Foliage Follow-Up: 11/2014 in El Paso

It’s suddenly not just fall-like in El Paso, but there are even hints of early winter. 5 days straight now where there’s no way to wear shorts…tragedy!

I haven’t yet seen a hard freeze, but 29F and 32F lows mean a frost and freeze, and that timing was almost right at our average first frost date. Even one sunny day’s high of 48F made summer seem a distant memory.

Photos from 11/12 to 11/16/2014 –


Chinese Pistache / Pistacia chinensis – dry USDA z 6b
some issues on my 2008 design, these trees should be 3x larger…

But what remains at Sierra Providence East years later isn’t bad. You know how much I like the contrast of leafy and soft with sharp and spiky, like foreground Red Yucca plants and the background groupings of Torrey Yucca and Ocotillo.

Those plant forms are crucial to hold a design together during our cooler months, more crucial than fall color.

Both forms may be even better, but with those two skyline accent plants, it’s obvious we’re in the Chihuahuan Desert and not Chi-town.

stunning orange and red on this individual tree
Ocotillo plants are dull this fall (too much moisture?)…but on the right…
some pistaches, like this one, turn burgundy and then red


That tree near my tiny abode started getting fall color 5 weeks ago; it seemed to respond to changing daylight more than other pistaches nearby (those with changing temperatures).
Seasons. People who don’t like the natural aspects that make their area great, no matter their income or time there, often don’t or won’t get it.

When I was on Twitter, someone living near where I now live chimed in on a conversation some of us were having, including a photo of mine showing a garden or plant in her town in a good light.

No acknowledgement of anything, except how she was from the east coast, and how it is “always summer here” and “always too warm”. And “no fall color or seasons” like back there. She added how she lived in this region “15 years”, implying broad regional experience and climatic / horticultural facts are trumped by selective perceptions and dislikes.

With this area’s averaging of 50+ nights / year below 32F and 100+ days / year not the growing season, and much more, you’ve got me. But back to another fall, though many seem different than the last!

a new Texas Red Oak / Quercus buckleyi , USDA z 5b

These trees are at a new portion of the landscape at my ongoing hospital project, with some nice color starting up. Right on time, if the right species was planted.

but I’m unsure this leaf shape is the oak I specified…I’ll soon find out
Virginia Creeper or Woodbine / Parthenocissus quinquefolia, USDA z 4 (hardiness depends on the selection sold)
brilliant in the land of dusty yellow falls…
the 2nd / last time of any year Bradford Pear deserves mention…
especially on a chilly day, when there are some raindrops!


tougher palm trees deserve a look, since they make up winter green here…

Green is a color, too; color is not just dinner-plate sized foliage having a riot of other colors in autumn!

less fibers than many of these…
California or Desert Fan Palm / Washingtonia filifera, dry USDA z 8a
one of the “palms of the high desert” out in front…Torrey Yucca / Yucca torreyi, dry USDA z 7


decent for a removed lawn…Arizona Ash / Fraxinus velutina, USDA z 6b
clouds kept blocking the sun, when I wanted to show this yellow’s intensity!

But we wouldn’t want to leave yellows using [tr]ash as an example. :-)

underused Western Soapberry / Sapindus drummondii, USDA z 6a

Thanks for hosting Foliage Follow-Up, Pam. You can see her post and links to others’ posts – here.

And I may skip my Sunday beer at Craft and Social, to stretch out where my hands can thaw out with a cup of hot coffee!