Neighbors on Tour 1/2

My neighborhood, historical and eclectic Sunset Heights, just had it’s annual architecture tour. This year I was able to attend, so attend I did. Of course, I also spied the garden areas for anything of interest.

And a few other scenes within a block of my abode. Photos 10/5/2014 –

The Wallace Apartments (built in 1908, where I also live):

Queen’s Wreath AKA Coral Vine / Antiogonum leptopopus…

That vine is part of a mass along one street’s frontage, and it’s one of few appropriate plants used at my apartments. In fact, it’s one of the only plants there…more on that later!

I see why this resident had a smile on his face…views into Mexico and the Sierra Juarez out one side of his portal…

I like this with some reservations. Carpet on the deck = yuck. No railings = not ideally safe or code-compliant (at least so I think). But this particular apartment must be highly coveted by renters around these parts, even though it has a swamp cooler like the rest of us have.

and the Franklin Mountains the other way out his same portal…

Our mountain actually looked (and looks) much clearer and bolder than my photo, but I wanted to capture the patio more. And I’m still a luddite with a hand-held, point-shoot camera!

another apartment done up well by the new residents…one good-looking ceiling…
impractical and space-eating, great windows

A good, downward view towards the street and the date palms. The way this 2nd story apartment sits, one doesn’t need $$ curtains for privacy like my place requires, though there’s no patio. Trade-offs.

A house 2 doors up the street from me:

two doors up the street, the wide view…

There’s nothing unusual here, as to architecture or landscape in the UTEP part of town. Like many homes – especially the other place I moved from – the planting is all about one of everything instead of design, unity, and plant groups or massing.

‘Mexican Fire’ Acanthus / Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii ‘Mexican Fire’…he just needs a few more…
lantana left front (yawn)…Texas sage right rear (not enough space)…but center, a primo Black Dalea / Dalea frutescens ‘Sierra Nigra’

Just one Black Dalea, just like the 2nd neighbor I used to have across the street from me. I never did buy her several more so it would look more stunning…

You might remember this place now, which includes this tree grown from seed, which I collected years ago. I think this tree is the only plant having more than one individual specimen of it, at least in their front landscape – this tree got planted as a deserved trio, not a loner.

Gray Oak / Quercus grisea…looking better this year

Apartments on Prospect:

just a few blocks downhill…nice plaster / stucco with color and recessed windows…
out front under the portal / veranda…definitely an old California image here and for a while…Algerian Ivy / Hedera canariensis, Date Palm / Phoenix dactylifera…

Mostly non-native plants to evoke the Mediterranean or Tahiti, just like old California. Probably still some newer parts of it there or here, as not all are turned onto native dryland plants, even used well. And since this is a small oasis near wild, sere, gorgeous Chihuahuan Desert, it seems like it’s still a winner to me and a welcome oasis corner.

But the Mediterranean region is in my blood, literally…hence my appreciation.

coarse, lush texture with Algerian Ivy…as long as you keep it well-watered, or it will die out fast…my shoes are size 9-1/2, for perspective
nice fountain *placement* and the accompanying sounds…it was 88F that day…

Hopefully, no kids will fall in and drown in even 4″ of water, like someone I know “learned”, so refuses to have a working fountain……… #CantMakeThisUp #AmbulanceChaserLawyersTrumpClassicGoodIdeas

an original palm here, i.e. 1916…California or Desert Fan Palm / Washingtonia filifera

El Paso Womens Club:

Mesa Street here was a dirt road when this building was erected…typical trailing rosemaries, but…

You can also see it was another rough weather day in El Paso.

glad to see a stray Desert Bahia / Bahia absinthifolia find refuge and brighten this planting…
of course I wouldn’t forget the stunning clump of Torrey Yucca / Yucca torreyi…I bet it is older than, and will outlive, the cottonwood behind it…

Back at the rancho my abode’s tiny patio:

when it was time to grill up dinner, I noticed I had a visitor…
I’m sure he’s a sweet boy who would *never* do such a thing…

Hopefully, Erik will learn to appreciate desert plants and others’ property, and not “get stabbed” by more dangerous plants in the future.

I’ll show the rest of the home and garden tour soon. Stay tuned!


8 Replies to “Neighbors on Tour 1/2”

  1. I’m not the cactus/succulent type…this plant diversity gives me hope (I’m from El Paso).

    Glad to have you visiting (more El Pasoans need to garden and start blogs!), and keep visiting my past and future posts. I like cactus adn other spiky plants since they can look good in our tough desert conditions with little water, but they need to be used right…


  2. So this is a random Erik? How rude!

    Great architecture. Two of my favorite subjects. Architecture and gardens.

    I know, but I think I know who he might be. Me too, I must post on an architecture tour a year ago, also checking out the gardens!


  3. You were joking, right? when you said the fountain was nice – how does that fit with a modern building and native planting. Looks like a Renaissance escapee.

    I did like the sound and placement, so I clarified! (the building is more of an old Mediterranean / California style)


  4. Grey oak is a stunner…can I grow that?

    LOVE Desert Bahia…I will look for it!

    Erik is a dufus.

    I think so, it actually does better in 20-25″ of rain / year, but tolerates less when established and is fine with heat. Desert Bahia loves limestone and alkaline soils / high summer heat, reseeds, attracts butterflies. Erik…I picture his parents or at least siblings and friends.


  5. Wow, Erik needs to have his fingers broken. (Yes, I am a lover of children and teenagers, can’t you tell?) Your neighbor with the balcony has a great thing there, carpet excluded. How come they don’t have any plants though? Seems like a big glaring oversight.

    Ha! The neighbor could do some shade plants, though we wouldn’t want to hurt the carpet. (I’m sure carpet was cheaper than addressing underlying paving properly) As to plants on the grounds, I’m actually working on that issue:-)


  6. Erik needs a nice long bout in the Time Out chair, the only appropriate punishment for such juvenile behavior.

    I’ll put up a defense for lantana. Pollinators and birds love them. Lantana blooms and berries by turns are often one of the few shows in town during the hottest driest months. With water restrictions tightening, I can’t afford to ignore such a popular plant with the locals.

    Yes, or perhaps a hard hike on the trails I frequent! I stand corrected on the workhorse of Lantana spp…it is one of those plants I actually don’t mind, which is overused for how well it does with little input in my parched environs.


  7. Nice architecture in the old neighborhood. Aniscanthus ‘Mexican Fire’ is also great color. The typical variety is a bit pale but the hummers love it so maybe I can find the brighter version. There must be nurseries in your area selling interesting plants since there are some nice ones like the Black Dalea.

    The “sampler” approach to plant selection is so common and not easy to explain yet massing is what most visitors to my garden notice right away.

    At least Erik picked a lower leaf to vandalize.

    Yes, some great stuff here, architecturally. I’ve never had the Anisacanthus myself, but it does well and brings in the hummers at gardens I design it in. Hopefully my neighbor will take 1-2 of the plants he has, then use some more of each…but good they liked so many different plants! Yes, I’ve left it so far…he’ll soon forget to return to make sure his marking is there.


  8. At least Erik only vandalized your plant. When I set out an agave in a pot in Albuquerque years ago, it was gone the next day.

    Still not right. I recall a few of the agaves you gave me were stolen one bright Sunday afternoon out of their median!


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