Waterwise Landscaping in New Mexico


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[Autumn in my front hellstrip garden, planted in the late 80’s & early 90’s, features Liatrus punctata, Cherry Sage (Salvia greggii), and Blue Star Amsonia (Amsonia grandiflora).]

I’ve included some of Judith’s designs(that we installed )here. The first includes a labyrinth,we installed this in 2001 as part of a ‘Wizard of Oz’ theme.Plants include Gayfeather-Liatrus punctata and Blue Oat Grass-Helictotrichon sempervirens. The last two are a client in the North Valley of Albuquerque installed 2005 and includes Bush Penstemon-Penstemon ambiguus,Wright’s Buckwheat-eriogonum wrightii, and ’The Blues’ Little Bluestem-Schizachryium scoparium.
The 1st photo on the email with 3 photos and the text , the second is a

[A waterwise design/install of 2010 with English Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), Gray Santolina (Santolina chamaecyparissus), Hopley’s Oregano (Origanum laevigatum), and Buffalo Grass (Bouteloua dactyloides).] [Lamb’s Ear (Stachys byzantina) thrives under Bigtooth Maple (Acer grandidentatum) in my front courtyard, installed in 1995.] [The cistern at our office waters the entire landscape on an automatic drip system. The yellow flowers are Angelita Daisies (Tertraneuris acaulis).]


[Wooly Butterfly Bush (Buddleja marrubiifolia)]

My backyard features Giant Sacaton (Sporobolus wrightii), Purpleaster (Machaeranthera canescens), ‘Autumn Joy’ Sedum, ’Seafoam’ Artemesia, Turpentine Bush (Ericameria laricifolia), and Algerita or Redberry Mahonia (Mahonia haematocarpa).


When Evelyn Hadden asked me to write a rant, I wondered which direction to take. Like many guest ‘ranters’, I wear a number of different hats. My paying job is head designer and founder/owner of WaterWise Landscapes Incorporated in Albuquerque, NM – www.waterwiselandscapesnm.com .  WaterWise has specialized in regionally appropriate landscapes since 1993.

My second hat is my passion as an outdoor photographer. Many of my photos can be found posted on the WaterWise Landscapes’ social media sites and website. Some are also found in two books published by Timber Press-Judith Phillips’ book Growing the Southwest Garden and (Garden Rant’s own) Evelyn Hadden’s book – Hellstrip Gardening: Create a Paradise between the Sidewalk and the Curb.

My third hat fulfills my commitment to continuing environmental education. Since 1993 I have volunteered on the Xeriscape Council of New Mexico (XCNM). In 2011 I became Vice President. Sharing this third hat is my ‘rant’s’ focus.

XCNM was formed in the 80’s to educate the Green Industry and general public on the benefits of xeriscape by producing a Xeriscape Conference. In the early 90’s the USGS confirmed what many on the Council knew instinctually – Albuquerque (like most Western cities) had a limited water supply. We needed to rethink how we use water. Several Council members, myself included, were instrumental in guiding conservation measures that specifically involved landscaping. These changes and others presented in Xeriscape Conferences helped Albuquerque decrease per capita water use by over 40% since 1994.

Over the years we expanded the Conference into topics much broader than the original focus on xeriscape. Meeting this natural evolution, we re-branded the Conference ‘The Land & Water Summit’. Our focus topics now also include climate change, sustainability, Arid LID (Low Impact Development), water conservation, water harvesting, the energy/water nexus and community building. Additionally and importantly, the XCNM includes local food growers, artists and businesses who are actively engaged in making the change we are advocating happen in our communities.

The 2016 ‘Land & Water Summit’ will be February 25 and 26 in Albuquerque. This year  ‘Creating a New Paradigm for Living in Arid Lands’ is our focus. Western landscapes present many challenges now and for the future. An innovative holistic approach is needed to bring experts from a variety of fields together with registrants to exchange information and energize all of us to turn the ideas into community action. The size and timing of the event is specifically designed to permit maximum interaction between all parties. The conference features a wide ranging group of speakers and panelists. Since brew pubs represent one specialty of our locale where people gather and water quality is critical, this year it includes a beer tasting of local brews. How cool is that? Check out our website www.xeriscapenm.com for this year’s conference agenda and registration information.

And always of course – to satisfy the cravings of you garden geeks, don’t worry, we have New Mexico’s own garden writer and landscape designer Judith Phillips speaking. She will elaborate on ideas in her most recent Timber Press book ‘Growing The Southwest Garden’.