by David Salman

Waterwise-Garden-Mary-Ray-CO-blog
Planting a waterwise garden, such as this one in a customer's front yard in Colorado, can help keep the garden alive in areas prone to long periods of drought. Click here to read about how Mary transformed her yard from scratch.

To date, the Santa Fe area has had about 3-4" of total precipitation (rain and snow) since this past January--a very dry year! We usually average about 12" annually. Well, after this last week with daytime highs in the upper 90's, our gardens were wilting and the native grass prairie all around us was going brown (dormant) from drought.

New Mexico gets about 60% of its annual precipitation from the July and August "monsoons." Moisture is pulled up from the Gulf of Mexico or the Pacific Ocean around the Baja when low pressure stations itself across Arizona, New Mexico, or Texas. This moist air is heated by warm daytime temperatures and forms huge thunderclouds that provide brief but torrential summer rains.

Tonight, the skies darkened, and we got our first hard rain since early June, just over two inches here at my house! One storm has provided my landscape with the equivalent of 50% of the year's moisture to date. Yes, it's feast or famine in the Southwest when it comes to water from the sky.

I have a passive water harvesting system in my front yard, which efficiently moved the water off the roof of the house into some stone covered catchment basins. From there, the water moves under ground system through perforated 4" plastic pipes buried in trenches filled with absorbent red lava gravel. The soil is eagerly soaking up the water, which is nearly 1400 gallons from just one rain! I can practically see the plants, whose roots are reaching down into the newly moistened soil, "smiling" with the renewed moisture.

© All articles are copyrighted by High Country Gardens. Republishing an entire High Country Gardens blog post or article is prohibited without permission. Please feel free to share a short excerpt with a link back to the article on social media websites, such as Facebook and Pinterest.

  1. Orange and Yellow Kniphofia uvaria Pfitzer Hybrid Mix, Kniphofia uvaria Pfitzer Hybrid Mix, Red Hot Poker

    Pfitzer's Hybrid Mix' is an outstanding selection of Red Hot Poker with showy spikes of tubular orange and yellow flowers. Native to South Africa, this durable wildflower is highly a...

    Learn More
    Kniphofia uvaria Pfitzer Hybrid Mix Pfitzer Red Hot Poker Kniphofia uvaria Pfitzer Hybrid Mix
    $10.99
    Per Plant - 5" Pot
    Pfitzer's Hybrid Mix' is an outstanding selection of Red Hot Poker with showy spikes of tubular orange and yellow flowers. Native to South Africa, this durable wildflower is highly attractive to hummingbirds. Drought resistant/drought tolerant plant (xeric).
    Learn More
  2. Pink Teucrium aroanium, Teucrium aroanium, Gray Creeping Germander

    2-3" tall x 18-24" wide. Gray creeping germander blooms with fragrant honey scented pink flowers in summer that are held over equally fragrant thin linear gray leaves . The plant is...

    Learn More
    Teucrium aroanium Gray Creeping Germander Teucrium aroanium
    $8.99
    Per Plant - 2.5" Pot
    2-3" tall x 18-24" wide. Gray creeping germander blooms with fragrant honey scented pink flowers in summer that are held over equally fragrant thin linear gray leaves . The plant is an excellent small scale groundcover for hot, sunny sites in well drained soil. Drought resistant/drought tolerant plant (xeric).
    Learn More