Hydrangea quercifolia, oakleaf hydrangea
Our last stop on our recent tour of New Mexico was Albuquerque, a bustling, 300 year old city that originated on the banks of the Rio Grande River and now spreads east into the foothills of the Sandia mountains. We enjoyed a stroll through the Rio Grande Botanic Garden. Although modest in size, I think this garden does a good job of showing native, adapted, and introduced (hardy) plants in a variety of settings. The newly established Japanese garden uses the native cottonwood bosque, that borders the flood plain of the Rio Grande, as a visual backdrop and also to moderate (cool and calm) the high desert climate.
I doubt that this garden looks anything at all like a garden in Japan, but it has the essence of an Asian garden and presents design elements that could be incorporated into a home setting.
A stone bridge over a small watercourse in the Japanese garden, above.
Loved these cool, welded iron rose towers! Jim is 6'1" tall; as you can see, the towers that
create this "rose room" are 12' tall! They alternate with 6' tall towers to create a totally enclosed space. Climbing roses are the featured plants. The bowl in the center is a simple fountain (empty for winter).
I also liked this quiet spot built and furnished with regionally appropriate materials.
The reasonable entry fee ($7.00 ea) for the botanic garden also included entry to the adjacent aquarium. A small, but interesting "tour" of the aquatic ecosystems found in the Rio Grande River from Albuquerque to the Gulf of Mexico. The tour culminates with this tower of jellyfish and a giant shark and ray tank. Very fun to watch, and a wonderful docent on hand to answer questions and offer fun tidbits of information.
Great info about these beautiful creatures here.