An Artist's Garden
A gardener who's also a painter talks about some of his favorites in his living "canvas."
E-mail This Page to Your Friendsx
A link to %this page% was e-mailed
by Martha Tate, special to HGTV.com
Set in the rugged hills above Santa Fe, James Havard's terraced garden slopes down to the back of his house, surrounded by adobe walls. A renowned artist whose paintings are in the Metropolitan and Guggenheim museums in New York and in many celebrities' private collections, Havard approaches his garden "sort of like a painting that builds." He relocates plants and objects around his garden just as he moves subjects on a canvas.
Havard's cheerful garden has a European ambience that is reminiscent of the sun-drenched landscapes of Provence and Tuscany. At the edge of his summer kitchen on the lowest level of the garden, Havard, who loves to cook and entertain, has created a small potager where he grows lettuces and herbs. Also on this level are flowerbeds containing brightly colored poppies, salvias and lychnis; roses grow on the adobe walls, and some shade is provided by aspens.
Colorful flowers and architectural artifacts are the key elements of the garden. Havard is a collector and has used rustic containers, iron gates and other objets d'art from Europe and Mexico to create beautiful vignettes and to frame views on the different levels of the stone terraces.
When he lived in France, Havard had admired the tiny chapels that are a part of many family compounds. At the top of the garden, he built a potting/tool storage shed in the style of a chapel, complete with a working bell tower.
Havard has a wide assortment of perennials and annuals in the garden, as well as a few trees. Some of his plants are:
Salt cedar (Tamarix ramosissima). Native to southeastern Europe, this tree has slender branches covered in small, light green leaves. Rose-pink flowers in dense racemes appear in early summer. The loose, open tree grows rapidly to 15 feet high with a ten-foot spread. Tamarix ramosissima is hardy in USDA Zones 2-8 and is drought and salt tolerant. Originally introduced to the U.S. as an ornamental, this plant is now on the noxious weed list of several states in the West.
How to use it: A good subject for seashore plantings where little else will grow.
Cultivation: Plant in loose, well-drained soil. Prune back to control growth.
Source: Van Bourgondien
Pinon, or pinyon (Pinus edulis). This evergreen tree is native to New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Wyoming, Colorado and parts of Texas, Oklahoma and Mexico and has been known to live more than 900 years. The seeds of the pinon (pine or pinon nuts) are edible and were highly prized by early Native Americans. The tree grows in the dry, rocky foothills, canyons, mesas and plateaus of the Southwest. At maturity, Pinus edulis reaches 15 to 35 feet. The two-inch-long cones are very resinous, and the reddish-brown bark of the tree is rough and furrowed into scaly ridges. The pinon is the state tree of New Mexico. Unfortunately, many of the pinons around Santa Fe are dying due to a long-term drought.
How to use it: As a specimen tree for a rugged, native look or to add green to arid landscapes.
Cultivation: Plant in well-drained soil in full sun.
Source: Pinus edulis is available through local garden centers and landscapers in the southwestern U. S.
Maltese cross, or Jerusalem cross (Lychnis chalcedonics ). An herbaceous perennial native to Siberia. It is said that this bright red flower was introduced to Europe in the Middle Ages by the Knights of Malta. The plant was an early import to colonial America and was planted by Thomas Jefferson at Monticello. Hardy in USDA Zones 3-10, Lychnis chalcedonica has scarlet red flowers (the petals of which are in the shape of a cross) atop coarse stems that are two to three feet high.
How to use it: For splashes of brilliant red in the early summer garden and to attract butterflies and hummingbirds.
Cultivation: Plant in full sun in well-drained soil. Some leaf drop can occur in dry spells, so keep evenly watered. Remove faded flowers to encourage more blooms.
Source: Seeds available from Seed Savers Exchange
'Iceberg' floribunda rose (Rosa 'Iceberg'). This popular rose was introduced in 1958 and is widely used throughout the U.S. and Europe. The repeat bloomer has glossy green foliage and clean white, double flowers borne in clusters. The American Rose Society gives 'Iceberg' an 8.9, or "outstanding" rating. Hardy from Zones 4 or 5 to 9, 'Iceberg' is also available in a climbing form.
How to use it: This is an excellent shrub rose, especially in areas with low humidity. The clusters of 'Iceberg' make fine cut flowers.
Cultivation: Plant in full sun in well-drained soil that has been amended with organic matter. Roses like to be fed, so keep them fertilized and evenly watered.
Source: Vintage Gardens Antique Roses
Arugula, or rocket (Eruca vesicaria subsp. satvia). This low-growing annual is native to the Mediterranean region and is widely used as a salad green in the area. The notched, oblong leaves measure from four to ten inches long and have a strong, tangy (some say peppery) flavor. When the plant bolts (sends up a seed stalk), it produces white flowers.
How to use it: Use as a culinary treat in salads (with goat cheese, walnuts, pears or with pine nuts or pecans and balsamic vinaigrette). In the garden, arugula can be a temporary edging for a potager.
Cultivation: Sow seeds in full sun in cool soil (45 degrees F. and up) in late winter/early spring or late summer/early fall. Arugula comes up soon after planting. Leaves should be harvested when young and tender (when the flavor is milder). The plant bolts quickly, sometimes a month after seeds are sown. Fertilize with fish emulsion and keep evenly watered for strong growth. Weak plants will attract flea beetles, a common problem in spring crops. Thin plants to six inches apart to encourage larger, milder leaves.
Source: Kitchen Garden Seeds and Sand Mountain Herbs
— Martha Tate is co-executive producer of Gardener's Diary.
Learn how nasturtiums edible flowers can make not only a beautiful addition to your home garden, but a tasty...