Hot or Cold

I often hear we don’t have enough color intensity in our desert flowers.

Part of that is our high sunlight intensity, part is the flower color used (pastels get washed out most days), and part is the overall landscape design (not enough contrast). And some of those are not desert flowers – an adobe wall does not make a Monet planting into the bold desert! All easily cured.

Photos 7/18/2014, at two of my 2012 Albuquerque West Mesa designs –

yellows are often dismissed, like Dahlberg Daisy in this pair of containers…

And note how that is two containers; not always 1 or 3 is the only way……. Yet, these are adobe walls, and very much sans-Monet, Martha, or Manitoba!

and there is plenty of gray foliage, but this works because of the overall space and colors. And what else?

Over the years, make it decades, many in the high desert object to all the yellows and purples they see…and improperly designed, I get tired of gray, too. There can be so much more.

Wooly Butterfly Bush/ Buddleia marrubifolia shows off orange…
I was more understated than the blue for this seat wall or banco, believe it or not…

“Small gestures get lost here” Larry Kornegay in Phoenix, Arizona

the orange-red of dwarf California Fuschia / E. or Z. garettii…blue wall…
blueish Mescal/ Agave neomexicana in case you missed blue…
off to Dion’s, and Orange Globemallow greets

6 Replies to “Hot or Cold”

  1. What, no blue poppies or moss covered walls? Like Teri, I love the difference between the desert and my neck of the woods. Reminds me of the song, “Little Things Mean A Lot!”

    The moss covered walls are great…a place nearby with some rock outcrops actually has dormant moss. Yes, and you don’t need many big things to make an impact – often one!


  2. Every photo here looks beautiful, just different than the Midwest flowers. All a matter of perspective. I love both!

    I think you hit on it – what works within where it is, its context. Tiny desert flowers and their delicate stems might get lost against a massive mixed conifer forest backdrop?


  3. I am a SoCal girl transplanted to Houston! I miss the subtle colors of the desert. I find a serentity and calm in the dessert that doesn’t exist anywhere else. I like the small flowers that are like miracles. The wall colors are a truly perfect complement the plants! The two ceramic vessles with yellow flowers flowing over against the cinnamon brown wall is stunning! Thank you for the visual treat!!!

    That’s a good way to see it – those small flowers but big views or mountains (or walls, boulders, etc) really work toegether in their contrast. Some in sun, some in shadow.

    Thanks, I liked how I showed large containers on the plan, but the owner said tall containers as well – voila!


  4. That’s my issue in a nutshell. When it comes to gardening/landscaping, where I really shine is precisely there, in those small gestures. The ones that either stink or get lost in most spaces.

    As to tiring of certain colors, I believe that is the source for at least half the hooraw over bluebonnets in Texas. That deep blue color is relatively uncommon here and it excites the eye when it occurs in swaths each year.

    But a smaller garden, especially where one can sit and enjoy it, is where the small gesture can add depth.

    I think that bluebonnet carpet among oaks and grasslands is a big gesture that grabs from driving by, but for a short time…then the oaks and drying gtrasses take over the big gestures. But at close hand, there are small gestures – but large first. Maybe large is your house< or a fence, or that one cactus in the planter?


  5. ‘small gestures get lost here’ oh my yes

    dinky is stinky everywhere

    XO T

    Very true, and now I remember your comments on how cute kills, or something like that. Big and bold like our SW land!


  6. I never get tired of gray foliage, or purple flowers. Give me mariola, Salvia pachyphylla, Salvia daghestanica, Artemesia versicolor, and a silvery agave, all against an adobe wall. Perfect.

    Or by any blank wall, or among spiky plants! What’s interesting is the popularity of gray ‘Powis Castle’ Sage here in El Paso – planting design more skilled than Abq, and it’s used as a low filler with greener plants than on a vast freeway missed from 70 mph, or in some unkempt mess where it’s lost.

    Now to get folks to use Mariola in the same manner, since it’s on every hill…oh, the 1000+ mariolas grown from my seed a decade never sold…..


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