Subdivision: La Mesa
Address: 10 Calle Corvo
Owner: Susan and Keith Cameron
Garden Type or Features: Native plantings, seed saving and naturalization, cacti, landscaping vignettes, wildlife
History of the Garden, Changes Made, Challenges Encountered:
In the Southwest, we’re experiencing hotter more intense droughts, while wildlife is struggling to secure sufficient food and water. Over the course of the past 5 years, we’ve focused on cutting our energy use by planting more deciduous trees and shrubs around the house, which helps bring down the inside temperature of the house during the summer and capitalizing on the passive solar during the fall and winter months. The plants are chosen to encourage and support wildlife, while supplemental water is made available.
The problems we’ve encountered are generally related to keeping young plants hydrated enough to become establish, especially during periods of hot droughts. And of course, rabbits, who will eat anything when hungry enough.
Specialties of the Garden, Focal Point(s), Planning and Designing of the Garden:
There is no single focal point in this garden. Instead, depending on where you walk, there are various places of interest. Places to sit alone and admire the vistas, to chat while enjoying a cup of coffee or cold drink, to do yoga, or just relax.
We have put in some of the new hardscapes to create some of these special places or to access those we’ve discovered over the years. And yes, we’re been working with landscaper Tyson Hafler of Southwest Horticulture who has guided some of our efforts.
Favorite Plants of the Garden, Plant Selection Process, Type of Soil in Garden and Amendments Made:
Our favorite plants are the single seed juniper, pinion, and various types of cactus. Of those that we’ve planted, we enjoy the iris, desert willows, and wooly thyme. Plants are selected simply b/c we like them, they were a gift, or because they were on sale. A number of trees and a few flowers are named after friends and loved ones. For example, the oak in the front yard is named after our granddaughter’s mom, Andrea. Two trees in the back, a juniper and pinion, are named after David and Ellie. Iris in the portal garden are named after Imani.
The soil-type is sandy with lots of rocks. We collect the rocks and use them to outline the garden beds. Generally, we amend the soil using the compost we’ve made.
Special features of the Garden:
There is a raven sculpture in the backyard. It sits the other side of the bridge that spans the arroyo. During the rainy season water runs under the bridge, puddles slightly in front of the cottonwood, spills over some rocks, then moves on down the arroyo. There are miscellaneous metal sculptures and pots in various nooks and crannies hidden throughout the garden. Behind a coyote fence there is a composting area with a potting bench and winter woodpile. The “Lizard Lounge,” located on the east side of the house, is used in the fall and winter months because it’s warm and cozy. Plus, there are little walking paths around the garden.
There is a retaining wall on the southwest side of the house to stabilize that area.
Methods of Watering, Conservation, and Directing Watering Flow in the Garden:
A majority of the garden is watered by a drip system. In the arroyos there are check dams and gabions used to slow rainwater down. These work to control for erosion and to water a few trees at the far end of the yard.
By: Susan Cameron