Plaza Honors

A few years ago, someone told me I might like a small garden within the University of Arizona’s campus.

On my few visits to Tucson, I kept forgetting to look up the official, more floriferous line on the Women’s Plaza of Honor.

My last trip, I remembered to, enjoying it one warm Friday with someone else into gardens (and all things warmer) than her home in Ohio. I know two of the designers (it was a team effort of several award-winning landscape design professionals), so that added to the interest. Photos from 2/21/2014 -



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Poppies Plus

Though I didn’t hear one person remark on my area’s poppy display over the last week, I also was too busy to make much contact with the outside world!

I bet there were few to no poppies out there with the dry winter.

But I was amazed at one display driving through yet another historic neighborhood – central El Paso’s Manhattan Heights, complete with an expansive park (not quite Central Park, but less summer humidity or winter snow to shovel).

Taken 3/27/2014 -


Eschscholzia mexicana, or is it E. californica var. mexicana?

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Stepping Up

While looking for the rose garden I’ve posted on, I drove through the same neighborhood I spotted the Mexican Gold Poppy plants. Then I saw this, among some more typical front gardens for the region.

Photos from the Manhattan Heights neighbordood in central El Paso, 3/27/14 -


I did a double-take driving by this one…needs just a few larger plant touches to carry it better into the summer and winter dormant seasons…and visually…

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Desert Rose

Many southwesterners grow roses. Even this native-plant-pusher sees the dimension they add when used well: carefully placed, or designed as part of a small, special desert oasis. And some having beefy thorns is, of course, a plus :-)

Our low humidity rarely exposes roses to such issues as powdery mildew, and the high desert has numerous days in the 60-80F sweet-spot for roses and many plants, between mostly mild winters and hot summers. Roses often require less irrigation than lawns. Roses are one plant even the poorest of neighborhoods embrace; more than one place is known for their roses - Pasadena CA, Portland OR, Tyler TX included.

But roses are also incredible in the Rio Grande valley. Photos were taken over the last 10 days at the El Paso Municipal Rose Garden.

3/27/2014 -

roses about to open are my favorite way to see them…is it hope?

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How Tucson Welcomes

Most everyone notices the hospitality they are given when visiting another’s home. 

The ambiance a place offers is much like the curb appeal of a development or property owner; it benefits they and others. One place that gets it is rightfully called “world class”, since it isn’t merely in the desert, but it is of the desert.

Tucson, AKA the Old Pueblo, has a unique way of welcoming from other desert communities. Photos from February 2014:


stately Saguaro and swaying ‘Desert Museum’ Palo Verde tell arrivals and residents where they are…plants evoke a sense of place far more than rocks, architecture, or brochures…

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Wide Shot – 4/2014

I was sure I captured an overall view of a house around the block from this one, but no such luck. But this should do, from central El Paso -

Mexican Gold Poppy / Eschscholzia mexicana in full bloom

This house has many local and regional decorative trappings – see which ones you can find. Hint, several are a symbol of another state only several miles away.

For now, what really grabbed my view and made me late getting to my office, again!

The poppies in the wild showed no sign of blooming from all my mountain bike rides on the NE side of town where they occur. Yet in this front yard, there they are. Are they hand-watered some? Or is it the extra moisture-holding ability of the gravel?

Mexican Gold Poppy is native to upper desert slopes, often on desert grassland, from southern Arizona into the slopes of the Oscura Mountains on White Sands, to as far as the eastern slopes of the Franklin Mountains here in El Paso.

Ristras! 1 between every pair of posts…

Thanks Heather, for hosting this Wide Shot meme at your blog – here.

High Desert for Azalea

With our high elevation sun, cold dry winter winds, dry heat in the warm season, and heavily alkaline soils, azaleas are no option for spring flower pwoer. Our irrigation water can approach one step less alkaline than sea water!

But we can grow great India Hawthorn / Rhaphiolepis indica.

(addition: since my area doesn’t have many deer to eat it to the ground, especially in the middle of town, it can be enjoyed in or out of bloom!)

Photos from today -

on a northwest side…still cool during spring flowering…

Most India Hawthorn are hardy to as cold as USDA z 7b / Sunset z 10a in the intermountain southwest…Albuquerque, El Paso, Sierra Vista, Las Vegas, etc. Organic or inorganic mulch OK. Irrigate deeply 1x week once established, less in winter.

but gravel mulch and drip irrigation…not bad for the desert!