GARDEN #1 “The Memorial Garden”
Paseo De San Antonio Rd off of Hwy 165 in the Village – Las Placitas Presbyterian Church (LPPC) LPPC has historical significance in the community with a connection to the Las Huertas Land Grant settlement in the Village. The Memorial Garden is a columbarium garden located on the east side of the church. The LPPC church provided public school space for the Village residences at one time, and it now hosts a pre-school. The children have access to a shady large southwest facing playground. The Memorial Garden serves as a demonstration garden for several species of trees, shrubs, and other native plants. The garden is maintained by a dedicated committee of church members and Sandoval County Master Gardeners. The tranquil Memorial Garden is open to the public for meditative strolls and for sitting on stone benches under shade. This garden has access to the Village acequia system.
GARDEN #2 “The Tunnel Springs Garden”
Tunnel Springs This large showcase garden, located in the high Tunnel Springs foot hills, has been designed with multiple garden rooms taking in stunning panoramic views of the Jemez Mountains to the North, the West Mesas, and the Sandia Mountains to the south. In addition to an abundance of aspens, conifers and unique perennials, the owner has planted several climbing roses within her courtyard walls. The main courtyard gardens were originally designed and landscaped by Judith Phillips. The owner has updated the courtyard gardens by keeping true to Judith Philips xeric principles of planting, and has design and planted additional garden spaces around the property. The owner is a meticulous gardener and has mastered the art of decorating each of her garden rooms perfectly. You will enjoy exploring each room.
GARDEN #3 “The Juniper Road Garden”
Ranchos This is another large garden property with a beautifully landscaped front courtyard that encircles the length of the long front entrance home portal. The owner designed, selected plants, and updated the front entrance courtyard with a wealth of landscape plants. 40-foot cedar trees surround the front driveway turn-around area, which is centered by a one-seeded juniper and a circular landscaped area planted with cacti. In 2017 the owner completed the design plan and landscaping of the side garden areas of her home allowing for a 360-degree walking tour of her property to enjoy all of the existing trees, native plants, and some newly planted areas. Along with being a dedicated gardener, the owner is a pottery and sculptural artist. You will enjoy examples of her art and creative landscaping details gracing her property.
GARDEN #4 “The Meadows Garden”
Anasazi Meadows This newer west Placitas property is a perfect example of what can be accomplished in a relatively short time by a dedicated gardener in the family – in this case, Jerry. Barbara is the charming home garden tour guide. This garden has a bit of everything positive in residential landscaping: outdoor patio rooms, xeric landscaped garden vignettes, raised vegetable garden beds, and meandering pathways throughout. This property boasts a fabulous view of the West Mesas in the front, and a dramatic view of the Sandia Mountains in the back. Jerry, who grew up on a Midwestern farm is an avid vegetable gardener, and has planted several deciduous and fruit trees along the property edge providing a rural ambience to the property. It is rare not to see Jerry outside tending his garden.
GARDEN #5 “The Arroyo Garden”
La Mesa The owner is an avid gardener who moved from California recently. She has learned much about planting and landscaping in the harsher high desert climate of Placitas during the last couple of years. She is doing lots of interesting projects with high desert adapted plants and fruit trees around her home property. She has also taken advantage of her south east facing outdoor micro-climate to grow bougainvillea, and has set up winter heated shelters to grow lemon trees. In addition to a variety of high desert suited landscape plants, the owner has an abundance of tropical and semi-tropical plants that she moves outdoors in nice weather. She has a sunny indoor living room and a 3-season room to protect sensitive potted plants in the winter.
GARDEN #6 “The Crossroads Garden”
La Mesa This meticulously maintained corner property, bordered by Camino Baranca and Calle Corvo, is surrounded by large junipers, pinons and cholla. The focal point of the front courtyard garden, is a large fountain surrounded by animal sculptures and succulents planted nearby. The owners have captured an oasis, shady feel in the front entry side of the courtyard and a creatively decorated minimalist desert landscape in the back of the courtyard taking advantage of the surrounding vistas and the Sandia Mountains. After exploring the courtyard garden return outside and take the exterior path around bordering the courtyard wall and enjoy the surrounding landscape whimsical touches. This garden has several interesting hardscaped areas, several tree varieties planted, and an artistic custom steel entry gate leading to the courtyard.
General Information on Placitas Landscapes, Soil Compositions and Gardening
The Placitas community is an unincorporated group of neighborhoods that is bordered on the west by I-25 and on the east and south sides by the Sandia Mountains and the Sandia Pueblo lands, and on the North by San Felipo pueblo lands. Placitas residents share the love of the stunning vistas of various mountains, the west mesas and the Rio Grande valley along with relative seclusion from the bustle of the greater Albuquerque metro area. The Village of Placitas is located off of Hwy 165 approximately 6 miles east of I-25 at exit 242. The historic Village of Placitas is located in the historic Las Huertas land grant area. Placitas has had a long history of agriculture and trade dating back prior to the land grant days. Pueblo Indians, Plains Indians and the Spaniards traded and farmed on lands surrounding the Las Huertas Creek that drains into the Rio Grande. Various communal hippies in the 1960s farmed these same lands. In the last 30 -50 years Placitas residential neighborhoods have spread north, east and west of the Village. These neighborhoods are both residential and rural in character. Placitas home owners garden and landscape in a variety of soils and micro-climates. The Village area has an abundance of clay in the soils in which to garden; whereas the residents residing in neighborhoods west and south of the Village have to contend with rocky or sandy soils or combinations of clay, sand and rock. The residents east of the village up to the Sandia mountain road struggle to garden and landscape with granite like soils. These varying soil compositions combined with the high desert and mountain foot hill micro-climates with minimal precipitation present challenging landscaping and gardening issues for the average Placitas resident. These challenges are not unlike those faced by other central New Mexico landscapers and gardeners.
The Placitas Garden Tour promises to be a horticultural educational experience for tour guests along with being a delight to a viewers’ eyes. All gardeners and would be gardeners learn from each other and appreciate the true labor of love that gardening is.