Lawnless Las Cruces 

A fast diversion, enroute to an après design charette social.

well done!

Yucca torreyi, Y. faxoniana, Opuntia subarmata, Senna wislizenii, Leucophyllum spp. star there. Effectively out-shining the gravel and river rock, as they should.

With Piece of Eden showing an array of SoCal lawnlessness (her great term), I had to join in!

My ecoregion’s climate is more harsh, so many soft succulents that thrive on the coastal slopes in California may not have a prayer here, at least year-round…we compensate with grand natives Opuntia and Yucca, plus woody desert shrubs and trees. Lawnless in the desert is often older, with less hardscape and site features than theirs. For now…


A preview up the street. Like this Dasylirion wheeleri and Yucca elata combo, holdovers from the previous front yard –

primo specimens a great idea to protect, retain

How large is that sotol? About the maximum size I see in my region, which are the largest I’ve seen anywhere.

I’m 6′ tall…Señor Sotol is 8-9′

Too bad I’m not better at selfies!

a mid-century modern redux & landscape edit

Do you go by other gardens for inspiration, to just enjoy, or both?


6 Replies to “Lawnless Las Cruces ”

  1. I had no idea sotols could get that big!

    I’ve seen some lush, wide D. wheeleri in ATX. I wonder if they will get tall like ours can? If so, with that moisture, look out.


  2. Some good gardens there–magnificent Sotol and Yuccas. I like the last one a lot, except for the tree smooshed up against the house to the left of the front door…it’s a rare rare garden without a planting error, it seems.

    Thanks for the mention!

    You bet, Hoov. Those plants are magnificent…somehow I missed that tree in the back you mention…I have to see what that is. Perfect planting designs – rarer than perfect hardscape designs!


  3. That is one big sotol. It is fun to look at landscapes along the way.

    In my volunteer work i meet many new residents who reject the recommended plant lists as too much “desert”. It’s a challenge to explain and they usually don’t want to understand that it takes too much time and money to grow plants from wherever.

    Texasdeb’s municipal waterwise garden was designed by the Ogdens. A good side trip next time you’re in Austin.

    Interesting how “desert” is perceived as a bad word, even there where it’s so green compared to desert how it’s an issue. It’s harder to maintain a pure desert there even with desert plants – would end up looking far more lush and dense. Just heard the same thing from a prospective client, a life-long EP couple…hoping I can take them to the new UTEP work and see what they like. I’ll look that garden up, though next trip is to San Antonio and south!


  4. I drive different streets almost daily on my regular commute just to see new plants or designs. I too have noticed the largest sotol I have ever seen. The largest agaves, opuntia, red bird of paradise….In fact, I have a document on my cell phone with annual observations…what day the saguaro blooms, the first day where the high was under 100°F, agave blooms, etc. For me this is life affirming, a psychological necessity.

    And seeing your blog updated! Always brightens my day too!

    Your document would be interesting to see some of. I used to have a phenology blog, but I had a hard time updating it – would have been great to record seasonal events and plant growth. Same with me on that – glad to keep things updated more. At least for now!!


  5. I guess because I’ve lived here most of my life, but I really am not a big fan of rocked landscapes. I seem to recall a master gardener telling me that I should move somewhere else because I prefer the green. I tend to agree, but I do like some aspects of living in the desert.

    Neither am I of all that ugly rock; what I like about these landscapes is there are plants that grow naturally with rock, so rock is just a mulch. Green – can’t there be a balance on greenery and design with desert ecology? I strive to do that in my work…the latest UTEP work also good.


  6. I do find myself taking regular routes just to catch another glimpse of areas that I enjoy. Certain times of year it is the best way to see what plant information sites can only describe, the mature form of something in our climate, or how it performs off-peak, etc..

    A home I drive out of my way to see, (owned by folks who run a nursery), is particularly fun. One Halloween they painted (using non-toxic colorant) an area of rye grass with 2 foot diameter purple polka dots. It was a most whimsical and amusing sights for weeks, eventually replaced with returning larkspur and datura en masse. Their playful creativity is always inspiring.

    And of course, the waterwise municipal garden here in my tiny ‘burg is outstanding and ever evolving. It encourages lingering, looking and learning!

    Seeing what I once read about, or a new spin on the usual (like cactus used well instead of poorly) has really helped me. The Halloween treatment sounds like a blast; your area knows how to have fun. Maybe I should check out your municipal garden next time I’m back east…


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