Presentation on theme: "Desert Southwest Gardening Challenges Christmas Eve Sunrise, 2006."— Presentation transcript:
Desert Southwest Gardening Challenges Christmas Eve Sunrise, 2006
Southwest Desert Gardening Challenges The Destructive Power of Snow And The Saga of Mermaid
Susan Brandt Graham, MD, PhD Albuquerque Rose Society ARS Consulting Rosarian Accredited Rose Horticulture Judge Accredited Rose Arrangement Judge
Gardeners in the Desert SW Face a Multitude of Weather Challenges Wind Heat Cold Late freezes after dormancy broken Drought Hail Sleet Snow! (Hard to believe, right?)
Many Different Microenvironments in the Desert Southwest Gardening in Albuquerque is different from gardening in Phoenix, Tucson, Santa Fe, Flagstaff, or Las Vegas Within the Albuquerque metro area are the foothills, the Rio Grande Valley, the West Mesa, the Northeast Heights, and so on Within my own small yard are several micromini environments!
Snow and the Saga of Mermaid Mermaid is an Old Garden Rose, a hybrid bracteata introduced in 1918, which also happens to be the year of my fathers birth. It is a large single rose (5 petals), cream colored, with long golden stamens and shiny green leaves. It is said to be cold tender, but grows well in Albuquerque with some protection, such as against a south wall.
Mermaid Mermaid is one of my favorite roses of any variety or color. I planted one in honor of my father after he died. He was colorblind and could not see red roses, but loved the yellows, whites, and creams!
Mermaid before The Big Snow By May of 2006, Mermaid reached the roof, and had become a focal point of the entire back yard.
Mermaid before The Big Snow Another view of Mermaid Notice the large clusters of buds!
Mermaid as a Show Stopper Mermaid won the ARS Victorian Award and Best of Show at the 2006 Albuquerque Spring Rose Show! Mermaid on the trophy table
Snow in Albuquerque Albuquerque is used to light snows throughout the winter The mountains around Albuquerque get enough snow to have skiing most winters But within Albuquerque itself, snow is usually light and melts within a day or two
The First Snow of December 2006 In mid-December Albuquerque got what, for the area, was a relatively heavy snow. I got about 8 inches in my yard during that snow I do not frequently get that much snow at one time, but it is not unheard of in the history of Albuquerque
Damage from the First Snow of December 2006 Mermaid and its trellis, which had been firmly attached to the wall, were partially pulled away and the trellis broken I was ill at the time and thought it didnt matter if it took me a while to get it repaired
The BIG Snow of 2006 Starting on December 29 and lasting to the 31 st, snow fell and fell and fell I had 22 inches in my yard I had lived in this house since December 1985, and had never had even half that amount of snow In the middle of the night I heard a terrible sound, and I knew what it was...
The BIG Snow of 2006 Mermaid was completely pulled off the wall and laid across the patio; I could not get to the rest of my yard until that was cleaned up, several weeks later!
The BIG Snow of 2006 Where to begin? At least the sun was finally out and the snow was beginning to melt! This was about half- way through the cleanup
Cleaning Up the Damage Part of the cleanup consisted of sawing off the canes of Mermaid at ground level, not because I wanted to, but because I had to I was thrilled to see tiny basal breaks in the spring!
Hope Springs Eternal It was great to see canes start to develop in the spring of 2007!
Clematis as a Companion Plant Clematis had been a great companion plant for Mermaid, blooming before Mermaid and signaling the start of spring Of course, it had to be cut off at the ground also
May 2007 By late May of 2007, both the clematis and Mermaid showed enough growth to give some hope. It was not spectacular, but both were alive!
Early May 2008 By early May of 2008, both Mermaid and the clematis were looking pretty good, all things considered
Would Mermaid Bloom in Time for the Albuquerque Rose Show? Things looked promising in mid-May But, alas, nothing was ready for May 24
May 31, 2008 One week after the show, Mermaid was really beginning to look like her old self before The Big Snow of 2006 Notice the long golden stamens and glossy green leaves!
May 31, 2008 Mermaid is still small compared to May of 2006, but shows promise of being back to her full glory by the end of the 2008 growing season
Hope Springs Eternal in the Desert No one ever said gardening in the desert would be easy or without frustration Some challenges are always there and we adapt to them, both in the plants we select and the techniques we use Occasionally, Mother Nature throws us a curve ball Patience and persistence pay off!
For More Information Contact the Albuquerque Rose Society at or The American Rose Society at Thanks for your interest in this presentation, and HAPPY GARDENING!
Desert Southwest Gardening Challenges Sunset, New Years Eve 2006