Soft and Sharp Again

Visiting past projects brings back memories, including why I placed certain plants or other features and sometimes before I learned another lesson.

The sky was still moody, though all chance of rain and the morning cold blew away.

After a too-long Saturday meeting with a prospective client, it was Picacho Mountain before a satisfying grilled dinner at home:

the Agave neomexicana clump and ocotillo contrasts chartreuse Prosopis torreyana, even after the original wildflowers thinned and then vanished
looking back towards the main road
a solo Echinocereus horizonthalonius was added to the original Sophora x ‘Silver Peso’ and the Nolina texana greenei

The latter almost echoed in shape by the round, bluish pincushions of Dasylirion wheeleri across the street. Almost…

Seeing these photos as I write, we’ve had an unusual surge of humid winds off the Gulf, more the feel and scent of another place and time. This weather change really changes the way these ordinary plants look to me.


the only Leucophyllum zygophyllum plants not butchered in their medians

I’m still figuring out why some areas of Purple Threeawn are left and others not.

The development here seems to not have a plan of action on what’s maintained or not, what can remain or get pulled out, and where. Some grasses were in the seed mix, some not – at least 50% should remain, not the 10-20% that are left or missed.


an unusual form of Opuntia macrocentra
see if you can spot another purple oddball Opuntia macrocentra from my plan

The occasional agaves on the sides, which I wish were parkways, so that’s what I wrongly call them. I wanted simple, gracious walkways down each street, too.


Penstemon superbus

My guess is even with the optimal gritty soil habitat for penstemons, the maintenance directive and implementation here missed these volunteers. Where intentional from my design, most are long-gone.

Penstemons are no match for xeriphobia, overwatering, or Roundup!

And I would say those are no match for having one’s desert eyes on. Thanks for that term, Scott in Tucson.

4/12/17 weather: 87 / 63 / .0


5 Replies to “Soft and Sharp Again”

  1. Delighted to see you back to blogging.

    You are one of the inspiring people I think of … as I try … to respond tactfully … to ‘gardeners’ dealing with Cape Town’s drought, whining about their brown dead garden. Oh yes, the indigenous stuff is fine, but I want a green lawn!!

    Thanks, it’s the same thing I heard 25 years ago in San Diego, and I still hear it. The desert not so much, though I have a huge golf fairway out my back patio…bluegrass, entirely unadapted. Those penstemons!


  2. I’m falling more in love with Agave neomexicana every time I see it. These are especially lovely in form.

    The lighting or the variety, it’s great. Also stunning here is A. salmiana and A. weberi…


  3. Leucophyllum not buzzed into cubes? The horror!

    Ha! There’s that and what is done to some Washingtonias


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