Many people ask me about plants that they see around town, particularly the blooming ones. As a gardener, I often find it hard to keep my eyes on the road because I am always
noticing on incredible plant or another. Often I remember where the stunning ones are and keep an eye out for them at their blooming times as I drive through the Santa Fe neighborhoods. Some of my favorites bloom at this time of year, perhaps because I am a Gemini, so this may answer some questions.
It is funny how I look back over the years and remember them by the dominant plants of that spring. “Oh yeah, ’98, that was an amazing year for iris, they were all tall and huge and bloomed forever…”Some years work out for certain plants and it is related to more than just moisture. Weather patterns, days in a row of sun, and the energy of the town. This year certain plants are showing great joy for this respite from the drought. I will get back to them.
Spanish Broom, hard gold, has just broken out it’s sweet pea like bold yellow flowers. This is the tall variety, sometimes over six feet. Other times of year it is still a very attractive green vase like shape of sticks. This shrub needs very little water and I have seen it thrive somewhere with just a bit of parking runoff. This plant truly never disappoints me. Spirea snowmound is another fast growing bush. Watch it cover itself in wispy white flowers all spring and early summer. This shrub also thrives at times without irrigation if placed well.
Lilacs are over but I could never let them be forgotten. This was not the best lilac spring but lots of years are. Same for iris.
Apache Plume, a very, very, hardy drought tolerant plant, has been covered with white flowers on the sides of the roads. Soon those will change into those pink wisps that I consider a Santa Fe staple. I would easily give this plant the “most underrated” award.
Of course, everyone has noticed the Persian Yellow and Austrian Copper roses. Shrubby roses that bloom only once a year, now, so check them out. None of these shrubs require much water.
Other plants worth noticing as this spring melts into a hot June are silver lace vine, Russian Olive, chokecherry, yellow ice plant, veronica lewansis, alliums, clematis, pussy toes, and snow in summer.
Kendall McCumber Fine Gardening designs, installs and maintains all sizes of drought tolerant gardens, stonescapes, irrigation and water harvesting systems.
by Kendall McCumber