PO Box 2458, Tijeras NM 87059

Mountain Gardens--finding success with plants for the high desert and East Mountains of New Mexico

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Joining the Plant Select Program

We're pretty excited about joining the Plant Select program. Finding new plants that thrive in the mountains at zone 4 & 5 can be a challenge when our local shopping venues are zones 6 through 8. Try explaining to a customer who just drove in to town and came back with a crape myrtle, or nandina, or an ocotillo--why these plants don't work very well up here!

Our growing conditions are more similar in many ways to Colorado than much of New Mexico. That's why the Plant Select program is so attractive to us. The University of Colorado works with the Denver Botanical Garden, and growers to find plants that are especially suited to the Rocky Mountains. Many of the plants are native, but like the catmints, others are from similar  regions of the world.

New Mexico gardeners are already familiar with many of the program's plants--Sunset Hyssop, Sea Foam Artemisia, Orange Carpet Hummingbird Trumpet. These favorites have met a daunting list of criteria; to be chosen for the program they must be beautiful in form and flower, leaf and fruit; adaptable to a wide variety of fairly extreme conditions that consider high wind, sun, altitude, and soils that can vary from high pH, clay, or near solid rock. They cannot be invasive, and must be easily grown by nurserymen.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

On Sale !

It's the middle of the season--time to move out the veggies and annuals in 4" pots. The veggies are 50% off. It's not too late to put some tomatoes in a 5 gallon pot--easy to bring in for the next hail storm, or carry a few weeks longer at the end of the season. And folks are still replacing cukes, eggplant and others that have been cooked by this unusual heat and dryness--hopefully just in time for the monsoon.

We still have lots of petunias, snaps and pansies. These cool weather lovers like our chilly nights, and will go through the whole season if they're given some shade. Among the old favorites that your grandmother used to love, we have nicotiana, stock, cosmos, dame's rocket, and four kinds of annual poppies. There's still some lobelia, marigold, coleus, zinnia, and others. The annuals are 30% off.

The pond class went very well. We were surprised--every one of the attendees already had a pond! Like everything else in the garden, ponds are suffering. With high temperatures, and no rain, water evaporates faster, and it heats up fast too which stresses plants and fish. Algae has been a problem for everyone including us. We're looking for golden orfe's to tackle some of that algae. We had an old clawfoot bathtub set up as a water feature to demonstrate the ease of today's small pump/filters. Wink built a copper gooseneck to trickle water into the tub. When we get finished painting it, and the plants are installed, it will be a beautiful, whimsical addition to someone's garden--cowboy bathing anyone? Towel's on that branch...

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Artists Invited to Submit to ArtFest 2011

Our annual Mountain Gardens ArtFest will be held this year on August 20 & 21. We're currently taking submissions from artists and crafters for booths. Material should be fine arts and crafts mediums including photography, painting, woodwork, jewelry, fiber arts, and more. Deadline for the submissions is August 5th. We will consider all work though we're hoping for a majority of our booths to represent the East Mountains. The booth fee for both days is $50.00 (not payable until the artist is accepted and is sending a signed contract). All work must be original and crafted by the artist. For more information and to print the contract go to mountaingardensartfest.blogspot.com. (see links)

The ArtFest coincides with Mountain Gardens end of season sale. Our last class of the season will be on Saturday, the 21st, at 2 pm. The topic is "Success With Perennials."

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Summer At Last?

What a long miserable spring. I was wearing my long underwear until the last of May! We finally planted the tomatoes, peppers, leeks and squash on the 29th (after telling my customers to wait till the soil was warm enough), and it froze that night!!! Luckily everything but the squash was tucked away in the Wall O' Waters (behind granddaughter Junie who is watering the last of the asparagus.) I'm going to have to start some more squash though, we're sold out.

The other veggies are going fast, too. Many of our customers have been back several times to replace veggies that have frozen. At the veggie class, we discussed putting in cool weather crops like peas, onions, greens early in spring, holding off on the warm season crops (like squash) until the soil temps hit 65 or 70.

A major disappointment--our fruit trees won't be ready this season, and we lost many to the terrible weather last winter. And yet, about a dozen container fruit trees we overwintered in the cold house (even colder than the barn!), came through beautifully. Mature roots make all the difference in this climate.

But summer is here at last. The mad greenhouse season is passing as all the annual and vegetable seedlings are yielding to the perennials--time for root pruning, cutting back, repotting, dividing--and starting the next round of seed to replace plants for next year.

Our grapes are showing promise. We started some 40 of these in the winter from unrooted cuttings, callusing the woody little sticks on the heat mats till roots emerged, then potting them up in the warmth of greenhouse two. We're hoping they'll be ready for sale in a few weeks. There are a variety of cultivars, and though we've still got some on the mat (three of the Swenson Red finally rooted!), there should be a few of each.