An El Paso Garden Tour

While eating breakfast before another weekend in my office, I realized there’s a garden tour – starting one block away. “It should be short, so I’ll be designing in a few hours, even as another perfect 85F day goes by outside”.

The tour was sponsored by the El Paso Cactus and Rock Club and the Native Plant Society of New Mexico / El Paso Chapter.

Photos from 4/11/2015 –

I could handle Joel's porch swing
I could handle Joel’s porch swing
Bulbine and Powis Castle Sage with the low wall
Bulbine and Powis Castle Sage with the low wall
a casual container
a casual container…Ruellia brittoniana and clover engulfing an Agave parryi ssp. truncata
it is Sunset Heights, where college meets decay
it’s Sunset Heights, where college meets decay
yet life that's tougher than desert deniers' may ever know...Bahia absinthifolia
yet life tougher than desert deniers’ may ever know…Bahia absinthifolia
on to Kern Place...a rock house with sunny front terrace
on to Kern Place…a rock house with a sunny front terrace
next door, a dense xeric planting and great hardscape & accents
next door, a dense xeric planting and great hardscape & accents

Over 7 hours later, I ended up with over 250 photos, even missing 4 of the 12 homes. Not great like those of the Wildflower Center or Phoenix Home and Garden, but good – and only $5. Notable was how the homes were more modest, but with far better design and plant choices than most larger homes use, all over town. Sadly, few people attended the tour, but those I saw seemed mostly connected, getting ideas.

no planting design visible, but mostly good choices (notice the thirsty Arizona Ash was cropped out) and permeable spaces
I’m unclear on the planting design intent, but mostly good choices (note how the thirsty Arizona Ash was cropped out:-) and permeable spaces everywhere
Lynn had quite the well-thought-out figured I know Jenn, Jimmy and Cheryl who each played a role
Lynn had quite the well-thought-out space…and how I know Jimmy, Jenn and Cheryl, each playing a role…even Aristida purpurea
Peter hasn't met a
Peter hasn’t met a “kaktus” he doesn’t like
neither has Joe...cactus madness
neither has Joe…cactus madness & a great Boston accent

I’ll try to post more images and thoughts on each garden soon, but the day job calls. So does bed!


10 Replies to “An El Paso Garden Tour”

  1. Looks as though it was an interesting mix of gardens. I would be drooling over the cactus garden. All those claret cups. They bloom for such a short time but worth the annual wait.

    I can’t wait to post on this, but more in depth. Given your gardens there, and all that rock, I wish I could get you some Echinocactus horizonthalonius and E. texensis to try!


  2. Thanks for the tour. You could have been in Tucson from the looks of it.

    True in a number of ways, though we’re missing saguaros and palo verdes.


  3. Thank you for that interesting garden tour ! Your gardens are so very different to ours here in the uk – cacti growing outside just seems so exotic !!

    Very true, and as a designer, I need to figure out how to get clients to see our spiky plants as exotic, so they might want them more? Thanks for visiting!


  4. There is nothing like seeing plants in their habitat to inspire creativity! I love the idea of a rock and cactus club! It looks like it was a good day to enjoy some fresh air too! The rock house is very cool and the ocotillo surrounded by tons of cacti friends very energetic and fun. I look forward to more photos.

    And the drive between the morning and afternoon gardens was just that, cacti blooming in spots on the hills, some poppies even. I needed that fresh air. Wait until I post on the rock house more…


  5. Oh, and this: “Notable was how the homes were more modest, but with far better design and plant choices than most larger homes use, all over town.”

    Yeah, I don’t get this. I see photos of large, elaborate homes for resale, that have been occupied for several years, and their yards are still just dirt or rock. Weird.

    I think part of that is those larger homes have people into the show factor, or just investments…no connection to the land, let alone the desert. I see what you note all over EP, ABQ, but not so much Tucson and Phoenix. Just not the same interest in outdoor living…in our climate…weird!


  6. I really wanted to go — but my landscapers were there Saturday and FINISHED my two-year backyard project. Oh, well, next year — and FloraFest. Would be happy to see more pictures.

    2 year project? There’s a blog right there! I missed this tour for 4-5 years, so I couldn’t this time…


  7. Good for you, getting out and seeing a little local garden flavor. I enjoyed the photos!

    I hope to post more, some great spaces and plant / materials uses at a few. Thanks, Danger!


  8. Good work/play balance decision making. I heartily approve. It is nice to see spaces that represent their region rather than are trying to replicate a “look”. Authenticity maybe? Yup, I think that is what I am responding to as much as I admire the pops! of cacti in bloom.

    Speaking of which, like a lot of other local bloomers, it looks like opuntia growing in our area are going to be putting on a great show this year.

    That regional plant palette was good, and cacti are so crucial to that. Approval accepted…though I never made it into my office that day, but all day yesterday I was! They really do have pop! blooms. Interesting on the Opuntia plants there, as a blog ut of the Big Bend is already showing those in bloom…quite the year.


  9. I love loooove that last pic! …and agree…relatable is powerful….

    Unlike most of the cactus people, he massed some plants. No mansions on this tour, except maybe a larger house.


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