Native, Annual Grass

I need to confirm with my next-door neighbor and his rain gauge, just how wet it’s been in 2017. My guess is at least 10 inches of rain, which is over 2 inches or 25% above average, but for the entire year – and we have 2 months left.

Below, the same tan grass now was a green carpet over most every hill here.

Six Weeks Grama / Bouteloua barbata is a common, native annual grass in the southwest.

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We had another 1 inch or even more in a late night downpour and more lightning than I’ve seen in a couple years. But no matter how much falls, Six Weeks Grama will not re-germinate – the temperatures are cooling into fall levels, and that grass only seems to germinate in late summer and no other time.

As long as native grasses don’t grow too rangy or leggy in key areas, I just assume keep them for aesthetics and function.

Even as an annual, this grama does a good job holding in the loose soils here with their roots, while gravel mulch can only cover the soil and soften the blows of wind and hard rain. Gravel cannot root.

My fingers are crossed for restraint in such areas.

The tan really creates a good visual contrast to the greens of Yucca faxoniana and Larrea tridentata.

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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

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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