Newsletter February 2024
Greetings intrepid Santa Fe Gardeners! It’s February and even though we have lovely days in the 50s, and occasional snowfall, signs spring are everywhere. The buds on our trees are starting to swell. The snow melts the same day it falls. My parsley and Hummingbird Mint still have green leaves! While the average last frost in Santa Fe falls on May 15th, there are lots of things we can all do to get ready. I will include a few tips below.
The Santa Fe Garden Club had a busy 2023. We celebrated our 2022 restoration of the central courtyard at Amelia White Park with an event that included our civic partners and civic leaders. We helped New Mexico’s Governor, Michelle Lujan Grisham, re-landscape the entry to Fort Marcy Park. We had an amazing “Behind Adobe Walls” Home and Garden Tour, raising $40,000 for conservation and scholarship programs in Santa Fe. Jackie Flor, Head Horticulturalist for the Getty Villa and Getty Center was our featured speaker at the October Speaker event and in September we raised and additional $10,000 for Amelia White Park through a fundraiser held at the Governor’s Residence. Phew!
We are a month into 2024 and are busy planning this year’s adventures in Horticulture. 2024 has brought a new group of provisional members, including the first two gentlemen to join the club. We are excited to have new voices and perspectives in our membership. We are currently planning a “re-fresh” of the courtyard garden and the New Mexico Museum of Art. The Santa Fe Garden Club redesigned and replanted the garden about 7 years ago, when a fountain leak and underground flooding meant the previous garden had to completely redone. Like all gardens, somethings did better than others, some did too well. We have decided to re-balance the flower colors, leaf color, height variation and winter interest and have left the best of the current garden and made room for some new friends.
Our Amelia White Park work continues. We are looking at ways to improve the park and will start on the pergola that runs the entire length of the park. It needs some structural repairs. The garden was designed, for Amelia White, by John Gaw Meem, one of Santa Fe’s best known 20th Century architects. Consultations with Historic Preservation and the City of Santa Fe will hopefully lead to a new pergola that will last well into the next century. Once the pergola is redone, we will focus on restoring the fountain and perhaps even an expanded parking area!
We have been blessed this year with a generous snowpack in the ski area which means our spring water supply from the snow melt will be great for our gardens. Here are a few things that you can do now to get a jump start on the spring season…
Spring Garden Tips:
- Assess your winter garden. Are there holes left where something didn’t make it? Do you want to add something evergreen, or will the winter bones of a beautiful tree fill a space? Most nurseries have leftover Japanese Maples that have been discounted as they anticipate spring tree stock.
- Need roses? Now is the time when nurseries are bringing in bare root roses and canning them up. If there is a variety, you have been craving now is the time to find it locally.
- Water as needed. Our once-a-week snow fall has meant great moisture for trees and shrubs as the snow melt reduces the need for hand watering. Keep your eye on the weather and if you get up to two weeks with no rain or snow you may need to hand water. The trees are starting to wake up. They will need the water.
- Did your gravel travel? The snow melt, and my dog, have left bare areas in my garden, exposing weed cloth. Your garden will look much improved if the gravel is raked to cover those bare spots. An additional yard of gravel goes a long way and its great exercise to spread it!
- It’s too early to start vegetables from seed but you can start thinking about what you want to grow. What worked last year? What do you like to cook with? The Old Farmer’s Almanac has great schedules for when to start plants from seed and they have calendars for specific zip codes. You can go to Almanac.com and put in your zip code and read all of their great tips.
Spring is right around the corner….