Two weeks ago, I needed rosemary for the olive oil I was to dip my bread into.
Except I no longer have one rosemary, nor are there any planted around my new, downsized abode! So, I took a foraging walk. I also saw some interesting plants and landscapes within my several block excursion. This time, I returned to take a walk and see more interest within a short walk of my apartment.
Plants and gardens, even architecture, are always game. Some images from my walks Wednesday and last week:
My apartment building (built in 1903), and a Mexican Fan Palm / Washingtonia robusta that survived the 2/2011 uber-freeze…and gravel on plastic…sigh.
One of a few fire stations in my area with regional architecture
Though I’m not into dates (and what kind of Mediterranean person are you, Daveeed?), I do like Date Palm / Phoenix dactylifera – even with a touch of freeze damage from last winter. My apartment building is on the distant left.
My new neighborhood isn’t lacking for great architecture among neglect or disrepair. Imagine Saturday morning rituals of breakfast tacos and good coffee under that deep porch? (AKA veranda in the SE)
One of several pocket parks in Sunset Heights, this one looks over the Rio Grande Valley into the largest town on either side of the US-Mexican border.
More desert mountains lie just beyond Ciudad Juarez, but in town, look closely. Mexico displays some good taste by painting bold colors on a number of building walls…even one that’s purple, like the front wall at my old house! The buildings with red and bluish or turquoise walls work for me, too.
Warming a full USDA zone over
that other place, plus equal or more horticultural brain-power, neighborhood streetscapes contain a variety of trees and other plants, some similar and a number of different.
This area’s streets have western states and cities crossing each other. Even a young Jelly Palm / Butia capitata on the left
Not so LA-looking on this Mexican Fan Palm – the uber freeze taught a few that El Paso is not LA, even though I-10, just blocks away, takes one there. I actually live at the end of Nevada Avenue, ironic, since I was *surely* moving there.
Nope…not LA…nor Phoenix…not growing back…3 growing seasons later
Hardier and stately – Desert or California Fan Palm / Washingtonia filifera
A duo of Canary Island Date Palm / Phoenix canariensis, underplanted with Red Bird of Paradise / Caesalpinia pulchirrima
Honeylocust trees here aren’t doing badly, considering higher water needs and an inadequate area for the roots to develop. So far. As a midwestern and Mississippi Valley native, desert-native mesquites would be far more suitable here to provide shade, and all the other benefit buzzwords some now use to defend water-hog for trees.
A South American mesquite of an unknown-species-to-me survived the uber freeze; random ones around town also did. It’s easier to plant native, hardier mesquites, but this is one of the drier parts of El Paso and the warmest – they lucked out. This tree is now providing some shade.
I’m seeing many different apartments in my new area, but this one’s growing food. I looked for melons, but no dice…
A nice corner garden with two weedy, but happy and feathery Retama / Parkinsonia aculatea (R), a Bradford Pear (gag), Chinese Pistache, Red Bird of Paradise (L), and a Red Yucca *still* in bloom in front of loads of golden Lantana
Back to some interesting archtecture
This house always captivates me…for sale, but I won’t be in a position to buy for a while. If I ever revert to a SW style house again, this is nice and a perfect color for well-placed Blue Sotol / Dasylirion wheeleri.
This is quite the well-designed house. But that landscape… The gumdrops are Trailing Rosemary plants, which I discretely collected my sprig from, for that aforementioned dinner! These are not permitted to trail; odd, since that’s why I thought one planted *trailing* rosemary.
They did use the gulf coast / south Atlantic coast native yucca, Spanish Bayonet / Yucca aloifolia, with a Russian Sage. This clump is healthier than most other Spanish Bayonet I’ve seen in the desert, including Albuquerque.
Another view of this house and landscape, the latter just begging to be brought up to the level of the architecture
I’m still not that far from Albuquerque…putting that front yard to use……..
Like Albuquerque, some tough plants really volunteer in waste, unmaintained spaces…invasives and natives alike. Too bad few care, and others
actually prefer to argue this instead of look at the obvious differences – what invasives displace, water, fauna, visual sense of place, and of course, other flora.
Silverleaf Nightshade, which can defy drought
In contrast, the native Desert Bahia / Bahia absinthifolia
And about my favorite native in all the southwest, Creosote Bush / Larrea tridentata, growing on a vacant lot and out of an Andesite outcropping
A mural at a water pumping station…the artist even getting the summer clouds perfectly
I recognize all of those plants…keeping it mostly local!
Yet another interesting house apartment – Sunset Heights just doesn’t quit! This one to me has more of a colonial, tropical motif, especially with the cannas near the house and the railing style. Just needs removal of – drum roll – all the weeds and purple nightshade. Then, keep the Mexican Fan Palm and cannas, replace the invasives with some massed native landscaping with some structure and palm and yucca / rosette succulence, add more bold floral color at the palms, and voila – lower patios or balconies to share great drinks with friends.
One more view of my apartment building, after sunset and before a storm with wicked lightning rolled in…with barely enough rain to wet the paving.
I hope you enjoyed this walking tour of my new neighborhood’s existing
and potential gardens. Let’s all have a good weekend!