The High Country Gardens Story

Pioneers In Sustainable Gardening

David Salman opened Santa Fe Greenhouses in 1984. In his first retail store, he set out to transform western gardening by cultivating and growing beautiful blooming perennials, native plants, ornamental grasses, and unique cacti and succulents. These xeric or "waterwise" plants attracted a loyal fan base, and David helped to change the face of western gardening from rocks and cactus to lush-blooming eco-friendly garden habitats.

Development greenhouses and test gardens in Santa Fe, NM.Development greenhouses and test gardens in Santa Fe, NM.
Development greenhouses and test gardens in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

As his retail operation grew, David realized that many of his customers were driving to Santa Fe from other states, as his unique plants thrived in the moderate to extreme climates and altitudes of the American Southwest and Intermountain West. Plus, the waterwise perennials saved customers both money and time, earning their keep as valuable garden plants.

With the demand for his plants extending far beyond northern New Mexico, David started High Country Gardens in 1993, the mail-order division of Santa Fe Greenhouses. A few years later, his wife Ava joined the company. David focused on plant development, and Ava spearheaded the marketing and e-commerce operations with the High Country Gardens catalog and website. Their catalog won four Silver Awards and a Gold Award for Best Gardening Catalog by Catalog Age magazine. The Salmans not only pioneered mail-order gardening, they also have given thousands of customers across the country sustainable, low-water landscapes that grow to be more beautiful every year.

Learn More About High Country Gardens: In The News

Ethan Platt, president of High Country Gardens and American Meadows, with Founder David SalmonEthan Platt, president of High Country Gardens and American Meadows, with Founder David Salmon
Ethan Platt, president of High Country Gardens and American Meadows, with David Salman, Founder and Chief Horticulturist of High Country Gardens.

In late 2012, the Salman family closed their retail garden centers and sold High Country Gardens to American Meadows, a company that shares their passion for high-quality plants and superior customer service.  With this partnership, the company has been able to expand capacity for e-commerce operations and greenhouse space. David Salman continues as Chief Horticulturist for High Country Gardens, a role in which he can focus on developing unique and award-winning plant varieties, which are introduced each year. 

High Country Gardens Plants

David Salman has spent years perfecting his growing methods for the wide variety of new and unusual garden-tested perennials, grasses, and shrubs for High Country Gardens customers. David continues to propagate High Country Gardens' exclusive plant selections in his Santa Fe greenhouses. Common varieties are grown by trusted western growing partners. Our custom-designed packaging ensures that your plants from High Country Gardens are fresh and ready to thrive in your garden. Learn More: How Our Plants Ship.

David Salman - High Country Gardens Founder

David Salman, Founder and Chief Horticulturist at High Country Gardens, has spent over 30 years in pursuit of better plants for eco-friendly landscapes. David is a distinguished recipient of the American Horticultural Society (AHS) 2008 Great American Gardeners Award. He is a recognized expert in the field of waterwise gardening and xeriscaping and a sought-after speaker on these subjects throughout the United States. 

Watch and learn with David Salman in our video series!

2010 marked High Country Gardens' first plant patent, Bouteloua gracilis 'Blonde Ambition' PPAF (Blonde Ambition Blue Grama Grass) was discovered and introduced by High Country Gardens' founder and chief horticulturist, David Salman and was the 2011 Plant Select® winner. 'Blonde Ambition' is native to 26 states and has performed exceptionally well across the country, particularly in hardiness zones 4-9.

Learn More: Meet Chief Horticulturist David Salman

David Salman - The Founder

David Salman, Founder and Chief Horticulturist at High Country Gardens, has spent over 26 years in pursuit of better plants for eco-friendly landscapes. He is a recognized expert in the field of waterwise gardening and xeriscaping and a sought-after speaker on these subjects throughout the United States.

David is a distinguished recipient of the American Horticultural Society (AHS) 2008 Great American Gardeners Award and writes the award-winning High Country Gardens catalog which has won four Silver Awards and a Gold Award for Best Gardening Catalog by Catalog Age magazine. He has written two in-house publications Waterwise Garden Care and Spectacular Seasons of Color, and has a series of planting and informational videos.

David contributes weekly to the High Country Gardens Gardening Blog as well as his personal blog The Xeric Gardener, and has written numerous articles for Fine GardeningAmerican Gardener and Horticulture magazines.

Take a look at David's beautiful award-winning plants. High Country Gardens has won 9 out of 9 consecutive awards for best new plant introduction from the Direct Gardening Association.

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