Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Through the Garden Gate in New Mexico

New Mexico's climate is harsh with high winds, strong sunlight, and drought being the norm rather than the exception.  When the early Spaniards came to New Mexico they built houses with courtyards enclosed by heavy gates and high walls to mitigate this extreme climate.  (Well, and to be honest, to protect themselves from the irate Native Americans who did not appreciate their hospitality being violated by being enslaved.)  This tradition is still followed today, although folks generally don't have to worry about keeping out hostiles.  Indeed, all three cultures, Native American, Anglo's and Hispanics that live in New Mexico get along rather well.  The courtyards, however, survive as we struggle to grow gardens in the increasingly arid desert.

Francesca and Ralph's new house has a courtyard garden that needed some help.  And while we are a long way from finished, it is looking a bit better.  

First time visitor to this blog?  Click here to see the before photos.

The new pathway that leads more directly to the front door is laid.  Gravel mulch will keep the weeds down.  
Hens and Chicks are planted alongside the stepping stones.  Eventually they will spread and bring in some much needed green.  To the left are planting spaces awaiting herbs, which we hope will be brought as shower gifts. 
The soil is inhospitable to all but the most hardy wildflowers, so will be amended with compost to keep the clay from choking baby roots.  Lavenders will provide year-round interest.  The purple mums are place holders for Jupiter's Beard (Centranthus) which are still rooting in the flat to the right.  Several pots of flowers add temporary color until the new plantings get established.  The tree is an existing desert willow which we trimmed quite a lot because it was blocking the views.

Borrowed pots of flowers will be replaced after the wedding shower with rose bushes and Thymus "Pink Chintz" as a ground cover.  Ralph will choose the roses since that is his area of expertise. 

Here you can see the sculpture that we think we might move when we can figure out how to do so without breaking it.  Behind the scupture is a Spanish broom which blooms bright yellow in the spring and has a heavenly scent.  Doesn't look as though this one has bloomed in several years. With a little water and a touch of fertilizer, the bees will be in heaven next spring.  To the left of the blue pot of geraniums is an Autumn Sage which should look like this... 

Autumn Sage

And several Russian Sages which look like this when they get a tiny bit of water.
Succulents will be used as centerpieces on the tables for the party and then planted here and there.

This arched gate is just crying out for a climbing rose, don't you think?

Just because I love them, in my next post, we will look at some other New Mexico Gates.....

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