Hospital: Daytime This Time

A coworker has accompanied me every few weeks to bustling El Paso, so I can take care of some wrap-up work.

Combined with barbecue at 2 restaurants, dinner time trips caused too many late arrivals here to see much. This time was a morning trip to close out bank accounts, so I finally saw my work in daylight.

Without overplanting, this new landscape is thin. Some looks good…

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…some other plants and many grasses not so good, the daytime arrival under a scorching May sun revealed the brown, bad news.

And poorly-placed signage added to a few changes. Striping seems less obtrusive, until the owner implements their wayfinding consultant’s excellent signage

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Out the canopy-shaded walkway to the front doors, the Salvia clevelandii are already growing in to soften the Yucca rostrata.

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So Cal: meet the Texas Big Bend. This side was barely interesting to me originally.

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It now may be my favorite spot there; the curtain wall effect with the simple yucca and shrub grouping is better than I envisioned.

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Oh yeah, Hueco boulders and yuccas. Or, I need to branch out more from using scenes from desert hikes and mountain biking.

Finally, I’m including my plant lists…

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The clouds are mostly where I had to change some symbols that my CAD program didn’t generate at the correct size.

Salvia clevelandii again –

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The break patio, some more concrete seat walls. And after the monsoon season, time to prune up the Forestiera neomexicana.

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The mostly unoccupied medical office building (MOB) has this great razor-like entry canopy.

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It’s flanked on either side by a spare but purposed green ribbon between a tree grove for shade…Prosopis glandulosa trees and Baccharis x starn groundcovers.

And a rhythm of Dasylirion wheeleri of course, every 12 feet or so.

The bump-outs use many Hueco boulders filled in with spikier or flowering desert plants: Agave parryi ‘Estrella’, Chrysactinia mexicana, Fouquieria splendens, and Dasylirion wheeleri included.

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And out via the service road, with a swale and Sporobulus wrightii along it. Plus Larrea tridentata, Fouquieria splendens, an Agave lechuguilla beyond the swale, to tie in with the desert background.

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The blank area between the grasses and curb is an 8 foot wide, future walking path. I prefer compacted, small crushed gravel – I’m sure the owner will do pricier concrete.

I’m showing some of the good parts; I’ll try and follow up sometime with some odd plant issues I saw driving onto the project.

5/16/17 weather: 76 / 55 / T

Civic Space 101: Filling In at JUTEP

That’s actually UTEP for “the University of Texas at El Paso”, but this region’s “border Spanish” makes “U” and “Y” have a noticeable “J” sound. I may have heard “jucca” said as much as “yucca” during 2+ decades at this region’s jobsites.

Our area’s largest showcase of native plants in a public garden is at year 3. That age often marks when a garden gets much better.

By Ten Eyck’s office, visited by me last weekend:

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Without several hours to spend, I try to start in a different place depending on the lighting – this was late afternoon.

The clean, walkable, and permeable groundplane of decomposed granite isn’t kitchen floor enough for some, but it has multiple benefits. Sound of footsteps included.

An excellent massing of plants and hardscape to take it all in.

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Those are Hesperaloe x ‘Pink Parade’, a hybrid of old, massive favorite H. funifera and more common H. parviflora. Agave ovatifolia is in the background, seeming to float on the aggregate.

Onto one of my favorite accent plants, with those tall, almost comical bloom stalks – Yucca pallida.

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Looking the other way, away from the dinner theatre, below R is a mass of H. parviflora ‘Brakelights’.

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Fallugia paradoxa are overgrowing the yuccas; not sure that was the intent, so I asked Ten Eyck herself a couple years ago on a conference wrap-up visit.

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A sunken placita (mini-plaza) with Nolina greenei under the young trees, as retaining seat walls take advantage of the grade change.

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Do those pricey Kornegay pots look worth it, like they do to me? Of course, it helps using hardy, effective Dasylirion quadrangulatum inside them.

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And on the other entry of the same Psychology building, these steps.

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More Dasylirion quandrangulatum in the planters along the stairs, plus other native and adapted plantings. Something like that at NMSU and especially UNM would completely overcome past ways.

A low area with water harvesting below one of many outcroppings of andesite rock, and voila – Gaura lindheimeri.

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Closing out with series of seat walls, providing a layering effect going downhill.

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More vigorous Apache Plume taking over.

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A hike a few days later showed my sentimental favorite cactus, Opuntia engelmannii, in bloom.

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A number of Echinocactus horizonthalonius were blooming, too.

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Have a good rest of the weekend!

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5/13/17 weather: 91 / 64 / .00

Streetscape Awakens

My house hunt is starting. Per regional custom with posted hours, the open house closed almost 2 hours early, which I drove miles out of my way to see. But now there was time to spare.

Time to visit a recent landscape design – Engler Road streetscapes, taken 3/5/2017:

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Soils at this site are caliche with some gravels on top, which inhibits roots from developing and limits plant choices. Hopefully the medians depressed 12″ will percolate in some extra rain water, to help.

The 20 or so Cercis canadensis var. texensis specified are now taking to dusty New Mexico.

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The gloomy day didn’t help the tan tones including the shrubs in back, allowed to stay – I specified green-leafed Leucophyllum langmaniae instead of the gray L. zygophyllum that we ended up with.

Also doing well are the yuccas and grasses, somehow magically left un-shaped into balls last November when they went dormant. My maintenance plan was followed here but not everywhere in this development.

Got me!

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A few Yucca rostrata punctuate the repetitive mass of Bouteloua gracilis, like the effect one gets driving those restorative stretches of open road around Marfa or Carrizozo.

It just takes a few of these accents, which will soon accent the skyline.

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The yellow leaf margins on the yucca are a detail I often forget about. And the state grass of New Mexico, Blue Grama, is coming alive.

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Many green shoots are responding to the ground and air temperatures warming, even if a few weeks early. With all our mountains  protecting us, my guess is even if we get one of those freak March or April snowstorms and some more freezes (our last frost date averages April 1), few or none will be hard freezes below 28F, when the serious damage occurs.

Maybe.