he even gave me some eggs from their chickens. MMMM!
Dr. Bill Wood, director of the UTEP Centennial Museum - which includes the Chihuahuan Desert Garden - noted the funding for the gardens. He simply ended that introduction to the Friday night speaker - "thank you."
No, thank you. Something else I picked up...I bought (7) Rock Penstemon and (1) Superb Penstemon. All planted, now.
Music to pair with this plant sale and road trip? The closest thing I can find, "Love for Sale", by Billie Holiday!