ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Garden season isn’t quite over yet, and organizers of the Placitas Garden Tour are taking advantage of that.
The group has shifted its annual May garden tour to September. The theme for this year’s tour is “Discover the Secret Gardens in Placitas,” and it will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 8. Tickets are $12 in advance online or at local nurseries and $15 the day of the event.
Placitas Garden Tour President Sandy Liakus said the organization decided to shift to late summer this year to avoid a crowded roster. Many other communities, she said, hold garden tours in May or early June.
“May is also too early for some blooms,” she said. “After the monsoons, we go into a second blooming season.”
She said native plants, rosebushes and crepe myrtles are a few of the plants that are still thriving as summer comes to an end. The later tour date will allow participants to show off their vegetable gardens, which are harvested in late summer and early fall. September is also the best time to plant trees in New Mexico. Certified arborist and master gardener Tom Neiman will give presentations throughout the day at the Placitas Community Library on the proper way to plant a tree.
Tour attendees will get a glimpse of eight gardens in Placitas, clustered mostly around the historic portion of the village, Liakus said.
This year’s stops include a Zen garden that is watered by collected rainwater, a garden with a labyrinth, a family farm and a garden that is accessible for those with physical disabilities.
“The owner is disabled,” Liakus said. “It has raised beds and other features.”
Members of the Sandoval County Master Gardeners and other volunteers will greet tour participants at each location and will be available to answer questions. Two of the homes will have their professional landscapers on hand to speak with visitors.
Local artists will set up at each garden to paint “en plain air” during the tour. The paintings will be available for purchase, and those that don’t sell will go on display through the end of September at the Placitas Community Library.
In addition to viewing the gardens, Liakus said, visitors will get to enjoy a scenic drive that may feature wild horses, fall grasses and the first hint of the changing colors.
“Even though it’s close to the Albuquerque greater area, it’s like getting away,” Liakus said. “It’s rural and has great panoramic views of the surrounding mountain ranges.”
Visit placitasgardentour.com to buy tickets, view a map of the tour and to get more information. Proceeds from the event will benefit the community library and Sandoval County Master Gardeners. To get to Placitas, take Interstate 25 to exit 242 and go east.