Solitude After the Storm

Like clockwork, I was getting ready and out my windows it started to snow. By the time I finished breakfast, I had to do more than just warm up the car to get to my office. But really not much, just the initial shock.

Photos 1/22-23/14 –

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time to scrape away…my potted agave in the blowing, snow
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I’m sure this looks odd
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at UTEP, just a dusting on Chilopsis linearis trunks and groundcovers

Our urban heat island and warmer ground is keeping the gusty, icy snowflakes from even piling up.

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this made a prettier picture than it felt on my chin

My wool touque doesn’t protect my cheeks and chin, and I had to take my heavy winter gloves off for the photo. Needless to say, I didn’t stay long!

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light dusting on Yucca faxoniana, Y. torreyi, Y. rigida, Nolina microcarpa

And like clockwork, by noon the weather service restated our 100% chance of snow with 2-4″ of snow expected. I told someone discussing that with me, how with such certainty, “you know it will stop by mid-afternoon as the sun peeks out”. 3 pm, that’s exactly what it did.

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after a day at work and a night of rest in my warm abode, Friday dawned
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all that’s left by my sunset hike, through the same ocotillos when it’s warm

There’s something about winter’s rest, complete with a patch of snow crusting over in the chill. It’s quiet, not a sound but a bird. Not even wind.

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almost looping back home, solitude and serenity

Waking Up in a New Place

You might be able to guess where I just travelled to.

Phoenix dactylifera, fog, old buildings

The City by the Bay?

any more ideas, when I add the Washingtonia palm?

Or somewhere else near the California coast, about to take a morning walk near the beach? Then, enjoy a bold coffee and croissant, as I read e-mails, do a blog post or even work remotely?

how about adding more of the building?
fog trying to lift, Cupressus sempervirens…any more clues?

No, I woke up in my own place in El Paso’s Sunset Heights. It was the fog that transported me to another place.

The effect is amazing even with recent cool and gloomy weather in El Paso.

Unusual or typical weather can offer clues where we are, or our gardens are. Whether failing to thriving, in-place to out-of-place.

still here…Yucca torreyi and the top of a Cupressus sempervirens

Do you often see fog where you live? I bet more than some realize.

Where I live is the exposed tailbone of the Franklin Mountains, where wind or a breeze are so common. So, I’m surprised when moisture and calm come together as much as they have here. Though it was 29F when my photos were taken on 1/15/2014…probably not San Francisco!

Some places in order of their average days / year with fog * –
194 Houston TX
165 Seattle WA
164 Philadephia PA
159 Atlanta GA
123 Portland OR
120 San Antonio TX
118 Austin TX
108 San Francicso CA
102 San Diego CA
96 Oklahoma City
56 Denver CO
16 Albuquerque NM
9 El Paso TX
7 Phoenix AZ
3 Tucson AZ

* recorded at an official weather station (source 1, source 2)

Mass y Mas

A common ingredient of good designs, anywhere, is massing! Masses grab the eye yet create serenity. Depending on budget and ability to maintain, one can add details to cause the eye to feast even more.

Mas = more. More plants.

Mass does not mean monoculture, necessarily. But hodge-podge means only hodge-podge. Photos from last month:

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Hesperaloe funifera and Muhlenbergia rigens (pre-butchering)
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native Fallugia paradoxa (pre-butchering) and Prosopis glandulosa
rock ledges and arroyo bottom plants, extending as far as the eye can see…Bouteloua spp. clumps in repeat mode foreground

There’s also nobody out here to turn every plant into a pineapple or gumdrop, either :-)

the pale blue bumps – Tiquilia greggii in a football-field-sized mass…more rock outcroppings dancing together

Much to where these plants grow is from soil types, and where the moisture collects or doesn’t.

more geology in the background…in front, Larrea tridentata mostly dotting the low foreground, knitted with clumping desert grasses

Writing both of my blogs, the most popular garden places I’ve posted may be trips to Austin and San Diego. The former has many garden blogs, but the latter has just a few that I’ve seen. At 3.25 million people in their metro area (and their gardening climate), I would expect more blogs…ditto Denver’s metro area (and their whiplash climate) at 3 million.

As usual, others are often interested in other things than me. I hope no one gets too bored with more posts of my horticultural life and times, and where I am!