Another stop, where in this building from 2007 to 2010, I rented a small, minimally air-conditioned and heated office.
Cloud or sun, native plants here shine.
Yucca elata / Soaptree quickly grew trunks from starting as 10 gallons, Alkali Sacaton / Sporobolus airoides, Mescal / Agave neomexicana from 1 gallons, and even arcticist-vilified Honey Mesquite / Prosopis glandulosa grew from small, 24 inch boxes.
My work helped earn this a LEED-NC Gold certification.
Geography and luck play large roles in how garden spaces are valued. That from my past, bittersweet decades in landscape architecture…
It’s too bad their mesquites didn’t receive basic, arboricultural pruning after I moved on.
Their original intent to grow up and spread, to shade parking spaces better, could be mostly recovered, only requiring a larger saw. I was told, “but trees don’t get pruned in nature”. (oh yes they do) As always, I tried.
Over a decade ago, I finally appreciated Alkali Sacaton. The delicate seedheads dance in evening light in the Rio Grande bosque and on the desert grassland by Carrizozo.
On to the west side for other office entrances…
The Star Jasmine / Trachelospermum jasminoides was happier than I envisioned in the site’s hot but too-dry microclimate. Including its intoxicating fragrance
I wish I could see the Alkali Sacaton fully grown out after the spring cut-back, to their usual 2 feet .
Finally, onto the northwest side of the landscape, sun or under some clouds…
The architect’s gabion walls using urbanite (broken, reused concrete) worked great.
This microclimate also proved to extend bloom seasons for two much different wildflower species: Desert Marigold / Baileya multiradiata between the agaves (added by me later but inadvertently removed by one of the architects) and Firecracker Penstemon / Penstemon eatonii (brilliant red trumpets for the hummingbirds early spring and again in late fall).
Security fencing that’s locked outside working hours is a necessity nowadays, with their town’s climbing crime rate.
Also challenging but working over a decade later, is the use of shade to inferno-tolerant plants on the north walls in the tight parking area planting areas, including the Arizona form of evergreen Beargrass / Nolina microcarpa and summer-blooming Sunset Hyssop / Agastache rupestris.