Favorites in a Designer's Garden
Pam Duncan shares a few of her favorite plants from her own gardens.
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Pam Duncan's rambling adobe house is nestled in the hills above Santa Fe and looks out at a spectacular view of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. From the ridge in back of Duncan’s home, one can look down to see that gardens jut out from all sides of the house. An interior designer, Duncan has decorated the garden "rooms" with shrubs, trees and perennials.
The gardens start along the parking area and driveway in front of the house. Here, wild Apache plume grows in huge swaths. Next to an adobe arch at the parking level is a clump of native blue penstemon.
The arch itself is cloaked in wisteria vine and flanked on each side by huge terra-cotta olive jars. Stone steps planted with low-growing sedum lead up to the front door. On either side of the risers is an adobe wall outfitted with a trellis made of re-bar and wood. Pink 'New Dawn' roses and English ivy grow on the walls.
The living room garden features a pinyon (a native pine and New Mexico’s state tree), a spectacular planting of white roses and a groundcover of blue catnip. A garden outside the family room features lavender, red penstemons, dark blue salvia, daylilies and golden yarrow. A bench looks out at a sweeping view of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
Yet another set of steps at the side of the house leads up to a covered patio. The walls of the house in this area are covered in Boston ivy, which boasts large, glossy-green leaves in summer.
A feature next to this patio is a mound which covers the roots of a native ponderosa pine Duncan saved during construction of the house. Tucked into the stones around the pine are various sedums; at the base of the tree is a small garden pool.
Several other small areas off the house include plantings of aspens and other native trees and shrubs. A tiny garden off a den at the back of the house contains a planting of red sedum and a trellis of climbing roses.
Duncan uses tough plants that can withstand the harsh winds and intense summer sun. Some of her favorites include:
Pete Wallenborn shares some of his favorite plants in his sloped southeastern garden.