Fronds and ponds and the plains be­yond

Pasatiempo - - In Other Words - Paul Wei­de­man The New Mex­i­can

A beau­ti­ful, big wis­te­ria plant caught the eye of Anne Hiller­man when she was at work on the book Santa Fe Gar­dens with her hus­band, pho­tog­ra­pher Don Strel. “I was looking at it, and I saw some­thing mov­ing in the leaves. It was just about three feet away, I no­ticed two lit­tle black eyes looking at me.”

“It was a rat­tlesnake,” Strel told Pasatiempo. “An­other in­ter­est­ing thing was when we were at Leonora Curtin [Wet­land Pre­serve, in La Cienega]. I was pho­tograph­ing, and I looked up, sur­prised, to see a big snake swim­ming across the lake and two red-winged black­birds flut­ter­ing over it and squawk­ing at it.”

Santa Fe Gar­dens, pub­lished by Utah-based Gibbs Smith, is the new­est book by Hiller­man, el­dest daugh­ter of the late nov­el­ist Tony Hiller­man. She schooled her­self in dead­line writ­ing as a re­porter and ed­i­tor at The Santa Fe New Mex­i­can (for 13 years) and the Al­bu­querque Jour­nal North, and has writ­ten seven books. Her most re­cent, be­fore Santa Fe Gar­dens, was last year’s Tony Hiller­man’s Land­scape: On the Road With Chee and Leaphorn. Strel, di­rec­tor of the South­west As­sign­ments photo agency since 1985, did the pho­to­graphs for both of th­ese books and has con­trib­uted to sev­eral other books and pe­ri­od­i­cals.

Hiller­man got into the Gar­dens project about five years ago. “Af­ter Gibbs Smith bought An­cient City Press, they hired Ellen Kleiner, an ed­i­tor who lives here in Santa Fe, to talk to lo­cal writ­ers and come up with some book pro­pos­als,” Hiller­man said. “She sug­gested Santa Fe gar­dens. I pointed out that there’s al­ready the beau­ti­ful book Se­cret Gar­dens of Santa Fe that Riz­zoli pub­lished in 1997, but she said not to worry, be­cause that book came out a long time ago.”

Kleiner even sug­gested that Hiller­man could re­visit some of the gar­dens fea­tured in the Riz­zoli vol­ume. She did that with a few, in­clud­ing the Unger­lei­der/Dilling­ham gar­den. This is one of the pri­vate gar­dens that

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