A Garden’s Teen Years

A garden goes through it’s awkward teen years right after it’s terrible twos. I think that’s when everything is soon to be revealed as incredible, or to fall apart.

But that beats the fate of all too many landscapes, merely designed to live for today. It’s best to have fun and thrive for the long-term. Part of why I embrace place and local native plants from my ecoregion and elevation. That’s staying power.

Photos from Albuquerque at the 2 year old Robertson Residence, 7/18/14 –

a small space, yet eclectic among a trace of simplicity…about to fill in some more…


gray velvet and orange of Buddleia marrubifolia, massive adobe, and powder-blue Agave neomexicana, intended to surprise behind the higher planting…
in front, more powdery blue but shade-loving Yucca pallida, Rhaphiolepis umbellata ‘Blueberry Muffin’…

It’s all made intimate by an original tree, Piñon / Pinus edulis. Some shade isn’t bad in that part of town, either.

plants on ledges – Agave bracteosa among Zinnia grandiflora, and much more…

Ledges are made of rock outcroppings in the wilds of the desert and nearby mountains. This time, it’s working with the same-old exposed aggegrate concrete, there long before my design, but departing from the original planting, into something more regional and textural.

There’s enough plantings, so the rabbit-ravaged cosmos used as a “seasonal wow” by Bill’s bell sculpture are not too noticeable. At least to me.

Bill shifted a couple plants with his metate, and voila!

Looking good as intended! The drip irrigation tubing needs more pinning down and additional gravel mulch on top, though. Twos and teens…

off to a few more places, golden containers of golden Thymophylla tenuiloba, green Nolina texana

The background Chilopsis linearis is a graceful but structural native symbol of the Chihuahuan Desert, even if overused at the expense of other native trees.

Shooting into the setting sun, with such a tough native plant scene, is part of what makes better xeriscape less zero. Even between two and teen!


2 Replies to “A Garden’s Teen Years”

  1. Lovely structure in this garden.

    I’m struggling with how to create a native landscape from a bermuda yard. That stuff is so hard to kill…

    Thanks, and even with overwatering, he’s done some great accessorization and care.

    Bermuda – Roundup 3x in the warm season, cardboard for longer in summer are the only means. I wonder if there is any really good info on this, on Central TX Gardener (seems they did a past show?), or online?

    Has it been 2 years since I stayed w/ you and Denny at your old house? Wow that was incredible, even if far from everything. That’s what I prefer!


  2. Even short term, native plants often require adapting to a different view. Allowing natives to go to seed in order to resupply an area and/or to feed local birds means living with sere branches. If I look around my spaces in the heat of late summer, there are few if any natives in bloom. The flowers all come from adapted non-native plants that don’t “know” to wait to expend that energy in the relatively cooler wetter weeks yet to come.

    As toddlers or teens either one, xeriscaped garden spaces rarely duplicate the lushly pristine views we’ve been duped into believing are desirable. At least not in August!

    Yes, mostly if one allows them to grow in densities sustained by local conditions…meaning thin out here! A client told me last month, how he never realized plants slowed down so much in summer…that was a surprise he though that, having had a garden for decades. Since we’re now cooling down here with some rain, I’m seeing native growth again.


Comments are closed.