Tuesday, December 11, 2012
We'll Miss You, High Country Gardens
Sadly, I think I'll remember 2012 mostly for the closing of two of my favorite garden resources, Wind Dancer down in Salem...and now, as I found out last week, High Country Gardens, which is based in New Mexico.
I'm sure most of you have heard of HCG...and I certainly talked about them quite a bit over the past few years. Getting their catalogs (above) has always been a treat...filled with colorful photos and ravishing descriptions...they always made me salivate a bit! Sadly, due to drought, wildfires, and a slumping economy, HCG was forced to close its doors, ending 19 years of selling amazing plants.
HCG grew many different plants, but their focus was in xeric, or water-wise, plants. I first discovered them years ago, back when I lived in Nebraska. The idea of Xeric gardening was still pretty new to me back then...and browsing the HCG web site was the first time I had seen Xeric applied to anything other than Cacti & Yuccas...it was amazing!
Of course, that was about the same time I moved to Portland. For the first few years I lived in Portland, I was a renter...and never did much gardening, since I never knew where my next home would be. I had a few small gardens...but nothing terribly involved. For a time, I forgot about HCG...I lived in Portland, OR, after all...what did we need drought-tolerant plants for!
After you live here for a year or two, however, you realize that it's only rainy during winter. During summer, it doesn't rain...like, AT ALL. It's a little freaky when the rain stops like someone threw a switch. Unless you really want to spend the entire summer watering constantly, having a few plants that are at least a little drought-tolerant is pretty beneficial.
After we finally bought our first house, and I started planting the garden, bit-by-bit, I remembered all the online nursery websites I used to spend time on...but couldn't order from, as I didn't actually have a garden. I re-discovered HCG...and ordered a few plants that first year. It was my first time EVER ordering plants online...and you all know that feeling...the first time you open up the box and are stunned to find scrappy, spindly plants!
I planted them, however, and they grew rapidly and were beautiful, even in their first year. It was also the first Agastache I ever purchased ('Desert Sunrise'). I had been convinced to try them because of the glowing praise and great photos on the website. As you all know by now...I was HOOKED! After seeing how healthy and vigorous the plants were, I was now a loyal customer.
Over the past few years, I've ordered a few more plants from them each winter, to be delivered in the spring...and it was always exciting to get off my bus after work and see that familiar box, full of plants, ready to be unpacked. It's sad to think my order this spring was also my last.
So, I thank you, Dave Salman and all the crew there in Albuquerque...I know I'm not alone in saying, you'll be sorely missed.