TAOS—The Los Jardineros Garden Club of Taos is showcasing four stunning homes to the public, all of which are energy efficient and surrounded by low water landscaping, during their 2013 Garden and Home Tour 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 3.
The properties run the length of Taos, each demonstrating that concern with the environment and sustainable land use can go hand in glove with landscaping beauty.
One of the houses, designed by owner Alan Powell, is Taos’s only Platinum Leader in Energy and Environmental Design. The 2,500 square-foot home meets LEED’s stringent specifications: all wood from certified forests, thermal breaks in the walls, solar heating, triple glazed windows, and a heat recovery and ventilation system, among other eco-friendly features. Inside, glowing bamboo cabinetry and Alaskan yellow cedar doors and window trim enhance the space with floor-to-ceiling windows that open to a field of grass outside. Drought tolerant plants dot the acre of irrigated grass.
At the other end of Taos is the tour’s handsome pueblo-style house, built in 2003 and sited to take advantage of the splendid views from the Weimer Foothills. Southwest art and Navajo artifacts adorn the salmon-colored, diamond-finished walls of the living area which also features two kivas. An adobe wall wraps around the house and shelters an array of wild flowers. An arroyo furrows the land behind the house from which a stone foundation wall rises to support a terrace of crushed stone, rock benches, and assorted trees. Like all the houses on the tour, this one is energy efficient with radiant heating, open-window cooling, and drip irrigation.
The third house on the tour is also the product of an owner-builder, Sandy Schwartz, who oversaw a major remodel of his 1985 pueblo style house in 2001. Its unique charm lies in its curving walls inside and out – the ones inside glowing from beeswax rubs. The floor plan is open and has many stone containers and artwork like the Reto Mesmer murals placed throughout the house. Sustainability makes it possible for a variety of designs, ranging from a naturalized meadow, stands of old and young trees, an old-fashioned perennial border, and an interior courtyard featuring a fountain and waterway. Roof water catchment pours into a 5,000 gallon underground water storage unit for irritation as well as a thermal solar hot water collection system for domestic use and space heating. A photovoltaic gird-tie system supplies the property’s electricity.
Those on the tour will also get to see a contemporary adobe two-bedroom house nestled in a rare urban setting. Reached by a downward sloping path, this lovely home opens up on a living area whose walls embrace an attractive portal. Multi-shaded sandstone surfaces, Douglas fir lintels, and Engelmann spruce vigas highlight the interior which offers pleasant views from every window. Designed by architect Bill Hoffman, the house exudes an appealing softness. Aided by arborist Paul Bryant Jones and landscaper Angelika Heikaus, the owners have invested heavily in building a soil structure to sustain their extensive plantings, including the addition of Humates, organic soybean fertilizer, a truckload of compost, and Rutopia, a blend of beneficial bacteria. In its second growth year, the tiered, .75 acre site belies its city location as the old orchard does its 2011 construction date.
There are two preferred restaurants for tour-goers this year including Sabroso where Jimmy Stadler, Taos’ versatile musician, will play during the lunch period from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Lambert’s on Bent Street, serving lunch 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Six Taos artists will be painting in the gardens of the tour houses: Michelle Chrisman, Barbara Bartels, Pat Woodall, Lorraine Alexander, Ken Daggett and Cami Thompson who designed this year’s lovely garden tour poster.
Tickets can be purchased in advance from Alpine Gardens and Gifts in Angel Fire, Buds Cut Flowers and More, The Enchanted Florist, Petree’s Nursery and Greenhouses, Red Cat Melissiana, Rio Grande Ace Lawn and Garden (North and South), and The Candy Crate in Red River for $20 and on the day of tour for $25 at any venue or at will call tickets at the Enos Garcia parking lot, 305 San Fernando St. Single venue tickets will be available on tour day at any of the venues for $10. They are not available through the ticket vendors. Tickets are also available via online mail order at gardencluboftaos.org/
Sponsors of the event include Albertsons, The Enchanted Florist, 5 Star Burgers, Giant Plumbing, Lily’s in the Garden of San José, Loveless Stone & Tile, Petree’s Nursery & Greenhouses, Plants of the Southwest, Red Cat Melissiana, Rio Grande ACE Hardware & Garden Center, Wayne Rutherford, General Contractor, Sabroso Restaurant & Bar, Tooley’s Trees, and Verdant Gardens.