I originally designed the front of a hospital renovation for my usual hardscape interest, then dense, lower groundcover planting throughout. Those were to fill in between the other plants.
Of course, the native Aristida grasses specified were changed by the contractor to something not native.
The tan to pale green Muhlenbergia capillaris became the grasses, still massed in different locations to unify the scene driving up to park. They flower in the fall season, unlike the threeawns.
This location in central El Paso is bordering on USDA zone 8b-9a, so I felt confident that Parkinsonia x ‘Desert Museum’ will grow well.
Zephyranthes or another substitute near the building were replaced with a pink Ruellia britoniana, which are growing well.
Early in the design, I simplified some preliminary architect ideas in front into parallel walls made of similar materials used on the building. During final drawings, the architect decreased those from 3 feet to about 18 inches in height.
I think it works well, though another 8-12 inches of height might be more effective.
In between outer plantings and the building, staggered either side of the walls I included tree-form Yucca rostrata (changed to Y. elata) and Dasylirion wheeleri. The former yucca change will actually be locally native, which will work out…watch for those to trunk up in height over the grasses in a few years.
Another low wall was added in the island for visual definition and to force pedestrians to walk on sidewalks instead of through the island. Not that people do that, or anything…..
The design was altered from mostly plants native to the Paso del Norte region and Chihuahuan Desert ecoregion.
But it’s still mostly a southwestern and Texan palette maintaining the original massing, which is fine!
I can’t wait to see this in the autumn, when the pink mist of the Muhlenbergia capillaris sweeps through the walls and spaces.
92F / 68F / .00″ or 33c / 20c / 0 mm