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Heeeeyyyyyyy, look who it is:
It’s everyone’s favorite octogenarian – soon to be nonagenarian – Expert Dottie!
I recently visited her in Sedona, Arizona to see her new digs. Nice views, eh? We took an early morning walk, and it was breathtaking.
Once the sun popped up, the views became even more stunning.
Of course, the company was even better than the views.
I neglected to take selfies with her – we got sidetracked. For those of you wondering, Dottie’s doing awesome. It’s hard to believe she’ll be 90 in a couple of weeks, or that a year ago around this time she was preparing for heart surgery.
She’s once again charming everyone around her and making tons of new friends. As is her usual M.O.
We did a couple of laps, then sped off for breakfast and a busy day.
If anyone would like to send Dottie birthday wishes, I will happily pass them along to her. I’m sure she’d be thrilled to hear from you.
My eyes have been treated to the following scenes for the last three mornings:
Good for the soul.
Hey, look who I found! It’s Expert Dottie! She’s an expert in life!
She’s doing great, and was an absolute delight to see! Beautiful views and wonderful company.
When it comes to hedges, which do you prefer – shaped or wild? Boxy or freeform?
Using Pyracantha as an example, let’s look at the different approaches to pruning or not pruning.
Here are heavily pruned “tidy” Pyracanthas in Albuquerque’s North Valley:
I know that the homeowner prefers the neatness of the straight-edged pruning. He hires someone to come in every so often with one of those electric hedge trimmers and go to town on the plants. The heavy pruning reduces the number of berries, but their shady location also contributes to fewer berries. The homeowner probably has good reasons (although I haven’t asked) for wanting to keep the Pyracantha pruned so tightly. They’re laden with thorns, and there are kids around, so he may be concerned with safety. And also space may be an issue – there’s not much room for the plants to grow wild in the driveway.
Pruning the Pyracantha that heavily is many people’s choice – he’s not alone. There are examples of box-shaped hedges all over the city.
But he may not realize the plant’s potential, either.
Here’s an example from another homeowner who chose the “wild” path, letting the Pyracantha grow with abandon (also in the North Valley):
Breathtaking, isn’t it? This row of Pyracantha offers a gorgeous natural fence, shielding the house from outside eyes and probably intruders as well (someone would have to be pretty stupid to try and climb a thorny fence like that!).
There’s also a lot more space to allow the plants to grow on this property than the first example.
How a plant is pruned is a personal choice. It should be an informed one, however. No one should prune a hedge into a box shape just because everyone else is doing it. Sometimes, the plants should be allowed to grow the way they want to grow. And sometimes a little shaping or training is necessary.
My regular readers know that I much prefer the latter example. I’m not a fan of heavy pruning because I think box-shaped hedges look ridiculous and decidedly unnatural. And also because they’re examples of lazy pruning – it’s quick and easy to take shears and lop off branches indiscriminately. It’s much more nuanced and time-consuming to give a plant an “editing” that encourages new growth without destroying the plant’s natural shape.
I’m curious, which do you prefer?
Good To Grow is an Albuquerque-based interior and exterior landscaping service. We use plants and flowers to decorate offices, homes and patios around the city. We also offer memorial garden services, meaning that when a loved one passes, we can plant a customized garden in his or her honor. If the person who passed was an avid cook, we can plant an herb garden to honor that person’s memory. If a Veteran dies, we can plant a red, white, and blue perennial flower garden. If you lost a beloved pet, we can plant a garden around the burial site.
If you’d like to know more about the landscaping or memorial garden services offered, please send an email to lizatheplantlady at gmail dot com. Thank you for your consideration.
Recently, we went on a hike in the Jemez Mountains (to the north and west of Albuquerque, by about 60 miles). I thought I’d share some of the photos with you, because it’s a beautiful place.
We started our hike at the Jemez Falls overlook:
And then made our way toward McCauley warm spring, which is 2 miles from the falls, on top of Battleship Rock, through the Ponderosa Pine forest.
Those are tent rocks in the distance:
McCauley is a warm spring – the water is about 90 degrees. So it’s wonderful in the summertime, but not the place to go in winter because the water will lower your body temperature. The Jemez Mountains also have hot springs, where the water is more like 106 degrees, 108 degrees.
I think McCauley is the prettiest spring. It has two bigger pools, and a couple of small ones:
Not a bad view:
It’s very peaceful in the mountains.
Did I mention that they’re red?
The Jemez Mountains are a must-see for people visiting New Mexico. There’s a scenic byway that takes you through the heart of red rock country – it’s gorgeous. And for those looking for a little exercise, the hike to McCauley is nice – four miles roundtrip, with a moderate difficulty level (lots of ups and downs, but the trail is easy to follow).
I hope you enjoyed this little tour!
You didn’t think I’d go the whole season without posting photos of Cosmos flowers, did you? I can’t help myself – they’re too pretty for me to resist!
They’re not as tall as they’ve been in past years, mostly due to my inconsistent watering. They’re starting to take off now, though, with the rain we’ve been getting. So you can expect to see approximately 45,000 more photos of Cosmos in the coming weeks, haha!
I recently worked at the Santa Fe Botanical Garden, and took some photos with my phone so I could give you a flavor of what it’s like there.
I was busy, so I didn’t have time for close-ups of the flowers or trees – just some general shots to give you an idea of how pretty the place is. (I apologize for the poor quality of the photos!)
The garden is located across from the Folk Art Museum on Museum Hill Road.
Because it’s Santa Fe, there was a lot of whimsical art mixed in with the plants. Also, lots of storm clouds.
Also, lots of Agastaches and Penstemons, and Sages. And roses and ornamental grasses, and evergreens, too. The plants and trees were planted thoughtfully, with room to grow.
And I spied a couple of tiny fairy gardens, like the one below. (I noticed some young girls leaving offerings of apple slices, grapes and potato chips.)
I believe the fairies would’ve enjoyed this bouquet of flowers:
These horses are located near the entrance:
After awhile, the storm passed (after unleashing torrents of rain), and the sun came out, showcasing the colorfulness of the garden:
It’s a relatively small space, but peaceful and quiet. I wish I’d had more time to explore and read about the plants there.
If you visit Santa Fe, you should check it out for yourself. I hope you enjoyed this mini tour!