PO Box 2458, Tijeras NM 87059

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

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

What's Still Green in the November Garden???

It's supposed to get cold again this weekend, more wind. While the days warm up, our nights are dipping below freezing, ice in the morning on the birdbath. The coneflowers are done, the hyssops brown stalks, the gailliardia a crisp haze of seed fluff. The garden's winding down and winter's on the way. It's a good time to poke around out there and make some notes.
Lamb's ear

I like to see what still has a nice green presence despite the freezes--like the very ordinary lamb's ear, soft and silvery. The grey santolina looks very nice, too. The dianthus has flowered until the very second I took the photo (a carnation is still putting out buds). So is the white tufted evening primrose, a native that blooms nonstop. A pattern seems to be emerging--these  plants all have silver grey foliage.

Still looking good, and yes, silver, are the artemesia's--wormwood, Powis Castle. Horehound is everywhere in the mountains, one of the medicinal herbs brought in by the earliest Spanish settler's and escaped. Kept trimmed up, it's a nice filler, and useful if you're an herbalist.

The sages are wonderful choices for the mountains, tough, fully winter hardy, delicious. The varigated form shown is not quite as reliable as salvia off.', but its pink and silver make any companions stand out. I haven't found anything it doesn't look better next to.

These silvery plants are among the best choices for up here, tough, drought tolerant in this arid climate, and yes, lovely far into the end of the garden season.
Horehound & yarrow

Some nice, bright greens that still look fresh are heuchera, another native, salvia nemerosa, the iceplants and sedums, evergreen germander, the yarrows. One of the yarrows still sends up an occasional burst of pink.

I'm taking my notes, looking for holes of course, and areas that need more (or less) silver. It's still a raw, new garden, the trees and shrubs too small to have any significant impact, so the herbaceous perennials provide form, texture, color. Eventually there will be windbreak trees, walls for shelter. (I don't understand why our winds don't have some romantic name like the Santa Ana's, or sirocco, or mistral--a lovely spanish word for unrelenting, pitiless, maybe despiadado. "The despiadado's have returned--I shall go mad.") But the wind has been quite mild so far this fall, and I'm my prosaically sane self.

The native geraniums are filling in nicely under a tall juniper, their leaves coloring up a bit, ditto the plumbago with a few bits of blue petal left. Colder weather coming, hope it looks this nice next week.

Varigated sage

White tufted evening primrose (dianthus & artemesia on left)

Heuchera & salvia


Yellow iceplant       

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