Flower Power on the Desert Grassland

The images can speak for themselves, all are native xeric plants that bloom and those in gardens are used well.

The last part is so crucial. But just seeing these images, I hope planting design becomes as clear as it really is?

It’s hard to believe how different it is a few hours east this year. We just had our hottest day of the year Sunday, 101 Monday, 103 at my place. There were many 100-109F highs in the area, in fact up to just past Albuquerque only a couple degrees less.

That’s quite normal for our hottest two weeks of the year, where we get it out of the way early.


6 Replies to “Flower Power on the Desert Grassland”

  1. Omg, I miss the beautiful desert!
    Your photos are really wonderful!

    Thanks, I have more being posted soon…including someof my work in Las Vegas, which is a cross of the Desert SW and Mars!


  2. Hi David. Like me, you know what it’s like to live in a place where conditions challenge preconceived notions of ‘garden’. And that’s a good thing, for we and our gardens can rise to the challenge. As you’ve done, beautifully, here.

    That we both do! Our gardens are as harsh as anywhere…thanks, glad to share the far west Texas version of the outback and gardens that work here!


  3. it’s the first time I’ve seen pictures of Yucca flowering in a natural habitat, I usually see them in mainland towns and cities here cramped into someones garden, they look lovely in the wide open spaces, there is quite a bit of green in this desert, I remember seeing red and yellow deserts with very little vegetation, I like both the flowers and seedheads of the fallugia paradoxa, beautiful, Frances

    Glad you like! Though I see them often, this year in that area is my first, and with all their rain, there were areas with even more yucca blooms that I was unable to photograph – or my drive would have taken 6 hours instead of the 4 hours it took (normally a 3 hour drive). The Fallugia is impressive at times!

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  4. Using plants well is an art in Marfa, I recognize the work of a certain Austin-based LA in some of those photos. My Fallugia paradoxa succumbed to the rain in late winter, those blooms will be missed. I may not replace it for a while since so many of my other dry-loving plants are also struggling. We may not hit 90 today, I hear thunder in the distance which means more rain on the way.

    All those unruly flowers mixed together look good or at least I tell myself that when I go into my own garden.

    Your area’s flood-fry issue would be great to formulate a list off of – kind of how I approach water harvesting basins / swales in the high desert – what takes short floodings then takes it dry a while. Yet your golden barrels look great…I thought that was all that might die there.

    You’re right – another Ten Eyck. The monsoonal flow is almost 2 weeks early in the El Paso region…so weird.


    1. The demise of the creeping germander was the biggest surprise because I thought it could take both. Wooly stemodia is returning from the roots after drying out. Most of the agaves were placed on slight berms and are okay. Grasses are good with floods too apparently. Bright Edge Yucca is done, Margaritaville is looking pretty sad too while Color Guard is fine.

      Great, helpful feedback. My guesses are like yours’…but really, the golden barrels fine and not some of the others…amazing!


  5. Hoping not to jinx us, but we’ve had a cooler than usual June (due to a series of rainy days…also not the norm). At the moment everything looks very green – for here, for June. And it is easy to get carried away, to want to buy plants without a thought for future water needs, the nurseries are all still packed with people every weekend. People who may be muttering come August…

    “Used well”. That sums up what I’m currently trying to do more of. Taking a look at what we already have in play and seeing if we are using it well. Some plants have been stuck places where they are struggling for sun, others are requiring loads of trimming, some are space bullies taking into consideration how much interest (or support for critters) they provide. So…while the weather is allowing for later-than-usual transplant opportunities I’m doing a bit of what I hope is judicious juggling. Time will tell!

    Your approach is the best…working with what you have, though some things might not. I have a client I’m getting back to who is about the ruin their project by not doing things right…and will lose further work from me. Summer…I remember how nurseries just die out here late May-Aug.


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