It's freezing out there!
In the teens and near zero temperatures (Farenheit of course) predicted for the next few days. I have to admit, the dusting of powdery snow is gorgeous. But as I sift through my digital images preparing some talks for the coming weeks, I bask in the high summer glory of my Quince garden, and especially the wide swaths of perennials that thrive in the unwatered gardens. I treasure the woodlanders (that can be a challenge to grow well here), and dote on high alpine treasures in the rock garden, but the xeriscapes with their accommodating mats and mounds and stunning display rate higher and higher in my estimation. This distant cousin to the perennial border is really a novel form of garden art practically invented in the Denver area: the use of plants from steppe climates in naturalistic drifts has been imitated elsewhere (the Gravel Garden, by Beth Chatto for instance): but in wet climates, trees and shrubs would invade eventually. The steppe climate is really meant for us. And hovering in the back of my mind is the notion that perhaps one can assemble the perfect assortment of plants so that a garden like this could really become low maintenance, and almost an ecological equilibrium--needing no supplemental water and little care from me over time.
I better come clean and say that this is definitely an illusion: this garden takes LOTS of time and attention right now...but the day will come, just wait and see!