Skip to Content

Our Story

Our backyards used to be rolling prairies

They used to be aspen groves and horizonless deserts. Picture the soaring peaks, the expansive plains, and the rocky coastal bluffs - there is no place in the world quite as captivating as the American West. But millions of people now call this incredible landscape ‘home,’ and with each passing year, the wild beauty of the West disappears under the bulldozer’s blade.

Rapid development is at odds with a sustainable tomorrow 

As we populate the landscapes that enchanted us in the first place, we forever alter the balance of nature. Every new house, road, and parking lot strains the stability of healthy ecosystems and diminishes our natural resources, as does the increasingly challenging effects of climate disruption. Wells are dug deeper to compensate for drying rivers. Migration paths are altered to bypass developed rest stops. Plant, animal, and insect species are disappearing along with lost habitat.

When our founder, David Salman, was a boy growing up in the Southwest, the mountains and arroyos were his playground. He had a passion for insects and developed a keen interest in identifying the native plants required to feed his collection. As he grew, David witnessed firsthand how relentless growth challenged the delicate balance between progress and preservation – whether it was disappearing native plants from which he once collected seeds, gardens and nurseries with declining biodiversity, or imported landscapes misaligned with the unique needs of the West. David recognized the challenge and set out on a mission to make a difference.

Our gardens must be more than just beautiful 

David understood that to co-exist with the land and wildlife, we needed to adapt our gardening practices, and to see plants for not only their beauty, but also their ability to preserve the environment. Fortified with a degree in horticulture, a shovel, a greenhouse, and a spirit of adventure, David got to work building what would become his legacy. He explored mountains, plains, forests, and canyons in search of plants that thrive in the challenging conditions of the West. Soon, gardeners were flocking to Santa Fe to discover High Country Gardens – a place of expert advice, passionate community, and a palette of plants that were beautiful, resilient, sustainable, and suited for the extreme conditions from which they evolved.

Together we can make a difference, one garden at a time 

Decades later, our mission at High Country Gardens is as important as ever: doing good through sustainable gardening. We continue to offer a diverse and ever-expanding selection of plants for the unique challenges of Western gardens – and for people across the country who believe that their garden can be more than just beautiful. We continue to provide gardeners with the inspiration and advice needed to make a difference, right in their backyard. At High Country Gardens, we know that together with our passionate customers, we can each play a vital role in helping to solve environmental challenges today, while planting the seeds for a better tomorrow.

Sustainability Begins In Your Backyard 

The Legacy of David Salman | High Country Gardens founder David Salman was a pioneer of waterwise gardening, a passionate plant explorer, and a charismatic storyteller. His commitment to cultivating a palette of beautiful waterwise plants transformed gardening in the American West. 

Explore More High Country Gardens Resources

A waterwise native garden in New Mexico

Visit Our Learning Center: Sustainability Begins In Your Backyard

David Salman, High Country Gardens Founder

In Memoriam | David Salman, Pioneer of Xeriscaping

A waterwise perennial garden with kniphofia, echinacea, nepeta, coreopsis, columbine, and more in Texas

Outstanding Customer Landscapes