Streetscape: Monsoon to Fall to Frigid

It’s always good to see my old designs, even though I drive by them often, living so close. Photos are from 9/2020 to 1/2021.

Late September – early October, after 2 or 3 brief, weak shots at a monsoon season:

The person I worked with on this streetscape design insisted on Yucca faxoniana, not me. I wanted the more-local Y. torreyi or Y. elata. It was one of a few plant battles not worth my time. I like these, anyway. As usual, even with several years growing, some of these large specimens either have the agave weevil or are reaching their life expectancy.

At least 4 or 5 on this project are dying, producing no top spears in the heads, as seen in the distant yucca in the previous photo.

I can’t imagine what they’ll be replaced with – or not.


For 2 decades, I’ve latched onto the term “nonsoon season”, for the summers where our more typical monsoon pattern fails. 2020 was one of the five fails of the last six summers. Little cooling, few storms, but insurance was designed in via drip irrigation.

This volunteer or added Chilopsis linearis didn’t mind, nor did the original Dasylirion wheeleri or yuccas.

In the medians and the intersection, Leucophyllum zygophyllum ‘Cimarron’ put on a flower show, as the morning sun rises and starts to blast down.

I’ll post more on how 2020’s warm season impacted gardens and wilds.

The final flowering of those blue rangers ended soon after it started, then the leaves on Fouquieria splendens turned. Ocotillos work well with bold and blue Agave neomexicana and dry-dormant Aristida purpurea, companions here and often in the wild.

Even returning from a late hike showed off the effects of the low-voltage FX lighting fixtures, though replacement bulbs should be toned back down in brightness.


Late October – early November, not bad after our first freezes October 26-27, (some records set…36 consecutive hours below 32F / 0c, a low of 24F / -4c, and about 2 inches / 5 cm of snow):


Early November, and by design there’s still strong presence:

Most of the dwarf trees, Rhus lanceolata, provide something overhead, though shade was sacrificed to comply with community covenants of no trees over 14 feet. Never mind the added desert willows and screwbean mesquites top out at least 20 feet.

In a desert area, that’s too restrictive of a height; protecting views should be balanced with mitigating pavement.


Mid-December – January, me wishing there was a way to capture each scene from exactly the same spot, but the lighting is so different within a few months:


Another area I rarely drive by also seems to be one paid less attention to by the maintenance contractor. Yet, I can find interest in part of this key entry, at the western side of the estates.

Those have become the largest Agave neomexicana I’ve ever seen. Plus that Larrea tridentata is as large as many oneseed junipers.


I’ll finish back at the other key entry, on the east side of this development I often post on. Most everyone passes by here, residents and even other hikers who access the monument but don’t live in this development, including me.

Those narrow and hidden parts of the main, west entry into the development are best seen from the north.

A good rhythm, though I’ll need to find some photos of the last scene, when the native fluffgrasses and purple threeawns were allowed to grow under the Nolina greenei mass. It was only 5 years ago, or so.

I’ll probably never get around to finding the archived plans, to see the original herbaceous plants now mostly gone.


The people over at Garden Bloggers Fling recently featured me – here. Their great post is motivating me to post more on my blog.

Not to mention, I still have some more to post from the two flings I attended: the last day at the 2013 Fling in San Francisco and my drive home from the 2018 Fling in Austin. I still haven’t documented those memorable trips.


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