Skip to main content

Our Garden in the NM Mountains

We've come a long way from the barren, post-construction wasteland of dirt we had a few years ago. Actually, it was even worse than it sounds. Dirt had to be hauled in and it was full of thorny weeds that spread everywhere.

We've (okay, just my husband and his tractor) worked hard and our yard looks better than it ever has. Sexy Nerd is a landscaping pro! You know, in addition to being a beer brewer, Corvette restorer, woodworker, grill master, mechanical engineer, and installer of tile, wallpaper murals, and little cuts of wood that I insist he glue to our ceiling (photo below). I think I'll keep him around.

Sandia Park, NM

Our Sandia Park, NM garden improves every year. I can't wait to see what everything looks like in 2023! Surprisingly, our plants have only had a minor impact on our water usage. Through supplementation with rain barrels, choosing native and drought-tolerant plants, and by locating plants so that they are out of the sun during the hottest parts of the day, our water bill actually has not increased from our pre-garden days.

Speaking of (writing of?) rain barrels, they're not quite as easy to maintain as we'd expected. A few kept developing small leaks and we weren't sure why...until we caught Olive and Bernadette nibbling on them. Unfortunately, dogs aren't the only ones who enjoy our rain barrels - one by our greenhouse keeps getting knocked over by a bear! Yogi wants a sip of water and I'm happy to provide it, but does he have to dump the entire 55 gallons of water down the hill, creating a flooded, muddy mess? He's smarter than the average bear and I'd prefer he simply swipe my pic-a-nic basket.

Come on in and take a virtual tour of our Sandia Park, NM garden:
Crow spitter
These are the only ravens I encourage. Sometimes I have to run outside, arms flailing, because several are circling over Biscuit! She just stands there in the sun, looking up and smiling at them.

New Mexico Blogger
Notice how you can see our backyard from our front yard? This drove our builder nuts. We were trying to stay within our budget but kept insisting on an elaborate floorplan with this impractical foyer as the centerpiece. He kept drawing us pictures of simple, square floorplans that we could afford and we would smile and nod, then stretch his sketch out in wild directions. John at Panorama Homes is a good sport.

Flowering cactus
We found flowering cactus on our property and relocated them to our front yard.

Cactus with yellow flowers
One of Sexy Nerd's nicknames is Cactus Derek. It suits him, as he thinks nothing of scooping up a small claret cup (with his bare hands!) while we're walking our 13 acres and slipping it into his pocket to plant in a more visible spot. He has also had success splitting his favorite cactus into additional plants.

Ketchup & Mustard rose
My favorite plant in our front yard is this Ketchup & Mustard floribunda rose. I enjoy the red and yellow flowers, though I think the thing I like best about it is the funny name.

Sun protection
I'd like to be able to tell you I was dolled up while photographing our yard for this blog post, like in the earlier photo with our yellow front doors. Sometimes though, it's sunny and you can't be bothered to apply sunscreen, so you just cover up with an enormous, fluffy purple scarf in the middle of June and hope your neighbors don't think you're crazy.

I mean, I am crazy, but they don't need to know that.

Porch decor
Here are those little cuts of wood Sexy Nerd glued to our ceiling. I should have moved the plastic watering can out of this shot, but I'm lazy. It's entirely possible I was overheating beneath my fluffy purple scarf.

Ceiling ideas
Here's a better photo of our foyer ceiling. So much for this being a gardening post! I think I'll put that light on a dimmer. Can you still see it when you look away from your screen? I need to add a warning to this blog post: Caution, May Burn Your Retinas.

Also, I just noticed the green dots at the top of the photo and don't know what they are. It seems we have a ghost.

Brick fire pit
Our backyard has the same yellow doors as our front yard. I mentioned previously that our garden is very waterwise, but forgot all about our lush, green lawn. That thing requires a TON of water. Living in the desert, it's shameful, really.

Artificial grass that looks real
Just kidding - it's fake grass.

Dog sisters
In addition to saving water, this is much easier to maintain when you have 3 dogs. Olive and Bernadette approve. (Biscuit disapproves, but she's a grouchy ol' chihuahua who hates everything.)

Sunny Knockout roses
Our "lawn" is lined with Sunny Knockout roses. They started as $6 sticks and have doubled in size each year. We had similar roses in the backyard of our old house and they grew to be 7 feet tall without any care at all. I hope these do the same.

Roses with a strong scent
We also have Cherry Parfait roses, which smell amazing. When choosing plants for our backyard, my requirement was that everything needed to have a strong, pleasant scent. It sounds romantic, stepping onto the back patio and smelling the roses before you even see them, but my motivation was about as unromantic as possible. It was to mask the dog stink. Thankfully, my plan worked.

Cherry Parfait roses
These rose bushes started as twigs 2 years ago and are now approaching the bottom of Sexy Nerd's office window. They're not the only things in our yard that have grown...

Dog then and now
Olive has gone from a purse puppy to a chonker! (Not garden-related, but I'm too proud of a dog mama to exclude her.)

Cute photos
She's in the garden, so this photo counts. Actually, she's a bit of a garden pest. Olive has discovered that Sunny Knockout roses and Cherry Parfait roses are tasty.

Arabesque tile
It's not great for our yard, but it's preferred to her trying to get into our outdoor kitchen. Here she is hoping to lick the inside of the pizza oven.

Let's see...dogs and bears so far. You know what's another garden pest out here in the East Mountains? It's probably not one you'd guess:
Landscaping and pets
Our landscaping has created a paradise for lizards and toads, which keeps these girls entertained. The lizards are too fast for them to catch and they don't bother the toads, which resemble big, jumping balls of mud. Actually, Bernadette sometimes gets excited and gives the toads kisses. I suppose if I was a toad and a dog ran up and licked me, it would bother me.

NM wildlife
Deer also enjoy our yard, despite there being tags on the plants that say 'Deer Resistant.' Deer can't read.

Purple salvia and chipmunks
There's usually a cute bunny, squirrel, or chipmunk to watch as we enjoy our coffee each morning. They're super considerate and only eat the weeds! Well, sometimes they'll finish with a flower for dessert, but they're too adorable to get mad at.
 
We watched a mouse nibbling outside our window once. It was just a teensie thing surrounded by a mass of colorful sedum and it was the cutest sight ever, almost like a cartoon. "What harm can that little mouse cause?" we asked, beaming at his big, pink ears and long, fuzzy tail. He looked so happy. The sedum died shortly after. Despite the plant spreading several feet out, our darling visitor had chewed right through the stem that connected the huge sedum to its roots.
Growing sage in New Mexico
We stuck a dry stick of sage outside our kitchen window. It spread and jumped to 6 feet tall in what seemed like days.
 
Best sunrise photo
Fortunately, the sage doesn't block our view of the sunrise.

How to attract hummingbirds
Our garden attracts many bees and hummingbirds. Sometimes they think our yellow doors are gigantic flowers and end up on the wrong side, like this fellow. Here are some excerpts from his adventure:

"Oh no! A hummingbird has flown into the house and now cannot find his way back outside. He's at the tall, non-opening windows above the kitchen cabinets and is chirping frantically and breaking my heart. How can I help him?"

"I've opened the 4 yellow doors wide and am trying to chase him back outside with a broom, which is difficult because he's way the heck up in the air and the broom isn't long enough to get near him. This is probably for the best because accidentally smacking him with a broom is the opposite of helping. He flies from chandelier to chandelier and when he's finally almost outside, he flies all the way back into the kitchen while I curse at him. We've done this several times."

"While trying to coax this hummingbird back outside, another flew in the house. Luckily it had enough common sense to fly back outside, unlike this stubborn ding dong."

"He couldn't find his way out, but when he was tired he started flying up for a few moments and then back down to rest. I had a box with a towel waiting for him on one of his landings and moved him outside. Olive is the nicest dog in the world - she went up to him on the living room window sill (I'd thought he was still at the high kitchen windows!) and gave him a sniff, then walked away."

Backyard bouquet
Landscaping experts recommend limiting your plant choices to a main color and an accent color and sticking to it. I prefer to buy whatever I think is pretty because I love color - the more, the merrier! They all combine to create a harmonious bouquet.

East Mountains
Our plan is to keep the rest of our property natural. Pinons and junipers are beautiful without help.

Well, maybe not the pollen-spewing junipers. Ah-choo!

Double rainbow

Enjoy this post? Here are more articles about our home in the beautiful New Mexico mountains: kittydeschanel.com/2019/07/decorating-ideas-blog.html

Popular posts from this blog

Cake Mix Pancakes

This reader-favorite recipe is *almost* as popular as my Cake Mix Cookie Bars recipe .  When making Cake Mix pancakes , the scrumptious possibilities are endless. Red Velvet cake mix pancakes. Chocolate cake mix pancakes. Butter Pecan cake mix pancakes. Funfetti cake mix pancakes. (Yes, Funfetti cake mix pancakes!) With this 2-ingredient recipe, you can turn your favorite cake mix into your favorite pancakes. Pancake making at its finest. Cake Mix Pancakes Personally, I think my funny napkin is the icing on the (pan)cake. It's Sunday morning and you're planning to do all the things today - scrub those grody baseboards, polish your quartz countertop that was supposed to be low maintenance but actually isn't at all, sort through the disaster that is the freezer.  While on your superhuman kick, you think I'm going to make my family pancakes for breakfast. Not just any pancakes - the best pancakes ever. I may even serve them as breakfast in bed! You pu

How to Move a Mattress

My site is popular for reviewing memory foam mattresses. With today's bed-in-a-box options lasting much longer than the traditional 7 years of a spring mattress, there's a good chance you'll eventually need to move one. But how? This is  how to move a mattress  without damaging it - even by yourself!  When we were faced with the challenge of moving our beloved Amerisleep AS3  to our new home, it seemed like my readers would enjoy the details. This handy tip should work for any memory foam bed, including Casper, Leesa, and Nectar.  I'm happy to report there is an extremely simple way to do it. Apartment and dorm dwellers rejoice! How to Move a Mattress At first, I wasn't sure how to move our king-size mattress down a flight of stairs. It's a problem we've dreaded solving ever since we made the decision to build a new house.  The answer? It was right in the back of our truck.  Ratchet straps . This solution could also serve as a 'How To' for returning

Chemical Peel Before & After

This article has been updated! My new chemical peel post, which includes pricing, Jessner peel before and after photos, product recommendations, and a helpful timeline for scheduling your treatments, is at the bottom. My original Jessner peel post (one of the most popular on my site of all time) is at the beginning. Original Chemical Peel Article Considering a chemical peel? I recently underwent my first Jessner peel and thought I'd share my results, post a Jessner peel review, and answer some frequently asked chemical peel questions. (I'm guessing that "Does a chemical peel hurt?" is a biggie!) I'd been planning to order an over-the-counter peel when we were in Iceland , but my computer led me a different direction. I decided to do this on a whim after Groupon greeted me one morning with a great $40 chemical peel deal. Now, I can read your mind. You just gasped in horror and thought  You trusted your face to a  discount  chemical peel?!  You're wondering w

Hello Fresh Complaints

Hello, my bloggy friends. I have a HelloFresh complaint and believe they are pulling a scam. Yours truly came *this close* to falling for it.  Maybe scam is too harsh of a word. Sneaky? You can decide for yourself. The fact that there are so many Hello Fresh complaints online does seem suspicious. My main complaint about Hello Fresh has to do with their promotional rate, which seems like it is set up to be intentionally misleading (more on this below). Despite so many people complaining about being charged more than they thought they'd agreed to, Hello Fresh maintains this as part of their business model and continues to mislead. So it's intentional, right? I do not recommend Hello Fresh. For starters, the service is just ingredients-by-mail with recipes, not meals. You can buy your own ingredients for much less, especially now that most grocery stores conveniently offer pickup and delivery. Excellent recipes are easy to find.  Click here for a list of top-rated, reader-favorit

Window Seat Idea - Dream Home Inspiration of the Day

See it? Waaay at the back of the photo?  I like how the window seat extends past the window all the way to the wall. How about you? If that's not your style, how about one of these lovely window seats? I'll seat you, my pretty, and your little dog too. How perfect would this be in a home office? I'd swap out that wimpy rug with a larger one.

3 Minute Toaster/Convection Oven Smores

These are perfect when you're craving a quick, sugary treat. They work equally well in a toaster oven and a convection oven. Best of all, compared to eating an entire bag of Oreos (something I have never  done), they're quite healthy. What's that, you say? You already know how to make s'mores in the toaster oven? Well then, sit back and enjoy the ooey-gooey marshmallowy photos. (And if you're someone who works with me, please keep the "I've seen her polish off an entire bag of Oreo cookies" nonsense to yourself.)  Step 1: Put desired amount of graham crackers on a toaster oven/convection oven-safe pan.   Looks like it's time to clean this pan, Sexy Nerd Optional 1st step, which is Sexy Nerd's favorite: Spread peanut butter on each graham cracker (I'm not much of a peanut butter fan - WHAT?!? - so I skip this step.) Cover with yummy marshmallows. Top with chocolate chips. Place in the toaster o

10 Canned Cinnamon Roll Hacks

You're in for a treat. Today I'm sharing my best canned cinnamon roll hacks and improvements for turning store-bought cinnamon rolls, like the Pillsbury Grands ones or even the store brand, into something special.  Dry cinnamon rolls? No thank you. They need to be OOEY and GOOEY. That's just Cinnamon Roll 101. All of these ideas keep Pillsbury canned cinnamon rolls soft, company-worthy, and delicious. These are also great for taking homemade cinnamon rolls up a notch, but what a pain that is. With these better-than-homemade canned cinnamon roll hacks, you'll never bother to bake them from scratch again. Test out some of these ideas tomorrow. Won't it be nice to dig into a mouthwatering cinnamon roll for breakfast? You can't get a better start to your day than that. Canned Cinnamon Roll Hacks Actually, make that 11 easy ways to improve store-bought cinnamon rolls: you can top them with homemade coffee whipped cream . Yum! Nope, make that 12 canned cinnam

Anonymous Flower Delivery

Anonymous Flower Delivery Sexy Nerd and I came home from a day of running errands on Saturday to discover an odd message on my phone. It was a girl from a flower shop calling to confirm my address for a delivery.  I called and said there must be a mistake, as I wasn't expecting any flowers, to which she pointed out that people don't usually expect flowers. Oh, of course.  As nice as it would be to have someone send me flowers, it seemed unlikely. Sure enough, she was unable to find any orders for me when I gave my name. She did have a Danielle though, and asked if there might be a different last name. I told her my maiden name. There really were flowers waiting for me!  She confirmed the delivery address - the rental house Sexy Nerd and I lived in 3 years ago. I updated my address and ended the call, anxiously waiting to see who would send me flowers. Who sent me flowers from FTD? My mysterious stalker has beautiful taste! Strange? I had no idea how str

Baby Taped to Wall (But Why?!)

I could totally see Sexy Nerd doing this if we had a baby. Honestly though, I would probably be cheering him on. Also, I've read online that some folks are outraged by this photo, thinking the baby is being abused. To me though, the baby looks well supported, as if it is in a bouncy chair, and none of the duct tape is touching bare skin. I honestly think this was just intended to be a funny photo. It's not like the parents taped their baby to the wall so they could go out drinking and partying in a cocaine-fueled hysteria. I doubt anyone on cocaine could even achieve this. This photo is from 2010, maybe earlier. Wouldn't it be great to interview this older child one day? It's time to get on that, People Magazine. The internet wants to know what happened to the duct tape baby! Baby Taped to Wall Poor ducky. Enjoy this post? Please be sure to check out my  Amerisleep Mattress Reviews  page as well, which is my most popular blog post of all time.

Dental Memes

As the manager of two successful dental offices, my favorite memes are ones I can share with my dentistry dream team.  Happy Team = Living the Dream! You don't have to work in dentistry to enjoy these. After all, everyone is a dental patient. You have visited the dentist within at least the year...right? (No guilt if you haven't! I've scheduled patients who haven't seen a dentist since the 1970s. Dentists, dental assistants, dental hygienists, and dental administrators have seen it all. We love this field because we love helping our patients. It's never too late to get back on track!) Funny Memes for Dentists Reminder: National Dentist's Appreciation Day is March 6th! Funny Memes for Dental Hygienists Reminder: National Dental Hygienist Appreciation Week is always the 2nd week of April! Funny Memes for Dental Assistants Reminder: National Dental Assistant Appreciation Week is always the 2nd week of March! Funny Memes for Dental Office Administrators Reminder: Ad