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Old 07-04-2007, 10:16 AM
Location: Chihuahuan Desert
2,694 posts, read 5,508,979 times
Reputation: 1446


Sorry for a seemingly dumb question, but I really do want to know. Yes, I know ABQ is a desert and I'm fine with that. But if I move there, I really want some color at my home. Are there any seasonal potted plants that do well in that climate, to at least add a splash of color? How about herb gardens? Would the same plants that grow in PHX grow in ABQ? I understand the push for water conservation, hence the consideration of potted rather than bedding plants. My friend who lives there has no clue since she has a brown thumb and can kill silk plants.
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Old 07-04-2007, 11:39 AM
Location: Central New Mexico
1,134 posts, read 3,580,294 times
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Yes you can grow stuff in Albuquerque. Take a look at this local grower website and get some ideas. They have a pretty nice catalog also so go ahead and request one.
Home: High Country Gardens

good luck
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Old 07-04-2007, 02:42 PM
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico
3,058 posts, read 6,594,166 times
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My husband gave me two gardening books a couple of years ago in preparation for our move to New Mexico.

New Mexico Gardeners Guide
Natural by Design

They are written by a respected New Mexico gardener named Judith Phillips.

The books are a wealth of information about flower gardening in New Mexico's desert climates, and the books have excellent pictures of all the plants she talks about.

I highly recommend these books; I am sure you can order them online.
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Old 07-04-2007, 06:25 PM
Location: Chihuahuan Desert
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Thank you both! I love the idea of no grass to cut, but I was getting depressed, driving around and not seeing any color.
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Old 07-04-2007, 07:43 PM
Location: Metro Milwaukee, WI
3,058 posts, read 8,494,893 times
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YES! Not only can you plant flowers, but the growing season here is pretty darn long...you will see flowers here from March until November...some years the first freeze here doesn't hit the Heights until mid-November, so you'll see roses until then!

Some flowers require extra care here. Some don't like the blazing sunshine, so you need to plant them in shaded areas. Some don't like the excessively hot summer temps. Some (obviously) need quite a bit of watering in our desert climate. Yet, due to the temperate temps, they will grow and grow for a long period of time.

**HOWEVER...not everything will grow here that grows in Phoenix. This is especially true of tropical and sub-tropical flowers. Albuquerque, due to its mile-high altitude, does have many a winter freeze, from November through early March typically and even some freezes in latter March or early April. Thus, Albuquerque - in the Heights and the West Side and the UNM / Uptown areas - is a solid zone 7b gardening zone. The foothills and the Valley areas are more 7a (Valley) or 6 (foothillls). Transversely, much of Phoenix is a zone 9 or even 10, so it is a big difference as it relates to gardening.

Having said that though, many flowers actually do better here in ABQ than in PHX due to lower spring and fall temps.

But fear not...tons of flower and colorful plants in ABQ. In fact, you'll be surprised how much color you see in the spring here. LOTS of peach / apple / cherry / apricot / pear / plum / nectarine / pomegranite blossoms too!
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Old 07-04-2007, 08:39 PM
Location: Albuquerque
5,551 posts, read 10,042,149 times
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If you are willing to do some research, you can find native
plants that require almost no water that will flower all year
long. That is, you can plant a mix of plants where at least
one of them, sometimes many will be flowering at some time.

Take a stroll through Knob Hill neighborhoods to get a feel.

If you are willing to water stuff, you can get flowers from
just about anything. I've had Marigolds, Four O'Clocks,
and Day Lilies to name a few that brightened my day from
May to September.

Bulb plants sprout up as "volunteers" all over the place
such as Grape Hyacinth, Tulips, Daffodils, etc.

Pretty much all desert plants flower. All cacti will produce
a bloom at some time or another. If you care, you'll do
some research.
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Old 07-04-2007, 10:53 PM
Location: Sandia Park, NM
96 posts, read 241,755 times
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As someone who has a native plant garden in a hot climate in So. Cal., the secret is to NOT use container plants! Think about it: the key to a plant surviving heatstroke it to keep the roots cool - that's why gardeners use a lot of mulch. The worse thing you can do is keep the roots above ground where the sun hits the pot, esp. if the pot is dark or small.

Containers are useful for growing plants that like sandy soil when you have hard clay, or when you only have a patio and have no choice. But most plants will much prefer to be in the ground. The more you water container plants, the more you leach out the nutrients, so you have to keep feeding them as well. And you'll be watering more often too because the soil in containers dries out faster than well-mulched soil.

Hook up with someone at the New Mexico Native Plant Society and get a list of natives that flower well and are easy to grow. Make sure they are native to your local plant community and soil type (there are probably hundreds of microclimates in NM as there are in California). You should be able to find these waterwise plants at the local native plant nurseries.
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Old 07-04-2007, 11:05 PM
Location: Chihuahuan Desert
2,694 posts, read 5,508,979 times
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OK, I have to ask. If there are so many NM-friendly plants (and apparently there are, yay!), why is the city so darn brown? I don't think I saw any blooming color when I was out there last month, and we drove all over town.
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Old 07-05-2007, 02:06 AM
Location: Haines, AK
1,123 posts, read 3,162,929 times
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Default because it's a desert, and the city goes cheap on landscaping

The main reason why ABQ is so brown is that it gets maybe 10-15 inches of rain a year, its a much drier desert than the Phoenix area for example. The other reason is that the City of Albuquerque goes cheap on landscaping and tries not to plant stuff that needs maintenance or irrigation.

Some plants love it here with almost no extra water...russian sage, rosemary, gallardia, penstemons, ecinacea, apache plume, yuccas, etc. Some others need a bit of help from a drip system and/or careful placement but will thrive if given a chance...honeysuckle, butterfly bush, nasturtiums, morning glory, iris, roses. Some stuff just rolls over and dies no matter how hard you try, like begonias.

Here's what our front courtyard garden looks like.

It's all on a drip system so we don't have to worry about watering at all. This is a northern exposure, so even the pansies are still hanging on despite the heat.

Since the city began encouraging people to move away from the grass/juniper/mulberry monocultures of the 70's and towards native and xeric plant instead the viewscape in many neighborhoods has improved quite a bit. You see way more variety in the types of flowers and animals present in peoples yards than you used to. At my place in the near NE heights its not uncommon to see a roadrunner or two almost every day, and hummingbirds, robins and doves have come back in force. Theres something blooming almost year-round if you plan your garden correctly and have a bit of patience.

We've done nothing special to the front yard, but here's what it looks like today. http://inlinethumb62.webshots.com/5437/2883765740048388827S600x600Q85.jpg (broken link)

Gonna be for sale soon too!
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Old 07-05-2007, 08:18 AM
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico
3,058 posts, read 6,594,166 times
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GREAT pictures Rotorhead!

Thanks for posting them for us to enjoy.

Ooooh, I can hardly wait to start flower gardening in New Mexico. (I am studying xeriscaping prior to my move.)
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