What I’m Growing in New Mexico

Our new home in Cerrillos, NM has some amazing qualities.  The sun room is my favorite room in the house. Sun all day long!  Faces east, south and west.  Plants that I’ve grown in Colorado gardens are growing much more vigorously here, indoors, and herbs that I normally would not bring inside are all doing incredibly well.

Lemon Verbena!

Lemon Verbena grew best in Colorado when planted into a compost-rich, well nourished garden in full sun.  Here, it came inside in a large pot just before it started getting chilly at night – normally when the lower leaves would begin to yellow and fall.  Somehow the timing was perfect, and it continued, for months, to grow into this lush, fragrant shrub.  Never had any luck growing it inside in Colorado.  I cut it back a few weeks ago, and it has already started sending up new, bright green shoots all over again!

Lemon Verbena - Heavenly Fragrance!

Lemon Verbena – Heavenly Fragrance!

OolongLVRoses2019I dried the Lemon Verbena foliage to make an amazing tea blend:  Oolong, Lemon Verbena and Roses.  One of my favorite morning teas.  Wonderful dessert tea.

My favorite calming blend is Chamomile, Lemon Verbena and Roses, a delicious nervine and digestive blend that is fragrant and soothing.  I add coconut milk and honey.

Milky Oats (Avena sativa)

I’m now growing oats (Avena sativa)  from seed in company with with the Lemon Verbena I cut back.   Fingers crossed for a milky oat tincture in the not too distant future!  Milky Oat tincture is one of the best remedies for stress.

In this instance, I used the space in the pot to grow Avena on one side and start some perennials in peat pots on the other – both as an experiment.  Avena growing nicely and Catmint germinated and sprouted already!  Lemon Verbena sprouting all over the place.  Crazy good!

WheatGrassSunRoom 2019

Cayenne Pepper!

In August or September, I transplanted my cayenne pepper into a pot with some amazing organic soil from a local rock yard.  Not sure what motivated me to bring it inside – probably chilly falling temps and a desire for more Cayenne!   It’s been blooming and fruiting ever since!  I counted 40 peppers recently that are still growing and ripening.  Cayenne is one of my all time favorite herbs.  Cayenne-infused honey coming soon!  And a spicy dried pepper blend, too.  Delicious!  I have managed to make a Hot & Spicy herb blend that includes hot n spicy oregano from an earlier garden and some of my recently harvested cayennes.


More than 40 Cayenne peppers coming on! Must have been some small pollinators in the sun room!

I harvest the cayenne as they ripen and we use them all the time in our food!  Cayenne is an amazing heart herb.  Here is the  “Hot and Spicy” culinary blend I made – all ingredients from my organic gardens, namely, Hot n Spicy Oregano, Cayenne, Nettle, Rosemary, Thyme, Lemon Thyme, Summer Savory.  Very flavorful and nourishing!









Calendula and other edibles from seed

This is Calendula, my favorite herb for skin care.  Calendula is also amazing to ingest as a medicinal herb to heal the digestive tract.  So far, these seedlings look really good!  They’ve grown a lot just since I took this photo!  Go Calendula!


I also started chickweed and a wild arugula known as “wasabi arugula”.  Both are coming up and just about to start leafing and vining.   I have grown chickweed in pots before….once it gets started you have to harvest pretty often to keep up with it. Super nutritious with a mild flavor that blends well with other greens in a salad.  Fingers crossed that the wild arugula really tastes like wasabi.  Because Wasabi Mashed Potatoes.


Deep window ledges and beautiful light

The deep window ledges are so welcoming to sun-loving plants.  Here, in the south facing living room window, aloe and a scented geranium enjoy growing together.AloeScentedGerWestWindow

Desert Roses (Adenium) – something new and interesting

My brother got me interested in Desert Roses (Adenium).  He has an amazing collection that mesmerized me when I visited him a few months back in Florida.  Since it’s a desert plant, I felt it would be appropriate to order a few of them for my sun room.  We are living in the high desert here, after all.  They are doing a-ok, I think.  Such a beautiful plant, especially when in flower.  Very drought tolerant. I have to be careful not to overwater.

Oh, Kitten Kitty!

I have to say, my cat really likes the kitchen and sunroom.   Lots of bird activity outside, unlimited sunshine, fragrant herbs and plants…the perfect feline hangout.


Rose Geranium and Rosemary for fragrance and balance

Rose Geranium is such a vigorous plant.  It loves the sunroom!  Rosemary does, too.  Periodically I trim back these plants and distill their essences into hydrosols.  Both Rosemary and Rose Geranium have healing properties for skin and hair.   I swear my hair has gotten darker after misting with Rosemary hydrosol every day for several weeks.   Rose Geranium has a calming effect on the central nervous system and is also highly beneficial for all skin types.  Both are healing and cleansing for the environment as a room spray.

RoseGeraniumRosemaryI gave the Rose Geranium a good trim and distilled a batch of the most fragrant hydrosol ever.  Probably because I pre-infused the plant material in 1/2 gallon of purified water for 24 hours prior to distillation.

RoseGeraniumHarvestSunRoom     RoseGerInfusingSunRoom







Chamomile likes growing in the sunroom

One of my other favorite herbs is Chamomile.  Very healing for the digestive system, calming as an evening tea, and fabulous as an infused honey for both culinary use and as a healing topical remedy.  This is another herb that I repotted toward the end of the season and brought inside.  Now it’s blooming away in the sun room!  Who knew?

ChamomileSunRoomSo, that’s what I’m growing in NM.  Outside, I have some gardens started along with some large planters and a vermiculture project that are still in the planning stages.  Will definitely be seeding in some native wildflowers to see if we can create a more diverse ecosystem.

I look forward to greeting some of my favorite perennials in the Spring:

OnoetheraJune2019Onoethera macrocarpa, Penstemon pseudospectabilis, Globe Mallow, Catmint, Rosemary, Clary Sage, Aster and others.  I even have a Passiflora that seems to be especially fond of this environment.  It’s still green and leafy, even after repeated cold nights.  Learning experiences all over the place.

As always, garden on and grow organically!

Blessings to you and your gardens,





About Sarah Wadleigh

I am a Clinical Herbalist, Organic Gardener and Nutritional Consultant for people and companion animals. I live in Madrid, New Mexico with my wonderful husband, two little dogs and a big cat. My practice revolves around helping people create health through whole-food nutrition, nutritive herbs, lifestyle and self-awareness. With more than 20 years of experience as an animal nutritional counselor, I offer consultations to improve the health and well-being of our four-legged friends, as well as their humans. We can work together via Skype, in person,or over the phone. Let's create health for ourselves and our animal companions! Contact: sarah@summersunherbals.com
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2 Responses to What I’m Growing in New Mexico

  1. Sally Vickery Foss says:

    I want to order 2 bags of your Hot & Spicy Herb Blend. How do I do that?

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