Campus: Warm Edition

We had more than a few days of near record warmth lately, almost 80F highs, and it looks to be a mild winter with decent moisture, and now an early spring. No (twisted) feelings of guilt for that at my end!

But it’s nothing like the post-monsoon season warmth and growth seen in fall. Photos from the Chihuahuan Desert Gardens at UTEP, 10/25/2015:

Centennial Museum courtyard…something signalled the Chilopsis linearis to stop flowering…something ripped the colorful umbrella
Purshia plicata / Antelope Bush…I’m used to yellow Purshia mexicana
similar leaf and fragrance, but pink
View NE-UTEP01_2014-10-25-Sml
Populus wislizenii turning, campus transformation work moving
the cactus garden, Aristida purpurea ripe with tawny seedheads
Astrophytums and other regional cactu in grasses
tough Fourwing Saltbush / Atriplex canescens with friends
saltbush seeds ripening…cannot tell if seeds have 4 wings, but the curator is sure this plant started as a male
Giant Sacaton / Sporobulus wrightii, massive and waving seedheads
delicate, silvery Boquillas Sage or Ranger / Leucophyllum candidum ‘Thunder Cloud’
that’s one amazing flower color
Giant Muhly / Muhlenbergia gigantea, a new grass to me
tall grasses waving always gets my interest
Vauquelinia corymbosa var. angustifolia…steady supplier of green
Turk’s Cap / Malvaviscus drummondii

7 Replies to “Campus: Warm Edition”

  1. Well, I must admit that I have never been a fan of fourwing saltbush, but it looks attractive in your photo – I may need rethink using it…

    Like you, we have been enjoying rain and warm temperatures and the desert is alive and green!

    Great for background areas, especially those that have heavy, salty soil…and the quail will thank you! Just saw a Texas Redbud opening flower buds…


  2. Wonderful garden for all the native plants. It has been a mild winter with so many of my favorites staying above ground. Should be a good spring for blooms. That’s an amazing number of blooms on the Turk’s Cap already. Sporobulus is on my list to figure out which one and where to find it.

    Even though there’s 0 design, in fact that’s even wrongly shunned, so many cool plants. I wondered if SA was mild this winter – nice! Maybe I can get some seed off a few different Sporobulus for you; I did that for Poor Jim (twitter) in the UK; his S. wrightii are growing. That might make a good comparison to ones you buy? (and you have the space…including for that “Z” you showed at Yeyas…


  3. A fascinating range of seeds, blooms, and colors. I hope you’ll show us each of these again in spring so we can compare the two seasons head to head?

    Shhh – don’t tell the weather, but I am in no way ready for Spring. I’d estimate about three more weeks of winter would be stellar to allow me time, before it heats up, to finish opening up a couple of new areas for planting and to get the biggest weeds out. At the moment I am in no hurry for a halt to cooler weather!

    Good idea, and I’m doing winter there next…must go back an get a few plants I missed last month, then post!

    The weather looks like it has more downswings coming for TX, especially N of you. I saw ash trees downtown with new green leaves last week…early! The mildest, wettest winter I remember in NM, 2004-2005, became the most unsettled and blustery spring in my 21+ years there.


  4. That Antelope Flower looks a lot like the single petal roses we have over here in Sweden in the woodlands. Just got back from another trip over to Tenerife. I hate coming back here. It actually feels more like home to me than SoCal feels like home.

    One of the fascinating things was seeing all the Almond trees in bloom. They were originally planted centuries ago I imagine when Spain first colonized them as their own. They first were planted on terraced plots on the rugged volcanic soil and steep mountains. But they have also naturalized everywhere among the Canary Islands version of Chaparral. They are even creeping up steep mountainsides. But I’m now wondering what is helping that along. I wanted to do many things like look for native truffles around the Pinus canariensis or find what bird would be taking large Almond nuts and burying them elsewhere, but I was with a gang who is not into those sorts of things.

    Anyway, nice dry landscape settings as usual. Love the southwestern wildness of your styles.

    I think that “Antelope Bush” epitomizes SW wildness, too. Canary Islands…the numerous photos I saw in parts of those islands on another blog have me spellbound. Maybe the Mediterranean climate in my genetics, but so unique. I can see why you might like it there at least as much as So Cal.

    Other than short visits, I hear you on Scandanavia. Then again, I do like my brushes with their culture, and wish some of that were present in the SW especially NM and El Paso. Maybe that’s the tiredness of familiarity to me? I like coming home to another sunny place, even if it’s hotter or colder than surrounding areas, but the culture…no comment!


    1. I love many things Hispanic [food, architecture, designing, patterns, colours, etc], but what is different about the Canary Islands is it is so unlike the outright open public corruption, street thugs and other criminals and poverty of Latin America from the Mexican border to the tip of South America. No shanty towns, no filth and trash everywhere, everything is fairly squeaky clean, even if it’s historical and old.

      Of course there must be some type of criminal element like everywhere else, but you’d mostly never know or rarely experience it.


      1. One more thing, those Almond trees were interesting and many were small in size. Wonder how they could be incorporated into a wildscape. Just something new to consider as you travel and get ideas.

        Sounds like a jewel of a place. When I was in elementary school, we took 2 trips to Italy and 1 to Spain. Italy, south of Rome…wow…prepared me for New Mexico and here. Sometimes I think I want a change, plus I’ve had 2+ decades of sun and more sun.

        Those almonds sound like they were in Albuquerque…fruitful, but compact. Should work well in most any space.


  5. Would love to know all these plants. Fragrance, touch, change thru the seasons. What birds & insects they attract. Everything.

    I’m about to show their winter look…most no scent. Insects…worth watching them over some time. I have my assignment, Miss Tara!


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