Sometimes Leaving It Alone…

Most landscape architects cannot control every aspect of a project once it leaves their hands on the design board, installation or maintenance.

Only an exceptional client works more collaboratively.

Yet sometimes those who direct or allow poor maintenance take a break. Hopefully a permanent one!

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After several years and the 2011 freeze, the ‘Sierra Sweet’ Acacia trees died and were replaced with Screwbean Mesquite. Many of the golden Turpentine Bush died, and I’ve heard over-watering was the culprit throughout this project.

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There certainly are signs of over-watering in parts of the project, such as a Pampas Grass volunteer in one parkway section. But there are other signs there is little to no over-watering in many other places.

So, on irrigation issues, I don’t know for sure.

And what I notice the most is despite some grasses and shrub volunteers that aren’t removed to preserve the design intent, this section is holding together.

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The mixed gravel  mulch sizes now look more natural.

The Turpentine Bush here remains, and it should serve as a model for replacing the same species downhill, which are now dead.

I would hope regard for maintenance could take over. But I have to enjoy what I can from this, while it lasts.

10/18/17 weather: 81 / 55 / 0.00

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Dion’s 2 Years Later

Night landscape visits in September beat evening visits in July, which is my last time here 2 years ago.

And how Dion’s in Albuquerque’s south valley is maturing.

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The drive-through pickup lane plantings are exactly as envisioned.

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The maintenance has greatly improved, even with some plant substitutions that may be a result of over-watering or other issues previously. How can I tell, since my 2015 visit, when it was relatively weed-free with only smaller plants?

The containers at the key pedestrian entry now look like what I specified in my plan. Summer plantings in the growing season beat winter annuals.

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Vitex agnus-castus / Chaste Tree in alternating, sunken parking lot planters are growing in.

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The “LE” on the monument stands for this development, Las Estancias, beckoning one to the old days when this was a farm in a Spanish land grant. As building pads fill in, and the homes are built in the new pecan orchard at the far end, it will only help a once-deflated part of town.

These parking lot planters and the adjacent ponding slope alternate from Vitex into Chinese Pistache and masses of Deergrass.

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Office Space

The contractor friend I helped design this for did a number of things on the fly, including surprising me that it had to be LEED certified.

Even with that, sketchy maintenance and caliche soils are giving way to a maturing planting for more than the usual, bullet-proof plant posse of Yucca-Sotol-Purple Three Awn-blah blah blah.

Though the latter is there.

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The end-of-the-monsoon skies and a quick flash of warm, humid air help provide a backdrop of my simple design of Quercus fusiformis, Nolina greenei, Rosmarinus officianalis ‘Prostrata’, and accents of beefy Yucca faxoniana and Dasylirion wheeleri.

These are actually the first live oaks I noticed when I drove by, and they just need some light, interior pruning with some more drip emitters.

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But those root sprouts…just let them fill in and mow to 4″ like a groundcover.

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The sides and decline or removal of once-thriving native wildflowers is disappointing to me. But the maintenance here is finally better than it was.

There’s hope.