What Worked in Hobbs

Remember my recent post from New Mexico Junior College in Hobbs? Here’s what worked out at two projects I co-designed while with a former employer, one decade ago. Photos from 2/25/14 (44F), 3/1/14 (81F, ice storm next day & high 20’s) –

Ben Alexander Student Center: 

Desert Candle and the former incinerator…circular vs. vertical…

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New Project Going In – Pizza!

Like most of my projects, I have some good clients with typical spaces, for me to design better than the norm. Or at least in spite of that outside my control.

I’m not an artiste or landscape star-chitect, complaining even when given large budgets (called modest) and design latitude (saying my hands are tied), but it’s how I have to roll! Honesty, a proactive mindset, and gratitude are great pillows to rest on, that no exotic vacations or exalted podiums can provide.

And it’s how I pay my bills, improving the world by outdoor living, one place several places at a time. From Albuquerque, 12/2013 –

irrigation partly in, plants in near the building…

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Wide Shot – 3/2014

I was in Hobbs, New Mexico a week ago, to give a presentation for the Lea County Master Gardeners. Preparing for that, work, and driving 4+ hours one-way, I got far behind on posting for Heather’s Wide Shot meme – here !

My event was held at the Western Heritage Museum / Lea County Cowboy Hall of Fame, on the campus of New Mexico Junior College. After speaking, I visited another campus project, the Ben Alexander Student Center. I designed its outdoor spaces while at Dekker Perich Sabatini, with Ken Romig back in 2004.

Screwbean Mesquite or Tornillo / Prosopis pubescens is the bare, courtyard tree, Red Yucca / Hesperaloe parviflora lines the building, the green shrubs are pruned Dwarf Yaupon / Ilex vomitoria, but I forget which grass species were used out front.

To see the grasses and red yuccas barely growing after all this time was sad; by now, I hoped it would be a spray of pink flower stalks dancing in front of the light walls, held over mature, broad clumps of green – dare I say – “strappy foliage”. The grasses should be full and lush.

I know this is late winter, a rough one there with several ice storms and below freezing days, but these plants can take it. On the southern plains, it is said only some barbed wire fences separate them from the north pole and tropics!

David Hooten, in charge of maintenance at NMJC, told me there’s a 12 foot thick caliche layer or caprock, providing some possible reasons for poor growth; possibly irrigation is partly the culprit? He refers to their weather changes as “mood swings”!

I’m left wondering what I could have done. Maybe a follow-up visit is in order, later in spring, hoping the issues are solved?

Meanwhile, I’ll soon post some smaller areas of the design that did work.