Color Spots

I like any garden style – when thought-out, appropriate to its location (with little input), and not done because it’s popular (no grounding or conviction). Many can pick out the latter…no thanks.

But there’s something about classics, which always fit and look good, transcending trends or fads. Fashion.

Great bones, simplicity, and just the right amount of color from Marfa TX –

roof, chairs…and the dreaded duo of desert phobes…

Cactus and yuccas. Oh no…and “the children”!

Seriously, this place uses the southern coastal Spanish Bayonet / Yucca aloifolia and native Spineless or Cacanapa Prickly Pear / Opuntia ellisiana. The former is named appropriately and has the sharpest leaf tip of anything I know of, but it’s smaller size provides a more tropical effect…the latter is almost cliche here, but I still like it.

chairs, roof, and a gray Leucophyllum spp. vs. green Rosmarinus officianalis
Mescal Agave / A. neomexicana nested in (cliche) feathergrasses

Marfa is clearly of the surrounding Chihuahuan desert grassland. Understated, yet grand.

Color too, and not just whites (the sum of all colors), used discretely as opposed to a floral print.

green is a color too, more Opuntia ellisiana as a hedge
hidden tile bench, Blue Nolina / Nolina nelsonii
bluish form of Beaked Yucca / Yucca rostrata…flaming red of Anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii, Vauquelinia corymbosa var. angustifolia behind

Want to come here, and just walk around with your camera? I can relate…


7 Replies to “Color Spots”

  1. Oh, very nice! (Speaking of appreciating your professional view… I’m on a Leucophyllum sort of quest at the moment, looking for something to replace a couple mildew-y golden euonymus. Landlord says go for it, yay! I’m sure your blog’s search feature will be a godsend.)

    Thanks! For Leucophyllum, have at least 1/2 day sun and allow 5’+ for the smallest ones…many 8’+ tall / wide. Then look for green vs. gray. Flowering good on all. Search AZ Plant Lady’s blog, and this nursery –


  2. Yes, walk around with camera! Mine would be clicking away.

    I should just walk and snap landscape pics, instead of doing it driving…


  3. These do feel like inviting spaces. And the while the white building surfaces seem kind of old fashioned they are also functional — reflecting light and helping to keep the interiors cooler. Marfa has been on my ‘must visit’ list for a long time but these photos inspire me to actually make that visit happen.

    That’s what I think, too. Yet an architect I know noted how the light here in El Paso is too glaring to do so much white. You’ll have a good time, some natural areas within an hour – plus a soon-to-come state natural area –


  4. That bench…sigh…! Love it with the blue nolina echoing the…cenizo is it? Gorgeous all around – great exemplars of the adage “design is accomplished when there is nothing left to take away” (or however that goes…). That anisicanthus shot reminds me I’ll need to transplant mine (again) to get better sun. All that leaning mine is doing is not its best look!

    Tiled benches are always captivating, though my favorites all-time are at the Rio Grande Botanic Garden in ABQ and even better are those in Avalon on Catalina Island CA. Cenizo it is. Anisacanthus is everywhere in Marfa. Yes, “nothing left to take away” will be my credo there on a certain project, should I get awarded it!


  5. I really appreciate your professional view on these things. I wouldn’t even look twice at this to enjoy the well thought out design. Unless it was next to a building that sheared all the bushes. I enjoy seeing your perspective. Now I’ll see it differently.

    Thanks! I’ve walked by that store and the other places before, but once I stopped I got it. Nothing fancy, but that’s why. Cactus hedges are a favorite detail I started seeing in Albuquerque, but Marfa may be the only place they are everywhere.


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