Summer suites in Taos

Plants and furnishings define spaces for meditating, entertaining, and relaxing

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  • A cobblestone path leads to the Japanese pavilion, which is shaded by clematis and grapevines.

    Summer suites in Taos

    Charles Mann

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In the belvedere, essentially a summer terrace of the kind traditionally seen in Europe, Blevins serves drinks and hors d'oeuvres to guests before they adjourn to a nearby dining area. Framed by adobe planters, the belvedere is adorned with glazed and terra-cotta pots and furnished with a few benches and tables. An archway frames a pair of rustic wood doors Blevins found in Santa Fe. On one side of the arch, two deciduous vines (fiveleaf akebia and porcelain berry) drape over the wall above a Turkish tile mural and a small fountain. On the other side of the arch, a weeping Atlas cedar forms a twisty living sculpture.

Winding through drifts of California poppies, a path of concrete cobblestones leads to the Japanese pavilion, where a 5-foot-wide wood swing seat is suspended from the roof. "It's the most restful part of the garden. When I swing, it's like being on vacation," says Blevins. Built of rough-sawn timbers, the pavilion is entwined by clematis and grapevines and flanked by black locust, espaliered dwarf peach trees, and redbud.

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