Newly Registered
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Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2009 1:29 am
Location: espanola, nm

Newbie Help Needed


I have a 3ft wide by 53 feet long bed alongside my building where I would like to experiment. Here are a few questions I have:

1) Is it to late to plant? I am in espanola, nm.

2) I would like to add some color to an otherwise colorless landscape. Because of how the bed is against the building it is in full sun for a majority of the day.

3) What to plant? I would love to do some sort of color scheme as it would be my first experiment.


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Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

desert flower garden

Wow, that's a lot of space. It's not to late to plant plants. It's getting pretty late to plant perennials from seed. They are usually slower sprouting and slower growing. You didn't say, but I'm assuming you want perennials that will keep coming back and get themselves established.

So courtesy of the LadyBird Johnson Wildflower center native plant data base https://www.wildflower.org/plants/ here's a selection of all the wonderful native wildflowers you have out there. These are all selected to be tolerant of desert sun and dry conditions:

yarrow, dogbane, butterflyweed/ milkweed, milkvetch, bouchea, indian paintbrush, poppy mallow, mariposa lily, sundrops, evening rain lily, coreopsis/tickseed, coneflower, Englemann's daisy, wild buckwheat, gaillardia/brown-eyed susan, liatris/ blazing star, lupines, four o'clocks, blackfoot daisy, bee balm, devil's bouquet, penstemon/beardtongue, mexican hat/prairie coneflower, black-eyed susan, perennial salvia, compass plant, globe mallow, goldenrod, desert zinnia

If you find a good local nursery specializing in desert plants you should be able to find a lot of these. Some you might have to order on line if you wanted them (google them to see pictures and info). Plant a bunch of these and you will get a prairie meadow effect. Many of them are attractive to birds and butterflies.

For more diversity, especially with so much space, you can make a more balanced system by including some grasses (e.g. indian rice grass sideoats grama grass , blue grama, buffalograss) and shrubs (prairie sagewort/artemisia, cholla, sotol, mescal bean/ New Mexico locust, ocotillo, yucca, esperanza/ yellow bells)

All of these are tough hardy plants that ONCE ESTABLISHED will be very low maintenance, but remember that everything takes some care to get established. And the trouble with planting when it's already hot, is that the plants don't have much root system yet, so they will take more watering than they will later.

It will be a time and money consuming project to plant that much space. I'd start by putting in a few grasses and shrubs scattered along it. In between / around them put some of the wildflowers, widely spaced. Then mulch everything very well. In coming years what you have planted will spread itself, and you can fill in with more plants.

Newly Registered
Posts: 8
Joined: Tue Jun 30, 2009 6:34 pm
Location: NW

Welcome to the wonderful hobby of gardening. I don't have any suggestions since I don't know your climate very well. However, I do hope you enjoy experimenting with planning and planting!!!!! :lol:

Greener Thumb
Posts: 1152
Joined: Sun Feb 24, 2008 3:26 pm
Location: North Carolina

Be careful. You are in the desert and what works in humid climates will not work for you especially in full sun. Either visit a university that has a horticulture dept or go up to Denver Botanical. Best would be to wait until the fall.

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