Walking the rails at Santa Fe Railyard Park and Farmers’ Market

October 17, 2022

Back to Santa Fe! During our stay in late August, we visited the farmers market at The Railyard one morning. A tree-lined green space caught David’s eye on the way, so we stopped to check it out. We found ourselves at Railyard Park, where train tracks from a former railyard boldly define linear planting beds and paths. There’s even a roundhouse-esque space. what was This, I wonder? A ground-level high line – a low line?

Railyard Park

Train tracks and wheels remind park-goers of the site’s history

Railyard Park is part of a 13-acre industrial redevelopment project completed in 2008, built as a new gathering place for residents outside the tourist-infested downtown. Today, ironically, its restaurants, shops and green spaces may be just as popular with tourists. The old railyard was long abandoned, although active railroad lines for passengers and adventurers remain today. Read more about the park’s contemporary design concept and somewhat controversial design process in an interesting 2010 article Landscape architecture magazine

A wide promenade-like path runs between the railway lines surrounded by shrubs, trees and perennial flowers. Chunky wooden benches (some rotten, unfortunately) reinforce the site’s history, resembling a railroad tie.

Most plants for Santa Fe’s dry climate seem to prefer hardy, water-loving plants, such as agaves and grasses.

Blooming grama grass

Could it be Caryopteris?

The small trees – crabapples, I think – were laden with pink fruit at the end of summer.

Yuccas cluster like spiny sea urchins

Long concrete paved strips zigzag across rail-defined paths and beds, offering access to surrounding roads.

Pink powder-puff flowers of Apache plume

A circular, roundhouse-esque space flanks one side of the park, surrounded by an airy ramada and divided by a boardwalk path. I like the railyard reference in the design, but the landscaping here is not well maintained. The central circular bed is weeded on one side and bare on the other. The vines that should climb Ramda to provide shade are MIA.

Among the white flowering vines were a few posts and a vine climbed to the top. I wonder what happened to the rest.

A lazy scene

Late summer yellow

We didn’t see the whole park — I actually missed the park’s 400-year-old acacia, which I regret — but I enjoyed walking along the railroad tracks and seeing the plants growing there.

A trumpet vine-covered ramada provides a little shade when you visit the farmers market.

In the main plaza, a wooden water tower doubles as a shady gazebo.

Santa Fe Farmers Market

The Santa Fe Farmers Market was bustling with shoppers that Tuesday morning. (The market is also open on Saturdays from 8 am to 1 pm.)

We bought a loaf of bread and delicious fruit, but this dried chile pepper wreath with pinecones and dried flowers stopped me in my tracks. So beautiful!

The bundles of flowers and baskets were also beautiful.

Shining Genius and Cosmos

and tomatoes and sunflowers

The Santa Fe Railyard is a fun departure from the plaza’s traditional attractions. If you go, don’t forget to try Tomasita’s restaurant. We ate there twice, we loved it! Next time I think I’ll take the train too.

Next: Exploration of ancient cliff dwellings at Bandelier, and Valles Caldera National Preserve. For a look back at Ranchos de Taos’ famous adobe church and the flying bridge over the Rio Grande Gorge, click here.

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October 20th Garden Spark Talk “Black Flora” author Teresa Speight is on sale now, and you’re invited! Teri will share the stories of pioneering Black florists, floral activists and florists doing incredible work across the US in her profile of these incredible creatives. black flora is uplifting and inspiring; See my book review for more information. Join us and meet Terry during his lecture and book signing. Seating is limited, and tickets must be purchased in advance.

Learn about garden design from the experts here Garden Spark! I host private talks with inspiring designers, landscape architects, and writers several times a year in Austin. These are limited-attendance events that sell out quickly, so join the Garden Spark email list to be notified in advance. Just click on this link and ask to be added. You can find this year’s speaker lineup here.

All material © 2022 by Pam Penick for Excavation. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

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