Marfa Light

No mistake – there’s no plural in the title of this post. And this late Friday night, I’m sure I saw 15+ “Marfa Lights”, after riding a bus out to the official Marfa Lights Viewing Area, with a group of strangers from Austin.

But with the sun out, I saw light of other kinds on my landscape drive-bys.

Marfa’s high desert light seems even better than other regional towns, since it is so quiet and serene; the drone of freeways, semi engine braking, and endless paving tend to spoil the mood. Maybe both evenings of cocktail parties and great conversation also helped, even though I’m not much of a partier?

Musical selection – more Junip / José González –

Dasylirion leiophyllum catching the late afternoon sun, a muscular trunked Morus alba standing behind it all

another building with “Judd” on it, daylight and a simple table
Trachycarpus fortunei with the hotel’s Spanish Colonial facade
Friday evening cocktails, a roaring fire in the firepit taking the chill off, meeting some new friends mostly from the humid lands far to the east [The Capri by Ten Eyck Landscape Architects, here & here ]
tumbleweeds turned into hanging lights…sure!
US-90 heading east, Berlandiera lyrata cheery and golden, in the rather dense stand of grama grasses
yet no chocolaty fragrance in the daytime and uber-dry air
Texas’ state grass (Bouteloua curtipendula) catching the lower autumn light, with New Mexico’s state flower (Yucca spp.) still elated (this one is Yucca elata), even long after blooming
light frosts of mid-autumn being made up for by warm days, cosmos and zinnias softening the background for Yucca thompsoniana X rostrata, Dasylirion wheeleri, and Opuntia ellisiana
getting a view of the scratch coat on the renovated wall at the Collie House, but blinding midday light towards the street by my car
posted last November on my old blog, something’s different behind that hedge of Opuntia ellisiana…
yellow chairs working nicely with white stucco and blue skies
more grasses – Stipa Nasella tenuissima, unifying but punctuating the groundplane as it catches late sunlight…unifying also the Live Oak (L), old Arizona Cypress trunks (rear), and the usual Mulberry
next door, but a continuation of the same theme using Mexican Feathergrass, this time under Deodar Cedar, with a trio of young Soaptree Yucca / Yucca elata by the street
Desert Candle / Dasylirion leiophyllum catching the late, lowering sun between dark Afghan Pine trees
Nasella tenuissima taking over and taking in the flood of late sun, young and evergreen Rhus virens out in front
native Yucca rostrata packed into wall, non-native invasive Perovskia atriplicifolia filling in underneath
the ever-tough Bur Oak / Quercus macrocarpa catching late light
what huge leaves on Bur Oak
native grasses one side in the light, Texas Sage partly catching the light on the other side…and yet another Mulberry tree far (L)

3 Replies to “Marfa Light”

  1. Thanks for the tour.

    I’m liking the Dasylirion more and more. Deer and drought resistant….and attractive.

    Looks like you had a nice trip.

    So much fun meeting new people, though I was mostly my usual “lone wolf” self! Sotol, too bad our rabbits eat young ones!


  2. Nice survey of Marfa. The season’s light is beautiful on the tawny and silver of our best (mostly) native plants.

    I like Russian sage for its late summer/autumn blues and it is not invasive in my yard. I do substitute Salvia leucantha now since it’s at least from this side of the globe.

    Yes, and wait until I post on the fall color! Invasives – a topic partly dependent on location, as in NM, it’s terribly invasive…reseeding, root shoots, etc. Good sub idea.


  3. I see others have fallen into the invasive plant hole I currently thrash to climb out of. What’s a gardener to do when plants that were formerly named “perennial of the year ’95” (Russian Sage) are reclassified later as non-native invasives? Arrrgh.

    Ahem. Sorry. The photos are a delightful peek into another zone’s offerings. Thanks very much for taking us along to Marfa with you!

    Invasives – true, though Perovskia is only considered that by a few/I, nothing official yet. Nasella the same in California, native nearby out here. New plants require deeper thought and real trials…what we in blogging can excel at over pop-media:-) And thanks, glad to show some highlights of my ecoregion!


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