New Mexico Alpine/Rock Garden Plants

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Peter George
Title: Guest
Joined: 2009-09-03
New Mexico Alpine/Rock Garden Plants

NARGS is considering having its 2013 Study Weekend in northern New Mexico, probably in Sante Fe, and I'm curious what kinds of plants we would be likely to see in late March through Early April in the Sangre de Christo Mountains and the Jemez Mountains.

deesen
deesen's picture
Title: Guest
Joined: 2011-01-31

Why am I, in perhaps one of the wettest parts of England, curious about the answer to this question ;D

David Nicholson in Devon, UK  Zone 9b

Peter George
Title: Guest
Joined: 2009-09-03

Because you are already considering how to work out a trip to New Mexico, and identifying the plants you'll be seeing in situ will give you the intellectual rationale for such an expenditure in time and treasure.

Peter George, Petersham, MA (north central MA, close to the NH/VT borders), zones 5b and 6 around the property.

Kelaidis
Kelaidis's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-02-03

Early spring in New Mexico is generally very windy and dry. It is not their best season: autumn (right now through October) is their loveliest time of year. The Chihuahuan desert is a summer rainfall desert.

That said, there are always interesting things to see. This year, however, has been an unmitigated disaster horticulturally. You may want to talk to some of them about it starting with David Salman of High Country Gardens dssfg@aol.com

Love the idea myself!

For every minion of the peaks there are a dozen steppe children growing in the dry Continental heart of all hemispheres still unknown to horticulture.

IMYoung
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-01-31

Co-incidentally, I have just been in correspondence with one of the charming folks at the New Mexico Rare Plant Technical Council ........ they have a most interesting website......

http://nmrareplants.unm.edu/        8)

Ian  and/or Margaret Young ( -here it is usually Margaret) Aberdeen , North East Scotland, UK Zone 8a

www.srgc.net

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

Thanks Maggi, it is good to reminded about this web site, I wish more of the US States had good coverage on their flora.  While "armchair botanizing" I pointed to this web site in the past, as there are photos of species one can't find elsewhere; here are some previous links showing a small sampling of some plants found in New Mexico:

re: Erigeron scopulinushttp://nargs.org/smf/index.php?topic=61.msg982#msg982

http://nargs.org/smf/index.php?topic=567.msg6152#msg6152(see Polygala rimulicola var. rimulicola link)

http://nargs.org/smf/index.php?topic=264.msg2294#msg2294(see Penstemon alamosensis link posted by Lori Skulski)

Mark McDonough Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5 antennaria at aol.com  

Kelaidis
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Title: Member
Joined: 2010-02-03

April/May is not the best season for New Mexico: often very windy and dry. There is not the rich ephemeral spring flora that characterizes so much of the Eastern US or California (which have lots of winter moisture and spring rain). The Chihuahuan desert and its outliers (New Mexico and Southern Colorado included) have a modified monsoonal rainfall pattern where the greatest moisture falls in the summer months. The monsoons most years start in July and go on to September or even later. They are usually afternoon showers, often quite heavy. I find that late August through September is the most enchanting time to seek out flowers in New Mexico at lower elevations. The Sangre de Cristo and especially the Sandia mountains have the sexy alpines blooming around the 4th of July--but most years the lowland stuff is still dormant then. There are still lots of delphiniums, aconites, asteraceae galore blooming in August higher up, so there are things to see then, but the Rio Grande valley flowers are later: things like Dalea scoparia (a big blue broom that is so fragrant), Houstonia rubra, Psilostrophe tagetina, Abronia, Verbena, etc. etc....tons of color most years. That said, this year was a disaster: spring, summer and fall are all very dry. But two years from now I predict great color! I think this is a great idea...

For every minion of the peaks there are a dozen steppe children growing in the dry Continental heart of all hemispheres still unknown to horticulture.

Tim Ingram
Title: Member
Joined: 2011-04-27

This event does sound really fascinating. I have only such a limited knowledge of the flora of these regions and have just looked up Dalea scoparia; wonderful deep violet-blue flowers. I think some of the Lotononis from South Africa have a similar appeal (though I don't know if they are fragrant too). Legumes in general are such great plants! I shall look through the websites recommended by Mark and Ian.

Dr. Timothy John Ingram Faversham, Kent, UK I garden in a relatively hot and dry region (for the UK!), with an annual rainfall of around 25", winter lows of -10°C and summer highs of 30°C.  

Peter George
Title: Guest
Joined: 2009-09-03

I just got back from a visit to Denver, and spent a good deal of time with Panayoti touring the Denver Botanic Garden and two gardens in Lakewood. What I discovered about New Mexico plants makes me even more excited about the event. So many plants there bloom in late summer and early fall, as a result of their rainy season/monsoon, which normally occurs in summer. As a result, we're planning the event for late August, in order to get the maximum benefit from the location. My guess is that we'll have a 3 day meeting, followed by one or more tours into the mountains around Sante Fe, one of which may end up as an 'expedition,' lasting 3-5 days. At this point we don't have a NARGS Chapter in New Mexico, but I suspect that will not be the case in two months or less. I'll keep you apprised as we move forward with this project.

The Annual General Meeting of NARGS in 2013 is going to be in western North Carolina, by the way, and also should be a great event in a botanical wonderland. It will likely be held in June, so the summer of 2013 will be the most interesting one we've had in a long time!

Peter George, Petersham, MA (north central MA, close to the NH/VT borders), zones 5b and 6 around the property.

Ward
Title: Guest
Joined: 2009-10-01

Peter and others,The annual NARGS meeting in North Carolina's mountains is being planned for early May 2013.--Bobby Ward

Peter George
Title: Guest
Joined: 2009-09-03

And plans include a post-conference excursion to one or more interesting botanical destinations in the surrounding areas of Western North Carolina!

Peter George, Petersham, MA (north central MA, close to the NH/VT borders), zones 5b and 6 around the property.

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