New Mexico garden design
June 8, 2015 3:36 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a gardening book with advice for a very low-maintenance natural yard in New Mexico for a non-gardener.

My father has recently acquired a house in New Mexico with a nice sized yard. He doesn't want grass, and would like to do something requiring minimal maintenance. For father's day I would love to get him a practical book with clear advice and suggestions, ideally for a native plant yard that might attract birds. I'm in the northeast and not a gardener, and he is even less of one. Does anyone have any recommendations?
posted by sepviva to Home & Garden (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Not New-Mexico-specific, but he might get some guidance from Lauren Springer's books Waterwise Plants for Sustainable Gardens and Plant-Driven Design: Creating Gardens That Honor Plants, Place, and Spirit. There is a website for Plant-Driven Design as well - check out the gallery for some ideas.

There are also some good examples of low-maintenance SW gardens here. High Country Gardens is an excellent source for plants that are well adapted to New Mexico and the Southwest. Here's their low-maintenance page.

Here's a book list for desert gardening. Here's another. Some of these books are by Judith Philips (Natural by Design: Beauty and Balance in Southwest Gardens and New Mexico Gardener's Guide), who is recognized as an authority.

Everything he does with the yard will require maintenance, unless he likes weeds. There are lots of books about SW gardening, but there is a BIG difference between wanting to be a gardener and wanting a very low maintenance landscape, and most books you find will be geared towards gardeners.
posted by caryatid at 5:04 PM on June 8, 2015 [2 favorites]

Not unrelated:

Thursday, June 11th, at 7pm at the Dixon library.

“Indigenous Pueblo Plant Management Methods and Ecological Consequences in Northern New Mexico” - presented by Dr. Richard Ford, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology and Botany at U. of Michigan, distinguished ethnobotanist

He will speak about how the Pueblo people used and managed the botanical resources of this area, and explain why under their traditional ecological knowledge and management the landscape of the upper Rio Grande area looked very different than it does today. Not to be missed! This is the first of The Dixon Summer Archaeology Lecture Series.

Directions to the Dixon Library: From Hwy 68, turn east on Hwy 75 toward Dixon. Go approximately 2 miles. The library is on the right, two buildings past the Dixon Co-op Market.
posted by falsedmitri at 8:43 PM on June 8, 2015

Where in New Mexico might make a big difference. Gallup is not Tucumcari is not Hatch Is not Taos.
posted by leafwoman at 7:56 AM on June 9, 2015

Response by poster: Thanks, these look great!

It's Deming, if that helps. He's not entirely opposed to maintenance, but he is sometimes away for long periods of time, definitely does not want to mow grass, and isn't really a plant person who will be lovingly tending delicate plants. He's very pro-tree, and has always had bird feeders, so it's not like he wants to pave the world or anything, but gardening proper has never been one of his things.
posted by sepviva at 6:34 PM on June 9, 2015

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