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Today Annie’s Amazing Nursery catalog arrived and I can’t believe how fabulous it is. I took a pen and circled everything I ever wanted as I flew on the plane to Arizona. Now I am sitting in Silver City, New Mexico and it is snowing, plans for planting summer flowers put on hold as I take in the drastic weather in my parka that I grabbed on my way out the door.

I chased my sister away because she was talking too much as we sit in the Lion’s Den café; she is talking about art and the snow and drinking a tall latte with a tall foam full of fat. She does not like to be silent, especially not on the “day before”– no today we are both chattering away as if we don’t have a care. Tomorrow, we will drive sixty silent miles to visit my Aunt’s house to clean out her closets. Forgive me for not talking of gardens right away as I sit here in a strange coffee house, which the proprietor just told my sister won a Willy Wonka decorating contest, explaining the giant foam peppermints and candy canes hanging from the walls. Forgive me for distractions of chatter.

In my suitcase my Annie’s catalog waits along with my plans for my “fabby” garden that will bloom continually and will never feel snow.

Nope, my garden will fill my thoughts as I lift up the heavy hangers, carrying dry cleaner bags full of carefully ironed clothes out the back door to the car where we will pile them in, armful by armful, trying to be as fast and cheerful as we can and not worry my uncle too much, who stands alone with his dog by the door. The snow left and the sun came out, but still the fields are yellow and the wind blows through my sweatshirt. Our aunt loved flowers. I think of taking a cutting of her geraniums, but I never go in the front door. And would they survive winter outside anyway? If my aunt were here, they would be inside and she would be tending them now, but I don’t see them anywhere so I forget it and concentrate on stuffing the car so full that we will never have to go back again.

No, I will not think of that. I will think about my garden and the blooms that will last all summer. It will be drought-tolerant, deer-tolerant, and ever-blooming. Penstemon barbatus, achillea ageratum, geranium magnificum, and Cynoglossum Amabile “Azul”—I just like the sound of it all, like an incantation, something that’s already alive.


Here are pictures from South western New Mexico the second week of March, day after snow, at Bear Mountain Lodge, the gardens and views from that location.

Maze at Bear Mountain



View from driveway