2023 #5 The Flowing Garden

Subdivision: Pinon Bluff/ Juniper Hills
Owner/ Designer: Rob Yin and Jill Hensley
Garden Type or Features: This property has a great variety of trees along with native and native adapted shrubs, grasses, cacti and other perennials.  See the partial plant list below.   The owners created an intricate terraced pathway with rest stops to view the Las Huertas canyon ridge and the North face of the Sandia mountain.

Artist in the Garden: Jude Rudder

Description:  Jill Hensley and Rob Yin built their house in Placitas in 2016 on a narrow, one-acre property that sits on top of a ridge that falls steeply down to Las Huertas Creek. It came with a few native shrubs and a stunning view of the northernmost Sandias, so they quickly turned to landscaper Jesus Sotelo for initial xeriscaping and trees that include Austrian Pines, Piñons, Alligator Juniper, Aspens and Yucca. 

Today, the home’s maturing gardens reflect the couple’s tastes and self-taught horticultural skills, with an impressive variety of apple, peach, pear, plum and cherry trees as well as 23 roses, lilacs, and vegetables that include asparagus, peppers and watermelon. All are defined by an intricate network of flowing rock pathways that drop down toward the creek bed.

The inner front courtyard now pays homage to Jill’s Mid-Atlantic roots, with hydrangeas, peonies and roses mixed with New Mexican sages, salvias, Agastache and other Xeric plants. A hand-built rock wall along the home’s back wall provides a windbreak and visual backdrop for the plantings.

Rob collected rocks for the serpentine pathways during hikes and carefully clustered them by color and composition to add an artistic and sometimes whimsical dimension to the sloping, south-facing gardens. A lower second level garden includes spaces suitable for sitting, enjoying the location’s natural beauty and watching the birds, butterflies, wild horses and other wildlife. 


Drip irrigation provides water for most of the property, with the second-level leech field serving as a supplemental underground water source.

Partial List of Plants and Trees


  • Aloe Yucca
  • Austrian Pine
  • Desert Willow
  • Fruit:  Peach, Pear, Plum, Cherry, Apple
  • Flowering Quince
  • Juniper (common and alligator)
  • New Mexico Olive
  • Pinon
  • Quaking Aspen
  • Sycamore
  • Bushes and Grasses

  • Bird of Paradise
  • Blackberry
  • Butterfly
  • California Sagebrush
  • Chamisa
  • Creeping Juniper
  • Crepe Myrtle
  • Datura
  • Golden currant
  • Grasses (Feather reed, fountain, Muhly, Needle feather reed grass, fescue, dwarf pampas)
  • Heavenly bamboo
  • Indian Hawthorn
  • Lavender
  • Lilac
  • Penstemon (Parry’s, Palmer’s, Mountain pride)
  • Raspberry
  • Red Twig dogwood
  • Red Yucca
  • Rosemary
  • Sage (Texas, Russian, Woodland)
  • Cacti

  • Banana Yucca
  • Desert spoon
  • Long-Spined Purplish Prickly Pear
  • Narrowleaf yucca
  • Old lady cactus
  • Parry’s Agave
  • Pincushion
  • Prickly pear (beavertail, tulip, long-spined purplish, purple, plains, barbary fig)
  • Rainbow
  • Scarlet hedgehog
  • Spiny star
  • Texas False Agave
  • Tree Cholla
  • Twisted leaf yucca
  • Plants/Flowers

  • Agastache
  • Alumroot
  • Bearded iris
  • Blue flax
  • Broom
  • Buckwheat
  • Chocolate flower
  • Clematis
  • Columbine
  • Coneflower
  • Coreopsis
  • Cosmos
  • Dahlia
  • Dwarf pincushion
  • Easter lily
  • Evening primrose
  • Garden montbretia (sword lily)
  • Garden speedwell
  • Hollyhock
  • Hydrangea
  • Ice plant
  • Lamb’s ear
  • Mallow
  • Milkweed
  • Mother of thyme
  • Orange day lily
  • Parry’s false prairie-clover
  • Peony
  • Perennial pea
  • Red hot poker
  • Rock daisy
  • Roses (Tea, China, Sweet briar, Woods
  • Shasta daisy
  • Snapdragon
  • Snow-in-summer
  • Stonecrop
  • Wild phlox