After almost 54 years of being absent from our gardens the Wrought Iron Wishing Well will be restored to La Posada’s South Lawn today (11/21/11)! The original wishing well was at the center of many photographs taken by tourists from 1930 to 1958, including this young couple on their honeymoon in the 1940s (left image.) In 1958 the wishing well along with most of La Posada’s interior furnishings was loaded in freight cars and taken to Albuquerue for auction. This hand made reproduction wishing well was created by nationally recognized craftsman John Suttman (right image.) It weighs 300 pounds and has handworked iron up to 1 inch thick (it is actually more substantial than the original.)
After sifting through over 8 million reader’s choice votes, La Posada Hotel was listed as one of the top 200 hotels in the United States by the readers of Conde Nast Traveler Magazine. The results of the survey are posted in the November 2011 Traveler edition.
Since an unusually severe cold snap in early October, this Autumn at La Posada has been sunny, warm, and virtually windless. In other words, from a gardener’s point-of-view, absolutely beautiful. As the leaves on the cottonwoods and ash trees turn yellow and fall back to earth, we have been busy harvesting the fruits and vegetables of summer, and planting many bulbs and seeds. The bed within the Potager Garden where Santo Domingo blue corn was growing only two weeks ago is now planted with three kinds of garlic. The other beds in the Potager have recently been planted with yellow chard, “bull’s blood” beets, and red lettuce. All of these plants are cold hardy; they can survive or even grow during winter. Several of them (like the beets and chard) are also ornamental.
One of our favorite edible ornamentals — Hopi red amaranth — is just now being harvested from the Potager. The stunning burgundy flower heads hold hundreds or even thousands of tiny black seeds. Many of these seeds will become high protein amaranth flour to be used in The Turquoise Room. Many others will be saved for next year’s plantings. A domesticated pigweed, amaranth was a sacred and staple food of the Aztecs. Along with other beautiful and edible ornamentals like rosemary and lavender, amaranth loves growing here in the Painted Desert. The heat, sunshine, and relatively cool nights of the Little Colorado River Valley seem to make this remarkable but somewhat obscure plant very happy to live here.
Soak up the warm Autumn sun and enjoy the rich colors of harvest time, a truly special season in La Posada’s organic gardens.
Patrick Pynes, Ph.D.
64th Annual Christmas Parade, November 19th
Winslow’s Christmas parade is the largest in the state and it is sponsored by the Winslow Chamber of Commerce. Last year’s parade had over 80 entries including multiple marching bands, equestrian units, floats, color guards, hot rods and VIP cars. The parade starts at 1 pm and will pass directly in front of La Posada. From 10 am to 12 am children can visit Santa at the Hubble Trading Post Visitor’s Center located 8 blocks west of the hotel. Vendors from all over Northern Arizona will liner the parade route selling handmade arts and crafts and a wide selection of food. This is an excellent holiday event for the whole family. Call 928-289-2434 for more info.
On Monday 10/10/11 we had a visit from photographer Catherine Karnow. She is shooting a story about La Posada for Smithsonian Magazine. In this image she is working with a couple of children who are interacting with Dan Lutzick’s sculpture in the Sculpture Hall.
Join us for a book signing by author Lisa Heidinger for “Arizona 100 Years Grand” at La Posada Hotel on Tuesday, September 13, at La Posada Hotel gift shop from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. The book includes a page for Winslow and images of the famous Standing On The Corner Park along with images and stories a places and people across the state.
So far September is being very good for La Posada’s several acres of gardens. July and August were a challenge for the gardens and gardeners. We received virtually no rain in both July and August, and the average temperature for the month of August was the highest in Winslow’s recorded history. In addition, many of the plants on the hotel’s south side turned brown, as they tried to adjust to the high mineral content of the water in our new irrigation well. But, with the recent soaking rains, the gardens are feeling refreshed and happy again.
Just as the rains began, we had a bird expert from Northern Arizona University conduct a survey of the birds that use our garden oasis as vital habitat. The survey counted at least twenty different species, including warblers, vireos, and finches. We really enjoy seeing and hearing these birds in the gardens. Especially visible are the house sparrows who are feasting on the heirloom sunflower seeds in the Potager Garden (just east of the camel). As summer turns into fall, we will begin harvesting any remaining sunflower seeds, along with ears of blue corn and the flowering tops of Hopi red amaranth. Before the first frosts of October, we will be planting cold-tolerant chard and kale where the sunflowers are now growing, along with cover crops (ryegrass, etc.), to help conserve and improve the soil.
As summer fades and the yellow flowers of perennial Maximillian sunflowers begin blooming, enjoy La Posada’s gardens and pajaritos (the birds).
P. Pynes, Gardens Manager
Winslow Arts Trust and Old Trails Museum present territorial town and ecological history exhibits and program
The Old Trails Museum and Winslow Arts Trust unveil a new photography exhibit, Territorial Town: Winslow, Arizona, from 1880 to Statehood, on Saturday, September 10, at La Posada Hotel, located at 303 East 2nd Street. The exhibit is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, and will be on display through early 2012.
The exhibit shares its title with the Old Trail Museum’s 2012 historical calendar, available for purchase at the end of September. Both the exhibit and calendar explore Winslow’s Territorial history, from the plotting of the townsite through the granting of Arizona statehood, and give a visual sense of what it was like for the city’s earliest residents.
The Old Trails Museum’s exhibit, Women of Winslow, will re-open that same Saturday at the Winslow Visitors Center/ Hubbell Trading Post, where it will be on display through early 2012. Both exhibit openings are part of the Winslow Historical Society’s Second Saturdays in Winslow series, which will explore Winslow’s diverse history over the next year in celebration of Arizona’s State Centennial on February 14, 2012.
Also on Saturday, September 10, the Winslow Arts Trust will host a talk and book signing by NAU Journalism Professor Peter Friederici from 2 to 3 p.m. Friederici will discuss What Has Passed and What Remains: Oral Histories of Northern Arizona’s Changing Landscape, the project that spawned the book and interactive kiosk of the same name. The kiosk features photographs, artifacts, and video of the oral history interviewees, and will be on display at La Posada through early 2012.
People say that there are four seasons in a solar year, but here in La Posada’s Gardens there are actually five. The fifth season has just commenced. We know that it has arrived when white cloud puffs begin rising over the White Mountains (east), Hopi mesas (north), San Francisco Peaks (west), and Mogollon Rim (south). By afternoon, these clouds have turned into blue and purple “summer monsoon” thunderstorms. Sometimes they roll down from the higher terrain surrounding Winslow and the bottom of the Little Colorado River Valley, bringing the gardens sacred, life-giving rains. Many July and August afternoons these monsoons bring only cooling gusts of wind and dust, rather than rain. No matter: we always celebrate this fifth season of the year, when the hot, clear blue skies of the dry season are suddenly filled in with clouds, lightning, thunder, and rain.
Of course, the five seasons are not separate from one another. They are intertwined; they overlap. For example, the vitex trees near the south and north entrances that are blooming right now with long, vivid purple/blue flowers did not leaf out until spring (the third season) had turned into summer (the fourth season). Vitex are extremely cold sensitive. Their leaves wait for warmth, and their flowers wait for heat….The plump, pungent bulbs of “Music” garlic that we recently harvested for The Turquoise Room were planted in October (Autumn, the second season) and survived the unusually severe cold of late December 2010 (Winter, the first season), when temperatures fell several degrees below zero. As the dry season turned into the monsoon, these garlic beds in the Jardin Potager were replanted with hot green New Mexico chiles and heat-loving eggplant, whose fruits are as black as a cold winter’s night. A garden is a circle.
Enjoy the fifth season in La Posada’s acres of organic gardens. Celebrate the clouds, sunshine, and rain.
Patrick Pynes, Ph.D., Gardens Manager