Dusk Ride to Dawn Design

The usual things of many Tuesday evenings. Leave the salt mine, and drive 20 minutes to be on my mountain bike before dark.

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Happy dogs of other cyclists. The huge malamute must wonder why we need a fire at 48F.

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The next morning, I missed the super blue blood moon. But I saw this lighting I’ve missed before, on an entry almost as designed.

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The spiked balls of Agave parryi and Fouquieria splendens reaching for the sky, while others plants hang back.

Imagine that also with my low entry monument and development logo, possibly curved to disappear further right. On my plan, that was located somewhere between the agaves and the sotols, the boulders mostly behind.

It still works with mostly native plants.

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2/11/18 weather: 61 / 46 / .00″

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2/3 Evergreen, or ?

When asked by my classes about how many evergreen plants to use in Albuquerque, I said, “start with 2/3 evergreen”.

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I expand on the importance of greenery in our climate and getting through our 2 dormant seasons with visual impact, which flower dependence can’t do without intensive irrigation: winter (or winter-light” or “drive-by-winter” in Las Cruces) and summer.

A few years later, I was designing this streetscape project in Las Cruces, where most areas are milder in winter and with more evergreens to choose from. Yet there was a direction from the developer to have evergreen for winter visitors plus native grasses, which go dormant and turn tan for 5 months.

In a small ponding area, I used native grass seed, plus some nearby Baccharis and Snakeweed blew in. Brown and tan.

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But the median and parkway plantings used the following evergreens: Quercus fusiformis, Yucca rostrata, Rosmarinus officianalis ‘Tuscan Blue’, Nolina microcarpa, Chrysactinia mexicana, and Agave neomexicana.

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The first winter of this planting, the low hit a record -15F here and as low as -22F in the basin to the north. Even this mild winter, the site seen 10 to 12F lows a few times.

That’s why.

The evergreen continues to come in handy, though only a bit over 50 percent.

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2/7/18 weather: 6441 / .00″

Dissecting Retail: Three Years After

At El Paso’s Kern Place Crazy Cat Cyclery store, the architect and I created some small but distinct spaces using our ubiquitous rock walls with grade changes.

It won an AIA El Paso award a couple years ago.

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That enclosed, communal space with a single Quercus fusiformis and some Yucca pallida is good. It’s mostly being maintained well, too.

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The far side that once contained a rather “seasoned” Yucca torreyi specimen, then it fell, and finally the yucca’s replacement, is not so good.

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The small spaces on the side will fill in more, as the sotols grow and damianitas hopefully reseed around.

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I still regret not insisting on what should have been done on the south street’s uphill climb.

Because mountain biking and good headlamps are important, so is good plantsmanship.

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12/25/17 weather: 7331 / .00″