September 09, 2022

Landscape architect James David and Gary Peese departed Austin about 5 years ago, leaving behind a 36-year-old, swoon-worthy garden that regularly starred on Open Days Tours and was covered by Martha Stewart, Architectural Digest, and, ahem, yours truly (click for my final visit). Looking for cooler weather, a smaller garden, and new adventures, the couple headed west to Santa Fe, New Mexico, buying a fixer-upper adobe home and then expanding onto the lot next door as soon as it became available, to preserve their views.

While vacationing in Santa Fe last week, I reached out to James, who generously invited me and my husband to visit his new garden on a sunny mid-morning. Knowing what a foliage-focused plantsman James is, paired with Gary’s enthusiasm for growing fruits, vegetables, and flowers, I expected their garden to be lush by New Mexico standards. And it is. Narrow conifers and other trees strategically positioned for privacy point toward Santa Fe’s famously blue skies, with grasses, perennials, and curated clusters of potted plants thriving below.

Let’s start at the gravel driveway, which sits below the house (right) and guest-house casita (center). An angular wall and stairs wrapped with plants lead up to house level.

Along the driveway, a large gravelly berm with rounded boulders is James and Gary’s latest garden — a crevice/rock garden designed by crevice garden guru Kenton Seth two years ago, with bulbs, iris, and flowering Mojave sage (Salvia pachyphylla).

Here’s James pulling seedlings that came from a neighboring nemesis tree (I forget which one). We all have a nemesis plant, don’t we?

And here’s Betty, Gary and James’s beloved labradoodle, who accompanied us throughout the garden visit.

Mojave sage

James led us up the stairs to the casita and gave us a look inside. If you know James and Gary’s style, you know how exquisite it is: warm contemporary style with clean lines and simple, honest materials like steel and wood. Their house and casita are actually featured in the recent book Santa Fe Modern by Helen Thompson (another Austin expat in Santa Fe), which I highly recommend if you like architecture and design.

Morning glory climbing a steel-mesh railing

Behind the casita James lets loose with a mass of plants, including a surprising number of trees, which serves to visually expand the space and make the main house seem farther away. They also provide privacy from the road below.

Everything looks great against a colored wall, including the maroon flowers and blue-green stems of an ornamental grass.

More blue-greens appear in upright Colorado junipers and in the fruits of a Stanley plum at left.

Pink Japanese anemones grow closer to the house, reminding me of Jenny Stocker’s former garden in Austin.

A bumblebee at work on one flower

James had an impressive collection of potted plants at his old garden, and he does here too. Beautiful terracotta pots from Italy mix with rough stone troughs and modern concrete or steel, many filled with succulents and alpines. Notice too that pretty paver path in mauve and purple hues.

Entering the back garden, I felt at home seeing their coyote fence, which are as common in Santa Fe as they are here in Austin. A coyote fence is made of straight posts of juniper/cedar with shaggy bark left on, wired together palisade-style. An almost monumental steel-beam arbor spans the length of the space, and James and Gary are training an apple tree and roses to grow along it. Vegetables and herbs grow in a raised bed along the fence.

Ripening red apples harmonize with the rusty steel beam.

I saw such a bounty of fruit trees throughout Santa Fe in late August.

Red roses reaching for the light

The steel arbor wraps around the patio, where a long mahogany table and burnt-orange chairs offer a place for outdoor dining…

…conveniently located near the door to the kitchen.

Gary wanted to show me something — a reminder of Austin and its revered BBQ master Aaron Franklin.

Yep, they have a Franklin BBQ smoker — bringing Austin BBQ to Santa Fe.

The garden continues wrapping around the house, and I admired pink roses…

…golden brugmansia…

…and nearly black tomatoes on the vine.

Gary plucked one and offered a taste.

Gary is nuts about his tomatoes and his dahlias, and he’s crammed in as many as he can. I’m dahlia-crazed myself, so I got hung up here taking pics of ‘Chocolate Sundae’ dahlia and others as James bided his time, occasionally trying to move us along to plants he is crazy about.

But I mean, these are so good, especially as they harmonize with the brugmansia in the background.

More!

OK, last one, I promise. (But if you need a dahlia fix, visit my post from last fall at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens.)

A couple of James’s favorites, displayed with elegant restraint on glazed blocks along the path.

Under a long, skinny shade pergola, James displays dozens more of his potted plants.

They live here in the warm months…

…and in late fall move into the greenhouse.

The doorway view reveals more pots and plants atop a low gabion wall.

Inside the greenhouse, Gary is hanging tomatoes to finish ripening out of reach of fruit-stealing critters.

A blue spruce contrasts with sunny yellow flowers.

Black cohosh, I think

A rectangular formal lawn is a familiar element to those who knew James and Gary’s Austin garden. This small lawn is a place to rest the eye amid the densely planted garden, plus it can double as an outdoor entertaining space.

Sweet peas (in late August!) clamber over a rustic fence.

A starkly modern wall of stacked cinderblocks, with one narrow window offering a peek inside, hides the greenhouse from view as it runs the length of the lawn. James notes that “the wall faces north, so it helps to keep the cold weather out of the greenhouse. The west side is open to the sun.”

Stone trough planters, some sunk into the ground, hold James’s cacti in a gravel garden with sempervivum and other alpine plants.

And another sunken-planter-and-stone vignette, this one less desert-like.

A flagstone path with maroon and purplish rocks echoes the more formal pavers of the dining patio.

Heading back uphill we came to an elevated, steel-framed koi pond, with a trickling trough balanced at one end on wooden poles.

The koi were eager to be fed, and Gary obliged.

A closer look at the suspended stone trough, which James installed to reduce the loss of water due to splash.

More of James’s beautiful pots, with Gary’s dahlias above

A young tree is being trained to arch over the path in a charming touch.

Another look at James’s potted collection under the pergola

And here’s that sweet girl and garden companion Betty.

Framing a door, terracotta pots with trailing creeping Jenny are spotlit by the clear New Mexico light.

James invited us to see the interior of their home, which is gorgeous with handmade furniture, lovely art, and an incredible steel “origami” staircase (see Santa Fe Modern for pics). A balcony yields a bird’s-eye view of the back garden, including the shade pergola, greenhouse, dahlias, and formal lawn.

I believe this upper deck is off the primary bedroom. Check out those mint-green mesh chairs. I wish I’d tried one out.

A view of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in the distance

A mesh screen offers a windowed view of the front garden.

James and Gary couldn’t be more generous about sharing their homes and gardens, and I’m so happy to have had the chance to see them again, meet Betty, and tour their Santa Fe digs. Thanks, James and Gary!

Up next: The doors, architecture, gardens, and art along Santa Fe’s Canyon Road.

I welcome your comments. Please scroll to the end of this post to leave one. If you’re reading in an email, click here to visit Digging and find the comment box at the end of each post. And hey, did someone forward this email to you, and you want to subscribe? Click here to get Digging delivered directly to your inbox!

__________________________

Digging Deeper

Come learn about garden design from the experts at Garden Spark! I organize in-person talks by inspiring designers, landscape architects, and authors a few times a year in Austin. These are limited-attendance events that sell out quickly, so join the Garden Spark email list to be notified in advance. Simply click this link and ask to be added. You can find this year’s speaker lineup here.

All material (C) 2022 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

The post James David and Gary Peese’s new garden in New Mexico appeared first on Digging.

James David and Gary Peese relocated from Austin to Santa Fe 5 years ago. Here’s a tour of their new garden in the high desert…. Read More
The post James David and Gary Peese’s new garden in New Mexico appeared first on Digging.Read MoreDigging

September 09, 2022

Landscape architect James David and Gary Peese departed Austin about 5 years ago, leaving behind a 36-year-old, swoon-worthy garden that regularly starred on Open Days Tours and was covered by Martha Stewart, Architectural Digest, and, ahem, yours truly (click for my final visit). Looking for cooler weather, a smaller garden, and new adventures, the couple headed west to Santa Fe, New Mexico, buying a fixer-upper adobe home and then expanding onto the lot next door as soon as it became available, to preserve their views.

While vacationing in Santa Fe last week, I reached out to James, who generously invited me and my husband to visit his new garden on a sunny mid-morning. Knowing what a foliage-focused plantsman James is, paired with Gary’s enthusiasm for growing fruits, vegetables, and flowers, I expected their garden to be lush by high-desert standards. And it is. Narrow conifers and other trees strategically positioned for privacy point toward Santa Fe’s famously blue skies, with grasses, perennials, and curated clusters of potted plants thriving below.

Let’s start at the gravel driveway, which sits below the house (right) and guest-house casita (center). An angular wall and stairs wrapped with plants lead up to house level.

Along the driveway, a large gravelly berm with rounded boulders is James and Gary’s latest garden — a crevice/rock garden designed by crevice garden guru Kenton Seth two years ago, with bulbs, iris, and flowering Mojave sage (Salvia pachyphylla).

Here’s James pulling seedlings that came from a neighboring nemesis tree (I forget which one). We all have a nemesis plant, don’t we?

And here’s Betty, Gary and James’s beloved labradoodle, who accompanied us throughout the garden visit.

Mojave sage

James led us up the stairs to the casita and gave us a look inside. If you know James and Gary’s style, you know how exquisite it is: warm contemporary style with clean lines and simple, honest materials like steel and wood. Their house and casita are actually featured in the recent book Santa Fe Modern by Helen Thompson (another Austin expat in Santa Fe), which I highly recommend if you like architecture and design.

Morning glory climbing a steel-mesh railing

Behind the casita James lets loose with a mass of plants, including a surprising number of trees, which serves to visually expand the space and make the main house seem farther away. They also provide privacy from the road below.

Everything looks great against a colored wall, including the maroon flowers and blue-green stems of an ornamental grass.

More blue-greens appear in upright Colorado junipers and in the fruits of a Stanley plum at left.

Pink Japanese anemones grow closer to the house, reminding me of Jenny Stocker’s former garden in Austin.

A bumblebee at work on one flower

James had an impressive collection of potted plants at his old garden, and he does here too. Beautiful terracotta pots from Italy mix with rough stone troughs and modern concrete or steel, many filled with succulents and alpines. Notice too that pretty paver path in mauve and purple hues.

Entering the back garden, I felt at home seeing their coyote fence, which are as common in Santa Fe as they are here in Austin. A coyote fence is made of straight posts of juniper/cedar with shaggy bark left on, wired together palisade-style. An almost monumental steel-beam arbor spans the length of the space, and James and Gary are training an apple tree and roses to grow along it. Vegetables and herbs grow in a raised bed along the fence.

Ripening red apples harmonize with the rusty steel beam.

I saw such a bounty of fruit trees throughout Santa Fe in late August.

Red roses reaching for the light

The steel arbor wraps around the patio, where a long mahogany table and burnt-orange chairs offer a place for outdoor dining…

…conveniently located near the door to the kitchen.

Gary wanted to show me something — a reminder of Austin and its revered BBQ master Aaron Franklin.

Yep, they have a Franklin BBQ smoker — bringing Austin BBQ to Santa Fe.

The garden continues wrapping around the house, and I admired pink roses…

…golden brugmansia…

…and nearly black tomatoes on the vine.

Gary plucked one and offered a taste.

Gary is nuts about his tomatoes and his dahlias, and he’s crammed in as many as he can. I’m dahlia-crazed myself, so I got hung up here taking pics of ‘Chocolate Sundae’ dahlia and others as James bided his time, occasionally trying to move us along to plants he is crazy about.

But I mean, these are so good, especially as they harmonize with the brugmansia in the background.

More!

OK, last one, I promise. (But if you need a dahlia fix, visit my post from last fall at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens.)

A couple of James’s favorites, displayed with elegant restraint on glazed blocks along the path.

Under a long, skinny shade pergola, James displays dozens more of his potted plants.

They live here in the warm months…

…and in late fall move into the greenhouse.

The doorway view reveals more pots and plants atop a low gabion wall.

Inside the greenhouse, Gary is hanging tomatoes to finish ripening out of reach of fruit-stealing critters.

A blue spruce contrasts with sunny yellow flowers.

Black cohosh, I think

A rectangular formal lawn is a familiar element to those who knew James and Gary’s Austin garden. This small lawn is a place to rest the eye amid the densely planted garden, plus it can double as an outdoor entertaining space.

Sweet peas (in late August!) clamber over a rustic fence.

A starkly modern wall of stacked cinderblocks, with one narrow window offering a peek inside, hides the greenhouse from view as it runs the length of the lawn. James notes that “the wall faces north, so it helps to keep the cold weather out of the greenhouse. The west side is open to the sun.”

Stone trough planters, some sunk into the ground, hold James’s cacti in a gravel garden with sempervivum and other alpine plants.

And another sunken-planter-and-stone vignette, this one less desert-like.

A flagstone path with maroon and purplish rocks echoes the more formal pavers of the dining patio.

Heading back uphill we came to an elevated, steel-framed koi pond, with a trickling trough balanced at one end on wooden poles.

The koi were eager to be fed, and Gary obliged.

A closer look at the suspended stone trough, which James installed to reduce the loss of water due to splash.

More of James’s beautiful pots, with Gary’s dahlias above

A young tree is being trained to arch over the path in a charming touch.

Another look at James’s potted collection under the pergola

And here’s that sweet girl and garden companion Betty.

Framing a door, terracotta pots with trailing creeping Jenny are spotlit by the clear New Mexico light.

James invited us to see the interior of their home, which is gorgeous with handmade furniture, lovely art, and an incredible steel “origami” staircase (see Santa Fe Modern for pics). A balcony yields a bird’s-eye view of the back garden, including the shade pergola, greenhouse, dahlias, and formal lawn.

I believe this upper deck is off the primary bedroom. Check out those mint-green mesh chairs. I wish I’d tried one out.

A view of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in the distance

A mesh screen offers a windowed view of the front garden.

James and Gary couldn’t be more generous about sharing their homes and gardens, and I’m so happy to have had the chance to see them again, meet Betty, and tour their Santa Fe digs. Thanks, James and Gary!

Up next: The doors, architecture, gardens, and art along Santa Fe’s Canyon Road.

I welcome your comments. Please scroll to the end of this post to leave one. If you’re reading in an email, click here to visit Digging and find the comment box at the end of each post. And hey, did someone forward this email to you, and you want to subscribe? Click here to get Digging delivered directly to your inbox!

__________________________

Digging Deeper

Come learn about garden design from the experts at Garden Spark! I organize in-person talks by inspiring designers, landscape architects, and authors a few times a year in Austin. These are limited-attendance events that sell out quickly, so join the Garden Spark email list to be notified in advance. Simply click this link and ask to be added. You can find this year’s speaker lineup here.

All material (C) 2022 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

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