September 19, 2022
While in Santa Fe in late August, I spent a morning at the Santa Fe Botanical Garden. I first visited in 2016, three years after it opened and just before Phase 2, Ojos y Manos: Eyes and Hands, opened. My 6-year absence meant I noticed a significant growth in the garden’s plants and perennials, and this time I got to see the new section of the garden. But let’s start with the Swagat Ramada, a stylized version of the traditional shade structure of the desert southwest.
Late summer perennials were blooming in pots on the patio…
…their sunny yellow flowers shine against the bright blue sky.
The bees were enjoying them too.
big head Yucca rostrata And ‘Indian Magic’ crabapple makes attractive bedfellows.
Red crab berries contrast with blue-green leaves.
My favorite of the blue-greens — powder blue, really — is bluestem joint fir (Ephedra Equisetina)
Those upright, blue, needle-like leaves attract me every time.
I hope to see new sculptures in the garden. Santa Fe, after all, is an art lover’s mecca. here the sound of the windA steel-and-stained-glass sculpture by Greg Reich.
Another Reich work hangs from a substantial steel-pipe pergola shading a walled patio.
This one is called pollinator.
The sculpture serves as the focal point for a long scene through an orchard of apple and peach trees framed by lavender and roses.
Along the cross axis, a bench and umbrella offer another place to sit and enjoy the view.
But let’s go straight to the pergola patio.
pollinator Plays with light through colored squares of glass.
The center square tempts you to peek through.
Grape vines climb rusted steel posts, filtering the light in their own way.
This scene reminds me of Austin in October, thanks to the asters, salvias and grasses.
A fragrant planting of lavender and roses
Agastache, a plant I wish I could grow better in humid, subtropical Austin
As I swooped down to photograph it, a hummingbird zoomed by and began sipping from its flower.
Hummingbird mint has a cause called Augusta pain.
He or she wasn’t shy at all, and we interacted for a few minutes (well, I did).
A sparkling grass in bloom
HerbelA lamp-like glass sculpture by Elodie Holmes, towering over a mounding lavender.
More red roses
And a cute lounging lizard
Harvard’s agave, one of the most cold-tolerant agaves, adds pretense to a light-catching grass mass.
A closer view to enjoy those handsome black spines and teeth
Apache Plum (The Fallujian Paradox), one of my favorite dry-climate shrubs with its white flowers and pink, feathery seed heads that catch light.
Here it is with plumes of a tall ornamental grass.
Really, it’s hard to pick a favorite desert plant when you see a combo like this: Yucca rostrataMojave sage (Salvia pachyphylla), and Harvard’s Agave.
Harvard agave and Mojave sage
Nearby, delicate glass bulb – Crocus installation By Elodie Holmes — Shoot from a gravel surround Yucca rostrata.
They remind me of Marcia Donahue’s bulbs, with glass instead of glass.
They are arranged in tight, colorful clusters like real bulbs.
With more Mojave sage, bear grass or something in between
Along the rose and lavender walk you can see the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in the distance.
A beautiful background for the garden
reflectionA silver bee sculpture by Elodie Holmes in collaboration with blacksmith Caleb Smith, standing upright like a human torso.
We are meant to see ourselves among the bees, literally and figuratively.
I’ll end Part 1 of my SFBG visit here. Come back tomorrow for part 2!
Next: Part 2 of my visit to the Santa Fe Botanical Garden, including an amphitheater and culinary garden. For a look back at the gates, gardens and art along Santa Fe’s Canyon Road, click here.
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