“A lawn is the cheapest landscape to install, even here.” I am disappointed to hear Carol Wildman of Taos Landscaping say this. “But it’s the most expensive to maintain.” Taos Landscaping is a xeriscape design and construction firm Carol purchased about fifteen years ago after owning a vegan restaurant since 1985. “I bought the landscape business because I wanted winter’s off. I used to get five months off in the winter.” Now, Carol gets only three. “Thanks to climate change, our growing season is longer. We start in March and work through November. I’d like to work less, but I have a staff of seven and they have families; they want to work the full season.”
Grass requires a more consistent climate than Taos offers. The area is high in elevation, has large daily temperature swings, very cold winters, low annual moisture, yet endures serious monsoons in late summer. “Have you noticed how green it is here now? That’s from the monsoons.” Taos Landscaping does not install lawns, but others, opting for low first cost, still do.
Carol grew up in California and lived in Chicago while her husband was a medical student. They moved to New Mexico for his residency, had two children, and stayed when he went to work for the Public Health Service. “About that time I realized I needed to be with women. I love him. I thought maybe we could have it all.” It appears they do. Carol and her husband divorced but remain in Taos. They raised their children together and still share family and social life.
Carol met Renee at a wedding in Portland OR; they romanced during a bicycle odyssey in Cuba. “The people from the countries with the most repressive governments are the most kind and generous.” Since then, the couple has cycled in many exotic areas – “You never see the world the same as you do on a bike.” – as well as adventures close to home. Recently, they completed a mountain bike tour from Durango to Moab, 215 miles of off-road trails with overnights in huts along the route.
Carol’s positive experiences in cycling travel have contributed to her open view of the world. “911 was the moment for the entire world to come together, but we turned it into ‘us’ and ‘them.’
How will we live tomorrow?
“I think we’re going to live with fear, with more fear. What are humans most afraid of? Change. We know there are very real changes on our horizon.”