Monday, November 30, 2009

Last of the Series

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.
Moon jellyfish
Great info about these beautiful creatures here.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Then and Now

There's Jim, stepping out of the original Mercury space capsule at the New Mexico Museum of Space History in Alamogordo. We were a bit short of time that day, so we just wandered around their outdoor "sculpture garden" of stuff that goes really fast.
I was taken with the construction details. Welds that will hold and screws/bolts that won't come loose.
The beautiful patinas created by tremendous heat and force.
The lines, patterns, and forms all designed for a specific function.
From these early beginnings to today's safe arrival home of the space shuttle Atlantis. Amazing!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

For more information about this weird and wonderful place, click here.
Note: no color or light alterations were made to these photos which were taken at mid-day on November 19, 2009.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


I've just returned from a week touring around the "Land of Enchantment", New Mexico. As always, we like to start in Taos, where we can imerse ourselves in the light, architecture, art, food and people. An easy five hour drive from Denver, but a world away.

Next, we headed south and east to the Toularosa Basin, home of The Malpais lava flow (photo below), numerous pistachio orchards, wineries, and the White Sands National Monument, our main destination.
The desert flora and fauna are always a treat to see. Many of the prickly pear cacti were covered with colorful fruit.

Spines, thorns, and barbs adorn many plants. And can you beat that blue sky?

This young road runner (New Mexico's state bird) was basking in the sun and totally happy to play to the camera. Stay tuned...more to come!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Lingering Leaves

Above: Cameo quince, Chaenomeles speciosa 'Cameo'

A number of my deciduous shrubs still have a bit of foliage hanging on, although the storm we're expecting this weekend may be the end of it. Hope you enjoy the tour!
Above: purple-leaf honeysuckle vine, Lonicera japonica 'Purpurea'

Above: compact lavender butterfly bush, Buddleja davidii nanhoensis 'Petite Indigo'. The foliage texture on this dwarf form is much finer than that of the standard, pictured below.
Purple butterfly bush, Buddleja davidii 'Black Knight'

Above and below: beauty bush, Kolkwitsia amabalis. This young plant will eventually get 10-15 feet tall and maintain a vase-like form.

Above: fernbush, Chamaebatiaria millefolium
Above: St. Johnswort, Hypericum frondosum 'Sunburst'
Below: still going strong after weeks of showy color, Grow-Low sumac, Rhus aromatica 'Grow-Low'

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Cattails 'n Cottonwoods

On Sunday, Jim and I headed over to Berkeley Lake Park for an afternoon stroll. The weather was clear, cool and crisp; the autumn ideal.
We enjoyed seeing the still-rich colors of newly dormant plants. I was intrigued by the (seemingly) random patterns created by the downed cattail stalks.
And a bit of fluff ready to take flight on the next breeze.
The old cottonwood trees (Populus sargentii) look even more massive now that their branches are bare.
A few colorful leaves still linger. . .

Friday, November 06, 2009

Hot off the Press

I just received this mailing and wanted to pass it along to those of you who are always looking for the newest plant introductions!

More than just
a pretty picture!

All-America Selections Winners

Tested Nationally & Proven Locally®
'Mesa Yellow'
'Twinny Peach'
Viola 'Endurio
Sky Blue Martien'
Zinnia 'Zahara
Starlight Rose'

Click on a winner image for the description.

How to grow the 2010 AAS Winners?

Plant these winners in a full-sun location.

Looking for 2010 Winner seed?

Click here for the 2010 Winner seed source list:
Seed Source List for Home Gardeners

Looking for 2010 Winner plants?

To purchase plants, go to your local nurseries and retailers or shop online catalogs.

Click here for retailers that sell AAS Winners:
All-America Selections Store Locator