Greetings all from the Santa Fe Garden Club! This is our inaugural newsletter. Each quarter, a member of the Santa Fe Garden Club will write a cover article that features one of the many topics that are important to us as a club but also as individuals. The Garden Club of America is an organization of member clubs that are involved in more than just local gardening. The Garden Club of America works to support legislation and public policy through Federal and State bodies. We are engaged in protection of the environment and conservation of public lands, in awarding scholarships and grants, in historic gardens and floral design and in sharing knowledge of Horticulture and best practices for our local climate and our planet.
We hope that you will get a chance to go by Amelia White Park on Old Santa Fe Trail. The Santa Fe Garden Club has restored the central courtyard in partnership with the Santa Fe Parks Department. Money raised from our annual “Behind Adobe Walls” home and garden tour were used to fund the project. The Santa Fe Garden Club has had a long history of involvement with the park, starting with its creation in 1966, when Amelia White donated the land to the City of Santa Fe for the purpose of a public park. Recently, The Garden Club of America tasked member clubs across the country to find a local park in need of some help as a way to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Frederick Law Olmstead, known as the “Father of Landscape Architecture”. Here in Santa Fe, we created a pollinator friendly perennial garden with bird habitat planting around the perimeter. This spring it should be really spectacular!
On a personal note, I moved to Santa Fe last year from Los Angeles. Nothing is more humbling for a California transplant than trying to figure out the Santa Fe plant pallet and the seasonal changes here. I made myself wait a year to see my garden in all its seasons before I started redesigning and transplanting. Having seen snow on my roses and grasses now makes them just as beautiful to me in winter as they were in July. I am going to recap for you some of my transplant wisdom. I welcome any thoughts and advice from those of you with longer tenure here!
Newcomer to Santa Fe Gardens 101
- If we have a dry winter, your plants will still need water, even if dormant. Your winter watering should mimic weather patterns and average snowfall.
- When you turn on your irrigation this spring, look to see if you have irrigation running to places where plants have died or been removed. Remove excess tubing. No more excess black spaghetti!
- Bark mulch can add insulation and interest to winter gardens. It will help reduce weed growth and will help your soil retain moisture.
- Check the average first and last frost dates for your elevation. A hard freeze can still do damage but a brief dip below 32 can “harden” plants and make them tougher. Water plants deeply if a light freeze is expected. It will insulate them.
- Sun and shade conditions change as trees grow taller. Don’t be afraid to transplant roses if they are getting too much shade. You can cut them back (hard prune) any time in the spring and summer. They will concentrate their effort in root development and then restart leaf and flower growth.
- If weeds are a problem you can use an organic “pre-emergent”. Corn Gluten Meal produces a protein that coats weed seeds and prevents them from germinating. Apply before seeds sprout in early spring and later summer. Do not use if you plan on seeding a particular area.
Please check back with us for next season’s newsletter and let us know what types of information you would like to see included in future editions. We hope you will all join us for our Amelia White Courtyard Celebration on June 16th. The event starts at 10:00 am with comments and a ribbon cutting by Mayor Alan Webber. There will be a “Pet Promenade” and our incredible civic partners – Santa Fe Master Gardeners, Xerces Society, the Santa Fe Audubon Center will all be on hand to help us celebrate and share their own valuable tips for gardening in Santa Fe. All attendees are encouraged to bring their families and a picnic lunch.
Happy Spring to you all!