no garden at new NM home.

nantinki(zone 5/6 NM)May 12, 2007

What will grow in the Tijeras NM area? Will hosta's grow and return? There has never been any kind of landscaping or gardening and the yard is a mess. Moving into new house in September. (Labor Day weekend)

I am living in Alaska until August then and I want to start some fall planting without too many mistakes!

Where do I start ??

This is very different from where I am now. So very different!

Suggestions and any info will be so very appreciated.

Thank you

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jrod(z7 NM)

Your right, it is very different in AK than NM. Hostas should grow just fine but limit their numbers because they need quite a bit of water to stay healthy. Make sure to plant them in the shade also.

My first recommendation would be to look at High Country Gardens website - They are located in Santa Fe also, so its not too far to check out their nursery. Check with local nurseries and see what they have to say or offer. The big box stores often have good deals and sometimes good plants but I find that often times the plants available are not suitable for the area, so be careful. I have met many people who complain that "Nothing will grow here or you can't make something look good here". Most of the time it is because they assumed the plants they bought would thrive in their area.

So just do a little homework and if you have any other questions, feel free to ask. I'm sure someone is willing to help!

Good luck!

    Bookmark   May 15, 2007 at 1:25AM
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nantinki(zone 5/6 NM)

Thanks for that High Country Gardens .... I like it lots. I am not too anxious to get to this new place. The yard is terrible. Anything helps.........

    Bookmark   May 17, 2007 at 11:51AM
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abq_bob(USDA 5a/SS 2A)

Hostas should be fine, they come back great for me. I only put them in my "oasis zone" which is near my front entry - where I put a small selection of water hungary plants, like hosta and a lilac bush.

Tijeras is a bit cooler than Albuquerque, and you probably get a bit more rain as well. It's much greener in the "East Mountains" than here in the ABQ/Rio Grande valley.

First thing I'd do after moving in is spend a month prep'ing beds and ammending soil if needed and an absolute must in my book would be to start looking around at drip irrigation that you can put on a timer. It will save you tons of money on lost plants, believe me - and it will also save you bunch of money on your water bill. If you're even just semi-handy, you can build it yourself with components from local hardware stores.

During the month your prep'ing the yard, drive around and take a look at what's growing really well in your neighbors' yard and see if there are any "must haves" you see. Then by the time October rolls around, you'll have a very good idea what you like and what will grow here.

I do Fall planting in late Septermber to early October (between State Fair and Balloon Fiesta), as we don't usually get a good hard frost until mid-late November. It's probably a bit earlier in Tijeras, but probably not by much?

Hope that helps. High country gardens is good, and Osuna nursery is a regular stomping ground for me as well. There's also a nice one up in Rio Rancho, but I don't remember its name off the top of my head, just North of Southern Blvd. and probably near Unser Blvd. (???)

    Bookmark   May 20, 2007 at 5:10PM
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abq_bob(USDA 5a/SS 2A)

And I forgot. During the winter, there are a lot of things that can be sown. That's when I throw out seed for annual poppies (which reseed fairly well, but I have to renew every couple of years), larkspur, red and blue flax, morning glory, lunaria, alyssum, bee-balm, etc. Most of these reseed pretty well, and can sometimes get downright weedy, but they do provide color throughout the season and don't take much, if any, supplemental water. And they're easier to pull than the "real" weeds, hehe.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2007 at 5:17PM
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I recently moved here from Vermont--not quite AK, but still pretty different from NM!! A couple of books I've found really helpful are A Gardener's Guide to the Albuquerque Area (put out by local Master Gardeners--has a section on gardening in the East Mountains) and the New Mexico Gardener's Guide, by Judith Phillips. The first one has chapters that list local resources and that give month-by-month guides to what will be growing and what needs to be done in the garden--they were incredibly useful in making the transition to the SW. The other one lists plants and their growing requirements and makes suggestions for companion plants.

Both books are kind of expensive, but doing some reading in advance sure helped me avoid making some even more expensive mistakes!

Good luck! Hope everything goes well.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2007 at 3:22PM
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We live in Florida, but will be moving to Tularosa next year to open an art studio and gallery. My mija is a watercolorist ( and I love to spend time in the garden. The guide by Judith Phillips is an excellent reference and I recommend it highly. I anticipate a much different set of elements gardening in the high desert and the guide really helps explain conditions to expect and what plants will perform best.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   May 26, 2007 at 8:20PM
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nmnative(7 NM)

All the suggestions have been excellent. I would add to try and plant things that are low water plants. Be willing to fall in love with the plants that do well here. Such as instead of planting lilacs that only bloom once, plant crepe myrtles that do better here and bloom all summer. High Country gardens is a great place to start. But I think the best thing is to do it to take some time to walk around the neighborhoods and just see what does well. Roses love NM and don't have the problems they do elsewhere. I have had them for 30+ years and never had to spray or had any rose diseases. I don't even know what to do for rose problems.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2007 at 10:51AM
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nantinki(zone 5/6 NM)

I am delighted to hear that Hosta do well in the Tijeras area! The are one of my favorites.
As far as the bed prepping, I think that thatÂs a great idea. I am semi handy when it comes to being ably and capable. I have been on my own for some time now so it helps to be a do it yourself kind of person.
Now, a big plus is that you mentioned the state fair in October! I might be able to do many things through that? Do they have a plant section.??? I will get my rabbits and chickens there as the fairs always bring out the best of animals. I hope that they will have some special area for green things too!
Thanks for the informative post! It all helps!

    Bookmark   June 1, 2007 at 3:49PM
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nantinki(zone 5/6 NM)

Stacy NM

Thanks for the suggestions for the Gardeners Guide and the NM Gardeners books. I shall be ordering them through the .. Sometimes things are a little less expensive there.

Oh, how different for you also .... What a move. From the beautiful rolling hills of Vermont to the desert of NM. So very different yet both so very beautiful.

How is your garden now and what have you planted.?? What kind of success stories do you have? I am interested.

Thanks for the posting and help.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2007 at 3:59PM
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nantinki(zone 5/6 NM)

Thanks for the help. I have decided to try to get the many books used if possible. People there are doing a search for me as we speak. I have included the Judith Phillips book as well as the others.
Hopefully we will both be successful.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2007 at 4:04PM
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nantinki(zone 5/6 NM)

Successful Gardens by locals is a great idea! I will travel all the neighborhoods at some time after I get to NM.
The High Country site I visit daily. It has given me many hints and thoughts for landscaping too. I will be doing both, vegies and flowers, and anything else I can get to grown. I have 2 ½ acres to play with for the next years to come.
ROSES! I love roses. They are a favorite as well as Iris. Any kind of either make me happy. I understand that there is a rose that is an 8 month blooming plant now. I havenÂt found the name of it yet but I will and when I do there will be plenty of them as well as others all over my land.
Thanks lots and if we ever meet, I do truly expect to see a very green thumb.
There must be plenty here on this great forum.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2007 at 4:11PM
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abq_bob(USDA 5a/SS 2A)

Hiya Nantinki,
Actually the State Fair is in September (the 7th through the 23rd). Which is a lot of fun and there are a lot of plant competitions, I'm not sure how much is available for purchase though.

October is the Balloon Fiesta (the 6th through the 14th). This is a huge event, hot-air balloonists from around the world attend, between 500-1,000 hot-air balloons go up during the morning "mass ascensions"

The best thing is that during both of these events there are a lot more folks in town from outlying areas, so it would be a good time to plan a get-together of some kind as we might get more participants - a swap or sale or whatever.

Here are some links to check out in the mean time:

NM State Fair:

Balloon Fiesta:

    Bookmark   June 1, 2007 at 4:35PM
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Hi, Nantinki,

Yes, is a lifesaver. Love that free shipping...

I live in a townhouse in ABQ, so my yard is pretty tiny. I decided it would work best with a formalish look and have planted a traditional herb garden--lavender, thyme, sage, winter savory, oregano, etc. They're all amazingly happy. Rue (yellow) and sunset hyssop (orange) are currently blooming around a terra cotta bird bath and looking great. I have three New Mexico olives (which the birds should love, once they're established enough to fruit) (the trees, I mean--not the birds) :) and some sand cherries, golden currants, and American elders. I still have some space for flowers and this fall want to put in a combination I saw at the Botanical Gardens recently (also a great place for ideas, by the way--the zoo's got some amazing landscaping, too): "Moonshine" yarrow, chamomile, and cherry sage (salvia gregii). The yellows in the chamomile and yarrow are almost the same, and they have similar textures while the sage is more spiky and has wine-colored blooms that make a gorgeous contrast.

2 acres to play with--wow! What a blast you're going to have!

    Bookmark   June 4, 2007 at 4:28PM
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Terry Crawford

Am I delighted to find this thread! We are currently living in central Illinois but are probably moving to Tijeras next year because our only daughter is moving to ABQ this June. I will be leaving several mature, lush gardens of 300+ roses, clematis, hydrangeas, iris, daylilies, shade gardens, and various rare conifers. But as much as I will miss my gardens, I'm excited to start a new adventure in the Land of Enchantment, and happy to find that I will be able to take some of my beloved favorite roses with me.

I was wondering if there are any water restrictions in place in Tijeras? Any other advice you can give a newbie relocator unfamiliar with the area?

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 12:17AM
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Terry -
Get a copy of the Sunset Western Garden Book. And check the town or county web page for recommended plants.

Gardening in NM is tricky, and you have to account for elevation, tons of microclimates (especially cold flows coming out of canyons, sunny versus shady side of the canyon), and critters eating everything.

Basically, water deeply rather than often, mulch like crazy and start things inside. Hoop houses and temporary row covers help.

Iris will grow there, as will most roses. Daylilies too. I've seen some astoundingly deep purple lilac growing neglected near old houses,

And then there's the stuff that won't grow in Illinois, like penstemon, yucca, and all kinds of wildflowers.

There's a place in Edgewood that grows NM mountain natives

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 2:59PM
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I forgot ... the Saturday "swap meet" in Albuquerque is where a lot of small growers set up shop on the weekends during planting season.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 1:30PM
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Oh boy, agree with Stacy, I can only have either raised beds or heavily amended planting areas. Then i have to keep critters out with rabbit fences. The small tulip "boat" above reveals my trials. Flowers seem to need some real soil changes in hard granite. Add to that my Aspen and Birch roots "discovery" of the garden soils-I now have to till like crazy to replant in there.
As stated above, cacti and xerics will root well, and Daffodils and bulbs are easy to winter in and or keep in the lawn. I do like the meadow effect.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 3:52AM
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