Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Carlito Springs

The New Mexico Fruit Explorers visited newly opened Carlito Springs Open Space for our May meeting. The springs overlook Route 66 and the village of Tijeras, and from our first vantage point above 6300', we could see a vast part of the canyon and the concrete plant. We were lucky to have Dwight and Patrick there to give us some little known facts about the property. 

The 179 acres was homesteaded in the late 1800's and had a variety of roles and owners over the last century including historic journalist Carl Magee. His daughter inherited the property and lived there for 50 some years with her husband, Los Alamos physicist and gardener Tony Grenko. According to Dwight and Patrick who knew him, Tony was responsible for most of the extensive plantings which include hundreds of apple, plum, apricot, cherries, walnut, hazelnut, almond trees. During our visit many of the trees were loaded with fruit. Dwight and other members of the group have worked at the space, pruning and trying to identify some of the cultivars. At one time Grenko had a collection of hundreds of types of garlic, and one of the largest seed repostitories in the state. There are still the remnants of lovely planting of lilac, iris, roses, valerian and other perennial flowers.

Wildflower enthusiasts will appreciate the abundance of native plants that crowded the trails climbing upward to the pools. Flowering chokecherry and Cliff fendlerbush, claret cups, mountain mahogany, sumac

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