Mesic Low, Xeric High

I always say this, because it’s the natural world’s model.

Modeling design on how water moves with gravity pays off with successful landscapes.

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Xeric plants are on top where the sandy loam grains sharply, but in the basin which floods briefly and the soil stays moist longer. It’s similar to a broad arroyo in the general hydrology.

There, I used mesic Celtis reticulata and Prosopis pubescens plus seeding.

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On that high area, there are some volunteers of the very xeric, sandy soil specialist Psorothamnus scoparius.

This basin or ponding area isn’t the most aesthetic part of my design or the overall development, but it’s required so excessive runoff from development can safely exit properties. Usually such areas are fenced in with chain link, inside only bare dirt kept free of plants or covered in rock kept free of plants.

Here, arroyo plants absorb that extra water and provide habitat for wildlife. More attractive and productive than barbed wire, chain link and rock.

Another view of the basin below.

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8/13/17 weather: 89 / 68 / T

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Seen While Driving in My Area

Though Las Cruces is spread out, I sometimes take my camera to record different standout landscape designs I drive by.

This is in front of a small office complex with a restaurant; the people developing this complex mentioned all the trees and yuccas volunteered, since the swale catches extra stormwater.

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Chilopsis linearis is the tree, with Yucca elata, a few Atriplex, and Larrea growing in-between. Occasionally, the trees are pruned up.

But oddly, the trees are progressively smaller to the right, which is downhill and where more stormwater should flow into.

I’m surprised to lease out and sell remaining lots and offices, that this same effect wasn’t carried to the other frontages including passive water harvesting. Not to mention some entry monumentation with stronger plantings.

But my former field is an afterthought once again.

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Up the road, this planting has always caught my eye. A split rail fence using railroad ties, with a loose hedge of Opuntia ellisiana planted to grow through it, is quite effective. The architecture of a token tile roof and rock wall not so much…

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The evening light on a warmish June evening is a sight to behold. Agave neomexicana is so common but so fitting, more than I ever realized 10 years ago while wrapping up the design.

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You won’t find too much on my posts like this about oleanders, stunted crepe myrtles, lollipop-shaped ash and pears, or lantanas. But one should agree that what’s common in the Las Cruces area is significantly more native, adapted, or appropriate than what’s common where I lived 21+ years on my last blog.

That’s often with an overall, effective design, too – crucial on releasing a place from horticultural repression.

7/17/17 weather: 94 / 65 / 0.55

Streetscape: On a Good Note

While there are more pitfalls a designer cannot anticipate, experience, knowing the ecoregion, and what it produces are a plus.

Even though city facilities overruled better ponding areas, the vegetation came out like I pictured. Basins with salt-tolerant grasses, and slopes with low shrubs and grass clumps, which will show more once our monsoon season gets serious.

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The densities are aided by the rotary irrigation, but are still typical of the dense end of Chihuahuan desert grassland.

The gently swaled median is doing well: Leucophyllum zygophyllum, Cercis texanum, Yucca rostrata x thompsoniana (?), and Bouteloua gracilis.

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Of course the common-for-good-reason Chilopsis linearis is thriving…most I specified here were the Bubba variety.

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Lightly-fragrant, loving abuse including caliche, how could I go wrong?

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It’s great when the maintenance sheets are applied to a maturing landscape like here, instead of counterproductive shearing and shaping – grasses, shrubs, trees, and anything else with chlorophyll.

I’m happy because the owner is getting what they payed me for, which is what they entrusted me to design for the near-term and future.

7/12/17 weather: 99 / 69 / T