Sustainable

Why I Garden #28

False Indigo Bush

Amorpha Fruticosa (a.k.a. Indigo bush, False indigo bush, False indigo, Desert false indigo) is another native shrub we've planted in our backyard. Although it may grow to 6+ feet and form a dense thicket, this example has been slow growing and is barely 2 feet high. This is a subtle and attractive plant with small flowers that look similar to lavender and leaves like a pea plant.

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Tour des Jardins et les Coops

Garden & Coop Tour 2012 - Fancy Chickens

This Sunday I took the Home Grown New Mexico Kitchen Garden & Coop Tour. Since I took the tour by bike I decided to call it the Tour des Jardins et les Coops. The tour was an easy loop of less than 20 miles and great way to spend a morning in Santa Fe. I was very impressed by the garden landscapes created by these generous and welcoming Santa Feans. I learned quite a bit from the gardens and I've been inspired to continue expanding our little garden.

Why I Garden #27

Firewheel - Gaillardia pulchella

Firewheel, a.k.a. Blanket Flower, is a short-lived perennial or flowering plant native to most of the United States including the Southwest. This example has spread from the original one we planted a few years ago. This Gaillardia has only needed occasional watering to provide summer blooms.

More Info:

Wikipedia - Gaillardia pulchella

Just in Time Rain Barrels

Rainbarrel Daisy chain

Just in Time Production is a popular manufacturing strategy with the MBA crowd. It's also a popular strategy for the procrastinators among us. At the Santa Fe Master Gardener's Fair this spring I saw a simple demonstration of how to build an inexpensive (Woo Hoo!) rainbarrel.

Why I Garden #26

Thyme in bloom

One of the first things I did after moving in to our house over 10 years ago was plant a small bed of culinary herbs by the front door. Some of these perennial herbs have thrived, while others didn't. Two thyme plants have survived in this planter and grown bigger after some of their competition was frozen two winters ago. These small and subtle herbs bloomed with small and subtle white flowers this spring.

Why I Garden #25

Sulphurflower Buckwheat in bloom

Here's another small but hardy perennial native growing in our front yard. You won't find Sulphur-flower Buckwheat in your morning pancakes (the food crop Buckwheat is another genus) but it is native to the western U.S. While it's not indigenous to New Mexico several varieties grow in Arizona, Utah and Colorado. The little plant in our front yard decided this was a good year to display it's namesake blooms.

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Why I Garden #24

Golden Columbine flowers

Golden Columbine is flowering in our yard. Columbine (species - Aquilegia) are high-altitude perennials native to the Northern Hemisphere. Golden Columbine is indigenous to the Southwestern U.S. and is growing well around our house.

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Golden Columbine, Aquilegia chrysantha

Why I Garden #23

Jupiter's Beard in bloom

Jupiter's Beard blooming in the front yard. This perennial shrub is naturalized in the American Southwest (a native to the Mediterranean) and has grown slowly, but steadily, since we planted it.

More Info:

Wikipedia - Jupiter's Beard, Red Valerian, Centranthus ruber

Planting for the Future

Apple Blossoms

Planting a garden each spring is a wonderful start to the growing season. We can choose new annual crops based on what grew well (or didn't) last year and whatever looks interesting or unusual. Planting trees and perennial crops requires more planning. Some perennials like strawberries will bear fruit the year they're planted, but fruit trees can take two or more years to bear a crop.

Sustainable Local Lumber

New Mexico Pine Boards and Block Plane

Warped, cupped, twisted, split and checked. I end up sorting through an entire rack of lumber at the Big Box store to find enough good boards for any project. I've also noticed a distinct lack of FSC-certified wood at most of our local lumber yards. Finding quality and sustainable lumber for wood-working projects has become a frustrating experience for me. But, I've found another answer - locally harvested and milled lumber!

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