Winter Interest: Arizona Rosewood

Though we skipped winter this year, like 2016-17 but with a more normal moisture regime (dry), the high desert always has some winter dormancy. Even the (crazy) bluegrass fairways aren’t so green with many hard freezes at night and a handful of lows in the teens.

But do you see anything in the distance?

A green, shrubby or dwarf tree or two?

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Not the olive-green Creosote Bush or assorted cacti and yuccas.

That’s the fairly-common and almost bullet-proof, Arizona Rosewood / Vauquelinia californica. I prefer mine pruned up to perform as a small evergreen tree in tight areas, but I’m not sure of this person’s accompanying landscape.

This looks good, too, and both stand at least 15 feet tall.

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When I move, I’ll likely miss my glimpse of 4,950 foot Picacho.

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This rosewood thrived in many landscapes others and I designed back in that other place 3 hours north, and even more here. It needs some winter moisture to supplement the summer monsoon season, and it has 2 related species that to me look more refined – Vauquelinia corymbosa var. angustifolia and Vauquelinia corymbosa var. heterodon.

All Vauquelinia species enjoy the moderate temperatures of USDA zones 7a to 8b, between about 3,000 and 6,500 feet elevation in the southwest.

I’ll let you look up the long, serrated and evergreen foliage and other attributes.

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Roadtrip: Chinati

Taking a half-day off this past Friday, I drove out of Las Cruces after two showery days, actually, for a Chinati Foundation sunset event.

Soundtrack: loads of Pink Floyd, plus Stevie Ray Vaughan, Laura Marling, etc.

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The high clouds and filtered sun in Marfa caused a more muted, less golden effect than what I was hoping for, but it still created light-shadow contrasts. That plus a very light turnout of visitors was exactly what I needed to relax and start the weekend.

So was arriving 30 minutes early for a margarita at the Hotel Paisano’s bar.

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I didn’t run into one Marfa local or visitor I know. Only plenty of solo time.

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First, Judd’s 100 works in mill aluminum:

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Then, Judd’s works in concrete. I’ve recently read that Marfa’s “unique light” comes from miles of Blue Grama grasses, like you can see to the horizon or in swaths by the concrete works:

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Of course, a little botanizing during and after their evening event. This looks like a Little Walnut / Juglans microcarpa.

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One of a few paths worn into the endless Chihuahuan desert grassland, here with mesquites, soaptree yuccas, and some other native species.

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Just under 4 hours there, and the same time back.

The setting sun beams through the Arena’s clerestory windows, ahead of incoming showery weather I left behind at noon.

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Dinner first, of course.

Inner El Paso

A coworker and I were in El Paso, to learn about their proposed Paso del Norte Trail. Our El Camino Real Corridor work and New Mexico’s Rio Grande Trail all have potential to link their system to the Colorado border.

The entry planters to the Hotel Indigo are still there, though I’m unsure about these plants’ health.

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A former coworker who’s now a planner with the City of El Paso was in attendance, and we surprised him.

The view from where the Paso del Norte Trail boards and meet-and-greet event were held. A 5th floor pool and patio area the bar and restaurant open to, revealing attractive plantings, hardscape, places to sit, and an elevated view of downtown.

Yucca torreyi and cacti in a hip planter setting finish this off.

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Walking back to my car, this parking garage mural is by my former neighbor Dave “Grave” Herrera. He also works part-time at the hotel, when not involved with his creations. He was glad to see us when we arrived.

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Of course, there was a hearty meal in the way home.

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That baked potato with a heaping of brisket was almost 1 foot long. I took half home!

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2/3/18 weather: 7336 / .00″