Sensory delights

This New Mexico garden invites visitors to listen, look, and smell the air
Sharon Cohoon

Sound is one of the sensory elements found in any well-designed garden. In Richard and Beverly Armstrong's courtyard garden in rural Santa Fe County, New Mexico, falling water makes a cheerfully soothing sound as it spills from a bamboo pipe into a hand-carved granite basin. This small recirculating fountain also provides a fresh water source for birds, especially hummingbirds, which play in it.

Color is another essential ingredient, and the Armstrongs' garden holds an eye-pleasing palette of plants. Blooming along the pathway are yellow-flowered sedums and reddish orange pineleaf penstemon (P. pinifolius). Behind the water feature are yellow 'Moonshine' yarrow, deep violet English lavender, and gold-banded porcupine grass (Miscanthus sinensis 'Strictus'). Beyond it, the light pink flower spikes of Penstemon palmeri add yet another sensory treat: sweet fragrance that has been compared to clover and honey.

INFO: Granite basin is available from Stone Forest (888/682-2987).