Prior Years

2017 Placitas Garden Tour Success

The second annual Placitas Garden Tour on May 21st, 2107 was a complete success. The day of the tour was close to perfect with sunny skies, temperatures in the mid-seventies, and light breezes.  The eight tour gardens were spread-out along Highway 165 spanning a distance from Vista Mantano Loop to Camino de Tecolote north of the Village.    The tour gardens showcased a variety of residential landscapes, unique structures for growing vegetables and a hydrology/ acequia lesson at the Anasazi Winery Orchard.  Each garden hosted a full complement of tour guests.  437 tickets were sold for the event, and 100 volunteers participated in the tour helping to guide the guests and answer questions.

More Albuquerque and Rio Rancho guests attended the 2017 garden tour compared to the previous year thanks to increased advertising and promotion. Placitas Garden Tour representatives received positive comments from many guests on how much they enjoyed their visit to Placitas.   An Albuquerque couple who won the carved stone raffle prize said, “We planned to stay just a couple of hours, and ended up spending a full day visiting the gardens.”

Each garden in the 2017 Placitas Garden Tour featured a Placitas Plein Air artist painting on site. “Plein Air” is a French term for painting scenes on location in open air.   The artists used paints or pastels to transform the garden into a lasting image that tells the story of how the garden was lovingly created and nurtured. The completed paintings were on display at the Placitas Community Library (Garden #5)  the day of the Garden Tour.  Many of the paintings were purchased by the garden owners and tour guests.

2017 Gardens

Garden # 1 – The Cottonwood Habitat

This garden property is certified as a wildlife habitat. Hawks nest high in the cottonwood trees, and hummers build nests at a lower level to enjoy the symbiotic protection of the hawks.

The front courtyard is cozy, and charmingly planted.   As you enter the front gate, you get the feel of a cottage garden.   The curved walkway to the front entrance of the home is surrounded by an abundance of spring flowering perennial plants, wisteria vines, and New Mexico privet shrubs.

The combination of turf and mature cottonwoods creates a cooling oasis in their back courtyard.   The large cottonwood trees serve to frame a spectacular Sandia mountain view from their back patio.   The patio is bordered by an upright wisteria tree and arbor.

Garden # 2 – The Retro Garden

The home was featured in the Albuquerque Journal in 1968 as a unique in-the-round construction project.   Small juniper shrubs were planted in the front along with the placement of large landscape boulders when the house was built.   The juniper shrubs are still present today, but now over-shadow the landscape boulders.

The 360-degree landscaping, consisting of a wide variety of trees, shrubs, vines and perennials plants, was completed gradually through the decades by the owner on this open property void of courtyard walls.

 

Garden # 3 – The European Garden

The European Garden is a hidden treasure on this corner property in Placitas. From the street and the driveway this garden appears to be an expansive well designed xeric garden with defined rock bordered areas surrounding juniper, grasses and other native plants.

The landscaping in the back courtyard is the opposite in concept from the front landscaping.   The back patio area is planted lushly on multiple levels with abundant rose shrubs and flowering bulb plants along with trees and other shrubs in the European tradition and is highlighted with touches of colorful pots, whimsically painted benches and a large directional sign sculpture.   The back courtyard garden is an unexpected and visual garden treat.

Garden # 4 – The Atrium Garden

This is a spectacular property landscaped with several outdoor garden rooms. The tour starts with a walk up to the front entrance of the home through a freshly landscaped courtyard.  A guide will lead you through the foyer to an indoor atrium garden planted in-ground under an open stairwell leading to a landing.  After exploring the atrium garden you will walk through a breeze way enclosure with a south view of the outdoor pool with a large back bordering rock fountain as you exit.  From the pool deck you may follow more than one path to different outdoor garden rooms.

Garden # 5 – The Plein Air Garden

This public garden was developed by Placitas Community Library (PCL) volunteers with financial aid from grants.   The garden is maintained by PCL volunteers in cooperation from Sandoval County Master Gardeners.   The front entrance plot consists of xeric plants donated by David Salmon, owner of the former High County Gardens, for the grand opening of the PCL building in 2008.  Special features of the PCL garden are an advanced rain water harvesting system, a solar operated wildlife water guzzler, and an inspiring labyrinth rock garden designed and built by volunteers. Native plant specialists will be available during the tour to guide guests.

Garden # 6– The Cacti & Iris Garden

The owners worked with what nature provided in the landscape.  They planted cacti and irises in abundance in garden beds on the north-west side of the home among naturalized desert willows, red yucca, and New Mexico bird of paradise.   The iris bed flowering should be in its prime for the garden tour.  Enjoy the panoramic view of the far west mesas and the Jemez mountain area from this  side of the property.  The owners converted an existing concrete water fall to a series of raised planting beds to save on water loss.  They shut off the fountain water, filled in the surfaces with amended soil, and planted flowers and perennial plants, now irrigated by an automated drip system.

Garden # 7 – Wild Cherry Farm

The Anasazi Fields Winery (AFW) sits on the western edge of the Village of Placitas.  Per the “Wines in a Landscape” website description, the AFW wines “come forth from a unique landscape:   a landscape of spring-fed orchards, a landscape of artists and poets, a landscape of weather and topography, a landscape of science and magic.”   The prose sums up the Vintner’s growing philosophy, science background, poetic and sculptural talents, while describing the AFW “Wild Cherry Farm” orchard located about a mile southeast of the Winery and just north of the Village of Placitas.   Anasazi Field wines are predominantly crafted from fruits such as grapes, peaches, plums, apricots and wild cherry varieties grown locally.

Garden # 8 – The Hoop House Garden

You can explore several garden areas and learn about different gardening practices at this property. A brightly painted artist studio and porch are the back drop for hanging tropical flowering plants. Follow the pathway through the back gate to tour their hoop house garden structure which shades and protects raised garden beds filled with soil and straw bales. Savannah grows a variety of beautiful vegetable specimens. The vegetable bounty is at its height in late summer, but there should be early varieties for view at the time of the tour. A hand built A-frame green house, which was featured in the Mother Earth News in January of this year, allows for an early start on vegetable and ornamental plant growing.

 

2016 Gardens

GARDEN #1  “The Vine Garden”

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This garden showcases beautifully draped portal vines, both grape and Virginia creeper, established turf areas and a variety of planting beds along with an extraordinary south view of the Sandia Mountains from the back yard.   The owners have lived in this adobe residence for 30 years and have done all landscaping, terracing, and planting using their own design and labor.   The owners have retained plenty of shelter and nesting areas for wildlife among their native junipers and pinon trees.   This is a Certified Wildlife habitat garden.

 GARDEN #2  “The Oasis Garden”

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Towering cottonwood trees and a second story latilla balcony frame this property from the street view.   As you enter the front courtyard gate you will feel an overwhelming sense of tranquility from the green grass and cool shade.    This oasis garden boasts established turf, mature trees and a large fish pond on the south side of the property.   Walk in a counter-clockwise pattern and enjoy the many perennial and native planted sections.  The owners have worked hard during the last 23 years to establish meandering paths, private seating nooks, and nature viewing areas within their “inherited” garden landscape.

 GARDEN #3  “The Twin Peaks Garden”

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This hillside property has benefited from pleasing additions in “hardscaping” – garden flagstone pathways and a pool/ deck addition with ramada covered areas – during the past five years thanks to the inspiration and design skills of the current owners.   These additions have provided for greater access to different areas of this garden property – all the better for enjoying the multitude of conifers, native plants, flowering beds, birds and other wildlife.   Walk around the garden to enjoy views of the Sandia Mountain, the far west mesas and the “twin-peaked” open space hills.

 GARDEN #4  “The Topiary Garden”

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You will be amazed at the view of this open landscape and home against the panoramic back drop of the Sandia Mountains.  The combination of the Mediterranean style home and the wind-swept shapes of the topiary pruned native juniper trees is reminiscent of scenes along the California Big Sur coast.   As you walk closer your eyes are drawn to a center landscaped area with artfully arranged ceramic pots among the yuccas and a three tiered fountain lies just behind.   This garden, planned and designed by the homeowners, is dramatically simple and yet easy to maintain.

GARDEN #5  “The Art Garden”

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The owners of this property love art – the art of gardening and the art of painting. Twelve years ago the owners decided to add a small number of plants to their garden every year with the intent of achieving year-round color, varying proportions and textural interest.  The owners grew up gardening in New Mexico, and know how to take advantage of micro-climates for successfully growing a variety of ornamental plants, fruit trees, vines, and vegetable bearing plants.  They have created garden rooms with courtyard walls, flagstone walk ways, covered patios and arbors while preserving precious mountain views.

 

 

GARDEN #6 – Placitas Community Library Native Garden and Labyrinth

Placitas Community Library Garden

Placitas Community Library Garden

This public garden was developed by Placitas Community Library (PCL) volunteers with financial aid from grants.   The garden is maintained by PCL volunteers in cooperation from Sandoval County Master Gardeners.   The front entrance plot consists of xeric plants donated by David Salmon, owner of the former High County Gardens, for the grand opening of the PCL building in 2008.  Special features of the PCL garden are an advanced rain water harvesting system, a solar operated wildlife water guzzler, and an inspiring labyrinth rock garden designed and built by volunteers. Native plant specialists will be available during the tour to guide guests.

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