Growing Pains

Until the weather cools and moistens back to normal for our monsoon season, this will probably be my last post on the hospital projects in El Paso. So much is summer-dormant, plus young plantings via a tight budget need more time to reveal their true look.

Besides, I have items for my own property to start posting on, even if they are only conceptual and not in the ground!

Sierra Campus:

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The view from higher on the site reveals the spatial and plant relationships. Closer-in shows gaps in the plants, below the missing Agave neomexicana. Or whatever I specified!

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Providence Memorial Campus:

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Here, it’s waiting for Koryn’s art installation to go in.

In this case, since the landscape contractor ignored the plan’s curved arrangements of Bouteloua gracilis ‘Blonde Ambition’ and even some of the massings of other plants (namely the Maleophora crocea iceplant), her art will help soften the planting faux pas!

Usually it’s the other way around.

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Transmountain Campus:

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Aside from some missing Chrysactinia mexicana and the young age of the plants, the overall effect works, with the walls, while entering the site. That is, with the legibility of the Prosopis glandulosa trees up top and the Baccharis x Starns below.

The continued intrusion of all the behavioral signage detracts from the wayfinding consultant’s excellent signage, and it detracts from the view or plantings.

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Really? Very disturbing and the wrong way to go about things. “We’ve got a problem, Houston El Paso.”

This should look good in the fall or especially next spring, when everything recovers from our summer of June heat with July humidity.

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I’ll move onto the first problem I saw. In some other areas it was made so bad, I didn’t have the heart to post it.

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We chose to use the available reclaimed water to irrigate the landscape, instead of potable water. Partly from cost and partly from ecological reasoning. That greatly limited the plant palette, due to the elevated salts in reclaimed water.

Notice anything with the grasses, above and below?

Muhlenbergia emersleyi grasses were not tested in the extensive research materials I had from the El Paso Water Utility. That genera and many others now common weren’t even available in the trade or sold when those studies were made! My guess is with most other plants OK and the grasses not, that’s the issue.

Time will tell if that’s the reason. I hope I’m wrong, because this won’t work.

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Related Muhlenbergia rigens below is not much better, while other plants look OK.

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I’ll close with the parting shot, exiting the property. The simple lines of Agave parryi var. truncata playing off the Leucophyllum langmaniae and Yucca rostrata gives me hope.

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About that hope?

That the reclaimed irrigation water isn’t a problem and the grasses will decide to thrive, that the maintenance people and owner will do less counterproductive and unnecessary (and do right), and that these projects will enhance the entire community they touch.

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8/7/18 weather:
99F / 70F / .00″ or 37c / 21c / 0 mm

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2 Replies to “Growing Pains”

  1. So many people don’t know about summer dormant seasons. Plants are smart to rest in summer. I think what really triggers the plants to rest here is the high temps over night combined with humidity.

    I didn’t until I moved to NM…our constant summer since April, became so hot even at night, with only a few nights to celebrate more typical cooling…shuts people and plants down. Almost fall…here!

    Liked by 1 person

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