On the Way to a Concert…

A few blocks away from my abode, one hot June evening I walked to see a local (and good) country band play at the convention center plaza. I saw this landscape again, on the corner of Santa Fe and Franklin.

I’ve driven by it many times before, but it’s better by foot.

Returning weeks later with my camera, photos from 7/13/2014 –

a stand of Hesperaloe parviflora ‘Yellow’, a statuesque Yucca faxoniana…


Like those TV Energizer Bunnies, this Hesperaloe planting just keeps blooming – they still are, and it’s late August.

Lantana X ‘New Gold’ for lower, trailing interest…

Where I moved from, I often heard a bias, how “xeriscape” or “desert plants” work best with southwestern architecture. Unwilling to see it as a simple design issue.

Parroting misinformation is never good, especially in my region from someone without their desert eyes on.

No. It works best when plants are chosen for the climate and soil type that meet their needs, then designed to be in context with their space and architecture. Any space or architectural style. Design.

simple and timeless…desert natives, brick architecture

I’ll ignore the railroad ties [gag], seen from walking but not in my smaller car!


6 Replies to “On the Way to a Concert…”

  1. I went to comment on your re-cycling story (the post after this one) but can’t find the button. Your movie reference totally distracted me for a while – because oh the memories that film brought back! Sorry – see? It happened again!

    I wanted to say the pops of orange around the shop remind me a bit of how even the tiniest flowers really have a large impact when they occur in what might seem like emptier desert spaces. The relative sparsity is encouraging in its own way, reminding us that life, especially when hard won, is to be greatly appreciated. Nothing small about these spaces. They sing.


  2. That planting is so simple and effective! I like how they chose the yellow yucca instead of the red…it really looks great and pops from the wall!

    A project I posted on in Nevada, where they used Red Yucca against a red sandstone building – very subtle. But the yellow here is perfect.


  3. The yellow yucca blooms echo the tones of the stone lintels and sashes around the windows. It seems to function to draw the eye around and up. Works for me whatever you call it.

    I noticed that, too. You should have seen that effect with the breezes here, the way they would cause the Yellow Hesp’s bloom stalks to dance with the whole scene. Amazing!


  4. Like the idea of “Desert Eyes” I have an ex-husband who grew up in England and he just didn’t see the beauty of the desert! I think it is majestic and stunning!

    I’m forever indebted to Scott Calhoun in Tucson for his “desert eyes” term, and a few others! I have many ex-clients who were like your ex-husband. Amazing the desert is.


  5. It’s all about the design as you point out. These plants can work anywhere. I spotted an agave holding its own in the shadow of the U.S. Capitol building last winter and plenty of yuccas looking great in front of brick buildings.

    How funny – agaves at the US Capitol! Years ago, the HOG were madly pursuing LEED credits by using spray-irrigated sedums on “green roofs” in *Albuquerque* (much like cold, wet Toronto or Chicago, but such plants don’t usually require irrigation there). At the same time, their American Society of Landscape Architects HQ in the DC area did a green roof, including Abq-native Opuntia engelmannii and 1-2 other xeric natives. I was rolling at how wet DC was more willing to use native SW plants than similar applications in the SW!

    But the bias against using natives because of a brick building (or a stucco / tile roof building, or contemporary, or ranch, or —) was really something.


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