New Spring, Old Place

Starting two new projects, I’m visiting Albuquerque as early spring is coming on strong. And some pleasant landscape scenes in the morning light.

Photos 3/9 and 10/2015 –

the bluish junipers and cacti make this

The usual Mediterranean style home looks great with the purple tile roof.

But what makes it are those two xeric plants, which also fit right in the foothills – the similar form of Oneseed Juniper mingles with that same cactus in the wild. Sure, I’d do something other than the struggling barberries or crepe myrtles, and too much gravel expanse.

But even if this were those junipers and cacti, it would work.

JANeighW02-Opuntia_cam01-SML
and the cactus…Comanche Prickly Pear / Opuntia camanchica

I never saw this Opuntia until hiking nearby, and it’s not sold. In El Paso, where it’s also on mountain slopes, everyone calls it Opuntia macrocentra…nope.

O. macrocentra has black spines, they are sometimes longer than on O. camanchica, and they almost always are limited to the top edge of each pad. O. macrocentra also has thinner pads, sometimes heart-shaped with a shallow indentation on the tops. But equally hardy.

JANeighW02-Opuntia_cam02-SML
pads with bluish hints…those long spines, red to black
JANeighNE01-CotwdSotolDawn01-SML
cottonwood tree budding out to signal spring, from the original landscape…it will be dead soon…while eternal morning light erupts over South Peak

That’s the long-time-coming evolution of ABQ horticulture, in one photo.

Phreatophyte trees like cottonwoods are along constant water sources and not arid uplands for a reason, where their short lives, invasive roots and weak wood do no harm and even good.

While sotols do good and provide “wow factor” against our skies, dotting rocky uplands…without a drinking problem :-)

a young, double-stalked Sotol / Dasylirion wheeleri signals the new classic

Is there a plant or scene you relate to your favorite time of day?

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2 Replies to “New Spring, Old Place”

  1. That is a fascinating short history of plantings in ABQ you provided. I wonder what a similar planting history “snapshot” might look like for our area…

    Because I often sit on my front porch at sunset, for me backlit native grasses at the end of day are an ongoing favorite for most of the year. At the moment the grasses are all dormant, so I’m (trying!) to appreciate the increased light coming through live oak trees losing their leaves in preparation for pollen production. Once I start sneezing I stay indoors until the pollen is gone at which point the grasses are regrown. (I love my oak trees more than they love me!)

    An interesting book could be written on that topic for many places. What I want to really see is how people gardened / landscaped before the 1950’s drought in TX and NM, after, and now.

    Just took a lunch break, and put my measurements from a residence into the computer base plan for my design. I was surprised to hear 2 older women speaking in Spanglish the entire time. I thought ABQ’s valley was mostly gentrified…gladly not yet. Too bad I didn’t ask them about what gardens were like in the 50’s!

    That makes sense on watching grasses backlit, I had that for a few years with Mexican Feathergrass, until it reseeded by the zillions everywhere, and it was pulled out!! Pollen…ugh.

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