Like most of my projects, I have some good clients with typical spaces, for me to design better than the norm. Or at least in spite of that outside my control.
I’m not an artiste or landscape star-chitect, complaining even when given large budgets (called modest) and design latitude (saying my hands are tied), but it’s how I have to roll! Honesty, a proactive mindset, and gratitude are great pillows to rest on, that no exotic vacations or exalted podiums can provide.
And it’s how I pay my bills, improving the world by outdoor living, one place several places at a time. From Albuquerque, 12/2013 –
The poor choice of Rio Grande Cottonwood was not mine; there are less problematic, thirsty and locally native riparian trees, but the HOG (horticultural old guard) wrote the development’s plant list which prohibited them; they’re rather behind the power curve of arid-region horticulture.
Speaking of that plant list, it also disallowed native grasses like all the gramas, and especially the valley natives Giant Sacaton and Alkali Sacaton – perfect for detention basins that receive periodic flooding.
But in time, the desert and logic will win :-)
The only severe cold wave of the winter hit during this project in early December…it was 0-5F several mornings! Usually one low like that in mid-winter is more typical, but at least this was it – then about the mildest winter in a decade!
If you follow my past projects, they usually go in during the hottest or coldest weather. Just bad luck.
A partial plant list (* = native): Trees, Skyline Accents – *Desert Willow / Chilopsis linearis ‘Bubba’, Chaste Tree / Vitex agnus-castus, *Valley or Rio Grande Cottonwood / Populus wislizenii (basin only), *Coyote Willow / Salix exigua (basin only), Chinese Pistache / Pistacia chinensis, Faxon or Palm Yucca / Yucca faxoniana Shrubs, Vines – Evergreen Silverberry / Eleagnus pungens, *Turpentine Bush / Ericameria laricifolia, Rosa banksiae ‘Lutea’ / Yellow Lady Banks Rose Accents – *Red Yucca / Hesperaloe parviflora (‘Brakelights” wasn’t available, which I especially wanted for the smaller spaces in front…), *Blue Sotol or Desert Spoon / Dasylirion wheeleri, *Parry’s Agave / Agave parryi Groundcovers, Perennials – Paleleaf Yucca / Yucca pallida, *Globemallow / Sphaeralcea spp., Deergrass / Muhlenbergia rigens, *Purple Muhly / M. rigida ‘Nashville’, Trailing Germander / Teucrium chamaedrys ‘Prostratum’, *Yerba Mansa / Anemopsis californica (basin only)